Monday, December 24, 2007
Merriam Webster: Tax Shelter
Always think of any and all tax shelters as a temporary boost in capital - or a temporary loan from the government. It matter not about the strength of the program, the political backing, or the different laws or exemptions that it uses - but what you do with the money in the time between receiving the return, and having to pay it back.
That's right - the proper usage for a tax shelter is simply to attain capital to invest in something that generates a higher rate of return than the penalties attached to using said tax shelter. Done properly you will come out with a significant gain. You can't play a rich man's game with a poor man's mindset. Stop thinking about the structures as a point of "winning vs. losing" against the CRA. They will always have deeper pockets than you.
In using the term "lose" - that would be in the case if you participated in a tax shelter, then spent the money on liabilities. The only way to truly come out ahead - and "win" is to make the money grow. Whether it's in real estate, the foreign exchange market, or elsewhere - just plant the seeds to win the game.
When Infiniti Point Strategies selects a tax shelter - it's for the structure of the shelter to be strong enough to meet the following criteria:
1) To be strong enough to be defensible in a court of law - up to supreme court. - This allows for the longest amount of time before the court cases end, and in turn generates the most amount of growth for the clients' investment choices.
2) To support real charities with real causes - in our own backyard. Helping Canadian charities is our primary philantrophic goal when choosing to support it with Canadian Tax Dollars. The rear view mirror test in the case where the charity could exist and continue to do good works regardless of the tax shelter associated with it is an excellent test to put to a tax shelter program.
For those of you who haven't invested yet, there's no better time to start than the present.
If you're still not sure about the temporary benefits of a tax shelter, check out these links sent to me by an ex-co-worker of mine.
Following up on the CRA’s intentions, there’s still a way to participate in tax shelters and make financial gains regardless of how the courts turn out.
Worst case scenario.
Let’s assume that CRA charges us 9% per annum (it’s between 8 and 9) as interest, and disallows the claims for 100% of the donation, Cash and otherwise.
So here’s an example of $2000.
$2000 1:5 Ratio = $12000 total receipts x .437 = $5244
CRA has 3 year statute of limitations to challenge shelter. Assume they wait until the last minute to gather highest interest.
Let’s also assume that your investment is growing at a 30% rate per annum (worst historical growth for one of the opportunities that I show people.)
The shortest court case on Tax Shelters was about 8 years – I’ll assume 5
Even after the capital gains of the investment are taken in account – you’re still at a net positive position when compared to the interest requested from the CRA. In the case where you’ve already spent the money – you can still set aside the same amount for a shorter period of time (3-5 years as opposed to 8) and still make a profit, even from borrowed money.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
My current situation is that we have his/her/and ours for everything. Chequing, Savings, Foreign Currency, Investments, Credit Cards, etc. Now the funny thing is that it's not so much about privacy, equality, shared responsibility and all of that. It's for the plain and simple reason that if something should happen to either one of us, we know that the joint accounts might be troublesome to deal with depending on the bank - so we figured to keep separate accounts to allow each other to continue to have access to funds at all times.
I agree that people should share the wealth between partners, but not always at a 50/50 rate. If one of you is better with numbers and investments than the other, then try something like 40/40/20 after paying the bills. (20 to go into investments and savings - or at least as much as possible to be directed by the better numbers person, but of course discussed with both).
Now regarding the investments themselves, for the name on the page ensure that you put the person with the lower income bracket to save on the tax burden. Even better, incorporate both of you under separate companies to take advantage of the ability for corporations to be forgiven X amount of Capital Gains to increase what you keep in your pocket even more. Just don't forget on the beneficiary side to include the name of your significant other / children.
Just my 2 cents. Now the important part - 40% or 20% or 50% of nothing is still ZERO. So get out there and learn how to invest from people at Infiniti Point http://www.ipoint.ca/ and see what they can show you.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The funny thing is that I'd have to agree and disagree at the same time. I agree more-so not just because I'm the "younger fellow" he spoke of in his blog, but because I'm learning from and meeting new people from a 20-year-old who surpasses even my ability to network and find people. Although I feel that my experiences in general give me a better balance of skills, I must admit that I am impressed with his network and contact base. On the flip side however, Darcy Rezac from the Vancouver Board of Trade is also a networking genius himself although a bit older than the "old guy" 35 that Doug mentioned. So there's something to be learned from everyone of all ages. I do see that Darcy's methods are much more refined than Kosta's however the fresh outlook would be refreshing from Kosta's side in comparison to Darcy.
Humility and the role of the servant leader play in this territory as younglings are getting richer at a faster pace than their predecessors, but are also arrogant and have an "invincible" mentality that allows them to sometimes make rash moves that put them into not-so-good predicaments. All I ask for in the end truly is to bring balance into life, learn from everyone and everything, and stop the smell the roses now and then to stretch your legs and not work.
Me? - I'm looking forward to taking another bit of vacation early in the new year, sitting on the beach, then coming back to my hotel room to my trusty laptop and finding that happy balance between work and play.
In martial arts, you tie your belt in a fashion that both sides are of equal length that symbolizes balance. One day I'll pursue the dream of writing a book with my mentors and how I applied Martial Arts to Business and won.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
How do I obtain credit?
How do I check my credit history?
How can I repair any errors in my credit report?
Perhaps ipoint could look into getting an alliance with a group that can help our client base increase and maintain their credit scores so we have a stronger overall group to learn together with, and perhaps run joint ventures with.
In my travels I ran into an excellent credit article in a forum. With the author's permission, I've re-posted it for people to share in. Hopefully someone can "Canadianize" it and re-post it as an article for the ipoint group. Either way, at least I'm taking the steps to learn about the wide world of finance from all of its facets.
In America, your credit is based on credit history. The longer you have credit, the more prompt your payments, and the lower your balances, the better credit you will have. Unfortunately, having no credit is usually just as bad - and in some cases worse - than having bad credit.
