August 30, 2008, 6:33 am

Financial Ramblings – Back in Business Edition –

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Uncategorized

This was quite a week and I am glad everything is behind us now. It all started at the beginning of the week when MDJ sent me an email advising that he got a “warning message” from his AVG antivirus software when he went on my site. I decided to put this info on my to do list for this week.

Was it done by anti smith manoeuvre? People that think using a line of credit as an emergency fund is crazy? Or by Primerica agents who think I am the devil? V, are you behind this? He he he!

However, things went sour the day after. Google reported my site as an “attack site” and therefore strongly suggest internet surfer to not go to TFB. My traffic dropped by 60% in a single day.

What happened?

I couldn’t find what the problem was. After all, I am a finance guy, not a techy ;-). The worst part is that my fried that’s taking care of the technical aspect of the site, Pierre, was in New York at the US Open (GREAT TIMING!).

I downloaded AVG and noticed that my site was directing some readers to some spam site. I also used Google Webmaster tool in order to scan TFB and find the source of the problem. Since many pages seem to have the same problem, we decided to switch theme and try it out again.

It appeared that our theme was hacked to redirect people to another site. Instead of working on our previous theme, we simply decided to change the design and start from there.

Luckily Google did a review of TFB fast enough to bring back normal traffic within 48 hours. I am glad to announce that we broke our traffic records by getting more than 10,000 visits in August! A big thank you to all my readers!

I also want to thank the following blogger for their help by either notifying me of the problem or checking my blog once in a while to make sure it works now:

Frugal Trader at Million Dollar Journey

Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life

Pinyo at Moolanomy

Richard at Richard Hancock

Moving forward, regular post will start on Monday, even though it’s Labor’s day 😉 We will be working on our new design in the upcoming weeks and suggestions would be appreciated. I want to thank everybody again for their patience!

I didn’t have time to read articles this week but here are some good carnivals:

Carnivals:

Carnival of Personal Finance (Editor’s Pick Baby!)

Investing Carnival

Carnival of Financial Planning

Carnival of Money Stories

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August 28, 2008, 8:40 am

Things Are Back To Normal… Almost!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

We found out the source of the problem; the theme was hacked.

We decided to switch the theme right away and ask Google for a review of our site. So we got rid of the garbage and it will give us the opportunity to get a new design in the upcoming days.

Regular Post should come back early next week (so you are now free to go outside 😉 ).

A big thank you to all bloggers that advise me of the problem and gave me their feedback during this week!

And another thank you to all my readers for their patience!

Stay tuned!

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August 27, 2008, 9:51 pm

TFB under attack… again!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Uncategorized

Hello readers,

I am sorry to announce that, for a few days, I will not post since we are experiencing problem with our site.

Some of you may have receive a notice that the site may be “an attack site”. Don’t worry, nothing has been included on the financial blogger to arm your computer. I just have to review my code and find the problem so everything goes back to normal.

Once  again, I am sorry to interrupt my posting, but I must concentrate on this problem first.

Thank you for your patience!

Mike

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August 27, 2008, 6:00 am

Corporate Class Funds; How To Avoid Taxes For The Next Ten Years

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investment, Market and Risk,Trading,Types of Financial Products

Close your eyes (after reading the first paragraph ;-)) and imagine a world where you can investment money into fixed income without having to declare your interest income at the end of the year. Even better, imagine that, regardless of your asset allocation, you don’t have to declare any gains until you withdraw money from your account.


Ok, I am now taunting your creativity; imagine an investment where you can withdraw money up to the amount of your initial investment without paying taxes. And I will continue to push the limit: imagine that this investment will only trigger capital gains instead of interest and dividend income!

Now you can open your eyes again and read the rest of this post. Unless you want to take down your financial advisor’s phone number to call him right after this read because such investment exists. It is called Corporate Class Funds.

How does this work?

Corporate class funds can be viewed as a big bag with several mutual funds. You have the possibility to select the funds you want according to your investment profile. You are also able to switch funds in the same family (same bag) without triggering capital gains.

When you withdraw money from the bag, you are first deemed to take back your capital. This option is called ROC (Return of Capital). This allows an individual to withdraw all his capital first and therefore report taxes in the future. One of the basics of tax planning is deferring taxes as far as you can.

Once you have taken all your capital, you are left with the investment growth. Regardless if it was created through capital gains, dividend or interest income, it will become capital gains when you take them out of the bag.

Where is the catch?

Honestly, I didn’t find it yet. In fact, Corporate Class Funds have higher MER’s than regular funds. They are usually about 0.30% more expensive than a regular mutual fund for the same category. They are also not sold by banks either (unless you are dealing with a broker). In fact, I really don’t know why they are not really promoted in our industry. I guess the market is just not ready to answer their clients as of to why they didn’t sell such product in the first place!

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August 26, 2008, 6:00 am

The Citizens Bank of Canada Chequing Account

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Reviews

This morning was quite unusual. In fact, I woke up and go downstairs in my TFB lair (read basement!) and opened up my computer. Everything seemed as usual. Seemed. As soon as the Windows logo vanished to draw my desktop, there was a light coming out of nowhere that was illuminating my face. I felt like I was touched by some kind of angel. I was warm, bright and I felt happy.

light

This how I would describe the simultaneous connection between my first sip of coffee and my laptop starting up at the same time. The paradise kingdom has opened its door and my day is ready to start!

In my mailbox, I had an email from a loyal reader and regular commentator, Nancy Zimmerman aka Money Coach aka… bank EVANGELIST! While I am still not sure what is a bank evangelist yet (I that bank could buy out churches and make people listen to their new god; money! Hahaha!). Seriously, I would not mix religion and money but that was Citizens Bank of Canada marketing choice anyway.

This post is definitely going in every direction since the very beginning, but rest assured, I’m going somewhere with all of this 😉

She asked me to mention my readers that Citizens Bank of Canada will be offering a revolutionary chequing account starting September 16th. This “virtually no fee account” is offering unlimited POS, unlimited bill payments/cheques (and physical cheques themselves are free) – pretty much unlimited everything you can think of PLUS (what can you expect more actually?) they pay for your international ATM charges!

In Canada, you have this unlimited access in any Exchange Network ATM (that is pretty much any credit unions, National Bank and HSBC. In other words, unless you are stuck in Nunavut, you are pretty much set with a no fee chequing account.

There is no free lunch

Everything for free and there is no counterpart? That is still to be proven. Since I don’t work for the Citizens Bank of Canada and the product is not out yet, we can’t say if there is a catch or not. However, I insist that there is no free lunch in life. In fact, what would be the incentive, on a company perspective, to offer a costly product (not expecting any revenue from a product seems pretty expensive to me!) for free at large?

It can really be only a promotion (read a loss leader), to get people on board and offer them other products. Anyway, for now it’s advertised as being free and if you want more details, I suggest that you contact Nancy Zimmerman through her blog : moneycoach.com.

 

image source : flickr

 

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