Posts Tagged ‘money’

Gas Cubby FREE – Fuel Economy & Service Log

Gas Cubby by AppCubbyI discovered this app and I have been entering my fuel ever since. Very cool to see the cost per mile, see the gas mileage for each fill-up, and even interesting to see the graph of gas prices over time. This does everything my old mileage book did and more.

 

Features:

Tracks gas mileage and vehicle maintenance

Charts: MPG, stats, gas price, gas expenses, service expenses

Online Sync

Customizable service reminders

Supports multiple vehicles

Store vehicle data: VIN, License Plate, etc.

Excel compatible email reports (CSV attachment)

International Units: MPG (US), MPG (Canada), MPG (UK), MPG (Imperial), L/100km, gal/100mi (US), gal/100mi (Imperial), km/L, km/gal (US), km/gal (Imperial), and mi/L

 

via App Cubby • Hand Crafted iPhone Apps – Gas Cubby • Sensible Car Care.

Watch out for identity theft

Identity theft has become one of the fastest growing crimes in North America. There are a number of ways identity theft can happen:

  1. Card theft: theft of credit cards from wallets or purses or even newly issued cards from your mailbox.
  2. Shoulder surfing: looking over your shoulder for your Personal Identification Number and using a fake ATM device to read your debit card’s data.
  3. Skimming: using a special device to swipe your credit card at a restaurant or gas station which records the personal information from your card.
  4. Spoofing: creating fake websites or emails that ask for credit card information.
  5. Theft from databases: identity thieves stealing large databases of personal information.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Sign all credit cards when you receive them and never lend them to anyone.
  • Cancel and destroy credit cards you do not use and keep a list of the ones you use regularly.
  • Carefully check each of your monthly credit card statements and your bank statements. Immediately report lost or stolen credit cards and any discrepancies in your monthly statements to the issuing credit card company or bank.
  • Shred or destroy paperwork you no longer need.
  • Do not give personal information out over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you are the one who initiated the contact and know the person or organization with whom you are dealing.

If you are a victim of identity theft, immediately contact your bank or credit card company, your local police and the OPP/RCMP Phonebusters Unit at 1-888-495-8501, E-mail: info@phonebusters.com

http://www.dynamic.ca/eng/learning/Personal-Finances/Consumer-Watch-Out-For-Identity-Theft.asp

The Economics of Happiness – Jeffrey D. Sachs – Project Syndicate.

NEW YORK – We live in a time of high anxiety. Despite the world’s unprecedented total wealth, there is vast insecurity, unrest, and dissatisfaction. In the United States, a large majority of Americans believe that the country is “on the wrong track.” Pessimism has soared. The same is true in many other places.

Against this backdrop, the time has come to reconsider the basic sources of happiness in our economic life. The relentless pursuit of higher income is leading to unprecedented inequality and anxiety, rather than to greater happiness and life satisfaction. Economic progress is important and can greatly improve the quality of life, but only if it is pursued in line with other goals.

In this respect, the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has been leading the way. Forty years ago, Bhutan’s fourth king, young and newly installed, made a remarkable choice: Bhutan should pursue “gross national happiness” rather than gross national product. Since then, the country has been experimenting with an alternative, holistic approach to development that emphasizes not only economic growth, but also culture, mental health, compassion, and community.

Dozens of experts recently gathered in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, to take stock of the country’s record. I was co-host with Bhutan’s prime minister, Jigme Thinley, a leader in sustainable development and a great champion of the concept of “GNH.” We assembled in the wake of a declaration in July by the United Nations General Assembly calling on countries to examine how national policies can promote happiness in their societies.

All who gathered in Thimphu agreed on the importance of pursuing happiness rather than pursuing national income. The question we examined is how to achieve happiness in a world that is characterized by rapid urbanization, mass media, global capitalism, and environmental degradation. How can our economic life be re-ordered to recreate a sense of community, trust, and environmental sustainability?

Read the rest of the Article ….

