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]]> http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/04/04/let-them-be-kids-a-bit-longer/feed/ 11 Buy viagra from canada » Cialis from canadian pharmacy | Lowest Price Guaranteed! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/01/23/dont-be-afraid-of-the-economy-and-do-your-best/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/01/23/dont-be-afraid-of-the-economy-and-do-your-best/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2008 05:40:31 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/01/23/dont-be-afraid-of-the-economy-and-do-your-best/ Apparently some of my friends and family were wondering where I was the past couple days. I was not online at all and my phone was out of reach. Well, I was actually at a company sponsored retreat for all of the engineering staff and it was absolutely awesome. We stayed at a camp ground in Pescadero called Costanoa and even though the surroundings were beautiful it was raining the entire time. However, all of our activities were indoors so it didn’t matter. One of my favorite professors from college came to our retreat and gave a week’s worth of lectures from his computer security class and I actually learned a lot. After dinner there were a myriad of fun activities including Scrabble, Belgian beer tasting, a poker tournament, and lots of arm wrestling. (I won the Scrabble and bested a Stanford grad and an MIT grad! Berkeley FTW in Scrabble!) The next day we had a security contest where we were all given an open source project to hack. My team didn’t win but it was still a lot of fun. Amidst all the fun our CTO gave a speech on the economy of all things, and I thought it is interesting enough to share.

Our CTO is a very smart guy that has been around the Valley for many many years (possibly longer than I’ve been alive). He said that he has been through many economic downturns and booms in this crazy place. As he tells it, when he attended college here the semiconductor industry was booming and highway 101 had traffic from 8am to 11pm. Then all those jobs were outsourced and the Valley was quiet once again. Then came the famous dot com bubble and bust. He recounted a conference he attended back in 2002 right after the burst. He and several other people were scheduled to speak to a room full of newly unemployed engineers. The first speaker was a recruiter, and he told the room full of people that there are absolutely no jobs, and advised people not to talk to him to look for positions because there is none. The second speaker was someone who was sort of an expert on real estate and basically told everyone that they will see a housing downturn and lose their homes. The third person was some sort of reporter and also said something depressing. Our CTO was last and he thought to himself, whatever I do I have to say something positive to this crowd of people. So he went up there and asked everyone, “How many of you are unemployed engineers?” Practically everyone raises their hands. Then he asks, “How many of you were doing mundane work like getting data from database and displaying it on a website and got paid obscene amounts of money for it?” A large percentage of the room raised hands. Then he says, “you know what, this is how you can fix our problem. I am sure there is someone smart enough in here to start something truly interesting, and all it takes is one of you to start a company that is amazing and not mundane and the rest of us can work for you.” Supposedly, that is the year our company grew from an idea to a band of the best engineers and researchers. Then he went on about topics such as the mortgage crisis and globalization, and here are my take aways from his talk:

buy viagra from canada – I came back from the retreat and the stock market was going crazy because of the Fed’s extremely large interest rate cut and various economic problems. The CTO did say that this is going on because of a lot of fear. There is a lot people who are afraid of what is happening to the banks and what is happening to businesses, but in the end things will get better because of innovation and increased productivity. Most of the fear people have is because of uncertainty. There is no clear indicator that everything is alright so there is panic. The right thing to do is to be innovative and try to profit.

buy viagra from canadaThe CTO said that the best time to staff up a company and rent office space is in times of economic downturns. If a company has money, then they are getting a bargain because people are more willing to accept lower wages and commercial real estate rents drop drastically. So if you have cash during a downturn, then you are able to snatch up many bargains. As I wrote in a , I will be on the lookout for sales in stocks or real estate. buy viagra from canada

buy viagra from canadaHe said that the world has been changed so much by technology that globalization is no longer an option. Every company and country needs to establish footholds globally to become big. Even though people are always complaining about immigrants in America and jobs being outsourced to India, these things are necessary and probably good for everyone in the long run.

buy viagra from canadabuy viagra from canadaThe CTO asked if we were afraid that we would be outsourced, and only one person raised his hand. He thought that was a good sign because we are a great group of engineers. He further said that if you keep yourself at the top of the pack then you can demand to be paid well and you will not be outsourced. I think that is good advice because there is no need to sell yourself short and if you keep on improving yourself, you should be able to charge a higher price. buy viagra from canada

buy viagra from canadaThis isĀ  something the executive officers say at almost every speech they do. They always say that they hired people smarter than them to create a great company. I think it is great advice because I learn a lot from those who are smarter than me, and in turn I become smarter. There is also a chance that one of them will start a company one day that is the next Google or the next Microsoft and I can go along for the ride.

Anyway, I thought the CTO’s speech was very motivational and candid. I am sure he can make a living by hosting success seminars, but instead he does funny things like making movies and cheering us on. So once again, do not be afraid and do the best you can this year.

