How to Become a Ticket Broker and Make Money From Home

One of the simplest ways to make money from home that is constantly overlooked is ticket brokering. I’m sure we have all been in a situation where we wanted to go to a concert or sports event, not gotten tickets before they sold out, and resorted to guying onto Ebay to purchase tickets at a higher price. It is always annoying to have to pay more for these tickets, but if you really want to go, what other choice do you have?

People have realized there is a lot of money to be made from this business, and some people have even made their entire careers off of this. They are professional ticket scalpers, and if you go onto Ebay and just type “tickets,” you will see that they are making a killing. Most tickets go for at least 25% more than their listing price, and good tickets will go for even two or three times as much. There are very few business models that have that kind of a return IMMEDIATELY and also have no overhead costs. So how can you just into this business?

As someone who has been doing this for several years, I can give you some simple advice:

  • Start small and purchase only a couple of tickets for an event you wouldn’t mind going to anyway. Try a concert or sports event in your town. Purchase the tickets and try to sell them on Ebay; if they don’t sell, you go to the event with a friend. This will help you become familiar with the buying and selling process (the two big players here are Ticketmaster and Ebay).
  • List your tickets at their original price on Ebay, list them for a total of three days, and list them the day they went on sale. That is the best time and price to sell your tickets for the highest return, as well as the least risk that they don’t sell.
  • Start building an email list of all people who you have ever sold tickets to. They now realize you’re good and they trust you because they have worked with you before, and you can announce all your upcoming tickets sales by email! If you want to make serious money, you need to treat this like a business, and an ongoing mailing list is an easy way to get your business snowballing.

These simple tips will get you started on what could become a very lucrative and fun career that you run from home. Good luck!

Currency Trading JPY/GBP: A True Story

One of the ways in which I try to save money is by conducting smart foreign exchange deals. Now before you start thinking that I am some currency guru, let me assure you that this is not the case. However not everyone is able to take advantage of the currency markets in the same way as I have been able to. Allow me to explain.

What I do is nothing special. It is simply by virtue of living as an ex-pat in Japan. I maintain savings in both my home country of the U.K. as well as Japan, where I am now living. At the moment I am earning yen. Of course, I use this money to live on and also save some as well.

The interesting thing for me is that I have been able to use the foreign exchange rates to help bolster my bank balance. If you take a look at the chart below, which comes from Wikipedia, you will be able to see the simplicity of my currency trading technique.

As you can see from the chart, Now is a good time to be sending money from Japan to the U.K.

I first came to Japan in 2003. Armed with the knowledge of past exchange rate fluctuations, I arbitrarily decided that whenever the rate moved over 220 yen to the pound, I would move money from the U.K. to Japan. Further, when the rate changed to less than 140 yen to the pound, I would buy pounds.

This has served me really well and helped me to increase my savings to a higher level than if I had just left my money sitting in a bank in either country. In three years, from transferring savings from the U.K. to Japan and back again, I raised my bank balance by 50%.

The beauty of this system is that I do not really have to know anything special about the F/X markets to be able to execute it. Anyone who has a bank account in two countries and some savings would be able to potentially follow a similar sort of strategy. All you require is an F/X rate graph like the one above charting the two currencies that you are interested in.

How Do I Save Money?

This is a question that I’ve been dealing with myself recently. I’ve recently changed jobs and with the final payment from my previous employer added to my new income streams, it seems like I have more money coming in. But at the same time, I now seem to be spending more. I have been suffering from a false sense of security which I have only just realized so am now taking a step back to look more seriously at my own personal finances. All the “tips” that I discuss here are based upon my own experiences and are the steps that I have myself taken to improve the percentage of my income that I actually save.

Everyone’s income level is going to be slightly different. I certainly don’t make enough to not have to worry about how much I’m spending. But to give this discussion some actual figures, I have managed to spend over $5,000 in the last month. Now this includes things like rent, health insurance and taxes. However it’s still a fair bit more than I can really afford to be spending. So even though I’ve recently been feeling good about money, I’ve realized that if I don’t reign in my spending, I’ll easily burn through all my savings.

