NEW! LIsten to The Cheat Sheet Channel on iHeartRadio

Cheat Sheet Q & A:

Today’s topic:  e-Education satisfaction

Today’s entry: 

Hi Brian, I know you've been a supporter of e-education, using tablets & eBooks in the classroom.  Some school districts have now been doing this for over a year.  Do you know how it’s going?  Are education outcomes better?  How do teachers and students feel about it?  Curious - thanks.

Bottom Line:  This is a great question.  We have had many school districts that do have at least one school year under their belts with e-education in place (a smattering with two full school years).  We do have data that helps answer at least some of your question. 

According to the US Department of Education: 


·         Time spent teaching course material has been reduced by 30-80% (depending on subject matter)

·         81% of teachers believe that the education experience is improved with e-ed

·         e textbooks have averaged a price that’s 55% below physical textbooks

·         Students standardized test scores have improved by 20% in districts with e-education


It’s not all perfect though… On the negative side:


·         87% of teachers report that the biggest issue is battling distractions in the classroom (with kids doing something else on the tablets)

·         The tablets represent significant upfront expense to the schools


On balance it would seem that the early results demonstrate success.  The ability to more quickly advance through educational materials,  higher text scores, cheaper textbooks and a lot less weight on the backs of our kids somewhat offset by teachers having to combat distractions and school districts having to account for the upfront expense. 

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


Audio Report:      



4 pervasive hotel scams taking place right now:

Bottom Line:  The Federal Trade Commission has issued a new warning regarding four pervasive and unfortunately successful scams that are playing out at hotels around the country right now.  They are:


·         Someone calling your hotel room posing as a representative of the hotel

·         Fraudulent food flyers being placed under your door

·         Wireless internet connections posing as the hotel’s network

·         Key logging malware on public access computers

I’ve discussed a couple of these previously.  Hopefully by now you know not to use public access computers in hotels, generally in business centers, for anything other than surfing the internet.  Be sure not to login to any personal accounts on those public access computers.  A few of these do require a little explanation. 

The phone call scam:  Someone buzzes your room and claims to be from your hotel.  They’ll say that a mistake was made and your credit card number wasn’t kept on file and ask for it again.  You see what can go wrong in that situation…

Food flyer under your door:  This is another that’s easy to fall for.  You find a flyer for food delivery under you door.  So you order the food – only here’s the thing.  It’s not a food delivery service.  Even though they answer the phone that way, take your order, and take your payment information.  Well the only thing you will get is scammed.  Look up contact info for food delivery yourself. 

Wireless networks:  So generally wireless internet networks will be the name of the hotel or something close.  Some scammers are setting up wireless networks in the name of the hotel or something close hoping that you get confused and tap into it.  Instead look in the room materials for the specific internet info and only use the specific hotel network. 

Audio Report: 


Warren Buffets - surprisingly simple investment approach for the average investor:

Bottom Line:  So if you’re someone who wants to be invested properly but you don’t want to have to learn the interworking of the stock market and other investment classes, this is for you.  While it can be great to find specific market beating investments, often investing over the course of your life is a turtle and the hare type of situation.  The stock market averages a 9% annual rate of return and having a little of your money diversified might make sense.  Here is Warren Buffet’s two step, simple invest guidance:


·         Invest 10% of your money in short term Government bonds

·         Invest 90% of your money in an S&P 500 index fund (he prefers Vanguards because of its low expense)

That’s it.  An he suggests that you can basically set it and forget it.  This may not be for the savviest but for most this historically would be a solid call for your future.

Audio Report: 



Very few people are taking the auto recalls seriously.  Shocking low number for the huge safety issue that started it all:

Bottom Line:  Historically only about 70% of recalls are actually fixed on used automobiles.  Not surprisingly in this record year of recalls it’s not even close to 70% that are being fixed.  But just how bad is it? 

The grand daddy of all 2014 recalls is the GM ignition switch failure recall.  The one that’s responsible for the death of at least 13 people and potentially dozens (the number is in dispute). 


·         There are 2.6 million GM ignition switch vehicles on the road in the US

·         Only 500,000 or about 19% of those vehicles have been fixed

So if 81% of the most public and severe recall this year remain unfixed…  One can imagine how few others are actually being adhered to by us. 

As boring and mundane as it can be to stay on top of recalls you should check every couple of week (check last week’s Cheat Sheet for the info on CarFax’s free recall site in which you input your VIN). 

Audio Report:



Working on the weekend?  You're not alone - more than a third of us are:

Bottom Line:  It’s interesting to see how our society is still generally one that caters to the 9 to 5 Monday thru Friday type of lifestyle…  Because it isn’t for most.  Here are the latest numbers that depict how the average person works anymore. 


·         The average starting time for work isn’t nine.  It’s now 8 am

·         The average workday (full-time) isn’t 8 hours any longer – it’s 8.8 hours

·         82% of us do work M-Fri but 34% also work at least one weekend day as part of a regular schedule

Audio Report: