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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Money Mangement For The Family

Simple LoveImage by smiling_da_vinci via Flickr

FYI: I just came across this gem from Kiplinger: Financial Literacy for the Whole Family. Short, but to the point with some great links! A worthwhile read!

And, let me apologize for the "blog vacation" I've been on. :)

Fact is that I've been writing a number of pieces for Jamaica National on many of these topics. So, when those become available online, I will definitely let you all know. If you live in Jamaica, and read the Jamaica Gleaner, look for the JN Money Advisor Advert in today's paper. I write the content for that every Wednesday so far, and today's topic is "Counting the Cost of Pay Day Loans". Sorry it's not available on the Gleaner's online site but it wouldn't be since it's an ad
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Great Saving Advice From The WSJ

day in the life: lunch moneyImage by emdot via Flickr

The Wall Street Journal has a great piece: Saving Matters More Than Ever

Much of it reinforces what I have told you before - prioritize, know where your money is going, build an emergency fund, pay yourself first etc. It's a short and worthwhile read. Here are some select quotes:

"Becoming a better saver is more than just cutting out the morning latte. It's changing your entire relationship to money.

Some 12.5 million Americans were unemployed at the end of February, including 2.9 million who've been jobless for six months or more. From the market's October 2007 peak through January, U.S. shareholders lost almost 85% of the capital gains they'd amassed in stock mutual funds since 1990. And while stocks rallied in March, we're not out of the woods yet.

It's time to get a grip on your money."


"Think big-ticket. Here's how to save hundreds of dollars a month: Set a higher deductible for home, automobile and health insurance. Refinance your mortgage. If you get a pay raise, use the windfall to trim debt and boost your bank account. Once you've set priorities, that $4 latte might be worth it after all."


"Eliminating a 14% credit-card interest payment is like getting a 14% risk-free investment return, and lifts a heavy emotional weight as well."


"When times get challenging, people get more creative," says Nathan Dungan, founder of Share Save Spend, an educational program that encourages healthy financial habits. "Be more attentive not only to how much you're saving, but where."

The Internet is a great resource. Take advantage of online retailers' discounts posted on shopping Web sites such as CouponCabin.com, DailyDeals.com, RetailMeNot.com and CoolSavings.com. Visit price-comparison sites including Bizrate.com, Shopzilla.com, PriceGrabber.com, BillShrink.com and Google.com's "Product Search" function to find bargains."

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Have You Seen My Pieces In The Jamaica Gleaner?

CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  A member of the p...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Some of you may know, I have been writing for the company I work for - Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS). Every Wednesday, these pieces have appeared as advertisements in the Jamaica Gleaner (so you won't find them online, you have to look in the actual paper).

Today was the third - so if you have a paper handy look for the JN Money Advisor: "Harnessing The Power of Budgeting" written by your truly (although my name isn't there).

JNBS has now posted the first one in its E-Newsletter. Subscribe! :)

Here's the piece I wrote - Saving: A Basic Guide. I'll post them as they become electronically available from JNBS. Feedback welcome!
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

De-Stress! Your Financial Security May Depend On It.

December 3 2007 day 53 - When stress does a nu...Image by DeathByBokeh via Flickr

Although we are not in a free fall like we were in September last year, the news is not always good. And frankly, many of us feel stressed.

One of my favorite quotes is: "Stress, in addition to being itself and the result of itself, is also the cause of itself." -Hans Selye

Isn't that true?

Isn't it also true that stress prevents us from moving forward, moving on, letting go, being creative, thinking out of the box, and finding solutions? Well, if there was ever a time to think clearly and creatively, it is now

Kiplinger.com has a great short slideshow: What You Need To Know About Financial Stress

It's well worth your while to have a look - to try to look at things more positively, and practical measures to reduce financial stress and other stress than the financial stress causes. Try them! They certainly will help you with your financial security.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some Companies Are Adding Benefits...No Joke

Benefits Fair-24Image by Inkyhack via Flickr

Ok, I know many of you have responsibility for staff and looking for ways to cut costs. Well, maybe you might want to think about how you make those changes. The Wall Street Journal today had a really interesting article about the need to value employees and combat sinking employee morale.

Perking Up: Some Companies Offer Surpising New Benefits

These companies have stepped up and done something out of the box. I bet you those that make the effort for the employees will be the ones that will be a part of the economic recovery, and not a casualty of the economic crisis. Think strategically! One benefit not listed here has been free financial advice. That would be a great one to help everyone through this period.

