Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Following yesterday's announcement on tuition fees, I have been asked about my views on the subject.

Actually, they have never changed in the last two decades and, regardless of the current Coalition Government. or any Government's policies, I have always made it absolutely clear that higher education is a vital part of any government's economic development toolset and should be considered as such.

That may be naive in the current economic climate but it is something I passionately believe in which is not surprising, given that I have spent 26 years in the higher education sector.

Yes, there are questions about the way universities are managed in Wales, the numbers going to university, the imbalance between undergraduate and graduate education, and their diminishing role in economic development (look at the failure to generate entrepreneurs from the sector for the Technium network as one example).

However, principles are sometimes more important than pragmatism and the whole point of devolution is that, if we want to, we can do things differently. For politicians, it is a matter of choice and they will have to defend that policy, in the same way that they may have to defend cuts in the health spending, an economic strategy or rises in taxation.

Fortunately, I have no political influence whatsoever so my views are unimportant!

Anyway, this is what I said after my appearance on Pawb a'i Farn last March when the subject of increased tuition fees in Wales was debated after the show:

"My view is quite clear on the subject. This should never have happened and rather than focusing specifically on how to cut support to students to make up the funding gap in Wales, the Jones review should have examined the wider benefits of free tuition fees to the economy of Wales.

When we keep hearing that we need to create a knowledge-based economy that is based on higher level skills, is this the way forward?  We know there is a £61 million gap in university spending between England and Wales, a gap that the Assembly Government has chosen not to make good.

Instead, they will be taking money away from students to try and make up this difference. It is easy to try and defend the situation and I am surprised how many politicians, including Dafydd Wigley last night, were ready to say that this was necessary. Surely this is a matter of priorities for the Government. If it believes that education is critical to the future of this nation and that we want to create a small clever country, is this the way forward?

In Scandinavia, which has some of the most competitive small nations in the World, there are no tuition fees paid by students because policymakers in Sweden and Finland have realised that without a highly educated workforce, you cannot create a strong knowledge-based economy.

The Assembly Government currently spends well over a quarter of a billion pounds annually on business support in Wales. Yet, despite having over 1200 civil servants in the Department of Economy administering this money, we remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the UK prosperity league table.

A more radical Assembly Government would have examined whether this money would have been better spent on addressing the higher education finance gap between England and Wales. Instead, it set up a review that, because of its myopic terms of reference, could only come up with one conclusion.

Unfortunately, it is a conclusion that will do little to help the long term economic prospects of this nation and by aping the actions of English educationalists, has diminished devolution within this country."

Obama Suggests Two Year Pay Freeze for Federal Employees

Obama has proposed an idea to aid in America's effort to cut back on spending and to try and tackle this enormous budget deficit.

Obama has suggested a two year pay freeze for all civilian federal employees or civil servants.

I want to be clear to communicate that the pay freeze will not effect the military. So if you are in the armed forces and are expecting a raise, or something of the like, than you can rest assured this fiscal action will not effect you.

Also, because many of my readers are not financial gurus. I want to make clear that a pay freeze does not mean these federal employees will not be paid for the next two years. This simply means that they will not get a raise.

The proposed plan will cut the deficit by almost 30 billion dollars over the next five years.

The average salary for a civil servant that deposits a federal pay check on a regular basis makes around $125,000  dollars. This is about twice the salary of the average American.

I am personally OK with this measure as I don't really think the government needs to be increasing salaries. This move seems obvious. Kinda like eliminating the Bush Tax Cuts.

Republicans seem receptive to this idea from Obama.

I recently posted on the Bush tax cuts and the conflict thriving amidst it's looming expiration.  I have something to add...

I was going to put it right here but I think I will go ahead and just create a new post for it.

Find the new post on some of my additional thoughts on the Bush Tax Cuts and Republican Shame.

Monday, November 29, 2010


So what does this mean for Wales?

Given that Wales accounts for 5.7 per cent of all public sector employment in the UK, this means that around 18,000 public sector posts will be lost in Wales over the next four years as compared to the 28,000 civil service jobs originally estimated.

Whilst these unfortunate job losses are an inevitability of the previous government's spending plans, the fact that 88,000 jobs were lost in the Welsh private sector during the recession does place things into perspective and if the economy grows again, then these public sector losses could be revised downwards again. 

In fact, what it means is that the private sector in Wales will need to create 7,000 net new jobs every year between now and 2015 to compensate for the loss of employment in the public sector. 

To put this into perspective, given that there are 200,000 firms in Wales, it means that roughly one in every thirty businesses in Wales will need to create one job every year to make up for the estimated reduction in civil service jobs. 

Given the previous focus of news stories on how our economy was so dependent on the public sector, why hasn't BBC Wales covered this forecast in more detail? 

In fact, rather than focusing on the usual doom and gloom, perhaps it is time for the mainstream press to ask how the Welsh Assembly Government is going to help the private sector to create those opportunities to replace the 18,000 jobs now estimated to be lost in the public sector over the next four years, especially given the targets for European funded job creation set by WEFO for the poorest parts of Wales. 

In fact, if the Economic Renewal Programme can't help to create 7,000 new jobs every year, then what is it for?

Business Basics - Taking a Look at the Competition

All businesses have competitors. All businesses must compete for customers and their market share. If there is any room for competing firms then you can rest assured that the applicable industry will see new competing firms.

For all those notions expressed above exploring the competition and the competitive environment of your industry is a necessary activity for any business.

Business competition can come in many different shapes and forms.

Competition can come from a local business, it can come from web based company. It may come from a substitute product or service. It may come from a vast variety of sources.

No matter what shape or form competition comes in one thing that is absolutely concrete and necessary for any small business is that one must understand the competition on a intimate level if you are to have any sort of chance at maintaining a long term competitive edge over your competition.

Considering Competition

What and how you go about examining and considering the competition will depend on your business. Below I have prepared a list of key areas to explore when considering the competition.

Local Competition

If local competition exists then this should be a definite focus of competition consideration. Taking a look at factors such as location, local advertising mediums, community reputation, and operation history are some very important aspects of local competition.

Competing Alternatives

Explore alternative products or services does the consumer have to choose from. Explore the strengths of these alternatives. Find the weaknesses of these choices. Figure out how you can exploit the weaknesses and offer one of your strengths that makes your product or service the superior solution to what ever problem or need your product fulfills.

Future Competition

What does the future competitive landscape look like?

Take a look at how new technologies will influence the competition. Examine the barrier to entries. How sturdy are those barriers. How can you make it harder for new competitors to get started. Try and create a generic game plan for dealing with a new competitor.

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Thoughts on The Bush Tax Cuts

The Bush Tax Cuts

If you happen to live amidst any sort of US media than you have no doubt been exposed to the Bush tax cut conflict.

The Bush tax cuts is a heated political issue. Democrats want to get rid of them for those who make more then 250 thousand dollars and keep them for those who make less then 250 thousand dollars.

If I had to pick one of the two choices (keep them or eliminate for 250k and above) I would eliminate them for the 250k income and above and keep them for those that bring home less then 250 thousand.

But if I was able to manipulate the choices a bit I would elect for the following compromise...

