Sunday, 29 July 2007

Dedicated to my youngest brother.

The 29th of July will always be a day of mixed emotions for our family. Firstly, it is my birthday. I turned into a ripe age of 37 this year. Secondly, it was the day my brother disappeared during a surfing holiday in Bali last year.

My brother, the youngest of my siblings, loves his surfing and is on his fourth trip to Bali. On the morning of the 30th, we received a phone call telling us the news that he disappeared, the night before, among some very large waves in the southern part of Bali, in an area known as Uluwatu. The break the he was surfing was call "The Impossibles", in between Bingin beach and Padang Padang. The whole experience was extremely traumatic for the family as we flew over to Bali, spent the next few days searching and found his body in a town 3 hours drive from Kuta. The whole family is tremendously upset, and are still working through the grieving process.

We miss him enormously.

After 12 months, we are still sorting out the financial aspects of his estate. Through out the whole process, my wife and I had a long hard look at ourselves in that we have the correct plans in place. Looking back on it, the financial lessons are:

  1. Have a will in place - A will is a must regardless of your financial position. A will is a way of reducing the burden on the family that is handling your estate. Handling the estate is never a easy task, and having a will certainly reduces the pain.
  2. Have comprehensive travel insurance - When we were sorting the logistics of transporting my brother home, the logistics company was concern on our ability to pay the bills. We were able to cover the expenses, but if we weren't, we would have to make the heart breaking decision as to whether to bury him in Bali or not. It is not a decision that I would have like to be part of.
  3. Keep your accounts in good order - As we are sorting his accounts at home, his paper work is in good order and we were able to notify the necessary parties and take appropriate actions, ie: closing his utility accounts or advising his work place etc.
  4. Hire the best lawyer that you can afford - We could have hired a better lawyer to deal with the legal aspects of my brother's passing. Since there were international matters to consider, we should have hired a lawyer that is experience with such matters. Our lawyer was not. He was not very thorough and the whole process were stalled at a couple of stages and was prolonged. One of the things that slipped through was that we didn't realise the Indonesian does not supply the actual death certificate, but only an extract. This caused some problems when getting some superannuation to release my brother's money. The lawyer was not aware of this and advice that we persue it through the Indonesian embassy.
Traveling with insurance is probably one of the the biggest financial lesson that I have learned from this. I would have hated to think that if I am unfortunate enough to pass away during my travels that I would be a further financial burden on my family to bring my body home, or sorting our an overseas funeral.

I dedicate this article to my dearly missed brother.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Finishing at five

In today's busy life, I have always wished that there were more hours in the day to fit in all the things I want to do. I would like to have an extra hour to read that new sci-fi novel, or just to fix that problem at work.

What usually happens is that we hardly ever put a dead line on the things that we want to do. However, by putting a dead line on things we want to do, we actually have a better chance on doing it. At work, I aim to finish what I have to do by 5pm every day. So what this means is that every morning, I have a simple plan to complete what I have to do. There are a few major time during the day that I use to get my things organised.

8:30am: I arrive at work, review my notes from yesterday and spent the next 10-15mins working what I want to achieve. This is in general terms like, I want to complete writing the first draft of design analysis report for my manager by the morning. I also want to review the meeting minutes from yesterday and action some items.
12:30pm: After lunch, I would assess if I am on track. Make some changes to my plan.
5:00pm: Make some notes for tomorrow, and go home

That is what I hope would happen every day. But what actually happens is that during the course of the day, I would get interrupted by request and questions which would throw my idealised plan out the window. I usually complete about 85% of the work I want to achieve for the day. I will always leave at 5pm unless there are something really urgent that needs to be worked on. It also gives me the necessary time I want to spend on more important things like my family.

This idea of finishing at five is something that I read in one of Scott Adams' Dilbert book. It might have been The Dilbert Principle.

Would this work for you?