And if you don't have staff, but you are worried about your own job security, maybe you can drop this anonymously in the employee suggestion box if you have one.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

WATCH: More Money For YOU By Cutting Spending

Cash MoneyImage by jtyerse via Flickr

Kiplinger.com has a great video with some quick tips to cut spending. Some categories?
  • Food - Restaurants and Shopping
  • Mortgage and Insurance
  • Energy
  • Transportation - Purchase, Insurance, Gas
  • Clothing - Shopping, Reducing Impulse Buys, Credit card management etc
  • Entertainment
  • Vacation - Airfare etc.
  • Utility and Technology Bills - Cable, Cell Phone etc., Conservation tips
  • Pay Down Debt - Tax Exemptions,
  • Life Insurance
  • Cash Back Credit Cards
  • Buying and Selling online, Shopping online, internet comparison shopping
It's just under 9 minutes. Totally worth it.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

WATCH: Sesame Street Explains The Madoff Scandal

Cookie MonsterImage by nickstone333 via Flickr

Self Explanatory. Only Sesame Street!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

FREE Download From Oprah.com

free signImage by klabusta via Flickr

OFFER EXPIRES 10:59am EST March 14, 2009 (That's Saturday morning).

The offer is from Oprah.com and it is a FREE download of Jean Chatzky's new financial book: The Difference - How Anyone Can Prosper Even In The Toughest Times. Click here for the download

Now, I have not read it. The download offer started today and the book is not small. BUT, here's what Wikipedia had to say about the author.

According to Wikipedia, Jean Chatzky is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (my alma mater) :)

She is "an American financial journalist, author and motivational speaker. Serves as AOL's official Money Coach. Chatzky has given personal financial advice on various TV shows. She is the financial editor for NBC's Today Show"

"Chatzky is also the financial editor for NBC’s Today Show, a contributing editor for More Magazine, a columnist for the New York Daily News, a contributor to The Oprah Winfrey Show and a featured money coach on Oprah's "Debt Diet" series. She also hosts a daily show on the Oprah & Friends channel, exclusively on XM Radio."

"In addition to her professional work, Chatzky is on the March of Dimes advisory council, on the Board of Directions of the Briarcliff Manor Education Foundation, supports various women's services groups and is on the board of the Nora Magid Mentorship prize at the University of Pennsylvania, which helps journalism students get a head-start in the field. She is also on the Communications Committee for the University of Pennsylvania."

It's a Free Book on a great topic - check it out!
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Call Your Credit Card Companies

A diagram showing the reverse side of a typica...Image via Wikipedia

If you are not aware of this you need to be.

Since the global financial markets went into a tailspin last September, credit card companies have taken it upon themselves to cancel your credit cards without discussion or warning.

So, if you have a zero balance, and think you are being so responsible by doing that - and you are - some credit card companies have just decided to cancel those cards.

Why? Well, they have a host of reasons. But whatever they may be, what I want to know is that since for the most part, people work very hard to maintain a good credit record, and work very hard to have access to affordable credit, then 1) why are these companies not required to discuss this matter of cancellation with you and 2) why is there not a process for appeal or review?

Today's Wall Street Journal did a nice short piece on this: Credit Card Issuers: Buy Something Or Else! I submit it is well worth your time to read these few paragraphs.

Now, if you are not concerned, you should be.

Credit cards serve some very useful functions. For example:
  • They provide access to funds when you have none - albeit at a price. Hence, you should always have one for emergencies
  • For many services like a rental car or a hotel room, you must provide a credit card to secure the room and also in the event of incidentals.
  • Credit cards allow remote purchases via the phone and internet.
So, they are very useful. I just insist that prudent money management necessitates that credit card use must be moderated and managed.

Let's talk a bit about your credit rating. A good credit rating gives you access to credit, and access to lower rates. Did you know that when your credit cards are canceled, your credit rating could be negatively affected? Your credit score is determined by your debt relative to credit available. So when a card is canceled, your available credit falls.

Oh, and by the way, if you are depending on your rewards from any card - zero balances or not - you need to rethink that. Check out CNBC's article today: Credit Card Firms Slash Rewards To Cushion Losses

My two cents? Go call your credit card companies. Decide which cards you want to keep. And then if you must make small purchases regularly to keep those cards that you have zero balances on, you may want to consider doing so to keep your credit lines open. But make sure you don't sacrifice your debt management for it. And as for the 'by the way" with the rewards, I'd use 'em before I lose 'em.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trying To Prevent Another Global Mess....

A right-handed Cartesian coordinate system, il...Image via Wikipedia

When I posted the video about how we got into this global mess, I received a lot of feedback. Some people asked what do we do now - how do we get out and prevent this from happening again?

Well, yesterday, on my other blog (apologies if you read both), I outlined 7 things I would do if it were up to me to fix this mess and try to protect us all from going through this again. It has now dawned on me that some of you might find that post interesting:

1) Because it explains some of what has gone radically wrong

2) Just because I was asked for some solutions.

Here's the post: My Wish List - The New Global Financial Architecture


Ben Bernanke gave a fabulous speech today about a proposed way forward (please watch the Q & A of the video if you have been confused). So here's my post on that too: President Obama, Congress, G20 - Are You ALL Listening?

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Financial Security: Tips + Tools by Deika Morrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.