Mortgage Loans, Rates and FHA Loans

I saw something interesting in the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released by The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) last week. This survey indicates the application volume of mortgage loans, and it decreased 3.1% from the earlier week. This decrease in the application volume came at the back of a couple of weeks of gains, and despite the fact that mortgage rates decreased in the week.

Continue reading “Mortgage Loans, Rates and FHA Loans”

Bing cashback

Bing Shopping has a feature that lets you earn cashback on certain items. Currently, this option is only open to people who have a valid mailing address in the US, and are over 18 years of age.

In order to use Bing Cashback, you need to open a cashback account using your Windows Live ID or your email address. I used my Gmail id to open an account. It took about five minutes to open the account and add some additional information to it.

Next you search for stuff on Bing, click on the result to buy from the store, login to your Bing cashback account, and do your shopping. Pretty much what you’d normally do, except there is an extra step of logging in to your account.

Not everything you buy through Bing will be eligible for cashback, and only search results that have the “Bing Cashback” icon next to it are eligible. The interesting thing here is that the same thing may have a cashback at one store, but not at another.

Continue reading “Bing cashback”

Gold ETF in India

This post takes a look at the gold ETFs that are available to Indian investors. Right now there are six such gold ETFs in India.

Name Expense Ratio Pricing Per Unit Inception Date
Benchmark Mutual Fund – Gold Benchmark Exchange Traded Scheme 1% Approximately 1 gram of gold 08 – March 2007
UTI Mutual Fund – UTI Gold Exchange Traded Fund 2.5% Approximately 1 gram of gold 3rd Jan 2007
Kotak Mutual Fund – Gold Exchange Traded Fund 2.5% Approximately 1 gram of gold 21st June 2007
Reliance Mutual Fund – Gold Exchange Traded Fund 2.5% Approximately 1 gram of gold 1st November 2007
Quantum Gold Fund – Exchange Traded Fund 1.25% Approximately half a gram of gold 27th February 2008
SBI Mutual Fund – SBI Gold ETF 2.50% Approximately 1 gram of gold 30th March 2009

Update: Corrected inception date of GoldBees. Thanks to Kartik Shah for pointing it out.

Interesting Reads: 6th September 2009

This week’s post of the week is Paul Krugman’s longish article (7,000 words) titled: How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? If you don’t have time to read 7,000 words on economics, then here is a summary type post from James Kwak on that article.

Other interesting articles:

Why ETF Marketing is hurting investors by The Dividend Guy

How to Stop Printer Ink Cartridges from Smearing Your Budget by Dough Roller

Ever Bank Review @ The Digerati Life

How to get a credit card that’s right for you @ The Smarter Wallet

When will I be a millionaire @ Banker Saver

Debt Reduction: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish @ Five Cent Nickel

11 Dumb Ways to Get in Debt @ Financial Highway

Kindle App on iPhone

There is a Kindle app on the iPhone which I find really useful, and something that I have been using quite a bit since I discovered it about a week ago.

The app is free and gives you access to the whole host of Kindle books on your iPhone. If you have a Kindle, it will allow you to download all your e-book purchases to your phone, in addition to the Kindle. It doesn’t allow you to download magazines or newspapers, but I may have just missed seeing that option.

The most useful feature of the app is that it stores your last read page, and when you open the book again, it opens up right where you left reading it. That’s a pretty neat feature, and I thank the designers for it every time I open a book.

The books on the iPhone Kindle don’t have a page number; instead they have a “Location” near the bottom of the screen. I still haven’t figured out what this is, but I find the lack of page numbers rather annoying. I can’t put my finger on what it is that makes me want to see a page number so much, but I really do miss them.

Another great thing about the Kindle app on iPhone is that it gives you access to a lot of free e-books. I love P.G. Wodehouse, and many of  his books are free, I also found Anna Karenina and Pride and Prejudice for free, and it looks like a lot of these classics are free or really cheap on the Kindle.

This app allows you to read a preview of a book before buying it, and I like that feature too. I previewed Myth of the Rational Market by Justin Fox, and ended up buying it.

