Thursday, May 28, 2009

Complete Idiot's Guide To P2p Lending

I recently received the "Complete Idiot's Guide to Person-to-Person Lending" by Curtis E. Arnold and Beverly Blair Harzog. I found the book to be a very informative introduction to the new phenomenon known as person-to-person (p2p) lending. The book is broken into 4 parts, the basics of person-to-person lending, prime-time players in the P2P marketplace, borrowing money, and lending money.

The basic concept as described in the book was what I thought everyone on the net already knew. But, sometimes I think everyone knows, just because I do. That of course isn't always true. P2P is a simple concept. If you are a lender, you choose borrowers who you want to help. There is no bank involved, it is just simply people lending to other people. Say someone wants to borrow $1,000. One person can bid (in a sort of auction format) to loan them the money or 20 people can put in $50 each to the loan the person the $1,000. The site that you use, acts as the transfer agent (and help keeps everyone's names private). The site also acts as the collection agent, if that become necessary.

I mentioned bid, because each of the lenders say how much they are willing to loan to an individual and at what interest rate(depending on the particular borrowers published credit rank). The lower collective interest rates will be the borrowers interest rate, while the winning lender(s) receive interest on the amount they loaned.

There is some differences, between each of the p2p players. To many in fact to to list here, besides it would be a disservice to the books authors, if I spelled it out for you. Instead, I will list the various players (according to the book) and recommend that you buy the book )or borrow it from your local library).

So who are the players?

  1. is probably the best known of all the players.
  2.'s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. However lenders don't earn interest on their money, so this is totally lending from your heart. is also a 501c3 non-profit.

  10. Before reading this book, I had no idea there was so many players in the P2P market. In fact, the above 9 aren't all of them. There are 2 more players that are geared to student loans. Although some of the above websites also have student loan offerings, but loan payments start immediately.
  11. has a deferred payment option, which requires a monthly $25 "good faith" payment. Another option is the interest only option, while you are in school. Either way the interest may be deductible as it is an educational expense.

  12. also specializes in student loans.

Over all, I found the book to be very informative and have no problem recommending my readers to read this book also. It will be a valuable reference book in my financial library. One that I will be sure to use as I move closer to investing some of my money through such p2p lending.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Guide to New Credit Card Rules

The New York Times E-mail This

Message from sender:
I found a video, that gives very detailed information on the credit card bill of rights that passed last week. Take a look.

YOUR-MONEY | December 31, 1969
Video Library Player: Guide to New Credit Card Rules
New York Times columnist Ron Lieber finds that there is some cause for concern in the sweeping credit card legislation that passed the Senate on Tuesday.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

NUSA Conference - Friday

Traffic Safety

One of the ways the founder of "Keep Kids Safe, Drive 25," suggested in areas where there is a school zone on a highway (or other fast paced major through fare) to use a punctuated decrease in speed zones. Another wards, goes from 50 to 40 to 30 as you approach the 20 mph school zone.

In Kansas we have a 30 mph speed zone, but there has been studies between states with 25 (like Nebraska) and states with 30, and what they have found is that five miles of speed makes a difference in pedestrian fatalities. In fact there are 3 times the number of deaths in 30 mph zones as opposed to 25.

A speed study with the Omaha PD in the speakers neighborhood the average speed in a 25 mph zone was 31, with the slowest person only going 17.

In Oceanside, CA, they went to the cities worst neighborhood (for speeding) and placed yard signs in peoples yards. The friendly reminders reduced the average speed by 16%. That average speed before the study was 38 in a 25.

In Oro Valley, AZ, where they have curbside trash pickup (as opposed to alley) placed stickers on the side of the trash cans. So that, every time, the cans were set out by the curb, there was a friendly reminder for drivers to check their speed.

Something else, that has been learned is that often times public works makes safety changes, by only looking at it from a public works example. In one example, they changed streets around a neighborhood to one way. The problem occurred, when there was a fire and the fire truck couldn't get in, because a tunnel leader into the neighborhood was to low. So they had to take 3 extra minutes, to drive around to another entrance. So when these safety changes are made, everyone from the community, to the police and fire departments need to be involved and working with public works, so the issue is seen from all viewpoints.

Greener is Cheaper and More profitable

Creating Land use plans and sticking to them.

