Archive for May, 2007

We Have Moved.  For more money making ideas, visit us at WWW.MrAlYoung.COM

Here is another article there, you might be interested in:  Free Money Update 

Today is the last day to take advantage of the $100 bank bonus by opening a Citibank Ultimate Savings account.  After today, there is another Citibank promotion, but it only pays $50, so take advantage of the current Citibank offer while you still can.

Here is another $100 bank bonus offer from Bank of America.  It is similar to the Citibank offer in that you have to be a new customer of Bank of America.  One person I knew closed his existing Bank of America accounts and opened a new one to get the $100.  I am an existing Bank of America customer, and it seems a bit too much trouble to get the $100, but you can if you think its worth it.  For a new Bank of American customer, it is definitely worth it.  Make sure the offer code: CH100CSP  is filled out in the online application.

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Everyone has a must TV night where they clear their evening to make sure they don’t miss the new episode of their favorite show.  For my wife, its Thursday nights with Grey’s Anatomy.  My evening of tv is Sunday night, and I have 2 can’t miss shows back to back.  They are The Sopranos and Entourage on HBO.

The Sopranos:

This series remains one of the best shows on tv even after 6 seasons.  It is reason alone to subscribe to HBO.  I have an affinity for maffia type shows and movies with The Godfather, and Goodfellas among my favorite movies.  The Sopranos however is not your typical maffia, gangster show.  Sure, it is very violent and graphic at times, but the excellent writing and the development of the characters is masterful.  Beyond the violence, there is a great deal of subtle humor and irony.  David Chase the creator of The Sopranos is the best writer on television.  I often watch an episode of The Sopranos several times in a week to catch some of the subtle things in the dialogue, or cleaver irony that may yield a clue to what will happen next week.  Still, there is always an element of surpise, and a lot of times someone is “wacked”.  The Sopranos is truly a thinking maffia show.  It is much more than just the violence.

The sad thing is that the series will conclude this season with just 2 episodes left.  Some shows stay on too long and lose its edge in quality, but The Sopranos are going out with the same level of excellence as it did the first season.  Its hard to see how everything will wrap it in the next few weeks, or if there will be a logical conclusion.  We can see it building to a violent ending, and a likely demise of several main characters.  We have already seen the death of one main character this year, and nearly another.  It won’t be the last.  Just a matter of who and by whom.  I will miss The Sopranos, but will enjoy the last two episodes.  If you are not already addicted to The Sopranos, check it out on DVD or on reruns on HBO.  It is destined to be a classic.  Its that good.


Immediately following the Sopranos on Sunday night is Entourage, my other favorite show, also on HBO.  My wife and I love reading US magazine which we subscribe to.  It is a guilty pleasure, and fun to see the surreal life of the “stars”.  Entourage is like looking into US magazine thru the eyes of a young successful actor in Hollywood.  After an hour of watching The Sopranos, Entourage is a nice change of pace.  The Sopranos is a lot of drama, and violence.  Sometimes disturbing images are still in your mind, and you are still trying to make sense of where David Chase is going with all this.

Entourage is the opposite of The Sopranos.  Not a lot of thinking required.  It is light and fluff, and sometimes over the top, but I think an accurate portrayal of the superfical nature of show business.  Entourage is a totally different genre than the Sopranos, but the writing and the development of the characters is no less superb.  Entourage is a story of a young successful actor Vinnie Chase in Hollywood and the adventures of his entourage which is his struggling actor brother Drama and his 2 childhood friends.  One of the friends Eric is his manager, and the other is Turtle which is employed as Vince’s driver.  Their real job is hanging out with Vince.  They do what any young, successful guys with a lot of money would do.  They party.  Each of the characters has their own unique eccentric qualities, but their existence is always centered around what is best for Vince as what is best for Vince is best for them.  It is just a fun show to watch, very funny writing, and  a lot of celebrities appear.  With the Sopranos ending, I hope Entourage will be around for awhile to fill the Sunday night void.

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Someday in the future we may have cars that drive themselves like on the Jetsons.  But before we get to that point, we need to have cars that park themselves.  That day has arrived with the Lexus LS460L.  Many of you may have heard of this feature which allows the Lexus to parallel park by itself, but don’t know how that would work.  Here is a demonstration.

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Its hard to find street parking on our street sometimes.   The problem is that everyone only has a 2 car garage, yet they own at least 3 cars.  Some neighbors have 4 or 5 cars.  Making the problem worse is that some garages are so full of junk, that you can only park 1 car or even none because it is so full.  As a result, cars are spilled over into the street making it difficult for visitors to find a space.

Americans seem to be obsessed with cars, often borrowing more and more to buy the latest cars each year.  I think consistently borrowing money to buy new cars is the one of the most detrimental effect on one’s net worth.  Borrowing money to buy a rapidly depreciating asset is not the recipe for financial wealth, but I will address this topic more in depth at another time.

The immediate problem is finding room for the cars we already own.  Short of moving to a much larger house with a 4 or 5 car garage, we need to find room in our existing home for our cars.  Here is a possible solution, the Phantom Park.

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I recently pointed out that you can get $100 for just opening a Citibank Ultimate Savings account.  The only catch is that you have to be a new customer of Citibank. Hopefully, you were able to take advantage of that offer.  Here is another offer from Net Bank.  You can get up to $250 for opening the following accounts.

  • $75 for Checking of 2% APY
  • $75 for Savings of 4.5% APY
  • $100 for CD of 5.25% APY

Unlike the Citibank offer, there is a minimum deposit, and balance you must maintain.  For the checking account the minimum balance of $500 must be maintained for 1 month.  For the money market savings account, the minimum balance of $1,000 must be maintained for 1 month.  With the CD, the minimum deposit is $5,000 for 6 months.  Here is how to play this:

  1. Open checking account with $500 deposit, and open MMA with $1000 (wait for one month).
  2. After one month, draw checking account down to $10 and MMA to $500.01 (this is the minimum balances to avoid fees). You should get the $150 bonus after about one month after account opening. Call them if it doesn’t show up.
  3. Wait till 6 months from opening, withdraw all your money, then close all your accounts so you won’t get charged with any closing or low balance fees.
  4. After the CD matures in 6 months, withdraw the balance.

Similar to the Citibank offer, you have to be a new customer of Net Bank.  Combined with the Citibank offer, that’s $350 in free money.  Its more work than the Citibank offer, but $350 in a month is worth it.  Its not like you have to dig ditches in 100 degree heat to get the money.  “Work” involves filling out an online application, and moving your money temporarily online.  I have rental property that don’t cashflow $350 a month, and that’s a lot more work and risk.  This is free money for 15 minutes online.

Another tip:  Download this program-Roboform.  Roboform is a program that keeps track of all your online passwords and persoanl information so it fills it out for you every time you enter a website requiring that information.  It will save you a tremendous amount of time when you order anything online such as airline tickets, or any product online.  When you fill out new account applications online, it fills out the form for you automatically.  So, it only takes you only a few minutes to fill out several account applications, so there is no excuse not to get free money if it is offered.

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With the end of the Warriors season, also comes the end of the playoff beard/goatee.  I kept it for almost a week after the Warriors lost, but after some pressure from home, it was time for the goatee to go.  It was getting too long, and its easier to shave than maintain a goatee.  Plus food was caught in it, and that’s gross.  I also got a haircut for good measure. Its no big deal because I don’t really like having too much facial hair anyway.  Its a shame because I grow hair so easily.  If I could  bottom and sell my ability to grow hair at a fast rate, I would be a rich man.

I just wanted to support the Warriors playoff run.  After missing the playoffs for 13 years, it was the least I could do to take it for the team.  The final record for the beard is 4-2, and a first round upset of the Dallas Mavericks.  The “goatee” was less impressive at 1-4.  Final score for facial hair: 5-6.  Here is a final look at the full “goatee”.

tmpphpjylcvf.jpg“Goatee” at its fullest.

Final thoughts on the beard/goatee experiment:

  1. I prefer the goatee to the beard.  The perfect length of the goatee is just passed five o clock shadow.  Beyond that, it gets itchy, and food gets caught in it.
  2. Its itchy, but you get used to it.
  3. You tend to stroke your beard a lot if you have one.  Either to relieve the itch, or just to make sure no food is caught.

tmpphpquzgsd.jpgThe new/old clean shaved look

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I just read in the Wall Street Journal of a new ski development being planned.  It will be a 25-story mountain with slopes for year-round, outdoor skiing and snowboarding. Surrounding the mountain will be an “Alpine Village” with chairlifts, ice rinks, a bobsled track, a winter wonder-park for children, a retail center, a 600-room hotel and a convention center. Total cost of the proposed Bearfire Resort: $696 million.  If you read the Wall Street Journal regularly as I do, you will always see stories of big developments and big deals being.  I enjoy reading them and get inspired by them.

What caught my eye about this article, is that this big ski resort is being planned in an area that has no snow, and that this will be a man made mountain.  It will be in Fort Worth where I own several properties.  I travel to the Dallas-Fort Worth area frequently for business, and in the summer, the heat can be stifling.  Hot and humid.  In 2006, it had 43 days in which the temperature topped 100 degrees.  Not my first choice as an area to build a mega ski resort.  However,  you have to admire the vision of someone to build an huge ski resort with a man made mountain and artificial snow in one of the hottest region in the country.

The most impressive fact of this story to me is how the development cost of  $696 million is to be raised.  $150 million will come from investors and the remaining balance is to be borrowed.  Not only has someone thought of this concept, it is able to convince investors, and banks to buy into this plan.  I’m skeptical of this project.  It will either a colossal success or failure.  We will see, but, it is a masterful selling job to get this project financed.

As a real estate entrepreneur and devloper on a much smaller scale, I work with investors and banks to raise money for my projects each day.  I believe my projects have as much merit as a ski resort in Texas, but no body is throwing $696 million dollars at my projects……yet.  Some lessons to learn here.

  1. Think Big
  2. No idea is too crazy if you can convince someone to fund it
  3. Selling your vision is just as important as having a good idea

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