Monthly Archives: July 2015
If you’re the type of consumer that’s always looking for the best deals you no doubt have seen web services, apps, coupon sites, browser plug-ins and more that will make sure that, before you make a purchase, you always get the best price.
But what about after you make a purchase? What if the price of the product you bought last week drops this week? Sure, if you’re lucky enough to catch that fact you could go back to the store, return the product, and purchase it again at the lower price. Of course that’s a lot of work, time and energy wasted.
Recently however, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City, a new service was introduced named Paribus that takes advantage of the low-price policy many retailers already have in place. The best part? It does the checking, and the refunding, automatically.
What the service does, after you sign up, is attach itself to your email accounts and, whenever a receipt is sent to you from a retailer, it scans the receipt and analyzes the content. After that, it starts checking to see if the price of the items you purchased happen to drop in that particular store. It does this for 14 days, which is the typical time frame for getting a refund from a retail establishment for a price drop.
The first drawback that Paribus has is that, as with any service that saves you money, it takes a commission for doing so. Paribus charges 25% of whatever the refund amount is but, frankly, it’s found money and you wouldn’t be getting anything back without the service.
When you consider how most retail stores are pricing these days, using very aggressive, dynamic pricing techniques based on demand and a number of other factors, the service that Paribus offers is more relevant than ever. There’s simply no way that a typical consumer could possibly track all of the price changes on everything that they purchase. Also, applying for a refund takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
When you consider that prices on practically every consumer item being purchased today are changed automatically using algorithms and software, it’s only fair that consumers have a service that uses those same algorithms to get some money back.
There is a 2nd drawback however and, depending on how you feel about online security and identity theft, it’s a big one.
In order to work, Paribus not only needs access to your personal email accounts but also to your credit card number so that, if it finds a difference in price, it can refund your money. If you use it to track your Amazon purchases, it needs to have your Amazon login information also.
Without a doubt that is a lot of trust to put into a web start up company. Luckily, most credit cards, as well as Google and Amazon, have extremely strong anti-fraud and security mechanisms in place.
The most tragic thing about the secret to successful investing is that most people completely overlook it. The secret is simply this; time. If you have money, and plenty of time before you’re going to need it, you can confidently sit through tough times in the market, and even sustained down markets like we’ve had over the last few years.
You can also wait confidently for an upward trend to come back and, while you’re doing it, get some bargain prices on stocks at the same time. In other words, time is definitely on your side. (We believe Mick Jagger would definitely agree.)
The average worker doesn’t take advantage of this time however, especially those in the period of their life when they actually have the longest time between starting work and retiring. A recent study showed that, of consumers between the age of 20 and 29 who have access to employer sponsored retirement plans like a 401(k), less than half actually take advantage of them.
In fact, when it comes to excuses about putting off retirement savings, every single one is fundamentally flawed. Let’s take a look.
Excuse #1: I’m too young to start saving for retirement. Even though a person might have 30 or even 40 years ahead of them before retirement comes around, and might have student loans and other debt that they need to pay off, the fact is that if you can give your money and extra 10, 20 or even 30 years to grow, the difference that it will make in your retirement account is massive. Not only that but saving when you’re younger starts a great habit that will serve you well throughout your life.
Excuse #2:The time is wrong to invest. While this sounds reasonable, especially considering that America is still struggling to recover from its recession, the fact is that there is always going to be a reason to not invest. However, when you look at stocks from companies like Starbucks and General Electric, both of which look like they were in seriously bad shape not too long ago, you can see that this logic is flawed. Even in a recession there are plenty of opportunities to pick up stocks an excellent prices.
Excuse #3: You don’t have enough money to invest to really make it worth it. Most people believe that a small amount of money like $50 a week won’t really do much good but, over 30 or 40 years and with the help of compound interest, that small investment could put an extra $30,000 into your retirement account by the time you’re ready to use it.
Simply put, time is definitely the one factor that can make you truly wealthy and, since it’s also exactly the same for every single person, there’s no reason that you can’t use it to your advantage.
The only thing you have to start doing is start using it today. If you don’t, it ends up working against you in the end.