This should include mixed use buildings (commercial on lower with residential upstairs. Or in residential neighborhoods, shopping (Grocery, coffee shops, bakery, etc) should be within walking distance (about 2 blocks).

Multi-Modal transportation should be used to. Multi-Modal would allow all forms of transportation, no mater if it's pedestrian, bicycle, mass transit (rail, bus, etc) or car. Commercial buildings should be close to the street. If a wide open parking lot separates the street from the building, it makes that business very pedestrian unfriendly and very auto friendly.

Smart growth in these ways, is better for the community, because it costs less. It's better for developers because they can charge more. And most importantly, better overall because transportation costs less.

Something else, our cities need to stop growing out and taking over (building up on) farmland (stop swallowing up farmland). Instead we need to build in closer together (again lowering transportation and other costs) and save our farmland (so we can grow our foods).

In addition, green roofs are a great use of these high-density buildings to. Especially, if the tenants are using them to raise their own produce.

One building that was pointed out to me during the neighborhood pride tours (revitalization of downtown) was an abandoned Good Year Tire shop. It is being converted into a farmers market and when done will include their own garden on the roof to grow some of the produce that they will sell. The building will be designed so that the farmers market in be both inside and outside.

Another building was the old steam plant, that has been renovated into a little mall. To preserve the historic nature of the building, all of the original equipment was left in place. Old boilers were cleaned of asbestos, and serve as dinning rooms for the several restaurants and micro-brewer that call the converted plant home.

- Kevin Surbaugh

Friday, May 22, 2009

NUSA Conference - Thursday

The morning session I attended was planning for "Energy Security and Climate Change." The session, didn't leave me with much. All I could think was, how do I take this back to my neighborhood and community. I will have to check out the website, they gave and perhaps, I can learn a little something. That website was
The afternoon session was much better. There was three speakers, but most of it was questions and answers. With two of the speakers, both of whom spoke for the Electric & water company here in Spokane (Avista). They gave an 800 phone number and said they would be happy to answer any of our questions. I will share that with our neighborhood leaders after I get back to Topeka.

The session was titled, Implementing innovative Energy Efficiency Initiatives, and the website they gave for more information was,

What keeps the utility company from raising rates, because they are losing revenue, because of the reduction of energy use (that they are encouraging their customers to do)?

Decoupling. Something that even President Obama has encouraged. Which, separates the delivery from the energy use, which forces the energy companies to find lower costs of energy production. If a company doesn't do this voluntarily, they will probably be forced to by the government.
- Tom Lienhard
Devices that can help reduce energy usage?
1. Wrapping your water heater in an insulating blanket.
2. Surge protectors - is another great way to reduce energy.

A lot of digital equipment (stereos, TV's, computers, etc) or anything with a display, light or some form of memory will use energy all the time while plugged in. If those devices were plugged into surge protectors, you can turn the strip off and reduce your energy bill.
- Camille Martin
What about using battery powered devices instead of electrical?

Use of batteries would be way more expensive. Battery power would translate into about $5 per kilowatt hour (KWH), whereas electrical devices would only be (depending on your local area) about 7 cents/kWh.
- Tom Lienhard

Avista also will conduct energy audits at the customers request for about $100.


As a utility, when you go in to do your energy audits, do you consider landscaping? (shade trees help with cooling)

Avista, has a "stake a claim" program. Where Avista gives you a stake and you place it where you want a tree. It is then surveyed for underground and overhead utilities. If it doesn't interfere with anything, Avista will pay for the planting of the tree.

What about using the tankless water heaters?

A tankless, will cost about $700 more then a traditional water heater, and will save you about $80/year. Not very much, but when you consider a tankless lasts 2.5 times longer then a traditional water heater, and is paid for in the traditional heaters life span, then it is a huge savings in the long run.
Traditional water heater should be replaced every 10-years.
Tankless water heaters replacents are every 25-years.
- Tom Lienhard

Tomorrow I will be attending Neighborhood Traffic Saftey and Greener is Cheaper and More Profitable. Should be two interesting classes (I hope). Saturday, we will be traveling home, with our flight going through the Vegas Airport.
- Kevin Surbaugh

Thursday, May 21, 2009

7 Steps To A 720 Credit Score Is Bull!

I received a copy of Philip Tirone's set of books, 7 Steps To A 720 Credit Score. Looking forward to reading it and giving it an honest review.

That became harder for me to do, when I started receiving call from them. The first call even offered me an affiliate marketing business opportunity. They however, decided I wasn't qualified, because I wouldn't urge people to get credit. Though they tried, I would not budge and was able to refute every argument they tried to throw at me. Especially, when they tried to tell me that I needed a credit card for when I travel. In their reasoning, if my debit card was stolen, my entire account could be cleaned out. Where, I would be "protected" with a credit card.

I informed them that less then 1% of Americans get mugged, so that was an unlikely scenario. Further, I have a separate account, that is specifically for travel. So, because of that my regular checking would not be bothered.

When I finally did get a chance to start reading the books, I couldn't discount everything. Especially, if one wanted to maintain a credit score, to purchase their first home. Which is the only debt, Dave Ramsey agrees to let his listeners go into. Personally, I believe (and I think Ramsey does to) that if you move up in house, it should be paid for with cash (from savings and/or the sell of the first home).
I started by reading, "Managing your credit after a financial crisis." Immediately upon starting the booklet, I started saying "bull."

you might be inclined to wipe your hands clean of credit, shred your credit cards, and become a cash only citizen.

But this attitude will only complicate matters. Because limited credit is as detrimental as bad credit, cash-only citizens have problems buying a home, financing a vacation, or purchasing a car....wiping your hands of credit is the last thing you want to do.

See, why I was saying, "bull?" If you are "financing," a vacation, you are stupid. You have no business taking a vacation, if you can't afford to pay cash for the trip. The same is true for a car purchase. If you have to borrow, you are buying more car then you can afford. Plan and simple. "Cash-only citizens," have no trouble at all to buy a car that they can afford from their savings. Besides, by not buying on credit, they only pay for it once. Whereas the person buying on credit, ends up paying twice as much over the life of the loan.

So what are the 7 steps?

  1. Keep your Credit Card balances under 30% of your credit limit.
    Well, if you are going to have a balance, that is pretty good advice.

  2. Have at least 3 revolving credit lines.

  3. No! No! and No! This idea is asking for trouble. His idea is that if you have a major delinquency then you should open 3 new credit card accounts and keep them current to counteract the negative credit rating. Sorry, but that's like handing a crack addict a rock of cocaine.
  4. Verify the accuracy of your reported credit limits.

  5. Yes, I agree when you pull your credit bureau reports, you should include this with any other errors, you may find.

  6. Have at least one "Helpful" active or Paid installment loan on your credit Report.

  7. OK, but really if you have credit at all, it should all be positive. You don't want any negative credit on your report. This step makes it sound like having negative credit is OK, as long as you have one positive installment loan. That is plane stupid.

  8. Remove all high-priority errors from your credit report.

  9. Negotiate before paying a bill in collections.

  10. Yes, Dave Ramsey is heard almost daily telling at least one person this. Listen, if you are already delinquent, then negotiating a settlement, is sound advice. However, two things never pay without getting the agreement in writing first. Second, never give the collections agent access to any of your accounts. They will (and have) wipe out your account.

  11. Create a structured plan to protect your credit.

  12. Ramsey, is often heard, telling listeners to make a plan and work their plan. Of course, he is talking about getting out of debt, where Philip Tirone is wanting you to stay in debt as a way to protect your credit.

This plan according to Tirone should include:

  • Create a budget and spend frugally.
  • (Dave Ramsey would concur with that.)
  • Keep your bills current.
  • Review your credit card bills and bank statements monthly.
  • Pull your credit report and review the 7 steps.
  • (Come on now-review the 7 steps? - Isn't Philip being a little self-centered there?)
  • Avoid being a co-signer
  • Keep your credit card accounts active
  • Protect your credit during and after a divorce.
  • If married, establish credit separately.

  • (Bull! The two become one. If you are married, it is a merger of two lives. That includes finances to. If you keep separate accounts, you are asking for trouble.)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

17 Things You Can Do to Save Energy and Money

By the time thi article posts, I will be in the air, on the first leg of my trip to Spokane, WA. I will be attending a Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) Conference, and while there, one of the topics that will be discussed will be "Green issues." With that thought in mind, I thought these money saving and Eco-friendly ideas would be of interest. Love to hear your ideas to.

  1. Insulate your walls and ceilings
  2. Modernize your windows
  3. Plant shade trees and paint your house a light color if you live in a warm climate, or a dark color if you live in a cold climate.
  4. Weatherize your home or apartment, using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks around doors and windows.
  5. Turn your refrigerator down.

  6. Use Warm or Cold water rather then Hot, when doing laundry
  7. Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it and use the energy saving setting, if available, to allow the dishes to air dry.
  8. Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees F.
  9. Replace your old appliances with the most energy efficient ones you can find.
  10. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket.
  11. use energy efficient CFL light bulbs.
  12. Clean or replace air filters as recommended
  13. Heating and cooling
    Winter settings: 68 F - Daytime /55 degrees - night
    Summer settings: keep it at 78 degrees
  14. Use less hot water by installing low-flow shower heads. (or use a shower timer to curtail lengthy showers. example A and example B)
  15. Whenever possible, walk, bike, car pool, or use mass transit.
  16. When you next buy a car, choose one that gets better mileage.
  17. Buy minimally packaged goods, choose reusable products over disposable ones, and recycling, to reduce waste.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Credit Card Reform Could Cost You More

Well, well, Credit Card Reform is before the the U. S. Senate today. However, as is typical of Congress, the Senate version is not the same as the one that passed the House. President Obama wants a final version on his desk, by Monday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unable to stop the tide of foreclosures and job losses, lawmakers are hoping to give voters at least some breathing room in the economic downturn by banning arbitrary credit card rate hikes and excessive fees.

Legislation that would impose new restrictions on the industry was expected to pass the Senate on Tuesday. With the House having endorsed a similar measure already, Democratic leaders said they hoped to send a final version to the president to sign by week's end.

If Obama signs the bill, as expected, the credit card industry would be required within nine months to change the way it does business: Lenders would have to post their credit card agreements on the Internet, let customers pay their bills online or by phone for free and give customers 45 days notice and an explanation before interest rates are increased.

In a key provision addressing a concept called "universal default," a customer would have to be more than 60 days behind on a payment before seeing his rate on an existing balance increase. Even then, the credit card company would be required to restore the previous, lower rate after six months if the consumer pays the minimum balance on time.
- Associated Press

Of course, the banking industry doesn't like the idea of reform. I mean, why would they, the legislation, would cut into their profits and and predatory style lending.

The banking industry is pushing back, warning lawmakers that the legislation would restrict credit at a time when Americans need it most. They defend their business practices as necessary to protect themselves when providing money to consumers with no collateral and little more than a promise to pay it back.
- Associated Press

However, according to the New York Times, the Credit Card industry, is looking at new sources of revenue. As well as some old sources that they had mostly moved away from.

Credit cards have long been a very good deal for people who pay their bills on time and in full. Even as card companies imposed punitive fees and penalties on those late with their payments, the best customers racked up cash-back rewards, frequent-flier miles and other perks in recent years.

Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.

Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.
- New York Times

Yep, that means an end to the argument, in favor of credit cards, where people say, "but I pay off my card every month." Because, if these new revenue sources are enacted, to counteract the dried up sources (thanks to Congressional intervention), you will be paying interest on that debt, as soon as you swipe that card.

Still though, I think, Congress is on the right track with this piece of legislation.

****Update: Senate passes it's version***
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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Mural Wall Continues to get Press

Topeka Capital Journal (May 15, 2009)

With her high school career drawing to a close, 18-year-old Brittany Miller took a long look Thursday at the Great Mural Wall of Topeka and said she was thankful she had a hand in working on it the past few weeks.

"It's rewarding," said Miller, a Topeka High School senior who graduates Saturday. "It's amazing. I've never done anything like this before. I'm just really proud to be a part of it."

Miller was one of about 20 Topeka High students in an advanced painting and drawing class to work on the Great Mural Wall of Topeka, located in the 1900 block of S.W. Western.

Painting on the mural began in 2006 on the sides of a large, white building from 1931 that once housed a 10 million-gallon water reservoir for the city.

The colorful mural now stretches across the entire length of an approximate 11-foot tall, 300-foot long wall facing S.W. Western.

