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How To Look After Your Money

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How To Look After Your Money

You don’t need to be a millionaire to look after your finances.

Everyone should take steps to protect their money.

Why it’s important to look after your finances

It’s understandable why the wealthy want to look after their money in order to keep their bank balances healthy and growing.

However, this should be a priority for everyone.

In a world where it was reported that in America two-thirds of the population would struggle to deal with an emergency which cost them $1,000, it’s more important than ever to ensure you are financially secure.

Common issues faced by people are:

  • Income not covering bills
  • Struggle saving for the future
  • Falling into debt
  • Poor spending or investment choices
  • Feeling unable to spend money

Live sensibly within your means

If you are earning a certain amount each month, then obviously the amount you are spending shouldn’t exceed the amount you’re earning.

However, just because you are earning a certain amount each month, it that doesn’t mean that you should spend it all.

Live within your means but be wise about, only spend what you can afford on what you need.

Invest smartly

Investments come with the risk that as well as gain you could also lose.

You should only commit to an investment if you can afford the long-term commitment necessary and you fully understand what you are investing in. It also doesn’t pay to be too loyal, investments are not static and sometimes it pays to invest your money elsewhere.

Do your research and don’t blindly follow the crowd, use your judgement.

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Save your money

The best way to look after your family’s future is to save your money today.

You need to ensure that your family can cope with job losses or relationship breakdowns.

Investments and income will only get you so far, sometimes you need a lump sum of money stashed away to deal with unexpected situations.

Have financial goals

It is important to discuss your household finances and agree on some long-term financial goals.

These could be a simple as the age you want to retire or as complicated as owning your own business.

Create and maintain a budget

The best way to ensure you keep spending within your means is to create a budget and maintain it.

A budget needs to contain detailed information about your income and expenditures.

Your budget may need to be changed as your goals, income, and expenses change.

How you create a budget is up to you, you can either use professional software, or you can create your own using a spreadsheet.

Deal with debt

If you have debt, clearing it needs to become your top priority.

Debt can be damaging and the sooner you can eradicate it the better it will be for not only yourself but your family.

It’s important that you pay off your debts in order of priority.

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Protect yourself with insurance

If you can afford to, it’s important that you protect yourself and your family by looking into health, life, or disability insurance.

If the unexpected happened, insurance would act as a safety net to ensure that you and your family can manage during times of struggle.

Don’t let finances ruin relationships

Everyone in your household should work as part of a team.

Responsibilities should be assigned appropriately. 

If you have a spouse, you definitely need to discuss your financial concerns and goals, especially if you are struggling.

If you are not transparent about your financial situation or about your feelings, these may lead to greater issues in the future.

Why are Americans struggling?

Financially struggles are common amongst many families.

An estimated four in five Americans are expected to face near poverty at some point in their lifetime.

Why is this? There isn’t just one reason for the financial struggles facing many families across the nation, there are many. Such as:

  • Job insecurity
  • Loss of the manufacturing industry
  • The global market
  • Widening gap between the rich and the poor

The current state of the economy is affecting us all but what, if anything can be done?

There are certain areas which we could look at in order to improve the economy:

  • The national debt
  • Cost of taxes
  • Social security
  • Pension funds
  • Cost of Medicare
  • Cost of the military and defense

Unfortunately the longer these issues go unsolved, the bigger they will become.

The economy as it stands is unsustainable and tough decisions will need to be made in order to improve the finances of not just the country but also of ordinary Americans.

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JPMorgan Faces Nearly $1 Billion Fine For Manipulating Gold Prices

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JPMorgan Faces Nearly $1 Billion Fine For Manipulating Gold Prices

JPMorgan recently admitted to its role in the manipulation of both the Treasury and precious metals markets. The company did so using a tactic called “spoofing.”

Will Rhind, the CEO of GraniteShares, recently gave an interview where he discussed how JPMorgan manipulated the market. He also mentioned that their illegal actions affected precious metals prices.

Grumblings Present for Years

Rhind said he never had direct knowledge of the manipulation but had been hearing grumblings about it for years. He says anyone who made the accusations was dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist.”

“This is really quite extraordinary because throughout my career there have always been these mutterings of manipulation of the gold market. And a lot of the people who were talking about that were really written off as being fringe or conspiracy theorists, an extreme view. And those people have been right.”

He added. “It’s not as if people haven’t been talking about this or indeed making allegations, and indeed at one point, I think several times, there were allegations made to the CFTC, to regulators, regulators did have a look but nothing was found in terms of the findings.”

