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My Ramblings Articles

My Lending Club Account Performance Update 3

May 13, 2010 | Investing | My Ramblings | 5 Comments

It’s time for another update of my Lending Club Account Performance. The last update was on February 20, 2010.  Since then Lending Club has revamped their website and changed their logo (see below).  The new site is easier to navigate and features different background pictures which I guess is cool!

Since starting to issue loans last August (2009), I’ve earned a total of $1,483.68 in interest, but with and interest plus bonus I’ve earned $2,196.75.  I currently have 456 notes (loans) issued with 14 fully paid.  One note is currently late 16-30 days and 3 are late 31 to 120 days.  One was charged off with a loss of $24.  Calculated net annualized return is 10.83%.  Total payments to date (principal and interest) is $7,050.89.  (See screen shot below)

As notes are paid back I’ve re-invested in new notes to A, B, and C investors using the Build Portfolio feature.  I use the filter option to only list A, B, and C investors and issue $25 notes to each borrower.  Additionally,  I use the Conservative and Moderate portfolios to loan to mostly A and B investors.

I do not review the notes to determine the reason why each borrower want the money.  I’m more concerned about the borrower rating (A, B, C).  Reviewing each note would be very time consuming and there is no way to really determine risk.

According to Lending Club, there are now 35,000 investors and 220,000 members.  Investors have earned an average return of 9.65%.  The company announced last month the closing of a $24.5 million investment and just recently added 5 year notes.  Before only 3 year notes were available. The 5 year notes pay a higher interest than the 3 year notes. I’m not certain if I’ll invest in 5 year notes as yet!

So far so good,   I’m happy with my account performance.  If Lending Club was a profitable entity I’d consider investing more money.  However, for now I’ll take the wait and see approach to see how the company does over the next several months.

Lending Club is offer $25 for free when you sign-up as an investor at no risk.  You can use the $25 to try out P2P lending with no future obligation.  There is nothing for you to deposit and you can lend the $25 immediately.

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Don’t Take Anything for Granted!

April 29, 2010 | My Ramblings | No Comments

A couple days ago my family and I visited the 16 year old son (I’ll call him Matt) of a close family friend in the hospital who was hit by a car while crossing the street. Matt suffered broken bones and a damaged spine. The damage to his spine has made him a quadriplegic.

As I starred at Matt, I realized that I could have easily been his situation. When I was 16 years old I too was hit by a car while crossing the street. I recall when I was hit by the car, the first thoughts that came in my mind was I would die or be paralyzed. Luckily I only suffered broken bones.

Meeting Matt for the first time, I felt an intense sorrow for him. Anytime I would hear of someone becoming a quadriplegic, I would think to myself it has to be one of the worst misfortunes a person could encounter. I recalled the life of Christopher Reeves.

Barring a miracle, Matt will miss out on so much of what life has to offer. I can’t imagine the physical and mental pain a quadriplegic must encounter. His parents will have to take care of him most likely for the rest of his life and will encounter a huge financial impact.

His parents will have to modify their home, purchase a new vehicle to transport Matt and his equipment, purchase a special wheel chair and bed, lifting equipment to get him in and out of bed, a respirator that helps him breathe, not to mention the medical bills.

When I was hit by the car about 25 years ago I learned at an early age how quickly life can change. I often think about all the people who were killed as a result of 9/11. They got up that morning thinking that day would be like any other, only to find out that it was their last day.

It’s imperative that we appreciate what we have and be cognitive not to take anything for granted because within seconds it can be taken away.

I will be praying for Matt and his family!

Wants Vs. Needs

April 15, 2010 | Financial Tips | My Ramblings | No Comments

One way many people get into financial trouble is that they don’t make financial decisions based on what they “need” versus what they “want”.  Yes, we all want “stuff’, but do we really need it!

The recent launch of the Apple iPad had people lining up for hours, even days to be the first to own it.  Most of these people don’t need the iPad, they just want it.  There decision to own the iPad I’m certain is based on emotions and not financial logic.  I’m certain most of these people already own computers and smart phones that already provide most of the features provided by the iPad.  However, with the hype their emotions kick into gear and they think to themselves, “I want that iPad, no matter what!”

If you want to improve your financial situation, you have to start defining what you need versus what you want.   You need food, clothing, and shelter to survive.  You don’t need that expensive pair of shoes, vacation, gadget, or jewelry especially if your financial picture is poor.

Just recently I dropped my cell phone and it broke in pieces.  I wanted to replace it with an Apple iPhone; however, after much research I couldn’t justify the cost.  Currently, I pay $62 per month for cell phone service for 2 phones (for my wife and me).  So we pay $31 dollars each.  On many months we don’t even use all our minutes.  Switching to the iPhone I will have to pay a minimum of $80 per month, which is more than double what I currently pay.  So the question boiled down to do I really need an iPhone or do I just want it.  The answer is I just want it.   

The main reason I want the iPhone is for Internet access.  If I were traveling much for work or didn’t have access to the Internet I could justify getting the iPhone, however, I have access to the Internet most of the day, so my need to access the Internet via a smartphone isn’t needed.

So I decided to hold off on the iPhone and replace my existing phone with a used one I found online for $25 with free shipping versus purchasing an iPhone for about $200 and paying an additional $50 per month for service.  I “want” the iPhone but right now I just don’t “need” it!

