Dumping Timeshares – WSJ.com

A good article about timeshares – and why you should avoid them:



The term “timeshare” long brought to mind rip-offs, high-pressure sales tactics and a lifetime shackled to rising maintenance fees.

When Marriott International got into the business in the early 1980s, timeshare became less of a bad word. Marriott, with Walt Disney, Hyatt, Wyndham and others, established credibility and glitzier resorts.

Now Marriott wants out.

Last week, the hotel chain announced it would spin off its timeshare business. It’s giving shareholders stock in a unit with $1.5 billion in unsold inventory and 400,000 owners to service.

The spinoff company will license Marriott’s name and drift into an unknown future.

via Al\’s Emporium: Dumping Timeshares – WSJ.com.

How to spot a lousy investment

Oh, Yeah!  There are some great hints in this article:

There’s a terrible investment being sold right now — a real dog. Let’s not get into names.

As an editor once warned me, no matter how critical you are, you’ll end up generating new customers. That’s because crummy investments often have eye-popping short-term numbers, and once you mention a 25% gain or a 7% yield, some people stop reading. Besides, Wall Street is always peddling bad stuff.

  • So instead I’m going to give you five signs of a stinker, whether the market is up, down, or sideways. Spot one, and you should be skeptical. Spot two or more, and you should run away.
  • 1. It’s supposed to be the teeniest bit riskier than the competition, but much more profitable.

    Investment banks and pension funds were suckers for this line when they bought toxic mortgages that carried AAA credit ratings. But individuals get pulled in too.


    Read the complete article here:

    via How to spot a lousy investment – Feb. 23, 2011

    Eight Tips for Navigating the Uncertainties of Our Times

    Once again we are facing some potential tough times in our country.  Everything we’re hearing in the media is pointing toward job layoffs, cutbacks, losses in benefits, etc.

    What can you do to best navigate these uncertain waters?  Here are some tips that may help:

    1.  Don’t let fear get the best of you.  There is a lot of gloom and doom out there these days and while there is certainly the potential for some bad things to happen to good people, being caught up in the fear only shuts down your openness to creative solutions. 

    2.  Plan for the worst — expect the best.  Take action if you are concerned about losing your job, or getting a pay cut or losing benefits.  Develop a Plan B.  Think positively about what you could do if the worst happens.  And attitude is important.  Being negative only contributes to the problem.  The solution resides in that positive part of you that knows deep down you have what it takes to weather any storm.

    Read all 8 hints here …

    via JATAJ – Eight Tips for Navigating the Uncertainties of Our Times.

    Healthcare Tax Credit Unusable By Most Business | Financial Awakenings

    Only a small number of employers will benefit from the ballyhooed 35% tax credit for employers who pay for at least 50% of their employees’ health insurance.  The credit is available for employers with under 10 employees and average wages of under $25,000.   That will affect only small businessess who pay minimum wage, most of whom can’t afford to pay benefits anyway. 

    In an interview with Investment News, I said, “Most financial planning firms with more than 10 employees probably won’t qualify at all because firms of that size likely will have at least a few professional salaries that will push the average too high.”

    You can read the whole article at  Healthcare Tax Credit Unusable By Most Business | Financial Awakenings.

    Living Philanthropic – Tips for the Everyday (micro)-Philanthropist

    I love this concept of micro-philanthropy.  Take a look and let me know what you think.



    I have received many questions from people asking for tips on how to start their own everyday giving mission. I am extremely flattered by all the support and before I leave for Mexico, I wanted to share some tips for those who might want to make the Give Everyday philosophy a part of their New Year’s resolution. It can be daunting at times, but can be very rewarding and educational. 

    1. Start locally. Take a look around your community and see what groups and organizations are working within your community to promote postive change. Find a handful of organizations that you would like to support and keep them on your short list. 
    2. Start small. There is no need to break the bank or go broke for your giving mission. There is no such thing as a donation too small. If you are afraid that it won’t make an impact, take it from me, it will. Here is a suggestion that I will be utilizing for YEAR TWO: pick one organization and save up each daily donation in a jar and donate the contents to your charity of choice at the end of the month.
    3. Jar 2 Jar. Some parents might be interested in teaching charity and saving at the same time, so I recommend JAR 2 JAR. Take 2 jars or containers and label one Savings and the other Charity. Each day drop a quarter, $1, etc. in each jar. Then, deposit the savings and donate the charity portion at the end of the month or end of the year. It’s a great way to get the kids involved. My uncle Luis bought his first car from a 5 gallon water bottle of change he collected, it adds up.

    Read all 8 tips here …

    via Living Philanthropic – Tips for the Everyday (micro)-Philanthropist – Tips for the Everyday (micro)-Philanthropist.

    The Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living

    This article has some great ideas for cutting your living expenses ..



    Confession time: I’m a cheapskate. Some would say frugal, which sounds much more positive, but in reality I can be a real cheapskate.

    I am fairly frugal (though not always), but sometimes I take it too far: I have T-shirts with holes in them, I never buy new clothes, we’re shopping for a new couch because our current one has holes in it, and I ran my current pair of running shoes until the soles fell off.

    However, I have gradually learned to be frugal in many ways that I would recommend to others. I don’t think you should have holes in your couch, and you should definitely replace your running shoes more often than I do, but there are many ways to cut back on spending and live a more frugal lifestyle.

    Read more here ….

    via The Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living | zen habits.