Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

I just recently finished reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It is a very motivational book and teaches you how to think outside of the box. I enjoyed how he contrasts his Rich Dad's business values (making money work for you) and his Poor Dad's ideas of working for your money. This book is not a blueprint for how to get rich, but it does give you the motivation, and the background to create your own blueprint for financial freedom. Robert Kiyosaki shares a lot of great information, but one area that I found especially interesting is what he has to say about job specialization. He pretty much says that if you specialize in a field, no matter what occupation you have, you are pretty much painting yourself into a corner. You limit yourself to that one job, and if anything happens to where that job is not needed anymore, you are out of luck because you haven't learned any other skills. I was surprised that he stated that you should learn as much as you can in your job or business and then move on to learn more ( new job, new dept, etc...). Before I was an Amateur Investor I was a chef. When I started out I would go from place to place to learn as much as I could in a certain area, and then I would move on to the next area to learn more. Whether I had to change jobs or just move to another area to learn something new I was constantly moving. In the hospitality field this is something normal, but in regular business, I thought this was something that wasn't done. I guess what he is trying to say is that you can't limit yourself, continue to learn, continue to strive to be better. Anyway this is a great book. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Looks Like A Winner

I would like to thank whoever posted the information on HSBC direct having ATM cards for their online savings account. In case of an emergency I would like to be able to get to my money without too much hassle. I know what you are thinking, having easy access will tempt me to spend it, but I am not too worried about that, I am pretty disciplined. At least I think I am. I've heard a lot of good things about both Emigrant Direct and HSBC Direct, but I am leaning towards HSBC right now because of the ATM card. So in the next day or two I will have made my decision and opened and account. Any other comments on either of these two banks would be appreciated.

Ok, I was wrong

Okay so I didn't lose all of my comments. If you go to the articles page all of the blogger beta comments will show. If you go to comments from one of the main pages, you will see the comments or be able to comment with Haloscan.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Just wanted to apologize to anyone who has left a comment. I switched to Haloscan comments because I am trying to get trackback to work and I lost all of my blogger comments. So if you have left a comment it's not that I didn't want them posted, but that I have changed my commenting system. Sorry.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Online Savings Account

Seeing that I need to get moving on setting up an Emergency Savings Account, I've started researching some of the online savings banks. It seems like there are a lot to choose from and they all offer pretty much the same options. The only difference is the interest rates they are currently paying. Here are some of the interest rates they are currently offering.

Ing Direct 4.40%
Emigrant Direct 5.15%
HSBC Direct 5.05%
Citibank 5.00%
CapitalOne 4.80
Wamu 5.00%

You can pretty much open any of these accounts by funding them with at least $1. There are no membership fees, no minimum balances, and you can transfer back and forth between your checking account. I think a couple of these even pay you for referrals. I am leaning towards Emigrant Direct, but haven't made up my mind yet. Anyone have any suggestions on which has the best customer service, online experience, etc...? I would appreciate any suggestions.

Carnival of Personal Finance

This weeks Carnival of Personal Finance is being held at Canadian Capitalist. I want to thank the Canadian Capitalist for including my article on the Twelve Myths About Credit Reports. Be sure to check out the Carnival. As always there are a lot of great articles on everything you need to know about personal finance. A couple of my favorites articles are Good Debt, Bad Debt by The Buck Stops Here, and The Courage to Live Debt Free- The Principals of Economic Security by Life Training Blog.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Investing Progress

So being an Amateur Investor, I really haven't said much about my experiences since I started this blog. I read Rule #1 by Phil Town and have been trying to follow his system. I got in with a good margin of safety and with a company that I feel I know and understand. The stock was on an uptrend and doing pretty well, but with all the craziness in the market it dropped like a stone. Well I can't buck the system because the signals were there to get out, and I second guessed them. So anyway I was looking at the stock bottom out and was thinking, what have I got myself into. Though I was very tempted to get out, I decided to stick. Like Buffet's value investing, I knew that I had a good company, at a good price and that it would eventually rebound. Well the stock reversed and is on an uptrend again and I am about to break even. So I guess the moral is don't second guess, don't be emotional, and don't jump in and out at the wrong times. Even though I haven't made my mind up about the Rule #1 system. I figure I will give it a year to see how I do. I like Phil Town because he is pretty straight forward, he is very active in his blog, and will answer any questions that you have. Being new to investing I plan on continuing to learn all that I can. So one of these days I can graduate from amateur investor to mediocre investor.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Twelve Myths About Credit Reports

Seeing that I have been trying to clean up my credit report, I found this pretty interesting. Julie Sturgeon has an article on yahoo called, you guessed it, 12 myths about credit reports.

