Financial Terms Explained Pt 3

As we progress to understanding the weird world of money, here are some financial terms worth noting.

Fractional reserve banking –  a banking system in which only a fraction of bank deposits are backed by actual cash on hand and are available for withdrawal. A Bank loans most of the money to those they deem “worthy” from depositors’ accounts while having a fraction of their money (physical bills) on hand.

 

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You are seeing correct. This is a five billion dollar note issued in Yugoslavia in 1993.

Inflation – the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling. Paying more for the same services or goods [over time].

 

 

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Deflation – a contraction in the supply of circulated money within an economy, and therefore the opposite of inflation. In times of deflation, the purchasing power of currency and wages are higher than they otherwise would have been. Paying less for same services or goods [over time].

 

All references can be found on www.investopedia.com 

 

A Solution – Bitcoin

(UPDATE: – If you are going to purchase more than 125 USD of Bitcoins you will need a passport and may have to wait for 1 – 7 hours to process payment)

As inflation presses on in our country and tax increases to be expected, more of your wealth will be taken away from you. The purchasing of Bitcoin is one out of the many solutions that can be used to protect oneself from the theft of financial manipulation (taxes, inflation). Here is one way you can obtain them:

1) Get a debit card (much preferred unless you have financial discipline) /credit card that has at least 60 – 70 USD available (always good to have extra cash “in the event of”).

2)  Download the Jaxx wallet for the platform(s) that work best for you

3) Backup your Jaxx wallet by selecting menu > Tools > Display Backup Phrase

4) Wait 10 seconds for it to generate your 12-word password backup.

Jaxx Wallet Backup 2

5) Write down and save this 12-word password as this will allow you to link Jaxx wallets on different platforms (PC/mac/android/etc) and retrieve your bitcoins/digital currencies that you have lost if you deleted your wallet by accident (or on purpose if your computer of the phone was stolen).

6) Enter the 12-word password as proof that you remember it

7) Go to the home screen and copy your bitcoin address

Buy.Bitcoin 1

8) Got to buy.bitcoin.com, paste your bitcoin address and enter 50 USD (or how much you can afford) of bitcoins you wish to purchase.

 

Buy.Bitcoin 2

After entering your information you will need to confirm your  number and email address to continue

 

 

9) Fill in your details and go through the two-step verification process (email and text message)

10) Input your debit master card/ credit card information and verify the information given

11) Wait 45 mins – 1 hour and you will receive your bitcoins.

It is also wise if you set a four-digit pin security code on your wallet (Menu > Settings > Setup security pin). Please remember your 4-digit pin and 12-word password!

There are websites that sell bitcoin cheaper, in my experience however, it can be a bit more time consuming or your credit card provider may block the transaction.  I will keep you posted on sites that sell bitcoins cheaper or have a faster delivery time for them. If you did perform the following actions successfully, you would have taken a small proactive step in protecting yourself from inflation.

Love them Spreads

A breakfast favourite for friends, allies and co-workers of mine is the infamous bread and butter. How can one like cold (or warm) fermented processed milk on yeast and flour is beyond me. There are many delightful spreads on can choose such as peanut butter, fruit spreads and even Nutella. They are wonderful in taste and aid toward building a happy mood. Sadly, this spread you have read about before cannot be consumed nor is it pleasant to the average citizen. The central bank is the governor of this spread and distributes its produce to the populace by consumer banks.

 

Central Bank Spread

The Bid\Buying price and Ask\Selling price and the difference between them called the spread.

 

While a normal citizen cannot purchase foreign exchange by the central bank, you can see clearly the policy it has set for the commercial banks that do sell to citizens. The spread can change, literally, overnight without warning as explicitly stated by all commercial banks. The spread is especially ridiculous for the Pound and Euro, even though they have lost value over the years due to their money printing programs.

FCB Spread

With FCB you lose $1.1123 TTD for every physical Great Britain pound you want to convert. It may not seem like much, however, try converting £10.00 or £100.00 to TTD….

Royal Bank Spread

With Royal Bank, for every Euro you wish to convert to TTD you lose $0.7305. Almost seventy-five cents is lost for every Euro converted! Isn’t that wonderful?

Those who choose to purchase cash or perform physical-to-digital conversion will be at a greater loss than a digital-to-digital one (transferring TTD from your bank account to your debit\credit master cards). Why is the ask\selling price obscenely higher than the bid\buying price for cash especially Euros and Pounds? If we have a shortage of US dollars in our country, why is this obscene spread not seen in the US dollar instead? Sadly, this is one spread that most humans deal with worldwide but least understood by the masses. With knowledge and discipline, we shall know how to use this type of spread to our advantage.

Financial Terms Explained (Pt2)

The main way we can protect ourselves in the world of finance has always been knowledge. Banks and financial agencies are masters of this and will employ “technical” terms, even use the law to rid you of your hard-earned dollars. Whatever country you belong to the financial language, however, remains the same. I will use bold italics to simplify the terminologies.   Here are three financial terms you need to know:

Ask – Ask is the price a seller is willing to accept for a security, which is often referred to as the offer price. The lowest price the seller is willing to sell the item you want.

