Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keeping my estimated income taxes in a account

Now that I finally have a little work income coming in again, I need to stash away enough cash to cover quarterly estimated income taxes, which will be due on January 15, 2010. I already have a online savings account, so I just created a new "goal" called "Estimated Taxes" in that same account and initiated a transfer from my Fidelity brokerage account. The Fidelity account is only earning 0.0000001% interest (is it even that much?), but SmartyPig is still earning 2.01% APY. That is about as good as you can get for a savings account, online or otherwise without going to a term CD, which would be inappropriate for cash I need in less than three months.

To date, I have been very happy with SmartyPig, especially that decent interest rate, but its convenience as well.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Made my Kiva micro-loan for the month of October

I made a new micro-loan through Kiva for the month of October. My intention is to make a new micro-loan every month, if possible, from repayments for past micro-loans. Repayments in August and September were more than enough to fund this latest micro-loan (and for a few more months as well.) All of these micro-loans are for micro-entrepreneurs in business in developing countries.

This one was for a group of 17 (mostly women) in Ayacucho, Peru for their individual business needs, especially retail. It is an 8-month micro-loan for a total of $3,025, of which I lent $25. The micro-loan was already disbursed to the micro-entrepreneur on August 26, 2009 by the local partner. Kiva is raising funds to essentially buy that loan from the local partner.

This was a group loan, meaning that although the individual members of the group take their money and go their own ways, the entire group is responsible for the total group payment each month, even if some members are unable to pay and the others make up for the shortfall..

I was going to make a loan to a micro-entrepreneur in the Phillipines, but Kiva has a new policy that permits their foreign partners to decide not to cover foreign exchange losses (e.g., if the U.S. dollar declines relative to the local currency.) I have no idea how big a deal this might be, so I restricted myself to only selecting loans that are not tagged with this risk.

I now have only one micro-loan that is delinquent. It is actually just due to the field partner experiencing difficulty with transferring the money back to Kiva due to some new local government requirement.

I have made a total of 22 micro-loans to date, since December 2008.

Here is my Kiva public lender page:

Note: This is all real and good, but these micro-loans do not net any interest to us micro-lenders. Kiva's fine print:

Lending to the working poor through Kiva involves risk of principal loss.
Kiva does not guarantee repayment nor do we offer a financial return on your loan.

Still, at least we know our money is really helping somebody better their lives in a visible way rather than put the money in a bank account or money market fund where who knows what it helps to pay for or what good it does and for only a few pennies of profit in our pockets.

-- Jack Krupansky