Daily Archive: February 8, 2013


Fire Destroys Offices of Israeli Soccer Team

The police suspect arson in the blaze at the offices of Beitar Jerusalem, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned protests by soccer fans over the addition of the Muslim players.


EU budget cut ushers in austerity for first time in union’s history

Northern Europeans spearheaded by David Cameron and Angela Merkel win the day, but UK contribution still set to rise

The age of austerity caught up with the European Union on Friday when a gruelling nonstop 26-hour negotiation resulted in agreement to slash the new seven-year EU budget by 3.3%, or €32bn, the first reduced budget in the union’s history.

The outcome, after a failed earlier summit in November, was seen as a notable victory for David Cameron, who spearheaded a north European campaign for budget cuts, and a defeat for his polar opposite in the bargaining, President François Hollande of France, whose pleas for a relaxation of austerity and for more spending to spur growth were rejected.

“The British public can be proud that we have cut the seven-year credit card limit for the EU for the first time ever,” Cameron said. “People do understand that the major problem we have had is the credit card limit for the EU has been too high. It has always been pushed up and at last someone’s come along and said this has got to stop.”

But Cameron acknowledged that, while the EU budget as a whole would be reduced, Britain’s own contributions to the EU would increase. He blamed this on changes to the UK’s EU rebate, introduced by Tony Blair in 2005, which ensure that the 12 new member states have a partial exemption from the compensatory payments to Britain.

“Our contributions were always going to be going up but they will be going up by less,” he said.

Cameron’s satisfaction contrasted with Hollande’s downbeat tone: “Europe has not won as much as it could have.”

In the short term, Hollande managed to protect his key constituency, French farmers, by securing a €1bn increase in the contested common agricultural policy compared with figures proposed in November. The CAP took up by far the biggest chunk of the new budget, 39%, but overall farm subsidies and spending are being cut by €50bn compared with the seven-year period ending this year as its share of the total comes down progressively.

Following three years of financial crisis that threw the survival of the euro into doubt and triggered swingeing cuts in public spending and services in many EU member states, Cameron argued that the EU budget could not be immune from the austerity. The summit agreed to cut the budget from more than €992bn in the current period to €960bn, or 1% of EU gross domestic product, the figure stipulated by the strongest politician in the EU, Angela Merkel.

This figure refers to spending pledges, while Cameron opted to focus on the lower figure of €908.4bn, agreed as the supposed ceiling on what may be spent. The gap between the two sets of figures is usual.

France sought to get the second figure increased to €913bn, triggering an overnight clash between London and Paris, with Germany cast in the role of mediator and ultimately siding with Cameron, leaving Hollande looking weak, not for the first time, at an EU summit.

After snubbing a bargaining session with Cameron and Merkel as the summit opened on Thursday afternoon, Hollande later conceded. Unusually, senior French officials paid tribute to the PM.

“He’s a true negotiator with a lot of tenacity,” said a French official of Cameron. “At one point [Hollande] said there needs to be a compromise … Cameron did not need an agreement because the rebate is safe.”

The crucial swing factor was Merkel, who broadly sided with Cameron, while Hollande decided against leading a troika of France, Italy, and Spain.

Given Cameron’s recent speech on Europe, committing the UK to an in-out referendum by 2017 if he’s in office, there was much rancour that his views should prevail when it is not clear if Britain will be in the EU by 2020.

But French officials, seeking to talk up extra funding Paris would gain, also risked shooting themselves in the feet. The summit agreed to establish a new €6bn fund for mitigating the worst EU areas of youth unemployment of over 25%. The French officials said they would also get some of this money, effectively admitting that parts of France were as badly hit as crisis-ridden Greece.

If Cameron won and Hollande lost, there were many who argued that Europe’s future prospects also lost out in an intensive bout of horsetrading that prioritised national and vested interests over smart investment geared to improving the EU’s flagging competitiveness in the global contest.

