The Budget and FATCA

This week will be an interesting week, as our country has two game-changing events taking place simultaneously on the same day. The first is the fiscal budget of the year 2017. This budget is an interesting one as some have indicated that the government is using less money than the previous. It will outline taxes, their financial strategy and the allocation of finances to the various sectors of the economy. Media sources already indicated that gas prices will increase and once increased the prices of everything increases. We shall have new information regarding new taxes such as the online tax to curb the outflow of foreign exchange the country has. The implementation of old taxes such as the property tax would begin January 2017. Products that has vice attached to it such as gambling, cigarettes and alcohol will have a price increase or will be taxed as the case with gambling.

 

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FATCA and the upcoming Fiscal Budget 2017 will soon be affecting the purchasing power of your dollars!

 

The other event is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) legislation that must be passed on that day. If delayed or ignored, at best, performing online or USD transactions will cost 30% more. At worst, the US banks that facilitate these transactions can cut off Trinidad and Tobago starting a financial crisis. It will be utter madness to pay banking fees for foreign exchange transactions + new online tax fees + (at best scenario) 30% withholding fee because the politics of the day did not see the far-reaching effects of FATCA.

I am humbly suggesting dear readers, to perform the following in the event of a financial crisis that could happen if one is implemented (budget) and one is not (FATCA):

  • Withdraw at least $1,000.00TTD from the bank as a safety precaution. In times of financial crisis, banks have the tendency to seize money of account holders to protect itself.
  • Purchase all your essentials before the 30th, as the budget will certainly increase all prices of goods and services.

Protect yourself from the harshness of budgetary measures or the mishandling of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

Having Perspective

Over the past several months, I have been speaking to my co-workers, friends, allies and a few strangers about the financial situation internationally and how it is affecting us in our country. Seventy percent of them displayed verbal and physical signs that they would prefer complacency and willful ignorance of the problem. Twenty-six percent of them agreed that something was wrong but are taking no proper actions against it. The rest agree and are taking the steps to defend themselves. If you live in the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago, let us take the time to understand what may lie ahead.

A fuel hike to reduce the gas subsidy bill the government pays – The price of all goods and services will be increased (food, transportation, clothing, bills you pay, etc.) Bad driving habits, driving long distances and having a bad view of a car will cost you in the long run.

 

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Online Tax will be nice to some of the local businesspeople who love to “make a killing” with their prices

 

Implementation of an Online Shopping Tax – Seeing this will affect all of us it means that prices of most goods and services will increase again (as we do not manufacture most of the goods we crave for). If you want something different, fancy or just not located in Trinidad and Tobago, you will have to pay more to import it.

Implementation of Property tax – Depending on where you live, it will cost you more and rent may rise as a result.

Luxury taxes, especially on alcohol and cigarettes, will increase – The cost of hanging out, parties, fetes and carnival will increase. The people you associate with and your core views on “what makes a hangout/celebration excellent” will determine how much this affects you.

 

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Surely someone in our country is going to die because of this

 

Taxation on casinos and gambling machines – cost more to gamble. This tax may increase illegal gambling facilities and murder rate (when the gambling goes sour)

Increases in NIS taxes – less take home pay to survive.

With these things looming in the air, do you still think that we should sit and do nothing about it? Do you think these things will be “going away” anytime soon? Is investing in bitcoin and other assets still a bad idea? Lastly, what are you doing to protect yourself from the problems that exist and will be created when these things are implemented? Take wise action, for it is you in your older years and your children that will suffer or benefit as a result!

Sources

http://www.cnc3.co.tt/press-release/more-taxes-2017-budget

http://www.finance.gov.tt/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/2016-Mid-year-Budget-Review.pdf

http://www.nibtt.net/Downloads/downloas_2016/Rates.pdf

Supermarket Purchasing Tips

With deflation of food prices being just a hopeful vision at best, we should maximise the part of our salaries not taxed by the government and banking sector. One thing sure in life is that a man (human) must eat/drink for basic survival. I am confident that if one found a way to survive this human life without eating and drinking, then such a technology or system would have been developed centuries ago. With these in mind, I am here to share with you some tips that would give long-term value.

