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Archive for the ‘finance’ Category

(Financial Crisis) Relax the underwriting standards again? Haven’t we learned from our mistakes?

Posted by TopOfTheThread on July 21, 2011

A few weeks ago, an article popped up on Yahoo regarding relaxing the underwriting standards of lenders.

Haven’t we learned from our mistakes?

Let’s take a look back…

House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2003: (See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122290574391296381.html)

Rep. Frank: I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing. . . . More..

Rep. Frank (D. Mass) contributed to banks lending to people unqualified to pay back their loans…. and the resulting mess.

Take a quick peek at this short video.    He couldn’t have been more off base.

And we all know this contributed to crash of our economy… Unqualified people getting mortgages. NOW we’re asking banks to loosen lending standards… Again?

From Yahoo and Investors Business Daily ( Friday July 8, 2011, 6:51 pm EDT)

In what could be a repeat of the easy-lending cycle that led to the housing crisis, the Justice Department has asked several banks to relax their mortgage underwriting standards and approve loans for minorities with poor credit as part of a new crackdown on alleged discrimination, according to court documents reviewed by IBD.  More…

Wow. I hope I am missing something here.  Relax the underwriting standards?  That’s one of the ways we got in trouble last time, right?

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re: The Dumbest business decisions and mistakes in history…

Posted by TopOfTheThread on April 25, 2010

MSN had an interesting article on The 8 dumbest business decisions.

One of the many dumbest decisions that was omitted from MSN’s list  was IBM’s flawed licensing agreement of PC-DOS.   IBM effectively left the door open for Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  This couple of guys, after licensing PC-DOS to IBM, basically duped it, created MS-DOS and Microsoft was on its way…

Posted in business, finance, history, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Cars…. Domestics. Imports. What’s the difference?

Posted by TopOfTheThread on March 14, 2009

I am not stating anything brilliant when I write The car industry is important to the United States economy.  Jobs. Revenue.  Jobs. GDP.  Jobs. Etc… The US is giving  or lending money to Chrysler and General Motors (GM).  (IMHO they are still going about this in the wrong way. Please see my previous post Buy Cars – A message to Washington on the stimulus.)

As the topic of  assisting the car manufacturers takes place, without a doubt, the subject of protectionism arises.

But these days, what is a domestic car?  What is an import?  Does it matter to our economy? Both domestics and imports provide jobs in the United States.  They both use varying degrees of  US materials. They both use US services like transportation.

From AutomotiveAddicts.com  Made in America

As a result, it’s hard to tell what really an American-made car is, and perhaps even why it matters. Car buyers who wish to buy American have a confusing maze of information to navigate: there’s the location of the assembly plant, the percentage of parts content, the ideal of that name on the grille, and, finally, where the pocket is that will take the profit and re-invest it into future cars and products. Each element weighs differently to each person, to be sure, so we have attempted to create a comprehensive guide to understanding what it is that makes a car an American car. Because it’s jobs and investment that matter most, we rank the assembly and parts makeup of a vehicle as most important, followed by the location of the corporate parent and, finally, the name of the brand.

Also from the same article:

The US Government defines domestic vehicles in two basic ways: where they’re assembled and the percentage of parts content comes from an American source. We add the final two criteria to clear the air on confusing issues regarding ownership. For example, you may think that the Dodge Ram is an American vehicle, but it’s really not: Because Dodge is owned by a German company, DaimlerChrysler, and because its parts content does not reach the US threshold of 75 percent, it’s actually an import. We also recognize the value of a brand, and the cultural importance they play in the lives of Americans. For example, Ford is more than just a car company; it’s a family with a historic legacy that covers assembly line production and automobiles. Regardless of recent struggles, the name and brand of Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac or others resonates with people as a part of their lives.

So, the bottom line is What is a domestic car? We should just be working towards selling cars… period.

The US government determines a domestic vehicle by using a combination of (a) The Assembly Plants and (b) The Parts and Content.

So… did you know the Toyota Camry is considered a domestic vehicle?  Did you know the Chevy Tahoe is considered an import?

