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January 17, 2018, 4:54 pm

What Is Ripple?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

In 2017, the prices of most cryptocurrencies have grown exponentially, as more of us discover this relatively new way to make money through online trading. Most people these days have heard of Bitcoin and the majority of traders are familiar with Ethereum, but the cryptocurrency universe is home to more than 1,300 other altcoins, including the rising star known as Ripple (XRP).

Ripple is the “world’s only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments”

Ripple was launched back in 2012 with the aim of improving the worldwide payment structure by offering faster and more secure global payment configurations. Ripple (XRP) is also the name of the system’s digital currency which enables real-time payments with lower foreign exchange costs and other fees, plus faster execution times.

For instance, XRP payments are settled in only 4 seconds, compared to about 2 minutes for Ether transactions and about 1 hour for Bitcoin, whereas traditional financial systems usually require 3 to 5 days to settle payments. The Ripple blockchain is also able to deal with a huge number of transactions per second – about 1,500 – while Ethereum can only handle about 15, and Bitcoin can deal with only 3 to 6.

There are currently more than 38 billion Ripple tokens in circulation out of the 100 billion already created. The other coins are held by Ripple Labs. For this reason, it is often said that Ripple is a centralised digital currency – more so than the other leading cryptocurrencies. However, the company is now working on a decentralisation strategy to diversify the number of “validator nodes” on the Ripple ledger.

Ripple is the third most important digital currency by market capitalisation

Ripple is now recognised as the third most significant cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation after Bitcoin and Ethereum. Patrick Griffin, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Ripple, described it as “the fastest, most scalable digital asset for global payments that can also provide liquidity to financial institutions”, which will help XRP to become more widely available around the world.

Currently, Ripple has more than 100 corporate clients, including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Santander, Standard Chartered, Westpac, UBS, Crédit Agricole, American Express, Unicredit, and BBVA.

Scalability, reliability, and speed are among the most important factors for Ripple’s future growth

Investors have taken note of Ripple’s reliability and speed – as of December 21st, it was available on 50 exchanges. The digital currencies trading sector has heated up rapidly in 2017 – Ripple could be traded on just 6 exchanges at the beginning of the year. Cryptocurrencies trading broker UFX offers an advanced, professional trading platform and cutting-edge tools that allow any trader to take advantage of the continuing rise of the digital currency asset class.

 

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April 15, 2016, 3:45 pm

House Price in Sweden Skyrockets

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

 

I’ve given lots of thoughts about travelling lately. In fact, I’m also looking at possibility of leaving the country to establish my family elsewhere. As we currently live in Canada, one of the best country in the world, I don’t necessarily want to downgrade our lifestyle either.

 

Among great countries to live in, I found Sweden being very high on my list…Sweden is a great country for those who appreciate nature and outdoor activities. This is one of the reason why this country is on my list. They benefit from an amazing landscape and have several national parks. Since our family love hiking and being outside, it seems this country is a perfect match for us.

 

Unfortunately, Sweden is not perfect… I recently checked how much it cost to live there. The country known for its hockey team and great companies such as Ikea is anything but cheap. For example, the housing market is very expensive. Over the past five years, housing price in Sweden has been skyrocketing:

sweden

Source: Ycharts.

As you can see on the chart above, their house index has taken a sharp uptrend since 2012. The housing market seems a little bit out of end at this point in time. I’m not so sure I could be able to buy a house there!

Why Sweden is so Expensive?

Year after year, Sweden ranks very well for to happiest countries in the world. This year, it ranks on the 10th place. I guess the fact the country is focusing on youth education helps the whole population finding good jobs and get a great lifestyle. When you have a good job, things are always easier!

Another factor explaining why Sweden is so expensive is the fact it is a very small country. Therefore, there aren’t much land to build houses. When land is limited, housing price tend to get more expensive too.

Finally, because Sweden as a neutral country did not actively participate in World War II, it did not have to rebuild its economic base, banking system, and country as a whole, as did many other European countries. Sweden has achieved a high standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits.

How Could I Possibly Move to Sweden?

With my financial background and my websites, I’m pretty sure I could get a job there and establish my family. However, getting credit might be a challenge for a while. For example, getting a mortgage when you are a foreigner in another country is quite complicated.

One possibility would be to get an loan from an intermediary loan firm. They usually charge higher interest rates, but they show more flexibility in their approval grid. While this could be a possibility, I’m not convinced I can move there. I’ll probably start by visiting this country first!

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September 12, 2014, 8:19 am

Gone… Reading…

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

It’s been quite a while since I wrote something on TFB. I was gone… reading the Why Café, a great book that I devoured in a single day. I won’t talk about the book, I’ll let you find it and read it. You will understand a little better after that.

When the business is down – motivation takes a hit

At one point, I just didn’t feel like writing anymore. I thought that instead of writing for writing I would just put the TFB project on a shelf and see how it goes.  I didn’t stop writing completely; I simply put this blog on the sidelines for a while.

 

As you probably already know, I’m a results-driven individual. Everything I do at work and with my online company is to obtain results. I’m highly motivated to work mainly because I get great results. I’m always looking for a reward, this is why I work. When results aren’t happening, I easily lose my motivation. This is probably what happened with TFB.

 

I used to make lots of money selling links; it was an awesome business model. There wasn’t much to do and plenty of money to be made. Then, Google started to hit the financial industry on both sides:

 

FIRST, Google severely punished those who used to buy links. This is why the business from advertisers dried up. I even started to receive emails asking to withdraw links from my sites. While the text link business is still alive and there is still money to be made, it requires more time and it pays less than it used to.

 

SECOND, Google started reducing their affinity for blogs. It’s only normal: why would you rank a blog on the first page of the biggest search engine when you can rank public companies that buy millions of $ in internet ads with you? This is why boring and not so educational articles outranked in-depth and educational articles I wrote about specific topics. Then again, who am I to Google when you compare my sites to Forbes or The Wall Street Journal?

 

Slowly but surely, I see TFB traffic diminishing. Since I never really took the time to build a real business around my blogs, I saw this coming but was paralyzed since I didn’t know what to do. We struggled to manage our way out through different avenues but the fun of blogging wasn’t there for me anymore. In fact, each time I think of TFB, I think of the failure of not building a stronger business model around my sites.

 

This is why I completely stopped most of my online activities over one day. I put everything aside and started to work on one project; my dividend investing platform. Now, I’m convinced this will be my way to get out of the rat race and that I will be able to live from these investment services. But in order to do so, in order to compare myself to the other big guys on the internet, I must do like them; focus on the most important project I have and give it my all.

 

I’m not coming back… yet

 

I thought it sucked that I left TFB without a word of notice. A post about a tax return is not really the best way to leave a blog like this one; especially after 8 years of writing! This is why I’m writing this quick post; to tell you that I’m happy, that I’m still working online and making money, and I have other goals at the moment. I’ll be back, for sure I’ll be back. I love TFB too much to let it go forever. And, for the first time since I started this adventure in 2006, I feel that I need to concentrate all my energy in one place… and this is what I do right now.

 

In the meantime, I strongly suggest you grab a copy of the Why Café. Note: I’m not linking to it, I’m not getting affiliate revenues, I genuinely think you should read this book. It has literally changed my life.

 

Cheer,

 

Mike

Aka The Financial Blogger

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September 2, 2013, 7:06 am

It’s Crazy What You Learn Staring at A Round Ball!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

 

 

A few years ago, when my oldest son was 5 years old, I felt somewhat relieved when he told me he didn’t want to play hockey. He’s all about sports but he doesn’t like skating too much. I am a big hockey fan but I didn’t need my son to play. Not after I saw those crazy parents screaming their heads off looking at the ice. I thought it wasn’t a good way to teach him sports’ great values such as discipline, effort and team play. In fact, I was very happy when he asked to play soccer all year round.

 soccer ball

I’ve been coaching my son for the past three years. I’ve tried to make sure he doesn’t get benched and that everybody on his team is treated fairly. But then I got hooked and I like coaching as much as my son likes playing soccer! The season just finished and I’ve learned a ton! Not really about soccer, but about psychology and relationships!

 

Your Kid is Just a Kid – LET HIM PLAY

 

I guess there is a reason why we use the verb “play” when we describe a sport. We don’t “work” a soccer game, we play it. Sometimes, as parents, we forget that playing is way more fun than working hard and performing! Last year, I had great expectations of my son. He was a very good player and was expecting him to perform. I obviously asked him to take soccer way too seriously and he lost the fun he had to play soccer. We even argued a few times before or after a game. This wasn’t smart on my part. I knew he was able to play much better than this and found he was a bit lazy sometimes. I’m pretty sure he didn’t appreciate my remarks and constant flow of advice. This year, I started the season differently. I just played with him for fun and was laughing with him during the game. He ended-up being one of the most complete players in the league out of 100 players. He finished 2nd scorer for both the regular season and playoffs. He played at his full potential because he was “playing”.

 

To all parents around, if you want your kid to perform, ask him/her to have fun instead. If your child has talent, the results will come naturally.

 

The Game is Just a Game – WE ARE NOT PLAYING THE WORLD CUP

 

Then again, I’m sure you have seen this many times; overhyped parents demanding very high expectations from their kid and their team as well. The players’ parents were forming a great crowd, but towards the end, expectations raised way too high. We heard parents asking players to “wake-up”, that “the game has started”, or simply asking bluntly “what are you doing??? Run!!!”.  It was like the kids had no other option but to win.

 

As a coach (as witheverything in my life), I’m very intense, passionate and don’t regret anything. But putting pressure on children or talking bluntly to them thinking they will wake-up and find motivation is completely stupid. Motivation is a positive feeling, how can it be created from bad feelings or behaviors? I’ve taught my team to have fun on the field and to like playing soccer. But I’ve also had to teach the parents to have fun and to cheer instead of telling their kid what to do on the field!

 

I think we should bring this to a whole new level in life. Since when do you feel good when someone is telling you that you suck at something? Would you like your boss or your spouse to tell you that you don’t work hard enough? That you are not sweet enough? That you should put some more effort into what you do?

 

How about they tell you that you are good at something and that you should do it more often? That they like when you do this or that. Doesn’t feel better when people are telling you nice things? Well… why it has to be different when you are talking to your children?

 

During our 3rd game in the playoffs, we were losing 4 nothing at half time. Parents were discouraged, my assistant screamed at his son and some players were crying. I brought my team together and cheered them up. I told them it sucks to lose 4 nothing but we can make a comeback. The only thing we needed was to have fun playing soccer and not to think about the score. Believe it or not, my son scored 4 goals in the second half time and we won 6-4! This is what we call motivation!

 

Don’t Let the Prize Win Over Your Values

 

Like any coach, I want my team to win. But more than anything else, I want the kids to have fun playing soccer. During the semi-finals, we almost lost the game. There were 10 minutes left in the game and it was still 1 nothing. I made the decision to put all my best players for the rest of the game, leaving 4 kids on the bench for 10 long minutes. I’ve never done that before. We did win 2-1 but I felt bad after that. I thought of the players that were left behind and about the parents that had to watch them wait until the game was over.

 

This wasn’t me. This wasn’t how I’ve trained my kids and how I acted during the past three years. I felt so bad that I went to apologize to the kids’ parents. This win had a sour taste. This is when I learned that winning isn’t everything. You are better off feeling good about yourself than winning the game!

 

Having Fun is More Important Than Anything Else

 

I think my son never played better soccer than this year and our team was truly great. The secret of all this is that I’ve never had more fun coaching soccer before that. The whole team enjoyed playing and this is the key. This lesson learned goes far more behind kicking a ball. It’s about everything you do in life. If you don’t have fun doing something, then drop it!

