Tuesday, November 08, 2011

[Suggestion] Keep your documents safe and secure this holiday at www.amedco.sharefile.com

There are numerous documents that, in essence, has little value to others, but great importance to you and becomes an instant nightmare in the event that it is lost, damaged or stolen.

We would like to make a suggestion. Let us explore some documents that might be important to you:

Copies of your ID document, Passport, Drivers License and Gun License. [Especially that copy of your passport that you wish you made before losing your wallet in Thailand]

Documents like proof of banking and proof of residential address are nowadays required for almost anything and always at home when you decide to upgrade your cellphone after work or apply for a new account.

Your Last Will and Testament will only be required after your death. Retirement annuities and policy numbers that mature in 30 years! Registration papers for vehicles and title deeds of Properties and Trusts. The list is endless.

Amedco would like to offer you a free solution: store those documents online and encrypted at www.amedco.sharefile.com. You will not only have secure online access to all your existing Amedco life policies and investments, but also any other document that you deemed important and wish to store online in your personal folder. You can even upload them yourself.

Because we have access to your files we strongly recommend that documents of very personal nature like love letters and dirty pictures of ex-lovers not be uploaded. Having said this, we have no intention of snooping around and to make sure of that there is a built in setting that allows for an e-mail to be sent to you should anyone download any files from your personal space. All changes to files are logged and recorded. You might find the idea that documents are accessible by us intrusive, but this is not a file sharing service. This is an extension of our trusted relationship with our clients. We already know and possess almost all your important documents. Now we would like to share them with you.

Certified documents

If you need any documents to be certified, we will gladly certify and upload them to your folders. We however reserve the right to call on the original for inspection.

Is this safe?

Yes. Very safe. In our opinion more safe than hard copies. All documents are encrypted and backed up. We use the same encryption as the bank. Read more about the safety features here.

How to jump the queue and sign up?

If you are not an Amedco client but wish to use this free service, send a request to jaco@amedco.co.za If you are a Amedco client, we will contact you in the next few weeks with your login details. If you want to jump the queue send us an e-mail.

But wait, that's not all : -)

Like those corny commercials, there is more! All your files are also available on your cellphone. Download the Sharfile App free for your Apple, Windows Mobile, Android or Blackberry phone in the various app stores.
It is almost December and we know your are day dreaming about you well deserved holiday but just remember: don't get caught without your copies!

Jaco du Plessis

Monday, October 24, 2011

Amedco invites you to join TravelHippie.com on Facebook

Hi there!
Amedco is proud to invite you to be part of a revolutionary project. It is called TravelHippie.com and if you have dreams to share, then TravelHippie.com is for you.
For now, the actual site TravelHippie.com is under development, but that does not mean we cannot start having fun.
What TravelHippie.com will be is still our secret, but suffice to say that anyone who feels between 16 and 35 will want to be part of the revolution. Travel. Music. Parties. Photo's
In the mean time though, we thought you might be interested in something cool.
Go to our facebook page. A few things await you:
  1. Listen to Foster the People, Pumped up Kicks
  2. Submit a black and white photo before tomorrow midnight and stand a chance to win cool Aerial7 Tank Midnight hearphones worth R900. (you may also e-mail your cell pic to jaco@travelhippie.com)
  3. Just like the page and be informed.
All the best for the week!
PS. Don't worry, we are still in the investment business, just without the tie.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Starting on the wrong side of investing

In little less than two months from now, which will feel more like a couple of weeks due to an overdose of office parties and alcohol, South Africa will arrive to their annual economic stand-still. On the 15th of December, the traditional pilgrimage will start to holiday homes, over crowded caravan parks, under-capacity coastal shopping malls as well as blocked toll gates and highways.
For the better part of the work force, it is time for bonuses and beaches. It is also a time for reflection and resolutions. Since I have done a fair amount of traveling this year, I would like to reflect on the article I wrote in January (8 Easy ways to help you save R500 per month to pay for your vacation) to see how we have measured up.
The benefit of doing this exercise now is that the year is not over yet and psychologically, one can still put some measures in place. If you are able to at least start, then you have something to build on in 2012. Here we go. These were our eight tips in the beginning of the year to save money for a vacation.