The Economics of Happiness – Jeffrey D. Sachs – Project Syndicate.

Why Free Trade Matters – Jagdish Bhagwati – Project Syndicate.

NEW YORK – Contrary to what skeptics often assert, the case for free trade is robust. It extends not just to overall prosperity (or “aggregate GNP”), but also to distributional outcomes, which makes the free-trade argument morally compelling as well.

The link between trade openness and economic prosperity is strong and suggestive. For example, Arvind Panagariya of Columbia University divided developing countries into two groups: “miracle” countries that had annual per capita GDP growth rates of 3% or higher, and “debacle” countries that had negative or zero growth rates. Panagariya found commensurate corresponding growth rates of trade for both groups in the period 1961-1999.

Of course, it could be argued that GDP growth causes trade growth, rather than vice versa – that is, until one examines the countries in depth. Nor can one argue that trade growth has little to do with trade policy: while lower transport costs have increased trade volumes, so has steady reduction of trade barriers.

More compelling is the dramatic upturn in GDP growth rates in India and China after they turned strongly towards dismantling trade barriers in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. In both countries, the decision to reverse protectionist policies was not the only reform undertaken, but it was an important component.

In the developed countries, too, trade liberalization, which started earlier in the postwar period, was accompanied by other forms of economic opening (for example, a return to currency convertibility), resulting in rapid GDP growth. Economic expansion was interrupted in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but the cause was the macroeconomic crises triggered by the success of the OPEC cartel and the ensuing deflationary policies pursued by then-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Moreover, the negative argument that historical experience supports the case for protectionism is flawed. The economic historian Douglas Irwin has challenged the argument that nineteenth-century protectionist policy aided the growth of infant industries in the United States. He has also shown that many of the nineteenth century’s successful high-tariff countries, such as Canada and Argentina, used tariffs as a revenue source, not as a means of sheltering domestic manufacturers.

Read the rest here… Why Free Trade Matters – Jagdish Bhagwati – Project Syndicate

Twitter Hedge Fund Is Making More Money Than You

 

 

All you investors with your crazy research and economic “theories”: You should just be reading Twitter! Derwent Capital, a hedge fund that bases its investment strategy on Twitter data, outperformed the market in its first month.

According to eFinancialnews:

Derwent Capital, which finished its first month of trading at the end of July, beat the S&P 500 which fell 2.2% in July, while the average hedge fund made 0.76%, according to Hedge Fund Research.

How does Derwent work? It invests in whatever Justin Bieber tweets about that day.

Read the rest of the article here.

  

To contact me, check out my Contact Me page.

To Learn more about me, check out my About Me page.

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Read the balance of the article as it has been posted at nytimes.com

http://nyti.ms/p8bLnp

 
  

To contact me, check out my Contact Me page.

To Learn more about me, check out my About Me page.

Greed…… « Moxie Mom Confessions.

A great piece of writing by a talented blogger.

There are some things I just don’t understand.  Nuclear physics.  How people like sushi.  How to get the Saran Wrap to actually stick.

The one thing that I just can’t grasp that happens all of the time is the greed that is exhibited when someone passes away.  We just had a resident pass and all of the children are fighting over who gets what – money, the cars, artwork.  Another resident passed away about a month ago and the same thing is happening. [read more…]

  

To contact me, check out my Contact Me page.

To Learn more about me, check out my About Me page.

If there is one thing that I have a real “bee in my bonnet” about, it’s this!

Canadian banks (and other mortgage lenders) tacking on the sale of Mortgage insurance when you get a mortgage from them.  Of course this isnt just for mortgages, they do this will all types of loans.  They will sell you insurance on any and all loans.

They make it so simple, and they are great at selling you on the reasons why you need the insurance.  One little check box and a signature on the credit/mortgage application and BANG! you’ve just bought one of the worst forms of insurance!  As far as I’m concerned, a complete waste of money.  Even worst then the wasting of money… The false sense of security you get thinking your family will be taken care of if something happens to you, when in fact odds are they will get screwed!