Tips on How to Save Money

The first thing that I recommend you do if you’re wanting to save more money is to sit down with a pen and some paper and write down all your monthly expenses such as rent/mortgage, utility bills, internet access, insurance, car loan, credit cards, etc. as well as things like food, clothing and entertainment. Just knowing how much you are actually spending is an important first step to be able to reduce the amount of money that you spend and start saving more.

In my case, I found that my budget never really took into account my credit card repayments. I pay off my card every month and this is something that always negatively impacts my bank balance. Clearing the debt is a good idea but what I’m now realizing is that throughout the month I use my card too liberally. Thinking more carefully before whipping out the plastic will certainly serve me well.

You can find plenty of sites online that discuss how to save money with coupons. This isn’t something that I’ve really looked into myself. Provided the coupons themselves are free, it seems like something that might be worth considering.

How to Save Money on Food

I’m a sucker for eating out. Not that I go to restaurants all that often, but just picking up some take away food never seems all that expensive. However, this is when looking at it in isolation. I’ve realized that this attitude is counter productive. The best way to save money on my food bill is to cook more food myself at home. Over the course of a month, the amount that can be saved buying my own groceries and cooking at home vs. eating out, really begins to add up.

It’s not just about the money either. When you prepare food at home, you can be sure that what you’re eating is healthy too. I like to make fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Even though organic produce is a bit more expensive than conventional fruit and vegetables, it still works out cheaper making my own juices than going to a juice bar.

Learn to Save Money

Appreciating the value of money is important. I think that in this day and age of instant gratification and buy now, pay later mentality, it is easy to forget about what things actually cost us. Over the last year, I have become a bit better at saving up for things and then buying them rather than buying on credit and then paying them off. This is an area that I want to work on to improve even further.

The main realization that I’ve had recently is that it’s of vital importance not to bury our heads in the sand and ignore our monthly outgoings. Being conscious of what we are spending as well as our current bank balance is one way to help us start to make better personal financedecisions.

Investing in the Future

Ever since the Reagan / Thatcher era in the 1980s more and more people have started buying and selling stocks, or shares as they are called in the U.K. Rewards can be great but you can also lose all your money.

When I was growing up, my parents bought shares in utility companies and other nationalized industries that were privatized – British Water, British Gas, British Airways to name but a few. These were sure fire winners in the economic climate of the time. You simply applied for your allotted number of shares and then got a share trader to sell them on the day of issue. The profits were modest, but to a middle-class family it seemed to be money for nothing.

Now all the crown jewels are gone. The present Tory Party in the UK is trying to privatize any remaining government concerns. I wouldn’t recommend these latest offerings: as I said, all the best concerns have long gone.

When I was at University some of my friends had success with buying and selling shares in companies with new technology. My friends were often the victims of their own success: as with any form of gambling, beginners luck encourages people to foolishly think they have the Midas touch. As a result, they end up investing too much and eventually getting burned by a sudden downturn in the economy.

It seems to me that the best gambles are those based on information about the future. Let me explain. What is going to be valuable in the future? The World’s population is set to double in the next 50 years. The result is going to be a shortage of natural resources such as food and clean water.

Already 66% of the world’s fresh water supplies are spent on irrigation. 1.3 billion People in the world lack access to clean water supplies. Already many parts of the world are water stressed. In the US, according to the National Climate Center, 43% of the country is suffering ‘moderate to extreme drought’. Did you know that it takes 140 liters of water to make 1 cup of coffee? Consumer culture is using up water supplies at a frightening rate.

