Money Mini Corner…Relax & Think Money…

“Money is like manure, spread it around and watch things grow…”
– Dolly Levi, “Hello Dolly”.

Relax & think money?  No, it’s not an oximoron…but unless you’re one of the few, you may need to learn how to do it.  Money is one of my clients’ main stressors so getting yourself organised and informed can give you more control and peace of mind.  I’m still learning and therefore this is obviously not my area of expertise but I can share some key things I’ve learned about finances in Jamaica and the world.

Try to save at least 10% of regular income

Try to give away 10% of regular income

Do not save or give if when you do you feel deprived or miserable

Do your monthly totting up of bills, cheque books, statements…learn what you need to live on and then decide how much to have fun with/save/invest.  Make this a nice experience for yourself, put on good music , do it with you partner,  get him to cook/order something gourment while you work, put out some aromatherapy, send the kids to the neighbour…whatever eases you through….

Watch the Jamaican Commercial Banks like a hawk!
if you’re an individual with a miles card get three different sources
at the bank to calculate them for you …you often get 3 different
answers…keep asking till everyone produces the same result or
better yet, learn the system & calculate yourself

       The new Visa Classic was an accounting travesty, nowhere on it
will you find your rate of exchange…you have to call Bank of
Jamaica for the weighted avg. and then add Visa’s %!…but at
least you now see the converted sum.

       Current accounts are fined approx.  JA$600/mon. for being
below JA$20000!  (They claim they waive this fee when you’re
above!).  Senior citizens exempt.  Some senior staff don’t know  


       – ALL BANKS
Unless you have a big company account…you will really have
          to canvas every rank & file to find out exactly what is offered re
e-banking, no one, including managers, ever knows the whole
story…get to the IT people themselves!

In Jamaican commercial banks only save up to JA$600,000, that’s all that’s insured.

In Jamaica, do not invest in anthing you cannot check with the Financial Services Commission (investments) or the Bank of Jamaica (commercial banks).  Other countries have their own watchdog organisations.

Get rich quick schemes will make you poor!

In Jamaica, get health insurance & critical illness insurance, the former does not cover the lifetime affecting stuff like amputations and long lie-ins for cancer.  Try to get a plan that carries investment benefits.

Life insurance may be a waste of money if you are a regular saver and if you are single, but if you have family to provide for, want collateral for business and property investments, etc., it is worth investigating.  Find the ones with the investment benefits.

In Jamaica, buy property as the best investment, it may ‘go slow’ in recession but NEVER depreciates.

When you invest in Jamaica, remember we’re up against depreciation and inflation….work out whatever you do in US dollars and then adjust to what you/the Jamaica market can fairly support.

In Jamaica, put away some funds in a foreign currency.

Join a credit union, you may be able to have access to health plans till you are much older than for regular plans.  These institutions suffer less ups and downs in recessions.

Don’t make investments that have any fluctuations unless you have JA1,000,000 you can afford never to touch.  For amounts under this some do conservative, low risk investment even if the returns aren’t great…this will guarantee your principal if you have to haul it out for an emergency. 

In Jamaica, take care of your car, it usually holds its value … and find out the ones with a high resale value and for which spare parts are easily available.

Find a mechanic you love and trust and feel free to argue with.

Find a lawyer you love and trust and feel free to argue with.

Find a doctor you love and trust and feel free to argue with.

Find an investment person you love and trust and feel free to argue with.

Ask me about the most people friendly bank in Jamaica

Use one credit card with the best rate you can get, you might have to use an American/European one, Jamaican cards carry an approx. 48% interest whereas foreign ones have first year giveaways at 1% and regular rates of 4-5%.

Don’t use your credit card like a credit card in Jamaica, pay it off, we don’t really care about credit ratings yet.  Elsewhere pay it off and once in a while use it to generate credit so your credit rating scores go up.

Bankruptcy is a big deal in Jamaica, try not to declare it.  You can ALWAYS CUT A DEAL WITH A CREDIT CARD COMPANY, EVEN IN JAMAICA, NO MATTER HOW DISGUSTING THEY MAKE THE PROCESS FOR YOU.  In the States, bankruptcy is not a big deal, in 3 years you can wipe your slate clean, it may be better to do this than to have a bad credit rating which is THE MORTAL AMERICAN SIN.  YOU CAN ALWAYS CUT A PAY BACK DEAL WITH AN AMERICAN BANK.  America gives you great deals on everything if your credit rating is good.  Check your American ratings for free once/year if you’re tied into the American system.

Stand up for yourself in your financial dealings, if you can’t ask questions, go elsewhere.

Create a relationship with the top people however small your dealings and wherever you’re invested.  You’re good enough!!!

Pay your bills and debts or explain yourself and keep in touch…don’t be a laggard or a liar.

Never lend money, give it and let go…that way you won’t get ulcers expecting payback.  And you know …when you give, the universe ensures you get back, often double, but not always from the person or entity to whom you gave…and not always as currency.

Money surely eases the passage through life, but it alone cannot make you happy, it’s the energy with which you surround money that can make you happy… and wealth is not masses of money and belongings alone, but what you have access to and how you share it.

Don’t buy a house unless you can buy it outright or have 8 months clear ability to make payments whether you lose your job, get ill, etc.

Look for a job while you’re in a job and do it discreetly. Don’t quit and then look.  Make sure when you start you have six months income saved in case of mishaps.  Get the new job offer in writing before you quit the old one!!!

When you can’t get out of bed for, get tight chest at, hate the place, feel ill at the job it’s time to take action whether it be to help change the system or get out of it.

Do what you love, the money will follow…This may mean a job change, getting on the job training, changing careers, getting more or different education, doing something alongside your job until you can earn a living from it. 

Don’t go back to school unless you’ve thought out how it is to be financed and whether you will be able to have/generate income the minute you graduate.  Generally, stay away from student loans, but absolutely so in Jamaica.  Investigate them anywhere else if they’re no higher than 8% maximum.  The Student Loan Bureau in Jamaica makes virtually fraudulent claims, their 12% ADD ON interest (never explained to prospective students) is really 20-22% regular interest!

Read the books, “Money Is Love”, “Do What You Love, the Money will Follow” & “Creating Money and Attracting Abundance”….certainly put a new spin on money and abundance.

If you get good marks the range of scholarships open to you worldwide is mind blowing.  I mean almost to the ridiculous when is come to special circumstances…scholarships for people who have eyes of two colours, etc.  I’m not joking.  Expect medicin to be the hardest to find.

Scholarships for undergrad are rarely available after age 25, grad usually up to age 35 and doctoral and post doctoral up to 45, rarely age 50.   People want returns on their investments….you. 

Jamaicans, cash in on the fact that you’re automatically a minority in the States and apply for these scholarships.

Don’t believe a soul who tells you they’ll watch your stocks for you…they won’t.  YOU WATCH THEM.  Stocks make most money not by constant adding to a fund …but by knowing when to sell or IF YOU HAVE DISPOSABLE INCOME BUY BLUE CHIP STOCK which is usually more pricey but more stable and often pays dividends…it’s usually always good value when you do want to sell and you would rarely have to rush a sale because values are suddenly dropping.

I’m going to keep adding to this…..I can tell you….