Archive for the ‘finance’ Category

h1

Only the Middle Class Pays Taxes

August 14, 2008

I am slowly starting to realize that only the middle class pays taxes in the United States The big problem in this country is that the middle class continues to shrink and considering our countries deficit we will not be able to sustain ourselves much longer. Let me elaborate why they end up paying most of the taxes.

As fair warning some of the things being said in this article may offend quite a few people, so if you disagree feel free to comment.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Poker is the Best Game Ever

March 10, 2008

I have always been a mild fan of poker, but recently it seems to have grown to a new level. I remember the first time I played poker was with in my buddies basement when we were like 15. We did not have poker chips or a poker table so we had to use pennies to keep track of who owed what. I remember I got my ass handed to me because we played “dealer calls.” I was still a beginner and my friends would throw around every type of poker game variation possible including “stud” and “guts” along with crazy wild card games that messed up my odds calculations. Each game had its own nuance and strategy which made it really tough to get a good grasp on the game.

Over time I watched poker popularity sky rocket. I think the biggest thing that pushed poker to a new level was online poker. I remember hearing of friends making thousands of dollars playing all night in these poker rooms. I did not have the same luck as them. Maybe it was the lack of real people, or real chips, but it did not feel like a real game. I missed the smell of cigars and cigarettes, and eying your openest down, hoping they would crack. Maybe I just sucked and needed to practice more. Either way I started to follow the Bet Anywhere blog to see what is happening with online poker. Apparently now you can even bet on sports games from your cellphone. Maybe I will have better luck with my cellphone than my computer ๐Ÿ˜‰

What do you think whats your experience with poker?

h1

Funny Craiglist Posts: Gold Digger vs Investment Banker

October 18, 2007

So one of my friends forwarded me a set of posts he found from Craigslist in New York. I decided it was time to share this post with you nice folks. It is basically a gold digger from New York who put a personal ad where she claims shes gorgeous and refuses to marry a man who makes less than half a million. Reading this may aggravate you, but trust me the rebuttal by the investment banker will make you feel much better. Here is the gold digger vs investment banker craigslist posting in its entirety.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

The Art of Bargaining Cars Hotels and Furniture

August 9, 2007

I have recently taken a pretty big step and decided to move cross country from the East Coast to California. Bargaining for cars, hotels, furniture, etc saved me thousands of dollars. My father, either because he is OCD or genius, had taught and continues to teach me the finer points of bartering. In order to make this journey without loosing much money here are the things that I learned along the trip.

First lets start with buying a new car, since I was driving across the country. There are a few things you should know to get a great deal on a car. Do not pay MSRP, even if the dealer is telling you the demand is up you have to play mind games. Remember dealer’s salary is usually based on quota, so for him “the sale” is very important and many times they are willing to get you a great deal as long as you act uninterested and show that you have done significant research. I suggest reading Car Buying Tips whose advice helped me save 2,500 on a new car (mazda 3).

On my drive across the US I realized that hotels run another scam. Here is a great tip for last minute reservations, if you have a lap top. Pull up to the hotel and get on their wireless connection. The password is usually something to do with the hotel, the name, the town, etc. Once on log on their website, most hotels have great deals if you book on-line. If that fails you can always try www.hotels.com which also give you great deals. You can also call the front desk and say you found a deal on-line and quote them 30% under what they advertise. Don’t name the source just say your in a hurry, but remembered seeing it. Usually they wont be able to match but say if you sign right now they will give you a 25% discount.

I recently bought a new bed and was able to get a 1200 dollar bed for 700 (w/tax and delivery). I was fortunate in that I was patient with the employee who was helping another customer. After BSing with her she spilled most of the trade secrets to me. First, a lot of the furniture stores are owned by the same owner, but have different names. The same mattress can have different names in different stores and therefore cost drastically different. A pillow top (if bought separately) will cost you up to 50% less, so don’t buy into the whole plush craze. Make sure that you do not get the the “floor model.” The way to bargain beds and furniture is to come in later in the day an hour before they close and try to get a reasonable quote. Leave the store and call back after half an hour and say you found a better deal but want the money to go towards the other salesperson can they match. Also do not let them BS you about the taxes. For example one store told me the tax in CA was 11.5% and the other said it was 8.5% and another said it was 20%. Your only interest is the out the door price with delivery and tax included.

Sometimes bargaining seems like a pain in the ass, but its an art and is more fun then you think. Best part about it when you know that you got a great deal you do not experience the usual buyers remorse that comes with making large purchases. As long as you do not have ridiculous expectations and try to be fair the end result should be a win-win situation. You get a great deal and the salesperson gets a sale.