Why Credit is Important
It seems that the old days of paying for everything with cash are gone. Doing so these days will actually cost you additional money - potentially thousands of dollars. Your credit - like it or not - plays a huge role in many things that you do. It affects your insurance rates, is utilized by many apartment complexes to approve tenants, obtain credit cards, vehicle loans, and mortgages. Recently, quite a few employers have recently started screening for potential employees by examining their credit. The fact is, it is hugely advantageous to have a high credit rating, and likely will make life much easier on you - not to mention much less expensive in the long run.
The difference between good and bad credit on large purchases is tremendous. A person with a poor credit rating will generally pay tens of thousands of dollars more in interest than someone with average credit, and a person with excellent credit will pay even less.
The Credit Reporting Agencies
There are three main credit reporting agencies. Some institutions use what are called tri-merge bureaus, which is pulling information from each bureau and combining it into one. Others use individual CRAs, which usually vary by the area. In the Midwest, for instance, if we are using a single CRA, we use TransUnion.
You can get more information about each Credit reporting agency, as well as order your credit report to check your score and/or accuracy at these websites:
Types of Tradelines
Basically, a tradeline is simply an open line of credit. There are several different types, which we will discuss.
Usually the most common type of tradeline out there, it simply means that it is an open-ended line of credit. You can borrow money on it, pay it back, and then re-borrow without having to reapply for the tradeline. The most common revolving credit lines out there are credit cards, although some institutions do offer revolving lines of credit and other products. These types of tradelines usually have payments that increase or decrease according to the balance of the loan. These types of loans are generally frowned upon by potential borrowers.
This tradeline is a type of loan that you borrow $X on and pay it off over a set timeframe. An example of this type of loan would be a vehicle loan. These types of loans generally have fixed payments.
Basically, any type of loan using real property as collateral is considered to be a mortgage. These are typically installment loans, but there are other revolving products out there, such as lines of credit. These types of loans help your credit the most and damage your credit the least.
Basically, it is usually very difficult to obtain credit when you have no credit history. The easiest ways to obtain credit would be either with a secured loan, secured credit card, or a co-signer.
Secured Loan/Secured Credit Card
Getting either a secured loan or credit card is probably the easiest way to get credit without help from others. Basically, with both a secured loan and a credit card the lending institution is lending money out to you because they have collateral. Collateral is something that is used to guarantee payment - common collateral are vehicles, homes, and funds. In most cases, these credit cards and loans will secured by funds - that is, cash you have in the bank. Generally, you will be required to deposit $X into an account with the institution. In this example, we'll use $500 as $X. Once your $500 dollars are in the account, they put a freeze on it - making it impossible for you to withdraw those funds until the account is closed or the funds are released. The institution will then issue you either a credit card or a secured loan, using those frozen funds as collateral.
If it is a credit card - secured or unsecured - never, ever charge over 50% of the credit limit, even if you pay the card off in full each month. The reasoning behind this is because potential lenders like to see that you still have funds available on your open lines of credit - that you are being responsible with it. The reasoning you can't ever do it is because the company that holds the credit card reports to the Credit Reporting Agencies (from now on known as CRAs for the sake of typing less) only once per month, effectively taking a "snapshot" of your current balances. If you are maxed out, even if the check to pay off the balance is in the mail, it will reflect poorly on you.
If it is a secured loan, although it may be tempting because it is costing you money to pay interest, don't pay it off early unless you have found a better alternative. Credit history is exactly that - history of your payments. The longer you have the loan, the better off you'll be in the long run. Look at the money you are paying in interest as an investment - maybe even the best you have ever made. With good credit, you will save tens of thousands of dollars in interest on big ticket items, such as a house.
To obtain either a secured credit card or a secured loan, I would suggest checking with your local banks or credit unions, and avoiding any cards with an annual fee. As long as you pay your balance off on full each month on credit cards, you do not have to pay any interest.
A cosigner is basically another individual put on the note ( loan) that is also responsible for payments. The cosigner is 100% responsible, they don't have any less responsibility than the actual borrower. If the payments are late or the loan defaults, the cosigners credit will be damaged just as much, if not more, than the borrowers. Using a cosigner will often allow you to obtain credit that you normally wouldn't be able to obtain without any other credit history. Lower interest rates, longer terms, or even just getting approved are some examples as to how cosigners can help. Having a cosigner on a note doesn't really matter as far as building credit goes, it will either increase or decrease as if you were on the debt alone.
Basically, once you have obtained credit, maintaining it will be the key that will eventually unlock the "excellent" credit door. Time is both your friend and enemy - it will, after a number of years, erase any poor credit you may have, but it will also take a while to build good credit.
The key to maintaining and improving credit comes from six main factors. These factors are:
Length of time accounts have been established
Keeping your balances below 50% of the limit
Having little unsecured debt
Having low outstanding balances
Number of Tradelines
We'll examine them a bit further
This is by far and large the most important factor, and one of the biggest contributors to either helping or damaging your credit rating. Having a flawless or near flawless payment history is the best way to keep excellent credit. Payments are reported late only if they are 30+ days delinquent. Not that I would recommend it, but that means you could be 20 days late every month on your credit card payments and still have perfect payment history - although I would imagine you would be paying quite a sum in fees and interest.
Length of Time Accounts have been established
The longer accounts have been open, the better it will reflect on you. A credit history of 10+ years is very, very good.
Keeping your balances below 50% of the limit
This is important because the CRAs keep track of the highest balance you have ever carried on your revolving credit - aka credit cards or other revolving lines. Fortunately, however, if you were near or over your limit, the more time that passes the less it affects your score. If you recently went near/over your limit, a quick fix to this is to simply increase your credit limit and don't every go above your previous high balance.
Having little unsecured debt
The less unsecured debt you have the better off you are going to be. Unsecured debt is basically debt that you have that does not have any collateral attached to it - the most common unsecured debt is credit card debt, although there are other unsecured products out there.