  • Keep the tax cuts for 350 thousand and below.
  • Keep half the tax cuts for 350k - 700k.
  • Eliminate the tax cuts for 700k and up.

To me this is the way to do it.

It protects the life style of the folks who are wealthy but part of the "income elite".

I can see how the tax cuts may be important to those whom are not millionaires. This is why I propose a sliding scale. This seems like a good compromise.

Also I am forced to give much consideration to what buffet has said on the matter which is that he thinks that rich need to step up and pay more taxes.

How can you argue with that?

I want to hear from you so tell me what you think and how you have come to that conclusion by leaving a comment.

- Finance Guy

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Sunday, November 28, 2010


This blog began its criticisms of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Economic Renewal Programme (ERP) the day it was presented to a largely acquiescent and handpicked business audience at the Panasonic factory in Cardiff.

I believe there was a general expectation by those in power that the ERP would simply be implemented without any discussion amongst the wider business community in Wales.

At the time of the launch, the CBI were “in the bag”, the FSB was largely silent on the ERP, the mainstream press was ready to go along with WAG’s press office on this matter and opposition politicians were simply not prepared to put their heads over the parapet and challenge this poor excuse for an economic strategy.

In that atmosphere, this blog began what some opponents tried to describe as a fruitless campaign to demonstrate where the ERP had flaws. It has faced down a group of senior managers within the Department of Economy and Transport (DET) that have been ready to do anything to stop criticisms of their precious plan.

They have obsessed about what has been written on this blog and in my various columns in the Western Mail to the extent that, during one period in July and August, someone from a WAG computer was logging in every two minutes to see what was being written in the commentary section of various blog entries (more details later this month when I have finished compiling the statcounter logs).

Of course, whether they have crossed the line of political impartiality as civil servants is a matter for another day.

Thanks largely to the Welsh blogosphere, a real debate has emerged about the Economic Renewal Programme and its potential impact on the Welsh economy. Non-aligned blogs such as “Valleys Mam” and “A Change of Personnel” have been instrumental in creating a wider forum in which government economic policy can be debated, a forum that should have been in place elsewhere.

As a result of this wider debate and the constant commenting by those out in the real world on this blog and others, some Assembly Members finally begun to question the direction of travel of the ERP.
The FSB woke from its stupor and became openly critical of the strategy and its effect on small firms in Wales and finally, we had the Enterprise and Learning Committee order an inquiry into the whole programme.

Its recommendations, published last week, make interesting reading, and are not too dissimilar to what this blog has been saying since July 5th 2010:

  • Recommendation 1 - We recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government should now more properly engage stakeholders in the implementation of its Economic Renewal Programme and should publicise and market its new arrangements for future business support quickly and effectively, particularly in the context of this current economic climate.
  • Recommendation 2 - We recommend that in the short term the Welsh Assembly Government should consider providing tapered funding to reduce the level of grant support available as projects and businesses mature.
  • Recommendation 3 - We recommend that in implementing its Economic Renewal Programme the Welsh Assembly Government should place a stronger emphasis on encouraging innovation and commercialisation of research into marketable products and should set targets for the percentage of Gross Value Added that will be generated by research and development.
  • Recommendation 4 - We recommend that in order to identify and nurture young entrepreneurs the Welsh Assembly Government should channel resources into schemes for encouraging more productive collaborations between higher and further education institutions and commercial advisers, for example, establishing a boot camp for apprentices.
  • Recommendation 5 - We recommend that Welsh Ministers should consider the merits of establishing a bond market for the Welsh economy. We also recommend that Welsh Ministers should consider establishing a business community bank in Wales that would be specifically aimed at turning innovation into commercialisation, rather than focused solely on generating financial returns.
  • Recommendation 6 - We recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government should clarify and communicate to the sector how it will be helping Welsh businesses export into new markets abroad, and conversely, how it will attract and brand inward investment.
  • Recommendation 7 - We recommend that Welsh Ministers should consider public/private partnerships such as those developed by the South West Regional Development Agency and by the UTOPIA network in the USA as a means of providing a next generation broadband network for the whole of Wales, and should undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the various approaches before deciding on a way forward.
  • Recommendation 8 - We recommend that the proposed Wales Infrastructure Plan should adopt a long-term planning horizon to integrate economic policies with those for transport and energy and with the Wales Spatial Plan; that it should include funding mechanisms, milestones and timescales for delivery; and should be subject to early and meaningful engagement with stakeholders.
  • Recommendation 9 - We recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government should consider restructuring the Manufacturing Forum to work closely with the proposed sector panels in ensuring there are tools and techniques in place for analysing data and trends and making informed decisions about the future, without any duplication of work.
  • Recommendation 10 - We recommend the Welsh Assembly Government should be more active in fostering better engagement between employers, education institutions and the sector skills councils on identifying which skills are needed to drive the Welsh economy forward and aligning courses and curricula accordingly.
  • Recommendation 11 - We note the change in name of the Business Partnership Council to the Council for Economic Renewal and we recommend that Welsh Ministers should now consider a re-energised, re-focused and more effective role for the Council, with dedicated senior level support, in working with the sector panels and holding the Welsh Assembly Government to account in delivering sustainable economic development throughout all its departments.
  • Recommendation 12 - We recommend that quantifiable targets and measures should be developed with the sector panels as part of a more dynamic performance management framework for regularly monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the Economic Renewal Programme. We also recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government should regularly publish, at least once a year, a detailed assessment of its progress against the targets and measures.
  • Recommendation 13 - We recommend that Welsh Ministers clarify the status of, and relationship between, the internal review and external evaluation of the Technium network, and how the outcomes of those reviews will be taken forward.
  • Recommendation 14 - We recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government should plan for the next 20 years at least in developing its economic policies, and that its various programmes, such as Economic Renewal, EU Structural Funds and Work-Based Learning, should all be aligned to achieve a shared vision for a sustainable future economy

I still believe that the whole of the ERP should still go out for full consultation now it has been published. In fact, I am convinced that, in not doing so, WAG has broken the spirit, if not the actual, law regarding any business scheme i.e. that they must consult fully with the business community.

However, the main issue regarding this whole economic strategy remains unresolved. What I have maintained throughout the last five months is that it is clear to everyone in Wales that the senior management team within the Department of Economy and Transport simply isn’t up to the job of transforming the Welsh economy.

We have had their previous Minister suggest this on a number of occasions, we have had an independent report from internal auditors that damned the way the department was being run and now we have the Enterprise and Learning Committee state, quite unequivocally, that they are

“still unclear, however, as to how delivery of the Economic Renewal Programme will be any different if the Welsh Government’s senior management team will essentially remain the same, albeit within yet another new departmental structure.”

Is this the last word on the Economic Renewal Programme?

Probably not as I myself have one more substantive article to write on why I believe that there needs to be a major change within the Department of Economy and Transport if the Minister is ever to be taken seriously again by the business community in Wales.

Until then, I would hope that the Minister examines all the evidence before him from the Enterprise and Learning Committee and considers whether his organisation is truly fit for purpose and has the right people in place to take Wales forward out of recession.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

At what point, Ieuan, are you going to recognise that what you do in terms of delivering business support is bad?

