Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rethinking Poverty...

I recently came across a wonderful site simply named "TED." It's an acronym that stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design." Each year TED hosts some of the worlds most fascinating people. Who are these people?
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?'"
Watch video online here

Iqbal Quadir is co-founder of GrameenPhone, an innovative wireless operator offering services to poor rural villages in Bangladesh.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Free Things Are Nice...

...like the Motorola RAZR V3. My current two year Verizon contract expires in a couple of months, and to entice their customers to sign up for another two years, they're offering a discount of $100 off any upgraded phone of your choice. At the moment they're offering the razr for $99! I've desired this phone since it was HOT on the market two years back, and being sold for something like $400!

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

My Car: Brought Back To Life...

I was driving home from work the other day, cruising along at about 25 miles an hour, when my car suddenly lost all power!! The car went dead and totally unresponsive. Luckily I was driving on a semi busy avenue, and was able to roll to the side of the road. I was a little surprised since I bought the car brand new back in 2001. Thanks to my car insurer G.E.I.C.O., there was a towtruck there within 45 minutes. Thank god I only needed a jump start to get me going.

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

Good-bye Virtual Bank, It Was Nice Knowing You...

Several months back I opened two virtual bank money market accounts on behalf of my wife and I. At the time I was taking advantage of the high interest rate, and $20 sign up fee. Alas, the 4.60% interest rate has been left behind in the dust, and all of my referrals aren't as popular as they used to be. I didn't like that the money I had sitting in the accounts was earning a lower rate. So for now, that'll leave us with 5 savings accounts, and one checking account...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December Net Worth Snapshot...

What a difference a day makes, or in our case, 30 days. Thanks to 5 pay periods this month, it's partially a record net worth. Our net worth increased 5.56%, for a record dollar total of $6,937.36. Due to a mistake I made when opening our new E-loan savings account, we missed the percentage record by .01%. It seems I stated on our application that we're subject to federal tax withholding, which meant they took out a few bucks out of our savings this month. But after a quick phone call and e-mail, that should hopefully be corrected by next month.

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...