The myths are:

1) Paying my debts will make make my credit instantly pristine. Not true. Your poor payment history will still show on your credit report until it drops.
2) I must give permission for a for a company to see my credit report. Wrong. Pretty much any company can see your credit report with out your permission, only if ordering your report has to do with employment does the company need a signature for your permission.
3) Credit Counseling always destroys my credit score. Credit counseling doesn't count against your credit score, and most creditors don't even look at your credit report manually anyway so chances are that they will never see it.
4) Cancelling credit cards boosts my score. False. "Creditors want to see at least two or three pieces of active credit to prove you can manage debt responsibly" and the credit cards that you aren't using are not affecting your credit score.
5) To many inquiries hurt my score. Believe it or not this is not true anymore. If you are shopping around for mortgages or car loans, the credit agencies understand that you are trying to get the best rates, so this does not affect your credit score. Now if you are going to every department store in sight and applying for credit it will affect your score because these are considered hard pulls. Even checking your credit score at fico is not considered a hard pull.
6) Checking my own credit report harms my standing. As I said above checking your credit doesn't harm your credit score, but beware of companies giving free credit reports for purchasing their products. These companies are merchants the hits do count.
7) FICO Scores are locked in for six months. Not true, fico scores are dynamic so they constantly change as the information on your report changes.
8) I don't need to check my credit report if I pay my bills on time. In this day and age of Identity Theft you can't trust that you have perfect credit, or that the credit agencies have all of your information right. I knew that I didn't have perfect credit but when I pulled all of my reports it was full of wrong information. So check your reports yearly.
9) All credit reports are the same. Most creditors do report to the major credit agencies- TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, but some don't. So your credit score accross the boards will never be the same because something showing up on one report may not show up on the other two. So if you are gonna check one report, you may as well check all of them.
10) A divorce decree automatically severs joint accounts. Actually it doesn't so if you want your ex off of your credit you better contact your creditors, and either close your current accounts or have your ex sign off of them.
11) Bad news comes off in 7 years. Some of it does, but some bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years and if you pay off a previous outstanding debt, it may stay on your report longer than 7 years.
12) I can always pay someone to fix or repair my credit. You can, this is done by the company flooding the creditors with letters of dispute. If the creditors can not verify the listing it must come off, but if the creditor is able to prove later that the listing was correct it gets put back into your file after 30 days.

I hope that this helps some of you out there. I know it cleared up alot of the myths I had about credit scores and how companies report your information.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I am liking Google More and More

I have always used the google search engine, and have just recently started to use foxfire, which I think is an excellent browser. I guess what I am trying to say is that I think Google is a good company. Well it turns out that they may just be a great company. In Motley Fool's article on yahoo, Google Does More Do-Gooding, it turns out that Google will be funding a for-profit charity that will fund companies targeting global warming, disease, and poverty. I think it's great when large companies give back to the community and world. Good job Google! You are number one in my book.

Monday, September 18, 2006

This weeks Carnival of Personal Finance

I just wanted to thank Free Money Finance for including my article Teaching Kids About Money in the Carnival of Personal Finance this week. His site is definately worth checking out, FMF is one of my favorite blogs and has a ton of information updated daily. Just taking a glance at the topics of this weeks Carnival, I see a lot of good material, and a couple of other articles about kids and money. After I read them I may link to them through this article. Not related to the Carnival but of great importance, check out FMF on October 2nd. He plans on publishing a post every hour for 24 hrs, will be giving away gifts, and donating $1 for each unique visit to a charity of his choice. So If you see all 24 posts he will donate $24 dollars for your visits. Very cool, check out his site.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Teaching Kids About Money

Now that my wife and I are getting ready to have a child, I have been thinking alot about how we plan to educate him/her, especially about money, saving, and investing. I know that when I was growing up I just always knew it was there, we never talked about money or saving so I pretty much never did. I also didn't know about investing, but I sure knew about maxing out my credit cards. It wasn't until recently that I have gotten into investing and saving for retirement. Dan Caplinger's article Make Finances a Family Affair, on Motley Fool states that "Teaching your children about money is an extremely important part of your parental responsibilities. Because most schools lack any significant education about finances, it's up to [the parents] to create a strong foundation of knowledge that your children can use to guide their financial decisions. I know that I would be better off if I would have learned to save and invest at a younger age. One thing that many of the articles that I read left out is philanthropy. I believe that no matter how much you make, it is always good to give some money back to your community, church, people in need, etc.... I believe that this is a lesson that is very important to teach our children. One thing my parents did teach me was to give back, even if it didn't seem like much, helping someone else is always a good thing.