Photo by Josep Altarriba

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Things that money can't buy

Story girl over at My money and my life posted article Money and happiness. She challenge us to list down what is it that we would like to do more that does not cost much money. Thinking through the challenge, it could be quite difficult to come up with a list. There are a lot of things that cost money, either directly or in-directly. Having said that, there are also many things you could do without any money, or with a small amount of money.

My list would be something like this. Remember that these are things that would be bring happiness.

Taking the time to read a book with my son, and listen to him trying copy me reading the words.

Send a SMS to my wonderful wife during the day to say that I miss her and can't wait to see her after work.

Spending hours in a bookshop, just browsing. I love books and the information that it contains.

Hike through the forest in the nearby Victorian Alps during spring time, and smell the wild flowers blooming.

Talk with my wife about what our future holds, I really enjoy this as she is such a positive person and always gives a positive spin on what our future holds.

Making a nice hot cup of home brewed coffee and enjoy it with a slice of banana cake.

I want to be able to help at least five people every day. Simple things like picking up rubbish that someone else has dropped to going to beyond the call of duty at my work.

What would your list be?

First time tenants

We have just settled on the house that we have been living in for the past two and a bit years. We are now officially renters.

After so many years, this is the first time that I have rented a house. Previously, I have always bought houses, or lived with my parents. My dad help me out with my first house purchase by helping me out with a nice cheap loan.

As this is my first time renting a house, I was quite surprise as to some of the rules that the tenant must adhere to. Some of these are:

  1. No nails or picture hooks can be used on the walls
  2. Upon vacating or every 12 months, the carpet must be steam cleaned.
  3. The gardens must be kept under controlled or a levy of $20 will be charge for garden maintenance.
  4. The curtains and blinds must be cleaned every 12 months or upon vacating.

Some of these rules are mainly to save the owners some repair money when the tenants leave the property, some of them are downright bazaar, especially the one about picture hooks.

What are some of your funny or crazy tenant rules?

The Happy Rock, guest article and welcome.

My guest article at The Happy Rock

The Happy Rock has just posted my guest article on Raising Financially Savvy Children. Head over to The Happy Rock and have a read.

The article has 5 tips for positively influencing your children from a financial perspective.

The Happy Rock also has many other great personal financial articles. This blog is on my list of must-read blogs. Check it out.

Welcome to Happy Rock readers

If you are direct here from The Happy Rock, welcome to the cheap as chips. I hope you enjoy my articles.

You are welcome to subscribe to my feed, either via rss or email.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Handy Suburb Calculator

I came across a real-estate calculator that not only works out how much you can borrow, but it also tells you which suburb is in your price range.

The calculator uses data from and The calculator is here.

To use it, you simply entered enter some basic details about your income and it initially calculates how much you can borrow. Using this figure, it provides you a list of areas in the greater Melbourne area that you can choose from. After entering all the values, it displays the names of the actual suburb which it thinks you can afford.

In my situation, this is what it calculated of my borrowing capacity. It is calculated at 6.75% over a 25 year load period.

Monthly Income
Borrow Capacity
Month Repayment

From these calculations, it indicated 13 suburbs among which are the following. These suburbs in the Frankston area.

Aspendale Gardens @ median pricing of $430,000
Waterways @ median pricing of $392,000
Frankston North @ median pricing of $193,500

From what I know of these suburbs, it appears to be somewhat accurate. I mean, it is accurate enough so that it is useful. This is extremely useful for an investor looking for a rental property, or an area with growth potential. I also like that the growth over the last 12 month is also shown.

Searching for your next home or investment property takes an enormous amount of effort. Using something like this suburb calculator could take a lot of the guess work out of your hand, especially when it comes to the pricing. Getting pricing information on property is like drawing blood from a stone, and the blood is also like with gold as it is usually extremely expensive.

Of course, buying a house should also include other factors such as how nice the neighbourhood is, or what the schools in the area like etc.

Give the suburb calculator a go, they also have a postcode slider. It is an interesting tool to indicate the chance of finding a property in a price range.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Carnival of Personal Finance #110

The 110th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance is up over at Fat Pitch Financials .

My article on advice is also part of the carnival.

There are some very nice articles in this edition. My highlights from the carnival are

Does Achieving Wealth Make You "Upper Class"? Facts About Class - The Digerati Life discusses wealth and social class.

10 tips on saving money on a family trip. - Frugal finance has some fantastic tips for trips.

10 credit card practices that he disapproves, - Mr. Credit Card tells us 10 of his most hated credit card practices. Some of them are down right sneaky.

costs of cable and TV - The Happy Rock talks about how the cost of cable and TV.

how to avoid losing more things - MoneyNing has a great article on how NOT to loose things.

personal finance junkie - A humorous article at My Weath Builder.

Random Advice

This is the last article is a series of articles about various sources of advices. Previously, I talked about advice from trusted source and advice from friends. This article explores random advice.

I think the idea of random advice may seem strange. What exactly is random advice? For me, random advice is advice that you get from source least expected. These random advice may surface when you least expected, but sometimes it is difficult to identify a random advice. The characteristics are random advice are
  1. when you least expected
  2. difficult to identify
  3. not immediately applicable
What makes these advice random is that it is advice that we get is unsolicited. I usually find this random advice while I am reading magazine on totally unrelated topics, but somehow, the ideas that I get out of the magazines could be applied financially. I also find reading totally unrelated blogs also brings out ideas and insights that could be applied in financial situations.

The amount of random advice that I receive is extremely small, but it is usually valuable as it applies ideas from a totally different domain.

The application of a random advice is also difficult to gauge. As the advice is random, the situation to apply it is usually also random. I think that the advice needs to be just kept in the back of your mind and be aware of it. When the right situation arises, you will have some ammunition to tackle it.

That is the end of the series of articles on advice. If you have enjoyed these articles, or have some feedback on these articles. Let me know about them in the comment section.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Advice from friends

This is the third article among a series of articles that I am writing about advice. The first article is about an interesting conversation that I had with my father-in-law and the second article is about advice from trusted source.

Friendly advice

Well, among the many advice that you may receive, one of the main sources will always be from your friends. This group of adviser includes your mates at work, your neighbour or your golfing partner. How dependable are these advice from your friends?

On one hand, these advisers do have a degree of dependability, and that dependability will increase if the friends are close to you, especially if they are family members. Discussing financial matters with this group of advisers will usually create some positive advice. The top three types of advice that can be sought from friends are:
  1. Financial strategies - There are literally thousands of financial strategies, and many new ones could be uncovered during these discussions. It may also be a good sounding board on your current strategy, perhaps it could be tweak to improve it returns or it is just wrong and need restarting.
  2. Support - With a group of friends, you could draw support when you need to, in particular if you find yourself in a tight financial situation.
  3. Renewed focus and motivation - Sometimes the advice are not directly related to finance. It could the retelling of a story from a friend that motivates us and give us focus on our personal finance adventures. I guess that this one of the main reasons why so many of us are reading other personal finance blogs.
Their experiences in dealing with financial matters will also dictate their level of dependability. If your friends actually work as a financial planner or accountant or similar jobs, they have just upgraded themselves to be a trusted source.

On the other hand, these advisers may have a low degree of dependability, especially the adviser has a history of giving low quality advice. In this cases, all you could do is use their advice as an indication, and search for more supporting information. However, due to the low quality of the advice, spending too much effort would be a waste of your valuable time.

I have always found that discussing financial matters with my friends usually positive and generate ideas that would normally be forgotten or not thought of. I always look forward to these discussions.

As always, it is important that the advice that you received make sense for you in your situation, and seek supporting information before acting on the advice.

I shall be writing about random advice in the my next article.