Scenes depict Topeka's history and — in the case of the newest panel — a look into the future.

Space for the mural was donated by the city of Topeka Water Division.

WIBW-TV (May 7, 2009)

The process of adding a giant design created by Topeka High School students to the Great Mural Wall got underway Thursday night.

The fourth mural design was placed at the Water Department at 19th and Western streets.

Topeka High students have been involved in the entire artistic process.

The event is the start of an historical movement for the capital city, specifically the Chesney Park Neighborhood Improvement Association.

Students will be out painting the mural this weekend.
Watch the video online....

KTKA-TV (May 5, 2009)

Chesney Park Action Team reveals the next panel for the Great Mural Wall

Story by Jessica Drew (Contact)

4:50 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Chesney Park action team met today, and went over the drawing for the next panel. This panel was created by art students from Topeka High. The idea came from looking at the past and learning starting with Brown vs. Board of education. Painting starts Saturday morning at 10 weather permitting.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why You Should Dump Your GM Stock Now

All morning, there has been reports on GM. Reports that indicate that you should sell your stock in GM now. If you don't cut your losses now, you risk losing everything. We all know GM is teetering on bankruptcy, but the news today, seems to indicate that it is a sure thing.

General Motors ($1.13, -$0.31, -21.65%) shares fell after regulatory filings showed six executives dumped their remaining stakes in the company. All six insiders sold all of their remaining shares, though, according to their filings, they still hold restricted stock units - securities that can't be sold until they retire. Common shareholders would be unlikely to share in any recovery if GM were to file for bankruptcy.
- Wall Street Journal

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Spokane Here I Come

Last month I went to New York, for the first time. It was fun and exciting to finally visit the "Big Apple." I even landed the biggest interview of my life, when I interviewed media stars Cody Willard, Rebecca Diamond and Eric Bolling.

That was last month. This month, in fact, a week from Wednesday, I will be on a flight to Spokane. Again, it will the first time in Spokane (in fact first time in the Northwest) and I am pumped about the trip. Thankfully, I am not paying for this particular trip. I am attending a conference for my city and will represent my neighborhood, to the annual Neighborhoods USA conference. So, I will not have much time to be a tourist. I will be staying on the riverfront, so I will make a point to visit the riverfront park that will be nearby, during my free time.

What I would like to do is land an interview, like I did while I was in New York. The thing is, I have no clue has to who. Perhaps someone, who is debt free. I don't know. I don't find any billionaires in Spokane. I don't know Spokane well enough, to know who in Spokane would be of interest to the readers of this blog.

Still, I will be there to attend the conference, and will write about that on my neighborhoods blog. Anyone have any suggestions or ideas?

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Mortgage: Invest or Pay Off Early

The other day, when I posted my article about paying off the mortgage early. It didn't take long for someone to throw in the second most popular argument. Today, we take a look at that argument. That being the argument of investing instead of making extra payments on the mortgage.

The mortgage interest deduction alone is a silly objection. To determine whether to pay the mortgage off early you should estimate and compare two numbers:
A = the amount you save by paying it off early.
B = the amount you get by investing the extra payments instead. The answer will depend on individual circumstances, not on what multi-millionaires think.
- Lev

Horse Hockey!" As Ramsey says, only his "broke financial advisers" teaches that.

First, no mater what we think of these multi-millionaires and billionaires, they are where they are, because of some sound financial planning. If we want to become wealthy to, then we need to follow their examples. So, yes I want to know what they think.

John Cummuta says, On a typical monthly mortgage payment, 90% or more of the payment is interest each month. While the loan company made you feel like you were getting a 5% or 6% mortgage, you're actually paying 90%+ of your money toward interest each month. It would only be 5% or 6% if you paid the entire balance off the first year.

Many of my readers, listen to Dave Ramsey and frankly baby step number 6 says point blank, Pay off home early.

Inevitably, someone will ask you why you don’t just make the minimum payments on your mortgage and invest that extra money instead. After all, if you’ve got a 6.25 percent mortgage, and can earn 8 percent in the stock market, isn’t this a wise trade-off?

No! On a typical monthly mortgage payment, 95 percent or more of the payment is interest each month. While the mortgage company made you feel as if you were getting a 6 or 7 percent mortgage, you’re actually paying 92 to 98 percent of your money toward interest each month. (It would only be 6 or 7 percent if you paid the entire balance off the first year.) Look at any amortization schedule. You’ll see that the loan is front-loaded with interest so that the bank can turn a profit quickly.