My recommendation for buying stocks is simple: water is going to be the new ‘oil’. Investing in companies that are making technology to recycle water, to use grey water and to desalinate sea water will produce a healthy long term profit. Also companies that make low flow shower heads and low flow faucet aerators for the home will boom in the future. When water prices go up and up, people will be forced to change their patterns of consumption and will buy water conservation technology.

They say that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I would add a third item to that list and that is consumption. As humanity consumes the world’s precious resources those who can provide the basics of food and water will be positioned to make huge profits.

What You Need to Know When Buying Properties Overseas

Engaging in overseas real estate is no easy task. Choosing the country and the property itself is difficult, but finalizing all the necessary documentation and paperwork you need to complete your purchase can make the experience a bit discouraging. With the growing number of possible new homes to choose from, how do you find “the one”.

The numbers for overseas property investors are at an all time high with thousands of Americans and British nationals looking to invest in a strong and growing economy. As a result, we have a deluge of foreigners scoping out Cyprus properties for sale, as well as locations in Brazil and other exotic destinatiobns. But what does it actually take to buy and finance an overseas home?

Know your Reason for Buying

Defining your reason behind investing in an overseas property can effectively narrow down your options. If you are looking for a property that can bring in profits, then look for a country with a good tourism portfolio like Cyprus. If you, on the other hand, are looking for a more permanent place for your family, then choose one that has a good education system, diverse community and a strong growing economy. Brazil is a perfect example of this option.

Take the Time to Choose

Real estate in itself is a huge investment and doing it outside of your country increases the risks that can either make or break your investment. This is why it is pertinent that you choose wisely and carefully. Getting overly excited and rushing into buying overseas properties can leave you unprepared for any problems that may arise in the future.

Seek Professional Counsel

The process of buying a property across international borders can be quite complicated, this is exactly you need to arm yourself with the right realtor and lawyer who are equally adept at handling these requirements. Likewise, compare mortgage offers and rules for international purchases. This is also the best way you can protect your interest as an investor.

Conduct your Own Research

Rather than just relying on your hired help, it would be to your great advantage if you also do your own leg work in evaluating and choosing between your options. Do research on today’s strongest real estate economies, weigh their pros and cons, and study their unique environment. These factors will help you decide on whether you are on the right track towards getting your dream realized.

Know Your Needs

Aside from knowing your reason behind making the decision to buy property elsewhere, it is also equally important that you identify your needs and choose a location that you are happy to call home.

Should You Buy or Rent? The Answer May Surprise You!

Whether renting is better than buying depends on many factors, particularly how quickly house prices and rents increase.

The number one factor, however, is the length of time you stay in your home. [We’ll get to that in a minute.]

Buying Versus Renting

Obviously, buying a house isn’t strictly a financial decision. Finding a house in a neighborhood you love is very important as well.

Moreover, you should check on the sales price trends of homes in that neighborhood. If it looks like the prices are falling in that area, then you’re probably better off renting a house or even an apartment.

And don’t forget: when buy, you’ll still incur costs that you wouldn’t encounter as a renter—from the cost of painting walls to replacing dying appliances.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of renting and buying.

Renting Buying
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Mobility: You can relocate easily for a new job or when housing circumstances change. No equity. Tax-break: deduct mortgage interest and property taxes Property tax, upkeep and possible annual subdivision fee.
Can invest money elsewhere (stock market) Yearly rent increase could outpace inflation. Potential tax-free capital gain Monthly mortgage costs.
No maintenance: leaky roof, broken refrigerator, flooded basement, subdivision fees. Emotional satisfaction Less flexibility should you want to move for a new job or to be near family.

Now, before you buy, estimate how much those all out-of-pocket costs will be. After all, even though you are in your own home, you don’t want to live from check to check.

Down Payment Options

If you do decide to buy, it’s in your best interest to avoid private mortgage insurance by putting down at least 20% of the purchase price.

Twenty percent sounds like a lot of money. Where are you going to get it? Fortunately, Congress has come up with some options.

