Burj Khalifa — The Tallest Building in the World

August 29th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Burj Khalifa - The Tallest Building in the WorldWorld’s Tallest SkyScraper

In September 2004, the Burj Dubai project started, intending to build what was expected to become the world’s tallest building. In officially opening the building, this January of 2010 – some two years after the originally intended completion date in 2008, the opening ceremony is testament to the spirit of co-operative human endeavour, overcoming all obstacles, including global recession, to achieve an outcome which is recognized as being second to none – the achi evement of having built the tallest building in  the world.

Despite good progress until late 2008, the fate of the Burj Dubai was left somewhat in the balance when the exposure of the emirate of Dubai to the financial havoc caused by global recession became apparent, with Burj Dubai looking likely to become one of many fire sale items that might need to be sold off to get the emirate out of the red. However, in the pomp and ceremony of the opening day was included a re-naming ceremony for the Burj Dubai – and it was formally opened as the Burj Khalifa – by way of tribute to the leader of Abu Dhabi – Sheik Khalifia bin Zayed Al Nahayan  who recently provided financial assistance to the neighboring Dubai to the tune of  CAD 11 ($10) billion securing the financial future of Dubai and ensuring completion of the Burg Khalifa, enabling it to take its place as the fully accredited tallest building in the world. It can be seen from 95 kilometers away. The Khalifa Tower is around half a mile high and overlooks the entire city, including existing tall buildings, it is expected to be a tourist magnet, not only for its unique height, but its location from which can be accessed all of the wonders of Dubai – the world’s largest arch bridge, the twirling tower, a refrigerated beach and some artificial islands shaped like a map of the world – for a vacation or a stopover, this new centre for tourism in Dubai promises an experience in the grandest style and well worth including in your travel plans, particularly for those who enjoy fine dining and those who love to shop. Burj Khalifa The Tallest Building in the World

There are over 160 levels in the Burj Khalifa – including the area given over to the Armani Hotel. The elevator has the longest travel distance in the world and there are double deck elevators which travel at 10 meters per second-the highest speeds to take you up to the highest level observation deck, where breath taking panoramic views can be enjoyed by night and day. Most of the lower levels of the Burj Khalifa are taken up by the luxurious Armani Hotel with 160 guest rooms, suites and nine hundred one or two room living accommodation units. There are 37 floors of office space all fitted out with the very latest in design and e-technology – the Burj Khalifa is a new hub for both business and social interaction and will bring some much needed new tourism and trade into the economy of Dubai.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Feb 6, 2010.

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Fragile Global Economy and China

August 18th, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

Fragile global economy

Risks Still Exist

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently stated that although the global economy is recovering, it is still fragile and there are risks on the horizon.

The US is a strong performer and although China has had some recent stock market turmoil, its economy is still resilient.

The Eurozone economy is expected to grow 1.5 percent in 2015 and 1.7 percent in 2017. These figures are a lot better than 0.8 percent growth in 2014.

A downward trend in commodity prices will hurt emerging economies. And then there is the possibility of a US rate increase – which will likely to have impact on economies around the globe.

After a 0.1 percent slump in 2014, Japan will likely grow 0.8 percent in 2015.

China’s economy is strong enough to withhold volatility and is expected to grow 6.8 percent in 2015. Although this rate is the slowest since 1990, it’s still not bad compared to other global economies. Even with the recent stock market selloff in China, stocks are 80 percent higher than one year ago.

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How To Give Your Children The Best Start In Life Financially

August 16th, 2015 Posted in Investing|Personal Finance | No Comments »

how to give kids the best start in life financially






Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits

As the old saying goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same, or at least similar, applies to giving your children the best start in life financially. If your children are forever coming to you asking for money, it can be very hard not to give them a few dollars, especially if they have been well-behaved recently. However, this is something that should never become a habit. After all, you had to learn at some point that you cannot keep relying on other people. The message is that if you can save some of what you get from time to time, and find a (legitimate)  way of making to money it will stand you in much better stead for the future.

