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Corliss Group Online Financial Mag is a stock-market education website designed to teach beginners how to trade shares.
Corliss Group Online Financial Mag is a stock-market education website designed to teach beginners how to trade shares.

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Corliss Online Financial Mag: Tips to become financially fit

 

Following are few easy tips made by Corliss Online Financial Mag that will help you move forward toward financial security and make your dreams become reality.

Put aside time and energy to talk

The first step to finding common ground with your finances is to take time to talk about money. Define your values and goals together with your family and clarify the difference between needs and wants. Don’t wait for a financial crisis to happen.

It is vital to instruct the children about the value of money and how to use it responsibly.

Make a budget

With your established values, you are now ready to create a budget. There are some tools out there to get you started such as Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB), but a Microsoft Excel document will probably do the job. Choose something that you are comfortable with and actually work for you. Set a time every month to check in and evaluate your goals as well as your progress. Make adjustments or improvements based on your situation.

Pay your debts

Lots of individuals in debt feel trapped and bogged down, but always remember that even small steps can have a dramatic effect on financial stability. Just pay small amount above the minimum payment each month. As little as $15-$25 more could help you pay off a credit debt five to ten years sooner.

Use a flexible spending account

Assess with your employer. Several companies allow you to take money out of your paycheck pre-tax to pay for expenses such as health care. However, make sure that you only take out what you need.

Save for retirement

Due to compound interest, your money increases dramatically over time. A small contribution now can mean larger returns later. 

Prepare for abrupt problems

Consider the things that can have a huge effect on your life later on. Build an emergency fund, set up a life insurance policy, and open a 529 plan — defined by Corliss Online Financial Mag as a tax-advantaged method of saving for future college expenses that is authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code — to begin saving for your children’s education.


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Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine: 5 financial tips for the holidays

TORONTO – Younger Canadian shoppers say they plan to load up on gifts but not debt this holiday season. According to the annual RBC holiday spending intentions poll, while 94 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 said they are expecting to spend an average of $509.80 on gifts this year—up from $457.40 last year—over half say they plan to use cash or debit cards for their purchases while 18 per cent intend to use credit cards and pay off their balances.

“It’s great to see these younger shoppers focused on managing their holiday expenses so they don’t have seasonal debts when the New Year begins – this is a wonderful gift to give to yourself,” said Maria Contreras, senior manager of savings accounts at RBC.

Want to have a debt-free new year? Here are five financial tips for the holidays. ( http://globalnews.ca/news/1695751/top-financial-tips-for-the-holidays/ )

Set a budget and stick to it

Have a financial plan in mind (or on paper) before you start checking off your holiday gift list. This will help ensure you’re only spending what you know you can afford.

Try to leave your credit or credit cards at home. By sticking to cash or debit cards, you can keep better track of where your money went.  If you use a reward credit card in order to earn “points,” just make sure you budget accordingly and pay off your debt in full and on time each month.

Curb your ‘got to have it’ shopping impulse

Count to 30 before impulse buying in a store; delay an online shopping decision by a few hours.

Keep a separate savings account for holiday/gift expenses

According to the survey, 67 per cent of Canadian shoppers don’t have a budget that includes saving for holidays/gift expenses. By setting up an account dedicated to saving for special expenses, your savings won’t get mixed in with your day-to-day cash.

Put aside a regular amount into your holiday expenses savings account

By saving $10 a week, for example, you’ll have over $500 by year-end. Invest that money in a high interest savings account and you can save even more for your next holiday season.

Look for coupons and discounts

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are likely to have some great sale discounts, coupons can also save you some money when it comes to shopping. If you’re shopping online, before you finalize your purchase, search the web for existing coupon or promo codes that can be used toward your item. You will be surprised how many external sites have promo codes that aren’t featured on the site you are shopping on.

The survey found that Quebec shoppers intend to spend the least on gifts this holiday season ($360.30) while those in Atlantic Canada and Alberta intend to spend the most ($700.90 and $699.70 respectively).

