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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Certification Info: Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
CPA is one of the widely-recognized accounting certifications. The problem is that the educational and experience requirements for CPA are pretty stringent in many states. In addition, not every one wants to become a public accountant. Fortunately, there are many other good certifications in accounting field apart from CPA. One of them is Certified Management Accountant or CMA, although personally, I believe CPA is more beneficial from career advancement perspective.

The certification is offered by the Institute of Management Accountant (IMA) and requires passing four parts in the areas of Business Analysis (Part I), Management Accounting and Reporting (Part II), Strategic Management (Part III )and Business Applications (Part IV). People who already have CPA or certain other specified accounting certifications, can get waiver on Part I.

A passing score of 70% is required on each part. The exam is completely online and can be taken any time during the year at various exam centers. The cost of the exam is about $500 although students can get up to 50% discount. For more information, check out the following links:

IMA: General Info

CMA Exam Format

Salary Survey

Certification FAQs

For posts on other certifications, check out the following links:

CPA

CIA

Enrolled Agent

CFA

CISA


posted by Ruby @ 6:40 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, February 25, 2007
Weekend Quote - Persistence
Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock
– Author Unknown
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Friday, February 23, 2007
Etrade: $25 bonus for $1 minimum deposit
Etrade is offering a $25 bonus for opening their Complete Savings bank account by Feb 28, 2007. Requires a minimum deposit of $1. For complete details, click the link below:

Etrade
posted by Ruby @ 7:13 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, February 22, 2007
Tax issues with stock options and AMT
Kiplinger.com recently reported a story about a couple caught by the AMT, causing them to incur a tax liability of $260,000 on income they never received. The cause: exercising of the incentive stock options prior to the stock market burst in 2000.

Due to the way incentive stock options are treated, their exercise required the couple to prepay taxes on the paper gains at the time of exercising the options even though they had not yet sold the stock. As the stock market collapsed subsequently, they ended up with a huge loss on the stock but they had to pay taxes on their paper gains. Result: they lost all their savings and had to borrow substantial money to pay their state and federal taxes.

For the complete article, check out the link below:

Kiplinger.com: The Beginning of the End of Tax Hell

I have heard similar horror stories of other people. That's why I have become leery of stock options. If I ever work for a company that gives it, and if I ever exercise them, I will sell the stock right away so as to lock any gains, rather than pay taxes on paper gains.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Rising above average
Came across a good article by Seth Godin on "How to be remarkable" that was published in the Guardian. Seth Godin is a well-known writer and in this article, he discusses how to be remarkable and stand above average. Among the some of the recommendations that Seth Godin makes on becoming remarkable include:

- Going full-measure with full commitment
- Remarkable doesn’t mean being noticed by others
- Remarkability lies in the edges
- Others may not appreciate your efforts to be remarkable
- You need to reinvest and reinvent as what's fashionable today soon becomes unfashionable

I especially liked the recommendation regarding reinvesting and reinventing in oneself. With all the changes that are occurring and increasing globalization and competitiveness it has become essential to be a life-long learner and making continuous effort to better oneself.

For the complete article, check out the following link:

Seth Godin’s article from The Guardian
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Sunday, February 18, 2007
Weekend Quote - Thoughts
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. And with our thoughts, we make our world
– Gautam Buddha
posted by Ruby @ 7:24 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, February 15, 2007
Sites promising high interest rates on bank deposits
Bankrate.com's article discusses the need to be wary of web site listing phony internet-only deals on CDs, savings and other bank accounts. Things to watch out: the site is promising too good of a deal to be true.Similarly, the bank may not be FDIC insured.

As always, it's best to careful of unknown sites and not fall for excellent deals they may be promoting. Not only they can cause the loss of your money but it can also result in sensitive personal information such as SSN etc falling into the hands of wrong people who can then use it for identify theft and other wrongful reasons.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Using time factor to become wealthy
An excellent article from Bankrate.com, again espousing the benefits of starting savings at an early age. An important point that the article makes: "You have time on your side, and time is your best ally when it comes to getting rich".