A fascinating interview with entrepreneur Paul Ragan in today’s Wales on Sunday where he claims he has “absolutely no faith” in the Assembly Government, stating that the majority of businesses don’t get the support and struggle to understand where and how to access support.

His solution?

To create three “centres for business” – one each in North, South and West Wales. The centres would be “iconic” and would provide support for budding entrepreneurs. There would be mentoring sessions with private sector “heavyweights” as well as financial support, advice and funding. Each centre would also have a “lending room”– a Dragons’ Den-style forum to which around 1500 businesses each month could come to pitch and present their ideas to the banks. The centres for business would be paid for through an Assembly and private sector initiative, with one idea is that banks sponsor the buildings in return for having the lending room.

It is an inspired idea and with the techniums now becoming available in Bangor, Aberystwyth and multiple locations in South Wales, he has the iconic buildings in place to make it happen. The real question is whether the private sector could do this without WAG support. I think it could but it would have to be driven by someone like Paul Ragan.

As the Chairman of this year’s Fast Growth 50 winner, Smart Solutions, he also notes that “Around 90% of our growth will come from 10% of our top people. We need to find that 10% and the only way we will do that is to create the right environment.

However, his biggest criticism is saved for the Economy Development Minister. According to Mr Ragan,

“I met Ieuan Wyn Jones, the minister for the Welsh economy, and I asked him, ‘OK, so I own a hardware store in Aberdare and I want to open two others. Who do I go to, where do I go?’,“He didn’t know. He couldn’t answer. If he doesn’t know who’s responsible for business development, how do you expect the businesses to? I asked, ‘At what point, Ieuan, are you going to recognise that what you do in terms of delivering business support is bad? It doesn’t work."

A point well made and perhaps the biggest problem is that the Welsh Assembly Government is more ready to listen to lobbying groups such as the CBI rather than individual entrepreneurs. Paul Ragan and other successful entrepreneurs have much to offer this nation and government could, and should, be making more of their talents.

Hey Check out What Google is Advertising...

I was on Alexa or somewhere and saw a Google banner advertising this link....


Have you guys seen this before? Is this old News?

Let me know what you think about it.

- Finance Guy


As the eternal optimist, I will be putting on my Welsh scarf and walking down to the Millennium Stadium to see Wales take on the All-Blacks.

Considering that you can allegedly get better odds on Wagner to win X-Factor than on the home side winning this afternoon, it doesn't bode well

But, you never know and here's hoping that we finally break the hoodoo.

C'mon Wales!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Looking Back at Cash For Clunkers - Obama Plan

August 2009

Cash for Clunker - Obama Stimulus Program

The phrase "Cash For Clunkers" has been all over the media as of late and for good reason. Cash For Clunkers is thus far the most successful economic stimulus program, this notion is impressive by any measure but is even more impressive when you take in the fact that it makes up less then 1% of the stimulus budget. Not to mention that this figure was increased three fold from the original 1 billion dollar budget to 3 billion which was passed by congress due to the overwhelming success.

What is the Cash For Clunkers Program?

The Cash For Clunkers Program is a Consumer spending and automotive industry stimulus program that awards consumers with a substantial rebate in the amount of 3,500-4,500 dollars for meeting the following:

The consumer must trade in a "clunker" which is a term to describe a older automobile that gets poor gas mileage. Clunkers get 18 or less miles to the gallon.

The consumer must then purchase a new car that is fuel efficient and at least 4 miles to the gallon more efficient then the clunker traded in. The Incentive or amount of the rebate awarded is much higher for a car that is 10 miles to the gallon more efficient then the clunker traded in.

  • 3500 dollars is awarded for a four mile improvement.
  • 4500 dollars is awarded for a 10 mile improvement.                  

As mentioned in the beginning of this article the Cash For Clunkers Program performed much better then expected which was the catalyst behind congress's decision to triple the budget. Taking a look at the financial numbers describing the economic activity makes the popularity of the Obama stimulus program quite evident.

Resulting Economic Activity of the Cash For Clunkers Program

  • Approximately 700,000 - 750,000 Transactions or new car purchases
  • Approximately 20 billion dollars in sales
Benefits of the Cash For Clunkers Program

Economic Activity surged and more importantly then how much is where. Consumer spending as well as the automobile sales were two of the most troubled aspects of the recession and these were the beneficiaries of Obama's Cash For Clunkers Program.

Consumer Value

The Cash For Clunkers Program allowed the consumer participants to obtain substantial value per dollar.

Environmental Implications

This program will obviously help the environment because of the programs focus on fuel efficiency.

Gas Prices

The cost of fuel or gas will inherit downward pressure because of the quarter million clunkers that have been taken off the road and replaced with a more fuel efficient counter part.

Jobs and employment

This program will obviously help improve the employment numbers given the increased consumer spending.

Credit and Lending Activity

These new automobile purchases gave an upward push to lending activity, as consumers took on secured debt to finance these purchases.

Three Foreclosure Soloutions

3 Foreclosure Options
I wanted to explore three great foreclosure alternatives for homeowners in financial hardship.

Deed in lieu of Foreclosure

This is a foreclosure solution for homeowners that can not afford the home. This option simply involves handing over the deed to your home in place of the debt owed to your mortgage company.

What is the benefit to the Deed in lieu of foreclosure as opposed to just letting the home go to foreclosure? 

Well the big benefit of a deed in lieu is that the debt is forgiven free and clear. This is different then if the property went to foreclosure because if at the foreclosure the property did not sell then the mortgage company would have to find a different avenue to sell the property. Many times the lender will end up selling the property for a loss which thew lender can then come after you for the difference.

That's right if you let your home go to foreclosure you can lose more then your home.

Deed in Lieu Fundamentals

Repayment Plan

Many times a Homeowner will be able to obtain a repayment plan from their lender as an alternative to foreclosure.

A repayment plan is perfect for any Homeowner who has faced a short term financial hardship and who has since recovered. As long as you can show your lender that you can now afford the monthly payments without any problem then they will generally give you another shot to make good on the mortgage.

Restructured Mortgage - Loan Modification

A loan modification also known as a mortgage modification is perhaps the most popular foreclosure solution out there for Homeowners. The reason for it's popularity with Homeowners is because a modified mortgage agreement which is a rewrite of the terms of the existing mortgage agreement based on the present financial situation of the homeowner, is usually given new terms that favor the Homeowner.

This means that if you were to obtain a mortgage modification you could potentially lower your principle on the mortgage as well as the monthly payment and interest rate.

Modification Basics

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Homeowners Can Stop Foreclosure

Homeowners Can Stop Foreclosure

Many homeowners are finding themselves staring down the barrel of mortgage default and a looming foreclosure sale. There are a lot of homeowners who think that all hope is lost and that their is nothing that they can do. They feel hopeless. The thoughts of uncertainty are too much for many to deal with.

I have good news for these homeowners stuck amidst the cloud of uncertainty and fear. There is hope for a brighter tomorrow. Homeowners are able to stop foreclosure. There are literally dozens upon dozens of foreclosure solutions available for homeowners who find themselves amidst a financial hardship.

