Earn Extra Cash By Taking Part In Surveys

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I have just heard about another way of making a little bit of extra money. This is by taking part in different surveys for a range of companies who are looking to find out more about their customers or potential customers. You may think just like I did that this would hardly be worth your time or effort, however you may be surprised when you realise you much these companies are willing to pay.

surveys, money, step-daughter, friend, meal, banking, play, earn, pay, customers, companies, school

I have just heard about another way of making a little bit of extra money. This is by taking part in different surveys for a range of companies who are looking to find out more about their customers or potential customers. You may think just like I did that this would hardly be worth your time or effort, however you may be surprised when you realise you much these companies are willing to pay.

A few days ago a friend of my step-daughters came round to our house to play. They are both twelve years of age and have known each other since primary school. This friend also stopped at our house for her evening meal and while at the dining table, eating her food, she started up quite an interesting conversation. She asked my step-daughter if she would be interested in joining her to take part in a survey which would be about the subject of childrens banking.

I started to ask this girl, who is called Emma, what would be involved. Emma replied that a lady would be going round to her house on Saturday morning and would be asking her a series of questions about banking, for example who she banks with and how much money she attempts to save as a twelve year old. She continued that the meeting would last around an hour and a half for which she would be paid ?0. If she then also kept a form of diary for a week, she would then receive another ?0.

My step-daughter suddenly became very interested and asked me whether she would be able to go aswell, I told her that she could.

Emma then told our family that she regularly took part in these surveys and had been introduced to the idea by a friend of her mothers. She stated that on average she made around ?00 a month from taking part and completing these surveys, not bad for a twelve year old. I joked by asking her whether I could also go around on the Saturday. Emma replied that this survey was only aimed at schoolchildren but that her parents also regularly took part in other surveys and that she would let me know when the next one was going to take place.

The Saturday arrived and I took my step-daughter to Emma’s house. I started talking to her parents while I waited for the meeting to finish. Her parents then told me about their own experiences of completing different surveys and stated that even though it is not a massive amount of money that it is a lot for what you have to do. They also said that it helped them to pay a number of bills each month.

My step-daughter really enjoyed the meeting and came out kissing her ?0. It beats washing your car, she said to me with a huge grin on her face.

Give Yourself a Raise in 2006

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How would you like to earn more in 2006? Up to $4000 more? The answer is not by earning more, although that can help, it’s by cutting back on your daily expense.

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How would you like to earn more in 2006? Up to $4000 more? The answer is not by earning more, although that can help, it’s by cutting back on your daily expense. We work to earn a living. We live paycheck to paycheck. Never have money left over at the end of the month? Where does it all go? You can probably account for the majority of where you paycheck goes. Housing, car payments, credit card bills, food. But where do all those other dollars go?

You might be surprised how much cash you spend every day without really knowing it. Lets start with your drive to work. Long commute? How much gas do you use a week commuting? Are there ways you can reduce that? Car pool, public transportation? A job closer to home? Do you have to pay for parking? If you have to park in a downtown area anywhere in the county you are probably spending $8-$12 or more per day. Can you find a less expensive place to park even if it means walking a few extra blocks? A job where you don’t have to pay for parking can save you $100-$200 a month.

How about the morning coffee. $30-$40 per month? Do you bring your lunch or eat out everyday? $3-$10 a day is another $60-$200 a month. Don’t forget the snack out of the vending machine and your afternoon soda break. There is another $35 a month.

If you add it up you are looking at spending $300 a month or $3600 a year that it is costing you to work. These are just some of the daily expenses you may have, not including other work related expenses. Now divide $300 a month by how much you make per hour and you will know how many hours you need to work just to be able to work!

You don’t have to give up everything at once but if you start to cut back now when you get your next raise you will have even more money to put away. The easiest thing to do now is simply keep track of your daily expenses for the next few weeks. You may be surprised just how much you are spending. Once you know where your money is going then you can start to cut back.

