Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Now what do I do with that rebate check...

It seems like such an odd amount the government is giving us. Since I am single with no family, I receive the $600. I am sure you are all itching to know what I am doing with that money. I will be putting it into my bank account and using it to pay bills. If the paycheck allows for it, I will be investing it. Who in the world is going to be spending it on the goods that the government wants us to? Maybe eventually people will be buying goods with it, but no more than normal. Feel free to say what you think you will be using your rebate check on.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Links for all!

I am participating in a viral linking through sites that I visit. I am sure you have seen my links on the side but through this we all help our technorati ranking (which is a blog search engine) to gain more viewers. This is also to open the eyes of other viewers to sites some wouldn't find any other way. I find it to be a great idea and if you have an inkling, please pass it on with 5 more blogs.

The Strategist Notebook ~ Link Addiction ~ Ardour of the Heart ~When Life Becomes a Book ~ The Malaysian Life ~ ~What goes under the sun ~ Roshidan’s Cyber Station ~ Sasha says ~Arts of Physics ~ And the legend lives ~ My View, My Life ~ A Simple Life ~ Juliana RW ~ Mom Knows Everything ~ Beth & Cory's Mom ~ A Mind Forever Voyaging~ enjoying the ride ~ Jennifer's thoughts ~Mom of 3 Girls ~ Amanda ~ Don't Make Me Get The Flying Monkeys ~ExPat Mom ~ Just Jessie ~ Wilson Six ~Krisitn ~ Nuttier Than You ~Shonnte ~ Summer's Nook ~ Laura Williams Musings ~ Melissa's Idea Garden ~ Confessions of an Everyday Housewife ~ Blah Blah Blog ~Stop the Ride! ~Soap, Blings & Girly Things ~ It's All for the Best ~Keeping Feet ~ Junky Love in Freehand ~ Getting Out of Debt ~ Free From Broke ~ Money Matters ~ Arohan's Investing Life ~ My Investing Blog ~ Finance and Fat ~ Iowahippiechick ~ ~ ~Making Cents Of Debt ~ DebtDiet ~ MakingMoneyJournal ~ Life Liberty & The Pursuit Of Money Mrs Micah Brightside of Debt Fiscal MusingsPaid it Down and Moving Forward Phoenix from the Ashes Canadian Saver The Good Life on a Budget Last One In Line Finding Financial Peace CT Mom Beachgirl's Budget Blog~Saving For a Home of My Own~My Money and Politics~We So Rich ~Clawing Our Way to Financial Health ~ Piggy Bank Blues ~ Ms. Miniducky ~ Give Me Back My Five Bucks, Well-Heeled: California Dreamin', Free Money Finance, The Simple Dollar, Living Almost Large and The World of Wealth.

Hey Long Time No Post!

Sorry guys. Been really busy with work. I do a 3 hour commute to and from work each day so that takes a toll on me when I get home and barely get any time to myself. However, I am not complaining. I feel this sacrifice is needed to either move up within my corporation or become more marketable if I want to move to a different company, and hopefully a different city (closer to my girlfriend). Speaking of the gf, I visited her last weekend and realized then that a long time apart from one another is very difficult. I am definitely going to be working more cash into my budget to see her. I am sure my gf would agree with this investment too haha, but many might actually see it differently and think that using too much cash during this time for a relationship would be unwise. I would like to argue that in life we really need to see the larger picture. What are we working for? Our own gain? Family gain? Here in my respect I feel I am working toward a future with my gf and seeing her is definitely building on that. However not only am I looking to the future, but to the present in what makes me happy and keeps balance in my life. Those of you in a relationship I am sure can understand what I mean.

Well just for a further update on my life, I am getting deeper into my position and in the next couple weeks getting more responsibilities. I recently set up my 401k retirement with 4% of my income going into 3 mutual fund groups that focus on emerging markets and small-mid cap growth. These groups are actually risky if you are thinking of reallocating your 401k retirement. However, I looked deep into the portfolio and saw many companies I invested in, thus I picked the fund.

Also, I chose a health insurance plan that is a Health Savings Account (HSA). I encourage you all to pick these accounts if you can. They benefit the healthy, low medical cost patients, but still have a decent plan to cover you if you do get sick. The benefit of my corporation's HSA is that the company contributes to my savings account. The savings account is used to pay off any health costs that go toward your deductible.

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Job...New Life

I started my new job today. This will allow me to expand on my plan with regards to my overall budget and where I chose to put my money. So stay tuned for that.

Also on the economy front, the market took a dip again today. Check out the stocks you are thinking of buying (or some you may have purchased). If you are thinking, it is a good time to buy on a down day, or if you bought some earlier, buy more a the lower price. Good luck!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a nice Super Bowl Sunday.

Go Patriots!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Stocks to look at...

Hey guys, back with some more stocks to look at.

My big one today is Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM). I would never advise anyone on investing in car companies with the exception of Toyota. I don't need to tell you that their cars and trucks are reliable, however there maybe some things behind the scenes of Toyota aren't as obvious.