Having low outstanding balances
Basically, this is regarding your total debt. Mortgages don't seem to have a whole lot of effect on this, but credit cards, vehicle loans, and other installments loans do play a role in this total. The less the debt, the better the credit
Number of Tradelines
The ideal situation is to only have 2-3 credit cards out there for unsecured debt, maybe a vehicle loan, and a mortgage. Believe it or not, you are actually penalized for not having any revolving credit lines out there - which would include credit cards. Many people have dozens of open accounts and never use them. There is absolutely no reason to have 10-15 or more credit lines open, even if you have no balances, the amount you could potentially borrow plays a role in calculating the score. Also, when closing accounts, make sure you actually contact the institution to close it, simply cutting them up and throwing them away isn't actually closing the account.
The Credit Score
Your credit score is simply a score assigned to you by the CRAs. They calculate your FICO score based on a variety of criteria, much of it is mysteriously shrouded. C'mon, you know everyone likes being graded on things where the rules aren't given to them, right?
Hopefully this will shed a little light on the topic...
Basically, the higher the score is, the more likely you are to repay your outstanding debts. By following this guide, you should attain a high score with relative ease - and keep it that way. However, there are a variety of little nuances that also affect it that many people are unaware of. For instance, applying for credit actually damages your score. If you often apply for credit and have a lower score than you feel you should, this is likely the reason. If you want to inquire about interest rates with several different companies, call them all on the same day. Several inquires lower your score far less if they are made the same day than those same inquiries spread over several days or several weeks. This is to allow the consumer to be able to shop around for rates and what not, without taking the full impact of applying at each place. Other factors include things I have mentioned above, and likely several others that I am unaware of.
Credit Myths and Legends
Paying extra payments/the account off faster helps your credit
False - Credit History is simply whether or not you make your payment on time or not. It doesn't actually show the amounts that you paid, simply whether or not it was on time - No more, no less.
It is good to have many accounts with no balances
False - Having many open accounts will actually reflect negatively on you. Potentially Lenders look not only at your current balances, but the actual amount you can borrow at any given time
A higher income will give you better credit
False - Nowhere does your income report to your bureau - it certainly will be a factor when trying to get approved, but doesn't actually help your score
Staying at the same Job Helps your Credit
True - If you are employed at the same place for more than 5 years, it will have a tremendous positive impact on your scores
Only older people have good credit
False - Young people can have good credit also, although admittedly, it is much harder to get your scores up due to the lack of activity
It only takes 2-3 months to get good credit when first starting out
False - It actually takes 6 months of continuous reporting before you even get a score, most lenders won't touch someone who does not have a score without a cosigner
Being an authorized user on someones card helps your credit
True - Usually, it will report to the bureau exactly like a card on your name - although of course, it will not be helpful if the person is near the limit or late on payment
It's ok to charge up to the maximum limit on credit cards as long as you pay it off each month
False, see above where I explain how the reporting works - the "snapshot" of your credit doesn't necessarily reflect if it is paid in full each month or not.
Well - if anyone can find any groups that would do more good than harm in the credit realm for the ipoint community, drop me a line and let's see if we can't create a synergy.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Now first of all let's take a step back to identifying the trend. Back to my trusty handy handy tablet - I've managed to make yet another Picasso-esque diagram to somehow describe the pictures in my head.
Disregard the little circle on the picture, that'd be the cursor that I was too dumb to move, and I'm too lazy to screenshot it again...
So now that you've got the picture in your head somewhat, imagine that this giant spike in population is slowing moving through the ages. Did you ever wonder why there were so many more GOOD cartoons in the 80's? How did Huggies and Mattel and all of the other companies geared towards kids do so well in this timeframe? Now just imagine that this HUGE pile of people in the same age group is reaching the retirement age... naturally things will change. The cartoons and excess of cool breakfast cereal "prizes" are now gone - but what's in its place?
Some food for thought:
Having pointed out all of these things - again there is opportunity here to do good things and help people in their time of need. The product line I'm running this teaser on is basically in the life settlements and viaticle's. If you want deeper info, contact your link in the iPoint group.
Now with all that seriousness out of the way, back to the jokes found on the good ol' Internet:
In Pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and generic name. For example, the trade name of Tylenol also has a generic name of Acetaminophen. Aleve is also called Naproxen. Amoxil is also called Amoxicillin and Advil is also called Ibuprofen.No, the opportunity has nothing to do with sexually active elder people - but tons to do with what we can do to help those in need for a win-win situation. So get with the program and find out more. I believe that we make the go-live movement starting on Monday.
The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra. After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.
Pfizer Corp. announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of "cocktails", "highballs" and just a good old-fashioned "stiff drink". Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.
Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Apparently my business coach tells me that I have an innate ability to establish relationships with people at a deeper level than most. This is a good thing AND a bad thing. First of all, let us establish the ranking systems of said skills
1) Conscious Competent
2) Unconscious Competent <-- Earl is HERE (Relationship Building)
Monday, December 3, 2007
Nevertheless, Patrick and I went down to check things out over there and we ran into a few of the regular seminar-goers that we come across during our financial searches. Like minded people tend to flock together I suppose. In any case, the setup of the room was pretty interesting with a very empty square space in the middle - which I found out was just a section for the sales staff to setup for when the closing of educational classes were sold.
In the end, I did purchase a course on the recommendation of a colleague who's currently earning just under 1M/year in the Real Estate markets. The presenter's name was Albert Lowry - and apparently he's the one who's taught many of the folks on the market today. Let's see how this thing pans out. The course is set to be in early January - I'll reserve judgement of the course until after I really give it a good run.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Since then, I wonder if the successes I've had along the way have truly either been through hard work and determination, or just plain luck. Perhaps a bit of both? I've since stopped trying to be quite as "smart" although I still try to learn all that I can. There's no need for me to truly play all of the roles now that I understand where my strengths and weaknesses lie.
However the one thing I've noticed is simply the drive and determination I have that seems to surpass all other wants and needs that I have. The want to succeed. To be able to make my mark on this world before I am gone. Something to be remembered by. In Napoleon Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich - he mentions a "burning desire" to reach said goals and accomplishments.
Funny enough people fail and continue to fail to take the first step. For those of you who I'm coaching and training to take over the business eventually and work alongside me, I know that you always come across the closed minded folks who never even give the thought of freedom a chance. The FIRST step to success is to BE THERE. Just friggin show up. All you have to do is try. I'm not saying that it will help you win the game overall, but if you never buy a ticket - you're never going to win the lottery
Brandi the blond is in such serious financial trouble that she decides to ask God for help. She prays, “God, I lost my business and if I don’t get some money soon, I’m going to lose my car. Please, God: let me win the Lotto.”
But Lotto night comes and goes and Brandi’s numbers don’t come up. Again she prays, “God, I’ve lost my business and now my car and if I don’t get some money soon, I’m going to lose my home. Please, God: let me win the Lotto.”
But again, Lotto night comes and goes and Brandi’s numbers don’t come up. In desperation she prays, “God, I’ve lost my business, my car, and my home and if I don’t get some money soon, my children will starve. Please, God: just this once, help me get my life back in order. Let me win the Lotto!”
Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light, a roar of thunder, the heavens open and Brandi hears the voice of God Himself!
“Brandi, my child! Meet Me halfway on this. Buy a ticket!”
taken from here .
Now all I'm asking for is a little initiative. All you have to do to take the mantle of leadership upon yourself and move to the next level is to TRY. If you want to help yourself, help me, help others, it's your move.
Keep in mind that although I'm not taking on any new clients or students directly (I've already chosen the 15 first ones I will take with me to their first million) - I'm still sharing the results of the trials and tribulations that is the minefield of investments and opportunities out there by being your guinea pig. Walk with me towards the Infiniti Point and we can lean on each other on the way up.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
In relation to Cash Flow, the Blog called: The Tao of Making Money illustrates the cash flow patterns that exist for the vast majority.
Although an excellent example - I feel that it doesn't capture every aspect of the rich cash flow archetype - but that's pretty well documented in Kiyosaki's and Anderson's work.
In any case, it's a good start. If only there were a multiple income stream one where they had some of the money flowing into an "Asset" container, which then streamed back into income...
sometimes I wonder if it's a good thing, or a bad thing that I own a tablet PC... Anyway, you get the rudimentary idea. Eventually the goal would be to create multiple passive streams and get rid of the IN stream coming from the regular 9-5 workday to free up more time to dream up even more passive streams. In the end, it truly is just a game.
Thanks to the whole iPoint project, I'm happy to say that this is my current diagram - (with a few more asset/passive lines - but I'm not creative enough to figure out how to draw that many more). Now that I've done even further research and started looking into the real estate side of the market, I'm looking forward to adding even more streams. I can't wait until I'm allowed to launch the whole Infiniti Point Investment Club.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Here's a damn good reason for me creating iPoint:
Stress = BAD
Job = Stress
Job = BAD
Take a look at THIS article from the Vancouver Sun. Although I should really write up the whole story from the beginning, Infiniti Point to me was a method to help my friends and family members (at least the ones that were ready) learn and join me in the quest for passive income and financial freedom. Even though I feel that I've already met and surpassed my original personal goals, it's no fun sitting on the beach by myself...
I'll have to add that my stress levels - even at a job that I enjoyed at one point were still up there. Being stuck - not having the choice to WANT to work and not HAVE to work is still a stressing point unto itself.
Having said that, please join me in my quest for chasing perfection and true freedom. Check out http://www.ipoint.ca/ and join the forums, help us to find opportunities, and join the ones that we're already participating in and escape the 9-5 prison that gives Canadians so much stress as of late. My next personal goal will be to help 15 people reach either 1M in net worth, or 500k/year in passive income by 2010. Afterwards, the goal will be to help 100 people reach the same goals by 2012 and lastly 1000 people by 2014.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
For those of you that know me, you understand the fact that I've got the memory of a goldfish at times, and delight in the 11th "discovery" of a castle in my fishbowl as I try to re-arrange my filing and room those 3 times a year when I feel super inspired.
One of the steps that I do in between my rousing games of "find my keys and wallet or I don't get to leave the house" is that I scan/photocopy everything in my wallet. Naturally this should happen AFTER emptying it out a little to compete a little bit less with George Costanza Oh, and don't forget to do BOTH sides of the cards.
Jerry: Your back hurts because of your wallet. It's huge.
George Costanza: This isn't just my wallet. It's an organizer, a memory and an old friend.
Jerry: Well, your friend is morbidly obese.
George Costanza: Well, at least I don't carry a purse.
Jerry: It's not a purse, it's European.
No, I'm not going to post a picture of the inside of my wallet here (I'm not that much of a goldfish) but it's a great start to finding all of those much needed phone numbers on the backs of all of your credit and debit cards. (did I mention to scan/copy the backs too?) Plus that usually hides the location of those accursed security numbers that they keep asking for to prevent people from stealing your credit card and using it without finding their secret backside hiding place.
Now I might also mention that it's a good idea to write "Please ask for Photo ID" on the back of your cards as well, so that the person who "found" your money carrying device can't accidentally purchase something by mistake :).
On that note, you might as well order something in for delivery at this point because it'll be fun calling all of your auto-billing memberships, bills, subscriptions, etc to stop payments on things, and then again once you get your new credit card numbers. Better hope you're carrying some cash!
Lastly - if your wallet didn't have anything in it to begin with, perhaps it might be prudent to call up some of those folks over at iPoint to find out what they're up to these days.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I'm starting to wonder if the stuff I heard at the last Fast Track to Cash Flow event in Vancouver talking about moving to Alberta because of their great tax structure (comparitively speaking with the rest of Canada) might be a good idea or not...
