Donald Trump Global Economy Effects In Brief

November 17th, 2016 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

Donald Trump and Global Economy

Donald Trump and Global Economy

The global economy was already on a rough ride due to low consumer confidence and business, weak investments and depressed commodity markets, rising debt and low interest rates, and much more. And now, to add more to the rough ride, the surprise victory of Donald Trump is another integer in the equation. Here are some of the concerns that can derail the global economy further in the Trump era.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

China

Imposing a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imported goods. This will make everything more expensive for consumers (goods made in USA also use Chinese materials) and China might retaliate with similar tariff on US imports. In the end, everyone in the globe will be a loser.

Mexico

Mexico has the most to lose if Trump does what he said he would do. Dismantling NAFTA, slapping a 35 percent tariff, rounding up illegal immigrants, and possibly more will have economic impacts on Mexico and in the US as well.

Canada

Canada actually can both gain and lose from Trump’s presidency. Cancelling or renegotiating the TTIP and NAFTA agreements are both negatives. However, approving the Keystone XL Pipeline would allow shipment of bitumen from Alberta to the U.S. and would be definitely a plus.

Trump has argued that by neglecting national debt by cutting taxes for the wealthy, cutting regulations, and reducing imports he can make the GDP grow 4 percent (from 2 percent currently). However, analysts disagree. Many believe that adopting Trump’s proposals on trades, taxes, immigration and government spending would destroy millions of jobs and the U.S. economy will be isolated and diminished.

Also, US dollars are still the main reserve currency in the world and only the US Federal Reserve is responsible for the supply. If Trump tries to influence the Fed’s policies and interest rates, it will create havoc both in the U.S. and global economy.

Which Credit Cards Give the Most Rewards Points or Cash Back?

November 11th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

How to Get the Most Credit Cards Rewards Points

How to Get the Most Credit Cards Rewards Points

Today, I will talk about maximum rewards points offered by annual fee credit cards in Canada. Keep in mind that I am not looking at introductory bonus points, insurance benefits or other perks offered by these cards. The cards that offer the most rewards may not be the best credit cards when it comes to extra benefits. For example, the American Express Gold Rewards Credit Card is one of the best cards in terms of rewards, but in terms of benefits it’s one of the worst cards. Why? Read my Amex Gold Review here.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

Best Proprietary Points Credit Card – The Scotia Bank American Express Gold Card offers the most proprietary rewards points (4 points per dollar) on 4 categories (grocery, gas, entertainment, restaurants). However, it offers a poor 1 point per dollar on all other spending.

There are three other credit cards that offer a flat 2 points per dollar on all spending across the board. These cards are: BMO World Elite MasterCard, MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard, and Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard.

Best Airline Loyalty Points Credit Card – Both the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite offer 1.5 miles on 4 categories (grocery, gas, pharmacy, and at AirCanada.com purchases excluding vacation). However, these cards offer a poor 1 mile per dollar on all other spending.

Best Hotel Loyalty Points Credit Card – The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) American Express Credit Card offers 1 Starpoint per dollar across the board on all categories. Although there are other hotel credit cards that offer more points per dollar, Starpoint is the most valuable hotel currency on the market (currently 1 Starpoint valued at 2.5 cents or more), and for that reason the SPG Amex credit card provides most value for every dollar spent.

Best Cash Back Credit Card – The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card offers the most cash back return (4 percent on gas + grocery and 2 percent on pharmacy + recurring bills). However, it offers a poor 1 percent on all other spending.

The BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard offers a flat 1.75 percent return on all spending across the board. Another no fee credit card worth mentioning is Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. It offers 2 percent cash back in 2 categories of your choice and 1 percent on everything else.

Best Hybrid Points Credit Card – The American Express Gold Rewards Credit Card offers 2 points on gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases and 1 point on everything else. These points can be converted to airline (Aeroplan, Avios, etc.) or hotel points (Hilton, SPG, etc.) or can be used as statement credit. The 2 points per dollar earning opportunity makes this card the highest Aeroplan (or other airline points) earner credit card in Canada.

