When Ghana’s Central Bank Cracked the Whip Amidst An Unstable Sector With Too Many Banks

Ghana’s Central Bank continues in its effort to sanitize the banking sector. Notably, among some obvious sanctions it has carried out has been the mandatory takeover of two private-owned banks: Capital bank and UT bank back by the state-own Ghana Commercial Bank under the authorization of the Bank of Ghana in 2017. Other activities have been carried out by Ghana’s Central Bank yet, the sector still needs some stability. Currently, Ghana’s banking sector is unstable though its prospect looks good in the not too distant future should major regulations and activities are carried out by the Central bank.

The sector still nursing it wounds over last year sanctions on the 2 banks, yet another bank has experienced the central bank direct sanctions, thus, Unibank, (It was adjudged the 6th best performing company in Ghana at the Ghana Club 100 awards in 2017). Currently, the country`s Central Bank has announced that as at 20th, March 2017, it has mandated and authorized the Management of Unibank, ( privately owned bank) be dissolved and taken over by KPMG. Interestingly!

Now, Bank of Ghana itself needs some house cleaning. It is very unacceptable to superintend over a sector from which a player is adjudged 6th best only for it to be said to have been withholding some important data. The Central Bank, however, has its defense for the action against Unibank that the bank has persistently maintained capital adequacy level ratio close to zero which agreeably could practically mean Unibank is insolvent. Reports from the Central bank stated that it directed Unibank to desist from granting any additional new loans to customers, however, the Bank failed to comply with the directive and continued granting new loans. Also, Unibank was directed to desist from incurring any additional capital expenditures which they (Unibank) didn’t adhere to thereby, breaching section 105 of Act 930.

Admittedly, Unibank has been a creative bank if one should observe their banking activities over the years from a distance, as such, the Central bank and KPMG guide to the bank should be one that will not dissolve their positive employee-customer culture which is readily seen to be “vibrating” among their customers and bank. Unibank has some very loyal customers, with large numbers being traders. Bank of Ghana, therefore, should guide Unibank, taking into consideration the brand that exists and finding the obvious ways to revive the bank.

Having said this, the number of Universal banks is way too many for Ghana. The number should be capped as having close to 40 banks for a population of 26 million is obviously much. What needs to be done is to build the capacity of existing banks to “branch out” to customers. This can be done in two ways: expanding physical infrastructure to reaching closer to customers and expanding digital (Online/Mobile banking) infrastructure. Already existing banks should be keen on improving their service experience, getting closer to people, expanding digital means of banking and improving on banking security.

Making it clear, however, I am not in any way against the registration of banks, In fact, my position is the direct opposite as I am not oblivious of the importance of financial services to individuals and the economy as a whole. My position will pass for the opposite. My views clearly are that instead of registering new banks that with some of them operates a few branches with no superior services or infrastructures, it would be better to resource existing banks to improve their capabilities.

Finally, some of these financial institutions will have to consider merging should there be any possibility of staying profitable in business and serving customers at standards as the sector begins to become more competitive in the coming years and also especially now that the minimum capital requirement has been increased by the Central Bank to 400 million Ghana Cedis for banks, which will take effect from December 2018.

Three Ideas for Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Your taxes have just been filed and now it’s time for spring cleaning – clearing out the dirt and clutter in your homes and work space to allow for a chore-free summer. Why not also use this opportunity to “clean” up your finances? With a little annual clean-up and our three ideas, you can keep your current financial situation well-organized, streamlined and up-to-date.

Clear the document clutter

We are all human and sometimes accumulate piles of important documents and statements. Now is the time to look through your financial documents and consider which to keep and which to discard. Keep recurring documents, such as investment and bank statements, property and casualty insurance renewals or social security and retirement statements, for one year. You need only keep household bills and credit card statements until you have a record that the bill was paid (unless you need these statements as evidence for tax filing or proof of purchase). Shred all outdated and unnecessary statements.