Don’t get in the habit of going to the cash machine every few days. Once cash is in your hands, you will never know where it went. If you want to keep more of your hard earned dollars start to budget today. You will be glad you did.

Not To Late To Make 2005 IRA Contribution

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Many Americans make annual contributions to individual retirement accounts. If you haven’t done so for the 2005 tax year, you still can.

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Many Americans make annual contributions to individual retirement accounts. If you haven’t done so for the 2005 tax year, you still can.

Not To Late To Make 2005 IRA Contribution

Contributing to individual retirement accounts just makes sense. Most don’t believe social security is going to survive for long. Even if it does, one has to wonder how small the distributions are going to be. With the baby boomer generation about to put significant strain on the system, distributions in ten or twenty years are going to be paltry.

If you failed to contribute to your individual retirement account in 2005, you have until April 15, 2006 to do so. This is also true if you contributed during 2005, but failed to deposit the maximum amount allowed under law.

The contribution limits for individual retirement accounts went up in 2005. You can generally contribute up to $4,000. If you are older than 50 years of age, the limit bumps up another $500 to $4,500. When making contributions, just make sure you note on the deposit slip that it is for the 2005 year, not 2006.

Although there are variations, individual retirement accounts come in two general forms. The traditional independent retirement account is a pre-tax contribution vehicle. If you meet salary and filing requirements, the money you contribute from your earning is excluded from your adjusted gross tax calculations. If you are looking for extra deductions for 2005, catching up on your individual retirement account contribution can create a healthy reduction of your reported earnings. The downside, of course, is distributions from traditional IRAs are taxable when you hit the relevant age limit.

The Roth IRA represents a different approach to the individual retirement savings conundrum. Essentially, the Roth IRA shifts the tax burden to the beginning of the savings cycle. In human terms, this means you get no deduction for contributing to a Roth IRA. If you don’t get a deduction, why would you use a Roth? The huge advantage to the Roth is found in the distributions. Simply put, distributions are tax-free when you reach the appropriate retirement age. If you are young, say under 40, Roth IRAs typically present a better return than traditional IRAs. This is because the money invested has more time to compound and grow.

Regardless of your choice, socking away money for retirement makes sense. Fortunately, you can still do so for 2005.

The Fight Against Fraud Knows No Border

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Canada and the United States share similar cultures, enthusiasm for sports and a common border. That border is proving to be no barrier to fraud schemes that target victims in both countries.

The Fight Against Fraud Knows No Border

Canada and the United States share similar cultures, enthusiasm for sports and a common border.

Unfortunately, the border is proving to be no barrier to fraud schemes that target victims in both countries. Armed with the Internet and cell phones, con artists target victims-many of them older Americans-in these cross-border schemes. Using false names and electronic tricks, they hide who and where they really are.

The good news is that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is working with Canadian law enforcement to stop these crimes. Prevention, however, is still the best medicine. Chief Postal Inspector L.R. Heath encourages consumers to protect themselves by following these tips:

• Be wary of anything that promises large sums of money, such as sweepstakes or lottery winnings, in exchange for your advance payment, donation or investment.

• Don’t be pressured into making a decision about an offer. Check it out first.

• Be cautious about businesses that try to conceal their mailing addresses and phone numbers, and evade questions about their operations.

• Be aware that if you respond to even one of these “offers,” your name will be added to a “mooch” list by these criminals. These are contact lists, similar to those used by legitimate businesses, that track people who have fallen for scams in the past. They are bought and sold by these criminal enterprises and you can count on being targeted again.

The Postal Service’s Consumer Advocate Delores J. Killette said, “Older Americans need to be educated to avoid becoming victims of consumer fraud and convinced that it’s okay to say ‘no’ to solicitations. But their children, many of whom are baby boomers, also need to play a role. They need to keep an eye on elderly parents and grandparents to protect them from scammers. Fighting fraud truly is a family matter.” Educated families are the best defense against these fraudsters-if they recognize the warning signs.