1) Set limits to how much you are going to spend (in this case on food). Budgeting is one of the best ways one that was not “born with a golden spoon in their mouth” can acquire enough money to invest in ventures that will help them and their loved ones in the long-term. Set a limit to how much you are going to purchase in groceries for the month. It is also wise to have a purchasing limit on takeout food if you did not carry food to work or hanging out.

 

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Calculator app will be your best friend. It does all the hard work for you!

 

2) Calculators. When shopping for food in the grocery use your calculator app on your android or apple phone. This app will help you keep in line with the budget you have set.

3) Round off prices. If something has a price tag of $1.15 round it off to $1.25. The price of an item is $3.30 or $1.80 round it off to $3.50 and $2.00 respectively. This method protects you from upward price changes on items the grocery did not update when shopping.

4) Purchase basics first. Basics here are things you will always need when cooking throughout the month. A is a short list of basics – Rice/pasta, vegetables (fresh/tinned/packaged), flour, milk, seasonings (food has to taste good) & oil. This one may vary between families and persons due to personal preference and health-related issues. Whatever left over you can purchase as “want” items.

 

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Snacks! These should not be a priority in purchasing.

 

5) One/Two item rule. If you carry children shopping, set a limit of one or two items they can have after you have purchased your basics. By doing this, you are teaching them:

  • Patience – learning to wait in general as we lack it world over. People can get into serious problems because we do not know how to wait (or wait for the wrong things).
  • Self-control – you can’t have everything, but you can have something
  • Better decisions making – they will learn to make better choices in general due to the experience

I have used the tips mentioned above over the months with a significant effect. Together with self-discipline, I have more food to cook with and cut down the food bill by 20 – 30% at times. With more cash, I can invest it into bitcoin and other opportunities that pop-up from time to time.

Cost Effective Solution to Digital Entertainment

My fellow readers and seekers, we must accept the reality that we are not financially fairing well now and in the next couple of months or years. Our government is ladened with debt. The biggest contributor to our total revenue (Oil) is erratic at best, a devaluing currency nobody in the world wants (Trinidad and Tobago Dollar), and revised rates of old taxes means less to make do has certainly impacted on you unless you’re an investor or a different kind of business person.

 

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If you want weak cable transmission, Spanish advertisements and expensive cable installations/rentals look no further than flow!

 

Flow the primary provider of Cable has steadily increased prices every two years beginning from 2012 while the overall quality and service has decreased. Direct TV has its issues, as you need to pay for a satellite with accessories and pay a monthly reload fee. Netflix may seem like a better solution however if the exchange rate changes lean toward the US dollar then you would have to pay more each month for the service.

 

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One Pre-paid kit $400.00. Monthly Direct TV Top up $159.39. Total cost of 1 yr with Direct TV = $2312.68  TTD

 

You may say some of these services are convenient to you. “Convenience” however, is slowly robbing you when you apply how much inflation, increasing taxes and total cost of services to your (very) slow growing income.  Think about it, when was the last time you got a pay increase that could fight off these things comfortably? This monthly fee you pay can be invested into appreciating asset classes (bitcoin/ precious metals), a practical skill than can generate returns or placed into clearing off your debt faster. The following are pre-requisites that will allow you to access this content:

  • Willing Mind to Learn
  • Basic Knowledge of Computers/Android Devices
  • A computer, Mac or Andriod device
  • Internet Connection

If you have these then I am here to enlighten you on some of the many free options available to you that are ad blocker friendly (PC/Mac):

Filmon – You can install this app on your PC, Mac or Android device to access free TV channels from Africa, Asia, USA, UK and Europe.

Showbox – Another popular app for Android one can use to watch various TV series and movies.

123movies.to – This website allows you to watch the latest movies and has most TV series available.

watchcartoononline.com – Another great site for watching entire series of cartoons and is up-to-date with series.

Putlocker.is – A good place to find movies and tv shows in HD

For those who wish to watch our depressing and disturbing news media in Trinidad & Tobago here are the two links you can watch news on:

Tv6tnt.com

cnc3.co.tt

Warning – It is good to know that you have many free options in digital entertainment, please do not spend most/all of your time consuming them. It will not do you nor your family, friends and allies (through consistent actions) any good. Documentaries are okay in this regard if they are backed up with doing your unbiased research.