Try organizing your saved documents into a folder with the newest date on top. This way, if you go looking for a specific document, you won’t shuffle through a year’s worth of back up. Maybe, you prefer storing everything digitally. If so, consider naming folders starting with the year, followed by the two-digit month and ending with the name of the institution or document. This keeps the files sorted in an easy, chronological order. Remember, all electronic files should be backed up regularly, whether stored locally or in the cloud. These days, there are plenty of that will sync your devices and securely back up your storage.

When you pare down and keep only what is necessary – for tax purposes and tracking financial records – you’ll have less clutter and a better understanding of what is in your possession.

Consolidate retirement accounts

How many retirement accounts have you accumulated? Throughout your career, you may have switched employers and acquired multiple retirement accounts. You’re not alone: Many people have aging 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement accounts of convenience. Talk about financial clutter! Now is a great time to consolidate these. IRAs, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs can all be consolidated into a single IRA. (Roth IRAs can only combine with other Roth IRAs.) Old 401(k)s can also be rolled into your IRA. When distributing an old 401(k) into your IRA, be sure to review the investment options and expenses in the 401(k) as compared to what is available in your IRA. Combining multiple accounts, may save you fees and most certainly will save you paperwork. Most importantly, you and your advisor can more easily and strategically invest your retirement account for today and the future. When it comes time to take withdrawals, calculations and taxes will be much easier as well.

Update your critical information

Finally, as you begin to clear the financial clutter, you may have various accounts and people who have changed since the last time you organized. That’s why this is a great time to record all your critical information in one central location. We like to call this your critical records organizer. If you already have your information in one organizer, maybe your information is outdated or professionals have changed. Use this spring cleaning time to review the information and make updates. If you have never organized your important information, you should include all your current account numbers, access information and professional contacts. You might like to keep this information in hard copy or choose a mobile app (such as 1Password) or cloud-based document service (such as Dropbox). Creating a central location of this information is not only useful for you each year, it might become critical for your family. You might have account information and professionals in your life that you interact with, but the rest of your family may not know how to contact. Once you update and organize your critical information, remember to let the important people in your family know where they can find this information for the future.

Spring cleaning your finances doesn’t have to be an exhausting process. By keeping important account statements in one place, tossing recurring documents, and shredding unnecessary or outdated personal paperwork, you can clear the document clutter in your life. Consolidating multiple accounts that have lingered over time, will bring you fresh confidence and control over your nest egg, and updating your information in a central location keeps you protected for the future.

Three Card Blackjack, a Casino Table Game Where Players and Dealers Never Bust

The blackjack rules for the casino table game of Thee Card Blackjack vary in that the player is dealt three cards instead of two.

How Three Card Blackjack is Played

Three Card Blackjack is played with a standard 52-card deck. The objective of the game is for players to make the best blackjack hand to beat the dealer using two or three of their cards. Players or dealers cannot bust. Standing, Hitting, doubling, and pair splitting are not permitted, and a player blackjack always beats a dealer blackjack, however a blackjack pays even money instead of the traditional 3/2.

There are three betting positions, Ante, Ace Plus (optional side bet), and the Play Bet. Players must first make an ante wager. Also, the ace plus option if he or she chooses. The dealer pitches three cards face down to each player and three cards to his or herself. The two dealer cards are face down; one is face up.

Based on the value of the dealer’s up card, players must make one of two decisions after looking at their cards:

Fold – the ante wager is forfeited, but the ace plus wager if made will remain.

Raise – the player makes a play wager equal to the ante.

Here are some hand examples:

Player #1 – Has an A, 5, 4.

Player #2 – Has a 6, 7, and 9 (player cannot bust, so the 6 is not counted)

Player #3 – Has an A, 3, A

Dealer – Shows an 8-up card and a 10, 6, are face down.

