Archive for March, 2006

US defecit to reach 10 trillion

Friday, March 31st, 2006

I try to avoid getting too political here on my investing blog, but sometimes politics, economy, and investing are inseperable. So it is with the national debt clock.

The fact is, Clinton had things somewhat under control. They actually covered the national debt clock for a while (at 5.7 trillion) because it couldn’t count backwards as Clinton shrank the defecit. Then came Bush.

Now the clock is expected to crash before Bush leaves office in 2009 because the defecit will have reached 10 trillion dollars. Well, there, that wasn’t too political, was it?

New Finance news & forum

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

Here’s a finance news site that stays pretty current with interesting articles posted on the main page. Each article can be discussed in the finance and investing forum.

Anyway, since I’m obsessed with gold and silver and interested in oil, I’ll be paying close attention to the commodities news. They’ve got the important information on silver’s 20% gain so far this year and recent highs. Regular readers will know that this works well for me since I invest in CEF, which invests in gold and silver) and IAG (primarily gold).

If you’re more interested in currencies, the Forex news is for you. I don’t see any news on the Korean won yet, a currency that has gotten much stronger vs. the dollar over the past 5 years. When I moved to Korea in 2001, it was about 1,350 won to the dollar. Now we’re under 1,000 won to the dollar.

Anyway, it’s a well-designed site with good information. The forums are still relatively new, so if you join now you’ll have an opportunity to make a name for yourself.

How to get your credit card to cancel or adjust a late fee

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

If you have a bad history with the company I

April tax-filing deadline and your IRA

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Even if you’re a small investor, you probably want to make sure you contribute to your IRA. This is just a quick reminder that you can still contribute for 2005, but not for long. You ahve until the April tax-filing deadline – April 17, 2006. For a refresher on IRA rules, this Yahoo Finance article explains pretty much everything and is easy to read.

Office decor

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

If you

Mortgage questions from a first time home buyer

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Question: Well, being a first time home buyer and most nice Townhomes in my area start around 400,000, and I have a household income of about 90-95,000, both people w/ car payments. I have good credit, my girlfriend has excellent credit. Right now we piss away about $1300/month in rent. We have no problems paying that amount. I imagine we could probably afford up to 17-1800/month if we had to. Given those parameters, what type of money do I need up front, and do I have any chance whatsoever at being able to finance $400,000-450,000?

Answer: As a rough rule of thumb optimum mortgage rates are granted when the borrower has good credit and they are borrowing 80% or less of the appraised value of the house.

Right now rates are approaching 7% but a good trick to calculate (approximately) mortgage payments is to take the interest rate (ie. 7%), multiply by 100, and that’s the payment per $100,000.00 — so for example, 7% would be $700 per $100,000.00.

Using this system, 80% of $400,000.00 = $320,000.00 – therefore you are looking at financing $320,000.00. If interest rates are 7% then your payments would be around $2,240 plus property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

$1,800.00/month would be enough to pay for a $257,000.00 mortgage – but don’t forget that you still must pay real estate taxes and insurance.

You can get lower payments with variable rate or interest only loans but using those options depend on your circumstances. Also when you budget for closing you need to budget for closing costs which include lender fees, title insurance and attorney fees. Depending on where you are buying these costs shift

Also 100% financing is possible these days — so is 125% financing but you really need to figure out what you can afford and how long you want to own the house.

One mortgage broker added some specifics: At 400k with 5% down you are looking at a P&I of around 2300 at a 6.375% 30 year fixed rate mortgage.

Google Finance Beta is launched

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Google Finance Beta is launched. I ahven’t tried it yet, mostly because it doesn’t look as informative as Yahoo finance (less information, no stock screener that I can see, etc.). Has anyone given it a try?

Generate passive income from online business

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

According to Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant, the key to success is investing passive income from businesses you own.

As regular readers know, from time to time I share information on generating income through businesses because having a non-stock based supplemental income is a prudent financial move. It is revenue that can be invested and keeps producing during the occasional stock market hiccup. Mark Wallace’s site expands on some of those opportunities for supplemental income.

What very few people realise is that web properties are an asset class in a league of their own when it comes to yield on capital. Websites often outperform stocks and shares, they can outperform commodities, and they can outperform real estate. Really!

Before you rush off to buy one now you need to bear in mind that web properties do require a little more expertise than the acquisition and holding of gilts. This guide to buying sites is both simple and comprehensive. Should you dip your toe in the water and find it addictive label yourself a webmaster and head over to the tongue-in-cheek glossary.

And, if you decide that it’s all too much hard work (only certain web sites are true businesses in that the owner doesn’t have to do a lot of the work – the article I linked to will cover that in more detail), you could explore the other legitimate money generating options and ideas on that site.

Personal Finance site

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

A friend of mine recently pointed out this good collection of personal finance articles. Probably the scariest subject is identity theft and there are some articles on what to do if you’ve been victimized.

The investing articles seem to be aimed at beginners with titles like What Is a Mutual Fund?

The financial planning articles go into a bit more detail but many are still pretty basic (Why you should diversify if you’re into mutual funds for example).

Anyway, I hope you find something useful there. If you’re stressing out about taxes as much as I am, the tax section might provide some good reads (if you’re not too busy actually doing your taxes…).

Las Vegas Nevada economics

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Las Vegas is trying to attract business from California in an effort to diversify the local economy (which of course currently relies heavily on gaming). The slow-down following 9/11 drove that point home although Vegas has recovered. In fact, personal income in Las vegas is up 34 percent between 2001 and 2005 and gaming revenue is up 28 percent over the same period.

Back to the main topic: there are a number of reasons for businesses to move to Vegas, and 77 have already left California for Sin City.

California’s expensive workmen’s compensation insurance, tax structure (corporate tax is 8.84% and personal income tax is 9.3% in California), high cost of living and potentially unreliable power grid are all negative factors for businesses.

Nevada has no corporate or personal income taxes. If you’re considering a trip to Las Vegas, for vacation or to scout for a new corporate headquarters, why not check out my new Las Vegas vacation site with information on entertainment, hotels, and more.