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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

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8:30 AM EST, Monday, May 21: My acute bronchitis lingers, despite completing full doses of Levaquin (two 500mg tablets each day) and azithromycin. I freaked on Friday when a kindly reader suggested I might have pneumonia and I ought to get a chest x-ray. I did. And I don't have pneumonia. According to all my friends, this strain of bronchitis hangs around for 3-4 weeks. There's bugger all you can do about it, including rest and chicken soup. My advice: You see anyone cough. You run a million miles. You don't want this. Trust me.

With the markets rising, IPOs are picking up. According to IPO, there are nine IPOs coming this week alone, including B&G Foods, Clean Energy Fuels, EndoCeutics, Helicos and TransTech Services -- all companies I haven't heard of -- which means nothing. According to IPO Scoop, of the last 100 IPOs, 64 went up and 36 went down. You would have made money by buying the 100.

Of course, by the time I start buying in IPOs,, the IPO boomlet will be over. I haven't bought any yet, so we all have time.

When to escalate? My contractor placed an order for two skylights for us back in November, 2006. By May, 2007 no skylights. I took over, discovered the story -- our order was small, the manufacturer was ignoring us. I escalated to the president... Things finally started to happen. I could write book on "When to escalate?"

The short version is: Start at the president, or the highest level you can get to. If you didn't meet the president yet and your product is late -- everything these days is -- go there today. Pick up the phone now.

As to how to motivate presidents? Money doesn't work. Screaming doesn't work. Threats of no future business don't work. Only one thing works -- flattery.

I'm betting all my readers are intelligent enough to understand the value (and usefulness) of flattery.

Two very useful services:

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The reason FreeConferencePro is free is rooted in the way phone companies reward each other for carrying calls through each other's networks. FreeConferencePro gets a piece of every call, but paid by the phone companies. You don't want to know how this works. If you really do, you buy my dictionary and become the world's leading expert on reciprocal compensation, or "recip comp" as the telecom industry calls it.

How Swiss bankers get rich. You open a numbered account. They don't send you a monthly statement. Or any statement. One day you die. Guess who gets the money?

Speaking of Swiss bankers, I'm working on estate planning -- a subject that gives boredom a whole new meaning. Please read this article from this weekend's Wall Street Journal. It's important:

Paperless World Can Leave Heirs In the Dark
By Kaja Whitehouse

As people increasingly go "paperless" -- using the online features of banks and brokerages to manage their accounts -- it's complicating the process of helping your heirs sort out your finances once you're gone.

The problem: If you don't keep careful records, your family might not even know where to start looking for accounts. In a worst-case scenario, some assets may never be found.

But at the same time, you don't want to recklessly list all your private financial-account passwords somewhere for a bad guy to find. That would be an invitation to theft.

There are several smart steps to take to build a roadmap to your assets. The five key components: information about your assets, names of advisers, details about safe-deposit boxes, your estate-planning documents, and a few other important documents.

For starters, provide details about banking and brokerage accounts, insurance policies, real-estate and retirement plans, and list account numbers.

Explain where to find your will, trust, power of attorney and other estate documents. If you have a safe-deposit box, give the bank's name and address, and where you keep the keys. If you have a life-insurance policy, provide the name and phone number of the agent, and a copy of the policy or its number.

Consider listing all the people your heirs will need to contact, including lawyers, accountants, executors or guardians you've named to care for any minor children.

Here's what not to include: Your passwords to online accounts. Listing all your passwords in one place -- no matter where it's stored -- is risky. And anyway, your heirs won't need them. For instance, with some assets like bank accounts, heirs can sometimes gain access by showing a copy of a death certificate and proof of designated beneficiaries.

Another important, but often overlooked, item to include: computer passwords, if you keep back copies of potentially important financial paperwork (like old tax returns) on your PC.

Your financial planner or estate-planning attorney can provide additional guidance in putting together a file meeting your particular needs. For instance, Fidelity Investments offers its brokerage clients an online tool, My Estate Plan Organizer, that guides you through the process of putting together a complete document.

Lastly, think carefully about how to store the list. Heirs need to be able to locate it when needed (and you need to be able to update it with a minimum of hassle) but it shouldn't be generally accessible. One option: a fire-resistant home safe, where you should also be keeping, say, your passport or other items you may need to access more quickly than things in a safe-deposit box. You might also give a copy to your lawyer to keep with other estate-planning documents.

As a general rule, don't keep a copy on your computer. But if it is kept there, make sure your computer is as safe as possible from hackers, and is password-protected.

After all, you can't take it with you -- but you wouldn't want someone else to take it from you.

A teacher noticed that a little boy at the back of the class was squirming around, scratching his crotch, and not paying attention. She went back to find out what was going on. He was quite embarrassed and whispered that he had just recently been circumcised and he was quite itchy.

The teacher told him to go down to the principal's office. He was to telephone his mother and ask her what he should do about it. He did and returned to his class.

Suddenly, there was a commotion at the back of the room. She went back to investigate only to find him sitting at his desk with his weenie hanging out.

"I thought I told you to call your mom!" she said.

"I did," he said, "And she told me that if I could stick it out till noon, she'd come by and pick me up from school."

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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