Let’s just buy and sell cars!!!

<Made in America is a must read>

(photo treehugger.com)

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Buy Cars – A message to Washington on the stimulus

Posted by TopOfTheThread on February 11, 2009

You want people to buy cars in this environment? This is what should be implemented by Washington today!

For the next 18 months…

  1. If you purchase a hybrid vehicle, your sales tax, interest, and principal is all deductible up to a cap of $30,000. Period. *** OR ***
  2. If you purchase a vehicle with rated MPG greater than 30 MPG, your sales tax, interest, and principal is all deductible up to a cap of $20,000. Period.
  • This incents people to purchase a vehicle.
  • This provided additional incentive to people to purchase a hybrid. Environmental Win.
  • This provides auto manufacturers incentive to creat high mpg vehicles and hybrids. This is better than strong-arming the auto manufacturers. If they want to be in business, they’ll do it.
  • The money lost from government revenue would be the same as if they subsidized some auto-related program.
  • Consumers who really need a car and are holding off, may decide to step up. It is too good to pass up.

Makes Sense. Simple. Right to the point. And No protectionism.

Please pass this around to people, your congress-people, and President Obama.

(photo msnbcmedia2.msn.com)

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Dear Mr President Obama (as opposed to President Pelosi)

Posted by TopOfTheThread on February 6, 2009

Dear Mr. President Obama,

We need you to participate in saving the country and world.

We need you to be hands-on with the critical items such as the so-called Stimulus Package that is now in Congress. It is a great disappointment that you were not involved in the crafting of the work. We know you are an intelligent and fair person…. afterall we elected you…. not Nancy Pelosi…

It shouldn’t even be considered a stimulus package… it should really be called
The-Democrats-Now-Have-A-Majority-…
And-Are-Going-To-Shove-Their-Agenda-Down-Everyones-Throats…
-And-Hide-It-In-Emergency-Legislation
Bill.

Democrats. Republicans. Who cares? We need this done right!

You cannot simply outsource the process and trust your Democratic Party Majority in Congress to get it right. It is obvious there is a blatant Non-Stimulus Slant to everything in that document. You are responsible for the STIMULUS bill.

You are our President. You need to get your nails dirty and participate. It is not the time to be running out and spending time at local elementary schools.

We are behind you. We need you more than ever.

Good luck.

The People of the United States.

(photo images.huffingtonpost.com)

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Realistic Ways to Save Money in these tough times No 2

Posted by TopOfTheThread on February 4, 2009

Realistic Ways to Save Money in there Tough times… continued…

  • Get haircuts, get your hair done less often – Judy had commented on “haircuts”… I had spoken to my barbercash_pocket regarding the effects the economy has had on his business. He had said people are waiting longer between haircuts (It is consistent with Judy’s comment.) I had also gone from a haircut every 5 weeks to 8-9 weeks (to the point of people making comments).
  • Wash your hair every other day. (If you do not have greasy hair that should not be gross.)
  • Unplug “things”. Unplus the power cord when not charging something. Sometimes they are still using a little electricity.
  • When your bottle of shampoo gets half empty, add a little water. This will make it last longer. Shampoo is mostly water anyway.
  • Do the same thing for hair gel. When your bottle of hair gel gets half empty, add a little water.
  • Run your dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer late at night when utilities are less expensive. (Is this true?)
  • If you are getting rid of a older car, see if it may be worth more to you to donate it to charity. At times they may give you a better net when you calculate it against your taxes.
  • Instead of going out, invite friends to your home. Having drinks at home is dramatically less expensive than out at a bar or restaurant.
  • If you are going out, invite friends over for drinks before hand (instead of having drinks while waiting for a table.) That will save significant money. — Remember don’t drink and drive!