1. They run their business extremely well. There is open communication throughout the company that allows them to respond to problems immediately. Whether this is a problem with a vehicle or the way it is constructed, Toyota has made a name for their efficient manufacturing model.

2. Leader in Hybrid technology. Hybrids are future no question about that. When I say future I don't mean 10 years down the road, but development for any other fuel will take time. Not only is Toyota going to be revamping their hybrid batteries in 2009, they are also coming out with a brand new Hybrid model. Also their Lexus brand is going to be unveiling another hybrid to their fleet.

3. R&D. The previous two all lead to this, research and development. Toyota spends millions per day just in R&D. Millions per day! That is a chunk of change that shows why Toyota manages to beat American auto makers every year.

The next company you should all take a look at is The Middleby Corporation (NASDAQ: MIDD). I know you are saying, who the heck is Middleby? Middleby is a manufacturer of commercial cooking equipment. MIDD has a relative monopoly over this industry, every major restaurant has an oven, deep fryer, etc fom Middleby. There is a never ending demand for new restaurants, thus MIDD has an endless stream of customers.

These are two excellent companies. Please do your own research, but you will see I did pick two very nice companies here to add to your porfolio.

Disclosure: I do not own any stock in either TM or MIDD.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ron Paul Snubbed from Debate

Ron Paul was treated like the unwanted child at the Republican Debates last night on CNN. However, the only one who made any sense on dealing with the economy was Dr. Paul.

CNN in the ridiculous review of the debate only mention that:

"Long-shot candidate Ron Paul, a representative from Texas, also participated in the debate."

Not to harp on the mainstream media but they push Rep. Paul aside like they did to John Edwards. The media focused so much on Clinton and Obama, that Edwards had no choice. Now, in the GOP race, they are focusing heavily on McCain and Romney that even at the debate, Huckabee had to point out that "This isn't a two man race."

I hope CNN realizes their mistakes and changes their coverage of the candidates so that we do get a fair and balanced (don't worry not gettting a check fom FOX for that one) view of all the candidates.

Also, for all my US readers, please read up on the candidates. Never feel like your vote is "lost" on someone who "isn't going to win". A lost vote is someone who votes blindly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Job Update

Well most of my day today consisted of doing all the legal paperwork signing for my new job. Tedious but hey I am not complaining with the new job haha. Unfortunately, the rest of the week I am not working. I officially start next monday, then begins the training for my position. I will gladly update you all on it, as I am sure the job will come up in a blog or two.

The stimulus bill just passed the House as I am typing this post. I know it is a band-aid type fix on the economy, however I am glad something is being done to help. I honestly want Congress to focus on a long term solution (if that is possible for them).

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Have Made My Decision

I am buying a 2008 Toyota Corolla. It is my commuting vehicle and it is great on gas. Like I had said before, downsize if you are looking to make millions. A car is a vehicle from point A to B. It isn't an investment. Once you get the money, then you can spend it on a treat for yourself.

With this car I will be incurring some debt. It is "bad" debt because it is on a car which will only depreciate. However, I feel that subsequent car purchases I will not be putting this much into financing.

It is a steady road, you will have to make sacrifices, but you will soon reach financial freedom.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Some Long Term Stock Picks

What a better time than to pick some stocks. The stock market is at a low point and this is a great time to get in with some new investments while they are cheap. I hate to say the R-word but these stocks are "recession" proof.

Today's picks are for the long term because, like yourself, day to day checking of stocks maybe difficult (or you have a smartphone feeding you that information). Anyway these stocks are definitely good 1-2 yr+ buy and hold. Which means you can buy and check but keep in mind whatever the day to day action is, they will give you a good return.

My first stock in this mix is Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT). It bottomed out nicely with this stock tumble and this stock is the first stock you should ever buy. CAT is investing overseas and with all the construction going on in China, CAT is profiting. I will not bore you with technicals about CAT but it will also provide you with a nice dividend as well which I always re-invest to keep my shares growing. Don't let go of this stock.

My next stock for your long term portfolio is McDonald's (NYSE: MCD). This might seem like a silly suggestion to buy McDonald's but it is a very good long term stock. McDonald's is everywhere in the world, expands like no company I have seen. They keep their prices competitive to stay profitable in a good and poor market. McDonald's is a great buy and hold stock.

Another pick for you is Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ). No brainer here as well just like the previous two. JNJ continues to make excellent products some you see and some you might miss. JNJ diversifies into all aspects of heathcare, not just the over the counter medicines you see. JNJ also has a dividend to re-invest.

I have talked about dividend reinvestment in this blog. Most online brokerages (I use E*Trade) have a feature that automatically reinvests the dividend into the stock. Check and make sure yours does as well if you want to utilize the dividend in that fashion.