How do you teach your child about money?

1) Start at an early age with change and a piggy bank.
2) Give a weekly allowance for chores and split up the money into savings, spending, and giving(philanthropy).
3) As they get older get them started with a savings account(maybe a high interest savings account).
4) When they are old enough teach them how to invest and make their money work for them.

Hopefully I will be able to give our child a better understanding of personal finance than I had. What do you think? and what are some other things that would we could teach our child about money and finances?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Credit Report Update

Well I have finally received some updates on my credit report disputes. It looks as if they have removed all of them except for one, which is for the smallest amount-$92. I am tempted just to pay it to be done with it, but maybe I will try calling the company and seeing if I can resolve it on my own. I am pretty excited because with cleaning up the charges that were not mine, my credit should be a lot better now. Well I will continue working on that one last dispute and see if I can get rid of all of them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Saving Money For A Rainy Day

I guess one of the goals I have neglected to set for my family is an emergency savings accout. I have recently read an article on Making Your Emergency Savings Automatic by David Bach the author of The Automatic Millionaire. For those of you who aren't sure of what this is, it is an account that you save money in for unforeseeable expenses- car repairs, home repairs, Dr's bills, etc.... The types of expenses that you would usually have to max out your credit cards for.
The article pretty much shows how to set up a cushion of money for these types of emergencies.
There are four basic steps to do this.

1) Make your rainy day fund Automatic. Bach says that if you don't make this process automatic chances are that you won't save. So each payday transfer a certain amount into a money market, savings account, etc....

2) Get your money out of your checking account. Put your money where you don't have easy access to it. Such as high interest savings account, money market, etc....

3) Put it in the right place. Make sure you are earning interest on your money. Don't let the banks make all the money.

4) Decide how big of a cushion you need. I have read all kinds of different amounts. I think the amount to shoot for is one that you are comfortable with and one that keeps you from having to use your credit cards.

I guess there is no time like the present to get started, so I guess my next step will be checking out some of the high interest online savings banks. If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate any comments.


Okay I got switched over to blogger beta without to much drama. I even got my banner back up with out to much of a hassle, but the ads and links were a pain in the butt as usual. Hopefully this will be the last time I make a change in my template for a long while.

Here I Go Again

In the unending cycle of trying to improve my blog and blogging skills, I have decided to switch from blogger to the new blogger in beta. In order to take advantage of all that they have to offer in beta, I need to switch my template again. The good thing is that they save the old template. The bad thing is that I may be starting all over again with my blog, banner, ads, etc.... So here I go again. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My First Carnival

Well I am pretty excited, I made it in to my first carnival. I submitted an article to The Carnival of Personal Finance #65 which is being hosted by No Credit Needed Blog. I would like to welcome anyone who comes over from NCN or actually anyone who reads this blog. Even though I am pretty new at this I hope I can share some of the information that I am learning. I haven't had a chance to read any of the other blogger's articles yet, but I am sure that there is a lot of great information out there. If you haven't checked out this carnival, do so. There is always a ton of great information.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Can Money Buy Happiness?

According to Money Magazine it can as long as you change the way you shop and the way you think. Instead of buying fancy luxury cars, new boats, expensive wines and foods, and racking up charges on your credit cards; Money suggests that you invest in things that will make you happy. Mainly family, friends, and experiences. Have family and friends over for a BBQ, learn something new that will be a challenge to you, such as a musical instrument or golf, trips or vacations can create lasting memories and happiness, pets -though destructive and expensive- can not only bring you happiness, but can ease stress and lower your blood pressure. On the other hand impulse buys, expensive toys, new tech gadgets, only give you a short amount of pleasure, and then you are on to the next best thing.

I believe that frugality also can bring you happiness. No matter how much money you make if you live within your means and are frugal, I believe you are happier. Though I am just starting to get out of credit card debt and investing in my family's future, I feel a sense of relief that I am working towards a goal of financial freedom. This makes me very happy. Do I believe that money can make you happy? I believe that being finacially free can. What do you think?

So I've Been Told I've Been Procrastinating

Well I have been told that I have not been keeping up with my blogging duties. I could blame work, the college courses, or the news of our impending arrival, but in truth I changed my template and lost my ads, my banner, and all of my links. So I have dreaded putting it all back together. Well I'm back and think I have everything pretty much back in order. I will start blogging more on Personal Finance and Debt Reduction. I am also thinking about maybe joining some of the PF carnivals.