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Buy viagra from canada » Cialis from canadian pharmacy | Lowest Price Guaranteed! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/21/returning-to-china-and-the-surreal-and-dangerous-feeling-of-being-wealthy/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/21/returning-to-china-and-the-surreal-and-dangerous-feeling-of-being-wealthy/#comments Fri, 21 Dec 2007 15:17:39 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/21/returning-to-china-and-the-surreal-and-dangerous-feeling-of-being-wealthy/ Something I found quite interesting when I visit China is that a lot of people think foreigners are automatically rich, and if you’re a Chinese expatriate people would think you’re loaded, too. When I am immersed in that environment sometimes I do feel I am wealthy and I tend to spend more money than I should. The exchange rate makes me feel rich in a mathematical manner, and I don’t calculate the prices to US dollars extremely accurately every time I buy something. As a coworker of mine says it, “it feels like I am spending monopoly money in China and I could buy so much more!”. Here are some of my stories about this phenomenon.

The first time I went back to China was in 1999. This was a full seven years after I left my home country and I was sixteen. I remember that my mom told me to not tell people that I am from America because they will try to rip me off. When we went back home we did some shopping, and we were buying quite a bit of stuff and the vendor was quite puzzled. She said to us, “you’re not Yangzhouese are you?” ( is the city I am from, the birthplace of Yangzhou/Yangchow fried rice). We both knew the merchant was an out of towner because she had an accent of another dialect. So my mom replied in fluent Yangzhouese, “can’t your tell by the way we speak that we’re really Yangzhouese? You’re the out of towner!” I thought it was funny that the way we spent money in our hometown marked us as tourists, and yet we had the essence of the locals because of our language.

The next time we went to China was 2006. China change so much in seven years and everything became much more expensive and the dollar has declined against the yuan, but this time we went with a tour group. We were inexperienced tourists and every time we were brought to a tourist trap shop we bought something. In Beijing my mom gave into sales pressure and bought a little statue for way more than it’s worth. She still blames us for letting her buy it today. I guess the problem is that this time they knew we were from America, and gave us the “special” high prices in the designated stores. The excitement of being back in China and having fun really got to us on that trip, and we went a bit overboard. Then again, I felt like I was supporting the economy of my homeland, and it wasn’t a bad thing.

The last time I went to China was shortly before I got married this year. My mother and I toured some of the most beautiful and remote places in China and I could write a lot more about this later. The people in these distant lands were so simple and beautiful and we bought a lot less things this time, but we were mostly happy with our finds. Then after the tour we went back home to Yangzhou and had dinner with friends and family. Of course my grandparents have told everyone how much money I make because they are proud of it. People were impressed because they always multiply the income by the exchange rate, and they don’t realize that we have fairly heavy income taxes and a high cost of living here. (in China there is still no income tax at this moment) It felt good to invite everyone to a very nice restaurant and pay for it out of my pocket because I am able to do it. Again, that feeling of being rich crept up.

It is dangerous to feel rich when you travel abroad to any country that has a currency that’s cheaper than the dollar because you can end up spending a lot and you will be noticed. It is better to lay low sometimes so you don’t get robbed or scammed. Additionally, I think what is worse is to feel superior to the people who have less than us. The next time I go back to China I will be with my hubby, and I will keep on reminding myself the reality of our life. We are not internet tycoons and we live a comfortable life, but we still need to be responsible with our money no matter which country we are in. It is so easy to get lost in the surreal surroundings of a foreign land and there is nothing wrong with having some fun, but just remember to count your blessings, and your spending.

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Buy viagra from canada » Cialis from canadian pharmacy | Lowest Price Guaranteed! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/19/what-type-of-economic-union-is-your-marriage-or-romantic-relationship/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/19/what-type-of-economic-union-is-your-marriage-or-romantic-relationship/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2007 18:14:26 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/19/what-type-of-economic-union-is-your-marriage-or-romantic-relationship/ During a recent lunch with my coworkers we discussed marriage and two guys voiced their opposition to the institution of marriage. They weren’t against the concept of being monogamous at all. One man said that he doesn’t like the fact that he has to register his marriage with the government. He really doesn’t mind having a longterm commitment to one woman and he isn’t against having a ceremony declaring his current live-in girlfriend as his wife, but he feels that it’s ridiculous that the government has to get into a private union such as marriage and charge additional taxes. Another man said that he doesn’t like the fact marriage has historically been a business deal where a woman becomes the property of a man. He says that marriage is still very much about the ownership of property and he just thinks it’s a really archaic custom where two people join to increase their wealth.

I think they both had valid points. Marriage is an economic union no matter how we slice it. In many cultures it is customary to marry someone in the same economic standing as you are. In China the saying for the compatibility of economic stature is “meng dang hu dui”, which literally translates to “the suitable door and the matching household”. In Arab countries it is also common for cousins to marry each other in order to keep wealth within the same family. I think in America it is more of an unspoken rule , but for the most part couples I know do come from fairly similar economic backgrounds. If one partner happens to be a lot poorer than the other they may be labeled as a “golddigger” or “mooch”.

Disregarding arranged marriages, I think one of the main reasons we tend to end up with people in our own economic echelon is that these people usually live in the same neighborhoods, have similar educational backgrounds, and have common social circles. Also, when two people get married it’s easier to adapt to a lifestyle that is familiar to both of them so having similar economic backgrounds is actually a good thing for a marriage. So in most cases where we marry laterally we have an economic union that is a partnership or merger of sorts. In such a marriage the two parties have equal economic clout in the household.