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Corliss Online Financial Mag: 5 investment tips for beginners

We're all taught that it's good to save some for a rainy day but simply setting a side a portion of our income is not going to cut it nowadays, what with the inflation always rising. 

According to a senior investment expert of Corliss Online Financial Mag (http://corlissonlinegroup.com/), most people feel intimidated at first of the idea of investing but it's not really as daunting as they imagined. Though that's naturally biased coming from a pro, we're fortunate enough that he shared a few choiced investment tips meant for first-time investors:

It's not just for the rich. You don't need to have thousands of cash first before you can start dabbling in the stock market. All you need is the courage to endure the rise and fall of your savings. Keep in mind that investing is not something that quickly pays off. It requires time and patience so you have to be really committed in the idea that the money you set aside must be left to grow.

Find an adviser. Seeking the advice of someone who's well-versed in his area of expertise is always a smart move. An investment advisor or a stock broker navigates the ins and outs of investment on a regular basis so partnering with one can help you greatly. 

Getting this choice right will make a big difference on what kinds of investments you can access, how much commission fees you need to pay and a ballpark figure of the eventual payout you'll get. Be wary of brokers who are not willing to go down to your level and teach you the basics as they might take advantage of your ignorance.

Stick with the basics first. Before you engage in volatile stocks that tend to move drastically, it'd be better to start with the staple ones to get a feel of things. It's not wise to enter the stock market with a get-rich-quick mindset so test your patience with stocks that you can hold on a long-term basis and with minimal risk. 

Consumer stocks like those in the medical, apparel or food industry are considered relatively safe because no matter the circumstance, people will always need those commodities. Just don't expect very high returns soon. 

Place your eggs in multiple baskets. Diversification is a common tactic in investing as mentioned by Corliss Online Financial Mag (http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog/), mainly as a means of insurance against unexpected events. So in case that one of your investments drastically fell, you won't lose everything.

Start investing now. The world of investing might be a little daunting for a first-timer but you have to start somewhere, right?  Armed with a basic knowledge of the whole thing and a reliable broker, you might realize it is worth your time after all and prevent the common pitfalls beginners often make. 

The soonest time is now so never mind that you're still young -- in fact, you're in the best position to invest. Just set aside a fixed amount that you can realistically do without and it can give you returns in the years to come. The earlier you start the more money you can end up with.
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Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine: Japan's Amazing 25-Year Post-Bubble Drama

It's been quite a while since my last look at secular Japanese market and bond data. We're now just a few months from the 25th anniversary of the Nikkei 225's bubble top in 1989. The latest cyclical rally in the index hit an interim high at the end of December 2013, up 99.6% from its interim low in November of 2011, and a more recent interim high in late September was up 100.5% from that 2011 low. The steroid effect of massive monetary intervention has evolved into an ongoing drama of volatility. 

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What about Japanese government bonds? The closing yield of the 10-Year bond on the day the Nikkei hit its 2011 interim low was 1.53%. It was cut in half to 0.75% a year later when the Nikkei hit its November 2012 low shortly before the central-bank-driven rally. The yield fell to its 2013 low of 0.44% on April 4, the day that the Bank of Japan disclosed its radical redo of monetary policy. It rebounded to 0.94% on May 29, but it has since been nearly halved to 0.50%. Compare that with the US 10-Year note, which closed Friday at 2.31%.  *(See more: http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog/ )*

The Nikkei in Historical Perspective

Here's a quick review of the Nikkei 225, the 10-year bond and inflation over the past three decades.

The table below documents the advances and declines and the elapsed time for the major cycles in the Nikkei.