Photo by Steve Woods

Monday, 16 July 2007

Advice from trusted sources

Yesterday I wrote about an article on where my father-in-law get his advice from. So if the advice he gives is a bit suspect, who should you be getting your financial advice from. This may be quite a basic question to answer, but it is a critical question which has many different answers. The correct answer will be dependent on what you are looking for. I was thinking about this over the last few days.

The source of the advice can be divided in to several groups. I shall discuss advice from trusted sources. In the next two posts, I shall discuss advice from friends and random advice.

Trusted Sources

This group is qualified to provide you with financial advice. They are qualified in the sense that they have had recognised training. For the financial planners in Australia that are qualified, they are part of an association such as the Financial Planing Association of Australia. This is certainly true as well if you are seeking an accountant, ensure that the accountant is qualified in the area that you want advice in. I mean, it is not much good to go to an tax accountant if you want some advice on book keeping.

But how do you trust the financial planner or the accountant that you have just chosen. If you can get a recommendation from someone that you truly trust, that would be ideal . You could be introduced to them.

If you are not able to get a recommendation, you may have to get advice from a number of financial planners. By getting advice from a number of financial planners, you will be exposed to a number of options and strategies. If a number of these options and strategies are similar, then perhaps the advice is sound.

Some of the other signs to look for are:
  1. Ask for full disclosure - typically, the financial adviser will be recommending a financial product. Is he recommending this product because he is getting a commission from it? Full disclosure also includes how he is getting paid.
  2. Consistent advice - The advice that you receive should be consistent over a period of time. If it is inconsistent, it is a sign that adviser may not have clear understanding of your situation and what you are aiming for.
  3. Value for money - the fees that your adviser is charging you needs to be reasonable. What is reasonable? It really depends on your situation and how valuable the advise is. If the advice you receive can generate high level of wealth, the fees may be a lot higher.
  4. Availability - How available is your adviser to you questions? Depending upon your situation, you may want to obtain financial advice quickly. Maybe, you may only talk to your adviser during certain time of the year such as the end of the financial year, but make sure that he is available when you need him, maybe not immediate availability, but at least within a day or two.
The number 1 question that you have to ask yourself about any advice is "does this advice make sense for someone in my situation? If it doesn't, what do I need to know for it to make sense." This is something that your adviser could explain to you as well.

I shall be discussing advice that comes from friends and random advices in the next two articles.

Add some comments if you have other ways of finding trusted advice.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Taking a chance on good advice

I had an interesting conversation with my father-in-law today. It really made me think about how I should assess advice that I receive in the future. I have always be wary of any advice that I receive from anyone, except from my wife which I accept faithfully. However, my father-in-law is someone that are willing to accept advice from an un-authoritative source, and is happy if he got the advice from a single source as well. He is also happy to pass on these advice as gospel.

He is retired from his work and has been for a number of years. My mother-in-law is retired as well, and is collecting the old age pension from the government. During the conversation, he gave us the following advice,

If I win tattslotto, you shall get an equal share among your family and you will not have to pay any tax on it because I have registered all my lottery tickets to the family.

Essentially, he is saying that if he wins any money, he will share the money among the family members, and because the family has bought the ticket, the winnings are not subjected to tax. He said that if family did not buy the ticket, the shared winnings would be subjected to gift tax as the family members would received the tattslotto winnings as a gift.

I heard this, and proceed to ask him where he got his advice from. Apparently, he got this advice from this financial planner and some of his friends.I get the feeling that my parents-in-law's situation is totally different from ours and could actually be applicable to them.

Looking at the advice on the surface, it does not sound right. The winnings itself is not taxable, as this advice from the ATO states. Also if he does win, and then distribute the winnings among the family members, the ATO is also clear on it not being taxable as the family members would receive it as gift. Gift is only usually taxable if it is received within your work environment. For example, you receive a bottle of scotch from your client because you did an excellent job on the project. I believe that the bottle of scotch is subjected to fridge benefit tax.

