Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses. The talks they deliver have had had such a great impact, we thought they deserved a wider audience.
A couple of months back they had two speakers who talk about rethinking poverty. Both of them have simple and great ideas on how to help lift up impoverished countries in Africa and Asia. Both speakers gave me a little inspiration and hope for the future of our world...
Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz persuasively argues for a new approach to foreign aid: "The question isn't 'how do we fix this?' The question is 'How can we help Africans to do this for themselves?'"
Iqbal Quadir is co-founder of GrameenPhone, an innovative wireless operator offering services to poor rural villages in Bangladesh.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I guess it wasn't technically free since I re-signed for a two year contract, but I've used Verizon for about six years now with a good service record, so I would've re-signed with them anyway. In the past I've always paid a discounted price, but this time it's totally free, I paid $0.00 this time! I'll be sticking with my current plan of $34.99 per month, 300 mintues for prime time usage, and free nights and weekends. I also receive a 12% discount on top of that offered through the company I work for. It's nothing special, but the service is good and the plan seems to be cheaper than many of my friends cell phone plans, and all the plans offered by verizon now. I'm receiving some of my Christmas gift early...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Dropped it off at the dealer the next day, and about $100 later found that a ground wire to the frame from the starting system was corroded. The day after that I picked up a a set of jumper cables on sale for $15. Ya never know when I or maybe someone else may need them. This experience reminds me of the days with my prevous two cars which were used, car issues all the time, and AAA on speed dial....
Monday, December 04, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
It seems the biggest jump on our balance sheet was made in our liquid assests catagory, with a plump $5,000 increase. Retirement was up a bit, and I kept our home value, car and jewelry static until at least the next net worth calculation. The home value will pretty much stay the same ulness I get an official appraisal, I don't put much faith in my real estate guesstimations. The car values I'll have to relay on Blue Book for, and the jewlery which constitutes my personal property, will be appriased for insurance purposes within the next few months.
There's the usual slight decrease in our liability catagory, due to our goal of purchasing a home within the next few years. The credit cards are always paid off on time every month to avoid finance charges. Minimum payments are made on our auto, school and mortgage loans every month. Our emergency reserve continues to fatten, while our debt to load ratio shrinks. You can view the balance sheet by clicking the pic on the left. Thanks to another good month, slowly but surely, climbing the financial ladder...
Thursday, November 30, 2006
According to them it's going to cost about 190k to rasie a child until the age of 18! That's hard to believe. With this one being our first, we talk about having a couple more. Does that really mean about 600k? I'll have more time to pay off a mortgage than raising children. Can you say hand me downs, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Oh well, so far it's worth it. It's a wonderful time in our lives, and I can't put a price on that....
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I wound up dropping CABDX, SPVAX, and MIGFX. My portfolio in particular averaged an expense ratio of 1.07% and front load of 5.30%. I kept AEPGX, LAVX and obtained an index fund, PDSIX. No load at all, and it has an expense ratio of 0.30%. Nowa days my portfolio is averaging an expense ratio of 0.73% and front load of 3.83%. The funds I now have, average a five year performance of a little under 11%, and ten year of a little over 12%.
I'll try my best to re-balance every quarter, and at the least every two quarters depending on how each sector of the economy, and the funds perform. Next I'll have to research my wife's 401 (k) portfolio, to find the best value for our money. That should be fun playing with 17 different funds ranging from Vanguard's 500 index fund to Dodge & Cox's Stock fund!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Women of color -- African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans -- held just 1.7% of corporate-officer positions in 2005, and were 1% of the top five earners at Fortune 500 companies.
All these people have one thing in common: They're breaking stereotypes about what women can and can't do well, and opening up new opportunities for women who will follow them.
Melinda Gates tops the list of the top 50 women to watch next year.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
- The Labor Department reported that its Employment Cost Index was up 1 percent in the third quarter, compared to a 0.9 percent rise in the April-June period. It was the biggest quarterly increase since a similar 1 percent rise in the second quarter of 2004.
- The increase, which was above the 0.9 percent rise that economists had been expecting, was led by a big jump in the cost of employee benefits such as health insurance and pensions.
- For the third quarter, benefit costs rose by 1.1 percent, up from a 0.8 percent gain in the second quarter. Wages and salaries were up 0.9 percent, matching the increase in the second quarter.