National lobbies were bought off essentially by ransacking planned funding for digitalisation, broadband investment, hi-tech, research, transport networks, and infrastructure.

Compared to figures presented in November, when a summit failed to agree a budget, some €50bn was raided from these areas in order to accommodate competing national claims on the two biggest items in the budget – the CAP and the cohesion funds that go mainly to eastern Europe and the less developed parts of the union.

Unlike national budgets, the EU budget cannot be financed by borrowing and deficit spending is outlawed. The €52bn gap between pledged spending and the spending cap insisted on by Britain had critics predicting trouble ahead.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, said the budget figures would break EU law and warned that the parliament would refuse to endorse them. The budget needs to be passed by an absolute majority. The four biggest parliamentary caucuses promptly denounced the deal. France sounded supportive of a rejection.

Cameron’s drive was particularly aimed at eurocrats, with the PM also demanding savings of up to €7bn in the salaries, pensions and administration costs of the EU institutions. The issue is symbolic – the costs are only 4% of the budget. The administrative budget was finally cut by only €1bn.

European UnionDavid CameronAngela MerkelEuropeFrançois HollandeEurozone crisisEconomicsIan TraynorNicholas Wattguardian.co.uk


Carnival of Financial Planning

On a blog that takes great pleasure in offering great financial planning information, I’m excited to be hosting this week’s Carnival of Financial Planning. :)

Be sure to check out some of these great reads:


Anna @ BryanMaltier.com writes How To Save Money With Coupons – Couponing may still be one of the best ways to start paying closer attention to your budget by spending less and saving more. If you aren’t sure where to start on improving your personal finances, think about your consumption and find ways to cut back using coupons.

Jules Wilson @ Fat Guy,Skinny Wallet writes Plumbing And The Family Tree: The Roots Run Deep – We often have resources close to home. There are probably people in your family, your church, job, or even friends that can help save you time and a lot of money.

Chris @ Well Kept Wallet writes How to Work From Anywhere – Have you ever wanted to be able to travel and have the ability to work from any place in the world? Here are ten tips to help you make that happen.

Mike @ The Financial Blogger writes How Are You Investing in Yourself? – Are you putting any money into your future income?

TTMK @ Tie the Money Knot writes How Much Do You Really Need in Your Emergency Fund? – We all get that having an emergency fund is common personal finance advice. But how much should you actually have in that fund?

Gary @ Gajizmo.com writes Advantages and Disadvantages of Mutual Funds – Mutual funds are among the most popular investment vehicles in the marketplace and represent a multi-trillion dollar industry, but do retail investors know the pros and cons when deciding if investing in a fund is best for them? In this article, we analyze and explain the advantages and disadvantages of mutual funds to help you determine if investing in one makes sense with your financial needs and goals.


Robert @ My Multiple Incomes writes My Guide to Finding and Hiring a Virtual Assistant – Since this has been one of my most popular topics, I’ve also created a total Virtual Assistant Guide to help anyone find the tools that they need to hire the right help and the right time. Here’s my guide to finding a virtual assistant for your needs.

SFB @ Simple Finance Blog writes 5 Deadly Finance Mistakes New Graduates MUST Avoid – Here are the five deadly finance mistakes that new graduates should avoid, and what they should do instead to set themselves up for financial success.

Jen @ PF Carny writes Steps to Determine If You Are Ready to Open Your Own Business – If you are working for “the man” at a 9 to 5 job, you may dream of nothing more than venturing out on your own and being your own boss. This is the true American dream, and in this age of the Internet, it has become a reality for many people.


Holly @ Club Thrifty writes Credit Card Churning: A Year in Review – Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a credit card rewards junkie. Here is how we used credit card churning to make over $2,000 this year!

Tushar @ Start Investing Money writes Editions TV Show Looks at 4 Reasons to Buy a Second Home – Editions TV with Terry Bradshaw looked at a few reasons to avoid buying a second home. Now Editions takes a look a four reasons you should consider buying one.