… more to come…

(photo amondtax.com)

Posted in finance, saving money, shopping, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Realistic Ways to Save Money in these tough times

Posted by TopOfTheThread on December 27, 2008

As the economy is getting tougher wiith  potential unemployment on the horizon, here are some of cash_pocketthe items our family has done (or will be doing)…

  • Cancel gym membership. I stopped my LA Fitness membership and started running and doing push ups.
  • Add water to hair gel… a reasonable amount to make it last longer – it is mostly water anyway
  • Add water to shampoo, hair conditioner … same here.. a reasonable amount to make it last longer – it is mostly water anyway
  • If there is coffee in your office, drink that… even if you love Starbucks…  You would be surprised how quickly it ads up. If you have 2 cups of coffee a day at $2 each.. that’s $4 per day… with an average of 20 work days per month… that’s $80 per month on coffee.
  • Clean out your drawers, house, apartment… find old jewelry, metals, etc… and sell them… I have sent mine to QuickCashKit.com and they seemed to have sent me a fair dollar amount. (They are not a middleman. They are the refinery.)
  • I sold my other junk on eBay.  It was just taking up space in the house anyway. I aggressively priced it. I want the cash. I don’t are that someone else got an extra $5 for the same clock radio!
  • I purchased a new (to me) leather jacket at Good Will (Jericho Turnpike, Elwood, Long Island, NY).  They have nice, broken in, soft leather, used  jackets. I stumbled across this place last year when I had to find a costume for a dance.  They had lots of nice things!
  • Bring your lunch to the office. (You would be surprised how much money you spend on lunch, coffee, etc..)
  • Stopped eating in between meals. (Again, it is a good habit to NOT eat between meals. Now is the time to do it.)
  • Around here, it seems like Chinese Restaurants (small storefronts) seem to have lots of great lunch meals. An acquaintance (who is single) actually buys 2 lunches and brings one home for dinner. Actually, sometimes the lunch itself is large enough for dinner and lunch.
  • Good bye Netflix. Good bye BlockBuster.  We now go to the public library and borrow movies for FREE. We also do not feel pressured to watching a movie that we had paid for…
  • Lowered the thermostat from 68 to 62 degrees.  It’s a little chillier but put on a sweaterhirt! I am guessing, I will save $20 per month.
  • Always visit coupon sites.  Some of the best sites are  Coupons.com,   CouponCabin.com, RetailMeNot,  .online-coupon-promotion-discount-code.com,and others. Also google. for codes. A sample search may be for a coupon code for Wii Fit. (Search for coupon code on Wii Fit)
  • Cancel the water delivery service. Each of those bottles costs $15 and the stand costs $5 per month. We will save $20 per month purchasing the water from the grocery store.
  • For breakfast we like to have a bagel with cheese.  Around here (NY) a bagel costs approximately $0.75. An entire loaf of bread costs $1.49.  Save money by purchasing a loaf of bread and putting cheese on bread instead of  a begel…. it will also save you calories! And Carbs!
  • Save on automobile insurance.  As your car gets older you MAY need less insurance. Contact your insurance professional to guide you.  Your insurance broker may be able to guide you properly and safely. Present your concerns to your broker before lessening your coverage.

(photo amondtax.com)

Posted in finance, saving money, shopping, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

PayPal.com – The Great Small Business Tool

Posted by TopOfTheThread on June 21, 2008

If you are running a small business, you should consider using paypal for your account payables.paypal finance solution for small business

It is less expensive than using an outside service or having your finance person (or department).

We use it to disburse prizes as well as pay contractors. We had over 100 contractors who we paid via paypal All our prizes were paid via paypal.

We simply uploaded a tab-delimited file using the Mass Pay option, and it was done in a minute. Mass Payments cost just 2% of the payment amount with a $1.00 USD cap. (https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/helpweb?cmd=_help)

To print and mail checks will definitely cost you more than $1.00. You just need to tell your vendors you will be paying via paypal. Everyone has heard of paypal. It takes only a few minutes to set up an account (if they do not already have one.)

The only suggestion or improvement I have regarding the product. If they would manage 1099’s for businesses, it would be the ultimate business tool.

But overall, it’s quick and easy. It’s worth at least investigating using it for your business.

(photo paypal.com http://www.23nlpeople.com)

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