Archive for December, 2010

  • Personal finances are a lot like combat training>
    Personal finances are a lot like combat training
    My friends that have served in Iraq and returned tell me stories of their experiences, of how their Humvees felt like little more than tin cans and they felt like sardines in it. They tell me stories of violence, of camaraderie, of humanity. But in many ways, I see similarities in the way we manage our personal finances and the way in which soldiers have been trained to perform in combat situations. Both require you to be able to react swiftly when put under pressure and many times we find ourselves in situations that we never foresaw or don’t like. Now I’m not saying that enlisting in the army is exactly like managing personal finances, far from it. But I do feel lessons can be learned for the latter from the former. Let me explain that further, soldiers do battle and combat drills to  [...]
    at December 29th, 2010 at 12:12 am
  • Income tax deductions you don’t want to overlook>
    Income tax deductions you don’t want to overlook
    Every year, there are millions of Americans that end up overpaying their taxes. Some of these income tax deductions are small, but over time these small income tax deductions can add up to a large amount if overlooked. Make sure you’re not one of those Americans that overpay on your taxes by watching for these simple opportunities that are frequently ignored. Charity costs We can deduct donations made for cash or goods, and most of us know about this. But how many of us know that we can also put down our out of pocket expenses by way of income tax deductions? This includes transportation and everything else you can think of. All that is needed is that you back up these expense claims with the correct documentation and don’t try and pull the wool over the IRS’ eyes. Job hunting If you  [...]
    at December 22nd, 2010 at 04:12 am
  • Paying off the mortgage in 3 years is not impossible>
    Paying off the mortgage in 3 years is not impossible
    When I told everyone who was willing to hear me that I planned on paying off the mortgage in 3 years, they laughed at me and said it was impossible. It was only my deadpan expression that then told them this was no joke on my part. Some years on, I am mortgage free and I have the last laugh. That happened this November, and it is a monumental achievement for me in a financial sense. The year was 2005, and I had just graduated. In a fit of youthful exuberance and positivity, I bought my first home in the summer of that year. My plan was simple; to keep costs as low as I could and so I bought a two room home that I could comfortably live in upstairs while renting out the basement of the home to someone else. I waded into my savings and made the down payment. Paying off the mortgage was obviously  [...]
    at December 20th, 2010 at 03:12 am
  • Passive income is something everyone needs>
    Passive income is something everyone needs
    I am a firm believer in the qualities of passive income. At its heart, tapping into passive income means that you can cut back on doing extra hours at the office for a few dollars more. And these streams of passive income can be established no matter what your expertise or professional skill-set. But it’s all about having the mindset to be open to the presentation of these opportunities. Hopefully, when it pops up you will recognize it and do a carpe diem, Spanish style! It is important that you have the right mindset for this today. My favored technique for getting passive income is to establish sites with niche content that attracts a steady stream of traffic over time. With time, this traffic can generate revenues for you by way of advertisements, leads and referrals as also affiliate  [...]
    at December 15th, 2010 at 06:12 am
  • Stock broker fraud: maybe it’s time for you to change brokers>
    Stock broker fraud: maybe it’s time for you to change brokers
    As people go, I think it’s pretty fair to say that I am quite the paranoid person. I’m not so paranoid as to look back over my shoulder with wide eyes every time I walk down a quiet street. I only do that sometimes. But yes, I am a naturally skeptic person. I take absolutely nothing on face value, even if someone I’ve known for years says it to me. If something sounds too good to be true, it always is for me. I look for the lie behind every smile and every sign of deception in that firm handshake that might just be looking to grab my money and run. So, as an investor, you can perhaps gauge how I feel about stock brokers and stock broker fraud. To say it gives me the jitters is like saying the pope is Catholic; it’s a major understatement. I’m not a conspiracy theorist; I don’t  [...]
    at December 13th, 2010 at 05:12 am
  • Mortgage escrow accounts and what you need to know>
    Mortgage escrow accounts and what you need to know
    In essence, Escrow is a term that is used by businesses to define a transaction where buyers and sellers cannot make a direct exchange of money or goods or services and neither wants to take the risk of non-delivery later. These trust issues are solved by a third party, known as the Escrow, who releases what is entitled to the party in question once they have fulfilled their part of the bargain. This Escrow can also come into play as real estate escrow accounts. In this, the buyer gives the money to the escrow and the seller gives the rights to the escrow as well and neither gets what they are entitled to unless the escrow gets both the funds and the title in question. Similarly, it can come into play as mortgage escrow accounts. Mortgage escrow accounts are not the same as a real estate escrow  [...]
    at December 8th, 2010 at 05:12 am
  • Personal financial planning: to do or not to do>
    Personal financial planning: to do or not to do
    Now don’t get me wrong. I know fully well that personal financial planning is something that we all must do. My only question is whether I should do it myself or leave it to some expert on behalf of me. The thing is that I don’t trust most of these financial planners. Most of them seem to have their own vested interests and it becomes very hard to trust someone when they become more of a broker than an adviser. Over time, many financial advisers have tried to talk to me about signing up with them, but I think this requires trust more than anything else and none of them seem particularly trustworthy. So all I end up saying is “thanks, but no thanks” as I stonewall all of them into submission. You see, it’s just not complicated in the slightest to do my own personal financial  [...]
    at December 6th, 2010 at 05:12 am
  • Credit card rewards and how to qualify for them easily>
    Credit card rewards and how to qualify for them easily
    The end of the year is nigh, and I’ve been looking at my credit card statements and mulling over my credit card rewards. You see, I’m this close to breaking through the $25,000 spending tier and upgrading myself into the next tier of spenders. I’ll get more points, more frequent flier miles, more credit card rewards, basically more everything. That’s the good part. The bad part is that it shuts on December 15th and I don’t really want to spend a lot since finances are tight right about now. But I do want to make it to that next level since I’ll get such nice, shiny, utterly desirable credit card rewards. I’m almost drooling at the thought of it. Okay, I’m not actually drooling. But you get the picture. Keeping my current limitations and needs in mind, I’ve been mulling  [...]
    at December 1st, 2010 at 12:12 am