Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

Ever wonder how it feels like to be born rich?

For those who’s already are, please look my other posts.  There are some out there who never had to spend a single moment of their lives chasing after public transport, or ever to work for their allowance. Could your life get any better when you have everything anyone could ask for?

Video made by Johnson & Johnson heir about 3 years ago. Caused a bit of a stir and then the doco ‘dissapeared’. Some great stuff on the up’s and downs of poor little rich kids. VERY enlightening and shows just how disconnected from the daily grind these perfumed princess’s and princes are.

Still, hats off to the film maker. Why he did this docu is anyones guess? Another “Socialist Millionair” on a guilt trip??????

10 ways to get your finances back into shape for 2008

Why? You might ask. Some might say why not but that’s just being cliche and not doing anything to help. How about so I can do a blog on “10 ways to invest the money you’ve made from 2008 in 2009”. Ok, that’s a cold one.

Start of the year is always about goals and resolutions, because doing that in Feb is too close to valentine to do any finance planning, in May and it’ll be weird and Oct, Nov’s just a case of hugging the Buddha’s leg. Let’s just take this crash course in personal finance. Always remember, all this , though everything might be reiterated, it helps you to stay focus and it’s always easier said then done. Treat it like a to-do list for the entire year.

Monitor every cent

Don’t just think about how money is going outpro on you, you must look at them in numbers and specifics! The human mind always tend to dilute ugly facts/guilt that you have just spend waaay to much on gadgets or drinking or handbags. Look at the numbers, feel the pain, you’ll need to be constantly reminded of the pain! If you find this too tedious, get some software, like an on-line tool Wesabe, or you can use a piece of software like Quicken or Microsoft Money. If not, the more manual way like a cash notebook and filing your receipts. Personally, it does not matter how you go about doing it. Just start and stick with it!

Have a backup fund

For years I lived paycheck-to-paycheck. I spent everything I earned. This worked well until something went wrong. And something always went wrong. Suddenly I’d find myself without money to pay for a car repair, or facing an expensive doctor’s bill. I financed emergencies with credit cards. After years of carrying debt, I finally paid off all these emergencies last month.

In The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey explains why he believes an emergency fund should come before anything else:

Since I hate debt so much, people often ask why we don’t start with the debt. I used to do that when I first started teaching and counseling, but I discovered that people would stop their whole Total Money Makeover because of an emergency — they felt guilty that they had to stop debt-reducing to survive.

After you’ve saved $1000, then you can attack your debt. Open an online high-yield savings account (Standard Chartered and most banks seem to have one of these)and add $20 or $50 to your account ever time you get paid.

Set up a budget

After you’ve tracked your spending for a few weeks (or months), use the data you’ve collected to develop a budget. According to The Millionaire Next Door, budgeting is one thing that sets the wealthy apart from the rest of us — 55% of millionaires keep a budget.

Please for Christ sake, get out of debt

Are you struggling under a heavy debt load from credit cards or student loans? Make it a priority to unload some of this this burden in 2008. It feels fantastic to have that weight off my shoulders.

If you have the mental discipline, you’ll save money by paying down your high-interest debt first. But if you’ve tried that method before and failed, consider using a debt snowball. Pay your debts starting with the smallest balance first. Here’s how:

  1. Order your debts from lowest balance to highest balance.
  2. Designate a certain amount of money to pay toward debts each month.
  3. Pay the minimum payment on all debts except the one with the lowest balance.
  4. Throw every other penny at the debt with the lowest balance.
  5. When that debt is gone, do not alter the monthly amount used to pay debts, but throw all you can at the debt with the next-lowest balance.

The debt snowball can give you awesome psychological payoffs, keeping you motivated to stay in the game. It’s not mathematically ideal, but it worked for me=)

Start a retirement account

If you’re young, you probably don’t think you need to start a retirement account. You’re wrong. No matter how old you are, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. Compound returns favor the young, and in a big way! (Here’s an illustration of the rule of 72.) In The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach writes:

The single biggest investment mistake you can make [is] not using your [retirement] plan and not maxing it out.

Be frugal, spend less than what you earn

This is the fundamental money skill. It’s common sense, yet many people never learn do it. Only by spending less than you earn can you hope to build wealth. This is easier to do if you track your spending or develop a budget, but those steps aren’t completely necessary. Even if you do nothing else in this list, spending less than you earn can put you ahead of your peers.

Automate your finances (use more GIRO)

My current project is to move toward a system of paperless personal finance. Along the way, I’m learning the value of automating routine transactions. When you make things automatic, you remove the human element, making it more difficult for you to mess things up.

The classic example is overdraft protection. By tying your checking account to your savings account, you have a safety net if you bounce a check. But there are other ways this can work for you. For example, I’ve set up automatic payments with the gas company, the cable company, and my car insurance company. I also make automatic investments to my retirement account.

Cancel your credit cards leaving one

You don’t need all the flood of letter arriving at your doorstep reminding you that your annual subscription fees is here. Too many cards and you’ll forget when one is due and not. The discounts aren’t that fantastic anyway so let’s just cut them up.

Don’t drink, smoke or gamble

$11.60 per Marlboro Menthol? $205 for Chivas? Enough said.

Educate yourself

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DFS Founder: The billionaire who does not own a house or a car

He wears a $15 watch, flies economy class and does not own a house or car. For years. few guessed that Chuck Feeney was one of the world’s biggest philanthropists, secretly giving away his billionaire fortune.

Born in New Jersey during the Depression to a blue-collar Irish-American family, Feeney co-founded Duty Free Shoppers (DFS), the world’s largest duty-free retail chain. He liked making money but not having it, and gave it away for years in strict secrecy.

Journalist Conor O’Clery’s new book “The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune” (Public Affairs $26.95), reveals that Feeney may be destined to go down in history as one of the greatest American philanthropists.

Witty, self-deprecating, frugal and astute, Feeney was listed by Forbes Magazine in 1988 as the 23rd richest American alive and worth $1.3 billion, richer than Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump. He wasn’t.

Four years earlier, Feeney had placed most of his money in charitable foundations.

Inspired by the great 19th century philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Feeney helped fund schools, hospitals, universities, medical research and human rights from the United States and Ireland to South Africa and Vietnam.

‘I set out to work hard, not to get rich’
“I had one idea that never changed in my mind — that you should use your wealth to help people. I try to live a normal life, the way I grew up,” Feeney said. “I set out to work hard, not to get rich.”

Feeney made money in his youth selling Christmas cards door-to-door, clearing snow from driveways and caddying at golf courses. He loved the challenge of making money but had little use for it.

After serving as a U.S. Air Force radio operator in Japan during the Korean war, he graduated from Cornell University and launched his career selling duty-free liquor to American sailors at Mediterranean ports in the 1950s.

The business expanded rapidly to embrace airport duty free concessions. By the late 1960s business was booming thanks to sales of duty free from Anchorage to Hong Kong. Over the decades his fortune mushroomed and so did his determination to give it away.

He rejected the trappings of the jet set, giving his money away to worthy causes with the same alacrity with which he had built one of the biggest retail empires of the 20th century.

Feeney kept his generosity secret for years, saying he did not want to “blow my own horn” or discourage others from giving to the same deserving causes.

 

A good read on how to afford anything

Ken here has wrote a really detailed article on how to adjust your lifestyle to lead a satisfying life. He has given us a clear insights on the way he conducts his life, on car buying, investment, and other ways to live frugally and yet not letting up on standards of living. Some of it could be really extreme, but they are possibilities that you can explore.

Excerpts:

Don’t Buy on Credit or Take out Loans

Only buy what you can afford. Don’t buy anything until you have the cash to pay for it.

Half of America doesn’t get that, and spends all its money barely making the minimum monthly interest payments on their credit cards each month. GAG!

This is awful. Few people have enough self control not to spend. We get all the pleasure by whipping out our card and satisfying ourselves today, while the payment part is way off in the future.

Sadly this is the genius plan of credit card companies, for whom your 30-day future becomes every day for the rest of your life making interest payments. They want you to get in so deep you’ll never be able to get out!

When it comes time to pay, VISA or Mastercard doesn’t want your money! They want you to make the bare minimum payment and get in deeper. They love charging you far more interest than any other loan would. The credit card companies collect 18% interest from you, while the money they loan to you costs them only a few percent.

They easily take in 10% profit per year from you on every dollar you have racked up.

They love it when you max out your cards and have no possible way to pay off the balance. This is the slavery condition in which they would love to have every cardholder. That’s why they give away cards like candy, especially to students and other people they know can’t possibly pay them off.

The few people that they do break (bankrupt) aren’t a concern. These companies make so much money on the other people that it easily covers the defaults.

Don’t let this happen to you. The only way to use a credit card is to pay it off in full each and every month. Never buy anything for which you don’t have cash ready to pay the bill when it becomes due. I always have, and have never paid one penny of credit card interest my entire life! Credit card companies have a insiders word for people like me: freeloaders. Tough, call me whatever names you want, I’m not going to fall into their credit-card Hell.

Never, ever use a credit card for credit, simply because the interest rates are too high. If you need a loan, go get one, and pay it off fast.

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. That’s the most important rule here.
Read the full article here

Investment for everyone : Free Stock Market Ebooks

I believe a lot of you have been feeling the heat of Singapore’s high inflation rate.  Trust me, you’re most probably not alone.  Some of you might be thinking of investing money into stocks and shares especially since after hearing all those glamor tales of Warren Buffet and George Soros, of tenfold /100 folds moneys rolling into their bank account.  Some of you might be inspired by HK serials such as “Da Shi Dai”, whereby DingXie predicted the collapse of the HangSeng Index and bought short on every positions he and his sons can get hold on.

Well, in reality it’s not that easy and it does take some work and studying for everyone who wants to get into it proper.  Remember, this is like engineering, except it engineering for numbers.  I choose to believe that God has implanted patterns into every chart movement that can be resolve by some mathematical formula.

Some comes the difficult part, who formula to use? Imagine it to be like having a vivid dream which you wake up to and then you try to decipher that dreams into 4 digits for your weekly investment in 4D. But of course S&S bring about so much more satisfaction.

In order to ease you into this path of investment enlightenment, I have gathered some ebooks so you do not have to buy your way into useless seminars (well some of them could be useful but most are just Spaminars like those advertised in Newpaper) or books.

Introduction to Forex

This e-book explains what the Forex market is all about an how to get started trading it.

Download Introduction to Forex

The Trader Business Plan

In this e-book, Christopher Terry explains how to put together a trading plan including methodologies, goal setting, and record keeping.

Download The Trader Business Plan

Charting Made Easy

This is a great primer for new traders. This e-book covers all forms of technical analysis including support/resistance, trendlines, and chart patterns.

Download Charting Made Easy

The Truth About Fibonacci Trading

Want to learn more about Fibonacci? Here, Bill Poulos takes you step by step into the world of Fibonacci including retracements and extensions.

Download The Truth About Fibonacci

The E-Book of Technical Market Indicators

This e-book contains a wealth of information on market indicators including advance/decline indicators, short sale statistics, and sentiment

Download The E-book of Technical Market Indicators

A Practical Guide To Swing Trading

Larry Swing teaches you all about swing trading in this e-book. In it you will learn about candlesticks, trends, moving averages and much more.

Download A Practical Guide to Swing Trading

Secrets of Millionaire Traders

This covers 25 secrets that were collected from interviews with millionaire traders. There is some great wisdom contained in this e-book.

Download Secrets of Millionaire Traders

Day Trading Mind

This e-book offers some great tips to stay focused on your trading. Mainly for day traders.

Download Day Trading Mind

Pattern Cycles

Here Alan Farley talks about bottom reversals, breakouts, trends, and even Elliott Wave theory.

Download Pattern Cycles

Swing Trading Using Candlestick Charting

In this e-book, John Person explains candlestick charting and pivot point analyis.

Download Swing Trading Using Candlestick Charting

Keys To Top Trading Profits

18 trading champions share their keys to trading profits. Includes interviews with George Lane (stochastics), Larry Williams, and Linda Bradford Raschke.

Download Keys To Top Trading Profits

Three Swing Trading Examples

Alan Farley shows three swing trading examples with charts, instructions, and definitions to get you started.

Download Three Swing Trading Examples

7 Habits Of A Highly Successful Traders

Here Mark Crisp discusses the seven habbits that successful traders have.

Download 7 Habits

Secrets of Successful Traders

Ok, this one isn’t free but it’s very good and has helped my trading. It costs 49 US dollars (£25 or so) and there’s a money back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you.

Click here