Tuesday, November 25, 2008

About that time...

Almost the end of a year, almost the start of a new one - looking back, I try to see what I've achieved, based on a list of 'Things I need to Achieve' in the beginning of the year.

I set myself some personal goals, health and well being, personal fitness, etc. being fairly high up on there. Education; registering with UNISA to study a Science degree part time

The fitness aspect has been ok I guess. I started kick boxing earlier in the year, it's kept me very motivated and I'm enjoying it. Cycling however has really come to a standstill though I want to start on that in the beginning of 2009.

Education - I completely missed the open period in which to register, so that didn't happen at all.I want to take a short course in creative writing, guess what, that didn't happen either. I had intentions of learning a new language (from a CD kit) but this also didn't materialise.

I won't say that it's been a bad year, however, I think I could have done a bit more.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Stubborn-Delon?

Started thinking, why did I actually name my blog 'stubborn-delon'.

To be completely honest I think I named it that, due to a sheer lack of creativity. My right-side neurons were not firing, I knew I wanted to create a blog, but to name it 'stubborn-delon'... What was I thinking...?

Yes, I am stubborn, but that does not define me altogether. What else could I have called my blog? What other word could I have used to define my 'web presence'?

'Geek-Delon' perhaps - (initially my blog was going to be dedicated to technology)

Maybe something that doesn't contain my name at all - 'Empty and Alone', but that sounds too sad and kinda implies that I'm suicidal.

'Exploits of a Boy Genius' - I've always considered myself a genius, but without the extremely high IQ, kinda like 'Powder' but without the ability to summon electricity and use his other super powers.

With all these possible names however, nothing that I write ever seems to relate to my stubbornness, my boy genius ability, my geekiness or my aloness - so, this depresses me some.

I am unable to define myself - eish, know what i mean?

The Bond – a 'hands on' approach

A bond is the negotiated amount that the bank will give you, the period of the loan and the interest rate. Like the name suggests, it’s a contract between you and the bank. A bank is less likely to grant you a bond if you have a bad credit rating or no credit history. They want to know that they will be able to receive your payments regularly. If they do grant you a bond despite your negative rating, it will be at an interest rate that is not favourable to you, i.e. several percent above the prime lending rate of the Reserve Bank (prime +). This may be your situation if you have been out of the country for a while or haven’t paid any loan or account on time or regularly, or had no clothing accounts(Clothing accounts are important to have to build a good credit rating).

For you to get a good interest rate, you will have to have a regular income, some form of a favourable credit history (credit card, loan) and a reflection that you are a prompt payer.

A standard bond is 20 years which is exactly 240 months (12 months x 20 years). Without getting too technical, let me try my best to explain how to ‘make’ money on your bond. Bear in mind though, that ‘making’ money on a bond is actually ‘saving’ money in the long term.

Let me first point out the important factors which a home owner will need to know, n, i, pv, pmt. (some important terminology)

n is the number of months of your bond, the term of the loan.

i is the interest rate, which is possibly the most important factor to any home-, property-, or vehicle owner.

pv is the principal value – also the purchase value (or the value of the loan)

pmt is the amount you will be paying per period, ie., the monthly repayment

Again, saving on a bond does not provide you with immediate cash in your pocket; it’s not a way of earning an extra income, but a way to save money. The money you will make with this technique is realized when the property is sold or when you pay off the property in less time than anticipated and have that much extra cash per month to spare.

Because this is an equation, each ‘term’ bears influence on the others. However, PV is normally going to remain the same.

The quicker you pay the bond off, the more money you will make when you sell it. One way of doing this is to increase the value of ‘pmt’.

For example:

If your bond is for R500 000 (pv), with i=15% and n = 240, your pmt will need to be R6583.95. I would like to show the equation here, but I wont, due to font restrictions.

If you were to pay 10% more than required that is R6583.95 + R659 = R7242.95 your can reduce your period from 240 months to just 160, which is 13 years.

Do I have your attention yet?

Further to the above example, and for illustration purposes, if you were to double the monthly installment, your bond will be paid off in less than 5 years (52 months to be exact)

Ok, so that’s what happens when we vary the value of pmt.

Next, let’s look at how the interest rate influences your bond term (n) With the values as above, we know that i=15% means that n=240. It would be nice to show the equation with all of these values punched in.

However, if i were reduced from 15 to 14.5… n drops from 240 to 208, which is about 17 years.

We’ve saved ourselves three years by negotiating a better interest rate! If i were further reduced to 14%, n ends up around 15 years or so!

In all bond and loan repayments there is a principal portion (used to pay the bond) and an interest portion - The banks make their money on the interest portion of course.

When we make a payment to the bank, pmt = R6583.95, using the same values as above, in the first month, the value that eats into principal amount is R333.95. The value that is interest is R6250.

Let me expound on this. Your property is owned by the bank until you’ve paid it up completely. In your first month, all that you contributed to the R500 000 house is R333.95. The rest is all interest and goes straight to the bank.

In percentage terms 95% of your first bond installment is contributing to the banks share price on the JSE and a measly 5% is a contribution towards your house.

Now, this mechanism that the bank has does not work in your favour. The first time that the principal portion starts exceeding the interest portion is… wait for it… somewhere between year 15 and 16, that is ¾ down the line. For almost the entire period of your bond, most of what you had being paying was contributing to interest.