Note that player #1 has a total of 20 (11 for the Ace, + 5 + 4 = 20) this player chooses to raise against the dealer 8. Player #2 has a total of 16 (9 + 7, = 16. The player chooses to fold. Player #3 has a total of 15 (11 + 1 for the two aces, plus 3 = 15.) He or she also folds, but the ace plus bet remains.

The dealer has a total of 18, so player #1 wins even money for the ante, raise, and ace plus bet. Player #2 loses the ante wager and ace plus bet if made, because no ace was dealt in that hand. Player #3 loses the ante wager but is paid 10/1 for two aces.

The dealer must have at least a 17 to open. If the dealer cannot open, the ante and raise bets will push, unless a player has a blackjack, for which even money will be paid. If the dealer can open, the higher hand wins.

Optional Ace Plus Wager

Here is the pay table for the optional ace plus wager, which pays even if the player loses the hand. Pay tables may vary between jurisdictions:

Ace, any, any – 1 to 1

Ace, ten, any – 3 to 1

Ace, ten, ten – 6 to 1

Ace, ace, any – 15 to 1

Ace, ace, ten – 25 – 1

Ace, ace, ace – 100 – 1

Strategy and House Edge

The strategy for a player’s total to raise against the dealer’s up card is as follows:

16 or less – Never raise

17 – Dealer 2

18 – Dealer 2 – 8

19 – Dealer 2 – 9

20, 21,- Always raise

The house edge for Three Card Blackjack is about 2% for the ante and play bets but increases to between 2.5 & 7% for the ace plus bet depending on the jurisdictions’ pay table.

Free Bet Blackjack – The Casino Table Game Where the Dealer Actually Gives You Free Bets

The rules for Free Bet Blackjack are played like the traditional version except for the two variations listed below. The casino uses six decks of cards, the dealer hits soft seventeen, (hand containing an ace +6) a player blackjack pays 3/2, re-split certain pairs up to four hands, and double after splitting is allowed. Here are the two variations:

Variation One

Double Down Rule – A player may double down on hard totals (hands with no ace) of 11, 10, or 9 only. Doubling on other hands is permitted however by doing so the player will not receive the free bet wager offered by the casino.

After a player makes the allowable double down wager, the house then gives the player a free double wager by matching the player’s original bet with a free bet button. If the dealer wins the player only loses his or her original wager. If the hand is a push, the player keeps the original wager only. If the player wins, he or she keeps the original wager plus winnings equal to double that wager.

Variation Two

Pair Splitting – A player may split any pair except 4′s or 10′s up to four times. The player receives one free split wager each time, where the player’s split cards are divided into two one card hands. The player’s original wager is placed on the first card and the second card receives the free bet button. Doubling after splitting is allowed. If the player so chooses to double after the split he or she will also receive a free double wager. For the winning hands, each free bet button is replaced with real chips. For a player loss or push, the house takes back the free bet button(s).

You may wonder why all this generosity? Instead of the dealer busting with a total of 22, where the house would pay winnings to all remaining hands, 22 becomes a push. Therefore, all remaining player hands also push.

Optional Side Wager

Push 22 Side Bet – This is an optional wager where a player may bet that the dealer will push with a total of 22. If the player wins, ascending payouts are made depending on the cards. Here is the pay table:

Suited Dealer 22 – Pays 50 to 1

Same Color 22 – Pays 20 to 1

Any other 22 – Pays 8 to 1

The house edge for Free Bet Blackjack is about 1.0% without placing a Push 22 side wager, but jumps to almost 6% if the option is made.

Strategy for this game is simple. Besides exercising basic strategy, take advantage of every opportunity to free split and free double.

Blackjack Rules: Learn a Simple Basic Strategy Before You Play – Here’s How

Blackjack rules are important to understand when playing this casino table game. If played properly by using a simple Basic Strategy, the house advantage is very low, at about 0.5%.

The game is played on a table containing multiple decks of cards. (Usually six or eight). The cards are dealt from a device called a shoe or a CSM (continuous shuffle machine) by the house dealer in the casino.