This is not a case of advising people to never give their children money. It is true that your children need to learn the value of money, but this is no more likely to be learned by giving them nothing than it is if you give them money every time they ask. All that you guarantee by withholding money every time is that they will one day start making money for themselves and rebel against everything you told them by spending like an heiress in a street full of boutiques. There is a sensible balance to be struck. If your child has a good reason for asking for the money, that scores a point. If they are not asking for much, that scores another. If they really do not ask all that often, then they deserve another point.

You can come up with your own points system, but do your best to make it fair while not being excessively flimsy. How likely is it that a child who knows they will get everything handed to them will grow up understanding that money needs to be earned. The old saying “Money doesn’t grow on trees” may be irritating, but it is also true. It has to come from somewhere, so it is worth encouraging your child – once they are old enough – to get a job which they can do on weekends earning just enough to pay for their leisure pursuits. This doesn’t mean you need to stop paying their way – it is even better if you top up what they earn with a little from your own pocket to show them that good behaviour is well rewarded.

There may seem to be some madness in the above stratagem, but rest assured there is method to it. Giving your child a decent appreciation of the benefits of working for money, a recognition that they cannot rely on someone to just hand it to them, and yet the reassurance that you will not turn them down if they really need help, is the strongest way of reinforcing the lessons of good financial behaviour, and your child will be more likely to thrive financially in times to come.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on July 19, 2009.

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The American Express Gold Rewards card: Should You Keep It?

August 12th, 2015 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

The American Express Gold Rewards Card Review

The American Express Gold Rewards card is a flexible highbred travel rewards credit card that lets you earn American Express points for everyday purchases that can be used towards eligible travel costs without any blackout periods or restrictions.

The Cost

Annual Fee = $150. Additional cards = $0

Minimum annual income required = $20,000

Rewards Points Snapshot

– Earn 2 points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores in Canada.

– Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases.

– Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else.

First Time Bonus

A 25,000-point (valued $550 or more) welcome bonus when you spend $500 within 3 months. Also, the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Anniversary Bonus


Features & Benefits

– Book any travel purchases with this card and use points to pay them when appear on statement.

– This is a charge card. Balance has to be paid in full every month.

– Transfer points to Aeroplan or AVIOS at 1:1

– Emergency Medical Insurance (15 days<65, none>65 or older, Amount: 5 M/per person).

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

– Auto Rental Theft and Collision/Loss Damage Insurance ((maximum $85,00)

– Trip Interruption Insurance ($1,500 each, maximum $6,000).

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

– Lost Luggage (maximum $500)

– Hotel/Motel Burglary (maximum $500)

– Extended Warranty Insurance

– Purchase Security

What’s Missing

Some of the important benefits this card does not offer:

– Price Protection Insurance

– Trip Cancellation Insurance
– No Concierge services

My Take

Although the American Express Gold Rewards card is a highbred card that charges a high $150 annual fee, it is missing some important elements of insurance and services you would expect from a $150 per year credit card, and it has no anniversary bonus to consider to add it to your credit card portfolio.

For a cheaper annual fee, for example $120 per year, you will find many other cards that offer features that the American Express Gold Rewards card is missing, such as Trip Cancellation insurance, Concierge service, etc., and you will find more value for your dollar.

I personally do not hold this card as of this writing and I’m planning not to hold it after its 1st year even if I get this card in the future.

However, a point worth mentioning is that this card earns 2 points for every $1spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores and then lets you convert them to Aeroplan points. This makes it a high Aeroplan earner (2 Aeroplan points for each dollar) comparing any other cards.

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The Ten Tallest Buildings in the World

August 10th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

The Ten Tallest Buildings in the World

The Ten Tallest Skyscrapers In The World

For many years the Empire State Building in New York, USA was the unrivalled nominee for being the tallest building in the world. Since this building was completed in 1931, at 381 meters high, technology would have to advance for nearly seven decades before its height could be surpassed. In 1996, Shun Hing Square in Shenzhen, China became the world’s tallest building, at 384 meters.