How I plan to get money back: Discovery Vitality together with FNB currently offers a home loan. This gives you a chance to re-negotiate your interest rate. Also, depending on your Vitality status, you qualify for up to 10% of your monthly bond payment back as cash per month, up to a maximum of R1000. That means that if I was paying R10 000 into my bond, I will get R1000 back to do with as I please – which for me is putting it back into my bond. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

In Search of Wealth

Being a home owner has made me aware of ways to save money in the home purchasing arena. There are definitely some things I would do differently next time around, some things that the banks don't tell you, some things you figure out as you go along.

My search for wealth is actually a process of eliminating unnecessary costs and trying to overcome credit card and other debt, searching for cheaper car insurance, life cover and the like, using a Discovery Credit card to get money back on my monthly purchases, etc., etc..

Following Amanda's theme of a series of blog posts, I will do the same and try to keep you coming back for more tips on how to save a few rands here and there.

The Bucket List

I've been quiet, I've been busy, stressed, caught up, suffocating, lazy, pre-occupied and far too tired to blog in months.

In the beginning of the year I drew up a list of things I wanted to achieve for this year. Feeble things to others but significant things to me, health and wellness, language, learning, etc.

It's generally going well, though i have not yet got the 6-pack I wanted. Started kick boxing, cycling a little more though not much else -It's halfway through the year, though I need to start picking up and doing more of what I want.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Now in Orlando, FL

My body is confused, jet-lagged, tired, exhausted. I'm not altogether sure how I feel right now, but its evident - from the bags under my eyes, to my lethargy and waking up at 3am, which would equate to around 10am in South African time.

Well - can you blame me? The trip from SA to Frankfurt was some 10 hours long. On my arrival, I had to set my watch back an hour. Even with this reset - the sun didn't come out until around 9am.

Thoughts on the German Pretzel
For the first time yesterday (at least I think it was yesterday - it could have been tomorrow, but I'm not entirely sure what today is...) I had a German pretzel. I walked around Frankfurt Airport for several hours, passed the same preztel stand numerous times and had been enticed - not by its shape, but at it's size. Let me describe the flavour - imagine rough sea salt on fairly dry bread. Or like pretzels that you find at the shops - but saltier. They make you thirsty and thats why Germans have beer!

Thoughts on Starbucks
Ok, ok, I had to try Starbucks coffee! I could not fly 20 hours and not have Starbucks, right. Imagine it like this - The finest coffee beans from Brazil, Costa Rica and Colombia - done to, what coffee beans have done to them - ground, then have hot water passed through them. No Sugar, no milk and really, very hot - lots of caffeine, cause I'm really buzzing at the moment.

Thoughts on Pizza
Pizza Hut right here at the hotel, sell personal pizza. It's a pizza for one, but really deep, lots of cheese with salami on the top. The whole thing is like greasy cheese on a deep oily donut without a hole, topped with salami.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Boiled Eggs and Chopsticks

Boiled eggs and chopsticks seemed like a really nice title for a blog post. Now however, as I put finger to keyboard, good ideas seem to escape me.

Let me speak about the idea for a minute and where it sparked from. I was at the shopping centre the other day and felt a little bit adventurous. I wanted to try some Sushi. I have tried Sushi on a previous occasion, but, I lack the whole Sushi culture thing. I'm a small town coloured boy - and all I've ever known was bunny chows and fried chips. I don't know the names of the sandwich thingies, the seaweed things or even the rolled salmon things. So, being brave I decided to sample a random pre-packed selection of raw-fish Sush goodness. I ran off home, all very excited and hungry too. I dipped the first piece into the soya sauce and very delicately applied some wasabi using the chopsticks provided.

The explosions of flavour were awesome - yet still I couldn't see what all the hype is about - so I faked it!

That should explain the 'chopstick' part of the title.

The following day I thought that I would employ my culinary talents and create some mean boiled eggs. I did so, boiling those eggs to perfection.

I did the whole 'crack the egg open with the teaspoon move' mushed it all up and applied it to some bread. Boiled egg on bread, just like bunny chow, this is what I'm more au fait with. This is the life I know... :)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hello World

I know that I've been very scarce lately, looking back, I don't really know why. I did experience a tremendous amount of writers block, which I still seem to be suffering from, in spite of it however, i thought that I would just get this one post out.

More Travel: I want this year to be full of travel adventures for me. I was bitten last year, by the proverbial travel bug on my trip to Holland. I notice that the people with the most interesting stories are the ones that have lived out of the country or have done much travel abroad. I want to sit in a bar over a pint of Guinness one day, talk of tales of helping migrant workers cross the borders out of oppression... or something that sounds vaguely entertaining or even

Losing money: I have been trading forex online with some forex website i found last year. Things in this department have not been altogether successful. As i type this, I am US$ 8 down - not good, especially since i was down $ 25 dollars on Friday. I know and understand the risks, I am not the gambling type, but i remain hopeful.

Making friends: I feel a need to know more people. I like people and I like going out with people. Problem however, is that all my guy friends seem to be getting married. That means less boys nights for me, due to more romancing from them... Go boys...

Heres wishing a great 2008 (albeit Feb) for all those who may come across this blog, regualr and non-regular alike.