Monday, December 24, 2007

Infiniti Point: To Tax Shelter, or Not to Tax Shelter?

Wikipedia: Tax Shelter
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

Infiniti Point: His and Her Bank accounts.

I came across an interesting article on those pesky MSN messenger pop ups that spit out the news. His and Her Bank Accounts . Friend or Foe?

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 and see what they can show you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Financial Age <> Physical Age <> Wisdom.

Doug Anderson's newer article speaks about not discriminating against age when it comes to learning something.

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

Fran's Guide to Obtaining and Maintaining Excellent Credit.

One of things that I want to explore in greater detail is the concept of credit.
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.

Obtaining Credit

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.

Maintaining Credit

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:
Payment History
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

Payment History
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.

Fran Bourassa

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

Financial and Medical Opportunities in Watching the Trend.

In keeping up with my posts - I suppose I should drop some teasers in regards to one of the products that Infiniti Point is looking at sharing with our member base.

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:

Taken from:
CNN Money
FDIC.GOV respectively.

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.

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.
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.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Moving the toothpick.

So, it's funny what people notice and don't notice, learn or miss, or observe and assume. We all have our own natural skills and instincts that allow us to benefit from our abilities to adapt and change that we sometimes take for granted.

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)
3) Conscious Incompetent
4) Unconscious Incompetent

The problem with being unconsciously competent is that I'm not aware of the skillsets that I'm using (or not using for that matter). However the fact of the matter is that we're all unconsciously competent in one field or another. But we'll visit this at a deeper level another time. Today's lesson was a simple but eye opening one. Alvin Yip and I were having dinner at Earl's Restaurant on Lougheed Hwy and I watched him eat his very intimidating hamburger when I noticed him do something that to me was completely out of the ordinary. Instead of pulling out the toothpick and making a giant mess of a sandwich, or eating around the toothpick to keep the structural integrity of my sandwich intact (yes, this is about as profound as I get around 3am) he just moved it to another part of the sandwich.

1) Conscious Competent
2) Unconscious Competent
3) Conscious Incompetent
4) Unconscious Incompetent <-- Earl is HERE (Structural Sandwich Eating)

The funny thing is that all of this time, I thought that I was destined to always have a mess on my hands at the whim of my sandwiches. However on Alvin's side, he was already running a corporation and able to write off many things before I had even realized that this was the more tax efficient way of living. Strangely enough is that he was looking forward to finally earning a steady regular paycheque back then, and he's working his darndest to go back to the structure where he could write things off again. It took the Infiniti Point project to show him that he was once already on the right path, and how to get back on it, and it took dinner tonight to teach me how to move the toothpick to a different part of the sandwich so that everything is still held together, and I'm no longer hostage to the combination of bread and fillings. Overall, I'm thinking... good trade.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Learning Annex in Vancouver (Dec 1 2007)

Wow, compared to the videos and samples of the Learning Annex in other areas of the world - I must say that the Vancouver version of it was less than spectacular. It was nowhere near as interesting as the flyers made it out to be.

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

Taking the first step to being rich and successful

A good friend and mentor of mine once asked me if I would rather be smart, or lucky. I thought about this for awhile, and the idea did cross my head that technically if I took it the wrong way, he just called me stupid... After letting the whole ego thing out of the way, I decided to go a little deeper and thought that technically lucky would be better than smart because you can become educated, but cannot truly buy luck.

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.