This conversation made me think about the source of information which we receive on a day-to-day basis, especially on the financial matters. It is really essential that the advice that we received are supported from several sources, possibly sources with some authority in the matter.

This goes from the information that I write about on this blog. I am probably the one person whose authority on finance is next to zero, so do not depend on it. I am only exploring financial ideas and methods. If you gained some positive insight of your situation from my articles, then I am really happy for you. However, before acting on these ideas and methods, please seek independent advice from a few people who know what they doing.

Good advice is the one thing you don't want to be a lottery.

photo by Uffe Nielsen

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Staying with the one car

A few weeks ago, I mentioned about looking into getting another car via a novated lease. This idea is being driven by the rising fuel cost. The family car has a diesel engine, which has a higher servicing frequency, so the only going maintenance cost is quite high. After looking through our current situation, financially and personally, we have decided to go with the one car. However, we may decide to visit a second car again. I mean, with a growing son, I would imagine that by the time he reached the age of 4 to 5, we will need two cars.

So the reasons are
  1. Another debt - Getting another car represents another debt that we just don't need at this stage. We have just purchased a house and we want our financial position to stabilise before making another big ticket item purchase like a car.
  2. Less disposable cash - After moving into a new house, there will be certain things that we will want to purchase. Top of the list a set of curtains for the house. The back of the house has a large windowed area that only has venetian blinds, and I doubt if that is very heat efficient.
  3. Unhealthy for me - If we have a second car, it would be much easier for me to just jump into it and drive to work. Our new house is about another 15 minutes bicycle ride to work. So to promote a much healthier lifestyle for me, I should not make it easy for myself. Riding my bicycle to work would do wonders for my health.
  4. Higher chances for complication - My wife and I try to live a simple life, believing that the more complicated our lives become, the higher chance of the unexpected happening. If we have drive another car, the chance of us having an accident or having it stolen would be higher.
Once our financial position stablises, we shall revisit this situation.

Photo by Jay Simons

Another Australian PF blogger.

I recently came across My Journey to Eliminate Debt, a blog run by Louise.

Louise uses her blog as a way of giving herself focus on eliminating her debt, in particular her mortgage. This is a very fantastic target to aim for. I came across her article about the medical issues that her dad is in and the tough decision she has to make in order to support him. I can relate to her as my family has suffered in similar circumstances. The stresses that the family had to bear is not only financial, but also emotional as well. Our mental health also took a battering.

I wish Louise all the best in her quest of eliminating her debt, and spending many days with her love ones.

It is also great to see that another Australian is also blogging away on personal finance.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Carnival of Money Stories, #17

The latest edition of the Carnival of Money Stories is up at A Penny Saved. It is the 17th edition.

My article, Dad and my first house, was part of the carnival.

A couple of the articles that I found interesting were:

My Daughter's Currency - Interesting article take how a child views money and currency

Sleeping with Money: Out earning your partner - Explores the issue where your partner earns more than you. Nina's partner earns 20 times more than she does, find out how she handle this.

If you are after a great selection of personal finance stories with a personal touch, check this carnival out.

Monday, 9 July 2007

PPR concession on our new home

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how the land transfer duty, and possible ways of reducing it. I came across one today.

We are still going through the paperwork on our new house purchase and came across a concession from the Victorian's SRO. It is called the PPR concession or the Principle Place of Residence concession. The SRO has a site outlining what is a PPR concession is and how it is calculated.

In a nutshell, for the price range that our house falls into, we will enjoy a 1% discount in the duty calculation, saving us about $1600 dollars.

The concession is capped to a maximum value of $2850.

I have to thank our currently Victorian government for this concession as it become effectively from the start of 2007. Hooray for Steve Bracks and his team!!

Carnival of Personal Finance - 108th edition

The 108 edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance is up at the Broke-Ass Student .