The article also provides a link to a savings calculator. To see how much your projected savings would be by the age of 65 based on your current age and monthly savings, check out the link to the calculator provided below:

Savings Calculator

For a similar post on the magic of compounding, check out:

The high cost of procrastination
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Monday, February 12, 2007
Free trial of Microsoft Office 2007
Microsoft is offering 60-day free trial of Office 2007 system, and a chance to win an Xbox 360. For details, click the link below:

Free trial of Microsoft Office
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Sunday, February 11, 2007
Weekend Quote – Wait
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle"
- Abraham Lincoln
posted by Ruby @ 6:40 AM   0 comments

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Saturday, February 10, 2007
Offer Disclaimer
This blog site includes posts containing information or links to offers regarding credit cards and other products, and/or services which may involve promotional rates, rebates, credit cards and any reward points, statement credits, bonuses etc. Such offers for promotional rates, rebates, credit cards and any reward points, statement credits, bonuses etc are offered by third-parties. Before applying for such offers, be sure to read their terms, fees, restrictions and other details as such offers are time-sensitive, subject to change without notice, and may also carry certain restrictions. The blog post on such offers is provided for information purposes, and we are not responsible if promotional rates, rebates, rewards points/statement credits, bonuses etc are not credited to you. In case of any issues, you will need to resolve it with the merchant/firm offering the product and/or service.

Additionally, logos, trademarks, service marks, and/or domain names (including, without limitation, the individual names of products and companies), listed in the blog posts, are the property of their respective owners.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007
Automatic closure of bank account
Recently received a letter from my bank stating that if I don't contact them or have any account activity within 30 days, my will be closed. I have been having the account for a while, so was surprised to receive this letter.

When I contacted bank, I found out that one of my accounts had already been closed as it had no balance. Since the other account had some balance, the bank had sent me the letter, otherwise that account would also have been closed automatically. Both my accounts were non-interest bearing accounts.

It was a nice learning experience. Seems as part of the new government regs under the Patriot Act as well as under the state's escheat/abandoned property law, if an account doesn't have any activity for a certain length of time, the account is subject to closure. So, now need to make sure that there’s some deposit/withdrawal activity in my accounts at least once every 60 days to avoid such closures again. Note that the escheat laws and activity period varies from state to state, so that's something to keep in mind as in other states, the activity period etc may be longer or shorter.
posted by Ruby @ 7:27 AM   0 comments

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
CNBC.com's Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge
CNBC.com is organizing Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge. Grand prize is $1 million with weekly prizes of $10,000. For details, click the link below:

Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge
posted by Ruby @ 6:19 AM   0 comments

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This site, including blog posts, may contain reviews, links, banners, text and other forms of advertisements for products, services, courses, and so forth of companies of which we may be an affiliate member or for which we may get paid for referrals. This site may also contain blog posts for which we are paid, as well as blog posts regarding products or services of companies from which we may have received complimentary products or services.
posted by Ruby @ 6:18 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Converting $8,000 to $1 million
MSN.com's article discusses how an investment of $2,000 per year for four years can become $1 million by the age of 67! The key – starting early. In this case, starting the investment of $2,000 at age 16 and continuing to do so for a total of 4 years.

The article also assumes $2,000 is invested in IRA, so you don't have to worry about taxes and that the money earns 10.7% - supposedly the average compound annual rate on large-cap US stocks.

Of course, if you want to put money in IRA, you need to make sure that you have earned at least $2,000 by working if you want to put that much amount into IRA (since IRA requires that money invested put in the IRA account must be from earned income rather than from interest income, etc).

The article again brings up the magic of compounding. The important thing is to start early. Wish, most of us had understood this magic when we are in our teens!

For a similar post on the magic of compounding, check out:

The high cost of procrastination
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Monday, February 05, 2007
Taxes - Free DeductionPro software
H & R Block is current giving away its DepreciationPro software. The software can be used for finding the fair values of non-cash items that are donated to Salvation Army, and other charitable organizations.

DeductionPro software
posted by Ruby @ 7:10 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, February 04, 2007
Weekend Quote – Forgiveness
"The week can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong"
- Mahatma Gandhi
posted by Ruby @ 6:30 AM   0 comments

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Friday, February 02, 2007
Mutual Fund Manager, Bill Miller
Have been following well-known mutual-fund manager Bill Miller's track record. His 15-year string of beating the S&P 500 index finally ended in 2006. His was a remarkable performance of consistently beating the index for such a long period. I was secretly hoping that it will continue into the future as well. However, even though his streak has ended, I like to follow his stock picks when ever possible.

Surprisingly, while many professionals emphasize diversification for risk reduction, his approach seems to be focusing on the fundamentals of a select number of stocks; an approach that's similar to that of Warren Buffett. However, this approach, which helped him trounce S&P 500 index for 15 years, cost him to lose the winning record last year as his picks didn't do as well as the broader market!

For related stories, click the links below:

Marketwatch.com - How S&P 500 finally topped Miller

Forbes – Beating Bill Miller

Bill Miller's Letter to Shareholder
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Favorite Quote
"If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more. If you look at what you do not have in life, you will never have enough".
                - Author Unknown
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