The objective is for a player to have a completed hand totaling 21 or closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand. Any player’s or dealer’s hand with a sum over 21 is a bust and therefore loses.

The card values are:

2 through 9 – count as their face value

10 through King – count as a ten value

Aces – count as eleven or one

How to Play

Playing is simple. After you placing an initial wager, two cards are dealt face up to each player. The dealer also takes two cards, one face up and one down, known as a hole card.

Based on the strength of the player’s hand and the value of the dealer’s up card, the player must make one of five options:

Stand – If the player has a strong hand such as a 10, 8 totaling 18, s/he would stand by taking no additional cards.

Hit – If the player has a weak hand such as 8, 5 totaling 13, s/he may hit by requesting additional card(s).

Split – If the two cards are of equal value such as an 8, 8 the player can split by playing two hands for an additional wager.

Double Down – Player may elect to double down by requesting only one card after doubling his/her wager. One example would be a 7, 4 totaling 11. The player would hope to receive any 10-value card to make a total of 21.

Surrender – (Where permitted.) When a player has a very weak hand against a dealer’s strong hand, he/she may surrender the hand for ½ of the wager. One example would be a player with 15 and a dealer showing a 10 or ace up.

Per standard rules, a dealer must draw to a hand total up to 16 and stand (no draw) on a total of 17 or higher.

Note that the 17 rule varies between casinos. Some jurisdictions permit a dealer draw to a soft 17, (Ace + 6) others require a stand on all 17′s. Drawing a card with a soft 17 always aids the casino. Standing on all 17′s aids the player(s).

All winning hands, except for Blackjack, pay even money. A Blackjack is a two-card hand containing an Ace and any ten-value card. That payout is 3 to 2. Some casinos have reduced the BJ payout to 6 to 5. Stay away from the 6/5 games if possible. Here’s why:

Players receive an average of about four Blackjacks per hour. With a 3/2 payout at a $10 minimum table, the total win is $60, whereas a 6/5 payout would only net you $48. That’s a $12 loss per hour at a 6/5 table!

Simple Basic Strategy

Prior to playing, it is important to learn basic strategy. It is easy to comprehend and with a little practice your money can last longer at the table. Basic strategy cards are available in most casino gift shops. You can also find them on-line. Most casinos do not object to any player using the cards for reference while playing. Blackjack strategy applied properly is extremely important when playing the game.

The strategy is a blueprint for players that can greatly reduce the house edge to the aforementioned. It is easy to learn, though it does require some practice.

As previously mentioned, correct strategy is always based on the strength of the player’s two card hand against the value of the dealer’s up card. When applying this method, the player always assumes that the dealer has a ten- value card in the hole. Hence, the following strategy should be used whenever playing: Blackjack strategy applied properly is extremely important when playing the game.

Prior to Playing

Rules do vary between casinos so players should first scout the tables to look for liberal rules. In many jurisdictions the rules are posted at the table. If you do not see them, ask. Here is what to look for:

Split any pair

Double down on any two cards

Re-splitting allowed

Double after split allowed

Dealer stands on all 17′s

Surrender permitted

Here is the Simple Basic Strategy:

Player Hard Hands, (no Ace) if You Have:

8 or less, always hit.

9, double if dealer has 3 through 6, otherwise hit.

10, double if dealer has 2 through 9, otherwise hit.

11, Double against dealer 2 through 10, hit against Ace.

12, hit against 2 or 3, stand against 4 through 6, otherwise hit.

13 through 16, stand against 2 through 6, otherwise hit.

17 through 21, always stand.

Player Soft Hands, (one Ace) if You Have:

Ace 2 or 3, double against 5 or 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 4 or 5, double against 4 through 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 6, double against 3 through 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 7, stand against 2, 7 or 8, double against 3 through 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 8 or 9, always stand.

Player Pairs, if You Have:

Aces or eights, always split.

