Dec 042013
 

Marketing in today’s world is very important. It affects how a company acquires new customers and how to maintain its relationship with them. I recently read a story about how a professor was able to explain complicated marketing terms to his students. He basically described the different kinds of marketing with simple to understand examples.

  • You see a girl at a party. You go to her and say “I’m rich, marry me.” – That’s called Direct Marketing :)
  • Your friend goes to a girl and pointing at you tells her, “he is very rich, marry him.” – That’s called Advertising ;)
  • A girl walks up to you and says you are rich, and asks if she can marry you. – That’s called Brand Recognition :lol:
  • You say “I’m very rich, marry me,” and she slaps you. – That’s called Customer Feedback 8-)
  • You say “I’m very rich, marry me,” and she introduces you to her husband. – That’s called Demand and Supply Gap :-|
  • Before you have a chance to say “I’m rich, marry me,” your wife arrives to the party. – That’s called Restriction from Entering New Markets :?

Marketing isn’t just about sales and advertising. Even thanking customers through Twitter, or improving packaging design, will help to make a business more successful. The 4Ps of marketing are product (or service,) place, price, and promotion. This means understanding what unique advantage your company’s product has over its competitors, where the target audience is and how to reach them, don’t charge customers too much, and promote your company’s product.

13-11-targetaudience

Ultimately marketing aims to match a company’s products and services to the people who need and want them. Good job. Now you know as much about marketing as an MBA student :)

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Random Useless Fact: A pancake is a cake, that you make in a pan. And Hershey Kisses.. are really just big chocolate chips.

Nov 212013
 

Today’s post is an introduction to something I recently heard about called binary options trading. An Option is just a contract between 2 traders that allows one to buy (call) or sell (put) a financial asset at an agreed upon price before the contract expires. So a binary option then, is an option where you get everything or nothing, 2 outcomes, hence binary. In order to trade a binary option you will first need to have a prediction, on whether the price of an underlying asset (eg: stock, commodity, index, currency, etc) will move up or down. Then choose to buy or sell a binary option with a pre-determined strike price and expiration.

For example, Bitcoin trades at roughly $750 each right now. If you think it will be higher tomorrow then you can use binary options to make a trade on your prediction :) Here’s how it works. At expiration all binary options are worth either $0 or $100. The price is a reflection of how likely the market thinks the event will happen. So let’s say there’s a binary option that says the value of a Bitcoin will be over $800 at 3 PM tomorrow. If the market (decided by traders) believes there is a 40% chance of this event happening, you can buy this option for $40. Others who forecast Bitcoins will NOT be over $800, can choose to sell this option and pay $60. The combined total of what you both paid is $100, this makes one complete contract. Then at 3 PM, you’re either right and take home $100 :D Or you’re wrong and get nothing while the seller wins the $100 :( It’s binary because it’s all or nothing.

It’s easy to see how you can lose money if you’re not careful by just making random bets willy-nilly, but there’s also the potential to make big profits if you have a knack for predicting market trends ;) Just like trading regular options, you can choose to place either a “Call Option” or “Put Option”

13-11-binaryoptions

As you can see binary options allow traders to speculate, which is a relatively risky practice. But they also allow investors to hedge, which can reduce the risk of holding the underlying asset. There are many online platforms for binary options trading. A few examples include anyoption, which has a community of traders from over 150 countries. Banc de binary, which claims to be the home to the 21st century investor. And 24option which says they endeavor to make the trading process as simple and profitable as possible.

This is only preliminary research for me and I think it’s an interesting way to possibly make some extra income. With the Dow Jones closing at over 16,000 today (record high) the stock market is starting to look a bit overvalued so I’m searching for new ways to invest :) I currently don’t have any experience with options yet but I’m interested to learn more about it. Maybe Chuck the professional trader, or the starving artist will stop by and give us their thoughts on binary options in the comments :)

 

Nov 092013
 

Twitter’s Initial Public Offering

The micro blogging site Twitter has become a publicly traded company as of Thursday this week. Its price jumped from $26 a share on opening to $48 almost immediately. There is a lot of interest in this hot stock right now. TWTR ended this week at $42 a share. The Twitter IPO raised over $2 billion, the 2nd largest for an internet company. Even more than Google. Not bad considering Twitter isn’t even profitable yet :? I plan to invest in Twitter some time in the future, but it’s still too early for me now.

internetipotwitter

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Best Deal of the Year

Future Shop is having a special trade-in offer this weekend that can’t be missed. Bring a copy of any used Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, or 3DS game to a Future Shop this weekend and you can trade it in for a brand new copy of: Assassin’s Creed IVCall of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4 for current generation consoles. More details and the fine print here. This means you can bring them a copy of NHL 10 for the PS3, that you’ll probably never play again, and take home a copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Even if you’re not a gamer yourself you can give away these new games as gifts and your recipient will think you paid full retail price for them at $60 each ;) Or you can always just resell the games for profit. Here’s one way to do it.

  • Step 1: Go to a used games store like EB games (GameStop equivalent) and buy any used Xbox 360 game for $10
  • Step 2: Take your used game to Future Shop & trade it in for 1 of the 3 new titles, eg: Assassin’s Creed IV for the Xbox 360
  • Step 3: Sell your new Assassin’s Creed IV game on Ebay
  • Step 4: Profit :D

Over half a dozen Assassin’s Creed IV copies have sold on Ebay.ca over just the last 24 hours alone. The cheapest one was sold at $54.02, and the average sold price was about $57, or slightly below MSRP. This means if you price your game at $50, you’re almost guaranteed to sell it right away :D That’s a $40 profit you made, or 400% return on your $10 investment! Wow :)

And if you do this every day over this long weekend, you’ll have $40+$40+$40 = $120 by the end of Monday ;) I’ve heard this deal is also going on at Best Buy so if you hit up both stores you could double your earnings to $240! If you feel bored this weekend and want to make some easy money, there you go ;)

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 Breakfast Recipe

Here’s a creative way to eat your bacon, eggs, and toast in the morning.

Ingredients: See previous sentence.

Instructions: Follow the visual guide below and bake until it looks like the final image.

recipe-breakfast-lifehack-egg

[Edit 1:10 pm PST] Apparently the news about the trade in deal on my blog has generated massive gatherings of people across Future Shops and Best Buys across the country. [/edit]

Aug 132013
 

One of the benefits of home ownership is the ability to secure a loan against it, other than the primary mortgage. This can be done through a home equity LOC, or a second mortgage.

A few years ago I was part of the young and prudent group of people in their early twenties who bought a home in Canada when we could still amortize an insured mortgage for 35 years :o I bought a $230,000 apartment with a $15,000 Down Payment with unfortunately meant I had to purchase insurance, but fellow personal finance blogger Cassie was part of that same group, and like she mentions, who at that kind of age can afford a 20% DP :?

Most Canadian banks will let someone borrow against their property up to 80% of the market value. They call this the loan to value ratio. 80% LTV ratio gives the lender a 20% margin of safety, meaning local house prices would have to drop 20% before the bank will be at risk of losing money.

Maximum I can borrow = 80% of property value = 0.80 x $230,000 = $184,000
My mortgage balance in April 2009 = $215,000
Difference -$31,000 :(

Since I’m already borrowing more money than what my LTV amount will allow, I can’t unlock any potential liquidity in my home :cry:

Okay, now fast forward to today. By only ever paying the minimum on my mortgage payments the balance on my mortgage has barely changed. Today my mortgage balance is about $202,000. You’re probably thinking cheese-&-rice, Liquid, after 4 years you’ve only managed to pay off 6% of the initial principle? I know. It’s not very impressive :P, but that’s just how I like to roll :roll:

Earlier this year in April I blogged about how I won a farm at an auction and had to raise $25,000 to complete the downpayment by August. Luckily the purchase deadline has been pushed back until October, but I still need to come up with the money nonetheless. So back in May I decided to apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit with CIBC. The appraisal came back valuing my apartment at $280,000 :)

Maximum I can borrow = 0.80 x $280,000 = $224,000
My mortgage balance in May 2013 ~ $203,000
Difference = $21,000 :D

Ding Ding Ding! I can get another loan :D The entire application process took about 5 weeks. Afterwards I saw that a new HELOC has been added to my list of Credit accounts. I haven’t used it yet but I will when I require the money.

13_08_helocpapers_bankacct

For a long term investing strategy I believe it’s much more effective to invest aggressively, especially when you’re young, rather than pay down the mortgage quickly. I could have committed an extra $200 every month towards tackling my mortgage. But that wouldn’t even add up to $10,000 over the last 4 year period, which is almost laughable compared to the property appreciation realized in the same amount of time ;)

Just imagine the massive savings effort it would take for someone to pay down an additional $50,000 off the principle on their mortgage 8O Now imagine someone else who buys a 2nd home, waits around for several years, and also experiences a $50,000 net worth increase. Which person would you like to be :cool: ? Nobody ever gets rich by paying off their debts :| We get rich instead by continuing to build our asset column. This is exactly why I chose to put my savings into acquiring that farm (an asset that will generate $5,000 of income per year) instead of into the equity of my home. Continue reading »

Jan 192013
 

RIM
Blackberry maker Research in Motion is doing really well this year :0) The cell phone maker’s stock price has gone up more than 100% since just half a year ago. Many people thought RIM was dead but investors are taking a second look now. As one of Canada’s most iconic tech companies I really hope they can make a come back. We sell a lot of resources in this country but it would be great to improve the number of knowledge jobs as well. RIM plans to release its new product the BlackBerry 10 later this month. Will it be a successful launch or a big flop? Who knows. Disclaimer: I have 50 RIM shares myself.

NHL is back on
After a long lock out, the season finally gets started today. This is great news for sports bars and helps to stimulate the local economy. Go Canucks :D

Resource Conferences
Gold metal oreCambridge House International will be hosting a number of investment conferences throughout the US and Canada.  Most of their events are free like the one I’m going to in Vancouver tomorrow. Last year more than 500 companies and a number of analysts gathered here to network and share ideas. They have another event held at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary later this year. If you live in a city where they will come to I recommend going to these conferences. You will learn a lot about investing :D

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Blog roundup – Personal finance other interesting articles from around the web

Making sense of cents explains how she made over $5,000 last month from side income. 
Mo money has a post about how expensive owning a pet can be.

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Random Useless Fact: You can save money by not buying new calendars every year. For example in 2013 you can re-use calendars from 2002, 1991, 1985, 1974, 1963, or 1957.