The Nominal versus Real Nikkei 225

For most major indexes, we expect to see a significant difference between the nominal and real price over a multi-decade timeframe. But Japan's chronic bouts of deflation have kept the two metrics rather tight. Note that I've used a log vertical axis for the index price to better illustrate the relative price changes over time.  *(Like us on: https://www.facebook.com/corlissonlinefinancialmag )*
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Financial Tips Corliss Group Online Magazine: 10 Things Liberals Believe the Government Does Well

Is there anything that big government does well? I mean sure, our military is really pretty practiced at breaking things and shooting people; which (I guess) explains why they are being sent to fight Ebola. (If that logic escapes you, don’t worry… I think a lot of us feel that way.) And yeah, the IRS is pretty good at separating me from my hard-earned money; but, then again, so is Banana Republic. At least Banana Republic has the good taste to compete for my cash.

This basic question (“What does big government do well”) seems to confound liberals. We on the right have been asking it for decades… And we still haven’t been able to solicit a single honest answer from defenders of of the state. In fact, satire, sarcasm, and a little incredulity, is the general response from our esteemed colleagues on the other side of the ideological divide. I did, however, receive a list of “ten things government does well” from someone over the weekend. Of course, I couldn’t help but share it (and a few observations of my own) with the rest of the world:

Things that Government does well

(According to someone who I assume is a card-carrying member of Obama & Company):

1. Protecting our freedom
So that little dust-up in the 1770s was because government was just protecting our freedoms too vigorously?

2. Giving away land to common people
Um… What property are we talking about here? Because as far as I know, the government isn’t actually a “producer” of land – which tells me that the land it gives away to “common people” was first confiscated from someone else… Sure, government has turned “redistribution” into an art form, but I don’t think the forcible confiscation and redistribution of land coexists real well with “number one” on this list.

3. Educating everyone
The national graduation rate is a mere 75 percent; and only half of U.S. adults can name all three branches of government… Watch a few “fan interviews” of the Jersey Shore, and then keep a straight face while telling me that government has done a great job educating our youth.

4. Helping us retiring with dignity
Because nothing is more dignified than depending on a paternalistic government Ponzi-scheme for financial security in your golden years, right?

5. Improving public health
Ebola. (And on the off-chance that you’re still not skeptical, here’s another one-word answer: Healthcare.gov.)

6. Building our transportation network
Federal data shows there are roughly 63,000 “structurally deficient” bridges in the US. Of course, this doesn’t even skim the surface of roadways that are deteriorating on a daily basis. Heck, on my way to the convenience store, I routinely have to dodge a pothole that has the capability of swallowing my Jeep Rubicon. And all of this deterioration is despite the massive amount of time and energy our state, local, and federal governments have dedicated to “stimulating” the economy with a little rush-hour timed construction work. (I actually have a running theory that my home state has no storage unit for traffic cones… After all, that’s the only logical reason for blocking off a four mile stretch of a major interstate so crews can repaint 25 foot of the HOV merging lane.)

7. Investing in communications
Sure, the government owns the radio frequencies… Too bad they haven’t been able to develop a dependable way to alert President Obama to impending scandals before the media breaks a story.

8. Building our energy supply
Because nothing says “efficient use of taxpayer funds” quite like a bankrupt green-energy company in California.

9. Inventing the future (NASA)
Wait… “Inventing” or “investing”? Because last time I checked, “Muslim outreach” wouldn’t necessarily fall under either one of those categories. (Well… Unless our defense against ISIS is far worse than even conservatives fear.)

10. Defeating totalitarianism
Right. So government is super effective at killing the effects of overbearing government. This makes total sense.

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Financial Tips Corliss Group Online Magazine: Essential Money Tips for New College Grads

Graduation is the theme all around my neighborhood. It is a time of excitement and big dreams. Unfortunately in most cases, personal financial sense(http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/07/03/essential-money-tips-for-new-college-grads/) is not a taught at college. 

Once out of college, going from living broke to a big paycheck every month can easily encourage lifestyle inflation and a downward spiral of bad financial habits. Hence, it is essential to establish a good personal finance foundation to avoid getting trapped in a lifetime of debt. Here is a checklist I would hand over to a new graduate to make sure they start on the right path.