Below I have created a list of some of the most common methods homeowners use to stop foreclosure. Under each label is a brief description as well as links to resources offering further research.

Hang in there. You can stop foreclosure.

How Homeowners Stop Foreclosure

Loan Modification

Loan Modification has become increasingly popular. This debt help solution allows homeowners to lower their monthly mortgage payment.

Mortgage Refinance

Mortgage refinancing will stop foreclosure but has become increasingly difficult but if a mortgage refinance is obtainable it is one of the more favorable mortgage workouts available to Homeowners.

Short Sale

Short Sale is quite common in the world of foreclosure but the homeowner will always lose their home in this situation.

Hard Money Loan

Hard Money Loans are very lucrative for investors if equity has accumulated in the property.

Loan Audit

Loan Audits performed by lawyers in effort to find grounds to legally challenge the lender is a new trend. Many have found success, as the lender will often opt for loan modification at the threat of a lawsuit.


Bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure proceedings but generally the Homeowner will eventually lose the home down the road.


The lender often grants a forbearance agreement or a repayment plan to the Homeowner in efforts to retain home ownership.

Home Sale

Selling the home on the open market is a way to stop foreclosure but it is generally a better idea to postpone the sale to relieve the discounting pressure on the sales price of a home when in foreclosure.

These mortgage solutions that allow Homeowners to stop foreclosure are just some of the many mortgage workout options that are available to Homeowners who need to stop foreclosure and save their home.

When and How Subprime Went Wrong - Explained

Subprime Lending Went Wrong

Subprime loans have enabled thousands upon thousands of Americans who did not qualify for prime loans the opportunity to buy a home via the funds obtained through a subprime loan.

However the subprime lending market got a little to ambitious for their own good.

These overly ambitious subprime lenders began lending to borrowers who did not qualify. These loans were doomed from the get go but they were masked by fill in the blank financial documents and even worst missing documentation.

The other direction was perhaps worst from a ethical stand point but an understandable strategy from a purely cost benefit analysis.

Subprime loans were given to prime borrowers. Even worst many of these loans were taken blindly by borrowers who did not understand what they were getting themselves into. Many prime borrowers were refinancing out of more favorable home loans into less favorable much more expensive loans with exotic terms that the borrowers did not understand.

Thus the end result is today's and yesterday's head lines. First the bad subprime loans to less then subprime borrowers started to go bad. This put pressure on the housing markets. Then that new pressure on housing prices started to push a lot of typical subprime borrowers with subprime loans down the default trap and this really started to put some weight on the housing market.

At this point the level of foreclosures every month is  starting to skyrocket out of control. Loan agents and real estate agents start to quickly find themselves out of work. They start defaulting on their financial obligations including their loans and their home loans as well.

Then the prime borrowers with subprime loans begin to crumble under the quaking of a faltering economy. Once this wave of borrower starts going so to do retail sales, automotive sales, jewelry sales and the like.

As these sales go so to do the salaries and commissions that the employees and agents of those industries were making. Then there mortgages begin to default. Many of these borrowers are prime borrowers.

The mortgage market is in free fall right behind the home sale figures. Businesses are laying off employees and cutting back.

From here it just gets worst.

Nationwide panic leads to world wide panic.

Then there was a bottom. Then there was Obama. Then there was stimulus.

Then the US started on their way back up.

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Subprime Lending

Sub-prime Mortgage Lending and Home Loan Borrowing

A sub-prime mortgage is a mortgage that was created for the sub-prime borrower or in other terms borrowers who did not qualify for a prime mortgage which generally have more favorable terms.

A sub-prime mortgage will traditionally have higher interest rates, higher closing costs and or servicing fees. The higher cost of debt is justified by the higher risk taken by the lender.

The sub-prime mortgage has caused the recent recession and housing crash.

Though the Subprime lending has contributed in large part to the turmoils of our economy not all subprime mortgage loans are a bad thing.

The practice of sub-prime lending has enabled consumers to obtain home loans that they were able to use to buy a home and thus live the American Dream.

Sub-prime borrowers are unable to get approved for the more borrower friendly prime mortgage loans. This is for the simple fact that only prime borrowers qualify for prime home loans.

Since a sub-prime borrower does not qualify for a prime mortgage, one can easily deduce that if such a borrower is unable to borrower via a sub-prime loan then that borrower is not going to be able to buy a home. Following this logic there is a clear space and market for sub-prime mortgage loans and thus sub-prime lending.

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Subprime Economy

When and How Subprime Went Wrong - Explained

Subprime Economy

The American economy has seen better times.

The catalyst behind the current recession is the mortgage and housing sector.

Foreclosure levels are skyrocketing and the American homeowner is suffering the worst.

A large part of the financial trouble consumers are having is due to subprime mortgage loans. Many prime borrowers took subprime mortgages. This is unfortunate as many of these folks were misinformed and assumed that they were getting a good deal. Large portions of the once prime borrower population have now needlessly lost their home.  They simply did not bother to read the loan contracts they were signing, or they failed to see the risk they were assuming.

It is important for consumers to understand basic mortgage lending and borrowing concepts. One such concept related to mortgage lending is the difference between a prime mortgage and a subprime mortgage.

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Debt Help and Debt Solutions

Short Sale Basics

Short Sale

A short sale is a discounted real estate transaction involving the sale of a distressed property.

If a homeowner is behind on their mortgage and they are unable to sell the property on the open market or they are unable to sell the property for more then they owe on the mortgage then the homeowner may request a short sale authorization from the lender.

By authorizing a short sale the lender gives the go ahead for a discounted sales price. the lender agrees to accept less then what is owed on the mortgage.

The lender will often agree to a short sale in recognition of the lousy housing market or in recognition of the fact that the property is upside down.

If the property is upside down the lender understands that recovering the full amount due is simply unrealistic. This is because the property is simply worth less then what is owed on the mortgage.

For these reasons a lender will often welcome a discounted cash offer from a third party borrower.

A short sale transaction can solve a messy situation very quickly. All three parties walk away reasonably happy.

The lender avoids much of the cost of foreclosure, managing the property, selling the property, as well as the opportunity cost incurred from having the cash tied up in the property while they are trying to get rid of it on their own.

The homeowner or borrower is able to walk away from a nightmare that they could not afford and they are free of all the mortgage debt. They are able to repair their credit score sooner and they have avoided foreclosure. In many cases homeowners are even able to obtain a few thousand dollars in foreclosure relocation assistance.

Finally the third party buyer is pleased with their purchase of a discounted real estate property.

In the end everyone is still standing.

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About Loan Modification

Fundamentals of a Deed in Lieu

Debt Help and Debt Solutions

Deed in Lieu - Fundamentals

Many homeowners who are in financial distress find themselves in foreclosure. The stress and anxiety that foreclosure causes can make it easy for a homeowner to simply give up and put their head in the sand. Many homeowners feel there is nothing further they can do and they just want to let their home go to foreclosure. A deed in lieu of foreclosure may be a good option for the borrower that allows them to stop foreclosure.

Foreclosure does not necessarily get you off the hook with the lender. Your lender can come after you for any funds that were not recovered after the foreclosure sale.

