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.

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.

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.

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Credit Card: Should You Keep It?

September 13th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card Review

Disclosure: Information provided here may not be accurate and no longer valid. The mentioned card provider is not related to A Dawn Journal and neither monitor this site nor responsible for any inaccurate information. Contact the card company directly for accurate and updated information. A Dawn Journal or my YouTube Channel are not compensated by or affiliated with any credit card companies. All credit card articles are 100% unbiased and honest.

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card is a cash back rewards credit card that lets you earn cash rewards for everyday purchases, which can be credited to your account balance at the end of each 12-month period once a year in November.

The Cost

Annual Fee = $99. Additional cards = $30

Minimum annual income required = $60,000 (or household income = $100,000)

Rewards Points Snapshot

– Earn 4 percent at eligible gas stations and grocery stores Canada.

– Earn 2 percent on eligible drug store purchases and recurring bill payments.

– Earn 1 percent on everything else.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

First Time Bonus

From time to time, Scotia runs a promotional $100 bonus. Also, the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Anniversary Bonus


Features & Benefits

– Visa Infinite benefits, including Concierge Services.

– Emergency Medical Insurance (15 days <65, none if 65 or older, Amount: $1 million).

– Travel Accident Insurance (Up to $500,000 CAD)

– Auto Rental Theft and Collision/Loss Damage Insurance.

– Trip Interruption Insurance ($2,000 each, maximum $10,000)

– Flight Delay Insurance (After 4 hrs, $500 per trip).

– Lost and Delayed Luggage ($500 maximum)

– Purchase Security (For 90 days, up to $60,000 lifetime)

– Extended Warranty Insurance (1 additional year)

What’s Missing

Because this is not a travel rewards credit card, I can’t mention anything here like I do for a travel credit cards review.

My Take

It’s almost impossible to beat the high cash back return the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card provides. These days, investors are having a hard time generating 4 percent return from investments, so a credit card that provides 4 percent rewards on groceries is a big deal. However, if your grocery spending is not that high, but spending on another category (that provides 1 percent return) is high, this card won’t make sense and you should probably look for another card.

Although this is not a travel rewards credit card, it offers many travel insurances and provides the option to add Trip Cancellation Insurance, which is a good thing. But don’t forget that travel spending will attract a low 1 percent return.

The $99 annual fee is very reasonable, although Scotiabank could have charged a $120 annual fee – which is standard for Visa Infinite cards.

The only thing I can complain about is that the cash back rewards are awarded only once a year. I have seen other cash back cards that have done a better job at this. For example, some award cash back every month or when you reach a certain amount.

How Long It Takes to Double Your Money

September 8th, 2016 Posted in Investing|Personal Finance | No Comments »

How Long It Takes to Double Your Money







The Rule of 72

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to double your money? There is a simple formula to calculate how many years you will need to double your money.

The simple formula is called The Rule of 72. This rule only works when you compound your interest annually and do not take out money from your account. To find out how many years you need, divide 72 by your interest rate. Here is an example: Assume your interest rate is 12%, you will double your money in 6 years (72/12=6).

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

If you add more money monthly to your initial investment, your time to double investment will be less. Investment is a discipline and don’t expect to double your money overnight. Start investing at an early age, keep adding more money on a monthly basis, and stick to it for the long run – you will achieve your financial goals.

The Best and Worst Cities to Live in the World

September 5th, 2016 Posted in Canada|Beyond | No Comments »

Canadian Cities Are Among the Top Ten

Canadian Cities Are Among the Top Ten

The Economic Intelligence Unit recently released its report called Global Livability Ranking. This report assesses the best and worst cities to live across the globe. Cities were ranked on categories such as stability, healthcare, education, infrastructure, culture and environment based on 30 factors. However, cost of living was excluded.

The top ten cities are:

1. Melbourne, Australia

2. Vienna, Austria

3. Vancouver, Canada

4. Toronto, Canada

5. Adelaide, Australia

6. Calgary, Canada

7. Perth, Australia

8. Auckland, New Zealand

9. Helsinki, Finland

10. Hamburg, Germany

Six of the top ten cities are in Canada and Australia.

The most improved cities are Tehran in Iran, Dubai in United Arab Emirates, and Harare in Zimbabwe.

Some of the biggest declined cities are Damascus in Syria and Kiev in the Ukraine

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Ranked at the bottom, the worst cities to live are Damascus, Syria, followed by Tripoli, Libya, Lagos in Nigeria, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

One important thing to point out is that Canada is the only country in North America that is on the top ten of the report. However, this is not the only report that puts Canada in the top. There are several other reports, for example, Mercer Quality of Living, UN Human Development Index, World Economic Forum are just only a few to mention that consistently put Canada at the top, beating any other country in North America and in line with a few other top-ranking countries the world.

