March 31, 2010, 6:33 am

Primerica IPO Today!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investment, Market and Risk,Primerica Series,Trading

As you might already know, a heated debate about Primerica has raged on this blog for quite some time now. This is why I am actually covering this IPO (since I usually leave stock picks to our other blog; Intelligent Speculator). So if you want a stake in Primerica, the controversial but surely profitable company, their stock is going to be offered to the public this morning!

A few numbers on the Primerica IPO

Shares are deemed to be offered at a price range between $12 to $14 at the beginning.

At the middle of this price range, Primerica stocks would sell at 6.74 times earnings.

The US median is 9.52 times, so it’s 29% less.

Its per share income as of 2009 would be $1.93.

Primerica (owned by Citigroup) hopes to raise 252M$ today with its first IPO since they were bought by Citi.

Primerica is selling 24% of the company today. So the control will remain in the hands of Citigroup.

Primerica reported an income of 495M$ in 2009 as its revenue rebounded after taking a plunge of 72% back in 2008.

My Opinion on Primerica, the stock, not the business opportunity

I actually think that Primerica will sell at the opening for a very reasonable price and it could be interesting to see how the stock will fluctuate throughout the year. At $13, I would have probably considered it for our 2010 stock picking contest (update tomorrow!).

It seems to be a solid company based on a huge, humongous, incredibly large number of salesmen (more than 100,000!). Since people will always need insurance, good or bad, insurance reps should continue to make a  good buck down the road.

How can I buy Primerica Stock?

Well, first you need a brokerage account and then, you need to know what the Primerica ticker is… drum roll……

Primerica Ticker: PRI

That’s it! You are set to buy a few shares of Primerica!

Will you buy Primerica stock?

Hey, I want to know if you want to jump in the boat with me? I am seriously thinking of giving it a try, any thoughts?

Looking to trade other stocks ? Try these introduction videos about:

How to trade Crude

How to trade Futures

How to trade Stock

How to trade Forex

How to trade Gold

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March 30, 2010, 4:50 am

6 Reasons Why I Will Not Use A Real Estate Agent To Sell My House

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Properties



***Welcome to the Globe and Mail readers! As a scoop, I can tell you that I have sold my house within 2 weeks at 330K. So I saved $18,810 in commission (5% commission rate + taxes). If you like this article, please subscribe to our RSS feed***

Last week, I announced that we were selling our house to move to a better place (hopefully!). We spent the previous week painting, buying frames and other decorative goodies and moved our furniture around to make our house look its best. I will write more about staging our own home later on (you probably guessed that I will be writing a few “selling your own property” articles in the upcoming weeks!). But today’s article is about all the reasons in the world I have to NOT use a real estate agent to sell my house.

#1 Avoiding a real estate agent: I have 18,000 reasons to avoid it!

I actually have no doubt that some real estate agents are pretty good at  presenting and selling your property. The problem is how much they charge to do it! If I calculate a 5% commission fee (that is taxable!), I will end-up paying  an agent around $18,000 to sell my property.

Since I will probably have to buy a second car once I move to my next property, the real estate agent commission represents more than what I will actually pay to buy my car! In the end, I really wonder what they can do that I can’t for this sum of money!

#2 Avoiding a real estate agent: Independent websites are just doing fine

When I look at properties myself, I always have 2 websites that come to mind: (which houses all the properties listed by real estate agents) and (which is the most popular site for individual sellers). I don’t know if you have taken a look at the site but it is probably one of the most efficient and appealing real estate sites.

Searches are convenient and there are enough properties for sale that most people consider taking a look before visiting properties. Then, it comes down to the fees; $800 (tax included) to put a full time ad with 12 pictures (10 + 2 in extras). There is a guy that come to your place, take professional pictures and put the “for sale” sign in front of your property. $800 vs $18,000… any questions?

#3 Avoiding a real estate agent: I love negotiating!

Another thing I don’t like about real estate agents is that you never negotiate directly with the buyer/seller. Therefore, when you have a quick question or you want to negotiate something, you always have to go through a third party. It’s even worst if you are buying with an agent and you are looking to buy a property that is being sold by another agent! The 2 agents are negotiating together (i.e. talking about how much commission they will both make) while the seller and the buyer don’t discuss anything.

I really like talking to people and getting their feelings about my property. Therefore, I find it easier to offer them a nice cup of coffee and negotiate at my kitchen table.  As opposed to telling my agent that will tell the other agent that will tell his client that I would like to move earlier!

#4 Avoiding a real estate agent: What do they do that is so special?

The key idea behind this article is simple; what does a real estate agent do that I can’t and justifies the huge commission I’ll give them? Do they provide legal advice? Very few and they are not responsible for what they say so you are better off checking with a lawyer/notary for real advice. Do they ensure a legal transaction? Hey! A 3 page contract that you can print from the internet… I don’t call it a legal transaction! Even the notary is not responsible if he makes a mistake so what is the real estate agent is responsible for? Do they negotiate for you? Well, for them, if you sell your house 300K vs 325K, it only makes a difference of $1,250 in their pocket (while they will still make 15,000$ at 300K). Do you really think they will encourage you to wait to get your price if they can do a quick sale? You are losing 25K, they are losing 1.25K… who’s the winner, who’s the loser?

#5 Avoiding a real estate agent: Previous bad experiences

I dealt with a real estate agent to sell my previous property and I was quite disappointed. It took 6 months and all my agent did was create confusion between the buyer and us as regarding the possession and moving dates… In the end, he cost me all the profit I was going to make on the house and I didn’t feel he did much more than take a picture and put it on a website (oh wait… I am doing that for $800!).

#6 Avoiding a real estate agent: I’ve seen the difference with

A few years ago, I helped my parents sell their house through Back then, the system was less effective than today (less options, no professional pictures, no online tools, etc.). but even then, they were able to sell it within 2 months (and they had 2 buyers fighting for it!). The transaction went pretty smooth and my parents just kept a good $15,000 in their pocket instead of giving it to a third party!

What about you?

I would be curious to hear about your stories or even better, if a few real estate agents can tell me why I should pay them 18K to sell my house?

Image source: Kiz

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March 29, 2010, 4:30 am

A Painful Experience

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

Have you ever experienced back pain? Or endured excruciating dental issues, hurting so much that you must see the very first dentist available even if it means going into the dark basement of an old retired alcoholic dentist who operates using a screwdriver?

When a pain has hurt for a long time, we become more and more like animals; aggressive and ready to bite anyone who dares even to look at us. Well, this was me as of last Thursday after 4 days of detox ;-). The feeling of hunger was overtaking my whole body for days and I couldn’t stand it anymore!

If you are looking for the link between detox and personal finance, you can stop reading and wait for tomorrow’s article. Today has nothing to do with money, it’s only about how I lost 6 pounds in the span of 10 days.

6 weeks ago, I wanted to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. In my financial ramblings, I had reported being at 181 lbs (from 184 lbs) after 5 weeks. I was in the middle of a “homemade detox”. While I was quite disappointed in the results after 5 days, my weight continued to drop during the weekend and last Wednesday, I was 178 lbs.

What is a “homemade detox”

Purists will say that I was “cheating” so much so that I should not even call it a detox. However, I still consider it a detox compared to my usual menu.

As I wanted to keep working out 4 days a week during the detox and didn’t want to faint on the treadmill. This is why I “cheated”. On the other hand, I had followed the plan we made, my wife and I, and never ate more than what was on our detox menu.

Homemade Detox Menu

The main purpose of a real detox is to eliminate most of what you usually eat replaced by vegetables, nuts and water. In this way, your body takes care of all the excess you may have and cleans you out. Hardcore detox swear by 100% veggies with the exception of a few nuts so you don’t end up in the hospital and lasts about 30 days. I’ll share the menu that we made and lived with for 7 days.

Each morning, I kept my original breakfast which was a breakfast pita (with a little bit of Nutella on the top), a glass of milk (my only one of the day!), and a cup of coffee with very little sugar (for an energy boost).

Then around 10am, I would eat one fruit to make it through to lunch time.

After training, I would eat a yogurt to feed my body a few vitamins before entering my “detox rest of the day”. At lunch, I ate:

–         Vegetable soup

–         Tuna salad (without mayo and way more vegetables than anything else)

–         Ratatouille (gotta love it!)