Rhind said the extraordinary aspect was that it wasn’t a small “boiler room” company that got caught. Actually, it was one of the largest banks in the world.

He described it as an “extraordinary situation,” considering what happened. It’s a scenario “where one of the largest banks in the world had to pay a monumental fine. I think it’s the largest fine that’s ever been paid for spoofing – market manipulation – in this particular order and really sets a massive precedent.”

JPMorgan Isn’t The Only One

While JPMorgan is the one paying a nearly $1 billion fine, Rhind said they weren’t the only bad actors.

“Some of the emails, the chats have been made public now. (They’re) extraordinary and show the depth of this, not just one bank, but multiple banks and traders coordinating to manipulate prices.”

JPMorgan is accused of “spoofing” or manipulating the price of gold by putting in massive orders. Then, they quickly pulled the orders before they are executed. Rhind said even though the orders weren’t real, they still had a “cause and effect” on the markets.

“In this particular context this is about spoofing. And spoofing is a word for when you put in a fake order, essentially is what it is. So you put in an order in the market to buy or sell, but you withdraw that order before it is executed. So that obviously (has a) cause and effect if you put in an order and it’s a sizeable one that can have other consequences in terms of other orders that then move the price of that particular.”

He says it’s impossible to say how the spoofing affected the precious metals markets.

“As far as how much that has actually affected the price on a day-to-day basis, I think that’s very, very difficult to determine. So I think the minutiae of it is almost going to be impossible to determine. But I think it’s more the fact that this was happening, that people knew or suspected that it was happening,” he adds it’s really been made public.

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Report: Major Banks Laundering Trillions of Dollars For Terrorists and Drug Kingpins

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Report: Major Banks Laundering Trillions of Dollars For Terrorists and Drug Kingpins

A bombshell report about major western banks like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank was released yesterday. It said that these banks allowed “trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the work of terrorists, kleptocrats, and drug kingpins.”

That’s according to an investigation by BuzzFeed News, who spent more than a year compiling the FinCEN Files. They say the documents were compiled by the banks themselves and actually shared with the government. However, they mentioned that this fact was kept away from the public.

Martin Woods, a former suspicious transactions investigator for Wachovia Bank (acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008) said, “Some of these people in those crisp white shirts in their sharp suits are feeding off the tragedy of people dying all over the world.”

Incredibly, the report says a bank is immunized from prosecution. It can also continue the transaction and collect all fees. This may happen as long as a bank flags a transaction as suspicious.

“So long as a bank files a notice that it may be facilitating criminal activity, it all but immunizes itself and its executives from criminal prosecution. The suspicious activity alert effectively gives them a free pass to keep moving the money and collecting the fees.”

Banks Continue Processing Suspicious Transactions

The investigation also found that many banks continued to move money for suspected criminals. This came even after authorities prosecuted or gave banks a fine for financial misconduct.

For example, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, American Express, and others processed millions of dollars in transactions for the family of Viktor Khrapunov, the former mayor of Kazakhstan’s most populous city. The transactions went on even after Interpol issued a Red Notice for his arrest.

Incredibly, the report reveals that “major financial institutions often fail to perform the most basic checks on their customers, such as verifying where a business is located when someone opens a new account. The lapses allow criminal groups to hide behind shell corporations, registered with no identifying details about their ownership, and slide the proceeds of their crimes into the global financial system.”

JPMorgan Chase allegedly collected more than $500 million in fees from Bernie Madoff while he was running his ponzi scheme. With this, the company only paid a $1.7 billion fine. The company was also supposed to improve its ability to detect money laundering. Instead, the FinCEN Files show the bank’s own investigators believed it opened accounts for “an alleged Russian organized crime figure who is known for drug trafficking and contract murders, as well as businesses tied to the repressive North Korean regime, which the US has placed off-limits.”

No High-Level Arrests

Instead of bank executives being arrested, or even closing down the offending banks, many simply agree to deferred prosecution agreements. These include fines but no high-level arrests.

Unsurprisingly, little is done should a bank not live up to its end of the agreement. “Banks often get to the end of their agreement without actually fixing the problems. Then, instead of getting the prosecution that they had been threatened with, they just get another chance. And sometimes another,” says the report.

“Since 2010, at least 18 financial institutions have received deferred prosecution agreements for anti–money laundering or sanctions violations, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed News. Of those, at least four went on to break the law again and get fined. Twice, the government responded to this kind of repeat offense by renewing the deferred prosecution agreement — the very tool that failed the first time.”