- Officials at the Federal Reserve are watching closely to see whether wage pressures are beginning to accelerate, a development that would give workers' more money in their paychecks but could fuel unwanted inflation.
- The Fed is hoping that its two-year campaign to slow the economy by raising interest rates will do the trick to send underlying inflation rates lower without slowing growth so much that the economy topples into a recession.
- For the 12 months ending in September, overall compensation costs were up 3.3 percent, compared to a 3 percent rise for the 12 months ending in September 2005.
- Wages and salaries are up 3.2 percent over the past year, a significant rise from the 2.3 percent gain for the 12 months ending in September 2005. Benefit costs, however, were up 3.3 percent for the year, down from a 5 percent rise for the year ending in September 2005
Monday, October 23, 2006
The open enrollment for 2007 plans runs from November 15 to December 31.
- Ask your doctor about generics. You can save money in the doughnut hole and get better coverage within your plan beforehand. Many plans, for example, charge only a $5 co-pay for preferred generic drugs but increase the co-pay to $30 for preferred brand-name drugs, or $60 for non-preferred brand name drugs until the total drug costs reach $2,250. And most plans that provide coverage in the doughnut hole cover only only generic drugs while in the coverage gap and require you to pay the full price for everything else.
- Try different medications. Even if your drug doesn't have a generic equivalent, another medication that treats the same condition could cut your costs. If your plan has enlisted PartDOptimizer (several of the big Part D plans are included), you can compare the costs for similar drugs. Ask your doctor if you can safely switch drugs.
- Buy in bulk. Many plans give you a discount if you buy a three-month supply of drugs at once.
- Find a cheaper pharmacy. Wal-Mart and Target have announced that they will sell many generic drugs for $4. Your plan also may offer special discounts for preferred mail-order pharmacies. Also, check DestinationRx.com, which compares drug prices at various pharmacies. Make sure these pharmacies are included in your Part D network. Otherwise, the purchase may not count toward reaching the end of the doughnut hole.
- Consider Canada. Buying drugs from Canada doesn't count toward the $3,600 to reach the end of the coverage gap, but it can lower your drug costs. Two new rules have eased the restrictions on drug imports. Americans now can carry a 90-day supply of drugs from Canada without being stopped by customs agents. And government officials recently announced that they will no longer seize mail-order prescription drugs from Canada.
- Get help. If your income is below a certain level, you can get extra help paying for your prescription drugs. For more information, see Bridging the Coverage Gap at Medicare.gov. Also see the resources at the Medicare Rights Center's Help Paying For Prescription Drugs.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
It seems as though all of the "financial" moons have aligned to make this one of our best net worth increases to date. Our net worth has increased by a record 5.57% or $6,332.56 for a total of $119,927.21. To tell you the truth, at first thought, I don't really know how we did it. It's probably several factors that happen to fit well together at this point in time. First off, I've started to add all of the small stuff into our net worth, like any cash we may have in our wallets, money in the change jar, uncashed checks, etc. It may not be much, but every little bit counts.
Ah, now I remember, how can I forget? I busted my butt working some overtime this month, and it looks like that really helped. Hm, let's see, we finally received our "New Jersey FAIR home owner rebate" just in time to be calculated. Received a little extra chunk of change from selling on half.com and some ad space on the blog. There's also been a slight increase in the retiremtent accounts due to the market doing pretty well. It seems now that the summer is over, we've generally have been spending less money on eating out, vacationing, parties, etc. It seems the fat check I wrote for a recent wedding hasn't been cashed yet, and the maintenance fee bill for our condo is running late. Again, we didn't have to pay any auto insurance premiums this month, as well as my wife's cell phone bill. So, overall a great month. Slowly but surely, climbing the financial ladder...
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I guess it's not a surprise that since 2000, the percentage of companies providing health insurance has gone from 69% to 61%. But they also find that number has been slowing as of late with the smaller businesses. The average cost of health insurance for an individual is $4,242, while families are paying $11,480. It's estimated that 2.7 million workers are enrolled in high-deductible plans with a savings account. employers pick up 84% of the cost for individuals, and 73% for families. employers pick up 84% of the cost for individuals, and 73% for families.
Employers or employees get a tax break when they put money into those accounts. Another survey finds that 167 large corporations expect raising health care costs, about 6%, which is way above the expected inflation numbers. Another one of the many reasons to become, be, and stay healthy...