–         Veggi Spring Rolls

–         Asian vegetable soup with 4 shrimp

In the afternoon, I had either a breadstick or a dozen cashews (you can’t eat more than that!).

At dinner, we had pretty much the same menu that we were having for lunch the next day, so soup, tuna salad or ratatouille!

Compared to what I usually eat (meals including meat at lunch and for dinner, pastas, 3 glasses of milk or a few bites of cheese), this was quite an achievement. I was definitely feeling the hunger every single minute.

However, after 4 days, the “pain” became bearable and I started to eat less by myself. We are now done with our intense week of soup and I can say that I definitely eat less than I was before and I am more in control of my envy for sweets. I must say that getting to 178 lbs was the main reason why I have decided to keep some of those good habits. On the other hand, I will continue to eat meat!!!! I missed it so much!

Author: Mike.

Image source: Sandy Austin

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March 27, 2010, 1:54 pm

Finanical Ramblings

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Rambling

Not much time today to do my ramblings as we just finished painting yesterday and we are cleaning-up and decorating today!

Here are some great read for the weekend:

#1 Best Financial Ebooks @ Green Panda Treehouse (most of them are free!)

#2 Top Dividend ETF’s @ Intelligent Speculator

#3  The Middlemen @ Four Pillars

#4 Investing tips for young people @ Studenomics

#5 Investment principles @ Invest in the markets

#6 Do you argue with your spouse over finance? @ Ending the rat race

#7 8 tips to prepare for the next recession (already!?!) @ Financial Highway

#8 Why people fail investing in ETF’s @ Thicken my wallet

#9 The right time to sell dividend stocks @ Dividend growth investor

#10 Making money in real estate @ Million Dollar Journey

#11 What would you invest in if you had only $1,000 @ The Dividend Guy Blog

#12 How do you say “bubble” in Chinese? @ Canadian Capitalist

#13 Lower your credit card interest rate with psychology (really !?!?) @ Canadian Finance Blog

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March 26, 2010, 5:56 am

On The Roll Again…

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance,Properties

Sometimes, I feel like my life is an eternal maelstrom. The funny part is that it seems that I want it that way. When it’s too calm, I start a project to “keep me busy”. Although I am already pretty busy, as is the case right now, I tend to get “bored” when I reach a certain level of stability in my schedule.

Let’s recap the past decade

Back in the early 2000s, I started university, had a stable girlfriend (who is my wife today). School was going well and work  for my father back then) was good too. This is when I had decided to move to France for 6 months in a student exchange program. This was an amazing experience but it threw some chaos into my personal life at the same time.

Upon my return, I finished the bachelor degree, left my parents’ house at the age of 20 (loaded with debt since I wasn’t working full time yet) and then worked 6 months for an investment firm before quitting my job based on a difference in value with my direct manager. Then, once stabilized with a new job, my situation changed again and…. We decided to get married.

Marriage has also created chaos in my life as we lost a few friends along the way. It wasn’t directly related to the wedding but the fact that we were getting married pushed us to ask ourselves serious questions about our values and projects in life. Some friends didn’t agree with our perception and went down different paths…

A year after getting married, we had our first child; William. When he was 3 years old, we moved in into our first house. Seven months later, we put the house up for sale and looked for a bigger one. Once moved for a second time in the span of 12 months, my wife became pregnant with Amy.

When Amy saw the light of day for the first time, I was buying my MBA books. For 2 years, we worked very hard and I even decided to start an online company with my best friend all at the same time.

What more? About a year ago, my wife had stopped working and about 6 months ago I started working 4 days a week to concentrate my energy in my online company.

What next?

It’s been awhile that we have been considering another move. We’ve always wanted to have a bigger plot of land and be closer to nature. While I still believe I’ll work in Montreal for a while longer, we are seriously thinking about moving an hour away from the big city. In any case, we want to move and change towns before our son starts school (he is will begin pre-school this autumn).

So this is why we are putting our house up for sale… this Sunday!

In a tight jam and need some fast cash? Payday Loans from are exactly what you need!

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