Some of the interesting articles are

What is considered an emergency - moneymonk ponders the question on what is an emergency. Knowing what is an emergency is critical on determining if you have enough emergency money to see you through.

How to nail or fail job interviews - rich minx has some obvious but essential advice on nailing that next job. You never know what that will be, but it is coming.

Why a 0% interest loan keeps me up at night - a very nice article on what it means to tight family unit. It reminds me of what my dad did for me after I graduated.

Forming a relationship with money - a very good article on associate emotion with money.

My article on the financial security aspects of arranged marriage also made it into the carnival.

There are plenty of articles for everyone. Get over there and enjoy the reading.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Long pick up for eBay winners.

My wife and I are taking the opportunity of shifting house to do a bit of a cleaning, (or junk ridding session), of the house. We have started the process some months ago by having a yard sale. Now, we have put some old furniture up for auction on eBay.

One of these items is a bedroom suite that we inherited from my in-laws. They have updated their bedroom suite and passed it on to us. Since we did not have any cupboards or bedside tables at that stage, and be a pair of frugalist, we accepted them. Now it is time to get rid of them and update it. The bedroom suite is from the 70s, and my estimated value for it is about $60 to $70.

The auction just finished last weekend and was won by an eBayer. I was actually surprised that it got sold as we never got a bid until the last 30minutes of the auction. We started the auction at $65 and it got sold at $102.50. It was certainly much higher than anticipated.

The winner was from a town that is about 7 hours returned drive. The winner showed up at hour house this morning in a 4WD. I estimate that it would cost at least $90-$100 as it would have used about 80 litres @ $1.25 per litre.

Let do the maths.

Final price of the auction - $102.50
Fuel cost - $100

Total cost - $202.50

The thing that got me was the amount of travel that some eBayers would do. In this particular situation, I would have though that traveling 7 hours for something that is worth $102.50 is not a fair good outcome, at worse you probably could have spend that 7 hours searching on eBay for something in the similar price range that is located closer.

One thing that I failed to consider is personal financial situation of the purchaser. Spending $202.50 on a bedroom suite may have been a great purchase for them, and the time spent to pick it up is time well spent. A equivalent bedroom suite, brand new, would have been at least $500 to $600.

I have heard many stories of other traveling much further to pick up their auction wins, one of them includes an overnight stay.

If that was you, would you travel for 7 hours to pick up the bedroom suite?

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Does arrange marriage equal to financial security?

Arranged marriage is the concept where parents will decide who will be marrying you. There are varying degree of arrangement involve, and is largely culturally based. In the middle east, parts of Asia and Africa, arranged marriage should really be called forced marriage. In a more modern westernised culture, the children will have some involvement in their parent's spouse choices.

Many of us who are married will know how expensive a wedding can be. This is also true for a wedding for an arranged marriage.

Why are you writing about arranged marriage, you might be asking. Well, if we remove the emotional side of wedding and focus of the financial aspects of it, it shows that an arranged marriage has a better chance obtaining financial security. Before exploring the reasons why this might be, let just say that I am not an advocate for an arrange marriage as I am an romantic at heart. I would prefer to be married for love, and then make the financial aspects of it work out positively.

Parents knows best

A lot of people get married in their twenties. Let me say that age again, twenties. Imagine making a decision that is literally that you have to commit to for the rest of the life. Our parents, who has brought up a family and have more experience life longer that you have, would have the necessary knowledge to select a suitable spouse for you. The parents are able to predict how you will be in a family situation and will select the most suitable spouse. We would select a spouse with a lot of emotion, and that may hinder our foresight or how closely we match. A good match means that decisions, especially financial decisions, will be easier to agreed upon.

Rate of divorce

The Australian ABS says that in 2006, the divorce rate is 2.6 per 1000 population, and I have read that 1 in every 2 marriages in expected to end up in divorce in California. Whichever you looked at it, it is quite high. Figures for arranged marriages are hard to come by, but I have heard that it is in the single digit figures, although it would be interested to note how this is measured. If this is true, a low chance of divorce means that a higher chance of your marriage working out. A divorce is always messy and expensive and wasted energy, so it is best avoided.