Bid – A bid is an offer made by an investor, a trader or a dealer to buy a security, commodity or currency. It is the highest price you are willing to pay for the item that you desire to have.

Spread – A spread is the difference between the bid and the ask price of a security or asset. The gap between the asking (selling) price and the bidding (buying) price.

All references can be found on www.investopedia.com 

 

The BMI Report – Bad News Ahead

In the light of how economies really function, I do share the sentiment of the BMI risk report of our country. The review had little hope for us in the short to mid-term. At the time of this post, the oil price continues to fluctuate below the $50.00 USD a barrel mark the finance minister has set for Trinidad and Tobago.

BMI

When the credit rating agency Fitch speaks wise people listen, do their own research and take action.

Their views are:

  • Low oil prices = less revenue for us
  • Non-oil industries will make little sense investing in thus further reducing our capacity to produce overall
  • The government will make minor cutbacks on how they spend revenue. This does not significantly decrease our debt (we, the people, still have to pay it off so expect either new taxes, tax increases or less in our social programs…”GATE” anyone?)
  • As less foreign exchange enters our country the central bank will use capital controls to prevent a significant depreciation of our dollar, however, they will gradually allow it to happen (as they have done earlier this year)

This is what may happen to us if our oil price remains low for a long period:

Grid-Lock

If there were ever a time for the people of Trinidad & Tobago to change course, it would be now. We cannot depend always on the government to “take care of us.” Do you really want the revenues from oil and carnival to determine whether you and your family eat fine food or not? When and where you should go? How many things/services you can buy online? Financial education (sadly not taught in schools) will give us wisdom to protect us from inflation and financial manipulation that has been going even before your grandfather was a thought.

If you want a copy of the summary report you can download it here.

A Question to Ask Thyself

If you had not viewed the previous post I do suggest that do so you can better understand what this post has in store for you. In a world of 40 hours (or more) of work a week, ensuring that our children get an “A” in school and things that help with “normal life” we fail to take the time to ask the “why” of anything. Here is  a question to ask yourself. Is my car really an asset as the banks and “conventional wisdom” says it is? Take a look at the picture below:

 

 

Conservative Car Example

Light Blue – Expense over time (comes out of your salary every month until it’s paid for)

Purple – Prices are varied (could be more or less depending on your links and genetics)

NOTE: These are conservative figures.

But…but…how can you say that? When you have to work from 8 – 4 (whatever shift the system gives you) and your car is in the parking lot, does it make any money for you? Driving fast is known to burn a lot of fuel, add bad roads to the mix and you have more part replacements to consider. Car care products abound and they are not cheap when you watch the total amount of money you spend on these products. While we all should have fun and entertainment going “here, there and everywhere” every week or another week with your car is costly.  After 50,000 miles or 3 years, it seems expense performs intense workouts in the gym while taking steroids as the engine and other internal parts start calling for maintenance.

Depending on the way you make money/job and where you live,  a car is a valuable asset as it can save time and some transportation cost. If you do fall into one of the many conventional wisdom categories such as the 8 am – 4 pm  worker, can only drive fast, I “do not want my car dirty” or  must hang out every other week human then I’m quite sure your car is an expense.

So, is it still an “asset” now?

 

 

Financial Terms Explained (Pt1)

This will be a multi-part series to gain enlightenment with terms used in finance. For us to uncover the deception of the financial elite and see opportunities to gain we need an understanding of the terminologies of finance. I will use bold italics to simplify the terminologies when needed. Here are three financial terms you need to know:

Debt

The weight of debt if you do not know how to use it or get out under it

Debt – Debt is an amount of money borrowed by one party from another. Debt is used by many corporations and individuals as a method of making large purchases that they could not afford under normal circumstances. A debt arrangement gives the borrowing party permission to borrow money under the condition that it is to be paid back at a later date, usually with interest. The total amount of money you owe to a person or financial institution.

Liability – A liability is a company’s financial debt or obligations that arise during the course of its business operations. Liabilities are settled over time through the transfer of economic benefits including money, goods or services. Recorded on the right side of the balance sheet, liabilities include loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues and accrued expenses. Anything that removes money from your pocket or increases expenses/cost to you. There are however exceptions to this as you won’t view your child or pet as an expense, right?

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Assets & Profits…we all want some!

Asset – An asset is a resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit. An asset can be thought of as something that in the future can generate cash flow, reduce expenses, improve sales, regardless of whether it’s a company’s manufacturing equipment or a patent on a particular technology. Anything that places money in your pocket or reduces cost/expenses.