If You Want To Make Money: Avoid Debt!

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Everybody starting in life should avoid running into debt.

There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish position to get ill, yet we find many a young man, hardly out of his “teens,” running in debt.

He meets a chum and says, “Look at this: I have got trusted for a new suit of clothes.”

He seems to look upon the clothes as so much given to him; well, it frequently is so, but, if he succeeds in paying and then gets trusted again, he…

Everybody starting in life should avoid running into debt.

There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish position to get ill, yet we find many a young man, hardly out of his “teens,” running in debt.

He meets a chum and says, “Look at this: I have got trusted for a new suit of clothes.”

He seems to look upon the clothes as so much given to him; well, it frequently is so, but, if he succeeds in paying and then gets trusted again, he is adopting a habit which will keep him in poverty through life.

Debt robs a man of his self-respect, and makes him almost despise himself.

Grunting and groaning and working for what he has eaten up or worn out, and now when he is called upon to pay up, he has nothing to show for his money; this is properly termed “working for a dead horse.”

I do not speak of merchants buying and selling on credit, or of those who buy on credit in order to turn the purchase to a profit. The old Quaker said to his farmer son, “John, never get trusted; but if thee gets trusted for anything, let it be for ‘manure,’ because that will help thee pay it back again.”

Mr. Beecher advised young men to get in debt if they could to a small amount in the purchase of land, in the country districts. “If a young man,” he says, “will only get in debt for some land and then get married, these two things will keep him straight, or nothing will”.

This may be safe to a limited extent, but getting in debt for what you eat and drink and wear is to be avoided. Some families have a foolish habit of getting credit at “the stores,” and thus frequently purchase many things which might have been dispensed with.

It is all very well to say; “I have got trusted for sixty days, and if I don’t have the money the creditor will think nothing about it.” There is no class of people in the world, who have such good memories as creditors. When the sixty days run out, you will have to pay.

If you do not pay, you will break your promise, and probably resort to a falsehood. You may make some excuse or get in debt elsewhere to pay it, but that only involves you the deeper.

A good-looking, lazy young fellow, was the apprentice boy, Horatio. His employer said, “Horatio, did you ever see a snail?” “I – think – I – have,” he drawled out. “You must have met him then, for I am sure you never overtook one,” said the “boss.” Your creditor will meet you or overtake you and say, “Now, my young friend, you agreed to pay me; you have not done it, you must give me your note.”

You give the note on interest and it commences working against you; “it is a dead horse.” The creditor goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning better off than when he retired to bed, because his interest has increased during the night, but you grow poorer while you are sleeping, for the interest is accumulating against you.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master. When you have it mastering you; when interest is constantly piling up against you, it will keep you down in the worst kind of slavery.

But let money work for you, and you have the most devoted servant in the world. It is no “eye-servant.”There is nothing animate or inanimate that will work so faithfully as money when placed at interest, well secured. It works night and day, and in wet or dry weather.

In the former “blue-law State of Connecticut”, where the old Puritans had laws so rigid that it was said, “they fined a man for kissing his wife on Sunday”. Yet these rich old Puritans would have thousands of dollars at interest, and on Saturday night would be worth a certain amount; on Sunday they would go to church and perform all the duties of a Christian.

On waking up on Monday morning, they would find themselves considerably richer than the Saturday night previous, simply because their money placed at interest had worked faithfully for them all day Sunday, according to law!

Do not let it work against you; if you do there is no chance for success in life so far as money is concerned. John Randolph, the eccentric Virginian, once exclaimed in Congress, “Mr. Speaker, I have discovered the philosopher’s stone: pay as you go.”This is, indeed, nearer to the philosopher’s stone than any alchemist has ever yet arrived.