Consolidation of wealth

In the old days, arranged marriage were popular among the wealthier families, especially the royal families of Europe. They do it for reasons of money, power and control. Many of todays wealthy and powerful families are carefully crafted. The Rothchilds is an excellent example on how arranged marriage has worked out for them.

In modern times, arranged marriage is seen as a way for poorer families to gain some wealth, especially for the poorer spouse.

Rate of Success?

Having suggested three good reasons for arrange marriage, would it work in modern times in a western culture? I have to say that the western culture does not really provide much opportunity for arranged marriages to prosper, but that is only my opinion. I truly believe that for a marriage to work, the human elements must be part of the it. After all, marriage is the coming together of two human beings. However, if you remove these elements, an arranged marriage would have a high chance of success if the spouses approached it with the right mindset. This article from the has some nice points.

As I write this article, it became clear to me that for a family have a higher chance of becoming financial secure, the parents needs to be successful in their marriage, no matter if it is arranged or otherwise.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

All that money, but are you really happy?

I just read an article in The Age newspaper, " Power and Money". It is about how the perpetual battle between Melbourne and Sydney. In this case, it is about the amount of money that is being controlled in Melbourne by a few people. I must say that the money astounds me. Let me just list the top four for you.
  1. Ahmed Fahour, CE, NAB - $420 billion
  2. Brian Hartzer, Group GM, ANZ - $203 billion
  3. Paul Castello, GM, Future Fund - $51 billion
  4. Syd Borne, CE, VFMC - $40 billion
These four people controls a total of $714 billion dollars. I shudder to think about what other wealthier cities such as London, New York or Tokyo.

With all this money around, I start to think how much is enough.  It is refreshing to hear what Ahmed said

What really matters is your family, friends, society and the environment.

He goes to say that who are happiest at those who does not have too much money but also enough to pay the bills and sustain comfortable living. I think that his poor immigrant family background give weight to his observations, and it tends to agree with I have also noticed.

An article over at discusses any correlation between happiness and money. Not that money is important in scheme of things, it just that money is use to bring that things that create happiness, or bring sadness and disappointment. Money is a double edge sword. If you don't know what to do with it, you may as well not have it at all.

How much money would make you happy?

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Post-it notes to the rescue.

I was thinking of a way of making my daily debts stand out more during my day to day dealings, mainly to avoid the out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrome. If I can just have a very quick summary in front of me at my desk, then I will be aware of it.

I found the solution sitting on my wife's desk yesterday. It is a pad of post it notes.

Our debts are mainly made up of credit card and the mortgage. So every couple of days, I would do the following
  1. Write a quick summary of the current balances of the debts on a post it note, along with the date on top of the note.
  2. Add it up
  3. Stick it over the top of the other post-it notes.
I would positioned these post it notes just under my computer monitor so that I can just see it my peripheral vision. I think that if it is in my direct vision, I would miss it as I would make an effort to ignore it.

I know that the real solution to this type of problem is to use something like Quicken, but I just want something quick and easy. Post-it notes seems to fit the bill.

Carnival of Money Stories, 16th edition

I have just participated in the Carnival of Money Stories over at My New Choice. It is the 16th edition. This carnival is focused upon personal finance stories with a personal story or experience focus. It gives personal finance a human spin.

A couple of the interesting stories among the carnival are
  1. Buying a car with credit card - Marc and Angel has an interesting article. I think that this is only for someone with plenty of discipline and forward planning, it could pay-off.
  2. Planning for retirement in your 20s - Money and Such have some wise ideas for someone in their 20s wishing to ensure that their retirement finances are in the right state.
My article on To buy or not to buy in the city was also included in the carnival.

Get over to My New Choice and check the rest of the articles. Happy reading!