Anyway, here's the story:
Lets put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten people go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh $7.
The eighth $12.
The ninth $18.
The tenth (the richest) would pay $59.
So, thats what they decided to do.
They ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a problem. "Since you are all such good customers," the owner said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."
So, now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So, the first four were unaffected, they would still eat for free.
What about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get their fair share?
The six paying customers realised that $20 divided by six is $3.33. If they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth and the sixth would each end up being 'PAID' to eat their meal.
So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each persons bill by roughly the same amount, and proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:
The fifth, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. The first four continued to eat for free. Once outside the restaurant, they began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth, pointing to the tenth diner "but they got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth. "I only saved a dollar, too. Its unfair that they got ten times more than me!"
"That's true!!" shouted the seventh. "Why should they get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine surrounded and beat up the tenth diner.
The next night the tenth diner didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without number ten. When it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
That, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table any more.
If you're interested in finding out ways to save those hard earned dollars before the tax man cometh, why not contact a few of the folks at Infiniti Point
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Apparently the Canadian Dollar might not be so mighty in the long run in 2008 according to this article from The Globe and Mail .
I'm a mixed bag of feelings at this point because I've got investments on both sides of the fence. But being a proud Canadian, I'll be happy to revel in the sunshine that is a strong Loonie for the time being.
What with the tax rates dropping shortly as well, it's good news for everyone in Canada Land. So here's to the mighty maple leaf in the short term. Why not take a vacation and enjoy the role reversal on the American side for a bit?
Friday, October 19, 2007
Let me get this straight... they charge you:
$99 Set up Fee
$49 Annual Fee
$89 Program Participation Fee
$120 Account Maintenance Fee
357??? for a card that starts at $300. Oh, and it also charges 20% interest. Wow... just wow... No wonder the Rich get Richer and the Poor get Angry. What "grinds my gears" is that they also charge $25 to up the credit limit $100 at a time at their discretion without requiring customer permission! I think you'd be much better off with a cash secured credit card than this monstrosity...
Some words of wisdom that I learned from Frank Abagnale a world renowned expert on Identity Theft were thoughts on credit.
- Never use Debit Cards. They contain the information used to get into your bank account, and if stolen alongside your PIN - any losses that you take due to theft are placed in your own liability.
- Use Credit Cards and simply pay them off before interest is charged. With the insurance of credit card companies - just calling into them alerting them of the stolen card allows you to stop the withdrawals and purchases, alongside limited liability to the client for the stolen monies.
- When your children go to post secondary, instead of giving them cash - create supplementary cards in their names with credit limits. This allows you to monitor their spending habits, while at the same time building their credit history.
I hope that people get educated enough to realize that they could potentially be ripped off if they don't add up the fees that are stacking up... I'm also very much looking forward to Patrick Evangelista's future research notes on a GOOD Canadian credit card - and a breakdown of the points systems (airmiles, aeroplan, 1% cashback, etc)
Until next time.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The second day was a definite eye opener for me. We started off with Ram Charan who started his speech in a much different manner than the rest of the previous speakers. Instead of being up on stage, he walked around the floor engaging people directly and involving the crowd more deeply in his words.
Practice leads to Instinct grows to Intuition which evolves into Judgement.
it's only through the practice and desired determined repetition that people are able to reach further with their skills.
The rules he set out were:
1) Deliberate Practice. (Are you practicing something new every week?)
Without learning something new at each opportunity, your obsolescence grows. You need ferocious determination to commit to new practices because if you're not growing, your competition is.
2) Look over the Horizon (what's coming in the future?)
What's changing? Develop the ability to detect change. Also cultivate your creating change abilities to influence your teams.
2a) Identify changes in the external environment
Be a creator of change instead of a recipient.
3) Broaden yourself
Each and every day you must strive to be more than the person that exists now.
4) Use the Multiplier effect
"I don't do it, I get it done, with my multiplier"
Working in methods to leverage yourself and train the trainers allows your influence to increase in exponential leaps and bounds.
5) Keep an eye for Talent
With the current shortage of talent in the world - a keen eye for people that would make a fit, or growing organically (finding talent within your organization) will keep you ahead of the competition.
6) Calibrate People
This topic was touched briefly and basically stated to ensure that people are working at a good pace to the benefit of the business in one of the categories of margin or velocity - Ram continued into the next point to deeper explain the theory.
7) Mastery of your business
Exercise: How do the successful companies accomplish measurable goals? Identify 10+ companies that make good money over a long period of time? How do they make money?
Some of the highlights from this chat were:
- Microsoft (96% gross margin on product)
- Johnson and Johnson (11% sustained growth for 50 years)
Understanding of the 4 parts in a business that make all of the difference.
- Revenue Growth
Return = Margin x Velocity
Each staff meeting to really make a difference in the business would be to list different methods on how to increase the Margin if possible, develop a more efficient/faster Velocity to increase the revenues.
Ram gave the example of how Dell with already thin margins was forced to look towards increasing the velocity of the business. He then continued to show us a chart of the inventory turnover rate of Dell over the years and then explained that Dell's current inventory turn is somewhere around 120 in comparison to their closest competitor sitting around 25.
8) Understanding of the 80/20 rule
80 percent of the benefits will come from 20 percent of the changes. Once you identify said changes, select 3-5 of them to focus on as laser sharp dominant priorities.
9) Having the right people in the right jobs
10) Follow through
Ram's speech was of excellent value to me personally during this weekend because I had a lightbulb turn on at this point for my own business - and came up with an idea to increase revenues by 10% with just a little rearrangement in business structure.
The second speaker of the day Dan Gilbert spoke about his theories on Stumbling on Happiness
After showering us with many different views on how to calculate happines ranging from: Happiness = Your Salary / Your Neighbour's Salary to comparing one scenario vs. another. Other tidbits of info included that 10% of your income provides 90% of your happiness.
