Cheat Sheet Q&A: 


Topic:  Problems selling with EBay:


Today’s listener entry:


Although I would never ship an item I sold on eBay without the payment coming through, I had no way of knowing that getting the package ready and printing out the shipping label before payment was received could cause a big problem.  I did that and the package went to the wrong address. When I called PayPal they said it was my fault.  I said no where in your help pages does it say printing out the label ahead of time could cause a problem.   I also said if this is a potential problem; why would you even let the buyer be able to print out the label ahead of time? Why would you not let the option of printing the label out only be available after the payment has been made?

They even kept their selling fees knowing I lost the product and the payment. So I actually had to pay them their fees out of my pocket on top of losing my item caused by an oversight in their system.

I think people should be made aware of eBay's total lack of regard for their sellers. It may be OK to buy from them.

Of course, the person who lives at the address where I shipped the package is keeping it even though the person it is addressed to doesn't live there....But, that's another story.

Bottom Line:  I’m sorry to hear of this unfortunate situation.  What I’m going to say likely won’t make you feel better about the situation but perhaps your experience can save others from making a similar mistake.


I’ve been an EBay users over the years as well conducting about 400 transactions with about half buying and half selling.  Out of those 400 or so experiences thankfully I’ve only had three problematic transactions and just one that I wasn’t able to resolve with the other party.   So the good news is that your unfortunate experience will almost certainly be the rare exception. 


I agree with your premise that you shouldn’t be able to print out a label through their service without payment being received if they won’t protect the seller if the package is sent but the payment is received.  That’s a valuable tip for other EBay sellers and certainly a learning lesson for you.  I do have a thought that may be beneficial.  Only ship to a PayPal verified address (my guess based on the address being incorrect is that it wasn’t verified).  Here’s one that won’t make you feel any better but maybe providers some context.  While you might not be a professional retailer using EBay (or even if you are) there is a certain amount of loss associated with retailing.  In retail they call it “shrinkage”.  Shrinkage is theft of merchandise, damaged goods that you can’t receive credit for from vendors, etc.  Traditional retailers try to keep that at under 2%. 


In other words even in the best of circumstances unfortunate circumstances will occur and you’ll occasionally take losses when retailing in any setting.  The key is just to keep it at a minimum and learn from the losses. 


If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:


Audio Report:




Frustrated with the President?  For the first time a majority of Americans don't approve of any of the President's positions:


Bottom Line:  This week’s VA and prisoner exchange scandals seem to be taking what might be the final toll on the President Obama’s administration.  As a second term President the odds of not becoming a lame duck were already working against him but he’s not done himself any favors.  While his average approval rating (average all polls together) isn’t at an all-time low at a moment (though it’s close), with 43% average approval vs. 53% average disapproval – he’s literally lost majority support on every issue.  Here is a breakdown via CNN of individual issues:


  • Handling of Terrorism & Environmental policy:  49%
  • Afghan war:  42%
  • Middle Class issues:  40%
  • The Economy & Handling of the Ukraine crisis:  38%
  • Handling of the VA Scandal:  37%
  • Healthcare policy:  36%
  • Illegal Immigration:  35%
  • Gun control:  33%
  • Federal Deficit:  31%

It’s worth noting that arguably the two most relevant issues, the Economy & healthcare both show the President having only a little more than a third of the country supporting his handling of those issues with more than 60% disapproving of both.  Notably only 48% currently believe that President Obama is more competent than President Bush (GW) was.


Audio Report:




Hmm...  The average standard of living is being cut in half in retirement - how to avoid this trap:


Bottom Line:  I don’t think anyone’s ideal idea of retirement involves having their average standard of living cut in half.  That’s exactly what appears to be occurring for the average retiree.

According to the most recent Census and IRS data the average income for those between the ages of 55-64 is $66,000.  The average income stream for a person 65 and older is $34,000.  That’s disconcerting.  That $34,000 factors in Social Security and other related income. 

Now you’ll certainly save on work related expenses but it’s clear that there is a significant drop off in the financial capability of those over the age of 65.  So how do you avoid this unfortunate trend? 


  • My first rule of retirement is that a mortgage isn’t a retirement plan

 So own your home outright. 


  • Retire when your streams of income are significant enough to replace sufficiently the income you had earned working

That means that income derived from your investment portfolio, pensions, Social Security, etc.  should be able to sustain the standard of living your accustomed to.  Far too many people erroneously (in my view) identify a dollar amount with retirement capabilities.  It’s residual income that’s most relevant.


Audio Report:




Getting a loan is now the easiest it's been since prior to the recession:


Bottom Line:  If you’ve been among the many who have been frustrated by a not being able to obtain a loan recently you may now be in luck.  According to an index tracked by bankers, lending standards have loosened to their easiest levels since prior to the Great Recession.  It’s 15% easier to obtain a loan today than it was three years ago on average. 


So it’s hard to quantify what exactly this will mean to your specific situation but the odds are better today to obtain financing than at any other point in the last 5-6 years. 


Audio Report:



What a girl wants...  What's more important?  Money or Looks?:


Bottom Line:  Ok so my headline is a touch misleading…  This is information complied by Experian about both men and women and what we are most desirous of finding in a partner. 


  • 95% of people seek financial responsibility in a mate they want to marry
  • 86%  think physical attractiveness is very important
  • 77% seek those who are ambitious

So two of those three you have control over anyway…  Put those traits together and you’re quite the catch!


Audio Report: