5 No-Nonsense Travel Hacks You Must Know

October 22nd, 2016 Posted in Life|Money Smart Tips | No Comments »


Smart Travel Tips You Can Use

No, I am not going to insult your intelligence by giving tips like put a binder clip over a razor or use the hotel iron to make a grilled cheese sandwich, and so on. Rather, I will talk about 5 smart travel tips that work and will come in handy when you travel.

Taxi Scam: Most taxi drivers are honest and hard working. But you need to be prepared for a very few who might scam you, especially in foreign land. The most common scam is shuffling larger bills to smaller ones, like you give the driver a $50 bill, but he claims you gave a $5 bill. Another variation of this scam can be shuffling your bill to a fake bill and demanding more money. You can easily prevent this scam by taking pictures of larger bills before handing them out or use smaller bills, which are hard to shuffle and scammers will be reluctant to scam for so many smaller bills because it involves more work for them and more chances of getting caught.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Travel Undergarment

It can be difficult or impossible to wash your undergarments everyday while you travel. To prevent this, when I am about to get rid of my old undergarments, such as underwear or an undershirt, I save them and use them when I travel and throw them out each day after use. This way I am still using fresh, washed undergarments everyday, but don’t need to worry about washing and drying them. You can achieve the same result by using disposable undergarments (yes, they exist) and toss them out daily.


Many hotels charge for Wi-Fi. However, if you are a member of their rewards or loyalty program, you can get it for free. Sign up for the hotel’s rewards program to get free Wi-Fi. You don’t need to have any points in your rewards account to enjoy free Wi-Fi.

Hotel/Resort Upgrade

Sometimes you may be able to score a room upgrade in hotels or resorts just by tipping the receptionist. You may need to be discrete when you tip the receptionist and ask for the upgrade. For example, keep the note in sight of the receptionist (but not too obvious for other people working in the lobby) and say something like you will take care of them if they possibly can arrange an upgrade. However, you need to make a judgement call in which hotel or what country you can possibly apply this trick. For example, this is not going to work if you are in hotels like Hilton or Marriott in Canada or Germany, but you may be able to work this out if you are in hotels or resorts in the Caribbean or in Asia.

Fake Wallet

To protect yourself from robbery or pickpockets when you travel, carry a fake wallet. Fake in this instance means the wallet is real, but put expired credit cards, bankcards, library card, etc. and some small notes in it to make it look like your real wallet. Hide your real credit card and money in a separate place on your body. You can use a hidden money belt or hidden neck or leg wallet to keep your real credit card and cash. In case of a robbery, hand over your fake wallet or distract pickpockets with your fake wallet.

Seoul Gets New Cross Hash Towers Skyscraper

October 17th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Photo Credit: BIG architects

The Cross # Towers in Seoul, South Korea

A Danish architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has recently announced a new skyscraper project in Seoul, South Korea that will add a new dimension to the world of skyscrapers. Their new project "The Cross Hash Towers" or "The Cross #Towers" will push the limits of building skyscrapers with these gravity-defying towers in
this modern age.

These two towers, 214 meters and 204 meters high, will be 21,000 square meter cross-hatched interlocking building with its ability to accommodate 600 residences and amenities such as a library, gallery, and kindergarten. The two towers will be connected by bridges at different levels, such as street and sky levels. The upper and lower bridges will have sky gardens on them and will offer breathtaking views of Seoul’s skyline.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

The Cross Hash Towers will be positioned next to the future development zone Yongsan business district in Seoul. The tower suites will have a unique design to optimize spectacular views and sunlight. Also, at the ground level visitors at the arrival deck will be able to see the impressive links above and the submerged plaza beneath them.

Due to the Yongsan business district’s height restrictions for skyscrapers, architects came up with this unique design of these two towers – adding two bridges between them. For sure, Seoul’s skyline and skyscraper portfolio will change dramatically upon completion of The Cross # Towers.

Downsides and Upsides of Free Trade, Global Economy, and China Spillover

October 15th, 2016 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

OECD Cuts Global Economy Outlook

OECD Cuts Global Economy Outlook

The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, recently mentioned in a report that spillovers from China could hamper the global economy. China should consider taking various steps, including a liberal approach on the Yuan and revamping weak firms.

A freer floating exchange rate and transparent policy change mechanism are a must for China to improve its economy and stop global spillovers. Also, the IMF cautions against China’s protectionist policies. Protectionist measures will likely depress global trade and economy in the short term and also in the long run.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Harvard Economics professor Kenneth Rogoff recently told the BBC that China is the biggest threat to the global economy and that the economy is slowing down more than official figures. After triple-digit growth for years, the IMF predicts the expected economic growth rate to be only 6.6 percent this year.

OECD Downgrades Canada Economy

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, also downgrades the global and Canadian economy. The growth rate was lowered to 1.2 percent from 1.7 percent for Canada. The prediction for 2017 Canadian economy is down to 3.2 percent from a previous 3.3 percent, which is not that bad.

The world economy is expected to grow 2.9 percent in 2016. The earlier forecast for 2016 was 3.1 percent. The OECD believes a slowdown in international trade generating from Asia is the main reason for the global economic slowdown.

Downsides and Upsides of Free Trade

Also, the rise of anti-free trade movements in Western countries, such as recently seen in the Brexit vote in Britain and in the Trump movement in the U.S., do not paint a pretty picture for global growth. The downsides of freer global trade, such as losing jobs to China, are easy to see and the upsides, such as lower prices, more choices, etc., are harder to see.

Start Saving For Retirement Now If Just Started Your First Job

October 11th, 2016 Posted in Retirement 101 | No Comments »

Retirement Saving Now







Retirement Saving Now

If you are new to the workforce or in the workforce for a while and still haven’t thought of retirement, follow these simple tips to start your retirement planning journey.

The Time is Now – It is never too late or too early to start your retirement saving journey. Start now if you haven’t started already. You need to get rid of your all excuses to start saving. Don’t wait.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Start With Any Amount – If you are putting off saving because you can’t contribute large amounts, change your approach. As a start, don’t worry about how small or big the amounts are. Start with anything you can right now, even if it’s $25 a month. And gradually increase your monthly contributions.

Stick to It Like Crazy Glue – Use automatic electronic deductions from your bank account to invest for your future. Stick to investing like crazy glue and make it a lifetime habit. Do not allow yourself to take out money from your retirement savings, regardless of how urgently you need the money.

How to Properly Destroy Credit Cards

October 8th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

Don’t Just Trash Your Cards in the Garbage

Our credit cards are getting smarter with embedded microchips and other security features, and so are credit card scammers and con artists. The magnetic strip and microchip on credit cards hold vital information and they can cause a serious data breach if they end up in the wrong hands.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. I have created a short video demonstrating how to destroy credit cards properly so scammers aren’t able to extract any information out of them. You can follow those steps I showed in the video to cut your credit cards properly. Here are some highlights you need to keep in mind:

– Never get rid of credit cards if everything is intact.

– Cut them into small pieces as shown in the video.

– Make sure the microchip, magnetic strip, name, numbers, and signature are completely destroyed.

– When you are done destroying, do not put them in one garbage bag or bin.

– Place the cards into several garbage bags over the course of several days.

– This way, no single person can obtain all the pieces and arrange them together.

Am I being overly paranoid? You may say so. However, if you talk to those who had their identity stolen, they will tell you that it turned their lives upside down and these little steps of precaution are nothing compared to the consequences you would face had your personal information ended up in the wrong hands.

To safeguard your valuable personal information, online and otherwise, always be cautious and use vigilance. Use your common sense as your first line of defence and then some.

Real Estate in Vietnam

October 1st, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Real Estate in Vietnam







Vietnam Real Estate

Vietnam has come out a long way from the dark chapter of the Vietnam War. In a survey done by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, Vietnam ranks as the fourth emerging global real estate market after Brazil, China, and India. With its strong economy, growing middle class, growing urban population, rising tourists numbers, Vietnam real estate market will grow at a fast pace and no wonder global real estate investors are paying more attention to Vietnam real estate than ever before.

Before 1990, Vietnam had no real estate market as everything was owned by the state. As a result of the "Doi Moi" reform that was introduced in 1986, the first laws recognizing the concept of private ownership came into effect in 1990 and 1998. From 1998 to 2004, there were several revisions and reforms took place. Due to these new reforms and revisions, starting in 2004 the real estate market in Vietnam started to attract foreign interests and investments.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Starting in 2009, legal foreign residents (after meeting certain conditions set by the government) in Vietnam are allowed to purchase property in certain areas under a 50-year leasehold. The property can also be resold after 12 months of ownership. Vietnam does not allow foreigners to have freehold property.

Vietnam is home to about 90 million people. The majority of its population live in the countryside. However, the residential sector is currently showing strong growth due to the rising income of the middle class and their willingness to purchase their own residential places. Demand for Vietnam’s two major cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi is strong and it is estimated that the properties that are coming to the market will not be enough to meet its demand. The office market also shows strong demand for quality spaces, as the occupancy rate is around 95 percent. The leisure and resort markets are also going through strong demand. Vietnam has 3,000 kilometers coastline and its tourist numbers and accommodations have increased significantly. Hotels, resorts, and villas have high occupancy rates in this sector and real estate demands will increase in the coming years. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that Vietnam will be one of the top ten tourist destinations in the next ten years.

The property market in Vietnam still offers low entry prices with growth potential in the future. However, because it is an emerging market, transparency still can be an issue. Having a local partner or agent is a huge advantage dealing with real estate issues in Vietnam. Also, keep in mind that all real estate transactions are carried out in pure gold. Real estate investors need to pay close attention to gold prices and conversion rates.

Why You Should Avoid American Express Use Points for Purchases

September 27th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

How Amex Wants You to Lose Big Time

American Express Canada recently launched a new option, letting card members fall for instant gratification by letting them redeem daily purchases for small amounts. According to Amex, this option will provide ultimate flexibility and make daily life seamless. However, what Amex is not saying is that clients lose big time when they redeem points for daily purchases instead of converting to miles.

American Express points provide the best bang for your buck when you transfer them to airline miles, such as with Aeroplan or Avios. The transfer rate is 1:1, meaning you will receive 1 airline mile for each point. Now, if you are knowledgeable about airline rewards programs you should be easily able to extract 5 to 6 percent return per dollar flying business or first class. Sometimes the return can be astronomically high like 30 percent flying business or first class on airline miles. If you fly economy class using miles, your extraction rate will be a poor 1 to 2 percent.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

So what’s the rate you are getting from American Express if you redeem points for purchases? Not even 1 percent. On the Amex Gold Card, the redemption rate is $7 for redeeming 1000 points. What this means is you get $0.007 per point, which is even less than 1 cent per point, making it a 0.7 percent return – not even 1 percent return. If you use Amex TripFlex option to redeem points for travel, you will get a 1 percent return or 1000 points for $10.

The best value Amex rewards points generate is when you redeem them to convert into miles. Of course you need to know how airline miles work and if you don’t want to follow that path, you should not have this card in the first place. There are other credit cards that offer higher return for redeeming points for groceries and other purchases. There is no point in having American Express credit cards, paying hefty annual fees and redeeming points at such a horribly low rate. Also don’t forget that although American Express is charging a hefty $150 on its popular card Amex Gold Rewards, it’s not providing many common benefits that another premium card would provide for a $120 annual fee such as Trip Cancellation Insurance, Concierge Service, etc.

Can A Minor Open An RRSP?