US District Judge Jed Rakoff added “Under US law, a bank that engages in money laundering can literally be forced out of business by the government, and it is kind of surprising that government hasn’t taken that step, given the obvious deterrent effect it would have.”

Paul Pelletier is a former senior Justice Department lawyer who once led the agency’s fraud unit. He says there’s only one real way to deal with the problem.

“The bankers will never learn until you start putting silver bracelets on people. Think of the message you’re sending to repeat offenders.”

You can read the full FinCEN File investigation here.

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Money Laundering of Global Banks Reported

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Money Laundering. Money Laundering US dollars hung out to dry-money laundering-ss-featured

US banks helping North Korean organizations to move illicit funds. Asian and European banks’ alleged involvement in money laundering. These are some of the leaked suspicious bank transactions reports that alleged major banks as helping move money illegally. Earlier today, BuzzFeed shared leaked documents submitted by banks to the government.

RELATED: Average Income in the US Was Highest in 2019

Suspicious Bank Money Laundering Cases Reported

These include suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. BuzzFeed shared these 2,000+ SARs with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). It reported SARS amounting to $2 trillion between 1999 and 2017. While SARs flag these to authorities, they are not definite proof of wrongdoing.

Five Global Banks Are Among Those Reported

According to ICIJ, five global banks appeared most often in the documents. These are HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, and Bank of NY Mellon. The reports showed an overwhelmed banking system. One that allows vast amounts, which can include illicit funds, to get past tight controls. 

Once banks detect suspicious activity, they have 60 days to file SARs. However, some banks took years before submitting reports. SARs also showed that banks moved funds for companies registered in offshore havens. These include the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Panama. Staff is often unaware of account owners. As a result, they often search for Google to determine the identity of people behind the transactions. 

The reports include funds processed by JPMorgan for alleged corrupt entities and persons. They include recipient countries such as Venezuela, Ukraine, and Malaysia. The report also included an instance where HSBC accepted and moved money from a Ponzi scheme. A Deutsche Bank SAR said it processed money linked to a Ukrainian billionaire.

Bank Stocks Fall Due to News

Shares of both HSBC and Standard Chartered fell when news broke out Monday morning. Standard Chartered shares fell 2.69%, while HSBC sank 2.91%. Earlier, HSBC shares fell to its lowest price in 25 years. 

When asked to comment, HSBC said that they already moved on from the charges. In a statement, HSBC said that all “the information provided by the ICIJ is historical.” It claimed the transactions were already flagged by the Justice Department in 2017. As such, they already met commitments under a deferred prosecution pact. As part of the deal, the Feds deferred all charges if HSBC would fight money laundering. HSBC said they already overhauled their system to fight financial crime. “HSBC is a much safer institution than it was in 2012,” the bank noted. 

Standard Chartered also reacted to the news. It said, “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programs.” 

North Korea Moved Money Across Borders 

NBC News reported how North Korea got its money despite a global ban. Sanctions prevent Pyongyang from accessing the global banking system. According to documents, NK-linked organizations moved $175 million over the years. These transactions cleared through US banks such as JP Morgan and the Bank of New York Mellon. 

Former Treasury Department official Erick Lorber believes that North Korea was behind it. He said: “Taken as a whole, you have what, frankly, looks like a concerted attack by the North Koreans to access the U.S. financial system over an extended period through multiple different avenues in ways that were fairly sophisticated.” 

Money Laundering Techniques

A firm from Dandong, China (near the NK border), transacted with North Korea in the open. In 2016, the U.S. indicted Ma Xiaohong and officers of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Corp. They charged Ma and the company for money laundering and helping NK evade sanctions. SARs showed Dandong Hongxiang routed money through China, Singapore, Cambodia, to North Korea. They also used shell companies to move millions of dollars through U.S. banks. 

Other reported transactions were from companies from Singapore and China. Until now, charges remain pending and there are no extradition orders. 

Who should be the ones responsible and charged with the crime? Are they the rogue countries, who keep finding ways to get their illicit money? Or are they the companies and persons willing to act as fronts? Or do we focus our attention on banks, who may be looking the other way in the name of fat fees and corporate profits? One thing is certain: it’s all about the money.

Watch this as BBC reports that UK banks may have helped with money laundering and moving illicit funds:

Who bears responsibility for the spate of money laundering and illicit fund transfers?

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Let us know who you think is the most complicit by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.

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