Buying something by mistake is very easy, and this is something you should be careful about. I think it happens a lot because right after you buy something, Amazon asks you if you bought it by mistake. There is an option to cancel the purchase, but I don’t know how smooth that is.

The one thing I haven’t done yet is to read an e-book on it for a few hours at a stretch. So far, I have read in short bursts, and that is quite a pleasant experience. But, I really doubt that this little screen will prove to be a good substitute for a real book on a lazy Sunday.

The app is free, and several good books on it are free too, so if you have an iPhone, this is a good app to download. I have never seen a Kindle, so I don’t know how it stacks up against that, and of course, nothing can match the pleasure of a real book in your hand (yet).

5 Things to Remember Before Purchasing Your First Investment Property

This is a guest post by Rose Jensen

Stock and equity investments can be unstable, leading to many sleepless nights glued to the ever-changing market figures. On the other hand, property investments have a long history of stability, and may be the best choice for first time investors to make. If you’re thinking about investing in property, be sure that you are prepared for the work that will be needed to ensure that the investment is a successful one.

  1. Know that it will be a long term investment: A “short term” investment for property is generally five to seven years, so do not go into property investment thinking that you will sell it in the next year. To get the most out of the selling cost, you will have to wait, so decide if you have the patience to devote about five years to your property investment. Buying and selling rates also go through regular fluctuations, with prices peaking and then dipping about every seven years. Plan your purchase and selling accordingly.
  2. Get a financial advisor: To make sure that you can afford to spend the money for the investment, get some help from the experts. Consult financial advisors to talk you through what your investment will require in terms of time, renovations, and money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you do not fully understand because you should never make a haphazard investment.
  3. Only invest your capital: Never invest money that you cannot afford to lose. While you will not necessarily lose tons of money if you make a smart investment, it is always better to keep your hands off the money you need today and only invest the “extra” capital you earn. After all, that is what capital is for – growing your future wealth. Do not touch your living money to purchase any kind of investment, no matter how much you think you can make from it.
  4. Craft a plan of action: Decide what kind of property you want to invest in, how much you will pay for it, how much you will spend on it, and when, if ever, you plan to sell it. Because real estate is so localized with prices often dependent on location, look around and do your research as you plan your next moves. Think about the type of tenants you want to attract and plan accordingly.
  5. Choose your property wisely: As mentioned above, price depends largely on location. While some properties will have amazing prices, they may not be promising investments due to the local economy or location. Plan to invest in properties that are part of a diverse economy to avoid industry-specific busts, and also look for places that are established and thriving rather than a relatively new place. There is usually a decade-long settling period for new suburbs, so do not count on the suburb’s initial characteristics and tenants to necessarily be the final result.

This post was contributed by Rose Jensen, who writes about the online degree program. She welcomes your feedback at Rose.Jensen28@

China ETF List

Here is a list of ETFs that will let you get exposure to China.

iShares FTSE / Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI): This ETF invests in an index that tracks the 25 largest and most liquid securities available to foreign investors in China.

iShares FTSE China (HK Listed) Index Fund (FCHI): The FCHI China ETF invests in large and mid cap companies in China available to foreign investors. This is an index fund, and all the securities available through this fund are also listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Continue reading “China ETF List”

Oil India IPO

Oil India IPO: Open and Close Date

The IPO opens on September 7th and closes on September 11th.

Price band of the IPO

The price band of Oil India has been fixed between Rs. 950 and Rs. 1,050.

IPO Grade

CRISIL has graded Oil India 4 out 5, which indicates above average fundamentals.

Business of Oil India

Oil India is the country’s second largest state run explorer and produces 3.5 million tons oil annually. It is engaged in exploration, development, production and transportation of crude oil and natural gas onshore in India. Oil India has also been accorded the status of Mini Ratna by the Government of India. Just to keep things in perspective though, ONGC, which is also controlled by the government is ten times the size of Oil India.

Continue reading “Oil India IPO”