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Sunday, January 30, 2011
Weekend Quote - Fear of Failure
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.

- William Shakespeare


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posted by Ruby @ 11:58 AM   0 comments

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Friday, January 28, 2011
Earn 100 Continental Airlines Onepass frequent flyer miles
Continental Airlines is offering a chance to earn 100 Onepass frequent flier miles.

You can earn miles every month by paying monthly bills with your Continental credit card and also get 100 miles if you register for the offer by Feb 28, 2011.

For complete details, see:

Chance to earn 100 Onepass frequent flyer miles

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posted by Ruby @ 10:41 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Review of Firstrade - an online broker with competitive commissions
People who trade equities frequently are always looking for a good online broker with competitive commissions. That's because if you do frequent online trading, your commission costs can add up quickly, reducing your gains. Fortunately, there are a lot of discount brokers out there. One such online broker is Firstrade.

Firstrade provides a platform for stock trading as well as trading options, mutual funds, ETFs, and fixed income securities at competitive costs. For example, stock trades currently cost $6.95/trade for unlimited shares. Similarly, for options, the costs are currently $6.95 + $0.75/contract. The firm also offers broker-assisted trades but costs for such trades are higher. For example, broker-assisted stock trades currently cost $26.95/trade. You can also hold IRA accounts with them.

Along with offering a platform with competitive commissions, Firstrade makes it easy to open and maintain an account as currently, there are no minimum deposits to open, nor does it currently have any inactivity or maintenance fees. It's Web site has a nice, simple, and easy to use interface. The firm also allows mobile trading. The company has been in business for over 25 years, and is a member of FINRA/SIPC. Since its inception, the firm has been rated as one of the best online brokers by major financial publications. Similarly, in 2005, the Smart Money magazine named Firstrade as the "Best Deal" in the online discount broker category. To learn more about the firm, check out its Web site:

Firstrade


Note: the above is a paid post


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posted by Ruby @ 12:20 PM   0 comments

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
A chance to get a free pizza from Papa John's
Papa John's is offering a chance to get a free pizza if Super Bowl XLV goes into overtime. You need to enroll in the Papa Points, a free program, and register for this offer.


For details, check out:

PapaJohn's

To enroll in Papa Points Rewards Program, check out:

Papa Points Rewards Program


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posted by Ruby @ 7:35 AM   0 comments

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Monday, January 24, 2011
Free subscription to Barrons, Wall Street Journal, Maxim, Newsweek and other magazines
For a limited time, RewardsGold is offering a chance to get free subscriptions to various magazines, including Newsweek, AFAR, Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Jet, Ebony, and Maxim. Quantities may be limited and there's no guarantee you will get the free subscription.

For details, check out:

RewardsGold: Free magazines


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Points.com  eLearners  Earn Rewards at MyPoints.

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posted by Ruby @ 9:06 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, January 23, 2011
Weekend Quote - One step at a time
You just don't luck into things as much as you'd like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it's friendships or opportunities.
- Barbara Bush

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posted by Ruby @ 11:11 AM   0 comments

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Friday, January 21, 2011
Real estate short sale
Due to the housing downturn spanning past several years, many homeowners these days are finding themselves upside down on their property, meaning they owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth. While some of these homeowners have decided to simply walk away from such properties, many other homeowners are trying to unload such properties via a short sale.

A short sale in real estate is when the mortgage lender agrees to accept less than the total amount of mortgage due on the property. For example, the mortgage on the property may be $300,000 but in a short sale, the lender could agree to accept less than $300,000. For the property holder, the advantage of a short sale is that by selling the property, he can free himself from the burden of mortgage. For buyers, the advantage is that they may get a property at a bargain price. In fact, because of this advantage, in many areas of the US, even first time home buyers are trying to buy houses on short sale.

If a short sale is such a win-win for both sellers and buyers, why don't all buyers and sellers go for a short sale? It's because of many reasons, including the following:

- Not all lenders approve short sales.

- Not all properties are eligible for short sales.

- A short sale involves a lot of complexity and time. It can take several months and a lot of paperwork to close a house on short sale.

- Since short sale can take a lot of time, mortgage rates can jump from the time the buyer first puts in a offer for a house on short sale. As a result, the advantage of the lower house price may be more than offset by the increase in mortgage rates.

- Since a lender is involved in the transaction, buyers and sellers have less control on when the closing will happen. This can be an issue for some buyers who may need to move within a certain timeframe.

- A short sale can also have tax implications, especially for the seller. While I am not a financial advisor or tax professional, because of tax ramifications, it's important to consult a competent tax professional.

- A short sale can also negatively impact the credit rating of the property seller.

- Not all real estate agents may be experienced in selling properties on short sale, and some of them may not even show such properties to the prospective buyers because of their lack of experience as well as potentially lower commissions on sale of such properties.

These are just some of the reasons that not all people jump in for a house on short sale. Despite these disadvantages, short sales may offer advantages for both the property sellers and buyers, which is why many areas in the country are experiencing increasing number of short sales.

If looking for a property on short sale, apart from your realtor, you can also use internet to find information. For example, you can use real estate sites like Trulia (to go to the site, click here. On the home page, enter your criteria to do the search, and then on the left hand side of result page, you can do a keyword search on "short sale" to find properties that are on short sale).

Other sites such as Zillow.com and RMLS.com (to go to the site, click here) may also have such information.


Note: the above is a paid post.