If a homeowner simply does not want their home and they are unable to sell their home then a deed in lieu of foreclosure may the answer.

It is much wiser to stop foreclosure through a deed in lieu. This allows you to free yourself of all debt in exchange for the deed.

Basics of a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

Deed in lieu of foreclosure is an agreement that on the surface is very similar to simply letting your home go to foreclosure. This is at least true for our homeowner with their head in the sand.

A deed in lieu allows you to simply hand over your home free and clear of any further obligation to your lender.

Many homeowners are also able to obtain thousands of dollars in financial aid through a program known as Cash for Keys. 1500 - 3500 dollars is often given to homeowners who agree to a deed in lieu of foreclosure as foreclosure relocation assistance.

Another solid reason to stop foreclosure with a deed in lieu rather than just letting your home sell at a foreclosure auction is your credit score.

Though a homeowners credit score is not going to be in good shape no matter what by the time it gets to this point. Homeowners who stop foreclosure through a deed in lieu or short sale will find that their credit scores begin repairing much sooner then those scores of homeowners who remain head first in the sand and simply watch their home go into and all the way through the foreclosure process.

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Loan Modification Basics

Forbearance Basics

Forbearance allows the homeowner to stop foreclosure and keep their home.

With a forbearance agreement a borrower will either make normal mortgage payments with the late payments and arrears simply put on the end of the loan or the Homeowner will have increased payments until the mortgage is brought current.

Often their may be a period in which no mortgage payment is due. This period of mortgage relief allows the mortgagee time to solve their financial hardship. This is often as simple as getting a new job or sometimes may involve the borrower raising funds from another source and then using those funds to pay off the arrears of their past due mortgage balance.

A lender is much more likely to offer a forbearance agreement to a homeowner who can demonstrate that they have incurred a short term hardship as opposed to a long term hardship.

If the homeowner has incurred a long term hardship then a mortgage workout such as a loan modification will prove a better fit.

What I really want homeowners to remember is that there is a lot debt help and mortgage assistance available for those in financial hardship. So if one mortgage solution will not work for you don't give up. There is something out there that can help you no matter what the financial matter may be.

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Modification Basics

Loan Modification

Loan Modification is the restructuring of the existing terms to loan or mortgage.

Loan Modification may allow borrowers amidst financial hardship to stop foreclosure and keep their home.

Payment terms and payment variables such as the interest rate are adjusted in a way that lowers the monthly installments. Lowering the monthly mortgage payment via mortgage modification allows the homeowner to make home affordable and thus keep their home.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks with 10 Links

I wanted to try and do something fun for Thanks Giving.

What to do. What to do.

I came up with the following...

I will come up with ten things that I am thankful for... but there is a catch.

The catch is that not only do I have to be thankful for them but I also have to be able to link to that of which I am tankful for. Thus these ten things must have a site or blog.

Young Finance Guy's 10 Links of Thanks

Taylor - You Must Go On

Amidst the chaos of spam, 30 billion dollars of advertising, 150 billion in sales, and the 30 something million websites that Alexa tracks, there is a small tiny excuse for a blogger named Taylor.

She writes about her thoughts, her day, her trials, and her tribulations. She calls herself out, she calls her friends out, and she will even call her family out.

I am thankful for her, and I am thankful for her blog.

I often wonder...

What is it about her blog that I like?

In truth I have not quite figured it out yet. But I have made some progress. It has something to do with the way she writes. Her tone at times seems so real. Her voice so honest. There are some posts, not every post, but there are some posts, that as I read I find myself in her shoes, living her life and viewing the world as it appears from her perspective. This, I imagine, is what writing is all about.

If you don't follow a blog like I follow Taylor's You Must Go On, then I encourage you to find one, even further...

I encourage you to start with Taylor's Blog.

You Must Go On - Taylor's Blog

Phil DeFranco

Man... I love this guy.

He is a vlogger. A true vlogger. In my eye's he is the first of his kind.

He provides me a few minutes every week where I escape and set back as he entertains.

For this, for Phil DeFranco, I am Thankful. You can find him on YouTube or you can start with his blog.



I love what blogger does and what blogger is all about. Thanks Blogger.

By the way a lot of people do not know this...

Blogger was started by the same guy who started Twitter.com

Start a Blog on Blogspot - Blogger.com

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

I love what Wordpress is all about and what they do for the Internet.

Start a Free Blog on Wordpress.com

Use the Wordpress Blogging Platform on Your Own Site - Wordpress.org

Thanks Wordpress

Ken's Blog

I love Ken Envoy and his life mission. He is a bit crazy. So am I.

You can find Ken's Blog below...

Ken Envoy - Blog - SiteSell

President Obama

I am so thankful and Grateful for President Obama. I believe in President Obama and am thankful that he has come to lead in this country's time of need. I am grateful for what he has done for the American Homeowner.

You can find his blog below...

President Obama's Blog

Thank You Obama

Google - The Best Search Engine in the World

Google, in my opinion, may be the most important company in the world.

If not... they are surely the most convenient.

Search the Internet

Thanks Google

Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffet is like no other person on Earth. I know of no one quite as selfless as him. He does things the right way, for the right reasons, and shares his wisdom with all who will listen.

Thanks Warren

Berkshire Hathaway


These guys...

Without Facebook I would not have the sex life that I have today. Like a fountain of potential partners, each new female friend request I receive may very well one day lead to another special night, and another morning of shame. They offer a world and a life time of potential.

Also they have reshaped the site rankings at Alexa.com - With out their contribution to the web all my sites would be at least 200,000 - 400,000 ranks away from where they are today.

Thank You Facebook.com


Craig's List

What started as a hobby grew into what the Internet is all about. The first true web 2.0 property. Letting humanity be humanity and letting people be people.

Thanks Craig


Well that about sums it all up for this thanks giving day appreciation post. I hope you enjoyed it!

If you want more thanks giving day cheer then I suggest checking out another post that I published today. The post includes and features a video...

Charlie Brown's Thanks Giving Special

Hey it's a classic.

That's all I got folks.

Happy Thanks Giving!

- Young Finance Guy

Charlie Brown Thanks Giving Special - Happy Thanks Giving Guys

To help spread the Thanks Giving Cheer I thought I would post a classic.

That's right good old Charlie Brown and his Peanut friends.

They are all here.

I hope you enjoy this family classic.

Happy Thanks Giving

- Finance Guy

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During the last couple of days, I have been over in Dublin acting as an external assessor for the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences and meeting up with a couple of Irish organisations to discuss potential opportunities for Welsh firms (more on that later).

It was a historic time to be in the capital city as my visit coincided with the announcement of the Irish Government’s attempted rescue plan to save Ireland’s economy.

In some sections of society, feelings are running high and headlines such as those in the Irish Star (left) makes critiques of the UK Coalition Government seem very mild indeed.

The severe cuts equate to more than ten per cent of Ireland’s national income, compared with Britain’s plan to reduce public spending by about five per cent of output.