Earn

Learn to network efficiently(http://corlissonlinegroup.com/): Invest time in networking. Learn about your colleagues. Find a mentor and build relationships at every level, both above and below yours.

Start a case study file: By "case study file," I mean make a list of all your accomplishments rather than a list of projects you worked on. For example: Cut 20 percent of production costs while maintaining the same product quality. Include information on which project and what you did to achieve that. This will be of great use in many situations like an annual review, a salary negotiation or a new job search. In addition, keep your resume updated at all times.

Promote your personal brand: As a job candidate, 86 percent of potential employers will look at your social profiles, so spend some time cleaning up all your social media profiles.

Spend

Create a budget: You might feel like you are flush with cash going from a student's pay to a full-time-job's pay. Create a budget(http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog/) even before you get your first paycheck. Continue as much as possible to live like a student and set money aside for your future goals.

Save

Pay yourself first: The first bill you should pay each month should be to you. Before you pay for your groceries, before you pay your mortgage, before you do anything else, put money aside in your savings. Most people will wait to pay all the bills and save the money left over. It is fine in theory, but the problem is there is almost never anything left over. If you pay yourself first, even if it seems impossible initially, you will learn to live with what is left over. This way you will always spend less than you earn.

Borrow a book or two on finances: Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with as much personal finance knowledge as possible. I recommend "I Will Teach You to be Rich" by Ramit Sethi, if you are just starting out.

Start an emergency fund: Establish a rainy day fund as soon as possible. Start with $1,000 to cover small emergencies, then move on to saving 'X' number of months' expenses to make sure a sudden job loss or illness won't put you in debt.

Think five and ten years ahead: Right now your 20-year-old self might say that you are never going to get married or you will always be renting. But in five or ten years, it is very likely you would have changed your mind completely. Do yourself a favor and start saving for standard goals anyway -- a wedding, down payment for a house, or your dream vacation. If you don't end up spending money on a wedding, you can always reallocate it to another goal.

Invest

Get started today: Time is the most powerful ally when it comes to investing. Many people keep waiting to learn everything about investing to start. Don't get stuck on debate minutiae. Get started with some basic, low expense, index funds -- total stock market or life-cycle funds. As you learn more about investing, you can adjust them accordingly.

Don't pass up free money: If your company offers a 401(k) plan, especially with matching funds, take full advantage of it. Sign up to contribute the maximum. That way you will never see the money in your wallet, you won't miss the money, and you won't be tempted to spend it.

Borrow

Manage your debt: If you have student loans or credit card debt, pay them off aggressively, starting with the highest interest rate loan.

Avoid consumer debt: I do not believe credit cards are evil, but they are not for everyone. Understand the pros and cons of credit cards. Do not buy things you cannot afford. If you want something, save for it.

Build your credit: Unless you are determined to pay everything in cash, you need decent credit to get a good interest rate on your loan, whether a car loan or a mortgage. Even if you are in the cash camp, it is still a good idea to maintain a great credit score as it is now used by utility and insurance companies to give you preferred rates.

Protect

Insure adequately: When you are in your 20s, you might feel invincible and be tempted to skip health insurance to save money. Don't! Accidents happen, and so do sudden illnesses. If your company offers health insurance, that is most likely the cheapest option. If you are under 26, you can also check the cost of insurance as a dependent on your parents' plan. If you are single with no dependents, you probably don't need life insurance, unless you have a loan that someone else co-signed for, if that is the case, insure yourself at least to cover that loan amount.

Nobody cares more about your money than you do. By setting up a good financial foundation, you are setting yourself up for success.

