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.).