Is Now The Right Time To Buy?

The credit Crisis And You

First Published ADawnJournal.com : May 10, 2009

The fact that the financial markets are currently in a total mess has led many people to question whether getting on the real estate ladder is quite safe. As the news reports continue to resemble some kind of reality TV show by the title of “When Mortgages Go Toxic”, it is only to be expected that people should be reserved in terms of going after that new house – if things go wrong they could end up in poorer financial shape than they ever had imagined. But as with everything, there are two sides to the situation. You need to take into account things other than the turmoil that the market is in, and get an idea of exactly where you stand – because the truth of the matter is that no two situations are exactly the same.

The people who will really lose out in the current market are those who have a poor credit score along with those with a dubious score. As little as one missed or incomplete payment, or any reduced payment agreements with creditors and you could be judged as a credit risk in the current market. If, in addition, you need to sell to buy, then you are looking at getting less for your current house, and the shortfall may be too much to make up. It is not the time to upgrade your living arrangements, nor get into property developing for profit if you are in any of the above situations. Aside from people in these cases, however, there is still some scope. After all, the banks cannot stop lending completely – it is still an important income for them.

The credit crisis has meant that banks need to be more careful about who they lend to. Seeing it from their point of view, it is entirely reasonable that they could look at an individual’s credit file, see black marks against their name and be more than a little bit reticent about lending large sums of money. They need to protect their investments, and it was irresponsible lending on the part of major banks that precipitated the crisis in the first place.

If, however, you have an excellent credit history – the longer the better as it is long-term control of lending and repayment that they are looking for – you still stand a good chance of getting a loan, and the market is depressed at the moment, meaning that the speculator with access to funds is in a very advantageous position.

If you have recently taken out a loan, it may be wise to wait a little while to take out another. If you have the ability to pay off all or most of the loan, it is less important, as the thing that the lenders are really looking out for is overcommitment. Even people in very good jobs are still prone to downsizing – so large monthly repayments are still undesirable. The banks and the borrowers have been given a sobering lesson in the last couple of years, and it would be naïve to think that the rules could stay as they were.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Australia Travel Blog: Melbourne Highlights & Impressions

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Public Transport

My first To Do List item for Melbourne was to see downtown and I decided to take public transport to reach it. I had to take a train from Wyndham Vale station, change at Southern Cross station and then get off at Flinders Street station.

Melbourne has a lot more routes than Toronto and there are a lot more variety of colorful trains. The transit system I found very efficient and functional; I had no problem reaching my destination. Whenever I was in doubt about the transfers or right stations, I asked either passengers or transit employees and they were beyond helpful.

Southern Cross station is a huge, mega transfer hub for various routes and I spent a lot of time at the station making videos and taking pictures. This station has a shopping complex or mini mall inside and I had my coffee and a snack. Small, medium, and large coffees cost $4.00, $4.65, $5.00 AUD and I find coffee is more expensive in Australia than Canada.

Flinders Street, Yarra River, Melbourne Downtown Waterfront

After changing to a different train from Southern Cross station, I got off at Flinders Street station. Flinders Street is an iconic, historic station which happens to be the busiest railway station in Australia. Its dome-shaped arched entrance with tower and clock give it a distinctive look and it is one of the city's most recognisable landmarks. The full station stretches two whole city blocks in the heart of Melbourne downtown.

A few steps from Flinders Street station is downtown waterfront along the Yarra river and there are tons of restaurants, including open-air restaurants and floating restaurants on the river. There is a cute, white pedestrian bridge called Even Walker bridge, which adds a different charm to the downtown waterfront part under the shadow of the skyscrapers.

How to Get Rid of 5 Rooms of Clutter in 10 Minutes

5 Quick Decluttering Tips for Home 

When it comes to getting rid of things you don’t use and you don’t need, if you look at the whole picture it may be overwhelming. However, handling one thing at a time will make it something doable and less stressful, and it adds up if you continue getting rid of clutter one room at a time. Today, I am going to talk about simple ways to get rid of 5 rooms of clutter in 10 minutes. Let’s begin.

1. Start With the Bedroom – Look around – check on top of the headboard, underneath the bed, or in the drawers to detect only one item that you can throw away right now. It can be a magazine, a receipt, an empty perfume bottle, or anything you don’t foresee using any more.

2. Move to the Closet – If you spend some time and look closely, it is possible to find many items that you have not been using for a while in your closet. But for now, let’s find only one thing you no longer need. It can be a clothing item, empty boxes, shopping bags, batteries, and so on. Pick one up and get rid of it forever.

