Archive for April, 2007

Ever since my website started showing up on some of those top [whatever] lists, I’ve been inundated with more and more spam. It’s gotten to the point where it’s totally out of control. I’ve had to take some drastic measures which include:

  • Adding various frequent spammers IP address to an .htaccess file (to deny access)
  • Load Akismeti spam protector
  • Load Math Plugin

I’m certain this is going to inconvenient some readers because I stopped commenting on others blog sites because of the “hassle” of jumping through hoops to see my comment get posted (e.g. moderation, math equations, trackbacks, etc) but I now understand that it’s a necessary evil. I simply can’t browse through 300+ spam messages a day to see if any legitimate comments got posted in there vs. the grotesque spam that gets caught in the filter.

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If this inconveniences anyone, I’m sorry, but less time sifting through spam filters means more time dedicated to blogging about getting rich slow/quick opportunities.

The sixth most often excuse I’ve heard over my professional lifetime as to why a person wasn’t getting rich was the age old “I’m a victim of discrimination” gambit. I’ve had women tell me that they weren’t getting ahead because they’re women and quickly go for the grab bag round of sub-excuses:

  1. I have to take care of my kids
  2. I have to take care of my [insert relative here]
  3. My husband doesn’t do X for me

Oddly enough, however, I’ve heard nearly the exact same excuses from MEN as to why they aren’t getting rich:

  1. I need to spend more time with my kids.
  2. I need to spend more time with my [insert relative here]
  3. My wife needs help with all the time and is holding me back.

There are plenty more excuses from the grab bag but I think you get the point.
Women always seem to think than men have it easier because they think men get more respect or are taken more seriously than women are in the work place.

Men seem to think women have it easier because of so many affirmative action laws, harassment protection, generous leave/time off, etc.

The other aspect of the excuses are related to race, ethnicity, religion or [insert what makes you different from any one else].

I won’t deny that different cultures, sects and subgroups don’t have varying philosophies, attitudes, work ethics or perceptions but there really isn’t a vast conspiracy to subjugate any particular group. At the end of the day, if you start off with a negative attitude, you’ll perceive the world in a negative way.

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Globalization arrived over 20 years ago and it’s impossible to discriminate against any particular group these days. If anything, a person that speaks a single language or that can only interact with a single culture, race, or ethnic group is at a serious DISADVANTAGE in the global marketplace.

Perhaps I’ve been fortunate in my career that I’ve worked and traveled all over the world to understand and work with different people, cultures, ethnicities, and religions that it never really phased me the way it seems to bother so many others but at the end of the day it’s not really an excuse for not getting rich.

Let’s take a look at a few billionaires:

  1. Bill Gates (American)
  2. Carlos Slim (Lebanese/Mexican)
  3. Oprah Winfry (American/Woman)
  4. Maria Aramburuzabala (Mexican/Woman)
  5. Terry Gou (Taiwan)
  6. Richard Li (Hong Kong)
  7. Guy Laliberte (Canadian)
  8. Mukesh Ambani (India)
  9. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud (Saudi Arabia)

The names list just a few, you can get a complete list of the top 20 here. Many nationalities, ethnicities seemed to be covered and if some mass conspiracy existed the names on the list would be radically different wouldn’t they?

Speaking of conspiracies, I’m conspiring to get rich slick using a two pronged patent pending method: Get Rich Slow using traditional methods of wealth building: savings, 401k, Roth, Real Estate and a second method: Get Rich Quick using more aggressive methods of building wealth: real estate speculation, options & currency hedging and my favorite ETFCoveredCalls.com. Stop making excuses and click on over to learn how I’m Getting Rich Slick.

Web-in next week to here excuse #5 – I didn’t graduate from Ivy League School.

A few years ago, during the Fed rate drop to 1 pct, I refinanced my home from 7% fixed rate to 3% interest only ARM which helped me save over $600/month.  It has been the cheapest money I’ve ever had the opportunity to borrow so far.  I received notice a few days ago that my ARM will be adjusting from 3 pct to 5.25 pct.

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Am I in a panic about it?  Hardly!  I was contemplating paying off the mortgage but I’m going to let the good times roll despite the fact that I am fairly confident the Fed will likely RAISE rates at their next FOMC meeting in May.  Even at 5.25 pct, it’s still fairly cheap money since the real inflation rate is currently running at about 8 pct.

It is also highly likely that I’ll be purchasing a new home in a year or two so it doesn’t make sense to refinance to a fixed rate or pay off the mortgage when the money is much better off being invested somewhere to produce greater returns.

