Some Updates and Insights For Your Wallet

Every Wednesday we spend a few minutes looking out for your wallet. Today, I wanted to share a few updates, and some consumer stories that we should all be aware of.

You and I know that money certainly does talk. Unfortunately, for most of us, it just says goodbye.

Since May last year, we’ve talked about waiting before getting stuck with another three year cell phone contract. I hope you listened, as a new national cell phone provider called Wind is now blowing across the country, a few cities a month. Their unlimited plans are $45 and not the rip-off system access fee. Hang in there for a while longer, because competition will keep driving prices down, and your wallet will thank you. Last year, I told you that I got rid of my $35 plan for a pay as you go package. I just loaded $100 on my phone, so my cost per month is now under $9!

Do you want to volunteer to get robbed? I didn’t think so – but let me explain:
All kinds of new and really popular applications for iPhones, Facebook, and the likes let you share with people where you are. But thieves also love it. All they need to do is see where you are, and it’ll tell them exactly how much time they have to rob your home. There’s a great web site to explain it to you called: pleaserobme.com
Two of these programs are Four Square and Bright Kite. It’ll notify people that you’ve just checked in to Safeway Rutland, for instance. That’ll mean you’ll be away from home for, what? An hour or so? If you’ve just checked in to the Coast Hotel in Vancouver, they’ve got a day, at least.

On Facebook, it’s even simpler. What’s greater and more current than posting some pictures while you’re on holidays? It may seem like a great idea, but thieves know you’re in Mexico and certainly not at home. Never post your pictures until you get back.
With a bunch of Provinces and Federal Budget last week, I found a great quote that certainly applies today: “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.”—That came from Cicero, a Roman philosopher in 43 BC. You’d think in over 2,000 years we’d have learned something? Apparently not…

A quick update on Arizona: For over two years now, I’ve been saying I want to buy an investment property in Phoenix. I also keep saying wait a little longer, and then longer, and then wait some more. Well, I can now say: wait a little longer. According to Moody’s Economy.com the Phoenix market may drop another 23% in 2010. Not to mention rental rates are plummeting as well. So it’s another year of hurry up and wait.

Just because the U.S. media has moved on to new and sexier stories, doesn’t mean the foreclosure problems in the US are solved, or even getting much better: In a four day foreclosure auction in Detroit last month, there were 9,000 homes on the auction block. But get this: 80% of them didn’t even get an opening minimum bid of $500! Yes, you could have purchased over 7,000 homes for $500 each! Sure, it’s Detroit. But that’s depressing to think about.

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