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Financial Tips Corliss Group online magazine: Here’s How to Navigate the Noise and Find the Best Market Tips


There’s a whole lot of noise out there in financial media these days. Investing blogs are everywhere, CNBC and Fox Business Network broadcast investing advice 24 hours a day, and even when the U.S. market is closed there’s some issue in an emerging market that threatens to affect stocks at the next opening bell.

So how can you make sense of this, tuning out the noise and tuning into the information that matters?

Jeff Macke — the current host of Breakout on Yahoo Finance and one of the founding fathers of CNBC’s Fast Money — recently penned a book to help you do just that.

His book, Clash of the Financial Pundits (available here on Amazon and co-written by fellow pundit Josh Brown), is an exploration of how pundits make calls and sometimes even move markets.

But it’s also a guide into how financial media works, what makes pundits tick and how individual investors can better use the information at their disposal to make more money.

The book’s most valuable section, in my opinion, includes these tips on examining pundits, offered by Jeff Macke and Josh Brown:

1. Who is this expert, and what firm or organization does he represent?
2. What does her professional affiliation mean in terms of the opinions she’s sharing?
3. Does he have the same time frame or investment objectives that I do?
4. How many ideas is she generating each day or week? How much thought is going into each one?
5. What are the consequences for him if he is wrong? Will we ever hear more about this idea in a follow-up?
6. How does the opinion I’ve just heart relate to my own portfolio or investing goals? Is there any real relevance?
7. Why am I reading or listening to this in the first place? Intellectual curiosity? Entertainment? Or do I have an actual need to employ this sort of information?
8. Is there a publicly available archive of this person’s previous opinions and forecasts? Have they been mostly accurate or mostly wrong? What were the driving factors behind the accuracies or the great calls? Luck? Skill? Good timing? Strong research? Some combination of these elements?

I love this list. And the only thing I would add to it is:

Buy Clash of the Financial Pundits, both to improve your media literacy and to have a better understanding of just how the financial advisory business works.

A Conversation With the Author

Author Jeff Macke has a lot of great advice on how to navigate both the markets and financial media. But mostly, his advice centers around embracing personal responsibility and the imperfection that is inherent with investing.

“Your goal is not to really become a master of investing or trading, it’s to be able to become at least up to the level where you know what you don’t know and you don’t get yourself in trouble,” Macke told me last week via telephone. “Don’t do things like day trade the hot IPOs, or pay more commissions than you should, or stay uninvested because you’re just going to sit on the sidelines with 50% cash and wait for a pullback, or start thinking things like the market should do something or else.

“You have to be an informed investor and ask the right questions, but it doesn’t mean answering everything yourself.”

Asking the right questions doesn’t just involve searching for the best big investment opportunity, either, but also searching for the right place to get your financial news.

“‘Consider the source’ is rule No. 1, whether you’re on the playground or watching television or whatever you’re doing,” Macke said. “For some reason there’s this void in understanding of financial media that it’s a product. That, when people would criticize CNBC on the up days for being a bunch of cheerleaders … that’s a ludicrous criticism; It’s a television network. It’s being run by people who are not finance majors who are not even necessarily CFAs, and it’s being produced like a television show is produced like MSNBC, like Fox News, like all of them are produced — by generally younger people who are getting on the phone and calling folks who can articulate their ideas in friendly soundbites and look good doing it.”

In other words, Macke said, if you’re blaming the pundits for leading you astray … you should probably look in the mirror instead.

“The people who are harshest on pundits usually have a problem with their own level of accountability,” he said.

The trick is to understand that being personally accountable does not mean being perfect. You will be wrong sometimes, but that’s OK. After all, even the greatest investors get it wrong — and in the book, Macke has some great conversations with pundits from Jim Cramer to Jim Rogers to Ben Stein about their mistakes and how they learned from them.

In fact, making mistakes gracefully — and honestly — is actually a more important quality than most think.

“The commonality, the theme that runs through each of the conversations is that these people have been wrong, they’ve made mistakes and they’ve learned something from it,” Macke said. “If you’re in the business of judging the pundits, look at the ones who have handled mistakes and how they’ve gone about their process and how it has changed them — to be wrong or right in public. That will tell you a lot about whether or not you want to listen to them.”