Indeed, given the recent fuss over the reduction in the Welsh Assembly Government’s budget, it is very sobering to read what is having to be done across the Irish Sea to stabilise their economy::
  • €15bn in measures aim to bring deficit under 3% GDP by 2014 with €6bn of adjustments to be front-loaded in 2011
  • An extra €1.9bn sought via income tax changes
  • Standard VAT rate to rise from 21% to 23% in 2014
  • Entry point for income tax to fall to €15,300 – from €18,300 currently – by 2014
  • Minimum wage to be reduced by €1 to €7.65
  • Reduction of social welfare spending of €2.8bn targeted
  • Domestic water charges to be introduced by 2014
  • Introduction of a site value tax in 2012
  • Students' contribution charge to rise from €1,500 to €2,000
  • Reform of capital acquisitions, capital gains tax
  • Pension-related tax changes to yield €700m
  • Tax savings of €240m on public sector pension deductions
  • Site valuation tax to be introduced
  • Cut in public service staff by 24,750 from end-2008 levels to 2005 levels
  • Overall pay adjustments of €1.2bn by 2014
  • 10% pay cut, new pension scheme for new public sector entrants
However, the plan does not touch the country's low corporate tax rate which was one of the major contributing factors to the economic boom during the 1990s. This is despite pressure from Germany and France to abolish the 12.5 per cent rate of corporation tax which has attracted major companies such as Google and Microsoft to Ireland.

In terms of what this all means to Irish citizens, the Irish Independent has estimated that the average household will be paying an additional €4,600 every year in extra charges and taxes. Still, when I popped over to Slattery’s for a pint of Guinness last night, it was full of craic and there was little gloom and doom amongst the clientele.

Of course, whether that will be the case in 12 months time is another matter, but if there is one nation that can bounce back from this economic catastrophe, it is the Irish.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


That is what Baz Dhaliwal, the first recipient of the University of Wales travelling innovation scholarship, had to say about his recent visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) last week.

Funded by the University of Wales’s Global Academy in partnership with Cardiff Business Club, the scholarship has been established to enable a graduate of the University of Wales to visit MIT and to meet leading world experts to learn how they can develop their entrepreneurial ideas into world class products or services back here in Wales.

Baz’s start-up business, Rikoset Ltd, is developing new and innovative products to prevent injuries in sport, help rehabilitation and improve the performance of professional athletes; their first product is a revolutionary shin guard service for professional footballers currently being tested at various South Wales clubs. According to Baz, his weeklong schedule of meeting leading experts in entrepreneurship and technology has been a revelation.

“This visit has taught me to think outside of the box and to try and push innovation to its limits. It has opened my mind to possibilities of what can actually be achieved if you change your way of thinking and look at the bigger picture. At MIT, they have realised that education alone will not generate wealth and that it is the implementation of this knowledge that is key to success. It is because of this that MIT are building links with industry very early on to show their students how to apply the knowledge that they learn in the real world outside of university”.

When asked what Wales could do to repeat MIT’s success, Baz felt that the most important issue is not the students themselves, but the culture in which they operate.

“This trip has made me understand the good work that the University of Wales is doing in Wales. By implementing the MIT way of thinking, they are aiming to kick start the Welsh economy, something which nobody has previously been able to do. The main difference between Wales and MIT is not the intelligence of the students, as I believe students in Wales are just as clever as the students at MIT. The main difference is the attitude and way of thinking. Innovation and entrepreneurship need to be nurtured and encouraged from the first day of university. If we adopt this attitude in Wales I have every confidence that we too can achieve the same level of wealth that is being produced at MIT”.

At the University of Wales, we hope that we can continue to ensure that young people are given the best opportunities.

We are therefore pleased to announce that, in partnership with Cardiff Business Club, we will be offering another scholarship to visit MIT next year, so that another entrepreneurial graduate of the University of Wales can gain from linking up with the World’s top innovation institution.

For further information on the 2011 University of Wales travelling scholarship to MIT, email global.academy@wales.ac.uk

Basic Fundamentals of an Investment

When most people talk about an investment they most commonly are referring to a financial decision to commit financial resources to a current use with the expectation of receiving back the financial resources committed as well as a return or reward in the form of financial resources as profit. Investments are generally thought of as involving money but can involve any sort of resource that is of value.

Fundamentals of an investment:

Investments are measured in terms of risk and return. The higher the risk, the higher the corresponding return. Investments are primarily valued and tracked as a function of time and rate of return. The longer the investment takes to yield a return, the longer the rate of return is applied.

Types of Investments:

Investments come in all shapes and size’s and countless different risk levels. However all investments generally fall into one of two different categories:
  1. Real Investments
  2. Financial Investments
Real Investment

Real Investments involve the commitment of real assets.

Real Assets - These are inputs that can be owned. Do help you understand see the list below of common examples of real assets.
  • Property such as real estate
  • Equipment and machines
  • Labor
  • knowledge and education
  • Software
  • Natural resources like oil
Real Investments are not nearly as liquid able as financial investments. Real investments are used to create real assets that are more valuable then the real investment that were used as inputs.

Financial Investment

Financial Investments involve commitments of financial assets.
Financial Assets - These are claims often contractual claims or paper representing the value of a real asset, ore even the claim on the ownership of a future real asset that may not yet exist. Refer to the list of financial assets below to get a better understanding.
  • Cash
  • Loans or bonds
  • Stock or other forms of equity
  • Stock options
  • Commodity futures
Now if that did not get your blood pumping then you are most likely normal except for the fact that you were able to get through it.

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It would seem that the Scottish Government is focusing its efforts on securing a lucrative share of the Asian market:

According to a report in the Herald, the head of Scottish Development International’s (SDI) Asia Pacific division has been busy promoting the importance of export growth in the Far East.

"Frank Boyland, who along with colleagues based at SDI’s offices in Singapore, Mumbai and Shanghai, has been participating in presentations to Scottish businesses in Glasgow and Inverness, said: “We’re at the tipping point [between western and eastern economic leadership]. Growth from Asia and Australasia is 7.7% per year, in China it is 8.9% this year and will be 8.3% next year. In India it will be 8% this year. Asia is where the future high net-worth individuals will be and the trade flows between Asian countries will be huge. There are great opportunities to partner with Asian companies to get into that [business stream]. Too many CEOs are asleep at the wheel as far as Asia is concerned and our job is to inspire and educate Scottish companies. There has never been a better time to go to Asia.

The most important point in the article is about the time it takes to build up relationships in Asia, as anyone who has worked there will know all too well As Frank Boyland points out

“Our goods are now 40% cheaper in some markets, and people have money in their pockets. But you have to spend a lot of time in these markets, companies that invested in Asia two years ago are best placed, but for others, you have to start somewhere.”

The article also points out that the SDI also prides itself on "its “lean and fit” operation of a strategy of forging strong relationships with senior figures in the top 30 or 40 companies in priority sectors in each country, offering Scottish companies high-calibre introductions. Last year SDI said it had helped more than 300 companies enter Asian markets – 60 in Japan, 60 in India, 80 in China, 60 in southeast Asia, 30 in Korea and 40 in Australia".

And yet here in Wales, the promotion of international development of Welsh businesses is in chaos following the abolition of International Business Wales. Indeed, the main headline about WAG's role in overseas development recently has been the decision to close its main office in the USA.