If you're intersted in checking out more of Dan Gilbert - I managed to find a video on the internet.
One of the comments that struck a chord with some of the crowd was the comparison on levels of happiness before and after children within a marriage. Basically he stated that with children and the time commitments required the different types of happiness that could be experienced were reduced, and thus wouldn't return back to normal until the kids moved out. I myself can't truly comment on this yet as I've yet to start a family. Needless to say the parents in the crowed weren't too amused.
The next speaker up was Frank Abagnale the author and protagonist of Catch Me If You Can with an inspiring speech about his history and life. At first, it seemed less lively and took many of us off guard with the delivery, but the content grabbed our attention, and before we knew it - many of us were swept away in the rythm of his words.
Many of the people that have heard the story via the movie - myself included were in awe of the social prowess of Abagnale during his youth, however from his point of view it was simply a matter of survival as a child thrust into the world of adults. His strong stance on family values and ethics was an inspiration to us all.
Unfortunately due to some logistics and travel issues, Peter Guber wasn't able to present.
Luckily for us however the keynote speaker Anthony Robbins was able to jump onto a helicopter and appear earlier for us.
Something of interest I noticed was that fans were put onto the stage before Tony walked on. Little did I know I'd be wishing for some fans too after all of the excitement.
Let's get down to the notes I took:
3 Mandates of Leadership
- See it as it is, not worse than it is
- See it better than it is
- Make it the way you see it
The most fundamental job of a leader is to influence.
Now to set the record straight - Tony is NOT a "motivational speaker". Where people get that idea from is all of the commercials with all of the jumping and screaming - but there is a method to the madness.
State -> Behaviour / Action --> Results
To reach the results you desire, you must change the behaviours or actions of a person. However before you can inspire change in behaviours or actions, you must alter someone's state. The only two routes to state are via physiology or where the mind is focused.
I suppose since his claim to fame wasn't hypnosis, we went the physiological route to change the state. Although it seemed silly at first, the drills on applying different types of physiology to similar actions indicated a change in state, and in the end, a change in the result of our actions.
I think that people could hear us cheering from across Whistler village as we got pumped up for the last few "state changes".
All in all the weekend was a most enjoyable experience. The company at hand always had something interesting to speak about - the speakers were of the highest calibre - and best of all it didn't feel like I was attending an event where I was there only to realize it was a giant marketing ploy aimed at selling me the "next level seminar". It was this level of professionalism that makes me look forward to the next year's lineup - and to experience the whole thing anew. Until the next one, live well - live full and I'll hopefully see more of you around again the next time through.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The first night was spent in a pure networking mode where basically all of the delegates were put together into a room to mingle. Just the meeting of the minds alone last night was worth the entire trip.
James Cunningham was the MC - and has a definitely intoxicating stage personality. His stage presence alone grabbed everyone's attention and brought us back into the fold. Although he used many of the jokes from his GM appearance, it's his delivery that truly makes them stand out.
Malcolm spoke mainly about ideas within his book
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Wisdom without understanding
A disconnect between how and why.
and what stood out the most to me: the fragility of the wisdom in Blink.
What was interesting was his discussions on a triangle taste test instead of the traditional Pepsi vs. Coke test.
Give a person two unmarked glasses, one containing Pepsi and the other containing Coke, they'll have an 80% change of being able to tell which is which. (Personally I keep choosing Coke on purpose to infuriate those Pepsi guys). But if you introduce a third glass, containing either Coke or Pepsi, they odds that they'll be able to identify the odd drink is reduced to 33%, or pure chance.
How the intuitions of experts reach the level that they are is the very definition of the term "expert". The gut reactions that leaders have that end up becoming wise decisions in the long run come from the countless hours of experience under their belts. Malcolm then goes on to mention that younger folks just haven't on average had enough life experience to be able to make these types of decisions yet - but I'd have to disagree if you truly live, breathe, and immerse yourself in the topic that is your mastery. That being said, someone 100% in tune with their area of expertise - a 20 year old, although immature at life in general could be more versed in a subject more-so than someone 20 years in an industry. How else would you explain the child prodigies that are able to captivate and inspire the rest of the world to strive and reach farther every time?
Which in turn brings me to the next speaker:
Roland contrary to Malcolm's postulate on age, managed to receive tenure at Harvard under 30 years of age. What makes Roland stand out in my mind is his work on another one of my favourite books: Freakonomics
The discussion that carried well on into the lunch hour was Roland's methods on incentivising children on how to do better in school as a whole. His talks went from explaining how to ensure that kids came to school on time by spending on $300 per classroom by investing in an Xbox. The story continues to develop as he explains that kids were lining up at 6:45 am to get in early so they could play, and subsequently weren't late for class. Another method was to pay a child $2 per book read - followed by passing a comprehensive test.
Although he's been downtrodden by others in the educational community for his methods, I've got to say that I'm a personal believer because as a child my parents did not give me an allowance. Instead they rewarded me for getting good grades - and not just ANY grade, but only getting paid for "A's". As this was my major source of income for the summer time, naturally I tended to bring home as many A's as possible, unfortunately not doing so well in the subjects of French and Calculus. Funny enough I earned the award for top marks in the business class and look where I am today... Now my parents work with me, and I'm the one giving the incentive of money for performance.
After a well put together lunch with some tasty BC Salmon our minds were put to the test with Dr. Laura D'Andrea Tyson and her talk on economics.
She went on to tell the tale of the falling US Dollar against the world currencies (which by the way is a good thing and bad thing for my Forex investors at iPoint ) and discussed the balance of world trade overpowering world production among further interesting facts. Even more engaging were the questions asked at the end with a very entertaining remark on Clinton vs. Clinton.
My only feedback is that for the day - her talk came right after lunch, and although the content was amazing, the delivery method was not as story filled, or lively as the other speakers, and as such a few people were caught nodding off. Perhaps switching positions with Darcy Rezac .