So if you’re willing to make some mistakes, how should you invest right now?

“If you’re in this game, you’re just going to have to concede the fact you’re going to want to take a couple flyers in there. Well, put 10% of your portfolio away and do that, knock yourself out,” Macke said. “If you truly believe and feel like you understand two or three companies, then create your own little portfolio.

“But your staples, your main food, you’re kind of bread and water should be index funds. That should be your core position — long the S&P 500 — because man, it is tough to beat.”

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Financial Tips Corliss Group Online Magazine - Top 7 Financial Tips From Nancy J. Lapointe, Navigate Financial

I was asked at a social wine event, “What are the most important tips you have learned that people typically don’t know, but need to know?”   That is a loaded question and very subjective.  Basically, you are asking me what I think people need to know and giving me permission to get on my high horse.  That sounds like fun!

1. At age 70 ½, Required Minimum Distributions are not an option on some IRAs.  You have to take the distribution. However, you do not have to spend the money.

2. Credit cards are loans and could have very high interest rates.  Avoid paying credit card interest.

3. Income is income and money is money, so leaving money in a low interest account, while paying a high interest credit card seldom makes sense, even if the money in the low interest account came from your Grandmother.  Pay yourself back at zero interest and get rid of the credit card interest.

4. A Home Equity Line of Credit is not an emergency fund.  It is an open loan with interest and it must be paid back.  It is a good stop gap measure as you build up a proper emergency fund for you situation.  An emergency fund needs to be accessible and be cash or cash equivalent.  An emergency is an event out of your control such as accidents, illness, etc.

5. An emergency is not paying your property taxes or getting new tires.  Those are expenses of living and you should plan for these types of costs.

6. A car is a mode of transportation and not a reflection on your self esteem. Be reasonable in buying depreciating assets.

7. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) Professional and a Broker are not interchangeable.  If the CFP® Professional is practicing according to the CFP Board of Standards, he or she is consistently striving to integrate the client’s plans with the client’s activities.  A broker is trained to manage investments and to focus on performance and investment related opportunities.

Nancy LaPointe is a financial advisor located at Navigate Financial, 4520 Intelco Loop SE, Suite 1D, Lacey WA 98503. She offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. She can be reached at 360-628-8175. This communication is strictly intended for individual residing in the states of AZ, CA, GA, IA, MT, NM, OH, OR, WA. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products  and services.

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Financial Blog Corliss Group - Here’s a tip: rubbish can be a dirty word

Call him Matt Black, which is not his real name. He looks like a clean-cut junior executive, but he has a dirty little secret.

These days Black is a regular lilywhite. He’s a husband and father and hides behind a glossy front: clean finger nails, Hollywood teeth, $40 haircut, mauve business shirts with matching ties.

It’s rumoured he has a Golden Retriever (not actual dog breed), test-drives Volvo station wagons on Sundays and is saving to send his pair of short Blacks (Jett and Koko) to the private school he went to himself.

But he wasn’t always such a cleanskin. He has hinted he used to “work in recycling management” but it’s odds-on his partner Ebony has no idea what that really means.

The truth is that the young Black was a teenage “tip rat” and lived with other tearaways who furnished their grubby share house with stuff hoisted from the Reservoir tip … including the fridge. Worse, they defrauded honest ratepayers by “recycling” goods straight into the boot and selling them for cash on the black market.

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These scavengers justified the tip-skimming rort by claiming it paid for their education. In fact, they spent most of it on beer, bourbon and home-delivered pizza. “The rest we just wasted,” Black admits.

He eventually got out and went legit. Black is now just a media middle-management type with a shady past he hopes won’t come back to spoil a shiny future. But his story is disturbingly common: Many outwardly normal men are powerfully tempted to collect other people’s cast-offs.