Whilst there are many tall buildings currently under construction, in terms of actual completed tall buildings which are both completed and still in existence (for example the World Trade Centre is no longer on the list), and taller than the Shun Hing Square, there are several, which have displaced the Empire State Building to now ranking 14th on the list, followed by the Shun Hing Square in Shenzhen at number 13.

The Two International Finance Centre in Hong Kong, at number 10, is followed by the Jin Mao Building which is next at number 9 and the 8th tallest building is the Guangzhou West Tower, Guangzhou in China.

The 7th tallest building in the world is the Wills (formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago. Number 6 on the list is the Greenland Financial Centre in Nanjing.

The Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, follow at numbers 4 and 5, and then there is the Shanghai World Financial Centre, China, placed at number 3. The previous tallest building in the world was the Taipei 101 Tower in Taipei, Taiwan and now this is surpassed by the re-named Burj Dubai – making it the tallest building in the world – the Burj Kalifa, in Dubai.

There are criteria which must be met for being the highest building in the world which is not just a matter of constructing a huge antenna on top of the roof to gain that extra size. According to the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, towers per se do not count, unless they also have floors so as to qualify them to be classified as buildings. A building such as the Taipei Tower is named as a tower but is still a building for ranking purposes because of its design and intended use as a commercial, residential or manufacturing building which is actually occupied. Height is measured from the ground to the structural highest point of the roof – spires are included but you cannot add into the count such things as flag poles or radio masts or antenna.

Heights and rankings of tall buildings are often disputed, and other lists which are informed from web based data may vary from the official listing above, which has been made up from data obtained by the Council. There are many other buildings around the world still in process of construction but they do not form part of the list because to meet Council requirements – a building must be “topped out”. Burj Kalifa is 828 meters high which tops the Empire State by just over double its size – the amenities of the buildings today are far in advance of the original pioneer development – the Empire State Building.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Jan 29, 2009.

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This Is How I Save $1,500 to $5,000 Yearly

August 8th, 2015 Posted in Life|Money Smart Tips | 2 Comments »

My Daily Bike Commute

One of the easiest ways to money on an ongoing basis is to live near where you work. Living close to work, however, saves you something else more precious than money and can’t be measured or replaced by anything else: time. Today, I will only look at the monetary aspect of living close to work.

I live in downtown Toronto, very close to my work. I have the option to walk, bike, or take a streetcar to work. What I do, instead of walking 100 percent, is use Toronto’s city bike sharing system Bike Share Toronto to cover part of my commute and walk to cover the rest. When it rains or snows heavily, I either walk or take a TTC street car.

By living close to work, I save a staggering $1,500 to $5,000 annually. These costs are very conservative and the actual savings can be even higher than my estimates. Here are my breakdowns:

$1,500 – Assuming I am using TTC and buying a monthly pass, which is nearly $130 a month.

$5,000 – Assuming I am using my own car. $5,000 includes monthly payment for car, insurance. However, to keep things simple, I am not including other costs that are involved having a car such as gas, parking, maintenance, tickets, etc.

As you can see, my $1,500 to $5,000 yearly estimates are actually lower than real costs someone could have incurred by driving or taking public transit to work in Toronto.

Living close to work to save money and time is great, but I understand that this is not possible for everyone for various reasons. There is no need to be discouraged if you are one of those. There are various other practical and smart tips to save money in my book

Money Hacks: How Small Changes Can Save Big Money

And there is no reason why you can’t save at least $100 a month applying what I have discussed in this book. You can download this book from Amazon (the link is on the very top right) and start saving money today.

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Lessons To Learn From The Financial Crisis

August 6th, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

lessons to learn from the financial crisis







The most obvious lesson from this crisis is the fact that banks have been lending excessively and irresponsibly

The credit-led financial crisis in which the world still languishes at present carries some quite profound lessons for us all, much though there will be people queuing up to say that they saw it all coming all along. The undeniable truth is that the world has been hit by this crisis in a way that has left few people untouched – and if it could happen at a time when we are supposed to know more about finance, and about everything, than we all knew a decade or two ago, then what is to stop it happening again? Well, this is what our government are looking at, and along with them the governments of several other countries. Will this put an end to future recessions? Not indefinitely, but we’ll see how long it holds them off.