On the art of the N.E.T.W.O.R.K. Darcy sits near the perfect definition of what Malcolm Gladwell defines as a connector. Part of the equation of what it takes to cause a Tipping Point - although I'm having a hard time picturing Darcy on horseback with the message that the "British are coming". His book The Frog and Prince, or the newly updated Work the Pond! are labelled as the connector's handbook.
Darcy went to give us great examples on the small world phenomenon, as well as tidbits of the science behind networking and the 6 degrees of separation. He even goes as far as showing the formula behind your networking capability as a balance between your current network, your ability to network, and your leadership skills. With an unforgettable exit on the stage with a sing-a-long that had more than the number of expected people joining in, I'll be sure to never leave my business cards at home - ever. Actually Darcy, if you ever end up reading this, you're the reason why I wanted to attend more Board of Trade events.
The day closed with last, but definitely not least Arianna Huffington who with her biting wit, and delicious but tasteful sarcasm told us her story along with all of her political commentary on how the world cannot be simply divided into two categories whether they are left and right, up and down, or wrong and right. My favourite joke from her speech was her comment on MSNBC being downgraded into a series of news reports of blonds reporting on other missing blonds. I'd look forward to hearing her speak again at a future event. Another part that stood out for me was her topic on "Joy Triggers" - identifying and using the simple things in life that make it all worthwhile. Be it a song with personal meaning to you, or just getting a smile from your special someone.
On that note - I'm exhausted just reminiscing about day 1's completion. Now it's time to forward this blog along to many interesting people I met at the conference and see how well I can put my new knowledge of blinking, bribing, economizing, networking and happiness to the test.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Stock Market Definitions
For all of you who are having trouble with the stock market these days, here is a little something to help you put things in perspective.
Bull Market -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.
Bear Market -- A 6 to 18-month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.
Momentum Investing -- The fine art of buying high and selling low.
Value Investing -- The art of buying low and selling lower.
P/E Ratio -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
Broker -- What my broker has made me.
Buy, buy -- A flight attendant making market recommendations as you step off the plane.
Standard & Poor -- Your life in a nutshell.
Stock Analyst -- Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
Stock Split -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
Financial Planner -- A guy who actually remembers his wallet when he runs to the 7-Eleven for toilet paper and cigarettes.
Market Correction -- The day after you buy stocks.
Cash Flow -- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
Yahoo -- What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.
Windows 2000 -- What you jump out of when you're the sucker that bought Yahoo at $240 per share.
Institutional Investor -- Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.
Profit -- Religious guy who talks to God
All jokes aside though today I had an interesting meeting where I met two folks whose primary business is to basically take companies to an IPO and trading on the senior market. So far the initial plans are to setup a non-profit investment club as an entity that can find and bring people and opportunities together for our mutual benefit. Although the container/corporation itself is created as a non-profit, the opportunities that it shares with folks are definitely for profit. It'd be more of a risk capital type investment for people with money to burn that are sick of the normal ebb and flow of mutual funds. We'll see how things pan out - and if something does, be sure to look on the Infiniti Point website
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I suppose we're still going to need some "wise words" on the blog today so here goes:
P/PC Balance - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I've been reading this book for awhile now, and something came to mind today. In the book there's an analogy in story form about the Production / Production Capability balance that takes into account the "legend" of the golden goose. In short, a farmer finds out that a goose of his lays golden eggs, and for a short while he collects a golden egg once a day and enjoys his riches. One day he decides that one egg a day is too slow, and kills the goose to get to many eggs at once. Sadly there is no gold in the goose, and now with it's death the goose or PC (Production Capability) was destroyed because of the farmer's greed.
It's a fine balance between production and production capability - or work and play. If you focus on either side by itself, the other neglected side will drag down both. Hence my day off today. I'll admit that we both worked a little bit, but focusing the majority of the day on each other was a nice change of pace that was much needed and welcomed.
It's been awhile since I've given my wife some flowers so that was something I thought about as well. A friend and ex-coworker of mine left the software industry, and just happens to own a little flower shop http://www.passionfloral.ca/ Thanks for the quick delivery Choymann! And an awesome job on the flowers as usual.
Back to the grind tomorrow, but a little more refreshed and with a little more spring in my step.
Monday, October 8, 2007
So let me get this straight...
"Klundert, who says he doesn't believe the federal government has the constitutional right to collect income tax, was found not guilty of tax evasion. "
Some dude, just says I don't wanna pay these CRA guys taxes - so I'm just gonna protest and not pay tax...
"Klundert argued that disclosing his earnings to the government would be like "sitting down with thieves" and telling them where his valuables were. "
And that's that? - Geez. And I thought that we had to go through all of these compliated methods to save taxes when all you really have to do is just say "no" in protest. Hell then I protest too! :)
For those of us who can't pull off the protest though, give the folks from www.ipoint.ca a call and you'll be able to find out what tax savings methods they've got handy.
Seems as though the poor thing has outlived its welcome. I've got to admit that I'm guilty of holding a jar of them hostage in my own home, mainly because it would cost me more time and money to get them sorted, than to actually count them and drag it to the bank. Besides, I use a money clip - no room for coins sadly. Makes for a pain in the ass when parking at a meter mind you. I can't wait until the lot of them have the ability to take credit cards so I can write the darn things off. Perhaps it's one of the major reasons that I bought a motorcycle.
In any case even though the site's not ready yet, I figure posting on a regular blog is in order these days so here I am. This time, I'll be sure to not leave such a long gaping hole in between postings. Eventually I'll plop a link to this article on the http://www.ipoint.ca/ website, but for now this'll do. My vote? Lose the damn penny. I don't use them anyway.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Learn something new every day (or week) - Book Review: Richest Man in Babylon (Facebook post converted to Blogger)
So here goes for this posting
What Earl's Reading:
The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason
Quote that got my attention:
"A Part of All you Earn is yours to keep."