Tip 1: Buy in quarters

No one will argue against the fact that buying meat in bulk should save a lot of money. The reality however is that in order for you to buy in bulk, you need a freezer almost the size of Makro and if you stay in a glorified pigeon hole like me, then that option becomes very unfriendly. Therefore, I have yet to employ tip no. 1 [Score: -1]

Tip 2: Make your own biltong.

Sorry, I didn’t do that either – blame it on a lack of expertise and no invites for hunting this year. Maybe next year. [Score: -2]

Tip 3: Compare brands

Here I have some bragging rights, but sadly it is not me that is so clever but my fiancé. She is a very sparing shopper and therefore I can report that we have always been buying the best value for money brands. Unfortunately, I cannot provide any examples, since I am not the shopper. [Score: -1]

Tip 4: Buy generic brands

This one too is an established habit in our household, unfortunately I cannot take the credit for that. What I can say is that we have established beyond any doubt that generic brands are just a good, apart for toilet paper. [Score: 0]

Tip 5: Re-price your short term insurance.

This is something that backfired on me. In fact, our short term insurance has gone up more than 100%. That is in part due to a change in our asset structure but never the less, it is due for a review. The good news is that there is still time to change insurance companies and get on track for next year. [Score: -1]

Tip 6: Replace expensive life insurance

I reviewed my life insurance and can report that I still have the best option to suit my needs. The needs of many of our other clients however have changed, and we were able to save them a few rand on their life policies. [Score: -1]

Tip 7: Eating in

While eating in and getting together for a braai is fairly common practice in our group of friends, they will agree with me that we have - in financial terms at least – this bad habit of drinking expensive wine. And as I am writing this, I am sipping on a glass of 2009 Allesverloren. The problem with the wine habit is the frequent regularity that the corked is pulled. A blessing in disguise however is that some value-for-money restaurants like Mimmos does not charge corkage for wine not on their wine list. Spur also do not charge any fee for bringing your own wine. But eating in these days can be just as expensive as dining out - and you have to wash the dishes. Therefore, I conclude that there is no real financial benefit in eating a burger at home. The opposite might even be true: our bill at Spur one Monday night for two burgers, own bottle of Durbanville Hills and a milkshake were a mere R55. [Score: -2]

Tip 8: Go to the movies on Tuesday.

To be honest, I have not been in the movies this year. The days of a film being “better on the big screen” is over. Let’s just say I have been irritated by a ringing cellphone one time too many. Watching a blue-ray DVD in the comfort of your own home outweighs any benefit of going to Ster Kinekor, unless you’re at school and want to make out with your girlfriend. I can honestly say that I have saved money on the entertainment side only to spend it on wine. [Score: -1]
I can conclude that I have not saved any significant amount of money this year . I further conclude that the real starting position for a vacation fund is not by cutting back on spending of saving money here and there, it is by the act of committing money on a regular basis to a fund.
Unless you make a conscious decision to put money away for travel and vacation, cutting back on other expenses is pointless. It is only when you have committed to a regular investment amount, that small changes to your lifestyle matters. Otherwise the changes (savings) you effect on the one side will finance the habits (expenses) on the other.
With the indefinite suspension of our investment club earlier this year I am yet to start the second act of which is the founding of a vacation fund, but fear not, the year is not over, just yet.

Friday, January 07, 2011

8 Easy ways to help you save R500p.m. for next year's vacation

Apart from losing weight and spending more time with the family, one popular resolution for many is to save more money. We think that while putting money away is a good idea, saving money with a particular goal in mind might be a better one.

And of all the things occupying your thoughts at the moment, that recent vacation, or lack thereof, might hold the key difference to a string of wishful thinking and getting at least one new years resolution right.

The primary idea is to help you save R500 per month on your general day-to-day spending, which will enable you to build a vacation fund. Our aim (as always) is to gain everything by doing (almost) nothing. In other words, it is possible to painstakingly pinch a penny here and there, but why not rather try and make small changes that will result in big savings.

Here are our suggestions.

