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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

HSBC Online Savings Promo

Looks like HSBC Direct is having another sign up promotion. They offer a great rate at 4% and best of all, they allow you to access your money via their ATM network. Sign up here and use the promo code "start" to get a $25 account opening bonus.

The fine print states: "Limit one $25 bonus per customer. HSBCdirect Online Savings Account must remain open until bonus is credited or bonus will be forfeited. $25 bonus is considered taxable income and will be reported on IRS Form 1099." Got this from fatwallet.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let's compare annual bonuses!

Happy Thanksgiving! In this week's New York Magazine, there is an article about how Goldman divides its annual bonus pool ($11 billion this year). To put that bonus pool into perspective, if you were to evenly divide the $11 billion, each Goldman employee would get a $500,000 bonus! But of course, the money isn't going to be split evenly. Here's a summary of where the money goes:

The Big Piece
There are 250 or so partner managing directors, each of whom would receive an average bonus of $2 million right off the top. The rest depends on the success of their part of the business, and it can be massive. Top income-producers like Mark McGoldrick, co-head of global proprietary investment, can make upward of $40 million.

The “Tide You Over Until You’re a Somebody” Piece
Executive managing directors, also known as “MD Lites,” can make up to $3 million.

The Table Scraps
Just-out-of-college analysts make $70,000 and hope to match that in bonus. Associates, with M.B.A.’s, hope to match their $95,000 salaries with a bonus, too. Secretaries who make as much as $75,000 have their sights set on bonuses of roughly $15,000.

I wonder how some of the other ibanks and banks compare?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bush walks into locked door.

Well, almost. Door thwarts quick exit by Bush. Be sure to watch the video.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Savers credit on taxes

From this cnn article about tax cuts that will be extended by the Senate:

Savers credit: Through 2006, low-income taxpayers may receive a credit (a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the taxes they owe) for contributions they make up to $2,000 to qualified retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s as well as traditional and Roth IRAs. The Senate bill would extend this provision through the end of 2009.

The credit is available only to those taxpayers with AGIs of $25,000 or less ($50,000 or less for married couples).

The move would reduce federal revenue by an estimated $4.1 billion over five years.

Some of my friends and I are all going to be able to take advantage of this tax credit. All of us will probably earn under 25k AGI this year as well as contribute to some kind of retirement savings plan. I will look into this further.

Edit: AGI is adjusted gross income. Here's an AOL article about how to calculate gross income, adjusted gross income, and taxable income. Basically AGI is calculated by taking gross income (say, your annual salary) and then substracting IRA contributions, Student loan payments, etc etc.

Year end money management stuff.

As the year comes to an end, it's time to reassess my financial situation. Over the next month or so, I'm going to have to fix up my stock portfolio, set up a Roth IRA account, and see if there is anything I can do to reduce my taxes owed for 2005. I'll try to keep a log of that process here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

United doing ok?

United is going to hire 2000 flight attendants.

After all the news about the airline industry struggling to cut costs, is this a sign that things are turning around?

Edit: After doing some quick math, 2000 flight attendants multiplied by salaries of about 25000 is about 50 million in extra costs. Although nothing compared with the 1.7 billion dollar loss last quarter, United actually achieved a $165 million operating profit last quarter. The operating profit, their first in a while (I think the last time was back in 2000), coupled with the large hiring spree, could indeed be a leading indicator of better times.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Japan's Labor Force

In this week's edition of the Economist, there's an interesting article about how the Japanese labor force will be changing as the population gets older. To counter the long term trends of a shrinking labor force (due to longer lives and less births), Japanese firms are now increasingly trying to attract females, young people, and the elderly through various means. One particular statistic I found interesting was the current percentage of women in the labor force :
Female participation in the labor force, at 55%, has risen in recent decades, but lags well behind Britain (61%) and America (62%), with many women, says Kathy Matsui, an analyst at Goldman Sachs in Tokyo, dropping out completely to raise children. Less than 10% of managers are women in Japan, compared with 46% in America.

The low percentage of female managers surprised me at first, but after considering the gender roles and dynamics in Asian culture, it makes more sense. I wonder what the female workforce statistics are for other Asian countries?