B Stuff et cetera

A blog about (snow)Boarding and Business school

Archive for the ‘Personal Finance’ Category

New credit card

Posted by forlogos on March 10, 2007

Got myself a new card.

I wanted to get a Visa or Mastercard, as the other brands aren’t as widely accepted. I’ve been using my American Express In:NYC card for bit now, and I get annoyed when I can’t use it to make some purchases, so I end up carrying two cards on my person the whole time. Also, I’m pretty unhappy with the selection of rewards available to that card – I’d rather have cash back or electronics rather than gift certificates to new and overpriced Manhattan restaurants.

So I wanted to get a free (no annual fee), visa or mastercard, with rewards or cash-back. This quickly eliminated most cards. I also wanted a card where I could access my account online – with a great interface – so that removed the Chase cards. Anyway, long story short I narrowed my choices down to two Citi cards, Capital One came close to making it but nahhh! I don’t like how they report your credit to the  credit bureaus.  I kept going back and forth with the Citi Premier Pass and Citi Dividend Platinum Select. In the end I went with the Premier Pass. I figured I’d be happier saying “I got that with my reward points” rather than “I got $300 back from my card”.

Although, now that I think about it, maybe I’ll get the other too….

Posted in Personal Finance | 1 Comment »

Avoid AbeBooks.com. Keep away!!

Posted by forlogos on January 25, 2007

Just avoid them. It’s an online marketplace for books and they have some of the lowest prices for used textbooks. One thing I noticed is that there are no customer ratings of the different sellers. Stick with Half.com and Amazon, they’re more deserving of your time and money.

A few short weeks ago, I wrote a bit on saving lots of money on textbooks here. Well, I didn’t save that much after all.

Abebooks doesn’t take AmericanExpress but takes Visa and MasterCard. By the time I got my visa, one textbook I needed wasn’t available anymore – either a glitch on the website or that one book was removed from the seller’s inventory. Either way that’s strike one.

For strike two, the next available book was three, read that 3, times more expensive than the first. Strike two! I need the book, so I order it anyway.

About two weeks later, I get an email saying that I’m getting a refund because the book that was ordered was filled out by “mistake.” Sure, whatever that means. Strike three. It took them two weeks to tell me that they didn’t have the book. Two weeks. Meanwhile, class kept going on and I really needed the book and it took them two weeks to tell me that it was filled out by mistake!! The nerve.

Strike four. Ok, this isn’t baseball I’m talking about, but yes, they had more than 3 strikes. The next available book was twice the price of the second, or six times as much as the first. At this point, I really needed the book, so I ordered it anyway and even had it shipped express. I still saved money, but still, it is ridiculous.

Strike five. Another textbook I had ordered finally came, after over 3 weeks of waiting. The book that came was the study guide. Not the textbook I had ordered, but its study guide. The book is described on the website as the textbook, has the textbook’s ISBN listed, and the textbook’s authors listed. The book that came was not the text book. Sure, the study guide mentions the text book’s ISBN and authors, but it has different authors and ISBN, and is not the textbook. Strike five! They’re not just out, they’re beyond out. I returned the book and until now I have not yet received my refund. That’s six strikes in total if I don’t get my refund.

Can you believe the nerve of the booksellers in Abebooks? Just stay away from them. There’s a reason why there are no seller ratings. They all suck. Avoid Abebooks ok…save yourself the stress, the hassle, the disappointment, and anguish. They’re not worth it.

Avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid!!

Posted in B-school, Etc, Personal Finance | Leave a Comment »

TradeKing gave me $100

Posted by forlogos on January 18, 2007

I didn’t know about this promo and just noticed it on my account the other day…I was given $100!!

I couldn’t find any info on the Tradeking website, but googled this post in My Money Blog.  Sweet, I didn’t even know about it!  Didn’t even put in a promo code or anything…

How lucky I must’ve been that I randomly decided to fund my account with $1,000.  Free money is nice, it’s even better when it’s unexpected!!

Posted in investing, Personal Finance | Leave a Comment »

Mailed my tuition check

Posted by forlogos on December 28, 2006

I just mailed my check for the Spring 2007 term.

Ughh, it was a little over $8K.  I do hope I get my reimbursement for the fall term soon, I don’t like seeing my bank account, which is also my emergency fund, with such a low balance.

