My random thoughts,useless and useful informations I gather, my financial thought process, investments, research, general knowledge, frugal consumerism ideas, Best deals - a mixture of all these are in my blog entries

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Net Worth Update March

March net worth shows a significant growth at 6.42%, mainly because I added some of the gold/bullion assets worth of $8500 into the tracking after recent evaluation. I have no real estate and haven't included my car or any other depreciable assets.
Apart from this, my actual net worth increase was at 3.50% with investments having lackluster performances during the last month.
I have fully funded my roth IRA, by adding to Vanguard Retirement 2045 fund, and increased my contribution to 401k in order to fully fund it by Sept/Oct 2006.
I also moved some funds from Amertrade ( sold some of ETF- SPY) to fund Vanguard Total international index Fund in a taxable account. I will continue to increase my exposure to International equity, at least for another quarter or so.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tax Freedom Day - Not a hallmark holiday !!

Yes, This not another Hallmark holiday, but some thing America can truly be happy about. Tax Freedom Day is the day when Americans finally have earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.

In 2005, Average American had to work until April 17th in 2005 to pay their total tax bill calculated as national average. The high tax burden States Connecticut (May 3rd) New York (April 29th) and low tax burden states Alaska (April 2) Alabama ( April 4th) shows how many days every worker needs to sweat to earn their keep.

As most of the financial blogging community has a better savings rate, the average American Pie is shown here. All the statistics are courtesy to
For the entire info

Sunday, March 19, 2006

New & Improved Credit Credit Score System

The three credit bureaus namely Experian, Equifax and TransUnion together introduced a new and combined credit scoring system - the VantageScore last week to compete directly with the FICO score or Beacon scores. This system will have new ranges of credit scores ranging from 500 -990. But it will take a while before the new score takes over the marketplace. Read on...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Two Americas - May make you think too

This is something I received as part of a chain email, I was having a quick glimpse before I click delete, 2 paragraphs caught my attention. Looking at the current state our country, the political and social divisions we are experiencing these words made me think..really !

There are two Americas....
One America is a closed, arrogant, inward looking,lazy, pompous and suspicious. It is not based on any universal principles that will stand the test of time. On the contrary, it is a nation driven by reactionary policies that -- at the best of times -- can be described as opportunistic. It is a nation that shakes hands with dictators on one hand, and bombs democracy on another. It is a nation where the flag has come to stand not for a people, but for a ruthlessly efficient mechanism of power. A nation where all other countries are nothing but passive receptacles for its opinions, thoughts and actions.
The other America is a country of ideas that represent the best of the best thoughts from around the world. It is an America that nations have turned to for refuge, for hope, for innovation and for a moral voice, when it seemed that the darkest voices in the deepest woods had come out of hiding to take over the world.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

eBAY - Earning pressure making them Greedy and Ridiculous

I've been an amateur Ebay'er for a few years now. I have see a unique idea becomes a great institution. Along with it comes all the greed and every nook and corner of the web now has a lot of ebay suck stories. Well now its my turn.

I have listed a few items for auction. Since I have only a basic Paypal account with limits, as usual I checked options of payment as personal checks, money orders etc. However in the description I've mentioned Paypal cannot be accepted if paid using a credit card. This was the way I've been listing auctions for a long time.

Two days later I checked by listing and it has disappeared from the listing altogether like magic. Upon checking thru my messages I found out that I am guilty of breaking Ebay's new policy where a seller cannot specify any such Paypal limits or I should be willing to upgrade my paypal and pay fees, accept credit cards..whole nine yards. Customer service later told me that this was in the policy amendment fine prints they published few months ago. Now I know why Paypal is becoming ebay's golden goose. Talk about monopolies..

My Browser got Hijacked !

My bad memory- I forgot to change back my internet security levels I lowered for downloading some private files, my activeX set ups were too liberal. I learned my lesson in the hard way.

As I was browsing thru bloggers list randomly, I ended up in a rogue blog intended for malware distribution. Before I could react to the warnings from my spywares detectors, it infected my PC with all sorts of trojans and spywares/adwares. Virus protection helped me avoid virus attacks, however the damage was already done on spyware, malware and Trojan fronts.

Next thing I know, my home page on Internet explorer was changed, my browser got hijacked and some kind of a Linkmaker Trojan created pseudo links over any webpages I access which will take me to some ad sites. There are tons of pop up's jumping out per clicks and the system slowing down with all these activity. I started using all my existing adware tools to eliminate these spywares. Adaware and Microsoft defender did very minimal cleanup, spybot clean & destroy identified and cleaned little more. But my browser was still ill.

This prompted me get into offensive against these pests, I went to looking for popular spyware cleaners and I got a few - trial versions of Spyware Doctor, Spyware Blaster, Counterspy etc. I also got popular clean up and analyzer tools like ewido, hijack this,ccleaner,cwshredder etc.

Spyware Doctor and Counterspy showed me all the culprits -and I advice you to remember these pests - Purity, Elitemediagroup pop64, eZula, bargainbuddy,Bigtraffic Network,Linkmaker Hijacker,, Ilookup are some of the lowlifes. They can hide very well, rename themselves, create, rename and alter system files, add new entries to your windows registry and are persistent and stealth. Since trial version of Spydoctor do not remove these, I had to go to the registry and manually remove most of these. ( Do not try this at home unless you really know what you are doing. There are procedures for altering and removing system files and registry entries ) CounterSpy helped in removing few of the malwares as well.
HijackThis log is the tool which really helped me to weed out all the buggers - well it took about 12 hours of hard work on a trial and error approach. On the bright side, I learned a few new tricks, I cleaned up some junk from my pc and my tech junkie ego got a lot of joy in researching and solving the problem.

May be we should all think about getting firefox as browser. Spyware's were not impacting Firefox. LinkMaker pranks and hijacking was all on Internet Explorer.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Free Online Money Manager-

If you are looking for a free Online Money Manager, go to, the power behind MSN money and now closed down Yahoo Money Manager. Yodlee offers many services including billpay as well.

I like this over any other online Money managers as it is reliable, secure and has most of the banking, investment, credit card transactions,email, frequent flyer program interfaces through their OnCenter. It even sends you alerts based on your settings. I use this as my 'dashboard' online for allmost all of the above.

I also use MS Money for tracking at home. I consider Yodlee as the best tool I ever used free-online. (Disclaimer: I do not have any affiliations or financial interest in Yodlee, I am just a user who is mightily impressed with Yodlee)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cliff's Buffalo Theory !!!

No this is not what you think - nothing financial about it. This is much more interesting for a cold evening thought....

This is credited to an episode of Cheers in which Cliff explains to Norm the 'Buffalo Theory':

"Well you see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive drinking of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers."