Goldman Sachs – Wait, How Did THAT Happen?

Goldman Sachs Tops Expectations

First Published: July 20, 2009

The financial markets are continuing to stabilize gently, but it really isn’t worth looking for anything to happen this year in terms of growth or profit for any of the wealth creation industries in the West. We know that, we have been told it often enough. Anyway, the investment banks who would have had periods of growth right about now are still punch drunk from the bailout that happened as 2008 was drawing to a close. Lehman Brothers went bust. Bear Sterns nearly followed it. All over Europe banks were bailing out other banks and then having to be bailed out by the government – witness the situation in the UK where Lloyds TSB bought out Halifax Bank of Scotland and then had to be bailed out itself as it took hold of HBOS’s balance sheet and found that it was weighed down with toxic assets.

Against this background, what would you say if it were to be reported that an investment bank had just reported record profits? Yes, I know, and most people would agree – although they might clean up the language slightly in mixed company. Yet somehow, Goldman Sachs – which, let’s remember, had to have some of that bailout money in order to keep afloat last autumn – has just reported second quarter earnings of $3.44 billion. That is pretty high during a recession. It’s pretty high during a stagnant market. In fact, it is incredible at any given time, and yet here we are during the worst financial depression since just after the Second World War and Goldman Sachs reports profits that make it look like they could pay back everyone else’s bailout money as well as their own some time soon.

Just how has this happened? And what’s more, if they needed bailing out only half a year ago and yet can turn around a huge profit in such a short space of time, should they really be paying out bonuses that make even the President of the United States’ salary look fairly cheap? If Goldman Sachs have just returned second-quarter earnings of $3.44 billion then they have enough to pay a pretty hefty bonus to every American taxpayer – after all, the taxpayer played a pretty sterling role in this recovery by making sure Goldman Sachs didn’t go to the wall.

Well, OK, we understand, that isn’t how finance works. But there is going to be a lot of scrutiny on Goldman Sachs, not least on its third quarter. Seemingly, the year in finance is going to see the market reversal at least slow down, so with those favourable conditions we should expect to see the same kind o f performance again from Goldman Sachs, wouldn’t you think? If not, then it seems something strange has been happening. Sure, they have successfully underwritten some pretty healthy projects recently, but a 65% rise on the second quarter last year seems to be in the realms of fantasy, and if there is any special knowledge involved in such wealth creation, maybe they could share it with a world that really needs it right now.

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park | Auckland Travel Blog

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 12

Before heading to Auckland Harbour, I had brief stopover at the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Michael Joseph Savage was one of New Zealand's best-loved Prime Ministers. He was the 23rd Prime Minister and the 1st Prime Minister from the Labour Party.

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park offers the best panoramic views of the city and harbour. This park feels like a place of serenity, tranquility, and splendour with the picturesque view of Auckland and ocean in the background.

There are formal gardens, a sunken pond, and a memorial in the park. The memorial was built around the grave where Savage was buried on the headland inside a historic gun bunker.

My stay was short at the park, but it was enough to learn more about New Zealand and appreciate the tranquility and grandeur of beauty the park had to offer in the middle of Auckland.

Auckland Harbour Cruise

Although Waitemata Harbour is the real name, it’s simply known as Auckland Harbour. Waitemata means sparkling waters in the Maori language. Numerous islands dot the harbour and lots of sailing boats make it obvious why Auckland is called the City of Sails.

I was given instructions where to catch the cruise ship. I had some free time and was able to capture some pictures of Auckland Harbour in the downtown area. I also met some tourists who were in my group and had a chance to talk to some of them. Some of the travelers were retired couples from different parts of the world and they were enjoying their time off traveling around the globe.

We were approached by a tour guide who was supposed to get our cruise tickets. Once he confirmed that we were the right people, he showed us the ticket counter to get our tickets to board the ship. I didn’t have to pay for the ticket because this was an all-inclusive tour.

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 1

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 2

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 3

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 4

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 5

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 6

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 7

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 8

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 9

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 10

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 11

Words to Avoid for Better Communication and Self-Confidence

Words and Phrases You Should Avoid 

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com. This article originally published on the above website on Nov 5, 2011

What you say has a greater impact on how you interact with others and your self-esteem. There are some words that will make you more confident in your daily activities and conversations. Simply put, there are some words that will give your mind negative messages and will make your conversations difficult with others by creating a negative environment even before the actual conversation starts. 
Today, I will go through some of these words or phrases.

Avoid these Types of Words or Phrases 

Here are some words or phrases in bold you should avoid. I am putting these in sentences for better understating.

- I know what you are saying, but … 
- You have to do this 
- You can’t do that 
- I can’t do it 
- I will try to do it 
- I am sorry about that 
Possibly this will work 
I would like to … 
Maybe I will do it 
Perhaps, this is not going to happen 
Do you have a minute? 
Am I bothering you? 
Am I interrupting anything? 
Sorry to bother you 
Sorry to interrupt 

Why You Should Avoid These Words/Phrases? 

When you use these words or phrases, you are projecting yourself as someone who is lacking confidence and weak – someone who is not sure about what he wants and what to do. Some of these words/phrases will create a negative impact and will irritate the person you are talking to the moment you use them. For example, if someone is in a good mood and feeling upbeat, the moment you utter “Am I bothering you?’ or “Sorry to interrupt…” it will make that person really bothered or interrupted although he would not have felt that way had you not mentioned it to him.

