Archive for March 2008

Dividend Dollar Daily Round Up

March 27, 2008

The Round Up

For those of you who don’t know what your asset allocation should look like, The Dividend Guy has a good post about possibly modelling your asset allocation after pension plans.

Dividends4Life has a funny post about one spouse being frugal and the other being the spender.

Shareholders of the dividend paying company BCE will like to hear that the CRTC has approved the takeover of BCE. There are some conditions that have to be met though.

Plasma Persecution

March 27, 2008

I want a plasma tv!

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You’re probably wondering what wanting a plasma tv has to do with personal finance? Well, a lot actually. It relates to our spending habits, our wants vs needs, instant gratification, savings, budgeting etc.

I want a plasma tv and i want one bad! I have wanted one for a very long time, and thus far have been able to resist the urge to buy one. What this really comes down to for me is a need vs want. Do i need a nice new high-def large screen plasma tv? No. Do i want one? Yes!

Now there are several different ways to look at this. I watch tv and enjoy watching movies, so having a new big plasma would add value to something i enjoy. Plus the tv I have now is an old 27″ CRT that doesn’t have a great picture, but it gets the job done. On the other hand, if i bought the tv then it would be just a matter of time before i would be wanting the new sound system to go with it. Instead of looking at the $2500 for the new tv, my cost would balloon to who knows how much (I like to buy good quality stuff, not low end cheap stuff). I do have money sitting in an account (got the saving part right) which i could use to pay for the tv, so i wouldn’t have to put it on credit. That money is for investments though and not meant for pleasure purchases.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is having the self discipline to not buy a new high-def plasma and use that money for investments instead. One possible solution to my dilemma would be to put aside, say, $100/mth until i can pay for the tv. That would take a long time though (instant gratification – another thing we all struggle with). What i am really scared of, is that i will one day break down and buy the tv even though my money is for investments and i don’t really need a new tv. I have made it this long without buying one, so I’m hoping i have the will power to resist.

To say this isn’t tormenting me would be a lie. I just hope I’m not on here next week having to admit that i gave into my wants and instant gratification urge. Wish me luck, i think I’m gonna need it!

In case you’re interested, this is the tv I’m looking at.

Why We Want You to Be Rich: My Thoughts

March 26, 2008

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I recently finished reading the book Why We Want You to Be Rich by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki. My reason for reading this book, as with any financial book, was to see if i could learn anything new for my investing future. I was also looking to see if i could gain any insight as to how these men think and invest.

This is the first book i have read from Donald Trump and the second I have read from Robert Kiyosaki. Having read Rich Dad, Poor Dad this book feels very much like it was Robert Kiyosaki’s baby and it expounds his thoughts and ideas. It’s as if Mr. Trump was handed each chapter after Mr. Kiyosaki had written and asked to add his two cents to what Mr. K had to say. This is a shame to me, as i think most readers would like to have more insight into Donald Trump and the way he thinks (maybe i just need to read another of Mr. Trump’s books).

The premise of the book is that they think the American economy is in dire straights and they want you to be rich so you can be part of the solution and not part of the problem. They then proceed to talk about the 3 types of investors and that you should be the third kind of investor (winning investor). The third part of the book talks about what each of them learned from different people and events in their lives. I found this part of the book to be the most interesting, as it gives the reader insight into some of the lessons that these rich men have learned and how we can apply them to our own lives. The last part of the book they give advice to people at different stages of their lives. They also talk about why they like real estate and owning their own businesses.

My one big complaint with the book is Robert Kiyosaki’s constant slam against stocks and other investments. Can a dividend growth stock (or other stocks for that matter) not be a good investment? It is like he is saying there is only one right way to make money ie. real estate and owning a business. Otherwise you are not a winning investor – you are a loser.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, I feel my time would have been better spent reading something else. Although the book gave me insight into how they think, i don’t think it reimbursed me enough for the time spent reading it. It could have been a lot shorter and more concise. Borrow or buy?

Borrow.

Dividend Dollar Daily Round Up

March 26, 2008

The Round Up

Not really financial news, but this story about Bell throttling speeds of 3rd party internet providers could possibly affect you.

A lost decade of investing?

The Dividend Guy talks about what the band Nine Inch Nails taught him about investing.

This article from John Heinzl at the Globe and Mail talks about how Canadians are on a spending bender and Americans are saving their pennies.

Give Me Back My Five Bucks has a real life example of resisting the urge to shop. I think we have all been there before!

Warren Buffett’s Words of Wisdom

March 25, 2008

Warren Buffett is the world’s richest man (worth $62 billion…yes, that’s billion) and it would probably serve us well to listen to some of his wisdom that he espouses every year. He is actually quite entertaining too, with comments like, “You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out – and what we are witnessing at some of our largest financial institutions is an ugly sight”. I think we can all learn something from the world’s greatest investor and how his mind thinks by reading his annual letter to shareholders.

To that end, there is a new link in the Other Sites of Interest section directing you to Warren Buffett’s yearly letter to shareholders. Definitely time well spent.

Dividend Dollar Daily Round Up

March 24, 2008

The Round Up

Gavin Graham wrote an article about how Canadian banks are oversold.

Tyler over at Dividend Money had a novel way to make some money while in college. Any college or university students would find this particularly interesting.

As someone who is looking to purchase their first home, I found this article about “Even More Reasons Not To Trust Your Real Estate Agent” from Quest for Four Pillars very interesting.

Should I Get a New Credit Card?

March 24, 2008

I recently came across a post on cash back credit cards over at MillionDollarJourney. He also has a follow up here. RedFlagDeals also has a good comparison of rewards cards which is worth a look.

It got me to thinking that maybe i should get a new credit card and ditch the old one. I currently have a Scotia Value Visa with a fairly low interest rate of 11.4%. However, i pay an annual fee of $29 for this low interest rate. This was fine when i was carrying $5000 balances month after month as the annual fee easily paid for itself with the savings on interest. Now though, i have no credit card debt and pay off any balance every month.

So my rationale is to get rid of the Scotia card as i am now wasting $29 a year for something that is not providing any benefit. I would then get one of the cash back cards that pay cold hard cash in exchange for using it. I like the idea of getting actual cash back in my pocket, and then i can choose how to spend it. I realize that some of the other rewards cards pay a slightly higher percentage payout, but those rewards don’t appeal to me as much as cash.

There is one little hiccup. Actually two. I do not own my own place and am looking to do so in the near future. So i am hesitant to get a new credit card which would affect my credit score some. This could in turn affect the interest rate i would have to pay on a mortgage. I know i have a good credit score but don’t want to mess with it until after having bought a place.

The second hiccup is that i would be a little worried i would actually spend more on my cash back credit card than normal just for the benefit of the extra cash i would get back. This actually happened once before when i had a GM Visa with a certain percentage going toward a new vehicle. I paid for everything with my GM Visa and did not pay attention to how much money was flowing out of my pocket. So if i were to get a new cash back card i would have to be very careful and extremely vigilant about not spending more than what i need to.

The Bottom Line

For now i think i will hold off on the new credit card until i have obtained a mortgage. Once i have the mortgage (and lots more debt to boot) then i will get the new credit card and cancel the current one. Food for thought.