The other reason paying off your mortgage is a good idea is that paying off debt gives you a guaranteed return on investment equal to the debt’s interest rate, so you must only compare paying off your mortgage loan with investments that would also guarantee their return.

Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investments, precious metals, and almost all types of securities DO NOT guarantee rates of return. So let’s look at what type of investments DO guarantee their returns. The safest investments that guarantee their returns are U.S. Treasury bonds, and the bond market will always pay less than current mortgage interest rates cost.

Second, whatever you invest in, you will have to pay capital gains tax on. So depending on mortgage interest rates, you better earn at least 12 to 13 percent to even think about this strategy.

The fact is that prepaying any mortgages on your personal residence--along with your investment properties--will always give you a higher return than any comparable, guaranteed-return investment!
- Trump University

Personally, I want to build wealth and because of that I will listen to these financial advisers, and yes even these multi-millionaires and billionaires. I have already paid off my mortgage, and I soon expect to have my car paid off (early). Then I will never, ever borrow again to buy a car.
Once, I am debt free, I will begin making the efforts to make improvements and repairs to this home that I have been putting off. Like maybe central air.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now. Do you agree? Do you disagree? I want to hear your thoughts.
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2009 Mural Wall begins

Pictures of the Topeka High Arts class starting the 2009 phase of the mural wall.

NUSA Conference

I will be attending the annual NUSA (Neighborhoods USA) conference.

I will update you all, as much as I can from the hotel's business center, on each meeting I attend.

The meetings I am scheduled for are:

  • Planning for Energy Security & Climate Change
  • Implementing Innovative Energy Efficiency Initiatives
  • Neighborhood Traffic Safety: It's No Accident
  • Greener Is Cheaper & More Profitable
  • a Tour of the Davenport Arts District
  • Monday, May 11, 2009

    Munger: been going in the wrong direction

    Warren Buffett's number two at Berkshire Hathaway, made a very telling comment last Monday, when he and two other billionaires set down with Liz Claman for an interview.

    Munger: We've been going in the wrong direction

    Posted using ShareThis

    Liz Claman: What do you think future generations should know? What should be in curriculum to teach children about financial literacy?

    Buffett: There’s a problem with financial literacy in the current generation. A number of outlets putting together programs to help with that. In the end - I think we make progress over time. I recommend you work with your students to make them literate. They will have a terrific advantage.

    Munger: A world where legalized gambling is conducted in any state in the form of lotteries, where people are encouraged to bet against the odds, too much credit card debt. Needs a lot more financial literacy. I would argue we’ve been going in the wrong direction.

    Buffett: Probably good for our business - looking for things that are mispriced.

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Best Book You Have Read In Recent Years

    Recently Liz Claman asked, what is the best book you have read in recent years.
    Warren Buffett replied Poor Charlies Almanac and Katherine Grahams autobiography Personal History and Charlie Unger replied "Out Liar's is a perfect marvelous book."

    After hearing the question, I decided to take the question to some of my fellow personal finance bloggers as well as some personalities that I look up to.

    Dan Ray
    of said, "Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. Sprawling portrayal of life in the swamps of Florida at turn of 20th century. Excellent.

    Eric Bolling of the Fox Business Network (co-host of "Happy Hour") answered, "Please!!! Read a book? Free time? What's that like. I read a volume worth every day in 500 word bytes of news. Twitter me 140 characters and I'm good."

    Cody Willard of FBN's Happy Hour
    Cody Willard, another co-host of Fox Business Network's, "Happy Hour," replied "I read House of Morgan a few months ago -- bio of the JP Morgan family dynasty."

    Rebecca Diamond, the other co-host of Fox Business' Happy Hour, responded, "I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love. Very much me!!! Hope all is well Kevin."

    While a reader, Kelly Burger replied, "Just After Sunset by Stephen King." While another reader Carisa Wells, replied that the best book she recently read was, "Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood."

