Monday, October 18, 2010

1.2 Your #1 Tool: The Internet

Getting familiar with the world of finances is not something you accomplish in a day or two. There are many terms, many types of opportunities and financial ventures, many different fields and areas. Some are vital, without which you will be unable to progress and succeed.

Personally, I believe that some general knowledge of the world of finances is valuable, regardless of your eventual “specializations”.

The internet, in my opinion, should be a key player in your financial education and initiatives. 

The next few posts will be dedicated mostly to the terms and fields I find the most elementary, one at a time. In this post, I wish to emphasize the importance of internet usage in general.

As you probably know, the internet is nowadays perhaps the most comprehensive and useful information source available.

Whatever financial initiative you have in mind, you are very likely to find plenty of online information precisely about it. This information might be of great assistance to you.

If it is general financial knowledge you are looking for, the internet offers plenty.

If you are looking to understand a specific term, the internet is, again, the answer. Wikipedia is usually a good place to start.

What I am trying to say is this: Whenever you have a financial-related thought in your mind, your following thought ought to be be “How will I use the internet to gather information, elaborate or otherwise advance this thought?”.

However, keep in mind that the web is full of misleading and useless information as well. Always be critical of the content you read. Usually, a misleading or otherwise worthless site is very easily discernible. If the site is badly written or if it promises quick, easy and enormous success, then it is very likely a spam site.
How can you quickly find the credible sites? You can start with well-known, established sites and then check their links out.
Use the internet to your benefit. It’s a great financial tool, whether you are looking for specific or general information. However, don’t forget to be on the lookout for bogus or misleading sites!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

1.1 Getting to know finances: Where to begin?

To work, then.

There is plenty of financial knowledge which is relevant or which could be useful to us. So plenty, in fact, that it may almost seem too hard a task just to determine the first subject to tackle, let alone to become all-around knowledgeable.

Well, this project is to be taken step by step.

The correct place to start, in my opinion, is with the very core of our financial matters: Our bank and our bank account.

0. Create a “personal finances” directory in your computer

This is the first step to take, really, once you have decided to get a grip on finances. Success will vary depending on just how organized you are. Thus, a “personal finances” directory, or a proper substitute, is a must.
1. Get Internet Banking

One of the most important things when managing an investment, any investment, is accessibility. This is not just for the sake of convenience. You must be able to check on your investment at all times. You need all the relevant information readily available to you.

If it’s hard to find out what’s going on in your bank account, then it is accordingly easy to neglect your bank account. Don’t let it happen.

Internet Banking is the answer. Make sure you have internet access to your bank account.
2. Get familiar with Internet Banking

Once you have internet banking, do not settle for an occasional balance check. Make sure you know and understand all (or most) of the functions available to you.

This serves two purposes: Firstly, these functions may be of use to you. Secondly, if and when you encounter something (a term) you do not understand, look it up. This will contribute to your financial knowledge.

A proper internet account should have sections dedicated to your balance and past account movement, credit cards, deposits, stocks and more.

3. Know the costs of your account
Find out what are the costs of your account. Find out what are the commissions you pay. How? Either talk directly with your bank, by phone or face to face, or look for it in your account’s internet page. Write your findings in a file and place it in your newly-created “personal finances” directory.

Some banks offer substantially better terms than others. This can make a difference. A quick and easy way to save some money is to compare prices between banks and make sure the costs of your account are in the lower range.


If you have followed steps 0 to 3, you now have access to internet banking and you are familiar with what it has to offer. You also made sure you are not making an unnecessary expense, paying higher commissions than you have to. What costs you do pay are written down and stored in your “personal finances” directory.

Well done!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Financial Progress: Can I make it?

In my last post I have reviewed some of my thoughts about the utmost importance of money matters in our lives. I have suggested that our financial condition is relevant to many of the things we value the most.

The immediate response to these suggestions, it seems to me, might often be along the following lines: “Sure, money is important. That’s not new. But I don’t see how I can do much better than what I’m already doing”.

Well, I claim that it is within the ability of nearly all of us to do substantially better financially. You do not have to be a genius, a superwoman or superman, but only a willing, motivated adult. You could say that it is the point of this blog.

All that it takes is some thorough planning, followed by unyielding dedication and persistence.

Depending on the steps you take, it might get hard and time consuming. So you have to be starkly honest with yourself; do you, with all honesty, consider the effort worthwhile?

You may, for instance, want to be well-off financially, but even more so, you may be unwilling to cut on your leisure time. This is legitimate, of course, but it is not without consequences.

Starting from the next post, I will review many options and opportunities for financial development and improvement. Many of them, I guarantee, do not require extraordinary skills in any field.

I sincerely hope that some of them will be of use.

Remember, though: there are many more possibilities than I could ever review. They are left for you to discover, perhaps with some modest assistance from the ideas and methods which will be presented here in the near future.


Finances: Why worry?

Why worry about money? Why should we try, within reason, to improve our financial conditions?

Have you ever given some deep thought to questions along this line? I am quite certain that if you do, you will find them closely connected to some of the deeper questions in life.

Namely, how do you want to live your life? How would you like your children to live theirs? And then, a different yet relevant question, what do you consider important in life?

Money is not everything. Yet I am certain that many of the things we consider important are substantially related, one way or another, to our financial condition. This goes for health, education, and more.

Think of the different components of your ideal (yet attainable) life-style. Then consider, for each of them, whether or not it is dependent, or could benefit, from a strong financial foundation.

This is the picture that should prompt you to seek to enhance your financial capabilities. With this picture in mind, you should plan ahead, and that plan may involve the tiniest details of your current life.

Take cigarettes, for example. A costly habit, no doubt; over the course of years, expenses on cigarettes could amount to a sum which could otherwise substantially affect your financial condition, if properly invested.

Does this mean that a person mustn’t smoke? Not necessarily. But it means that smoking is an important issue, and must be considered accordingly.

Generally, most (if not all) of our habits and activities have their price tag. You ought to face reality in the following sense: make sure you are consciously willing to pay the price.

So think how you want your life to look like; maybe you’re there already, at least as far as financial-related matters go (Not *everything* can be fixed by an extra buck in your pocket). Otherwise, make it a goal of yours to get as close as possible to that destination.

Remember, however, to try and enjoy the way.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

About Me

 I’ve been an undergraduate student for Mathematics, Music, Physics and Philosophy for the last couple of years, and will remain such for two more years.

Physics and Music vanished somewhere along the way, though.

I believe that a great and important part of our existence is affected by and related to financial and economical topics. For some, this may seem trivial; believe me, for many it is not.

I’ve had various experiences in the job market, in the stock-market and in the real-estate market.

My family is engaged in a real-estate project which is estimated at a few million dollars.

So you see, i’m no professional expert in financial topics. But then again, this goes for most of us, and yet, we must still make a living.

This is the situation I plan to address in my blog.

Welcome to Piggy's blog!

Hello and welcome.

We’re living in harsh times, and that, in many ways. Particularly, these times are harsh for the global economy, and thus, for working people everywhere in the world.

It’s sometimes hard to get by, even if you are an expert in finances.

In this blog I will try to survey some of the various options available for a person, any person, attempting to reach financial security.

I will survey various opportunities in the stock market and the real-estate market, and take a look at some of the online financial tools available for us today.

I strongly believe in the importance of paying attention and dedicating time to financial matters, of thinking  and planning ahead, utilizing any financial option available to your benefit.

Finally, I would appreciate any comments on my posts and their content. This is an important subject, about which many of you have relevant insights. If you share them, you may be truly helping some of us.

Goodbye for now,
Mr. Piggy