My thoughts on this:
Well it's been said to me by more than one of my mentors, and countless books I've read to set aside 10% of my earnings to work for me / save for the future.
After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, I started my own business, and actually put ALL of the earnings back into the business for the first while. As per the cash flow method of buying assets - I moved into making my businesses grow by investing everything back into them.
Now, my mentors are telling me to set aside that same 10% but now for different reasons. Perhaps it's to do with "the secret" and the law of attraction. Perhaps it's why I've just been so lucky throughout the years. One of them tells me that it's not just the principle of setting something aside, but that it goes back to the biblical days, and that good things just seem to happen when you set aside that much - so after the mental beating from multiple sources, I suppose I'll set aside 10% into a liquid, but much "safer" account not in the FX/Precious Metal/Real Estate Markets and see where things go from there.
The 7 cures for a lean purse was another interesting section of the book:
1) Start thy purse to fattening
2) Control thy expenditures
3) Make thy gold multiply
4) Guard thy treasures from loss
5) Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
6) Insure a future income
7) Increase thy ability to earn
let's break these down and look a little deeper.
1) Start thy purse to fattening
This is where the whole save that 10% came into existance. I'll get started on this right away again (although it sucks not getting to watch this grow in my investment accounts...)
I'm also setting up ways to make sure I fatten my purse as well as my local charity's purses at the same time, by setting aside funds to donate in a growth account so I'm able to watch my original donation keep on growing. Who says a single donation should only serve as a single influx of income?
2) Control thy expenditures
Ok, so I'm guilty of shopping a little too much sometimes, now that I'm a friggin pansy and my suits have to be custom made otherwise they're not "comfortable" enough anymore. But lately things are growing faster than I can spend - which is a good sign. Now the hard part is not growing what I spend.
3) Make thy gold multiply
Hah, Done! It's only what I've been working on for the past 4 years.
4) Guard thy treasures from loss
Done too - I used to be worth more dead than alive. I suppose that's some sort of accomplishment ;) - Take that life insurance companies!!
5) Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
Not quite yet. So far, my house was going to be my biggest selfish purchase ever, but now that I understand the restructing of equity - perhaps I'll make my house work for me after all.
6) Insure a future income
Passive income = Future income - wether or not I get off my ass.
7) Increase thy ability to earn
Well, I guess it's why I'm reading a book a week and giving Amazon lots of money. Alongside searching for mentors and other sources of learning. At one point in time, I thought I'd be going back to traditional "schooling" again to better myself, but so far, I'm doing pretty darn good with my own self directed studies... Perhaps I'll seek that MBA later in life - after I'm done expanding my business around the globe.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
B) Lower Taxes (if there is a surplus, apparently we're paying too much)
C) Spend it...
Seeing as the default answer is "C" - I wonder what they're spending it on?
Perhaps they're helping with the long line ups at the passport office? - Wait, last I checked the line was about 6 hours long minimum. Maybe they're helping the unfortunate find jobs? Oh wait... no they increased people's ability to donate to charity and claim tax credits so they could cop out on that one.
Hmmmm... I wonder where the money's going?
...and people wonder why I run seminars on how to save money on taxes.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
"It's your commitment to create something significantly different than what you've already created that's going to challenge your leadership capability, because the more unknown the outcome is, the more stress will be created as you not only attempt to lead your people, but challenge yourself to rise to the occasion. And the more stress that's created by your fear of the unknown and by your unknown and yet untested ability to push beyond it, the more challenged you will be as a leader. Challenged to find the right words to say. Challenged to make the right decisions. Challenged to hold yourself and your people on target, when the target itself is unclear, and constantly shifting. Challenged by your constant feeling of being hopelessly alone. That after you have said what you have said, done what you have done, concluded what you have concluded, argued, deliberated, debated what you have believed in and fought for, after all of that, still there will be that deathly uncertainty in your own mind, in your own heart, about whether you were right, or whether you will be successful, or whether the decision you finally made is going to come crashing down in the future. And that feeling of being alone, late at night, or early in the morning, or even in the middle of the action when you are being forced to make a decision, that feeling is more isolating than anyone can ever know until they've experienced it. What happens then is what will determine your ability to lead. Because ultimately the leader is always alone. With the decisions she's made and the ones that she didn't make but were made on her watch. A leader must be able to stand in them alone. And that's why the reluctant entrepreneur is almost always a reluctant leader. Because she is always alone, even when she isn't even when she is surrounded by people, clamoring for her attention. And being alone can be no fun."
I guess this quote stood out because it's time for me to eek out of the comfort zone of being 2nd in command and moving into the leadership role of my own life. Although I consider myself successful in a way now - I realize that it's just the foothills of where I believe my potential can go, and the number of people I can help and affect in my life. I hope I can live up to the challenge of making a better world. I believe I can live up to the challenge of making a better world. I know I can do my small part and make a better world.
Time to step up the pace. But I do so hate being alone...
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
May 06 - Maui, Hawaii
Aug 06 - Paradise Island, Bahamas
Sept 06 - Vegas
Oct 06 - Kelowna, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Vegas (again)
Nov 06 - Toronto, Calgary
Dec 06 - Philippines (Metro Manila Area)
Jan 07 - Recovering from Jet Lag.
Feb 07 - Calgary, Vegas
March 07 - Philippines (Metro Manila, Boracay)
April 07 - Vegas (yes, again), Whistler, Calgary, Winnipeg
May 07 - Florida (Disneyworld), Calgary
Jun 07 - Toronto, Edmonton
Man, wish they'd hurry up and invest transporters already. I hate planes. This much travel isn't as glorious as it sounds for those of you with the ol' desk job. Luggage hunting is not a sport I enjoy, or recommend ;) I wish my travel schedule upon no-one.
Janice hitched a ride with me on the majority of the trips (of course the ones where it was an anniversary trip - duh).