No Need For Financially Aware Consumers

Between the housing slump and the effect of globalization, U.S. economy is highly dependent and driven by consumer spending based on data from the first half of the year. Why did I bring this up? We people who blog about personal finance have often mention the need to teach financial awareness. This is especially true after looking at the lowest American savings rate in ages. People should educate themselves about personal finance to be financially ready for the future, to be able to take care of the inevitable parts of life concerning personal finance…

But then, I think those business people (I’ll call them “the man” from here) don’t want people to be so financially aware…

“The man” don’t want us to understand to figure out lesser deals that means bigger profit margin for them.
“The man” don’t want us to be frugal.
“The man” don’t want us to have budgets.
“The man” want us to put all our money into their pockets!

I know. I know. It’s a bit “conspiracy-theory-ish”, but after all, the economy is ESPECIALLY depending on consumers’ spending these days.

Just a thought.

Originally posted 2007-06-29 00:47:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Importance of Personal Finance

I struggled if I want to start this category here, feeling it will get too cluttered up with too many topics going on at the same time. However, I came to the conclusion that it is important to share about this part of my life also, just as important as joy, thoughts, singing… Well, I do not intend to blog so much about it like the guys doing at My Money Blog or PF Blog, nor do I have the knowledge and experience as many other people already blogging about their finance for a long time but I have to start somewhere :P I intend to share whatever I find interesting and useful from stuffs I read, and here’s a start.

As intro…

At the age of 23, I realized how important it is these days to know how to manage our own finance. Thanks to encouragement from a family member, I have started to monitor, control, and learn more and more about the topic since around when I graduate from undergrad. My interest is definitely enhanced by my situation of having to afford school and living independently. Now closer to my graduation, with the haunt of student loan and car loan, and seeing the insecure retirement future from a normal corporate career and a financially struggling goverment, it is ever more important to take control, learn how to take care of my money, how to spend less of it, and make more of it. To do so, I am learning from other people blogging about it, from other online resources, and from books on personal finance and investment. Piggy needs financial freedom to have a good life :)

As a reminder to myself, my current goal is to rid myself of those pesty loans and to accumulate enough to buy a place called my own in recent future.

To start out with, here are two reward cards that I use frequently these days. Neither of them has annual fees:

  • Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card for College StudentsThis is probably the best card for a college student. Earn 5 points from restaurants, bookstores (and guess what, Amazon is considered bookstore), record/rental stores, and theathers. This equates to 5% cash back if you get their $100 giftcards or even a higher % if you wait for promotions. It also earn points for paying on time each month and having good GPA twice a year .
  • Citi Dividend CardEarn 2% cash back at gas station, grocery, and pharmacy. Earn 1% on all other purchases.

For more details on the cards, click on the links. You can combine the mtvU card with a Citi checking and e-saving accounts that earns Thank You points for using services, like direct deposits, online bill pay, etc.

Originally posted 2006-10-30 22:56:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

HSBC whooping 6% saving…and the catch?

HEADS UP!
So the online saving rate war is back! HSBC is now offering 6% APY until April 30th 2007 but…there’s always a catch.

This deal only works on so-called “new” money which is basically any money you deposit between Jan 29-April 30. So in the end, I’d say you will only make a few extra bucks (in the sub-100k category) if you already have a 5% saving account somewhere. Especially since it’s only a 3 months deal from now. And then also due to the slow transaction time that will cause a loss of interest return on the days between money is moved and then there’s taxation. And if you have 100k+? You probably should be think about putting some of that money into funds/stocks portfolio anyways (or buy a house, do something w/ them plz) and won’t have 100k+ in saving :P

So I would say it’s not worth it, for the little gain and the hassle. Again, HSBC has very slow transaction from personal experience. It’s just another strategy to draw some new money/customers.

Originally posted 2007-01-28 03:50:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

My Personal Finance Decluttering – Bye Bye Student Loan

Following my recent mortgage refinance, I also bit my teeth and paid off the student loan debt that I carried since I graduated in 2006.

I had to “bite my teeth” because of the amount of savings I’m giving up to get rid of these debt, especially on top of the chunk of saving I put away in the refinance process. My rationale…

For the longest time, because the student loan is sitting at a low 3.5% rate, I considered it as cheap money and was going to pay it down slowly over the year.

However, even as I was paying it slowly monthly, I was putting in 20-30 bucks extra each payment to help dwindle the loan amount down faster. As a result, I saw the amount sitting around $3000.

There is a story about a philosophy teacher that talks about how we can see our life as a bottle with the important things as large stone pieces we put in it and the trivial stuff as small pieces of sand.

Because the loan is sitting at just $3000, and by principle, it’s “cheap money” and money is better in your own pocket… I decided that keeping this loan is like having more pieces of sand than necessary. For my peace of mind and not having to keep track of it anymore, I made the jump to pay it off.

As a result, my only real loan left is my mortgage (because I’m paying off my credit cards monthly). Perhaps I’m simply risk-averse or financially conservative, but in this day and age where employment is not quite guaranteed and work environment unstable, it is important to reduce debt to provide yourself the flexibility and option to consider other opportunities. In short, the less fixed cost in your cash flow, the better.

Plus, the less things the mind has to keep track of, the less chance of making mistakes that may cost money. Therefore, being thoughtful in minimizing debt and reduce debt cannot be stressed enough because of how easily costs can snowball!

At any rate, I can forget making that student loan payment each month now, and that gives me more space in the mind… which by itself, is priceless.

Originally posted 2013-01-04 23:42:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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