The Scots must be shaking their heads in incredulity at such chaos from one of their main regional competitors and yet again, you have to ask who on earth is advising the Minister on such matters?

Monday, November 22, 2010


Some people say we can learn lessons from Catalonia in terms of devolution. However, as this video shows, perhaps we can also learn from their campaigning methods.

Voting is a pleasure!

Small Business - Why Most Small Businesses Fail

The vast majority of small businesses fail. Why is this?

Starting, running, maintaining, managing, and growing a small business is no easy task. In fact it is absolutely grueling, and at times will seem impossible impossible.

Why do so many small businesses fail?

I have come up with ten common reasons why most small businesses fail. By taking a look at some of the known small business killers we can learn from the mistakes others have made in the past and learn from their mistakes.

Below is a list of the top ten reasons that small businesses fail.

10 Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail
  1. Lack of a Long Term Company Vision
  2. Failure to Establish Goals and Business Objectives
  3. Inadequate Financial Planning
  4. Not Listening to the Consumer
  5. Underestimating the Competition
  6. Lack of Leadership
  7. Ineffective Operations Procedure and Process
  8. Lack of Skilled and or Seasoned Business Talent
  9. Lack of Company Agility
  10. Failure to Communicate Internally

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Nothing is Hotter Than Potter

I saw the financial figures from the weekend box office results of the new Harry Potter flick. My goodness, does this brand not run out of steam? Apparently not.
Potter's latest flick took in a total of 330 million dollars world wide over the weekend and 125 million in the US. The figure you are most used to hearing is the latter 125 million.

The latest flick, known as "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I", has set a new standard for Potter movies in terms of debut revenue.

The movie grossed 20% - 25% more then the next best debut performance of a Harry Potter flick. The next best was "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" which yielded just over a 100 million during it's debut weekend in the US.

Harry Potter is now closing in on the 6 billion dollar mark as a franchise.

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Online Retail Sales are Booming

Well business on the Internet has been booming like always. The online retail sales and finance figures for the third quarter of 2010 are in. The figures are very impressive.

Nearly 42 billion dollars of retail commerce took place over the three month period ending in September. This figure is up 15% year over year. If that was not impressive enough take the following notion into consideration. During that same period when Online retail increased by 15% retail sales in general dropped by almost 5%.

WOW. That is some steady growth.

Online retail sales are up 33% since the lows of the recession. Further online retail sales have doubled since 2005.

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Ireland Takes Bailout

If you have followed global finance at all over the last couple of weeks then you have undoubtedly been exposed to the current Irish bailout controversy.

The EU feels that Ireland is financially. This feeling was shared by some Irish. Though many folks from Ireland vomit at the notion of getting a bailout. Many feel they can handle things on their own.

Outsiders had mixed views as well. Certainly Germany, whom has been a strong economic rock amidst their peers struggles to obtain billions and billions in loans and other forms of stimulus, has their hang ups about financing yet another bailout. They have hardly been rewarded for their stable economy. They have just been writing checks left and right to bailout those who have fared less well.

Ireland finally accepted a 110 billion dollar bailout package which is composed of an 80 billion Euro three year loan package.

Personally I am just glad to see this thing through. I have been sick of hearing it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


"Plaid Cymru’s Education spokesperson has called on the UK government to ensure that some of its announced technology and innovation centres are located in Wales. Nerys Evans AM, says the centres, designed to bridge the gap between universities and business, should be established in Wales to help improve private sector growth and allow Welsh universities to see practical applications for their research".

"More than half of the Welsh Assembly Government's 10 flagship technium business innovation centres are to close. Launched in 2001, the centres were aimed at helping new science and technology businesses to develop".

Business Basics - Staying Competitive

To survive as an ongoing entity, a business must stay competitive. The free market dictates that if there is room for competition someone, some company, will try to squeeze their way in. That company, or new competition, won't stop there.

Competitors will always look for ways to take a bigger share of the market.

This is why, as a business, one must do as your competitors do, you always have to look for that edge. You want to find that competitive advantage. You have to keep an eye out for a way to stay one up on the competition.

This post takes a broad look at how business operations influence the competitiveness of a business.

Business Competitiveness

The competitiveness of a business refers to how effectively a business or organization meets the needs and wants of their target market in comparison to their competition.

There are 10 basic areas of business operations that yield themselves as opportunities to stay competitive. Below I have lusted these ten competitive areas of business operations

10 Competitive Areas of Business Operations
  1. Product and Service Design - The design of a product or service can have a large impact on how competitive a business is when compared to their peers. Every detail can have a big influence on how a consumer thinks or feels about your product in comparison to your competitors.
  2. Costs - A companies management of costs is a huge factor in the competitiveness of any one business comparison to it's peers or competitors. If costs are to high then that firms margins or that firms price will suffer and the competitor will have an opportunity to exploit the issue whether by reducing their price to a level that the you will not be able to compete or simply by doing nothing and raking in the big margins until it feels it needs to exploit the competitive advantage that it has looming in the shadows.
  3. Location - Location, location location. Location is a huge factor in the competitive world. How convenient is your location relative to your competitor. How much more or less are you paying for a certain location compared to your competitor. 
  4. Quality - The quality of your service or product is a big factor for obvious reasons. The factor of quality really comes to the forefront when you compare the cost difference to the consumer. Is the extra quality worth the increase in cost that the client must pay?
  5. Response - How quickly a company can respond to new opportunities and developments with in a industry will have a huge impact on how competitive that business is and becomes
  6. Agility - the agility of a company in terms of response to consumer wants and concerns will have a large impact o that companies competitiveness
  7. Inventory - How efficient a company is at maintaining inventory levels will effect many variables such as price, wait time and the company product availability all of which will greatly impact the firms ability to stay competitive.
  8. Supply Chain - the management of the company supply chain ill effect the firms competitiveness and can even effect how competitive their competitors are able to be through contractual obligations and exclusivity agreements. The management of a supply chain can also have huge implications on the finance and overall financial matters of a company. This of course has a huge impact on a firms ability to stay competitive amidst a ever growing competitive landscape.
  9. Service - whether a company is a service or whether a company sells a physical product either way a company will have some degree of service that attaches itself to the primary product or service. this may bet the front line sales team or perhaps he consumers retail experience when shopping n the stores of the company. there is a lot that can happen from the moment a consumer steps in a store to that point of purchase and their is still more during the life of the product or service. Thus the overall servicing that a firm provides it's consumers has a tremendous effect on the competitiveness of a firm.
  10. Employees -  The behavior of a companies employees has many influences on the overall competitiveness of a firm.

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Friday, November 19, 2010


Should pubs be taxed less on alcohol sales and can it actually reduce alcohol consumption? That seems to be the surprising view of a leading liver doctor from Southampton University.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Nick Sheron suggests that

"VAT is already levied differentially on food and drink; more VAT is charged to drink coffee on the premises than to take it away. If this policy was applied to alcohol but was reversed – say, for example, reducing the VAT for on-sales from 20% to 12% – it would be possible to increase the rate of duty to compensate for this without increasing the price of alcohol in pubs."