There were numerous possible reactions when this whole house of cards came crashing down. One was schadenfreude, and it was much in evidence from people who had held on to their jobs and full pay, directed towards those who had made their living from the financial sector. This in all honesty was completely unhelpful – even though the whole crisis was down in some part to the banks, banking policy is dictated not by the guys at the bottom who lost their jobs, but by the people at the top who miraculously survived. Another possible reaction would be to look at this crisis and see what we can learn from it. If we can learn from our mistakes, we can stop them happening in the future, can’t we? Or is it that we will know them when we make them again?

The most obvious lesson from this crisis is the fact that banks have been lending excessively, and irresponsibly, to people whose hopes of actually maintaining the payments were always flimsy. It seems absurd now that the banks could play so free and easy with their money. Was a crisis like this not completely inevitable in the circumstances? The banks have promised that the lesson is learned in any case, and it is noticeable that they have been less keen to lend to anyone recently. Is that really a sign that they have learned the lesson, though, or a sign of over-correction? Who knows?

As people, it would be hoped that we have learned that credit is like a firework – to be treated with caution, but capable of facilitating wonderful things if handled correctly. It is tempting to use borrowing to fund our dreams and our pleasures, but there is always the danger that it could lead to a situation that no-one really enjoys. It shouldn’t need to be a matter of advice – spending money you can’t really afford will lead to bad things! – but if the message needs to be reinforced, just look at the newspapers every day. Do we really want to keep reading about companies going to the wall? Apart from anything else, that is becoming very tedious. Let’s start making good news.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on July 12, 2009.

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Two Best Brain Training Apps

August 3rd, 2015 Posted in Internet |Technology, Reviews|Interviews | No Comments »

Brain Game Apps

Brain Game Apps

Today, I am not here to argue for or against brain training games – whether they are effective or not. The Stanford University Center on Longevity and the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development released a statement in the past signed by 70 scientists mentioning there is no proof that brain games improve cognitive performance or prevent cognitive slowing and brain disease. You can read a lengthy article here on this. On the other hand, if you visit brain training app websites, they have various reports by scientists showing that brain games work. So, I wouldn’t worry or argue about who is right or who is wrong. The reason I play these games is because of the challenges they present and I find it a good way to entertain myself.

Today, I will talk about 2 games I find very exhilarating and they are the best two apps I came across.

Peak: Peak games focus on improving language skills, mental agility, problem solving, focus and memory. You can let the app know your profession and it will show you how you are doing compared to others in the same line of work. Peak is designed by neuroscientists and cognitive scientists from Yale, Princeton, and U. of Cambridge. Peak is a highly engaging game with great sound and eye-catching aesthetics. What I like about Peak is that anyone who has the basic knowledge of how to read can play this game. This game comes in both a free and a paid version and I play the free version sometimes.

Elevate: Apple selected Elevate as app of the year for 2014 and I can see why. Elevate takes a different approach than other brain games focusing on reading comprehension, grammatical errors, vocabulary, mathematics, and so on. What I noticed about Peak is that this is not a game for someone with basic reading knowledge, as it is highly engaging in grammar, mathematics, reading, writing and listening comprehension, etc. This games comes in both a free and a paid version and I have the paid version and try to play it regularly, as each daily session is short and I can finish them very fast.

There are so many other brain training apps out there. You can install a few of them and try it for a few days to see which ones you like most.

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Canada Cottage Country Real Estate – Part Five

July 31st, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »







Ontario Cottage Country Is Quickly Becoming A Real Estate Hot Spot

Muskoka, 1 ½ hours north of Toronto, is a land of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and wooded pine forests that has become well known for its’ beautiful terrain. Long known as a home to wealthy sportsmen who settled here from the British Isles, this little piece of heaven is quickly developing into some of the most sought after real estate in the world.

Muskoka is comprised of a group of townships including Georgian Bay, Huntsville, Lake of Bays, Bracebridge, and Muskoka Lake Township. With over 2500 square miles of untouched wilderness in Muskoka there is an uncanny few amount of permanentresidents. Just over 50,000 residents call Muskoka their permanent home. There are nearly 100,000 more seasonal land owners that call Muskoka their home away from home.

