December 2007

2145040288_df02530170.jpgThe best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. And that might well be the best way to tackle 2008. This year is almost over and while it’s a time of festivities, a look back may be a good idea if you’re thinking of some forward financial planning for 2008’s bills.

But you don’t need to resort to blaming yourself for what you could have saved if you had handled your expenditure more wisely. Crying over spilled milk isn’t only a negative way to start a new year, but also it gives you no recourse to whatever has been spent, lent or accumulated on your credit card bills.

A better way is to assess the damage or where you stand on your finances, and think of how to move forward. Even if you’re dragging a heavy load from 2007, just be clear about how much and to whom.

But keeping a positive attitude doesn’t mean that you should sit back and relax. Remember like everyone else, your bills are meant to increase in 2008 because of inflation, rent increases, your own growing needs, etc. So try to have a rough assessment of such increases and possible extra income as well. Then grab a notepad and a pencil to draft a budget for at least six months.

When you set your liabilities, income and estimated expenses side by side you should be able to see on paper where and how you’ll settle the 2007 debts, pay your new bills and be able to put aside some savings. If you cannot detect such a point in the coming six months, now you need to be alarmed. So what may have gone wrong?

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benazir.jpgStocks fell in Thursday after the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and after the Commerce Department reported a weak increase in durable goods orders. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 100 points.

Bhutto’s assassination raised the possibility of increasing political unrest abroad, always an unsettling prospect for investors. Oil and gold prices rose following the news.

Witnesses said a man fired at Bhutto from close range, quickly followed by an explosion that the government said was caused by a suicide attacker. At least a dozen more people were killed in the attack.

Meanwhile, the government said orders for durable goods — big-ticket items from commercial jetliners to home appliances — rose by just 0.1 percent last month. Economists had been looking for a rise of 2.2 percent. Still, November saw the first rise in durable goods orders in the last four months.

The notion that the economy is slowing was also unnerving for the market.

The Labor Department said the number of workers seeking unemployment benefits showed a surprise increase last week. Applications filed for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 1,000 to 349,000. Economists had expecting the figure would fall to around 340,000 for last week.

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01317-0med.jpgFrom knowing the business you are getting into to having some “fun money” to invest with, here are some tips on getting into Stocks and Bonds.

The stock market is something we read about daily, the exchanges from New York, London, Paris, Tokyo as well as places like Bombay and Shanghai. For many investing in the stock market is an unfathomable move and it’s unclear how to begin.

Tons and tons have been written on the methods and strategies of investing in the stock market and websites to get you started in the right direction. A good stock broker can advise you on putting together a portfolio reflecting your needs whether for conservative investment or ready for a certain amount of risk.

People like billionaire Warren Buffet cautions against investing in businesses you don’t understand. If you wish to invest in individual stocks, make sure you thoroughly understand each company those stocks represent. Another option is to get into exchange-trade funds or mutual funds, letting the fund management worry about buying into or selling off a portfolio of stocks.

When putting your capital into one or more companies, you need to keep your expectations realistic in regards to the length, time and growth that each stock will encounter. Some investments require time to produce long term gains so a sort of panic buying and selling can be disastrous.

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For a long time the meaning of giftedness has been restricted to the rigid confines of achievement and accomplishment. Academic toppers are, and should be entitled to their share of glory, but in the process of lauding top scorers and scholarship winners we may be crowding out those who actually have advanced and complex patterns of development but just don’t fit the system’s definition of ‘top students’.

Characteristics of gifted individuals: If 75 per cent of the following 37 characteristics fit you, you are probably a gifted adult.
Are you a good problem solver?
Can you concentrate for long periods of time?
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you persevere with your interests?
Are you an avid reader?
Do you have a vivid imagination?
Do you enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles?
Often connect seemingly unrelated ideas?
Do you enjoy paradoxes?
Do you set high standards for yourself?
Do you have a good long-term memory?
Are you deeply compassionate?
Do you have persistent curiosity?
Do you have a good sense of humor?

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credit-cards_69.jpgYour first reaction when you hear discussion about Credit Cards and debt tells you that debt is bad and should be avoided. Well, credit cards or any type of debt are really just a financial tool, and when used properly, can be very beneficial.

For example, how many people could save up hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a home with cash? It can be done, but it might take a few decades to reach that goal. Instead, by borrowing money you can use leverage to make the purchase now instead of waiting.

When you Apply for a Credit Card it is always advisable to search, compare and select for the right Credit card suitable to your needs. One of the most costly mistakes you can make with credit cards is getting into the habit of only paying the minimum amount due each month. While the minimum amount may be affordable; it will also cost you more money in the long run.It is easy to get into the habit of making only the minimum payments. They are low and it can free up cash flow for other areas of your finances. Unfortunately, paying the minimum can be very costly as demonstrated above. Even a very low balance can cost you more in interest and take over a decade to repay.

