Scottrade

I closed my Scottrade account in July. As usual, Scottrade have provided great service so the process was painless. I went into one of the branch office, told them I want to close the account. They made a call to my ‘home’ branch, they confirmed my name and address, and that’s it. Two days later, I received my check. No questions asked! Easy!

However, the fact Scottrade didn’t even asked for my driver’s license did made me a bit worry about their privacy and security policy. If say someone that knows my name and where I live, s/he could close the account and I wouldn’t know it till I received a check.

August 20, 2007 at 8:15 pm 4 comments

A Short Money How-To

Mastering all things money isn’t as simple as it sounds. Sure, saving a lot and spending a little is ideal, but that isn’t always realistic. As a general rule of thumb: make money, save money, and avoid payday loans if at all possible. But sometimes, a financial emergency happens, and what then?

 

The best way to avoid resorting to a loan is to save, save, save. With every paycheck and other source of income that comes your way, a portion should be put into a savings account (preferably one that accumulates interest over time). This way you have prepared for the unexpected, at least to some degree. Sometimes though, an unexpected expense goes beyond your realm of control, and there really are no other options. Now and only now should a payday loan come into consideration.  

 

Payday loans should only be considered in desperate times; like when an unexpected cost goes beyond your financial capability. Even then, money should only be borrowed if you are responsible enough to pay it back in a timely matter, and don’t make borrowing into a constant pattern. While payday loans can be life savors, using them for the wrong reasons can end up hurting you rather than helping you. The moral of the story: always weigh your options, and think ahead with your money.

August 13, 2007 at 12:58 pm 2 comments

Paul Merriman’s 500 Years Estate Plan

Do you want to know how to turn $10,000 into $10 millions?

If you have a lot of money and want to make sure your heirs are taken care of when you leave, Paul Merriman’s estate plan can be a good reference. I really like the plan he has for his grandson. If I have the money, I’ll use his plan.

July 18, 2007 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

Prepayment?

If you have 30 or 15 years fix mortgage, should you try to pay it off faster?

 According to this article, it pays to NOT prepay.

Why do so many people choose to put extra money into a mortgage when other options would likely increase their wealth? “This is really remnant of Depression mentality that has persisted from generation to generation,” says Amromin. At the time, most mortgages had one- to five-year terms, with a lump sum payment due at the end.

April 29, 2007 at 8:14 pm Leave a comment

How Much Does Retirement Cost?

I want to retire when I am 55, assuming I’ll live till I am 90 and still maintain the same lifestyle as now, according to this retirement calculator, I need ~4.2 Millions to retire at 55. If I want to retire now, I need ~2.3 Millions.

Unless someone wants to give me 2.3 mil, the 4.2 mil seem to be a goal I can work toward. Assuming annual raise of 4% and annual average return of 14% (higher than average) during working year and 8% return during retirement, I would need to contribute ~16% of my income to retirement.

Seem a bit far reach but still doable.

April 6, 2007 at 12:20 pm 1 comment

Are You Paying Too Much Social Security Tax?

I just did my tax and totally overlooked the significance of social security tax until I read about it in San Diego Tribune’s Sunday paper.  In 2006, the maximum social security tax (FICA) the government could be collecting is $5,840.40. For 2007, maximum FICA would be $6,045.

Luckily, my 2006 tax situation was very simple so I didn’t overpay (not sure about 2005 though. Is it too late to reclaim?).

Did you overpay? If so, here’s an article on how to recover excess payment.

April 2, 2007 at 12:14 pm Leave a comment

What is Your Market Value?

I used payscale.com when I was looking for job 2 years ago and found it useful. Since I already had an account, I plucked in my current position to see how my salary measured up. Turned out my pay is right smack in the middle, maybe the HR in my company used payscale.com as well.

I also inputted information for a position that I would have if I were to work in Gas & Energy industry per my college degree. Well, if I had stick with my college degree, I would be earning 15% more than my current salary.

What is your market value?

March 4, 2007 at 8:52 pm Leave a comment

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