The exciting natural beauty of this area has a setting of pristine lakes mixed in with natural rocky shores and magnificent landscapes. The real estate here is sought after because of the peacefulness it brings to calm your soul while still offering access to sports, shopping, and entertainment.

The 3 major lakes, Muskoka, Rousseau, and Joseph, offer more than 100 miles water for your boating pleasure. Residential cottages have hefty price tags but are a cherished family gathering place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and are generally passed down through the generations. Some of the beautiful cottages here feature gazebos, boat houses, automobile garages, and full length cottage decks. Custom woodwork and one of a kind designs in fireplaces andstaircases are among the most beautiful and elegant features one could hope for. Custom stone walkways, upper decks on the boat houses and even specialaccommodations and extra rooms are some of the options that these countryside cottages offer.

As for activity options in Muskoka the list goes on and on. Nearby museums, sledding, and parks are just a few of the activities that are available in Muskoka. For the sportsmen there is plentiful fishing and hunting activities, not to mention snowmobiles, flying tours, camping, and incredibly beautiful golf courses. For the women there are numerous shopping venues, exhibits of fine art, and delicious restaurants about. Or perhaps spending the day in one of Muskokas’ full service spa and salons where you can restore health and beauty to your body and soul while being pampered to the highest possible standards.

Real estate prices range from $100,000 on the low end to upwards of $2 million for the extravagant properties. Real estate agents online have properties listed with plenty of pictures and well written content to help you learn about the area. If you are in the market for a vacation home and enjoy the peace and tranquility of preserved wildlife I highly recommend you look at Muskoka as an option. Of course you better have your cheque book ready too!

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Jan 23, 2009.

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How To Save Money By Downsizing

July 28th, 2015 Posted in Investing|Personal Finance | No Comments »

how to save money by downsizinf








Downsizing -Not Always Bad

Recession or no recession, it suits any of us to find a way of saving a few dollars here and there. It’s not a bad thing, and none of us should be at all concerned about how it will be viewed. The truth of the matter is that anywhere a saving can be made, there is potential to re-direct funds that may be needed elsewhere or highly beneficial. Looking into your regular expenditure and thinking about what changes you can make, you can come to the conclusion that there is a lot of gain to be made from making a cut – although in some cases it may make for an emotionally challenging decision. However, if you steel yourself for the process and give it your honest appraisal, you may find that it was the best decision you ever made.

One decision that will never be totally comfortable is the sale o f the family home. After all, so many things happened there that made it the center of a life you would not swap for anything. Nonetheless, if the time has come that the kids have moved out – not just to college but to a place of their own, possibly even a marital home – then you are left with a house where at least one room is going empty.

Sure, your kids will visit pretty regularly and may well stay over when they do, and you may well run into a moral quandary when the issue of selling the house they grew up in happens to arise. However, you can take sentiment too far. If selling the house and relocating to a smaller property will make your retirement and the years preceding it any more comfortable, then your kids ought to understand. Moving from a big house to a smaller one can result in a very large lump sum to deposit in the bank.

Downsizing is not solely about making a change from one thing to another, physically smaller thing, of course. Neither is it something that needs to happen when your children have left home and any big home-life change is going to be a lot rawer. Often, the main point of downsizing is to cut on wastage. Most of us have been guilty of spending money that did not need to be spent.

It is worth looking at purchases which hold their value well – for example, a car is not a good choice for downsizing from the “profit” point of view. However much you paid for that when it was new, it is probably worth a fraction now. Even if you have spent hours lovingly maintaining it, it started losing value the moment you drove it off the forecourt. Conversely, items like laptop computers hold their value exceptionally well. If you find that you are using the laptop less frequently, then you can make a few hundred bucks and save on the electricity that a charge-demanding laptop swallows up every day. If you can make do with a desktop computer, it offers more memory and efficiency – and could help you make a saving, too.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on July 5, 2009.

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