September 25th, 2016 Posted in Investing|Personal Finance | No Comments »

Can A Minor Open An RRSP







Contrary to popular belief, there is no age restriction to open an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan).
Here are the requirements to open an RRSP for minors:

– A SIN (Social Insurance Number)

– Legitimate earned income

– Recorded income with proper documents

– Filed T1 tax return

Advantages of a Minor RRSP

There are lifelong advantages of opening an early age RRSP. Here are some of them:

– There is no need to make contributions right away. Contributions can be made anytime later – with no time limit.

– RRSP room keeps accumulating, which can be carried forward indefinitely

– Increases lifetime contribution limits

– Allows minors to contribute to RRSP right after starting in the work force because of the available contribution room.

– RRSP deduction can be claimed later on when there is enough taxable income.

– Provides income-splitting opportunity for business-owner parents. Kids can work as an
employee for their parents’ business and salary paid to them will be tax deductible and it will create contribution room for kids.

– Provides an opportunity to teach kids about personal finances.

– Contributions start growing tax free inside an RRSP.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Disadvantages of a Minor RRSP

– Not all financial institutions offer minor RRSP.

– A co-signer may be required.

– Financial institutions may limit what types of products can be purchased.

The best thing to do would be shop around and find the right institutions that suit your needs. Minor RRSP can be a great investment vehicle towards a better financial future with lifelong benefits for kids.

Can This Possibly Be The Lowest Interest Rate Credit Card in Canada?

September 20th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

American Express Launches 8.99% Rate Interest Rate Card

American Express, or AmEx, is known for its upscale cards that usually target customers with heavy spending. The annual fee for some of its cards skyrocket to $700 or even $900. However, this time Amex seems to be targeting traditional consumers who carry a balance with its new low-rate American Express Essential Credit Card.

While you will find most credit cards charge 20 to 30 percent interest, the American Express Essential Credit Card charges only 8.99 percent interest with no annual fee. This low rate is not a promotional rate and is here to stay unless market conditions change.

A few other credit cards in Canada, such as BMO Preferred Rate, Scotiabank Value Visa, CIBC Select Visa, and RBC Visa Classic Low Rate also provide low-rate cards where the interest rate can run 12 to 17 percent, but they don’t come close to the new American Express offer.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Another card worth mentioning is the MBNA Trueline Credit Card. This no annual fee credit card charges interest rate based on your credit score and it can range from 5.99 to 14.99 percent. What I like about this card is that on the MBNA website it will tell you what your interest rate will be by doing a soft credit check that does not affect your credit score even before you start the application process.

As more players are offering more low-rate credit cards, consumers are the winners from the competition. And there definitely will be more credit card companies entering the arena of low-rate cards following the American Express Essential credit card in the future.

The Tallest Skyscraper in Israel

September 16th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

The Tallest Skyscraper in Israel







The Tallest Building in Isreal

Israel is getting a new skyscraper – which will become its tallest building with a height of 241 meters (790 feet). The Tel Aviv Regional Planning and Building Commission approved the plan. The Infrastructure work has already started and construction will start in the coming weeks.

Currently, Israel’s tallest skyscraper is the 68-floor Ramat Gan Moshe Aviv Tower, which stands 235 meters (770 feet) tall. At that time when it was built in 2003, it was the tallest tower building in the Middle East. Today, it is the 3rd tallest building in the Middle East.

The new tower, called The Eurocom Building, will be built by Eurocom Global Real Estate Ltd and its partners. Its architect is Amnon Schwartz. Its location will be on the corner of Shefa Tal and Arvei Nahal streets. It will be connected to the Tel Aviv Central Railway Station and the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange via pedestrian and bicycle bridges and light rail.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

The Eurocom building will have offices, a conference centre, a shopping mall, a hotel, and the Givatayim Municipality offices. The price tag to build will be approximately $270 million and will require five years to complete.

Currently, Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the world’s tallest skyscraper. It’s 830 meters (2723 feet) tall and has 163 floors. Recently, Saudi Arabia announced that it would build the world’s tallest building reaching 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) tall.

Copyright © 2011 [A Dawn Dot Net Corp.] All rights reserved   |   Privacy & Cookies