Bonus Credit Card Points Tip – Although The Scotia Bank American Express Gold Card and MBNA World Elite Rewards MasterCard are proprietary points travel credit cards, its ability to redeem points for cash back (MBNA) and statement credit on any purchases (Scotia) make these cash back credit cards as well.

Last Word – Don’t pick any credit cards based on only rewards points they offer. There are many other elements to it, such as what types of insurance coverage provided, who is the insurance provider, if any concierge service is available, if the card provides anniversary bonus, and so on.

A Dawn Journal has lots of articles on credit card tips and unlike many other sites, I do not receive money, participate in any affiliate program, or promote any credit cards. So my opinions are honest and unbiased. Always do your research and make informed decisions before making your credit card selections.

Real Estate In Chile

November 6th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Real Estate In Chile

Chile Real Estate

Is it possible to buy property in a South American country where foreigners are protected by the same rights as citizens? Where the police force is known for its honesty and does not accept bribes? A country with the highest GDP per capita in that region, a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), A+ Sovereign Credit Rating, and one of the lowest risk countries in the world for foreign investments? If you are looking for such a country for real estate investments in South America, look no further than Chile.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

In order to buy property in Chile, you don’t need to be a resident or even visit the country. Chile has the most developed real estate market in South America. The property market has remained fairly stable during the global economic crisis and has shown growth momentum. Although Chile is the world’s longest and narrowest country, stretching more than 4000 kilometers, the population and real estate volumes concentrate in the center region known as The Central Valley – where the capital, Santiago, is located. Thirty percent of the population lives in Santiago and it is the most visited spot by tourists. Also, Frutillar and Puerto Varas have become the fastest growing real estate markets in Chile and southern Chile.

Like anywhere else, you should be aware of some rules and regulations when buying property in Chile. Real estate agents are not regulated in Chile and it is advisable to hire a lawyer to perform real estate transactions in Chile. A title search must be conducted by a qualified attorney. Based on the title search, have the attorney draft a buy/sell agreement. Once completed, this agreement has to be signed in front of a CHILEAN Notary Public and then property has to be registered with the regional registry. You will also need a Chilean taxpayer ID number (RUT) to complete the whole process.

There are many investment or legal firms available to make your real estate expedition in Chile a breeze. Always do your research to find a firm that is reputable and meets your needs.

20+ Credit Cards and 800+ Credit Score? Is It Possible?

November 3rd, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

The Secrets of My Credit Score

The Secrets of My Credit Score

The people I know and the employees at my banks almost have a fit when I tell them I have around 20 credit cards and a very high credit score, like above 800. For most people, more credit cards are associated with more debt and a lower credit score. More debt (for some people) I can agree with, but lower credit score? I could not disagree more.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

The general misconception about having more credit cards is that they lower your credit score. This assumption could not have been possibly further dispersed from the truth. Having a lot of credit cards is OK, as long you are paying your bills on time and keeping your Utilization Ration below 30 percent. However, 30 percent ratio is considered the highest limit you can go to keep a good credit score. Lower is better. For example, FICO and Experian data show that those who have the best credit score, such as 800 or higher, utilize only 7 to 8 percent of their credit. Your utilization ratio represents what percentage of your available credit you are using and makes up 30 percent of your credit score.

Now, how about having too many credit cards? Having too many credit cards and maintaining them properly actually gives you an advantage to achieve a higher credit score. It’s shooting up your available credit limit (meaning making your utilization ratio lower) and showing positive on your credit report because lenders view you as someone who can be trusted with credit (because you are maintaining them positively by not racking up balances and keeping them active paying on time). After all, payment history makes up 35 percent of your credit score. So when you score perfect both on payment history (35%) and utilization ratio (30%), you already have an advantage towards scoring higher on the overall credit score. The other 15 percent (length of credit), 10 percent (types of credit), and 10 percent (inquiries) will easily follow.

One of the maximum credit card holders with an almost perfect score recorded by Guinness World Record was Walter Cavanagh of California, who has 1497 credit cards and a staggering $1.7 million line of credit. Other examples: The Points Guy Brian Kelly has 30 credit cards and 805 credit score. Ben Schlappig of One Mile At A Time has 20+ credit cards and 837 credit score.

The point is, there is nothing wrong with having too many credit cards as long as you know how to manage money and credit cards. However, I must warn that it requires a lot of discipline and work and this is not for everyone. You have to be extremely detail-oriented and extremely excellent in handling credit cards and money. If you are one payment late your credit score will take a nosedive.

Everyone has different purposes of achieving a higher credit score. My purpose is the satisfaction that comes from a higher score and also to utilize the various perks that come from having lots of different credit cards. I will talk about these more in my next book, Credit Card Hacks: What Credit Card Companies Don’t Want You to Know. Stay tuned.

What To Buy and What Not To Buy At Dollar Stores

October 30th, 2016 Posted in Life|Money Smart Tips | No Comments »

 

Dollar Store Tips

How to Shop at Dollar Stores

I still remember that day when I first found out that I was paying ten times or more for the same item at a regular retail store than a dollar store. It was a plastic shower curtain. I bought it somewhere for $10, and then accidentally I found out that the dollar store located next to the other store had the same item for $1. Since then, whenever I need to buy something and I doubt that there is a possibility that this product will be available at a dollar store, and it is not on my not-to-buy-at-dollar-store list, I check at a dollar store first. Today, I will go over some items I consider buying and some items I would never buy at dollar stores.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

What Not to Buy

Do not buy any food items, drinks, soap, can food and vegetables, shampoos, baby food, toothpaste, shaving products, lotions, razor, sanitary pads, pregnancy test tools, vitamins, pills, school supplies, pens, perfumes, and so on. You should be very cautious about buying anything you eat, drink, or put on your skin from dollar stores. The quality of these products usually is very low and you don’t want to jeopardize your health in the short or long term to save a few bucks. There is no way to know what they put in these in factories in China.

What to Buy

You can buy items like cleaning products, decoration products, kitchen products, disposable items, greeting cards, small tools, craft items, and so on. You will have a good idea of what types of items can be bought at dollar stores after going through what I mentioned. Items that have no direct relation to your health, consumptions, contact with skin, etc. can be bought at dollar stores.

What to Try

There are some items at dollar stores that you can try to check if these are worth buying later on. Some of these items are toys, educational supplies, pet toys, and so on.
Dollar stores give you the opportunity to save some money. However, money can be totally wasted too if you don’t shop smartly at dollar stores.

The World’s Riskiest Real Estate Bubble City

October 25th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Canada's Vancouver Tops List

Canada’s Vancouver Tops List

The recently-published UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2016 ranks cities across the globe that are considered top real estate bubble risks and Vancouver tops the list this year. There are a total of 18 cities that made it on to this year’s bubble list.

According to the report, there are several factors working together to make Vancouver the world’s riskiest bubble city such as higher Asian demand due to the weak Canadian dollar, loose credit conditions, accelerating mortgage growth rate, etc.

Because of the higher foreign demand, the local government recently implemented an additional property tax for foreigners to buy in Vancouver – making it a higher risk property market because of the higher chances of price correction.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

The report also names some other riskiest global property markets such as London, Stockholm, Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong. Some of the fairly-valued property markets are in Singapore, Boston, Milan, and New York. And real estate value in Chicago is actually undervalued.

Home prices in top-risk cities have increased on an average by 50 percent since 2011. The rate of increase at other major cities is only 15 percent.

On a separate note, Canadian site globalnews.ca reports (based on numbers provided by Chinese realty website Juwai.com) that foreign buyers are not flocking to Seattle and Toronto, instead of Vancouver, since the new additional foreign tax implemented in Vancouver.

There was a staggering 81 percent drop in Vancouver buying inquiries from August 2015. However, Seattle and Toronto real estate inquiries were up by 143 and 142 percent. Toronto has seen the highest searches in August for the last three years. Other Canadian cities foreign buyers have an eye on after Toronto are Calgary and Ottawa.

5 No-Nonsense Travel Hacks You Must Know

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

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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.

Wi-Fi

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.

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