Twos or threes, split against 2 through 7, otherwise hit.

Fours, split against 5 or 6, otherwise hit.

Fives, double against 2 through 9, otherwise hit.

Sixes, split against 2 through 6, otherwise hit.

Sevens, split against 2 through 7, otherwise hit.

Nines, split against 2 through 6 and 8 or 9. Stand against 7, 10 or Ace.

Tens, always stand.

Blackjack side bets are also available at almost every table. Although tempting, the house edge increases a great deal when these options are selected, some into double digits. Always keep in mind that your bankroll is at a greater risk of a quicker depletion when making these inviting side bets.

Remember that no matter which game you choose, the house always has the edge over the long term. The benefit of applying proper strategy is to increase your chances for short term gain.

Casino Hold ‘Em: The Poker Table Game Where Players Compete Against the Casino, Not Other Players

Casino Hold ‘em is similar to the king of all poker games, Texas Hold ‘em. The main difference being players compete against the house rather than other players. It is easy to learn and play, as long as you understand poker hand rankings. Novice players need not worry about being intimidated by other players. First let’s list the face value for each card and the five card poker hand rankings in sequential order:

Face Value of Cards

2 through 10 and Jack, Queen, King, Ace (2 is lowest, Ace is highest)

Poker Hand Rankings

High card – Five cards of different values with mixed suits and Ace being the highest.

One Pair – Two of the same cards such as 2, 2.

2 Pair – Two of the same cards twice, 7,7, & K, K

3 of a Kind – Three of the same cards, K, K, K, (AKA Trips)

Straight – Five cards in sequential order with mixed suits, 7,8,9,10, J

Flush – Five cards with the same suit in any order (5 Spades, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds.

Full House – Trips and a Pair, Q, Q, Q, 8,8, (AKA, Full Boat).

4 of a Kind – Four of the same cards, J, J, J, J, (AKA, Quads).

Straight Flush – Five cards of the same suit in sequential order.

Royal Flush – 10, J, Q, K, A, of the same suit.

How to Play

A standard 52 card deck is used. All players must first make an ante wager before play begins. There is also an optional bonus wager called AA Bonus. The dealer will then deal his or herself two hole cards face down, and place three community cards face up in the center of the table. This is known as the flop. The community cards can be used by all players to complete their hands.

Players examine their cards and must make one of two decisions:

Fold – forfeiting the ante bet.

Call – Make a wager equal to two times the ante bet.

The dealer will then deal two more community cards face up for a total of five, and reveal his or her cards. The players and dealer make their best five card poker hand by using any combination of their own two cards and the five community cards.

The dealer must have a pair of 4′s or better to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify, the call bet pushes and the ante bet will pay according to the pay table listed below.

If the dealer qualifies and player beats dealer, the call bet pays 1 to 1 and the ante bet pays according to the ante pay table below.

If the dealer qualifies and beats the player, the player loses the ante and call bets.

If the dealer qualifies and ties the player, the ante and call bets push.

Pay tables may vary, below is supposedly the most common one:

Ante Bet Pay Table

Royal Flush – 100/1

Straight Flush – 20/1

4 of a Kind – 10/1

Full House – 3/1

Flush – 2/1

All Other – 1/1

Optional AA Side Wager

The AA optional side wager pays if the player is holding a pair of Aces or better. The bet pays even if the player folded the original hand. Here is the pay table:

Royal Flush – 100/1

Straight Flush – 50/1

4 of a Kind – 40/1

Full House – 30/1

Flush – 20/1

Straight – 10/1

Three of a Kind – 8/1

Two Pair – 7/1

Pair of Aces – 7/1

Strategy

Strategy is rather simple for this game according to gaming Analysts. Only the worst 18% of hands should be folded. Which are two low unsuited hole cards with no chance of a straight or flush when matched with the three-card community flop.

Mini-Baccarat Side Bets Are Tempting, But It’s a Bad Bet For Players

Mini-Baccarat was developed as a floor table game in casinos to accommodate the average player. Along with that however, optional side bets were also introduced to increase the house edge. Before I detail them, I’ll explain how the game is played is played.

Objective

The objective of this table game is the same as original Baccarat where player must come as close to the number nine as possible. Aces count as one, two’s through nines are face value, and Tens through Kings count as zero. Regardless of the number of players, the dealer only deals two hands from a 6 or 8 deck shoe. Prior to the deal, players must place one bet on either the Bank hand, player hand, or tie.

When a hand is totaled, it cannot exceed nine. If the two cards total more than nine, the first digit (number one) is dropped. The second digit becomes the total. A few examples are:

7, 8 = 15 (drop 1) total = 5
4, 3 = 7 (two cards, face value)
10, 6 = 6 (10 is zero, 6 is face value)
K, 9 = 9 (King is zero, 9 is called a natural)

Baccarat requires no skill on the part of the player. All s/he needs to do is decide where to place one bet before the deal. The dealer examines both hands and then decides if a third and final card should be drawn for either hand. The determination is made according to a fixed set of game rules.

A bet on the player’s hand returns even money if won. A bet on the Banker’s hand returns even money minus a 5% commission to the house if won. A tie bet returns 8 to 1 if won, otherwise it is a push when not bet. The reason for the 5% commission on the Bank’s win is that the drawing advantage is with the Bank, according the following game rules:

Player

The player position always draws on a 0, 1, and 2,3,4,5 unless the Banker has a natural 8 or 9. The player always stands on 6, 7, 8, and 9. When a player has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.

Banker

The Banker position always draws on a 0, 1, 2 unless the player has a natural 8 or 9.

The Banker always stands on 7, 8, and 9. When a Banker has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.

Baccarat Side Bets

There are a number of optional side bets available at Mini Baccarat tables everywhere and like any side wager, all of them exist to increase the house edge. Nevertheless, Players are attracted to them because of the hefty winning payouts. Here are some of the popular ones:

Dragon Bonus

The bettor may wager on the Player or Banker side that the hand will win by a natural or by 4 or more points. The bet must be made before the hand is dealt. The greater the number that the hand wins by, the greater the payout:

Win By: Payout

9 – 30/1
8 – 10/1
7 – 6/1
6 – 4/1
5 – 2/1
4 – 1/1
Natural – 1/1

The house edge for this bet is 2.7%.

The payouts are the same for a bet on the Bank side however the house edge jumps to 9.7% if chosen.

4-5-6

This is a side wager that the total number of combined cards to complete the Player and Banker hand will be 4, 5, or 6.

# Cards Payout House Edge
4 – 1.5/1 – 5.3%
5 – 2/1 – 8.9%
6 – 2/1 – 4.7%

3 Card Six

This is a bet for a winning 3 card six. If player and banker have a 3 card six, the wager pays 100/1. If there is only one three card six, the bettor wins 8/1. The house edge is a whopping 13.4%!

Royal Match

Wagering that the player or banker hand will have a king and queen on the first two cards drawn, called the Royal Match. Not to be confused with the option of the same name found in the game of Blackjack. The bet pays 75/1 for a suited king & queen, and 30/1 for an unsuited royal match. The house edge has been calculated at about 2.1%.

Dragon 7

Dragon 7 is an optional side bet found in EZ Baccarat, which is played the same as regular Mini-Baccarat except the game has a commission free bank hand with one exception: A winning bank hand with a three-card total of seven will push instead of paying even money. A player may wager on that outcome for which the winning payout is 40/1. The house edge is about 7.6%.

Panda 8

The Panda 8 side bet is sometimes found in EZ Baccarat games. The wager pays 25/1 if a player hand has a three card total of eight. As for the house edge, it’s 10.2%.

Tie Bet

The Tie Bet is not considered a side wager, as it is included on all Baccarat table games. However, due to the atrocious house edge of 14%, it should be avoided at all times.

