Getting Comcast Discount

A majority of US population is getting one of their dreaded utility bills from Comcast. My 6 months period of Comcast service with the most basic cable TV and internet was just over, and my bill went from below $35 to above $60.

Yesterday, feeling being ripped off by Comcast, I called them up and then calmly and logically explaind how I can substitute the basic cable TV with an antenna that I already have ($15 –> $0) and cable internet with DSL ($40+ –> $20+). The gently-spoken rep on the phone promptly and kindly offered me these “existing deals” to reduce my internet bill combined with an upgrade of my cable TV to extended cable for a total of $50 per month until the end of 2007.

Hmmm, so it’s not as cheap as it was before, but I am getting more channels for a lower monthly fee. I would say it’s a good deal, and now I get them ESPN channels and all, hehe.

All it took is for me to call them. Need to cut down monthly expense? Feeling ripped off like I did? A lower cable+internet bill could be waiting if you take the initative to call Comcast too. What are you waiting for?

Originally posted 2007-06-14 22:37:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Continue to Live Like a Student

I was talking with a friend a few days ago, and on a topic that I cannot recall.
He said something along the line, “Hey, it’s okay to buy/get that, you are not a student anymore.”
To which I respond, “I can still live like a student even if I’m no longer one…”

What is the lesson I’m trying to teach here? I would say it’s one of the more basic rule to controlling your personal finance – you don’t have to spend more because you make more. Here is the most basic rule.

Why is it so important? Let me take my chance to reflect on something came up in conversation with a friend at work, who said, “Things seem to stay the same. I know I’m making more, but I’m also spending more.” The logic is ridiculously simple. You really don’t save more if you are spending more when you make more.

I’m not saying one should be cheap and live like a homeless. I fully believe that there is a certain level of standard of living we should keep to make ourselves content and happy, but we should not justify ourselves to spend twice the money just because we make double (if it ever doubles…) :P Peace~

Originally posted 2007-03-01 00:22:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

IBM 401k plan change

The path of building a nest eggs is full of emotions/surprises.

The path of building a nest eggs is full of emotions/surprises.

There is a spat of news from December that has caused me to think about 401k a lot lately. IBM, one of the largest, employer made a big changes in their 401k plan.

In short, the company used to pay out the matching contribution with each paycheck bi-monthly but starting in 2013, those contribution is paid only once a year in lump sum on December 31 and only if the employee is still employed on December 14. The employees will still receive their own contributions per paycheck in their 401k account.

Nonetheless, it’s good news to company’s bottom line and also shareholders but all bad news for employees because of these cons:

  • loss of the automatic dollar cost averaging over the year
  • loss of potential gain during the year
  • postential loss of all company contribution for the year due to quitting/layoff/firing right before December 14

Before such news, I think there is no question that any person employed in a company that provides matching contribution, he should definitely contribute up to the percentage to receive all those matchings. Now it becomes a bit debatable… though I can see someone may argue, if the employee plans to stay the whole year, contribute to get the matchings. Anyways… It’s important to keep an eye on this and give it some thoughts because IBM is a pioneer in setting the trend for this kind of policy change so stay tune to other companies to follow suit. Just 9% of companies has said policy now.

Outside of the changes mentioned above, if a company is still providing matching contribution, it still makes sense to contribute to receive those.

This goes to show that we should not make 401k our only tool in planning our retirement but instead, treat it as a supplamentary tool. We must combine it with saving and investment plans using our own smart and diligence.

Originally posted 2013-01-10 23:12:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Importance for Personal Finance

Personal Finance — including saving, debt elimination, investing, insurance… All these topics have been reviewed and re-emphasized and drilled to death on PF blogsphere.

Now… why is it important?

Is it because it is good to have money? That we can afford luxury when we are rich? And that we are free to do as we want?

Well, it is good to have money. I cannot deny that. I can use more myself :) But, is money that important? That many people do just about anything they can to have more of it.

Most certainly, one cannot survive in today’s modern life without money, which was invented and evolved from thousands years ago to facilitate trading. Now, it is essential to our survival. So we have to be practical and take care of this aspect of our life. To say that we as a part of current system/society can do without money is simple arrogance.

On the other hand, as the so-self-claimed highest form of intelligence on earth, is money all we can ultimately think about? Is our life just about things that we can get with money, in order to be secure and to survive? So the smartest beings on earth is stuck worrying about survival like all the other organisms?

Setting aside all the details, that is exactly what we are doing. We fight and we quarrel with each other for money (power) to be able to obtain and impose in order to have resources to survive, hopefully in the company of family and a few friends. In between, we add luxury to make ourselves feel a little better. Even when we are talking about green and saving the planet now, we are merely striving for our own survival (The planet does not need us to save it).

That’s it to human life? Wow, mind blowing…

marlows_hierarchyBorrowing from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (not that I totally agree with the way he arranged things), I suggest that we manage our money so we can move beyond it. By that, I mean, once our basic needs are secured and that we have obtained a certain level of comfort and security through accumulation of “enough” money, it is only suitable for us to explore further about life. It’s time to ask yourself some [tough] questions. And there is so much to learn about yourself, your mind, your body, the world, the universe!

Additionally, we cannot counteract the absurdity that springs from money by managing our money better because that will only generate more absurdity. To break the chain of absurdity that which is driven by money-greed, we must move beyond thinking at the money level — the level where everything is evaluated by money.

We cannot fix the chaos of the world by doing things that will generate more chaos (which is exactly what we are doing) — in reference to entropy, which is the 2nd law of thermodynamics, with my humbly minimal understanding — so either we find a way to calm down or we let chaos increase to its maximum level at which it will plateau, and somehow the system will correct and reset itself over time.

Think of it like a video game, you cannot move to the next stage until you beat the current stage. Nobody talks about this because this is a road that is far less travelled by humans. Everyone is busy being comfortable or trying to be comfortable. It is a road without a map. It is an exciting journey yet scary at times. You have nothing to rely on except yourself… by learning and unlearning about many things and discovering yourself, you find your next step.

So the true importance of personal finance is not about personal finance.

That is, the importance of personal finance is to allow you to move beyond what the system preaches. It preaches the idea that we are to think and identify for ourselves all the things it preaches, mostly just superficial and material things. When you start to think about the greater whole, with wider perspective, you become free from your previous perspective because there is so much more now. You don’t have to try to be free. You are free. You no longer have to “deal with” all the desires to control your spending.

Take good care of your personal finance and realize at certain point that you CAN start looking further. If you do not realize, well, personal finance is personal finance. You are stuck thinking personally, mostly about yourself.

Last thing, has it ever crossed your mind that without humans, money and all the “precious metals” would be worthless? They are just what they are, a part of nature, beautiful but not worth anything. Thought I’d throw this related question out too.

Originally posted 2009-05-07 00:01:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 87 88 89 Next

Subscribe using Email

Get notified of new posts by email.