Working Hard For What You Want – New Jetta Ad

Have you seen the latest commercial for the new Volkswagon Jetta? In the ad (called Moonighting), the main character, Tom, is working as a nurse (? I think) and he sees some ads for the new Jetta.  He then goes through the classified’s and proceeds to take on a number of jobs in order to afford the new car.

Here is what we see Tom doing to earn money:

  • Nurse – what appears to be his regular job.
  • Golf ball collector at a driving range – you know the guy that drives the little car that gets hit with golf balls.
  • Self-defense dummy – you see a group of women beating up on him while he wears padding.
  • Dog walker.
  • Dresses up as a hot dog and hands out ads for a food joint.
  • Bicycle cab driver.
  • Rodeo clown.
  • Nude model.

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It’s Still A Good Idea To Buy A House In This Economy

The New York Times, in their Your Money section, recently ran an article titled In Defense of Home Ownership. In the article the author, Ron Lieber, takes to task the notion that now is a horrible time to buy a house.  He mentions that despite the bad housing news we hear, stocks going nowhere, and unemployment not getting better, now can still be a good time to buy.

Here are his cases where home-buying can still make sense:
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Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Signed Into Law

Money Cartoon

On July 21st, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street (the largest such overhaul since the Great Depression), aimed at preventing future economic collapses like the kind we have experienced in recent years.  The Act will also look to add protections for consumers.

From President Obama: “Because of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes”

Here are the highlights of the Reform and Protection Act:
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Wedding Questions With Anja Winikka Editor At TheKnot.com – Presented By Married On MySpace

Wedding+Rings+Flower

I had the pleasure to interview Anja Winikka, editor at the well-known wedding website TheKnot.com. We discussed affordable weddings and how the current economy is affecting wedding decisions.

Hope you enjoy!
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Car Allowance Rebate System – Cash For Clunkers

What's your clunker worth?

In late June President Obama signed into law the the Car Allowance Rebate System or as it’s also known: Cash for Clunkers. This is a program that encourages people to trade in their cars for more efficient models.  It also helps to stimulate the economy (similar to the first time home buyer tax credit) at a time when car sales are lagging.

The program runs from July 1st through November 1st 2009.  Cars traded in during that time could be eligible for a credit of either $3500 or $4500 depending on the car and the increase in mileage the new vehicle provides.

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Use The First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Now!

house

Were you considering buying a home this year and claiming the first time home buyer’s tax credit? If you were, a recent change to the credit may allow you to use it now rather than waiting until next year’s tax return.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allowed for a first time home buyer’s tax credit of up to $8000.  This would be money that could be claimed on your tax return.  Recent changes now allow a first time home buyer to apply the tax credit toward their down payment or closing costs.

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What Is A Ponzi Scheme – In Simple Terms

With all of the talk about Bernie Madoff heading off to jail for a few years (a century or so) the thought on a lot of people’s minds is How did he do it? and What is a Ponzi scheme?

I came across the post Explaining the Ponzi Scheme to a Fifth Grader recently.  I think the explanation pretty much nails it! Here it is:

Say you went to your sister and told her, if she gives you a dollar to invest today, you will give it back to her on Tuesday next week and she will get $1.25. Then you go to your other sister and tell her the same thing only you will give her $1.25 Wednesday. Then you go on to your dad and every person you know and tell them the same thing. As you’re going around asking for money from other people you know, you give your first sister her $1.25 and she’s happy to have twenty five cents extra just for letting you invest her $1. So she says, why don’t you keep my dollar and invest it some more? So you say, OK.

But the thing is, you weren’t really investing it were you? You were just using other people’s money to make it look like you are earning money for them. Do you see how you will eventually run out of money especially if they all ask for their money at the same time?

So she answers, Yeah, but can’t I just ask more money from more people? Yeah, you can do that but what if you ran out of people to ask and also ran out of time? That’s what happened to Bernie Maddox and that’s why he’s going to jail.

She then said, but they said he still has millions of dollars and he’s not really in jail. True.

About $68 billion lost summed up pretty nice!

The are a couple of lessons in this:

Know what you are investing in AND There’s no such thing as a free lunch!

You have to know where your money is going.  If not then you are asking for trouble.  From what I’ve been hearing people were throwing their money at Madoff so he could invest it.  They didn’t care how he did it so long as they got back huge returns.  I feel horrible for those people who lost their retirements and for all of the charitable organizations that were hurt.  But you have to ask the big questions and in this case the questions is Where is the money going to get those returns?!?

It may not be fun learning about personal finance and investing but a little knowledge goes a long way.  Sure it’s fun to say you’re getting 15% every year on your investment but you have to questions how!

Am I being too harsh?

I don’t mean to be.  These people were swindled and hurt!  The whole situation bothers me.  It seems there’s no real accountability with Wall Street any more.  There were warnings going back a decade about Madoff’s “investments” that went ignored.

Here’s a little lighter side that I also picked up from AMoores (where I saw the simple Ponzi explanation):

How do you feel about it all?