September 2008

One Family’s Personal Finance Tale: September Edition

Posted by on September 30, 2008 in Mom2KG Columns

Our regular columnist, Mom2KG, is back for her usual monthly check-up. As usual, she appreciates any comments you may have.  Her columns are now collected in her own category; if you are a new subscriber,  I encourage you to read all her posts. A number of your comments have asked for numbers as to my [...]

Implications of the bail-out on you and me

Posted by on September 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

With the 1997 hand over to China a distant glimmer in the island’s eye, many ambitious men made their mark developing Hong Kong real estate in the go-go 1980′s. Thus, it wasn’t unusual for a newly-minted commercial banker to find a well-dressed gentlemen sitting across from him, selling dreams of glass and steel punctuating the [...]

What’s the difference between a bank, credit union and trust company?

Posted by on September 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

One of the things that really annoys me about the media coverage of the credit crisis is the media paints all “financial institutions” with the same brush stroke and does not attempt to differentiate between the different players and their functions in this industry. Thus, when an investment house files for bankruptcy, everyone gets worried [...]

Effective negotiations techniques: don’t make it personal

Posted by on September 24, 2008 in Negotiations

In today’s post on negotiations, I wanted to address something patently obvious. Don’t make negotiations personal. In some cases, like child-custody or separations, the nature of the negotiations are very personal. But, in most business negotiations, it is not about you. Its about the deal. So don’t turn it personal. Some people are personally upset [...]

The great swindle: industries who rip us off

Posted by on September 23, 2008 in Misc.

I renewed my driver’s license last week. I live in Toronto where there is a $60 levy per year when you renew your license to help the city desparately raise revenue to balance its books. I have mixed thoughts over this levy. If it helps fund public transit and fills in pot-holes than its good [...]

Investing in panicky times: some things to remember

Posted by on September 22, 2008 in Investment Information

Are you feeling dizzy yet following the stock market? Down one day, up the next. What the heck is going on? That’s the problem. No one knows what’s going on. Emotions aside, let’s remember some fundamentals of investing and the implications of them to you courtesy of renowned stock researcher Jeremy Siegel: After inflation, a [...]

Would you pay for a 2nd opinion?

Posted by on September 19, 2008 in Misc.

I am going to end the week with a question. How much would you pay for a 2nd opinion on anything? My parents own a condo they rent and they have to have some plumbing work done. They got a few quotes and they asked me if I thought it was fair. I sheepishly had [...]

The Dividend Mutual Fund: more than meets the eye

Posted by on September 18, 2008 in Investment Information

In the last week, two different people from completely different circles, ages and walks of life have approached me and said (to paraphrase): “my advisor tells me to invest in a dividend mutual fund. He/she says they are safe in this environment. What do you think?” I think the dividend mutual fund can be a [...]


Posted by on September 17, 2008 in Investment Information

On Sunday morning, I pre-wrote a post about bank stocks knowing that Lehman Brothers was for sale but nothing about AIG’s liquidity issues and Merrill Lynch selling itself to Bank of America which all hit Sunday night/Monday morning, causing a mass panic on financial stocks. Wow, talk about an ill-timed post! Regardless, some of my [...]

Job Interviewing Horror Stories

Posted by on September 16, 2008 in Resources

We hired someone at work recently for what is primarily a book-keeping/administration position which indirectly reports to me (emphasis on indirect). I don’t work at a large company so we have no formal human resources department and someone else at the office vetted all the candidates and I ended up being the “can you confirm [...]