Compound this problem with multiple credit cards and higher balances and you can see why it can be so difficult to get out of debt.Credit cards do have their place in business just as they do in personal finance. They are a convenient way to make purchases and potentially receive cash back or other rewards. What you have to realize is that you should treat a Business Credit Cards just like you would a personal card. Only charge what you can afford to pay back, keep interest rates low, and make payments on time.

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fotolia_3915556_womantime1.jpgIf you find yourself complaining too regularly about ‘pressure on your time’, it may be the moment to step back and try to interpret this repeated signal that seems to be flashing up an alarm. Usually just means time is controlling you.

The popular phrase ‘not enough hours in the day’ is a particular giveaway. You definitely need reminding that all hours aren’t equal. They vary widely in their effectiveness – so much so, that time management has become a formal study, keenly encouraged in corporate life. One half of time management is just ordinary good housekeeping. You look around the office and find a lot of ways you can achieve small-time savings. The coffee-machine could be closer to where most people sit, allowing shorter journeys.

Those big files could do with a bit of sorting out, to speed up the routine paperwork. Maybe put up a notice discouraging long phone calls, etc. No doubt this all adds up.

But the other half of time management focuses right in on the dynamics of time itself. And under analysis, you find that there are two completely distinct kinds of working time, which literally fight.

One of them is control time, where you control the duration of the job. The other is response time, where you react to interruptions which control you. Let’s take a typical example of control time and response time in conflict.

Two managers are working separately on a major report, which requires concentration, but are also having to allow time for dialogue with the rest of the department.

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mentalking1.jpgIn years of answering people’s questions about investing, I’ve come to classify two major sources of problems: One, investing without thinking enough, and two, thinking too much about investments. We all know at least a few hypochondriacs who continuously suspect themselves to be suffering from dangerous illnesses and require frequent visits to specialists and get exotic medical tests done to allay their fears.

Similarly, there are a vast number of investment hypochondriacs who suspect their asset portfolios to be suffering from some dangerous disease. Generally, they believe that this disease can only be diagnosed by having a specialist examine the portfolio and test it by applying exotic formulae that will perform some magical analysis. Somewhat like its medical version, investment hypochondria, too, is encouraged by these specialists who claim to detect and cure exotic diseases suffered by investment portfolios.

One of the most popular type of diseases in this field is a faulty asset allocation. Many people are worried sick about whether their investment portfolios have the correct amount of money allocated to debt and equity. Periodically, I get asked about what the formula for calculating asset allocation is and sometimes I’m actually asked this not by a patient but by a budding specialist.

The problem, of course, is that there is no formula, nor can there ever be. Asset allocation is just a fancy term for investing according to your needs.

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22617456.jpgA credit card is a system of payment named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. A credit card is different from a debit card in that it does not remove money from the user’s account after every transaction. In the case of credit cards, the issuer lends money to the consumer (or the user) to be paid to the merchant.

We all want credit card deals that offer great value! If you are one of those people who quite rightly want the best financial deals at their fingertips right now then have we got the site for you! There is everything from credit cards to mortgages to home insurance! About your money boasts to be the best financial comparison site on the Internet, but does it live up to its promises or fall flat on its face?

The site itself is highly organized and extremely accessible. You can literally lay your hands on anything you want from anywhere is the site within a matter of seconds, from interest free credit cards to home insurance quotes, which is something that cannot be said about the majority of comparison sites!

You can jump from balance transfer interest free credit cards to the home insurance best buys table in one click of the mouse, and find great deals on both! In fact, it seems that you can find great deals on all of the pages on the site. There is not one category that lets the site down so whatever you happen to be looking for; you are pretty much guaranteed to find it!

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world-bank.jpgYesterday, the World Bank reported that the US has lost its status as the largest donor to the Bank’s main fund for poor countries, as Britain secured a record amount of aid with a pledge of increased funding.

Britain pledged $4.2 billion for the period from July 2008 through June 2011, after negotiations that began in March in Paris and ended with two rounds of talks in Berlin.

What does it mean to the US? Firstly, losing its position as the top donor could weaken Washington‘s influence over the World Bank, which is the largest provider of development assistance to poor countries, and over policies that determine the cash flow.

The US pledged a very substantial contribution but is now down to second place after Britain,

A total of 45 donor countries, the highest number ever, promised a record total of $25.1bn at the Berlin talks, with a further $16.5bn coming from the bank and previous donor pledges. The total of $41.6bn represents an increase of $9.5bn over the previous funding period and will support around 80 countries, with a focus on African countries.

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He survived against all the odds; now Peng Shulin has astounded doctors by learning to walk again.When his body was cut in two by a lorry in 1995, it was little short of a Medical miracle that he lived. It took a team of nearly 20 doctors to save his life.


Skin was grafted from his head to seal his torso – but the legless Mr Peng was left only 78cm (2ft 6in) tall. Bedridden for years, doctors in China had little hope that he would ever be able to live anything like a normal life again.

I know what you are thinking now, “Well Mr Robin Bal, what’s all this got to do with Personal Finance, Investing, Debt Elimination etc.” A LOT, go on continue reading, get the message.

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