As a disclosure, I do not own any of the stocks above (doesn't mean I wouldn't want to). If I ever purchase those stocks I will disclose that fact in an update to this post and further posts. If any have specific questions don't hesistate to e-mail me or post a comment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2008 Goals

As the new year has begun and I have a new job, I thought best to have goals set in place financially and personally (don't worry nothing that personal).

1. Fun account Pretty general right? Well after all the bills are paid I want enough to set away for potential fun. I am tentatively saying $500 since this will be the last thing I put money into.

2. Emergency Account This is going to be separate from my "fun" account. I want at least $1,000 in this account.

3. Get an apartment close to work I am defintely going to need this ASAP. It will cut down on my gas and allow me to put more money into the top two accounts.

4. Get a return on stocks Haha a scary goal while looking at the market at the moment. I am a good picker of stocks which I will show you in coming posts. I want at least a 15-20% gain on my portfolio for 2008.

I will update you all on how this is going.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A New Job

Today I accepted a job offer. Like many, I went through interview hell to finally get this offer. Now I am here and excited to start, which I officially do on February 4th. This relates to my car purchase post, since I will be doing a decent amount of commuting until I can find an apartment close to my office. This new job will allow me to have some funds to have new investments so I will be able to offer even more advice to you all. Those looking for a new career or job within their path, my advice to you is never give up or lose hope. Many around me wanted me to break down and lose hope, but I never gave up on myself. It is there for the taking. Carpe diem!

Let's Prosper!

I know many PF blogs discuss Prosper, however I have yet to use it and will be incorporating it into my personal investments. Money lending though should be taken with the idea of how risky it may be. I know Prosper rates people, which is smart. However don't lend money you can't afford to lend. Pretty easy but some people get caught up in investments as one of their primary forms of income.

Anyway, I suggest you guys click the link I have at the top of the right side of my page just to see if it is for you. Like the ad says, you get a free $25 if you sign up to lend. Free money is always good.

The Hassle of Car Purchasing

I am going through the horrible experience that is purchasing a new car. Not only is it the headache of dealing with fast talking salesmen, but this is my first new car purchase. However, my advice is going to apply to all who are considering getting a new car or trading in.

1. Look at the MPG. The United States Government just recently changed the way they measure the miles per gallon so numbers from 07 to 08 are going to drop significantly. The only reason they changed is due to ethanol being added to our gasoline. With oil prices rising I suggest to you all to trade in for a smaller vehicle or a hybrid to save on gas prices. This is where a lot of expenses are wasted is on paying for gasoline in an SUV or a larger engine car when we are only doing errands, commuting, etc. When you start making the millions, then you can think about a larger vehicle if that is your desire, but we are finding ways to get there. This sorta sums up my next point...

2. Trade down! In a oil crisis such as the one we are in, please please trade down your vehicle. Like I said earlier those 15 mpgs in your SUV aren't helping get you to financial freedom. Also, cars are an expense, not an investment. They do not gain value, only lose it the minute you drive off of the lot. Stay small for as long as you can. Do not be embarrassed of the neighbor or friend who goes out and gets that Mercedes, BMW, etc. Saving your money to make you more money is key. Cars will not make you more money.

3. Shop around. This applies at any time you are purchasing a car. These dealers need to sell you a car, don't feel like they don't have to. If they act like they don't want to sell you a car, go somewhere else. Low ball every offer you give them, this way you get the amount you wanted in the first place.

These are simple but important pieces of advice you must adhere to right now. Money is tight in this current economy, and cars are a big essential expense. Thus, cut down on the expense an go smaller/hybrid. You'd be surprised how much more you will keep in your wallet to use toward investments/savings.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Online Savings. Which Account is Best?

I know you have seen plenty of banner and TV ads for high yield savings accounts. But which is best?

1. Do your homework. In other words, look at the fine print. Some accounts require that you put a minimum deposit in the account, not touch the money for a certain period, etc.

2. Accessibility. Some people want to access their money quickly through either checks, atm, wire transfers, etc. The best accounts are ones that don't charge for any of those. Keep in mind the beauty of the online savings accounts is that you are choosing a bank that is either far from your hometown or strickly an online bank. Weigh that risk that you might only be able to make deposits that are in checking accounts or direct deposits. I am sure this isn't a problem for most but some people still deal strickly in cash and paychecks, so an online only account might not be the best move for you.

Here are the popular online high yield accounts:

E*Trade: 5.05% APY, no fees, $1 minimum deposit, link to other bank accounts with free transfers.

ING Direct Orange Account: 4.20% APY, no fees, no minimum.

HSBC Direct: 4.50% APY, no fees, since it is a bank it can link with other accounts but you pay the fees for transfer, $1 minimum deposit.

Personally, I picked E*Trade for my savings. It gives me the ability to move my money from savings to checking or my stock market account (which I also have on E*Trade) for free. This is huge for all of you. Avoid banking fees as much as you can, this is where they really make their money. Also, E*Trade gives you the best APY. The only way you are going to be letting your money make money is by picking the big earner. It is the same in all sides of your investments (stocks, savings, checking, etc.).