Financing is all about understanding the value of money and cheap money is always a gold mine!

I had lunch with an old friend yesterday and we talked about how well his business was doing these days. My friend owns a small consulting firm and has about six people working for him. The topic of conversation eventually turned to the gripes he had about running a business.

The main gripe was the high cost of labor. It seems he’s been having a difficult time finding qualified people to fill some of his positions. He said many kids out of school today all want to start out at 60k or better. Worse yet, however, was the cost of health insurance he has to subsidize to get “bodies” thru the door.

What really struck me odd though was the fact that right off the bat; he has to pay $150 more a month to provide the same coverage of health insurance for a female than a male employee.

If I had to run a small business, I might think twice about hiring a woman if this is true. I never really thought about the disparity in health insurance between men and women until he mentioned it to me.

If I ran a company and I had 10 open positions and the choice was between paying $3000/month to cover all male employees or $4500/month to cover all female employees, the business decision starts to become pretty clear: $18,000 more to pay for women employees.  That’s a big bite into profits right off the bat.

On January 15th 2005, Saturday Night Live featured a skit in which all the worlds currencies were personified.  The US Dollar was shown as a weak wimp when compared to the Euro, British Pound, Canadian dollar and other currencies.

The topic became water cooler conversation for a few days but quickly left the mind of many as the days have passed.  No one is really talking about the current state of the US Dollar except of course those in the currency trade business.

Kathy Lien writes,

the dollar hit fresh 26 year lows against the British pound, 24 year lows against the New Zealand dollar and 2.5 year lows against the Euro before recovering. The recovery however was shallow as the EUR/USD, GBP/USD and NZD/USD all ended up back in positive territory.

The dollar is struggling against currencies such as the New Zealand and Canadian Dollars?  New Zealand has a population of 4 million and the world seems to prefer it to a greater degree than the USD?  The same for Canada?

Something is greatly amiss here and no one is talking about it.  Don’t forget that China now holds trillions of US Dollars and can send the US into an immediate depression if it starts dumping US Dollars.  Iran is also now moving to Euros for it’s oil trade deals.  Venezuela has talked about moving to Euros for oil trade.

There isn’t much any one of us can do about the situation except of course strategically align our portfolios to avoid losses and hopefully make some gains.

A few weeks ago, I paid back 25k in arbitrage money and I finally got to see the results on my FICO score. To put it into context, I’ll give you a bit of background information.

I have 100k in credit lines amongst 4 cards. A few weeks ago I had 50k in arbitrage debt and I decided to unload 25k of debt since my 0% APR was ending.

My score at the time I had 50k in debt was 725.
My score after I unloaded 25k of debt jumped by 32 points to 757.

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So by decreasing my debt by 25%, I increased my FICO by 4.3%

Put it another way…

50% utilization on 100k of credit = 725
25% utilization on 100k of credit = 757

Note that my FICO hadn’t budged a single point despite paying the minimums on all the 50k of debt (e.g. $500/month to each account) over the past 3 months; it had been unchanged at 725.

My next experiment is to actually close down one of my 25k accounts and see how that impacts my FICO score. I’ll be reducing the total amount of available credit from 100k to about 75k without paying off the remaining 25k in debt.

In theory, my debt/credit ratio will go up but will my FICO go up or will it go down?

25% utilization on 100k will become 33% utilization on 75k after I close the account.

Anyone want to guess what will happen? Will I be rewarded for doing the “right” or “Dave Ramsey” thing and reducing my reliance on credit?

Tune in to find out!

The seventh most often excuse I’ve heard from someone as to why they aren’t getting rich is that he or she didn’t have “great” or “perfect” parents. I’m not sure what “great” or “perfect” parents meant because I never pried too deeply into it but the complaints seem centered around money or the purchase of various material items.

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“If only my parents had sent me to Harvard I could be rich right now” or “If my parents had bought me nicer clothes, car, , I’d have better self-esteem and I’d be on my way to being rich” are just a few of the sample discussions about building wealth that I’ve had with people over the years.

I won’t disregard that having highly educated parents does help tremendously during elementary, secondary and high school upbringing and it is more likely that these kids will go on to college and end up with higher paying jobs than the children of less educated parents but it’s also important to remember that almost every opportunity is provided to ALL kids as long as they work hard. Federal Grants, State Grants, Student Loans, and College Work Study are just a few of the programs out there to help people get started and succeed in life.