High Interest Credit Cards

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Most high interest credit cards are usually easy to get, if you have had bankruptcies, judgments or just have a bad credit rating, high interest credit cards might be the only option.

high interest credit cards

Most high interest credit cards are usually easy to get and really the interest rate only matters if you roll over your balances from month to month. People that have had bankruptcies, judgments or just have a bad credit rating, for what ever reason are the most common applicants for high interest credit cards. Many low interest credit cards will allow you to transfer balances from your high interest credit cards but you must have a decent credit rating. The most important thing about a balance transfer card is the amount of money it will save you, especially if you have a high interest credit card that you carry a balance on.

Credit

Beware some credit card companies will try multiple ploys to get you signed up and then if your late on a payment for some reason, charge large fees even if your credit card payment is only one or two days late. Those who want to apply for a major high interest credit card to re-establish or to establish new credit should consider the price they will ultimately pay. Even those who don not qualify for low interest credit cards should still shop and compare to get the best deal available.

Interest

Most major financial companies base the interest rates on your credit score, this tells them whether you pay on time and just how you use your credit. If you have a card with high interest rates you DO NOT want to carry a balance. If you do get a low interest credit card and make a payment late, the default interest rate goes into affect, sometimes up to 22 percent, making it very hard to ever get caught up. The difference between high interest credit cards and low could be hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year.

Getting your high interest credit cards paid off should be your top concern. When your credit score improves try to transfer all of your high interest credit card balances, some transfer cards even offer 0 introductory offers for balance transfers, thus making it much faster and easier to pay off your debt.

A New Wall Street Line Dance: Performance

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Every December, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, investors begin to scrutinize their performance, formulate coulda’s and shoulda’s, and determine what to try next year. It’s an annual, masochistic, right of passage.

Wall Street, investment management, stock market, stocks, bonds, equity investing, stock trading, dividends, interest, strategy, Working Capital, asset allocation, market value, technical analysis

It matters not what lines, numbers, indices, or gurus you worship, you just can’t know where the stock market is going or when it will change direction. Too much investor time and analytical effort is wasted trying to predict course corrections?even more is squandered comparing portfolio Market Values with a handful of unrelated indices and averages. If we reconcile in our minds that we can’t predict the future (or change the past), we can move through the uncertainty more productively. Let’s simplify portfolio performance evaluation by using information that we don’t have to speculate about, and which is related to our own personal investment programs.

Every December, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, investors begin to scrutinize their performance, formulate coulda’s and shoulda’s, and determine what to try next year. It’s an annual, masochistic, right of passage. My year-end vision is different. I see a bunch of Wall Street fat cats, ROTF and LOL, while investors (and their alphabetically correct advisors) determine what to change, sell, buy, re-allocate, or adjust to make the next twelve months behave better financially than the last. What happened to that old fashioned emphasis on long-term progress toward specific goals? The use of Issue Breadth and 52-week High/Low statistics for navigation; and cyclical analysis (Peak to Peak, etc.) and economic realities as performance expectation barometers makes a lot more personal sense. And when did it become vogue to think of Investment Portfolios as sprinters in a twelve-month race with a nebulous array of indices and averages? Why are the masters of the universe rolling on the floor in laughter? They can visualize your annual performance agitation ritual producing fee generating transactions in all conceivable directions. An unhappy investor is Wall Street’s best friend, and by emphasizing short-term results and creating a superbowlesque environment, they guarantee that the vast majority of investors will be unhappy about something, all of the time.

Your portfolio should be as unique as you are, and I contend that a portfolio of individual securities rather than a shopping cart full of one-size-fits-all consumer products is much easier to understand and to manage. You just need to focus on two longer-range objectives: (1) growing productive Working Capital, and (2) increasing Base Income. Neither objective is directly related to the market averages, interest rate movements, or the calendar year. Thus, they protect investors from short-term, anxiety causing, events or trends while facilitating objective based performance analysis that is less frantic, less competitive, and more constructive than conventional methods. Briefly, Working Capital is the total cost basis of the securities and cash in the portfolio, and Base Income is the dividends and interest the portfolio produces. Deposits and withdrawals, capital gains and losses, each directly impact the Working Capital number, and indirectly affect Base Income growth. Securities become non-productive when they fall below Investment Grade Quality (fundamentals only, please) and/or no longer produce income. Good sense management can minimize these unpleasant experiences.