You can also read my other article on How to Negotiate Salary During Annual Review.

Happy bargaining and bartering!

h1

Financial Advisors Are Scam Artist

July 9, 2007

I have a whole slew or problems with the Insurance Industry as a whole, but for now I want to stick ot one thing that has been bothering me for some time. Financial Advisors rip you off every chance they get. In a previous article Ameriprise: Recruiter Secrets I discussed how my past experience turned me on to the world of Financial Advising, or as I like to call it “modern day car salesmen.”

Finally my views are ligitimized and if you want to read an in depth article check out the NY Times: Elderly Exploited by Financial Advisors . With the baby boomers about to retire everyone is jumping to help them into their transition to retirement. I do not know about you but I view my retirement as a peaceful time with few stresses as I travel and enjoy my remaining time on earth with friends and family. However, with this new demographic comes a lot of money and so all the slime come out of the craqks to try and exploit the elderly.

Of course there are legitimate Financial Advisors but they are very rare. You no longer can trust Certificates as they are fairly easy to obtain. As long as you can juggle a few fractions and percentages you will eventually pass all the licences you need to start selling financial services. And then it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, you buy a nice suit, throw out impressive terms, and people will throw money at you as long as you promise them security in their old age.

The problem is incentives. The insurance industry is not sufficiently self regulating. As long as they hand out certificates as a business they continue to grow and profit. They really are nothing but middle men that claim to help you but individual financial advisors profit from moves that most likely are not beneficial for you.

There is a site called Motley Fool that had helped me open my eyes “somewhat” to how you are better off investing on your own then listening to anyone else. There is a also a site that doesn’t have any incentive to try to cheat people out of money called Flip Side Invest which hopefully will continue in its path to helping people more knowledgable in their investing and saving practices.

If you want to learn how to trade stocks the best thing to do is join an online stock game .

h1

Time to Sell Your Stocks Short: New SEC Ruling

June 19, 2007

EC Rule will kill the tick test, which makes it easier to be short on your stocks.

Why is this important and why was this rule ever in place?

The 1929 stock market crash almost destroyed the world economy. The rules were in place to protect against this disaster, but at the same time they limitted what investors can do.

Recently these regulations have been reviewed and often changed. You know the average joe didn’t read the financial times so its time to short sell the hell out of your positions that you feel confident are going down.

You can read more about this at FlipSide Invest.

h1

Ameriprise: secrets from a recruiter

June 10, 2007

Know what you are getting into before you go to interview. Ameriprise is nothing but a glorified pyramid scheme. They were once knows as American Express Financial Advisors, but American Express had to drop them because their practices were hurting their brand name. You can read the full post at FlipSide Invest.

“As a recruiter I literally scoured online job boards for resumes. It did not matter what the resume said all I needed was a name and a Phone Number of someone who was looking for work. Experience, background, education, none of that mattered. I also did my research and when I heard of layoffs I would jump at the opportunity knowing that these desperate souls would come in to office.

Here is the breakdown of the recruiting. I would call about 100 to 200 people a night and of those who picked up about 20% would say they would come in. Of those half actually showed up for phase one, a simple test you take on the computer to measure your core competency. Half would then go to phase two, where you were set up on a mock phone call to see how well you can sell over the phone. And half would create a marketing plan, basically you fill out a form with all your family and friends contact information (which gets used by the Ameriprise).

The career breakdown is as follows. You get promised six figures within two years based on some ridiculous statistics. Here is the secret, if you do not bring enough new clients you get fired, and those people are not counted towards the figures they use. Another ridiculous thing about Ameriprise, you have to pay out of pocket to pass the Series 6 and 7, and in some states Life and Health exams. Amerirpise only pays you back if you pass all the tests in less than six months. So there are a lot of people who waste a lot of time and money and cannot move on because they feel like they already invested so much and get trapped by Amerirpise.

The advisors get paid based on fees and most importantly commissions. The commissions are only made once the quota is met for the month. One advisor told me that some months he was making under minimum wage for the hours spent working. Imagine not making quote for the month and itโ€™s the 3rd week already. Believe it or not sometimes the advisors get so desperate that they charge themselves for consulting fees in order to make quota for the month. ”

Here are the attributes of a successful financial advisor for Ameriprise:

  • Committing 70+ hours a week for the next 4 years
  • Being able to look an elderly person in the eyes knowing they are throwing hteir money away
  • Being able to win peoples trust through deception and fakery
  • Only priority in life is to make a lot of money for yourself

I also found this great website with a lot more about Ameriprise and great resources for alternatives AmerirpiseSuck.

If you really want to waste your time just go play an online stocks game, but don’t go to a so called expert because he took you to a free lunch.