How do I know about all these programs? I used every one of the programs listed above and I also had parents that didn’t complete college much less even complete high school. So not having the “perfect” or “wealthiest” parents doesn’t mean you won’t get rich, it just means that it’ll be more challenging to get there. We all love a great challenge don’t we?

Speaking of challenges, I’m going to issue everyone one! Stop by and check out http://www.etfcoveredcalls.com so you can sneak a peak at one of my favorite tools for getting rich slick. It’s called the ETF-Cashinator™ and it cranks out the highest yield returns for ETF covered calls in a 30, 60 and 90 day window for me day in and day out. So far, I’ve made $8,000 via ETF Covered Calls in a little over a year and it’s getting me rich slick!

Stop by next week to read about excuse #6 for not getting rich, “I wasn’t born the right gender or the right skin color.

I drove by a gas station this morning and saw the price of a gallon of regular for an eye popping $2.89. I expected gas prices to rise during Memorial Day for the big summer rush but not this early in the spring.

The high price of gas gave me an investment idea that I’d written about before here. I checked the market and saw an opportunity to buy in my new favorite ETF OIH after a pullback. I bought 300 shares at $152 and sold 3 contracts for May 07 $155 Strike for $3.60. This netted me a cool $1100 or 2% return in 30 days.

If I get called in May at $155, I’ll make an additional $900 and bring my return up to 4% in 30 days! If I don’t get called then I’ll be in a position to sell July or October calls currently selling for $7 and $11, respectively.

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I wasn’t going to write about this transaction since it’s in one of my other accounts but I did mention previously that I was aiming for an entry point in OIH and now was the time to do it but I happened to do it with an outside account.

In other news, SMH jumped past $35, if this trend holds, my May calls will likely be assigned and I’ll make another $750 with that money tree.   By the way, all of this cash gets immediately placed in my account for me to spend as I please; it’s not sitting as “paper” gains like in some mutual fund.  Be sure to keep enough cash to pay taxes though!
Happy Hunting.

We were planning on traveling to Europe this summer for vacation but the weak dollar has us thinking twice about it. The Euro is hovering near $1.36. The British Pound is now $2. Even our “backup” vacation spots (Whistler, Banff, Lake Louise) in Canada isn’t much of a reprieve with the Canadian Dollar at $1.12 (nearly even) with USD!

We really don’t want to have to hang out in Cancun or the Carribbean this year because of the potential strong hurricane season.

We may just opt to stay in the US and visit some sites here. The kids have been wanting to see Mount Rushmore or perhaps the Grand Canyon but not sure if there is more to do at those places other than visiting the “main” site.

If you want to know why currency fluctuations make a big difference, click on the Big Mac Index link here.

The table shows how much of a “premium” or “discount” you’ll be paying for a standard McDonalds “Big Mac” around the world. Great Britain has a 25% premium while China has a 50% discount for a Big Mac.

Oh well, we’ll see how badly the dollar drops if the Fed doesn’t raise interest rates at their next meeting on May 9th.

It all started about three years ago.  After three and a half years of great internet service from my cable provider, I began to have problems.  I asked various friends about their high speed internet experience and like me, they reported similar issues.

We were all initially extremely pleased with high speed internet from one of the major cable service providers.  But after about the third year, the service began to suffer horribly.  My friends experienced the exact same issue and they began dropping cable internet service.   I finally got to the point where the service was so horrible that I canceled and switched to DSL.

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I was somewhat please with DSL service for about 6 months after which I began having many problems with internet service.  The problems were similar to those of cable: network drops, packet loss, slow speeds and dropped service.

The really sad state however comes down to the very limited choices and perhaps this explains the dilemma.  There is not enough competition for the two major players to get off their ass to fix anything.  I can choose between crappy cable internet or horrible DSL service.  Two providers, two horrid choices and absolutely no accountability.

I am very close to the point of doing one of the following:

1. Install a T-1 circuit to my home for internet service.

2. Sign up for cellular G3 wireless internet service.

It’s probably no coincidence that my DSL service has gotten worse as AT&T snapped up all their competitors.  why should AT&T upgrade their network when there isn’t any other choice?

What’s really pathetic is that in Europe and Asia, speeds of 10mb to 100mb are standard and cost about 40 Euros/month where as in the US, a 1mb Dsl circuit cost $30/month.  Truly deplorable.

As for how this all relates to personal finance, I’m going to have to increase my budget for more premium access via the methods listed above.  I’ll now likely have to spend $100 to $300/month for reliable service.  I’ve got a few more months left on my DSL contract so we’ll see what happens.  Perhaps WiMax will finally make it out to the open market and save us all.