This complete baby naming resource includes more names and more helpful features than any other book on the market:
- Over 100,000 baby names and their meanings, derivations and famous namesakes
- 5,000 Hispanic names.
- Icons to identify names used for both genders, and to indicate whether they're used evenly, more for boys, or more for girls.
- Updated lists ranking the 100 most popular names for boys and girls in 2004
- Top-hundred ranked names are starred in the main text of the book.
- A new introductory chapter by Bruce Lansky: "How to Pick A Name for Your Baby"
- 300 helpful lists of names to consider, including famous authors, actors, athletes, artists, scientists as well as lists of names that convey an image: attractive, smart, competent, friendly, wimpy, etc.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
"I believe in keeping kids young as long as possible and not pushing them into things they're not ready for. And most pre-schoolers are too young to understand the abstract idea of money. They'll choose a nickel over a dime because it's bigger, and they have no idea how far $1 will go."
She believes at ages 6 and 7, children are more mature and will most likely be learning about it in school. She also believes that buying gifts for their friends at age 7 or so is too young to be making decisions about things like that.
"they should be getting a seasonal clothing allowance by age 9. Kids should definitely take on those responsibilities, but I'd recommend waiting until middle school for the gifts and high school for the clothing allowance."
Do you have children? How much and when did you start with the allowance system?
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Computers and electronics
When to buy: Just after a new model is launched.
When to buy: Weekday mornings in September.
When to buy: Thursday evenings, six to eight weeks after an item arrives in stores.
When to buy: Early morning or late evening on a weekday.
When to buy: During your pregnancy.
Monday, September 04, 2006
- Daycare: We'd like to try and avoid this option as much as possible. Between not being comfortable with strangers taking care of our baby, and the cost of daycare, this will have to be a last resort.
- Family members and close friends: We have several people in mind that may be able to watch our baby while @ work. We'll only need someone to watch the baby 4 days a week, from around 9 in the morning to about 3 or 4 in the evening, about 6-7 hours. So hopefully that may make it easier on whomever is willing to help us out. My job schedule is flexable, so I may be able to shrink it down to 3 days a week.
- Change of work schedules: Like I mentioned, my schedule is flexable. If need be, I can watch the baby during the day and then my wife during the evening while I work. We feel this may be tough on the marriage, so we'd like to make this next to the last resort.
- Wife quits job: This is another tough decision. The wife is the one with the bigger salary, so it would be financially tough to live on only one income. We haven't run the numbers yet, but I believe we may be able to do it for a while. We're currently saving for a house, and plan on purchasing one in about 3-4 years. If she quits, it will really delay things. Another reason for moving is to find a town with a good educational system. The city we currently live in...does not.
The bankrate article gives 5 tips/suggestions on how to check if your family can survive on one income...
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
Well, more like 50. Steve Bucci over @ Bankrate finds 50 good things about being debt free. Here's a sneek peek...
- #4. Never being required to spend money you have not yet earned.
- #7. Having a savings cushion for emergency expenses.
- #16. Knowing how to create a realistic budget.
- #20. Setting a good example for your kids.
- #26. Reading a statement that reads "paid in full."
- #29. Never having to pay late fees.
- #32. Sleeping better at night.
- #43. Experiencing the joy of living below your means.
- #45. Being able to prevent financial problems before they happen.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
- Autos: 11
- Bonds: 13
- Budgeting: 7
- Credit Cards: 8
- College Planning: 7
- Credit & Debt: 6
- Mutual Funds: 11
- Mortgages and Home Finance: 17
- Life Insurance: 7
- Paycheck Planning: 6
- Retirement: 15
- Roth IRAs: 8
- Savings: 10
- Stocks: 9
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
- Washington: 34 cents
- Pennsylvania: 31.2 cents
- Wisconsin: 30.9 cents
- Rhode Island: 30 cents
- North Carolina: 29.9 cents
- Rhode Island: $2.46
- New Jersey: $2.40
- Washington: $2.025
- Maine: $2.00
- Alaska: $1.80
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
- Smart Money: 12 issues ($10.00)
- Forbes: 26 issues ($15.49)
- Money: 24 issues ($29.95)
- Readers Digest: 24 issues ($13.99)