Bargaining A Beach Property In Malaysia

August 31st, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Malaysia Beach Property Real Estate






Malaysia Beach Properties Real Estate

Beach properties anywhere in the world are hot and no, it is not because of the weather. When it comes to Malaysia, the beach properties become a little too hotter. It is the best chance especially for foreign investors to reap five star luxuries at two star prices. Though a rapidly growing real estate market of South East Asia beach resorts in Malaysia are still low cost option, not to forget that the beaches of Malaysia are some of the best in the world. Add to this the impeccable service available on most Malaysian beaches, the friendly locals, the high standard of living which is on par with that of any European city, it is little doubt that Malaysian beach resorts have gained the repute of favoured tourist destination.

For years now Thailand and Malaysia have been popular tourist destinations but it is only recently that Malaysia is being taken seriously as real estate hotspot as it is safe from the "ring of fire" that leads to natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. Malaysian beach properties not only hold lesser risk but with the government actively encouraging investments from foreign quarters these are providing greater rewards. The government has introduced new property laws that are buyer friendly, providing tax incentives for better foreign investments and also fast tracking approvals of licenses so that the government and international developers can mutually benefit from the booming real estate market.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn

With numerous beaches Malaysia offers plenty of opportunities to invest in real estate. The West coast has luxury island retreats, the east coast happens to be the ultimate diving destination, Sarawak and Sabah states in Bornea has an eco-friendly appeal, Sepang not only has the F1 grand prix circuit attraction but coined as the "Gold Coast" it is the weekend getaway resort for many people, Port Dickson is a holiday home to many Singaporeans and with its high profile projects is also a favourite with other international developers.

But what is it that makes beach properties in Malaysia a better deal than elsewhere or as compared to past? The government recently abolished the capital gains tax on property purchase in Malaysia thus the investor can save in a major by investing in real estate in Malaysia. Over 15 years foreigners investing in Malaysian properties can get 70% mortgages. Foreign buyers will not have any restrictions on renewing leases after 99 years. Foreigners owning property in Malaysia will automatically get residency permit. So what more could one be asking for.

Currently Malaysia is offering the best investment opportunity as far as global property market is concerned. There are many factors that are encouraging this rapid development. These are rental yields, capital growth rate, government policies that are investment friendly, spurt in investments by corporate companies. This combined with increase in tourism and creation of newer better equipped luxury resorts all are heating up the property investment market of Malaysia. Intelligent investors will surely not want to be left behind as low cost opportunities especially in real estate industry don’t really last for too long

The United Kingdom Is The World’s Most Real Estate Transparent Country

August 27th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Global Real Estate Transparency Getting Better

Global Real Estate Transparency Getting Better

International property advisers Jones Lang Lasallo, or JLL, recently released their Global Real Estate Property Index for 2016. Today, I will provide some highlights from the report.

– Transparency scores seem to be improving, as there was an average 2.4 percent increase from 2014 to 2016.

– New legislation easing red tape, setting higher ethical standards, and enhancing transaction process to make it smooth and transparent are some of the reasons behind the progress.

– Some of the top transparent countries are Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and United States.

– Some of the Sub-Saharan countries such as Botswana and Zambia are showing significant improvements.

– Some of the least transparent countries are Libya, Honduras, Djibouti, Senegal, Venezuela, and Ivory Coast.

– In the Middle East and North Africa region, Dubai (48) is the most transparent followed by Abu Dhabi (59).

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

– Saudi Arabia (63) and Egypt (65) have shown strong advancement and moved into the Semi-Transparent group.

– The top ten highly transparent countries account for 75 percent of the global commercial real estate investment.

– Capital injection into global real estate is rapidly increasing. The amount is $700 billion now, but is expected to exceed $1 trillion within the next decade.

– Panama Papers revelations have forced greater real estate transparency and helped fight international political corruption.

– Technology continues to help bring more transparency. Some of the countries that have used technology successfully to bring more transparency are Kenya, Ghana, and Ecuador.

– Six of the top transparent countries are in Europe.

– The United Kingdom is the world’s most transparent real estate country.

Don’t Throw Away Credit Cards Before Closing Accounts

August 24th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

Close Credit Card Accounts Before Throwing Out

Close Credit Card Accounts Before Throwing Out

We all have credit card accounts here and there we are not aware of. Sometimes we just throw away credit cards once we don’t use them anymore. But is that the proper way of getting rid of those credit cards you don’t need?

For regular credit card accounts, if you just throw away or destroy your credit card your account remains active with the issuing financial institution. That means on paper you still hold that credit card and your credit account will appear on your credit report, regardless of whether you physically have that credit card or not.

For store credit card accounts, it depends on that store’s policies. Some of them will close your account if you are inactive for some time and some of them will keep it active regardless of whether you are active or not.

So if you were applying for store credit cards at different places just to get the 10 percent off on the first purchase and forgot about it after, you may have many credit cards appearing on your credit report you were not aware of – and when you apply for a new loan or mortgage the lender may not like seeing too many open credit accounts.
The best way to get rid of any credit cards is to call the issuer and close the account. Then shred it or cut it into pieces and trash them separately in separate garbage bags.

So next time, pick up the phone and close your account first before getting rid of those cards you don’t need. 

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