Subscription based applications

I think it’s been four years now that Adobe started it’s subscription based model with the Creative Cloud. About two years back, you could no longer have a physical version you can buy and keep, instead of constantly paying a monthly subscription. It didn’t take long for them to only offer cloud versions of their applications. I was a very slow adopter of this model. I mean why would I want to constantly pay for an application.

Of course Adobe makes it easy to convince you, with your online membership you can log in to any computer and run your version of Photoshop or whatever application. You can sign up for a month utilize all the programs you want and then suspend your account.  The simplest package is just one app running you about $9.95 a month. So for one year you could spend $120, a fraction of cost of buying full package. Then you can upgrade to have access to all of Adobe’s products for $39.95, so a year runs you $480. Now this starts to creep into a stiffer bill. What’s great though is you do have unlimited access to all of Adobe’s software, but then depending on what you do for digital work who uses all of the applications. Of course there’s the you can write this off as a business expense, which is valid argument and a way to lower your taxable deductions.

I’m not knocking what Adobe is doing here. It’s a double edged sword. You get the latest and greatest applications, but you are perpetually paying for them. Adobe isn’t the only one doing this now. Autodesk has gotten into this practice as well. It reminds me of the gym memberships, you sign up, utilize it for a few months and then forget about it. Meanwhile the gym collects your money every month even if you aren’t using their services. This is a very lucrative business model, I get it. The other model that some companies are doing is a free or student version of their application. Foundry is doing this with Nuke and Autodesk is also doing this as well. There are some restrictions, but at least it allows either students or someone with low discretionary funds to utilize and train on their applications.

I don’t really have an argument or solution for this. It is the lay of the landscape for now. Just something I figured to mention.  At some point everyone will be forced to convert just by nature the old programs will be too obsolete to run. Be curious to see how many people has adopted the subscription model versus just keeping their older versioned applications.


Maximizing Savings and Earnings

We’ve talked about saving for retirement, but how much do I contribute to it?

You need to know your monthly expenses. So you will need to keep track of what you buy, your bills, and your rent. Best bet is to look over your past statements for the last 3 months. This way you can do an average of the results to give yourself a cushion. I know this all seems pretty obvious. You really need to scrutinize your monthly expenses, otherwise there’s no way for you to know how much you can save and areas you can trim expenses.

What I do is simple Google drive excel type sheet to tally everything up.

Here’s an example:


It is really simply, write in fields for your pay and then all of your monthly expenses (averaged for the month). Now, you just do a simple function to add all the cells for expenses (the total expense here). The command is “=add(b7:b27)” written into B28 cell. Write a subtract (from your pay to the Total Expense). The command is “=minus(b3,bb28)” written into B30 cell to get your Net income.

What you have now is an average number per month based on your current pay and your current expenses. Hopefully your in the black, which means your positive, you have money leftover after all your expenses. If you’re in the red (meaning your negative), then you need to find ways to shave off your expenses and/or earn additional income. I’d err on finding ares to cut expenses, like say no Netflix or buy a few less Starbucks/meals out.

Whatever amount your have leftover this is the money you can use for either savings or retirement. If you have credit card debt I would focus on this first before even doing long term retirement. If your company does a match for your 401k, you could contribute at least enough to get the company mininum, but only if your credit card debt is small.

Now the another angle to look at, is even if you are positive in cash flow every month, what can you do with that money in addition to saving/retirement. If you have a car payment or mortgage, maybe you want to have a little more money going to pay off that debt. The gains you get from being invested in say your 401k won’t matter if your owing a debt that charging a higher interest than what your 401k’s gains are. Always a good rule of thumb is try to be as debt free as possible and reduce the amount of interest you pay.

Simple, right? Now comes the part where consistently adhering to this budget (roughly) to see if you are able to save or invest the surplus like you thought. My best advice is to setup some form of automatic withdrawal to go to the accounts you wanted. The sooner the money gets allocated, the sooner it doesn’t get spent.

Ipad Pro – Wins!

I had an amazing surprise yesterday for my birthday. My wife, Tamiko gave me the Ipad Pro as a complete and utter shock. I thought I was only getting a traditional sketch pad and some pencils, not a new digital sketch pad!! Then my friends; Kathy, Kiyong and Teresa surprised me with getting me the Pencil! The funny thing is they didn’t tell each other what they had got. I’m still setting it up but I’m totally floored to test it more after work tomorrow!


Thank you so much…and thanks to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes! Have an amazing 4th of July everyone and be safe!!!