Crystal @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff writes I Don’t Believe in “Good Debt” – I simply don’t think of any debt as good debt. This doesn’t mean that I treat all debt the same, but I don’t see any of it as a good thing.

Scott Skyles @ Mortgage1a.com writes How to Get a Mortgage When You’re Self-employed – Since the real estate crisis and financial meltdown in 2008, it has been harder than ever to secure a loan. Banks have drastically changed their lending polices, making it seemingly impossible for self-employed individuals to secure a mortgage.

Eddie @ Finance Fox writes Do You Carry The Wrong Credit Card? – This question applies to literally millions of Canadians – 85 per cent of us carry a credit card, according to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Martin @ Studenomics writes How Can You Kill That Annoying Credit Card Debt? – Every tool and resource that you need to crush debt!

Mary Rhodes @ http://www.finetunefinances.com/ writes Is There Such Thing as Good Debt? – “Debt” is a word many of us have learned to fear. But having debt, to a certain degree, is not always a bad thing. There is such thing as good debt versus bad debt, and you may be in a position to put your mind at ease if your debt falls into the positive category.

Grayson @ Debt Roundup writes What Not to do When You’re In Serious Financial Trouble – If you are in a financial problem, here are some things that you should not do in order to make your financial issue easier.


Jules Wilson @ Faithful With a Few writes What I Learned About Contentment from Watching House Hunters – It doesn’t matter whether we are thinking about our home, car, electronics, job, clothing, or even relationships; we need to be grateful and thankful for what we have.

Mr. MWD @ My Wealth Desire writes The World’s Best Personal Finance Magazines – Reading personal finance magazines could change your view about money and could help you improve your family finances. World’s best personal finance magazines provide a wide range of financial information and tricks to achieve your financial goal. If you want to improve your financial status and to have a financial freedom or stay updated on the latest opportunities, being surrounded by personal finance or investment reading materials like magazines is good for you.

BARBARA FRIEDBERG @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance writes LIVE A WEALTHY LIFE; MY DAY AT HABITAT FOR HUMANITY – Wealthy living through service to others; more money too.

Aloysa @ My Broken Coin writes What No One Ever Tells You About Costa Rica – Get my personal inside scoop on my vacation to Costa Rica, and things to watch out for and beware of!

Michelle @ The Shop My Closet Project writes I’m using my SH$T January-a no more buying product manifesto – read my no more buying product manifesto!

Robert @ The College Investor writes Closed-End Funds: The Ins and Outs – Let’s look at the closed-end fund category and explore why investors might choose to invest in a closed-end fund over other funds or sector ETFs.

Ashley @ Money Talks Coaching writes The B Word: How To Create And Use A Budget That Will Change Your Life – I wrote an e-book! It’s called The B word: How to create and use a budget that will change your life. It’s on Amazon for a mere 2.9

Don @ MoneySmartGuides writes 3 Ways to Save Money (A Lot of Money!) – I’m sure you are familiar with the “latte-factor”, which was popularized by David Bach in his Automatic Millionaire book series.

Pete @ Intelligent Speculator writes Adding Debt To Increase My Assets – Is it smart to use debt to increase assets?

Daniel @ Sweating the Big Stuff writes How Much Did We Spend On Our Honeymoon? – We were planning on spending $3,500 on our honeymoon. We missed by…a bit.

Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy writes Time to establish financial and savings goals for 2013. – Yep, now is the time to establish financial and savings goals!

Suba @ Broke Professionals writes Planning My European Vacation: Getting A Passport – After revisiting my financial priorities to put traveling at the top, I’m ready to plan my European vacation. Step #1? Getting a passport!

Super Saver @ My Wealth Builder writes A Bullish Argument for U.S. Stocks – Returning to historical average valuation in 2013 will be bullish for stocks.