Replacement Words or Phrases Suggestions

Try these instead:

Will you do it? 
- Are you willing to do this? 
- I am unable to do it 
- This is what I can do … 
- This is what I will do  
- I apologise 
- What we will do … 
Definitely … 
Certainly … 
This will just take a second 
This will just take a moment 

If you need to talk to someone, instead of asking permission by saying “Can I ask you a quick question?” or, instead of saying “Am I interrupting you?” or “Sorry to bother you…” just ask the question firmly and politely. This will start the conversation with a positive tone and good mood, and you will have better chances of getting things done once you start with a positive tone, positive body language, and a positive approach.

More ATM Tips To Protect Yourself From ATM Scams

How To Protect Yourself From ATM Scams

Ever since I wrote Beware of No Name ATMs, this article has become very popular and I have been contemplating writing on this subject more. Today, I will discuss some more tips you can use to protect yourself from con artists – whether you are in a low-crime country like Canada or travelling in a high-crime foreign country.

Be Always on Alert

While using an ATM machine, always use extra caution and be on alert. If someone bumps into you or tries to talk to you while you are in the middle of a transaction, you need to be careful. Scammers use various techniques to distract you and get away with your bank card – which might be still inside the ATM machine. Let’s look at these scenarios:

Scenario One – Someone Bumps Into You: Con Artist 1 bumps into you and leaves the spot right away. Con Artist 2 appears on the scene and tells you that Con Artist 1 got away with your bank card. Naturally, you will panic and try to pursue Con Artist 1 to recover your card. This is exactly what the Con Artists are hoping for. Your card is still in the machine and once you start chasing Con Artist 1, Con Artist 2 will withdraw all your money easily as you already inputted your password on the machine.

In the above situation, you should remain calm and take out your card from the machine first before chasing anyone. Whenever someone tries to distract you, make sure you have your bank card first before doing anything else.

Scenario Two – Your Card Gets Stuck Inside The ATM: If your card get stuck inside an ATM and a stranger walks up to help you, be very careful. This Con Artist may have tampered with the ATM to make your card get stuck and watched you with a video camera to get your pin. Once you leave the spot to make a phone call to your bank, the Con Artist will withdraw your money as the card is still inside the machine and your password is known to him/her.

Con Artists can play the same game a little differently. Once your card is trapped, a nice person shows up and tries to help you recover your card. He may even give you a few tips to get your card out while entering your PIN. Once you can’t get it out and leave the scene, he will withdraw your money as he has already seen you entering your password.

In a situation like the one above, never accept help from any strangers. Before using any ATM, always make sure the machine is not tampered with in any way. Look for any residue in the card slot, any unusual signs asking to use a different slot or asking you to re-enter your password several times, or anything that does not make sense. If your card gets stuck, try not to leave the machine and call from your cell phone to cancel your card. However, this may not always be possible. Use some common sense-let it be your guideline.

Here is a tip:

Save all the bank and credit card (those you carry) companies’ phone number on your cell phone. This is a very simple thing to do, but regrettably most of us never do it. If you have your bank card provider’s phone number on your cell phone, in the above example, you can just notify them without leaving the ATM machine.

How to Wake Up in the Morning

Wake Up and Feel Fresh In The Morning

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com. This article originally published on the above website on Oct 10, 2011

In this article I am not going to talk about how to sleep enough to wake up naturally without an alarm clock. Nor will I talk about how to make waking up a regular habit so you don’t need an alarm clock anymore. While I don’t disagree that it may be beneficial and a good habit to wake up at the same time daily, it may not be a realistic option to wake up at the same time for everyone due to various work-life circumstances. I am not in the position to afford the luxury of waking up at a pre-set time daily due to my lifestyle – and I am dependant on alarm clocks to meet my lifestyle demands. Today, I am going to discuss how to wake up in the morning effectively without causing too much stress and strain on your health.

Keep Your Alarm Clock Out of Reach – Do not keep your alarm clock too close. If you do, chances are you will stop your alarm clock and go back to sleep without knowing. When you wake up in the morning, your mind is not fully conscious yet, and even without realising you will go back to sleep again. Don’t keep it too close and not too far either. It should be placed somewhere that requires you to get up and move from your sleeping position to get it.

Use Gentle Alarm Tone – Do not use a harsh or too loud alarm tone. Use a gentle tone that makes you happy or gives you positive vibrations when you hear it. An alarm tone is the first thing you are starting your day with. If this is harsh and annoying, it’s bound the set you off for the whole day.

Don’t Rush Out of Bed – Once you are up and awake, don’t jump out of bed or rush to leave the bed. Take a deep breath in and out a few times, slowly sit up, and then slowly walk to the washroom.

Splash Cold Water – Splash some cold water (not too cold either) on your face, it will invigorate your senses and will make you happy and fully awake. Don’t forget to drink a glass of water.

Take an Invigorating Shower – Taking a shower works perfect for me to make me cheerful and get ready for the day. However, if I plan to work out or need to do some cleaning, I skip my shower right after waking up.

There are some specific things that work for specific people. The art is to find out what works for you and perform those to make your day more productive and a joyous one.