“Even now,” Black confesses shamefacedly, “sometimes I bring home more than I take to the tip.”

At least he regrets a misspent youth as a junk junkie. Some never kick the habit and are drawn steadily deeper into the garbage caper’s rotten core. And clean-living folks are fascinated by dirty work on the dark side. Art imitates life — it’s no coincidence that everyone in Tony Soprano’s family claims he is in the “waste disposal business”.

Like abattoirs, knackeries and motor wreckers, bins can hide a multitude of sins. And tips are literally the pits — huge open cuts, filled to overflowing with the refuse of a throwaway society.

This separately brings us to the smell hanging over Bulla, right on Melbourne’s doorstep on the road past the airport.

Locals are kicking up a stink because the tip has one. A group of residents has got together to tackle the effects of what they see as a blight on the neighbourhood.

What was once a huge quarry is now filled to the brim with garbage — which legally includes asbestos, let alone any other noxious substances that might have been dumped there in the past.

Anyone who drives through Bulla will know the spot by smell and sight.

As an angry local writes on behalf of a posse of residents: “The tip … is an eyesore passed daily by thousands of commuters travelling to the airport and city from Sunbury, Diggers Rest, Gisborne, Lancefield, Romsey, Macedon and beyond.

“Of greatest concern to motorists are the dust clouds that blow out of the asbestos dump and the litter and mud strewn across the busy road. Does the dust contain asbestos particles? Are thousands of motorists being exposed as they drive past with vents open or windows down? Who knows? Who cares? Certainly not Hume City Council.”

The anti-tip people say the tip emits “nauseating odours” and thousands of pieces of litter, exceeds its legal height and generally shows an unhealthy disregard for the “health, amenity and wellbeing” of those nearby.

Now they are outraged because the council has just granted a permit extension to extend the tip’s life by two years. Apparently the council (and the Environment Protection Authority) believes the tip owners’ assurances they can “pulverise” the garbage and jam it into a smaller space so they can fit more in.

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No one wants a tip in their backyard but some people want to own one. “Where there’s muck there’s brass,” the saying goes. As with nightclubs and massage parlours, some people see a huge potential for profit in businesses that straitlaced folk avoid.

The people who run Bulla tip are an interesting lot, especially to those who live nearby. So interesting that last year the Australian Securities and Investment Commission deregistered Bulla Tip and Quarry Pty Ltd.

Certain identities associated with the company had previously been investigated over allegations of money laundering and fraud.

The tip operation was also examined by the Senate Inquiry into Liquidators and Administrators in 2010.

The tip is now operated by Bulla Quarry Developments, which just happens to be another company with ties to the previous owner. This might not be a coincidence.

In December 2007 diners at Melbourne’s Society restaurant pretended not to overhear a testy meeting between “Mick” Gatto and his financial adviser Tom Karas and share trader Leo “The Gun” Khouri.

Khouri accused Karas of costing him “$2 million” in a deal involving the purchase of the Bulla tip. Khouri later dismissed the confrontation with Karas over the tip deal as a misunderstanding — and Karas said the deal also left him out of pocket at least $100,000.

It was just one deal of several that led authorities to investigate an official liquidator that had brought in a company to manage the tip.

One man connected with that company was described at the time as a “Sydney bikie” and had earlier been named in court as an associate of so-called Sydney “boss” Karl “The Godfather” Bonnette.

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Not everyone at Bulla is reassured by this. One of many gripes is that a fire has been burning non-stop in the tip for more than 15 years.

The Bulla CFA can’t get keys to the tip from the management and is so angry about it that firefighters recently called in special cutting gear to cut the hardened lock.

Whatever it is that goes on at the tip, someone doesn’t want outsiders wandering around in there.

The council says the Environment Protection Authority has the authority to police the site but the EPA shrugs it off, saying tips have to go somewhere. Meanwhile, the tip produces licence fees for both the council and the EPA.