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posted by Ruby @ 2:32 PM   0 comments

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
50% off on Amazon.com gift certificate (deal ends today)
Livingsocial.com today is offering 50% off on Amazon.com's $20 gift certificate which can be bought today only for $10. Limit 1 gift certificate. You can go to the site directly or click my referral link below:

LivingSocial.com: $20 Amazon.com gift certificate for $10


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posted by Ruby @ 3:40 PM   0 comments

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Book Review - Full of Book
Since I like learning about stock investing, I was very excited to go through Full of Bull: Do What Wall Street Does, Not What It Says, To Make Money in the Market in the hopes of learning more about investing. However, after reading the book, I felt that except for a couple of chapters, the book was a bit of a disappointment. Reason? The central idea of the book is that ordinary, individual (retail) investors should be careful about the analyst buy/sell recommendations and not take the Wall Street literally. Despite being a relatively thin book (with 196 pages devoted to the main content), the author keeps repeating this theme throughout the book without going too much into how individual investors can better analyze the stocks.

About the Author

The book is written by a highly experienced and well-known analyst, Stephen T. McClellan. He's a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and has over 30 years of investment analyst experience at various firms, including Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch (which is now part of Bank of America). He also ranked on the annual Institutional Investor All-America Research Team for 19 consecutive times. Full of Bull is actually Stephen McClellan's second book, the previous one being The Coming Computer Industry Shakeout. Needless to say, the author has an impressive background and credentials, and his achievements are all the more remarkable considering that the author grew up delivering newspapers while in high school.

About the Book

The first edition (hardcover) of Full of Bull was published in late 2007, with some revisions made for the second printing which was released in early 2008. The latest 2009 paperback edition (which is being reviewed here) was printed in June 2009. It has extensive updates and includes a new chapter on bear market investing (Chapter 4). In all, the paperback edition has the following 8 chapters:

Chapter 1 - Decoding Wall Street's Well-Kept Secrets
Chapter 2 - Understanding Wall Street's Misleading Practices
Chapter 3 - Strategies in Quest of the Ideal Investment
Chapter 4 - Investment Strategies to Survive in a Bear Market
Chapter 5 - Evaluating Companies as Investment Candidates
Chapter 6 - Executive Traits Are a Revealing Investment Gauge
Chapter 7 - How Street Analysts Really Operate
Chapter 8 - Reforming Research to Level the Playing Field

The main point discussed throughout the book is that individual investors should be careful and not trust the Wall Street research. Individual retail investors are an after-thought for research analysts, brokers, and corporate executives who are all primarily interested in professional institutional investors such as pension funds, mutual funds, and hedge funds. According to the author, stock picking is not the analyst's job, and individual investors should not blindly trust the buy/sell recommendations of the analysts as these recommendations are unreliable and often late. As per the author, while the analysts may be good at providing thorough, informative company and research information, their buy/sell rating record is mediocre. Much of the book is devoted to the discussion of these points, and at times, feels repetitive.

What I like about the book?

If you want to know how Wall Streets and analysts operate, this book is it. The book claims to be geared towards individual investors. However, it is better suited for research analysts, and discusses topics like research conflicts, analyst conferences, reading corporate executives' body language, and so forth. For example, Chapter 6 - Executive Traits Are a Revealing Investment Gauge, discusses at length the various types and traits of corporate executives so that you know whether they are being truthful or just hyping the prospects of their companies. However, this chapter is better suited for research analysts since they are the ones who come in direct contact with the corporate executives. Most individual investors will only have indirect and occasional contact with the corporate executives via conference calls, and interviews in media.

That said, most individual investors will like going through chapters 3 and 5 which are the best part of this book. These two chapters focus on important rules about investing. The list of strategies/rules is fairly comprehensive, very useful and informative, and worth reading. Some of the important points discussed in this chapter are:

- Protect your capital
- Own only few stocks and invest for the long term in dividend-paying stocks of financially strong firms
- Pursue healthy, stable or expanding profit margins
- Avoid IPOs and turn-around plays
- Prefer smaller firms over bigger ones
- Avoid firms with weird stock structures or sweetheart management setups
- Look for steady expansion of revenues, not just profits

What I dislike about the book?

As mentioned earlier, except for couple of chapters, this book does not provide much new information for becoming a better investor. The fact that individual investors should not naively buy into the advice of Wall Street feels overly repetitive by the end of the book (as it does also probably in this review).

Final Word

Overall, Full of Bull is an ordinary book from the perspective of experienced individual investors. The book does have a couple of useful chapters which discuss many strategies that are especially useful for novice investors

Interview with the author


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posted by Ruby @ 5:05 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, January 16, 2011
Weekend Quote - Life
Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.

- Lou Erickso


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posted by Ruby @ 9:56 AM   0 comments

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Friday, January 14, 2011
Review of a debt consolidation Web site
Have been on a long break. Decided to write this paid (sponsored) post after receiving an email from one of my affiliates to do a review of a Web site called DebtConsolidationLoan.net.

The site offers information on debt consolidation loans. The site may be useful to people who have unsecured debts and who may be interested in loan debt consolidation and debt consolidation advice to meet their credit related obligations.

DebtConsolidationLoan.net is an easy to use site, with neatly arranged tabs. The site consists of the following six main tabs:

Home

Articles

Debt Consolidation Loan

Debt Management

Debt Settlement

About

Each of these tabs provides a lot of useful information. For example, the Articles tab provides many short articles on a variety of topics, including how to make more money, protecting against identity theft, and debt reduction tips. Similarly, the Home tab of the site provides contact information to get in touch with one of their representatives.

Overall, I found the DebtConsolidationLoan.net Web site to be a easy to navigate site, with a nice interface, and a lot of useful information related to debt consolidation.
posted by Ruby @ 2:00 PM   0 comments

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Sunday, January 09, 2011
Weekend Quote - Risk
If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.

- Jim Rohn


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posted by Ruby @ 9:21 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, January 02, 2011
Weekend Quote - Happiest People
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

- Author Unknown


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posted by Ruby @ 10:46 AM   0 comments

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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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