You can withdraw up to $10,000 from your IRA as a lifetime credit, penalty-free (but not tax-free) for the purchase of a first home. Combined, you and your spouse can withdraw up to $20,000.

It also means you can ask your parents to make a first-time home buyers gift to you by raiding their own IRAs. Again, this will be penalty-free.

Surprisingly, you can actually tap into the first-time home-buyer exemption more than once. But you must not own a home during the previous two years. However, no matter what, each person is limited to $10,000over a lifetime.

If you don’t have an IRA, you could also drain your 401(k). But this is a rotten idea. If you’re not 59 ½ years of age or older, you’ll pay some pretty stiff penalties for pulling money out of your account.

Furthermore, you’ll cripple your retirement savings, since most plans won’t allow you to contribute to your plan for at least a year following a withdrawal. You don’t want to lose out on your company’s match, tax-deferred contributions and the interest earnings on the money you’ve withdrawn.

Borrowing from a 401(k) isn’t much better.

If and when you leave the company, there’s a chance your loan will be called immediately. Besides, those dollars will also miss out on any market gains and tax-deferred growth when it’s out of your 401(k).

Bottom line: Save up your twenty percent down payment. Which brings us to our final answer.

According to the New York Times buy-rent calculator,

If you stay in your home for 6 years, buying is better. It will cost you $745 less than renting, an average savings of $124 each year.

In other words, if you’re NOT going to stay in your home longer than six years, rent. It’ll be easier on your bottom line.

Payday Loans in Georgia: Caveat emptor

Until 2004, Georgia citizens were able to take advantage of payday lending. Payday loans in Georgia were especially popular amongst residents with poor credit in need of fast cash. Payday lending offices are generally not selective about who they loan money to; in most cases, proof of employment and a bank account is enough to secure a small loan. What’s more, people can get the money they need the same day they apply for it. This lending arrangement would seem ideal to just about anyone on the outside, but the reality is that the interest rate on the average payday loan is often as much as 600 percent.

The Payday Lending Act of 2004

The Payday Lending Act went into effect in 2004, and it promptly put an end to all payday loans in Georgia. According to the act, lending offices in the state may be charged with felony and racketeering for charging borrowers excessive interest on small loans, typically $3,000 and under. Penalties for violating the act include fines of more than $20,000 and possibly even jail time. It’s no surprise that most payday lending offices in Georgia closed up shop as a result of the act. Georgia is now one of 19 states in the country that no longer allows payday lending.

Borrowers Nationwide Should Steer Clear of Payday Loans

When people are desperate for money, they often fail to see the big picture. Payday loans appear attractive initially to people with bad credit because they need money and have no other means of obtaining it. Borrowing $100 and being told the amount to pay back is $125 doesn’t seem like a big deal, but then there’s another $20 to $25 in interest tacked onto the balance for every $100 borrowed. There’s no denying this ultimately adds up to a lot of money. People who get into the payday loan cycle frequently end up in more severe financial shape than they were to start with when they only needed a few hundred bucks to pay a light bill or something equally minor. Payday lending isn’t worth it, and the fact that Georgia and other states have now banned the practice confirms this.

Some Simple Ways to Get out of Debt

Here are a few simple solutions to start getting out of debt. Remember, these aren’t suggestions or temporary fixes, they should be new habits that you form and a new mentality that you embrace:

1. Stop Spending on Credit

This one may seem obvious, but people tend to understand the principle but not follow it. Don’t spend anything on credit – only cash and debit. Once you start doing this, it’ll start to feel a little bit more real whenever you start spending money. And once that starts happening, you will see yourself slowly but surely cutting out unnecessary expenses. Do not finance any big purchases and force yourself to wait until you have money in the bank before buying anything. If you start thinking in this mentality, you will naturally spend less than you used to, and start building up some savings.