Chase has introduced a unique cash back offer for home mortgage.  If you get a new Chase mortgage or refinance, you can choose either a 1% cash back or a 1% payment against your principal balance annually when you sign up for automatic payments on a new Chase Mortgage.  That’s not a bad deal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1% Mortgage Cash Back works with any new Chase mortgage or refinance.  The cash back is deposited into your Chase checking account OR applied as a payment against your mortgage principal.

At your loan closing, complete your enrollment in our automatic mortgage payment service with your Chase personal checking account. Your monthly mortgage payment is automatically deducted from your checking account.

For more information visit https://www.chase.com/chf/mortgage/mortgage-cash-back.

Couple Learns the Hard Way About Posting Activity on Facebook

March 26, 2010 | My Ramblings | 1 Comment

If you use social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, be very careful what you post.  The CNN video above is about a couple learning this the hard way.  The girlfriend posted on her Facebook page that she was heading to a concert with her fiancé.  Later hidden cameras ended up catching 2 men breaking into their home.  One of the burglars is suspected to be a Facebook friend of the girlfriend.

The Facts About the New Healthcare Bill

March 24, 2010 | Healthcare | My Ramblings | No Comments

It’s shameful that President Obama and the Democrats have worked so hard to reform healthcare and there are so many people still against it.  The people against it, I assume have healthcare insurance and don’t really care about their fellow neighbor who can’t get healthcare insurance because of a preexisting condition or who can’t afford it.   Or maybe they are just diehard Republicans.  However, I’m certain the 32 million people who don’t have health insurance are happy.  Although the healthcare reform bill isn’t perfect it sure is a very good first step.

Below are facts about the Healthcare Reform Bill:

Deficit:

  • According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), the bill will reduce the deficit by an estimated $143 billion in first 10 years.

 

Coverage:

  • Expands coverage to approximately 32 million Americans currently uninsured.

 

Health Insurance Exchanges:

  • Uninsured and self-employed will be able to buy insurance through state-based exchanges with subsidies available to individuals and families with income between the 133% and 400% of poverty level.
  • In 2014 Separate exchanges will be created for small businesses to purchase coverage.
  • States will be funded to create exchanges within one year of enactment and until January 1, 2015.

 

Subsidies:

  • Individuals and families who earn between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and want to purchase their own health insurance on an exchange are eligible for subsidies. They cannot be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid and cannot be covered by an employer. Eligible buyers receive premium credits and there is a cap for how much they have to contribute to their premiums on a sliding scale.

 

Medicare:

  • Closes the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” by 2020. Seniors who hit the donut hole by 2010 will receive a $250 rebate.
  • Starting in 2011, seniors in the gap will receive a 50% discount on brand name drugs. The bill also includes $500 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade.

 

Medicaid:

  • Medicaid expanded to include 133% of federal poverty level which is $29,327 for a family of four.
  • States will be required to expand Medicaid to include childless adults starting in 2014.
  • Federal Government pays 100% of costs for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016.
  • Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid.

 

Insurance Reforms:

  • After six months insurance companies can no longer denying children coverage based on a preexisting condition.
  • In 2014 insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions.
  • Children can stay on parent’s insurance plans until age 26th.

 

Abortion:

  • Private insurance premium funds are segregated from taxpayer funds. Individuals will have to pay for abortion coverage by making two separate payments.
  • No health care plan will be required to offer abortion coverage. States can pass legislation choosing to opt out of offering abortion coverage through the exchange.

 

Individual Mandate:

  • In 2014, everyone must purchase health insurance or face a $695 annual fine. However, there are exceptions for low-income people.

 

Employer Mandate:

  • Employers with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance or pay a fine of $2000 per worker each year if any worker receives federal subsidies to purchase health insurance. Fines applied to entire number of employees minus some allowances. Technically, there is no employer mandate.

 

Immigration:

  • Illegal immigrants will not be allowed to buy health insurance in the exchanges.

 

Source: CBS News

 

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Get an Idea of Your Credit Score with Equifax Fee Credit Score Card

March 16, 2010 | Financial Tips | My Ramblings | No Comments

Equifax is offering a free “Credit Score Card” which provides you a range of where your credit score is. The score is from their “Equifax Risk Score” system, not the FICO score. The Equifax Risk Score has a range from 280-850, which is almost the same as FICO which is 300 to 850.  The tool is good for giving you an idea your credit score.

I checked to see my score and was happy to see it was high.  (See screen shot below).  Having a high score will help with qualifying for lower interest rates and offers from lenders.

Other places you can get a free credit report and score is at Quizzle.com and at Karma.com.

Get a Martin Jetpack for $75,000

March 9, 2010 | My Ramblings | Videos | No Comments

Did you ever think that by 2010 we’d be zipping around with jet packs like The Jetsons?  Well we soon maybe if you can afford $75,000. 

Designer Glenn Martin (of Martin Jetpack) has developed a Kiwi Jetpack starting at $75,000.  It is expected that early orders for sales to private individuals will start late 2010. 

The jetpack runs on premium gas which is much cheaper than jet fuel, has a range of 30 miles at 60 mph with a ceiling of 8,000 ft.   No pilot’s license is required and it comes with a low altitude ballistic parachute.  I would love to try one out!  See video below.

It is expected that early orders for sales to private individuals will start late 2010.