In cases where one person “marries up” to another, the economic dynamics is more like a buyout. Basically the partner with more money could hold more power over the less financially endowed partner. As my coworker said, oftentimes women were treated like property in a marriage and it still happens today in many countries because women in those are forbidden to work and earn income.

I think in both cases there are problems and compromises have to be made for any marriage to work. In the case where two people are fairly equal in wealth and income there may be too much independence. Since a marriage is about combining two lives together into one the combining of spending and finances may be an issue of contention. I think the hubby and I have it figured out mostly. In the case where one person has no income or very little income the other partner may have too much power, and when that partner abuses that power there would be major problems in the relationship. Millionaire Mommy Next Door had an entire article about and unfortunately a lot of people are in these relationships where the person who brings home the bacon asserts his/her power with money. On the flipside of the coin, sometimes the person who earns money isn’t necessarily an abuser, but is just fed up with being a provider and becomes resentful. That is why there are sites like where men who feel trapped go to rant about their lives. However, I think these financially imbalanced marriages can work well if both partners appreciate each other more for what they do. A lot of stay at home partners do a lot of things around the household to improve the lives of the whole family, and that is work too. As long as both people recognize each other for what they do and care about money a bit less then it should work out.

Since a marriage is a very long relationship sometimes one partner’s financial situation changes so much that they’re no longer equals, or the person who married up suddenly started to earn more money than the other. In these cases there are problems because money can change people. In the case of , the couple started out with nothing, but his wife managed to help him get through Harvard Business School and then quit her job after he became an executive. Their marriage ended in a very public divorce where his exwife Lorna battled for half of his fortune. It is very unfortunate that these types of divorces happen over and over again.

Money issues is the number one reason couples divorce each other, so it’s best to figure out what kind of economic relationship you have with your mate before you get married. If you are already married having open and honest talks about your concerns with each other also helps a lot. I am still a newlywed but I hope that money will not change my hubby and I. So what sort of economic union do you have? A merger in progress or a total buyout? Are you a victim of economic abuse or are you a resentful provider?

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Buy viagra from canada » Cialis from canadian pharmacy | Lowest Price Guaranteed! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/06/who-really-wins-in-a-mortgage-rate-freeze/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/06/who-really-wins-in-a-mortgage-rate-freeze/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2007 18:36:11 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/12/06/who-really-wins-in-a-mortgage-rate-freeze/ So there is chatter in the news the government worked out a deal with major banks to freeze the adjustable rates on mortgages of many subprime borrowers. The rules are, the loan has to be originated from the beginning of 2005 to July 30th of 2007 and the rate is set to reset in 2008 to 2010. The subprime borrower also have to have a good payment history and live in the home to qualify. So I thought I would do an non-expert analysis on who benefits the most in this situation.

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The biggest winner is the banks that made these loans. Some of the teaser rates for these subprime loans are as high as 8%, so I don’t think the banks are hurting much by collecting a rate thats 16 times the average of national banks interest payout on savings accounts. Additionally, by keeping the borrowers in their homes, the banks do not have to deal with an asset that has depreciated in value. Basically, the banks are saving and earning billions by keeping subprime borrowers up to date with their debt.

The next big winner in this situation is the government. Why? One word: taxes. By keeping these stretched homeowners in their homes the government can continue to collect property taxes. Additionally, since the mortgage rates are not rising the homeowners will have less mortgage interest to deduct on their taxes and that means more tax revenue for the government than they would have had otherwise.

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I don’t consider the homeowners who keep their homes in this plan to be winners. Sure, they get to keep their home, but many of them are so financially stretched that almost their entire income is going to the banks and that is a very stressful situation. In fact, if they weren’t financially stretched, they wouldn’t qualify for the program. This is Secretary Paulson’s outline of the plan:

Paulson offered a general outline of the plan on Monday. He identified four groups of subprime borrowers facing rate increases on their adjustable-rate loans: Those who cannot afford their payments even at the current rate; those who could afford payments at the higher rate; those can refinance into a “sustainable mortgage while keeping investors whole;” and those who can afford their mortgages today but could not at the higher rate.

Only the fourth group would get help.

These homeowners are just indentured servants to a gargantuan money hungry force. Their rates will be frozen for five years, but they will have to keep on paying the price on an asset that has depreciated greatly with all that they have.

 

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I would count myself amongst “The Angry” because I think the plan is unfair to most consumers and Americans in general. I don’t own a home, but I know many people who took out reasonable fixed rate loans at higher rates than these subprime borrowers, only to see irresponsible behavior rewarded. Additionally, as Paulson said, “those who could afford payments at the higher rate” will not get help. How is that fair? I suppose life just isn’t fair. I think this plan, and other mortgage related bailouts are just further discouraging people from saving money, and living a sustainable lifestyle. I also think the subprime borrowers who had absolutely no equity in their homes would do better just to walk away, save some money and buy a home for a much cheaper price. I know it’s not that easy, but we can’t continue to support this manipulated bubble economy.

Quote Source: San Francisco Chronicle 12/6/2007 This article is a great read that echos some of my thoughts.

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