 

This works with your job – as going to work thinking it sucks makes for a very long day.

This is true about your spouse – as kissing someone goodnight while thinking about another won’t make a great family.

This is the most inspiring thing you should do – drop what you are currently doing and shift towards something you like. Then wait for a few seconds and see how great it feels.

 

The soccer season is now finished… it’s only for three weeks since my son is playing indoor soccer during the winter. I’m not coaching indoors because I want to take a break and disconnect from soccer a little bit. I think it’s a good thing for my son that he gets other people to coach him as well and I truly want to make sure he still plays next summer instead of performing!

 

What about you, do you play or perform in your life?

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August 1, 2013, 6:00 am

Do You Have to Be Busy Every Single Second?

by: MD    Category: Miscellaneous

“I’m on summer vacation!”

That’s what I told my friends the other day. Then I went back to throwing the frisbee around with some new friends in the park. I love the summer.

Last summer, I don’t think I took much time to throw a frisbee around or to appreciate anything.

I used to have to fill up every single second of my day with something to do. I realized that I was just dying to be busy. I always had to be doing something. I couldn’t just relax. I had to be on my laptop doing some sort of work.

I drove my last two girlfriends (two years each) crazy when we dated. I always had to be doing something (work-related).

I’ve come to notice that this is a curse. The curse of being busy.

Do you always have to be busy?

Are you someone that always has to be doing something? Do you actually stop to chat with a friend when you pass them by?

Lifehacker wrote this article that suggests, being busy always is a sign of procrastination.

When I first read The 4-Hour Workweek, I figured out that there was a huge difference between being busy and actually getting things done. But I barely improved. The curse had hit me and there was no letting go. Back to being busy!

The curse of being busy.

We live in an era that’s all about productivity and efficiency. You have to schedule in an appointment with your brother via Facebook. Everything has to be efficient. Going for a coffee with a friend just isn’t efficient enough. It takes up too much time. You guys should be working on something instead of hanging out.

I really feel that it’s a curse.

When you’re always striving to be busy, you miss out on the following:

  • Good time with friends.
  • Reflection.
  • Life.
  • Family.
  • Staying in shape.
  • Cooking (you’re too busy to cook).
I’m sure there’s tons more that I missed out on.

How do you cure the need for staying busy?

Is there a cure? I believe that there actually is. The three following tips have really helped me out with filing this need of always wanting to be busy.

You get important things done.

I have the following posted on my wall:

“Are you inventing things to do to avoid doing the important?”

Whenever I’m wasting time on YouTube or pretending to be productive, I look at this. Why sit in front of the computer pretending to be busy when you could actually try something like crazy, like, maybe go for a bike ride?

The classic 80/20 analysis is key here. What activities will generate the most revenue for you? What can you cut out?

Most of us can cut out email and lots of other pointless stuff that we force ourselves to do.

If you get the important things done first, you won’t feel the need to always be busy. Sitting in front of your laptop for 8 hours doing nothing isn’t more productive than one hour of solid writing where you’re totally in the zone.

The main takeaway here is: plan one important thing that you want to do for that day. Do it. Don’t worry about minor things. Try not to create small jobs just to fill out a day.

Oh, and please don’t include laundry or cleaning. These are things that you’re supposed to do! You need clean pants and a clean room.

Appreciate the fun times.

Stop feeling guilty over having fun! It’s not against the law. The busy police won’t come after you if you go for a bike ride or throw a frisbee around. They won’t hand you out a fine for smiling. It’s okay to soak in the sun and enjoy a good time.

Hang around positive people.

When your friends are all negative, you won’t even feel like hanging out with them. You won’t even feel good about yourself. I suggest that you rid yourself of all toxic people.

When you associate with a vibrant group of friends, you’ll always feel good and never regret meeting up with them.

[Final note: today is the first day of August. Let’s make this last month of August count!]

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” — John Lennon

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