I truly believe having insurance to cover your debts is essential if you have any family or dependents.

Family/Dependents + Debts = Need for Insurance!

Of course anyone who knows me, knows I work in the insurance industry and compete against the banks.  So why believe me? Don’t! Watch this CBC Marketplace documentary about banks and the insurance they sell.

CBC Marketplace has the video and accompanying story here

As Erica Johnson reports, the bank staffers selling mortgage insurance are unlicenced and rarely trained to explain the details and legalities of those insurance products. The result is people who pay premiums and think they are covered, only to realize later that they are not.

The semi-technical explanation of what happens is this: Let’s compare the process between real life insurance and mortgage insurance.

When you go to get real life insurance, you sit down fill in a long application that asks you many personal and intimate questions about your life.  Often you have to go thru some form of medical.  Anything from, pee in a cup, all the way to full on dissection (or at least it feels that way)!

After the application and medical and the insurance company talking to your doctor and a bunch of other behind the scenes stuff (mostly math, yuk 😛 ), the process known as ‘Underwriting’, the insurance company will come to you and say “Here’s a life insurance policy! Sign here, and pay this premium.”. Or they say “Sorry you’re un-insurable, have a nice life. (tho according to our calculations, it will be short)”. (There is a middle ground between insurable and un-insurable, but too techie and boring to explain here)

Assuming you are insurable, you pay your premiums, and did not lie on your application (You’d be surprised at how many people do, or try)…  You’re insured! IF you die, they pay, that simple.

Now mortgage insurance… Check a box, sign and date, maybe fill in a few yes or no health questions… and your insured! Kinda.

Almost always there is no underwriting done when you apply for the insurance.  Instead they do what’s called Post Claim Underwriting. Meaning they dont really decide if you qualify until AFTER a claim is made.  That’s good time to find out you cant get insurance!

On top of that there are numerous other benefits to having a individual life insurance policy vs mortgage insurance.  See the CBC Marketplace comparison table below:

CREDIT MORTGAGE INSURANCE INDIVIDUAL LIFE INSURANCE
Post-Claim Underwriting: Unlike individual life insurance, credit insurance sold through the bank is usually not underwritten until a claim is made. This means the insurance company may determine you are not eligible for a payout even though you have been paying premiums. For instance, a claim may be denied because an investigation of your medical records indicates you once had high blood pressure or high cholesterol that you did not disclose. Underwriting: When you apply for individual insurance through a licensed insurance broker your medical history will be examined before a policy is issued and you start paying premiums. The insurance broker will ask detailed questions and may arrange for a nurse to conduct a physical. You will know upfront whether or not you are covered.
Standard premiums: The mortgage insurance policy sold at the bank is a one size fits all policy. This means everyone who qualifies is considered to be of equal risk. The premiums you pay on mortgage insurance are a fixed amount based on your age and the amount of your mortgage. There is no discount for non-smokers or for women. The premium does not reduce as the mortgage is paid down. Individual premiums: With an individual life insurance policy, the premiums you pay are based on your individual risk. Your health history and exam will help to determine how high or low your premiums are. Non-smokers and women pay a lower premium. The face amount of the coverage remains level.
Decreasing payout: The Mortgage insurance sold at the bank covers a decreasing amount. While your premiums remain the same the amount left on your mortgage decreases. Mortgage insurance will only pay off the balance of your mortgage when you make a claim. Fixed payout: When you purchase an individual insurance policy you pay premiums for a pre-determined amount of coverage. Therefore, if you pay premiums for $100,000 of coverage your beneficiary will receive $100,000.
The bank gets the payout: Mortgage insurance is designed to pay off the bank if anything happens to you. Therefore the insurance payout will be made directly to the bank. You choose who gets the payout:With an individual policy you are free to choose the beneficiary or beneficiaries. If something happens to you, it is up to your beneficiaries to decide what to do with the insurance proceeds.