Jen @ Master the Art of Saving writes Saving Up Money To Pay Cash For A Car – So how in the world am I going to be able to save that much money in such a short time? Well, I’m not certain that I will, but I’ll definitely give it a go. Here’s my plan:

Maria @ The Money Principle writes Take charge of your finances: focus on ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’ – Making decisions about finances by satisfying needs is a long standing mantra in personal finance. Here I argue that mastering wants is the way to go.

harry campbell @ Your Personal Finance Pro writes Reader Question on Investing for Beginners: Betterment.com Review – Betterment.com is a site that’s been around for a while and they offer a low cost investment strategy for beginners. What I like most about Betterment is that they keep it simple and they don’t invest in anything too complex. There are definitely some financial advisors out there who will put you into a bunch of crazy funds and tilt towards certain sectors in order to justify a 1-2% fee. But most of these antics won’t do anything to improve returns.

Luke @ Learn Bonds writes Rolling Down the Yield Curve: How to Make Money by Waiting – One of the easiest and time tested strategies for making money investing in bonds is called rolling down the yield curve. Here's what you need to know.

Amanda L Grossman @ Frugal Confessions writes How to Host a Biggest Loser Competition at Work – While cleaning out the top drawer of my filing cabinet at work last week—I shamefully could no longer open the drawer nor close it—I came across several

Invest It Wisely @ Invest It Wisely writes What Does It Take to Emotionally Succeed as an Entrepreneur? Here’s What I’ve Learned, One Year After Quitting My Job and Taking the Leap of Faith – It’s been about one year since I took my leap of faith and entered the world of self employment, so what does it take emotionally to succeed?

Joshua Thompson @ Becoming Your Own Bank writes Bonds Outperform Stocks Over 30 Years – Bonds outperformed stocks over the last 30 years. What does that mean for your portfolio?


Chris @ BudgetWays.com writes How To Save Money With Cheap Car Insurance – Most people spend at least a thousand dollars on car insurance, and if you have kids or multiple cars, you’re probably spending at least twice that. Learning how to buy the right type and amount of coverage, while applying for discounts is essential to saving yourself a few hundred dollars a year with cheap car insurance.


Lance @ Money Life and More writes Am I Crazy? Not Taking the Optimal Financial Path May Be the Right Decision – As a personal finance blogger I often pressure myself to make the best financial decisions possible so I can be a good role model to my readers. However, at times I feel like I need to do something I want rather than what makes the most sense financially. Read on to see what has been occupying my thoughts all week.

Mike @ Personal Finance Journey writes Overseas Investment – Australian Real Estate Market – Easy ideas on investing in Australian Real Estate. Is this right for you and how it can benefit your financial plan.

SBB @ Simple Budget Blog writes Simplify Budget: Ways to Lower Your Transportation Costs – In an effort to simplify our budget and make managing our finances easier, I’ve looked for new ways to reduce our household spending on transportation. The majority of our transportation costs comes from fuel and car maintenance, but I know everyone’s situation is different.


Jon @ Novel Investor writes H&R Block At Home Review – H&R Block is one of the world’s largest tax service providers with offices all over the country. We breakdown their H&R Block at Home online tax software.

Michael Kitces @ Nerd’s Eye View writes Understanding Marginal Tax Rate Vs Effective Tax Rate And When To Use Each – Effective financial decision making requires accounting for both economic and tax consequences. Unfortunately, though, many people are confused about which tax rate to use… so this article lays out exactly which ones to use and when!

TDB @ Tax Deduction Blog writes The New 411 on Job Search Tax Deductions – What expenses are deductible for your new job search? Here is a handy list of 7 guidelines that makes your job search expenses tax deductible

MMD @ My Money Design writes Is the Conventional System to Create Wealth Rigged? – Is following conventional financial advice a rigged game? There’s got to be a better way to create wealth beyond simply saving for the next 30 years!

Joe @ Retire By 40 writes Should you invest in Target Date Funds? – Target date funds can be a good investment for investors who are in the accumulation phase. Once an investor approach retirement and have more assets, then a better option would be working with a financial adviser to come up with a personalize plan.