    Others were asked, but never responded. Now, it's your turn. What is the best book you have read recently?
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    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Why You Should Pay Your Mortgage Off Early

    Over the past three years, I have mentioned the idea of paying off your mortgage early. It is an intelligent idea, but invariably someone will disagree with me. They will even out right say Dave Ramsey and John Cummuta wrong, when I quote them. However, maybe they will believe another man. One that is very wealthy in his own right. One who sends out regular educational emails to those (like me) subscribe to those emails. However, even I was surprised, because this multi-millionaire is known to borrow for his various ventures. His name is Donald Trump and the email subscription is Trump University.

    The most common objection that I hear (and even according to Trump) is “If you pay off your mortgage sooner, you won’t be able to get a tax deduction.”

    Technically this is true, but it’s a ridiculous statement. Let’s assume you’re in the 28 percent tax bracket. Each dollar of interest you pay the mortgage company is deductible. This will save you 28 cents you would have otherwise paid to the IRS on that dollar as income tax. But think about that. You’re giving up a dollar to save just 28 cents of federal income tax. On the other hand... if you pay off your mortgage, you will certainly have to pay 28 cents on each dollar not going to mortgage interest... but you’re getting to keep the other 72 cents!

    So while this objection is technically correct, they are, in essence, saying, “Keep on paying a dollar of interest to the bank in order to save 28 cents in taxes.” Does that sound like good advice to you?

    Oh, and don’t forget: You still get the full mortgage interest tax deduction while you’re paying off your loan... it only ends when your mortgage is paid off.

    - Trump University -- Prepaying Your Mortgage

    Listen, I am not going to criticize anyone for taking out a mortgage, but if you think you have to keep paying the bank, so you can have that deduction, think again. Why would you give away $1 to get 28 cents back?

    Not to mention, if you go the full 30-years on a 30-year mortgage, you are paying for your house almost 3 times. For example, if you buy a $300,000 home, with $50,000 down. Borrowing the remain $250,000 at 7 percent, you’ll end up paying $598,769 over the life of the loan (not even including taxes and PMI). You see that? That's $348,769 in interest, on a $250,000 loan. Is that crazy or what? How can anyone continue arguing against paying off the mortgage early? With that kind of evidence, I was more convinced to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible. That is why I am so glad mine is paid off, and hope everyone else will see this evidence to.

    You know what else? The same thing can be said about a car loan. Due to that, I have been paying extra on the car, that Dave Ramsey would, encourage me to sell. I want to keep the car, which is the best (and newest used) car I have ever owned. This year, i will have it paid off. A full year and some odd months early.

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    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Can You Spend Your Way To Prosperity?

    To get ourselves out of this recession, that we are in, we must spend. At least that's what the government is telling us. Is that really the case though? A simple financial class, and basic math would disagree. True, if spending is down so will go the economy, but is spending really the answer?

    I don't usually, get into politics on this blog, but today, I am going to make an exception. The reason is a friend and an occasional reader of my blogs over the years made a speech to the entire nation this past weekend. Her name is Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. I know, she has read both this blog, and my former one that I did in conjunction with the local newspaper, because she has told me.

    I would like to think, some of the things that she said, she got from gleaming my blogs. That however, I know is not true. Those ideas did not originate with me.

    In her speech, she made the following comment, which was probably the most circulated. I even heard it on NPR.

    Middle class families and small businesses are tightening their belts, and making sacrifices each and every day, during this recession and Republicans believe that it's time for Washington to do the same.

    Personally, I believe there are independents and yes even Democrats who would agree with those Republicans. Unfortunately, there are some Republicans that would over spend to.

    In response to the article on her speech, on a local newspaper website, one reader, who calls himself, Cokeheadmel said
    I want my 10 credit cards and $500,000 house back. I'm entitled to it. I'm American.

    You sir, are a big part of the problem. This is a perfect example of the wasteful spending Jenkins was talking about. A number of American's was doing this and drove us head first into this economic collapse. Now Washington, wants us to borrow more, to get us out? That doesn't make since. We spend our way into a recession, and are going to spend our way out?

    Bull hockey! The only way we are going to get out, is to live within our means. This can only be done by spending less then we make, and saving. Sure, it will take longer to get out of the recession, but it will be a true recovery, not an artificial one.

    This idea, of borrowing and overspending will only, once again catch up to us and cause a worse economic crisis. It's time America wakes up to this fact. Jenkins had it right.
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