Let’s develop an “all you need to know” chart that will help you manage your way to investment success (goal achievement) in a low failure rate, unemotional, environment. The chart will have four data lines, and your portfolio management objective will be to keep three of them moving upward through time. Note that a separate record of deposits and withdrawals should be maintained. If you are paying fees or commissions separately from your transactions, consider them withdrawals of Working Capital. If you don’t have specific selection criteria and profit taking guidelines, develop them.

Line One is labeled “Working Capital? and an average annual growth rate between 5% and 12% would be a reasonable target, depending on Asset Allocation. [An average cannot be determined until after the end of the second year, and a longer period is recommended to allow for compounding.] This upward only line (Did you raise an eyebrow?) is increased by dividends, interest, deposits, and “realized?capital gains and decreased by withdrawals and “realized?capital losses. A new look at some widely accepted year-end behaviors might be helpful at this point. Offsetting capital gains with losses on good quality companies becomes suspect because it always results in a larger deduction from Working Capital than the tax payment itself. Similarly, avoiding securities that pay dividends is at about the same level of absurdity as marching into your boss’s office and demanding a pay cut. There are two basic truths at the bottom of this: (1) You just can’t make too much money, and (2) there’s no such thing as a bad profit. Don’t pay anyone who recommends loss taking on high quality securities. Tell them that you are helping to reduce their tax burden.

Line Two reflects “Base Income”, and it too will always move upward if you are managing your Asset Allocation properly. The only exception would be a 100% Equity Allocation, where the emphasis is on a more variable source of Base Income?the dividends on a constantly changing stock portfolio. Line Three reflects historical trading results and is labeled “Net Realized Capital Gains? This total is most important during the early years of portfolio building and it will directly reflect both the security selection criteria you use, and the profit taking rules you employ. If you build a portfolio of Investment Grade securities, and apply a 5% diversification rule (always use cost basis), you will rarely have a downturn in this monitor of both your selection criteria and your profit taking discipline. Any profit is always better than any loss and, unless your selection criteria is really too conservative, there will always be something out there worth buying with the proceeds. Three 8% singles will produce a larger number than one 25% home run, and which is easier to obtain? Obviously, the growth in Line Three should accelerate in rising markets (measured by issue breadth numbers). The Base Income just keeps growing because Asset Allocation is also based on the cost basis of each security class! [Note that an unrealized gain or loss is as meaningless as the quarter-to-quarter movement of a market index. This is a decision model, and good decisions should produce net realized income.]

One other important detail No matter how conservative your selection criteria, a security or two is bound to become a loser. Don’t judge this by Wall Street popularity indicators, tea leaves, or analyst opinions. Let the fundamentals (profits, S & P rating, dividend action, etc) send up the red flags. Market Value just can’t be trusted for a bite-the-bullet decision?but it can help. This brings us to Line Four, a reflection of the change in “Total Portfolio Market Value” over the course of time. This line will follow an erratic path, constantly staying below “Working Capital” (Line One). If you observe the chart after a market cycle or two, you will see that lines One through Three move steadily upward regardless of what line Four is doing! BUT, you will also notice that the “lows” of Line Four begin to occur above earlier highs. It’s a nice feeling since Market Value movements are not, themselves, controllable.

