How to Save Money on Virus Protection

I have had McAfee Virus protection for years on my computers.  These virus protection software cover all the updates for one year from the day you buy and then you have to renew your subscription.  Almost all of the virus protection software can store your credit card info and do automatic renewal so that you can keep your software up to date.  I did automatic renewals for years without thinking about it.

Recently my credit card expired and my subscription did not auto renew so I was without protection.  I clicked on auto renew button on the software and saw that they offered a discount, McAfee Total protection was regularly priced at $89.99 but they offered it at $49.99.  Since I did not have my credit card handy, I decided to do it later. After a day I went back and saw that the offer was now for $39.99.  I found this interesting.  Then I thought maybe there are stores that sell the renewal for even a lower price.  So online search landed me at Amazon. Guess what? Amazon had the same software for online activation for $19.99.  It turns out that you do not need renewal, you can uninstall the old version and install a newer one that you buy from Amazon.

So a simple, credit card expiration saved me $30.  If you are in the same situation, head over to Amazon and but the virus protection from there.


6 year old’s journey to financial success update (he is 7 now)

In may of 2015 I wrote about my son who has been learning about money. He had gathered about $824 in his piggy bank, money on his birthday from relatives etc. I took him to bank in May, 2015 and taught him about savings. I also told him that I will help him grow his money, he did not quite understand the concept. My hope his that keeping track of his journey in this blog will help him understand the concept when he learns about interests and dividends in school.

So in May I opened a brokerage account and bought 10 shares of SDY, an S&P dividend ETF.  Why SDY?  Well I thought it is a safe dividend play that can help his money grow over long run.

I bough it for $79 a share.

As you all, who have been investing in market for years, know there is no sure bet in the market.  As it turn out, right after I bought this ETF the market went down.



The bottom for SDY was about $68. So I lost about $90 of his piggy bank in less than a year. Well that was just a loss on the paper since I did not intend to cash it any time soon.  If you think about it, all of those $824 were kind of lost in his piggy bank anyway.

Well now the market is back up and the share closed on Friday (March 18, 2016) at $79.27, just slightly higher than the price I paid. You might say, well at least I am breaking even, right?  Well not so fast. I am actually way ahead. Since the stock continued to pay dividend that I reinvested those dividends, now he has a total of 10.4969 shares with a total value $831.87. Adding the cash balance of $39.54. His piggy bank total now is $871.41.   That is $47.41 higher than the money that was sitting in the piggy bank.  A return of 5.74% in less than a year is not bad.

I will continue to reinvest the dividends and share my update on this blog.  Meanwhile he has some more new money in his actual piggy bank that I plan to use to buy some other stock or ETF. I will post those updates as well.

So how is your kids piggy bank doing? How do you teach your kids about investing/savings?  Would love to learn your story.


The Book That Got Me Started Into Real Estate Investing

The concept of passive income and how to think about your possessions as assets or liabilities is a very powerful one. Anything that produces money without you doing anything (for most part) is an Asset, while something that causes you to spend money is a liability. I learned this concept of assets, liabilities and cash flow from Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!“.

I am not saying that I completely buy the story in this books but the concepts are powerful.  The whole concept of assets, liabilities and cash flow got me thinking.  Robert is right, you don’t become rich by working for someone. You become rich by owning assets such as Real Estate, business, patents etc.  If you have been thinking about retiring early, creating passive income streams, investing in real estate then I will highly recommend this book.




Note: I am not getting paid by the author or anybody to recommend this book. However, if you do click on the links on this blog and buy the products/books then I will get paid by 3rd parties such as Amazon.

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How much do you earn?

A love-vs-moneyman came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what it is?” replied the man.
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $10?”

The father was furious, “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room. The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.” Are you asleep, son?” He asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy. “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man. Here’s the $10 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” He yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up notes. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father. “Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.

”Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied. “Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

A reminder to all of us working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.

This is a story but it is really true.  My 6 yr old says the same thing at times. He does not understand why I have to go to office every day. Whenever his school is off her says  daddy don’t go to office, play with me, we don’t need any more money today, you can take the money from my piggy bank if you need it.

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How a little girl encouraged me to live healthy and help her gymnastics team

indexI recently stopped by a Jamba Juice on my way to long weekend in Vancuover. As I was entering the store, I heard a little girl, she called me and asked me if I would like to buy a Jamba Juice card which will give me buy one get one free for $10.00. Then as I turned to talked to her, she explained me how these $10 will help her gymnastics team. I would have given her $10 anyway to support her team but now I got a good deal too. Though I rarely go to Jamba Juice, this gives me an incentive to go to Jamba Juice, drink some healthy smoothies. All in all such a deal was win-win-win for all of us. The girls gymnastic team got the money, I got healthy drinks and Jamba Juice got the business that they would not have got.

In addition, helping these kids boosts their self esteem, encourages them to be better citizens and encourage entrepreneurship.

We need more corporations like Jamba Juice to help the society. I encourage you to stop by and help little kids while helping yourself.

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6 year old’s journey to financial success

I will provide updates on my 6 yrs old journey (little over 6.5 now) to financial success.  He is just starting to learn about money, saving, investing, giving and growing.

Over last 2 years, ever since he got some concept of money I have taken him to a bank where he has deposited money.  Where did the money come from? Primarily three sources for now

1. Coins that I accumulated over years, I gave it to him

2. Money given to him by relatives on some occasions

3. More coins that I remove from my pocket.

So far has has accumulated 824 dollars.

Next step:

  • I just opened a brokerage amount with Merrill Lynch and have transferred money into that account.
  • Will find some quality ETF to put money into it.
  • Meanwhile he will continue to accumulate more coins.

I will update this post over the year and show how money grows.

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Lending Club Update #1

Lastmicrolending-small-loans-make-big-difference-new-jpg-2xjyx0y3eznayd4ghs8lqi month I wrote about starting with Lending Club, a micro lending company.  I started with $500 and have set up automatic investing of $25 every 2 weeks.  Currently I am up to a balance of $577.66 which includes my investment of $575 and $2.66 of the interest, though the “Interest Received” section says it should be $2.81 (I will figure out what the gap is and then write about it in my future post).

I am starting very conservatively currently so that I can get a feel of microlending and then scale to being more aggressive over years.  My first round of investments were mainly in A Grade and B grade borrowers, not I also have 2 C grade investments.

A grade borrowers are those that have a good credit ratings. They pose the lowest risk and hence are charged a lower interest rate.  B grade borrowers are little more risky and it goes on till G grade (that’s the lowest I have seen). Within these grade bands they further divide the borrowers further from 1-5 e.g. A1, A2, A3 etc.

So far all these loans are on time and have resulted in 7.65% return. Not Bad.

I am expecting some hiccups in returns but only time will tell.  Are you into microlending? What has your experience been so far?

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One app that saves me at least $7 each time I fill the gas tank

gas-buddyI drive nice cars, cars that eat lots of gas and most financial advisers will advice against. In general I agree that you should not go overboard and take care of other debts and expenses before you indulge in expensive cars.  My goal is not to save and retire rich by 65, the time when I might not have the energy or passion.  My goal is to keep enjoying life each day while building for early retirement, when I say early I mean in my 50s . So while I like to drive nice car, I also like to save money wherever possible.  So this is where this app come in handy.  The app, I use is GasBuddy.  Search for it in App Store, it is Free. (I don’t like to pay for apps and so far I think I only paid for Whatsapp, that too for work).

Gas Buddy, has saved me as much as 65 cents/gallon. It helps me find the cheapest gas stations near me.  All I have to do is open the app, press a button called “Find Gas Near Me” and sort by price or distance.  It lists all the gas stations with price options for various gas types with their prices.  Sometimes just driving one additional block will save more than 20 cents a gallon.  All these quickly add up.  Savings of 50 cents/gallon are very common. My small car has a tank of 14+ gallons, multiply that by 50 cents and you get a savings of $7.

Have you used any app to save money?  If yes, share them with me.

One tip for getting people to pay attention to your emails

attentionWant people to pay attention to your emails?

Keep them short and to the point. Nobody has time to read long emails. When I get an email which has a lot of questions then I put them aside thinking that I will get to them soon but that soon never happens.

Some famous quotes on this subject

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. ~Thomas Jefferson

If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought. ~Dennis Roth

“Brevity is the soul of wit” – Shakespeare (Hamlet)

Need someone to respond to your email? Do not ask too many questions in the email. Make it easy for them to respond.

Pay off your mortgage or invest in the market?

Recently a co-worker asked my opinion on paying off mortgage or investing in the market. I am not an expert in this field but have gathered enough data to help me provide an intelligent answer.

My answer: Pay Off Your Mortgage. No matter what “experts” say, once you payoff the mortgage you know that you have a place to live that is yours. You own it. Returns in the market are not guaranteed but saving that interest and having a peace of mind is guaranteed when you payoff the mortgage.

I made a huge mistake of investing my money in the stock market before I bought my house. I lost most of it and am still recovering from it. Now I make sure to pay extra towards my mortgage. I still invest some but paying off the mortgage is my priority.

What do you think?