Something stinks at the Bulla tip but the unspoken policy seems to be “Nothing to see here, folks, so move right along”.

As for Matt Black, I’ll be seeing him at the next meeting of Tip Scavengers Anonymous. It’s our dirty little secret.

Article Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/heres-a-tip-rubbish-can-be-a-dirty-word/story-fni0ffyu-1226930327167
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FINANCIAL BLOG CORLISS GROUP: FROM CORPORATE GIANTS TO MAIN STREET, FRAUD IS ON THE RISE

Investors, analysts and corporate directors rely on external audits to keep companies honest. But a new study says audits are woefully ineffective at uncovering fraud. In fact, more than twice as many frauds are uncovered by accident.

This is a finding in the "Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse" study released Tuesday by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, which bills itself as the world's largest anti-fraud organization.

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"You can't put the onus on somebody else to keep your place clean," said ACFE faculty member Evy Poumpouras, a former U.S. Secret Service agent. She said internal controls can be much more effective in uncovering fraud—and preventing it in the first place.

The study examined 1,483 cases of fraud as reported by the Certified Fraud Examiners who investigated them.

"The analysis of these cases provides valuable lessons about how fraud is committed, how it is detected and how organizations can reduce their vulnerability to this risk," wrote ACFE President James Ratley in the report's introduction.

The report estimates the typical organization loses five percent of its revenue each year to fraud. That would work out to a global impact of $3.7 trillion, the report says. But as staggering as the figure might seem, Poumpouras says she is not surprised.

"There are so many more cases that we don't know of," she said.

Nearly half of the fraud cases studied were in the United States, where anti-fraud controls tend to be the strictest. But the biggest losses were in Eastern Europe and Western and Central Asia. The median loss in those regions was $383,000, compared to $100,000 in the U.S.

Employees and middle managers committed the lion's share of fraud, with owners and senior executives accounting for just 19 percent of the cases. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the study noted that the higher-ranking the fraudster was, the greater the losses.

Regardless, financial fraud is particularly difficult to uncover, Poumpouras said, because the perpetrators have less of an emotional connection to what they are doing than they do for other types of crime.

"Usually you are not touching money. You're fudging documents. It feels less real," said Poumpouras, who has been involved in many financial fraud investigations.

"Getting people to confess to financial crime is more difficult than getting them to confess to murder," she said, which may help explain why audits can be so ineffective.

The study says auditors detected just 3 percent of the fraud cases reported last year, compared to 7 percent uncovered by accident.

"While independent audits serve a vital role in organizational governance," the report says, "our data indicates that they should not be relied upon as organizations' primary anti-fraud mechanism."

Instead, the study recommends what it calls "proactive detection measures" including internal hotlines that allow employees to report fraud anonymously and keep their co-workers honest.

"Most employees don't want to rat on someone," Poumpouras said. "They want to do it anonymously."

The study appears to bear that out.

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"Organizations with hotlines were much more likely to catch fraud by a tip, which our data shows is the most effective way to detect fraud," the study says. More than 42 percent of the cases in the report came to light as the result of a tip.

Yet only about half the organizations surveyed had a system for collecting tips, and fewer than 11 percent offered rewards to whistleblowers.

The study found small businesses were particularly vulnerable to fraud, yet they are least likely to protect themselves, often because don't perceive themselves to be at risk—or because they think fraud protection is too costly.

But the report says some of the most effective measures are not costly at all.

They include an anti-fraud policy that employees are required to acknowledge from time to time—"It lets them know what management is expecting," Poumpouras said.

Surprise audits and spot checks by management—rather than by an external auditor who might not know all the potential ways inside a company to hide fraud—can also be effective.

And training all employees to spot fraud not only creates more cops on the beat, it also puts everyone on notice.

"The more police officers you see on the street, the less likely people are to commit a crime," Poumpouras said.
BY SCOTT COHN

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