3. Master Bathroom – No hard work here. Just open the under-sink storage area and you will find a stockpile of items. What can those be? The possibilities are actually endless here: a leftover piece of soap from 3 years ago, a dried-up bottle of Listerine, a half-empty shampoo bottle, a scrubber that gave up months ago, and much more. Pick only one and put it in the bathroom garbage bin.

4. Home Office – No need to quest much here. Look on top and underneath of your computer desk or study table and grab one item that is no longer needed. Even a pen or an eraser from years ago should be fine 

5. Living Room – Another place where it feels like clutter can’t accumulate, but it is likely to take over throughout the years. One quick spot to eliminate one piece of clutter would be look on top and underneath the coffee table. 
The health and mental benefits of having a tidy living space is limitless. Decluttering your full home altogether can be stressful, but you can do it by taking things slowly and one at a time.  

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com 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 Feb 21, 2012.

Australia Travel Blog: Melbourne Highlights & Impressions

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

At the MEL Airport

I expected to meet live immigration officers at the Melbourne Airport Tullamarine Airport (MEL). But all the necessary immigration formalities were done by a SmartGates automated machine. I obtained my Australian Electronic Travel Authority or ETA online months before my trip, which is just an electronic visa for Canadians.

At one point when I was walking, a police dog came to my luggage and started sniffing. I stopped and let him sniff, but he lost interest right away and moved onto sniffing someone else.

The whole airport process went so fast and smooth that I thought I missed something. So I asked the standing immigration officer near the exit gate if there was something else. He pointed me to the exit gate and I was relieved.

First Hour in Melbourne

Once I found my relatives at the airport, we headed for the parking lot. The first thing I noticed was that it was not as warm as I was expecting. I was coming from Singapore, so expected hot and humid weather. But it was rather cool and even a light jacket would be appropriate.

If you are a world traveler, you know the feeling the first few hours in a new country. I was trying to notice everything surrounding me to my heart’s content.

Vehicles operate on the left side of the road and drivers sit on the right side, which is opposite than North America. Road and highway signs and markings look noticeably different than Canada as well.

Destination Wyndham Vale

We were heading towards Wyndham Vale, which is a suburb of Melbourne with 25,000 population. It took about 35 to 40 minutes to reach. Wyndham Vale reminded me of suburbs of Toronto like Ajax or Markham.

The first thing I noticed was that average houses are smaller than Canada and tress or plants are different too due to the hot weather. I noticed lots of birds and crows and their chirping was loud.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

What Is A Recession ?

Definition Of Recession

First Published : May 13, 2009 ADawnJournal.com
Simply put, recession is the opposite of economic growth. A recession can be defined as a decline in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for more than two consecutive quarters spreading across the country or across the globe.

GDP measures the performance of an economy. You get GDP by adding goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a year.

Signs Of A Recession

You will see the following when a recession occurs:

– Demands for products and services decline
– Goods and products start piling up in the factory, as no one wants to buy  them
– Firms start to lay-off employees, as there is no need for full-scale production due to unsold inventories
– Unemployment starts to rise
– Real income declines
– Business profits and confidence start to plummet
– Investors hold off on investing new money
– Goods and services start to get heavy discounted, as no one is buying anything anymore
– Government start to borrow money
– It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone

What Causes Recession

Recession can be caused by internal and external factors.

Internal or Domestic factors: Higher interest rates can cause a recession, as it discourages consumers from spending and therefore factories shut down, resulting in lay-offs. Examples of other causes include harmful government policies, a sudden increase of food and resource prices, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks.

External Factors: High oil prices, wars, global political instabilities, currency crisis can cause a recession as well.

What Is A Depression

A depression is kind of a recession but on a large scale and has a greater impact. Here are the common characteristics of a depression:

– Lasts longer
– Much larger decline in economic and business activities
– Real GDP usually declines by more than 10 percent
– Causes panic and public fear

The Great Depression, as it is commonly known, was the last depression the United States and many industrialized countries experienced from 1929 to 1938. During that period, the unemployment rate in America reached 25% and the GDP declined by 33%. The world hasn’t seen anything like the Great Depression in the industrialized nations since. Millions of people were unemployed, homeless, and facing starvation.

The Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990s caused depressions in many Asian and non-Asian countries. Indonesia, Thailand, and South Korea were affected the most among many other Asian countries. Non-Asian countries such as Finland and Russia were hit hard as well. Russia’s GDP fell 40% and Finland’s GDP fell 11%.