Remember that Baccarat, next to Blackjack, has a very low house edge of 1.2% when the Play bet is chosen, and a lower edge of 1.06% when betting the Bank when you avoid the side bets.

A Safer Casino Gambling For All

Casino Gambling, ever since it has been legislated, has become even more popular all over the world. With the growth in the number of gambling sites, Online Casino Gambling will sure become one of the favorite places in the web, as far as gamblers are concerned.

We are all aware about the risks that we are taking when it comes to Casino Gambling. There’s the probability that we will lose money, and all the succeeding consequences resulting from that. But the most basic of all the considerations a gambler would have to note is the security of the casino where they would be betting their money.

Going casino gambling involves a lot of security issues, aside from entrusting your money to the cashier. Most casinos, if not all, would require that you give them your name, address, credit card numbers, and other private information. We are all aware that these things could be used by some people to wreak havoc into our lives.

But in all fairness to the casinos, they have proven that the security features they employ makes their customers and visitors feel safer than ever to go casino gambling. There are several innovations that have been made. Most casinos have set-up video cameras to monitor each and every movement around a particular game table. This is of course accompanied by a team of surveillance personnel that constantly keeps their eyes focused on any mischievous actions from both the staff and customers. On-floor security officers are always on the look out for trouble. This also includes officers in civilian clothes.

Now, since we all know that online casino gambling is becoming a popular alternative to the traditional physical casino in Nevada, it is reasonable to ask about security issues regarding online gambling.

Some of the security issues facing people who go online casino gambling is, of course, the issue of whether their identities would remain a secret. This is one of the major concerns for online gamblers. Just like in the land-based casino, before you could enter a site offering online gambling, certain information would be needed in order for you to play. Information that are basically the same as the ones that they ask for in the Bellagio or Caesar’s Palace. Since we all know that these information may be used by spammers, at the very least, we should take note of whether a site’s security firewall is encrypted with at least a 128-bit SSL. The higher the bit of the encryption, the safer of course. This would ensure players that the site they are playing in is not vulnerable to hackers who want to steal credit card information and the like.

The next security issue that players must be aware of are the privacy policies employed by the web site they are playing at. Before a gambler should decide to enter a site, the privacy policy of that site should first be read. One has to make sure that all the text are easy to understand. Also, the policy should not contain any ambiguities. Although some policies may take a little of your time to read, doing so carefully, and looking for probable loopholes would ensure that your online casino gambling would be safer.

Finally, to ensure that the interests of both parties will be guaranteed, try to search for a site that offers a record of financial transactions before going casino gambling on that site. This would minimize the occurrence of problems that might potentially arise while playing online casino gambling. Any questions regarding financial transactions made would be easy to answer if a record of all the transactions done are readily available for reviewing. Just make sure that this is protected by SSL encryption as well.

Financial Skills – How to Budget & Balance Accounts

I was surprised when I asked parents to tell me the life skills they wish their kids knew, and there was a resounding request for a few topics:

How to open a bank account
How to budget & balance accounts
How to write checks and pay bills
And how to start saving for retirement
It seems some of the things we take for granted are, as a result, missing from what we teach kids.
In the last article, we focused on opening a bank account. This article is the second article in the four-part series and will look at how to teach kids to budget and balance their accounts.

Budgeting

It’s not shock that budgeting can be boring and tedious. I’ve personally never been excited to sit down and create my budgets, but it’s something that creates wealth and pays off down the road.

So how do you get kids excited about it? How can you add a little glamour to something so dull and boring? Easy – make it a game with payoffs.

Firstly, it’s important to know how to create a budget, then to adhere to the budget.