Line Four will rarely be above Line One, but when it begins to close the cap, a greater movement upward in Line Three (Net Realized Capital Gains) should be expected. In 100% income portfolios, it is possible for Market Value to exceed Working Capital by a slight margin, but it is more likely that you have allowed some greed into the portfolio and that profit taking opportunities are being ignored. Don’t ever let this happen. Studies show rather clearly that the vast majority of unrealized gains are brought to the Schedule D as realized losses?and this includes potential profits on income securities. And, when your portfolio hits a new high watermark, look around for a security that has fallen from grace with the S & P rating system and bite that bullet.

What’s different about this approach, and why isn’t it more high tech? There is no mention of an index, an average, or a comparison with anything at all, and that’s the way it should be. This method of looking at things will get you where you want to be without the hype that Wall Street uses to create unproductive transactions, foolish speculations, and incurable dissatisfaction. It provides a valid use for portfolio Market Value, but far from the judgmental nature Wall Street would like. It’s use in this model, as both an expectation clarifier and an action indicator for the portfolio manager, on a personal level, should illuminate your light bulb. Most investors will focus on Line Four out of habit, or because they have been brainwashed by Wall Street into thinking that a lower Market Value is always bad and a higher one always good. You need to get outside of the “Market Value vs. Anything?box if you hope to achieve your goals. Cycles rarely fit the January to December mold, and are only visible in rear view mirrors anyway?but their impact on your new Line Dance is totally your tune to name.

The Market Value Line is a valuable tool. If it rises above working capital, you are missing profit opportunities. If it falls, start looking for buying opportunities. If Base Income falls, so has: (1) the quality of your holdings, or (2) you have changed your asset allocation for some (possibly inappropriate) reason, etc. So Virginia, it really is OK if your Market Value falls in a weak stock market or in the face of higher interest rates. The important thing is to understand why it happened. If it’s a surprise, then you don’t really understand what is in your portfolio. You will also have to find a better way to gauge what is going on in the market. Neither the CNBC “talking heads” nor the “popular averages” are the answer. The best method of all is to track “Market Stats”, i.e. Breadth Statistics, New Highs and New Lows. . If you need a “drug”, this is a better one than the ones you’ve grown up with.

The Different Types of Stock Markets

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There are many different stock markets in the US. In most circumstances, the main markets that you will hear of are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and the NASDAQ.

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There are many different stock markets in the US. In most circumstances, the main markets that you will hear of are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and the NASDAQ.

The markets are basically where people and companies trade securities. The market is the arena in which the players gather to trade.

The New York Stock Exchange has been around since 1792. It is located on Wall Street in New York City. The NYSE is the largest and best-known stock exchange in the country. It also has very stringent requirements for companies to join its listings. A company must be financially strong and show signs of being an industry leader to join the NYSE. Companies strive to belong to this market, and even pay annual fees for membership.

When a brokerage describes itself as a member of the NYSE it means that the firm has bought a seat on the floor of the NYSE. This means that there is actually a employee on the floor of the exchange buying and selling stock. This is an expensive investment for a firm, costing well over a million dollars.

The American Stock Exchange is similar to the NYSE in that it conducts its trading on a trading floor. The floor is filled with traders who buy and sell securities. The AMEX has been located in Manhattan since 1921. It is known as a major exchange for not only stocks, but also options. You will tend to find slightly riskier and smaller stocks listed on the AMEX, which operates under the NASDAQ-AMEX Market Group, a subsidiary of the National Association of Security Dealers.

NASDAQ, or the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, is the youngest of the three major markets. It may also be the one you have heard the most about through the news. It lists just about every stock in the industry, but it is best known for listing technology companies. In fact, it is where you will find many major technology stocks, including Microsoft and Intel. It was launched in 1971 and was the first over-the-counter stock market. It links buyers and sellers via a computer network.

Brokers and dealers will market the stocks by maintaning an inventory in their own accounts. They will buy or sell when they receive an order from an investor. You will find that start up companies that are issuing stock in an initial public offering will often list on the NASDAQ.

When it comes to buying stock, knowing where to find certain types of stock is important. Each market often specializes in slightly different types of stocks.