2. Pay Off as Much of your Debt as You can every Single Month

Every month you don’t pay off your debt, you are further in the hole. Why? Because your interest payment goes up and your credit score goes down. It is a never ending cycle, especially if you pay of your debt by going into more debt. People who make it a habit to pay off their bills every single month in full end up paying almost no interest and up with higher credit scores. These higher scores translate to better interest rates, which means less money paid to credit and finance companies.

A simple tip to reduce interest fees and salvage your credit: If you have lots of different companies you owe money to, pay the minimum balance on each one first. If you have money left over, pay off the smallest bills first, then progressively higher, until you’ve paid them all off.

3. Set a Budget Where you ALWAYS Spend Less Than You Earn

Time to get to basics. If you really sit down and think about necessities, you will realize people can live well on very little money. A roof over your head, a vehicle that gets from point A to point B, and three meals a day. Even if you are the head of a family, all that translates to is extra food. People love to spend when they are out and worry later, but if you look in any house, there are countless items that a person doesn’t use and doesn’t need. Once you sit down and calculate your needs and cut out all the excess, you will find yourself amazed at the monthly allowance needed to live just fine. This will leave you with more money which you can use to pay off debt. You could even start to think about how to save more money.

If you take these three simple rules to heart and don’t stray, you will find yourself with more money in the bank than you’ve ever had (as well as debt free), as well as a new sense of tranquility because you don’t have any urge to spend it. This kind of tranquility and freedom is something that can’t be purchased.

Personal Finance and a Kindle 3

You may well wonder what the Amazon Kindle reader and personal finance have to do with each other. This is what I want to talk about today. As you will find out, they are in fact closely related and buying one of these gadgets can actually be one of the most frugal purchases you could hope to make.

I feel that looking after your money is not solely about avoiding expense but rather making wise purchases. For instance, paying more for a higher quality item, that lasts longer is a more frugal purchase than buying a lower cost version that breaks after a short space of time. In many areas of life, we get what we pay for.

The Amazon Kindle 3G reader currently costs less than $200. Of course, this is still quite a lot of money to spend on something that is not exactly a necessary purchase. My opinion though is that this is inaccurate. I want to show why I think that the handheld electronic reader from Amazon is, in actual fact, a necessary purchase. There are two caveats to this though, you have to be a regular reader and interested in saving money.

It goes without saying that it would be a waste of money to buy an electronic reading device if you do not spend much time reading books. However, for those of you who do like reading, you can save $100 of dollars if not more once you own one of these gadgets.

The way that you save money with the Amazon Kindle is through reading. What do I mean? Well, the thing is, once you get hold of one of these eBook readers, you have instant access to hundreds of thousands of out of copyright titles that you are able to download at no charge whatsoever. These are not junk titles either. Quite the contrary. The out of copyright library consists of classics by world famous authors from centuries gone by.

What you will find once you own the Kindle reading device is that you need never pay for another book again!

Rolling Over Your 401(k) to a New Employer

It’s tough enough when you lose your job to think about anything but finding a new job, let alone searching out ways you can do a 401(k) rollover. Luckily, there are some options you have when and if this does ever happen to you. Here are some things you should consider when you are rolling over your 401(k) to a new employer.

First of all, congrats on finding a new job in this market, that’s not an easy task. Now you need to think about your new plan and the options that come with it. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your 401(k), you will be able to transfer that money to the new 401(k). There are no charges or fees when you choose this option which makes finding a job more appealing.

The bad thing about rolling over a 401(k) into a new employer is that you are bound by the new investment options of the new employers 401(k) management. You may have had more options in your old account than this new one. Also, if you find a job with a smaller employer, the fees on the 401(k) may be higher – I’m talking about the investment management fees. So it all depends on who your new employer is and the options of that new 401(k) plan.

If you take these things into consideration when looking and choosing plans in your new 401(k) you should be fine. The fees may be higher in some cases, but maybe they have better investment options – you never know. It’s important that you set up a meeting with a financial advisor to make sure you are aligning your goals with the right investment decisions.

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