He said public health would improve as a result and the pub industry would be supported at the same time. This would be a way around the minimum price per unit of alcohol policy that is unpopular with ministers.

According to the Department of Health, setting a minimum price of 30 pence per unit would prevent 300 deaths a year, 40 pence about 1000, and 50 pence more than 2000. Therefore as Dr Sheron notes ""For someone consuming 15 units a week, the difference between 30 and 40 pence a unit is £1.50, whereas my patients with alcohol related cirrhosis consume a mean of 100 units, and in some cases up to 400 units a week—a difference of £10 and £40. This would have a substantial impact."

This inspired idea would deal with the massive problem of alcohol misuse, much of which is related to low priced supermarket sales, and which costs the UK economy between £20billion and £55billion every year. It also causes around 40,000 deaths and 863,300 hospital admissions.

It is an “out of the box” idea that would have the public health benefits of reducing consumption, improving public health and bring in revenue for the government. At the same time, it could help local pubs if VAT were applied at a lower rate to the industry.

One can only hope that this Government is radical enough to consider such a suggestion. Indeed, if I were George Osborne and Andrew Lansley, I would have my diary secretaries setting up a meeting with Dr Sheron immediately.

On-Site SEO Activities

This post is simply a helpful resource identifying some common on-site seo activities.

Below is a general list of on-site activities that will enhance search engine visibility.

Common On-site SEO Activity

  • Linking keywords with in your site to other corresponding pages with out taking away from user experience.
  • Creating relevant meta tags for keywords and descriptions that are short, accurate, and precise.
  • keeping a consistent feel and design through out your entire site.
  • Maintaining common sense and easy navigation system or strategy for your site including the actual structure of the URLs themselves.
  • Try to keep out bound links to a minimum and perhaps only do so from a blog.
  • Write articles in a structured user and search engine friendly manor.
  • Keep article topics narrow and focused on the topic and keyword you are optimizing for.
  • Use relevant pictures and provide keyword in tags, description and title of picture. Provide captions.
  • Have a site map.
  • Track your sites performance with some sort of statistics and analytical software such as Google Analytics.
  • Update and improve upon your existing content as needed.
  • Make sure you can get to every page on your site from any given page.

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    Search Engine Mechanics

    How Do Search Engines Search?

    The exact nature of search engines and how they work will vary from one engine to the next. The bigger ones such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have similar conceptual mechanics and solid white hat search optimization techniques will positively influence a websites rankings in all three.

    Search engines are powered by elaborate, forever growing, and changing algorithms that are fed data from spiders and bots that run around the net collecting data from one website to the next. For example Google, the worlds most popular search engine and website for that matter, has a program or bot that they refer to as GoogleBot.

    GoogleBot will find a website and analyze the code of the website and take a copy or download of all or part of the site back to its digital home where another bot or program will categorize and index the site in the relevant categories and search algorithms that are appropriate. If a user searches for a related keyword of a site that is indexed by that particular search engine then the search engine will display the site listings for that particular website in the search results or output.

    No one knows exactly how google and Yahoo or Bing work but we do know some general concepts that are significant to all three. though you should know that the exact algorithms that these search engines operate with are kept as secret as possible and all three are different from one another though you will generally find that there results will have the same or close to the same sites listed for certain keywords though the positioning will be different and will constantly shift and change as more and more data and info is indexed and more and more publishers submit and change content.

    Here is the basic idea of what the search engines are looking for when the calculate page rank or search engine listing positions:

    Search Engine Rank Variables - (Obviously Speculative)
    • Number of incoming links
    • Quality of incoming links
    • URL Name
    • Meta tags
    • Relevance of site content
    • Size of the site
    • Use and interaction of users with the site
    • Organization of the site
    • How the site advertises and more specifically where does traffic originate
    • Traffic Quality
    • Age of the Site
    • Brand Name and Recognition
    • Design
    • Navigation structure
    • Content focus
    • Locality
    Again the exact equation is unknown, but the one consistent concept or advice that search engines such as google will give publishers and web masters is to create and design sites with the human end user in mind websites are made for your audience. If a site is made exclusively for search engines then it may be penalized.

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    On Site Optimization and Off Site Optimization

    Their are two components of SEO work that must be completed to obtain a competitive reach in terms of search listings and rankings. With out both components of search engine optimization a Website is not reaching max search exposure potential, and thus missing out on quality search engine traffic.

    The two important aspects of Search Engine Optimization are refereed to as on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

    On-site SEO

    Search visibility enhancement efforts carried out through site design, structure, and content focus are all on-site SEO activities.

    Off-site SEO

    Search visibility efforts such as article marketing, link building, social networking, and other activities that are carried out away from the target site are all examples of off-site seo work.

    We strongly urge users to take a good look at both off-site and on-site SEO activities and strategy. Both are very important components to the success of any website when it comes to obtaining relevant search engine traffic.

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    SEO - On-Site Optimization VS Off-Site Optimization

    The ultimate goal of both on-site optimization and off-site optimization are one in the same. The goal is to support the target websites SERP's and increase the relevant search engine traffic. This post discuses on-site sep vs off-site seo.

    The differences are straight forward.

    Off-site SEO is geared towards building incoming links that increase page rank and traffic. Another goal of off-site work is to build a positive reputation for the target site and to establish that site as a "go to" expert or authority on the particular niche of that website.

    On-site SEO focuses on producing relevant content that awaits search engine users who find the target site. Also structure and design efforts focus on creating a make sense navigation structure that is user friendly. Also the design and structure should be easily read by search engine spiders who crawl the web as an effort to organize all the web pages in a vast index that determines when and where to place a search listing for any given search query that a user submits.

    Both on-site and off-site are necessary components of search engine optimization.

    Three R's of Online Advertising

    The three "R's" of online advertising are three important aspects that all advertisers need to consider when developing an advertising campaign.

    This article will discuss the three "R's" of online advertising and why they are important.

    3 R's of Online Advertising

    Below is a list of the three R's of online advertising as well as a description and explanation of why they are important.


    The reach of an advertisement refers to the portion and frequency the population of users are exposed to the ad. For example Google has a reach of approximately 150 million American Internet users which is approximately 80% of the US Internet user population.

    The reach of an advertisement is important information for advertisers because it allows them to determine if the reach available is enough or not enough for their advertising needs.


    The relevance of an ad refers to the degree the ad is similar, useful, or "like" the content, needs, and interest of the user and what the user is currently doing. For instance, a advertisement for a divorce lawyer is relevant to Ralph a mechanic and a current search user who is researching divorce attorneys. That same advertisement is not going to be a relevant to Ralph three years from now when he is viewing the NYTimes.com story on Ford Motors.

    The relevance of an advertisement is going to a big impact on the performance of the advertisement.

    ROI - Return On Investment

    The ROI or Return On Investment is the value or benefit that is received by the advertiser per dollar the advertiser spends or invest in the advertisement.

    If the advertiser spends $200.00 on content network advertisements through Google and that advertising generated $10,000 dollars worth of revenue, then one can most likely say that given the cost of the product or service is not to outrageous that advertiser should probably turn up the dial on their content network advertising budget.