Tip 1: Buy in quarters
We all know that meat is very expensive. Many of us are in the (bad) habit of buying our monthly meat at the Spar or PicknPay, or on a weekly basis at the our favorite butcher. But we all are to familiar with that rush every Saturday to buy steak, wors and biltong before the rugby match and braai.

Herman from Braai-in-Style Butchery, Centurion (012 663 7113) recommend buying a hind quarter for R2 030, (around 55-60kg) that will last two people between three and six months. That is a lot of mince, wors, T-bone, steak or whatever your specific need are. Should you buy that meat individually, you could end up paying as much as R4 800 so a similar quantity.

Tip 2: Make your own biltong
For R600 you can buy 13kg of biltong meat (they say you need Silverside) at Rudesheim Meat, Centurion (012 653 5956). That is around 9kg of dry biltong worth R1 350 which is a saving of R750. Your own biltong costs R66/kg in lieu of R150/kg and includes free bragging rights.

Tip 3: Redefine your shopping list: compare brands
We understand that comparing individual prices between retailers takes a committed effort and there is guarantee that you will actually save money on your bottom line. Comparing brands however, is quick, easy and have a lasting savings effect on your monthly expenses. We found PicknPay online ( www.pnponline.co.za) especially useful.

We choose to compare canned dog food. Did you know that Huskey is almost 100% more expensive than Boss? You will not know whether there is a difference until you have asked your dog, but if he gets that treat once a week, you will save R480 per year, just by changing brands.

Do that with a few other brands and you will end up saving more than you have bargained for.

Tip 4: Buy generic brands at Shoprite, Dischem and Fruit and Veg City 
This is a slight inconvenience, but doing it once a month and changing your habits to buy certain goods at certain stores will also save you money. Buy generic goods like your household cleaning products (Mr. MIN, Sunlight liquid etc) at Shoprite. No one will know whether your bought it Shoprite or Woolies, but you will save! I have further found that almost everything at Dischem is cheaper than any other stores and who does not know that Fruit and Veg offer good value for money?  

Tip 5: Re-price your short-term insurance
That is easy. Print out your insurance schedule, fax it to a couple of companies and wait for a call. If they offer to save you say R150 per month on your insurance, you just fax that quote to you existing insurance, and tell them to either re-price your insurance or say goodbye to your support.

The chance are very good that you might save R100 per month without even moving to a different insurance company. (Because that IS schlep)

Tip 6: Replace expensive life insurance
Over-the-phone life insurance (like Clientele) is more (much more!) expensive than insurance underwritten by medical examination and blood tests. It is a given that the life insurance premium on your outstanding home loan offered by the bank is more expensive than insurance medically underwritten. Also watch out for insurance added to your clothing account.

Tip 7: Eating-in is more fun
Not only is eating-in more fun with you own concoction of escargots (see recipe here) but restaurants always over-charge for drinks. Say eating out consist of two beers (R30), two glasses of white wine (R30), a bottle of red wine (R110) and two coffees, (R24) the drinks alone is R194 per evening. And you have to then take your chances on the road. Drinking exactly the same at home will reduce the bill to R68 per night. That's a saving of R126.

Impressing your better-half is very easy these days with PicknPay Recipes. You simply click on what you want to eat, say beef, and they provide you with mouth watering recipes, estimated cooking times, serving suggestions and automated shopping list with all the required ingredients mailed to your inbox. I suppose you have to clean up afterwards, but just think of your reward after such a romantic dinner...

Eat-out less and if you do decide to paint the town red, take your own wine and pay the corkage fee.

Tip 8: Go to the movies on Tuesday
That is easy. Movies are half-price (R25) at Ster Kinekor Classic Cinema's on Tuesday. If you see two movies per month, then you will save R600 per year just by switching to Tuesdays.

Stick to the plan by signing a debit order 
By committing yourself to a regular deduction of R500, you will remind yourself each month to keep up the good work and by this time next year, when everyone is depressed by the thought of going back to work, you will be able to take advantage of the special travel offers. R 8 596 for 7 Nights in Mauritius for example.

While everybody at work is scrambling to survive until month-end, you will be saying... ta-ta!

The only trouble is...how to you get you partner to join? : -)


Other suggestions on how to save money and your valued feedback can be sent to jaco@amedco.co.za