Creating a Budget

You may have your own way to create a budget, and that’s fine. In my experience, the easiest way to make a budget is as follows:

On a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle:

Spending BudgetCalculate your average monthly gross income and put that at the top of the page, then multiply it by.80 (for example, if you earned $1,000, you would end up with $800)
Fixed ExpensesWrite down all of your FIXED expense categories (i.e. phone bill, insurance, mortgage etc… ) and put them in one column on the left side of the page
Variable ExpensesNext write in the variable expense categories (i.e. food, gas, leisure, etc… ) and put them in another column on the right side of the page
Fill in all of your expenses
Net Budget after Fixed Expenses – Subtract fixed expenses from your spending budget If it’s a positive number, you don’t need to change anything If it’s zero or a negative number, you should look for expenses that you can cut or lower
Budget variable expenses – Using your Net Budget after fixed expenses, determine what you can spend on variable expenses without overspending each month
Set a budget for each variable expense so you know what you can spend on each category in a given month
Making it Fun
OK, now that you have a budget outline, it’s time to get the kids excited.

I know what you’re thinking: “My kids will never be excited for this.”

They will if you give them some prizes or payoffs. Here’s how:

First, tell them what a budget is and show them the paper. Next, tell them that you’re going to do a contest (if you have more than one kid, this works even better).

Contest 1: Anticipating Spending

The first contest is to see how close they can budget their money to reach a break-even or $0 over the course of a month. In other words, the goal is to predict your spending as close to the penny as possible.

If you have more than one kid person that gets the closest to break-even without going negative wins a prize. With just one kid, tell them that they get $5 or $10 if they reach break-even, and every penny they are off, you deduct 10ȼ

Contest 2 – Saving After Spending

The second contest is to see how well they can budget their money over the next 30 days. If they can save money, tell them you will give them whatever they save. That means if they save $5, you’ll give them another $5 (just like companies matching a person’s 401K contribution).

If you have more than one kid, tell them whoever is able to save the most will win and get a special prize. You will obviously choose the prize since you know your kids best.

Coming Soon

In the next article, we’ll discuss how to write checks and pay bills. You will also learn how to combine check-writing with these contests to simulate the real world of budgeting for your kids.

Fully Maintained Novated Lease Vs Non-Maintained Novated Lease

Novated lease is considered as a financially productive way in securing yourself your dream car. There are two types of novated lease. A fully maintained lease and a non-maintained lease. Both leasing options allows you to get the car that you want through salary sacrifice and with tax benefits. However, one is more financially rewarding compared to the other. Let us differentiate the two through this article.

What is a fully maintained lease?

Fully maintained novated leases were designed with an easy life for a driver in mind. In this contract, a pre-determined amount is deducted from your wages before tax in each pay cycle to cover for the lease expense as well as the operating cost of your vehicle as well as any FBT payable.

The operating expenses that is included in your lease pay is reviewed in regular intervals to be able to be in a balanced amount. If your vehicle is costing more to operate than expected, you will be expected to add a top-up on your leasing account to meet the shortfall. On the other hand, if what is being deducted to your salary as operating expense exceeds your actual expenses, you will be reimbursed with the excess funds.

A fully lease also includes several day-to-day inclusions that can help you save more in the process.

You can basically fill up with a fuel card. Simply presenting your card to participating service stations allows you to quickly purchase fuel without having to shell out cash from your pocket.

You can call for help through a 24-hour roadside assistance to help you in case of a dead battery, flat tire or even something more serious.
High maintenance anxiety can be avoided. Maintenance of your car is paid from the funds that already deposited into your salary packaging account that ensures you to receive pre-negotiated discounts on labor and parts costs that are in line with the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Life becomes even easier with a fully maintained novated lease.

What is a non-maintained lease?

Meanwhile on a non-maintained novated lease, a pre-determined amount is being deducted from the wages each pay cycle to cover for the least costs of your vehicle and any other FBT payable. Compared to a fully-maintained novated lease, you only pay for service and maintenance costs only when they occur. This plan allows you to enjoy tax benefits while paying for your car, through salary packaging, while giving you full control of your service fee, maintenance and other operating expenses.