There’s only so much money in the world and investors move it around between a number of investment options including stocks and shares, property and gold or other precious metals.

With the stock market and housing market taking a big hit the price of gold rocketed as investors rushed to put their money somewhere it could make a profit. Now, with the stock market recovered and prices rising the price of gold is dropping.

Down from a high of over $1900 per ounce to under $1600, a drop of around 16%, it seems likely that as stock prices continue to rise the price of gold will keep going down.

Please remind me the next time the stock market crashes to quickly buy some gold – thanks!

“Pegasus Global Holdings” – not to be confused with “Pegasus – Global Holdings” (note the hypen) have proposed the building of the “Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation”; a people-less town with complete infrastructure to test such high tech devices as “… automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets”

The company barely seems to exist, the executive bios make great claims that simply don’t seem to stand up – googling the executives finds virtually nothing.

Their head office is at “1875 ”I” Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20006” which isn’t e real office, it’s a fully serviced virtual office provided by Regus (http://www.regus.com/virtualoffices/us/Herndon.html), designed to make it look impressive. Their Virginia address is also a Regus managed virtual office (http://www.regus.com/locations/US/VA/Reston/VirginiaRestonRestonTownCenterI.htm) and their London office is also a managed office owned by a company named “Executive Offices Group” (http://www.executiveoffices.co.uk/west-end-mayfair-belgravia-serviced-offices/st-jamess-square-sw1/)

So this apparently huge global company doesn’t have a single real office and their executives are virtually untraceable – they don’t even have a Wikipedia page for the company. They do exist and have a real product for countering IED threats called the Jukebox Alpha but according to released military documents “As a result of market research and testing of Pegasus’s device in December 2008, the Army found that Pegasus did not have a device that would satisfy the agency’s technical requirements. In fact, the Army found that Pegasus’s Jukebox Alpha Upgrade device could not counter most of the threat bands that the Army required” – http://www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/4004223.pdf

The whole concept for the project is flawed – by removing people from the equation you’ve removed the most important component of the test – the human factor.

There are some things people will / can give up and some things they wont when times are hard. Some things are much harder than others and even much more inconvenient. Since most phone users are on set plans it’s not even very easy to reduce your costs, you can go onto a lower plan but you don’t normally save all that much and one month where you go over your minutes can wipe out the savings.

Not buying a new car is easy, cutting down the number of times you go out is easy, buying less new clothes / accessories is easy.

Right now you want to be working for a phone company, an internet / TV provider or as a mechanic. However, as soon as the recession is over there will be a huge boom in car sales as all the people who have been holding off buying a car rush out to replace their ancient 5 year old cars. Also since a load of auto sales places have gone bust the remaining ones will do even better.

For businesses
1. Layoff bad staff – people who cost more than they benefit the business. If someone’s really expensive but provides more benefit than they cost then keep them – it’s all about the ROI.
2. Make sure people know the formula for who stays and who doesn’t – make it clear that the company needs them to pull together to get through this dip.
3. Re-negotiate everything; whatever you currently pay for electricity, phones, paperclips, internet access, outsourced services… Now is the time to renegotiate a lower rate – it’s harder to compete if your competitors have lower costs.
4. Set targets – you should do this anyway but during these times it’s important to have clear targets and goals, let people know what’s expected of them.
5. Cut costs…
– Print reduction project, encourage users to print less
– power down anything unused including PC’s overnight
– investigate free software alternatives – 7zip is better than winzip and it’s completely free
– reduce meetings – meetings should have agendas and clear objectives, more productive meetings leads to less meetings (don’t make people stand)
– If your sales go down 10% then your sales staff levels should go down 10% too; if required, make it quite clear that the bottom performer goes at the end of the month – you’re not a charity.
6. Retarget your product – create a sales pitch that explains why your product / service is even more valuable during a recession and get the word out now.

For Individuals
1.Blog about surviving the recession – there will be more unemployed people to read your blog and they will be interested in the recession – how to save money, how to get a job etc
2. Cut costs now – save just in case – if you don’t lose your job then you can have one heck of a party / holiday when the recession is over, if you do then you will have a bit of a buffer to get by on.
3. Read blogs about living cheaply 🙂 – you can survive on a heck of a lot less than you realise.
4. Go through your bank statements and see where the money goes – trim where possible.
5. If you have debt then renegotiate rates with lenders – most people don’t realize this is possible – not always, but sometimes and certainly worth a try.

On February 17, 2009, analog TV broadcasting will stop and many older TV’s that get their signal over the air will need a converter box.

Do you know anyone in your family that isn’t ready? – have you got them a Christmas present yet?

Problems solved.

Reverse Mortgages

October 17, 2008

You have a home appraised as $400k, you get a reverse mortgage on it based on this value, now it’s only worth $200k
Where did the money go

You can’t take it with you and your kids certainly don’t deserve it – they’ll put you in a home at the first chance they get.

If you were thinking of doing it, now is still an OK time, from what I understand, when the value of your property goes back up (it will eventually) you can take out a second reverse mortgage for the difference.

…. or are you just a failure?

I’m seeing and hearing the phrase “I’ve been set up for failure” more and more; my take on it is that it’s a way for people to pre-plan an excuse for when they finally do fail.
In the past people would describe a difficult task as a difficult task, now if the task isn’t simple they claim they are being “set up for failure”.

If you hear someone using this phrase then it should be a red flag – people who aim for failure are usually pretty good at meeting their targets.