 

All definitions can be found on www.investopedia.com 

Mutual Fund Fail – Abrecombrie Fund

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of Robert Kiyosaki when he advises those who view his publications that mutual funds make no sense. With a plethora of schemes available to the public, we shall take a look at First Citizens Bank’s (FCB … no … not the football club) Abercrombie Fund:

Example One (FCB Fail)

Since its inception, this fund has proudly produced 5.14%! It took a whopping 18 years to give those who invested in the fund 5.14%. Let’s say you found out about this fund in 2000 and due to technicalities, you could not invest in the fund. If you purchased gold, even one ounce, in 2000 you would have 387.44% returns in USD!!

Example Two (FCB Fail)

The interest FCB should be paying you keeps decreasing on average .20% yearly since March 2012.

Example Three (FCB Fail)

While small being a small percentage, nevertheless, they are hoping to receive returns from  a loan it made to one of its sickly cousins the Deutsche Bank . This is a visual representation of what this bank looks like to those with financial sense. To top this off you still have the usual management fees to pay.

Example Five (FCB Fail)

So for every $1000.00 TTD, you have in that fund they take $25.90 in MER fees,  $2.50 trustee fee and $2.50 distribution fees for a grand total of $30.90 for every $1000.00 you have in that fund yearly. I am sure that your not gaining interest for every $ 1000.00 TTD but on $969.10 TTD in that fund which substantially decreases your gains.

Let’s recap:

1) Comparing to other assets such as gold within a similar time period, it performed poorly

2) Your rate of return keeps decreasing every year

3) Made a loan to one of the most toxic banks in the world in which it hopes to receive returns with interest.

4) The associated fees in the management of the fund surely decrease your rate of return per $1000.00 even further.

Are not these are excellent reasons to invest your money in this mutual fund?

The Broken Financial System

What if I told you that thieves were stealing your belongings in your house right now? And what if I told you I could display undeniable evidence  …  solid proof?  What would your response be? Would it not create a cause of concern within your heart and mind? Yet our financial systems perform this unjust action every day and we calmly accept it. Central banks world over, have been key in crafting the framework that allows the system to rob us with a smile!!

On May 2016, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago released a notification on its foreign exchange policy page which has some disturbing implications.

Central Bank Warning 1

If you have foreign currency and you engage in an exchange for our local dollars falls under “buying” and “selling” which is illegal, unless, it is an  authorised dealer! Let’s see who are these authorised dealers:

Central Bank Warning 2

Twelve wonderful institutions that love to give you so much less for more. They repeat the warning in detail this time.

Central Bank Warning 4

Notice in this version they added gold to it. Is there something that the central bank can see that we the citizens cannot? Take a look at the consequences below:

Central Bank Warning 4

In lay man’s terms, if you engage in “illicit”  foreign exchange transactions on any scale  you will receive a fine and two to five years in jail. You can also lose anything that the court deems valuable when convicted.  Let us take some time to recap what this document is about.

1) You can only buy, sell, borrow or lend foreign currency or gold (I would also put precious metals in this) through these legalised larcenous institutions (banks).

2) Any human (except those with “legal” authority) if charged or convicted must pay a fine and receive jail time, no exceptions!

3) The court if sees fit, they will confiscate your currency, securities, gold/precious metals, goods or anything they deem beneficial to them.

You may be saying to yourself “Why are you so critical of the banks and financial agencies”? This, my dear readers, is just the surface of the deception that these financial institutions perform in our faces. We must be sober and vigilant of our financial circumstances we are in. Only an informed public can change and even stop what the system is doing to us and our future generations.

Emancipate My Money

Today we celebrate in our twin island state of Trinidad & Tobago Emancipation Day! The day the slaves in our country were freed from slavery.  I am sure most are elated that it is a holiday and some truly appreciate what the day means. There is, however, a struggle that exists in the public sector regarding the “emancipation” of money promised to them by the government. Unlike my family, co-workers and peers, I fully understand why the government is responding the way it is. Nevertheless, I will share three reasons why I want the emancipation of my dues:

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Fiat Currency of Trinidad and Tobago

1) Fiat currency (paper money) is losing value every year.

A simple Google search about the history of Fiat currency will enlighten you on how worthless it is in the long run. Think about it, how many sweets you could have bought for one dollar from 1990 – 2008? How much can you buy now? How much you think you can buy in 2020? Although I just used candy as an example can you imagine what prices of more important things such as food, clothing and housing are going to be in the future?

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Oil price

2) Crude Oil Price.

This is the resource we depend upon to give us the majority of our revenue and foreign exchange. Low oil price means less revenue in general and some policies that will not be in our favour. I am sure our finance minister is kissing the feet of and making pacts with creditors to whom, we, the worker, will have to pay back (more on that another time).

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Gold and Bitcoin to name a few

3) The prices of real assets are going up.

Have you taken a look at the price of gold within the last 8 months? How about the last 16 years? If you are stunned by what you see, then even you should realise the future potential of such an asset class. While Bitcoin is taking a monetary hit, rest assured, it will  regain strength in the coming months and reach levels that are quite stunning for a currency that’s “the new kid on the block”.

In the coming days, weeks, months ahead, I will show you what is really happening and how you can protect yourself and even prosper in these very weird times indeed. Be truly emancipated, my dear readers!