Posted in B-school, Personal Finance | 2 Comments »

Some reasons why I want to invest in the IFL

Posted by forlogos on December 20, 2006

There really is one main reason: I think they’ll do well. There are so many ways that a company can do well, so I’ll try to name some specifics as to why I like the stock (or the company).

– They fight in a team. The team is the one that fights, not the individual. Although they fight one-on-one, they still need to win as a team to advance. Similar to the way the Philippines taekwondo Nationals were held before.   There’s nothing better than training in a team.  Very interesting concept which I hope will be accepted and will succeed.

– They are open about their business. They’re a public corporation. Their books are open and we can see what’s happening to the company. They’re not hidden like some other promotions.

– They are promoting MMA as a sport, not a spectacle like the fake wrestling, which is how the UFC is marketing their shows. Promoting MMA as a sport will have a better, long lasting impact on MMA as a whole.

– They acknowledge the truth about the origins of MMA in the US. They obviously don’t subscribe to the “Zuffa Myth” (I forgot which blog I got that term from) that distorts the history of the UFC saying that before the present managers of the UFC were in place, it started with no rules (they had rules from the start), that they ran away from regulation (they were always going for it), and that they didn’t get any sanctioning (they did, in NJ and even in NY – but the NY story deserves a whole other post).

– They treat MMA journalists as they should. I remember that an MMA journalist was kicked out of a UFC show. Why? I dunno.

– They treat their fighters well. The fighters have a salary and can support themselves between fights. Unlike in the UFC where most fighters get a minuscule paycheck only when they fight.

– They fight in a ring.  Which is safer for the fighters and keeps the fight fair.  Too many people use the cage as a weapon.  Saying that a cage is better since it protects fighters from falling out of rings.  That’s bull.  Go watch some Pride Fighting.  They aways get reset to the center of the ring and there are always people that try to keep you from the ropes.

– They removed elbows.  Elbows should be permitted, but another tactic that is abused is trying to give an opponent a cut above the eye.  Elbows do that very well.  A cut above the eye bleeds.  A lot of blood will go to the eye.  The fight will be discontinued because of the cut even though the fighter is still in excellent condition.  Not a fair fight.  Besides, cutting down on the blood factor will bring MMA closer to being a sport more openly accepted by the general public.

-They don’t sign exclusive contracts with their fighters.  They can still fight elsewhere.

– They have shows on free tv.  No need to pony up each time just to watch a show.  Just know the schedule – like you need to for any other tv show.  Not that I watch TV, I don’t.  But majority of people do.

So yeah, they are doing great things for MMA and I would like to see them succeed.  I hope I got my facts straight, although I wrote the whole post based on some other blogs I read – I can’t remember which ones, and the No Holds barred podcast.  So thank you unknown blogs and NHB podcast.

So my Tradeking account finally cleared.  I just set up a limit order for 100 shares.

Posted in International Fight League, investing, Personal Finance | 4 Comments »

My IFLI mistake

Posted by forlogos on December 19, 2006

Over a week ago I wanted to buy stocks of the International Fight League. The price was $3.50.

I searched and compared online brokerage houses and decided on TradeKing. The stock was rising.

It took 5 days to clear my savings account for ACH transfers to my TradeKing account. The stock rose some more.

When it finally cleared, I transferred money. I was told it will be reflected in my account later in the evening. It was, but was on a five-day hold since I had a new account. The stock had risen to almost $15.

Because I insisted on reducing my commissions to $5 a trade, I lost out on a quadrupling of the stock. I lost out. I should have a giant “L” on my forehead. I should’ve just bought the stocks right away with Vanguard ($15 commissions).

Good thing I didn’t buy at $15 though, it dropped down to $11…

All this dancing around of the stock price – – this is why I don’t buy individual stocks…

Posted in International Fight League, investing, Personal Finance | 2 Comments »

IFLI’s price

Posted by forlogos on December 11, 2006

I blogged about buying stocks of the International Fight League (IFLI – Yahoo, Google). Last week, their price closed just below $4 around $3.50 or something. This morning the stock jumped up to $8. That’s a big leap, I wonder what the closing price will be.

I opened a Tradeking.com account last week so I could buy the stock. Tradeking is a fairly new online brokerage firm, but so far they have had wonderful reviews. They offer the lowest fees per trade ($4.95 – no limits) and even offer things I don’t care to know about like options and puts and whatnots. The research portion of the site is supposedly not as good as that of other online brokerage firms, but in the age of google, why should that matter? I had transferred some funds from my checking account over to Tradeking, but it is still in process.

Imagine, I could have had a quick 60% gain!! This morning’s gain really is just noise in the long-term stock price of IFLI and I’m sure that their overall trend will be upward. I’m looking forward to watching the IFL perform over the next year and watching the fights they put up, of course.

Just a note: My overall financial plan is good and all, with a majority in index funds in tax sheltered accounts. I’ve no intention of becoming a day trader and the portion of money that I’m going to put in IFLI is considered “play money”. I also have “play money in Prosper.com in the amount of $1,500 making about 15%.

Posted in International Fight League, investing, Personal Finance | Leave a Comment »

International Fight League

Posted by forlogos on December 6, 2006

I remember reading an article many, many years ago about investing in company’s that you know and whose products you like. So when I heard that the International Fight League went public, my interest went up. The stock started at $8 and had dropped down to about $4, which is normal for IPOs. Normal in a way that the stock price adjusts to the market after the IPO and it is usually a downward adjustment.

I’d like to buy their stock but I don’t like buying individual stocks though. I’m a buy and hold investor and would rather buy index mutual funds. I’ve only bought one company’s common stock which I bought through a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) over two years. I’m waiting until I’ve owned all the shares for a year, so when I sell I’ll only owe long-term capital gains tax and not short term gains. And I’ll only sell if I make at least a 10% – 15% profit. I’ll wait for the price to go up before I sell too. I am a buy and hold investor after all. It might be a long wait, since it’s a huge S&P 500 and DJIA company, and it’s not exactly a growth nor volatile stock.

The IFL stock will be different though. I can easily afford a block of stocks (or is it called a “lot” ? ). It’s a micro stock. I like what they’re doing with MMA and I think they have a lot of growth potential. Guess I’ll look through their financial statements 1st and make a decision then.

Posted in International Fight League, investing, Personal Finance | Leave a Comment »

wait, maybe not

Posted by forlogos on December 6, 2006

Just realized…I might need a loan after all.

If I’m unsuccessful in getting an internship, then I’m going to look for a new job.  Yes, am no longer happy with my role.  I have been hit with dissatisfaction.  Shoot, I slack off so much I should be ashamed of myself.  Well, I still get all my work done and such, but am no longer motivated.  Wait, I should save all that for another post.

Anyway, if and when I get a new job, I may not be fortunate to find a firm that will pay for school.  So if I change job within the spring term, I will not be able to get my tuition reimbursement from my current employer.   Which makes me down about $8,000.

But is it better to have paid that term off now?  Or put it in a loan and pay it off later with interest?

If I land an internship I get my money back, so that’s fine.  If I don’t and get a job instead, I’m down $8,000 but I”m employed and earning.  Ok.  That’s fine.  I’ll be covered either way by reimbursement or incoming salary.  Guess I don’t really need the loans now.

Posted in B-school, Personal Finance | Leave a Comment »

Forget FAFSA for now

Posted by forlogos on December 6, 2006

Back in this post, I had decided to try out the FAFSA and experiment, if you will, to find out how to do this whole student loan thing.

Two weeks or so after submitting my FAFSA, I received an email back saying that my Student Aid Report (SAR) was complete.  I logged in immediately to see the results.  What I saw was more of a summary of what my FAFSA contained.  So I logged off and waited.  Within the next few weeks, I checked the student loan FAFSA websites (don’t remember the URL) to see what I should do next.  The sites told me that I should wait for my school to contact me.  So I waited some more.

After I-don’t-know how many days, I went ahead and called my school’s admission office.  They did receive my SAR and was told that I have to do 3 things:  Submit a school specific loan request form, complete an interview form (more like an online questionnaire), and complete my e-MPN.  I think it was MPN.  Electronic Master Promissory Note or something.

So much to do, and finals are just around the corner.  I know for sure that there will be some type of black out in late December for the holidays, so am sure that if I did submit all those things, my loan won’t likely be processed in time for the term.  So forget it.

I was just going to experiment with it anyhow.   I don’t need the aid since I get tuition reimbursement from my employer.  If I go on an internship, as planned, I will still get reimbursement so long as I applied for it before I go my academic leave.  So I’ll just do the FAFSA thing when I need it.

Posted in B-school, Personal Finance | Leave a Comment »