Started my training for London Marathon

I woke up at 4:05 am as I could not sleep due to the anticipation of starting my training again. I guess that is a good thing. I ran 10.15 km in 1 hour and 12 minutes! it was pathetic and I was struggling half way.

My buddy Villi was going to run 10 km with the running group in the evening and I decided to join them, I have never run twice in a day, today was the first. The weather was nasty it was drizzling sideways and the temperature was 1 c but felt like -5 c. Anyway I completed running 10.28 km in 57 mintues 28 seconds… I am planning to average about 30 to 40 km a week for the next month and then I will gradually increase it to 60 to 70 km.

Real Estate Closing Cost Scam!

I have always wondered about all the costs that are part of the closing cost of real estate, and I was not the only one wondering about that. Read all about it here , and there is plenty of material that indicates the differences in closing cost… however, it is hard to put your finger on each of the costs and ask yourself are you being screwed.

In this article there is a good break down of what each cost means. I personally think everyone should get educated in questioning your Mortgage Broker or Real Estate Broker when you get a good faith estimate and try to get answers for each of the cost items.

Here is a hearing by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where one of the Scam items “Title Insurance” is discussed… to summarize Title Insurance is suppose to protect the buyer against any other loan on the property that is being purchased. However, most realtors and mortgage brokers “recommend” a title insurance company for closing (You know what I am talking about when you are close to buying the property the realtor usually says “Well, I have use ABC Title Insurance company before and they are very reliable!”), the title insurance company usually takes a chunk of the premium you pay and gives it back to the realtor for bringing you in to the office for closing! This is against the law… of course the realtor is not doing anything illegal until the payment is accepted by him/her from the title company. The above hearing is for a case related to the above.

The bottom line… shop around, title insurance is a good thing and there are many providers call a couple of them and see which of those offers you a good price.

Do the same for all the other costs… you will easily reduce the cost of buying a property considerably (read 20% to 30%)!

Empire Strikes Back- IMHO* Its more like Return of the Jedi

Guardian in UK writes that Tata Steel in rumours of taking over Corus in UK with a headline “Empire strikes back: India forges new steel alliance“, in my humble opinion (IMHO) this is more like “The Return of the Jedi”. The UK and European media has been rather critical of Indian entreprenuers expanding in the west… Do I need to say more, there have been all kind of legislative barriers put to stop Laxmi Mittals efforts to expand. I think if Indian companies think they can buy and run a profitable organization globally they should be allowed to do that. Globalization goes both ways, it is not the West that is conquring the East it is both ways, the playing field has been levelled and that is why we see a lot more news about Infosys, Lenovo etc of late… I say power to all and let the markets decide who is creating better value and wealth for the consumer!

America: More like Sweden?

Tim Worstall writes that America is more like Sweden. It is interesting how he deciphers the numbers and talks about the general perception and what the Economic Policy Institute does not want you to understand. Greg Mankiw writes about the graph and summarizes that

  • Income inequality in the United States is greater than it is in western Europe. Average income is also higher in the United States.
  • The poor in the United States have about the same real income as the poor in western Europe. The rich in the United States, however, are much richer.

However the author of the original article says that US should have more of

  • have a social safety net, and that we have a duty to provide for those incapable or unlucky enough to be unable to do so for themselves, we need to set some level at which such help is offered.
  • The standard of living of the poor in a redistributionist paradise like Finland (or Sweden) seems a fair enough number to use and the USA provides exactly that. Good, the problem’s solved. We’ve provided — both through the structure of the economy and the various forms of taxation and benefits precisely what we should be — an acceptable baseline income for the poor. No further redistribution is necessary and we can carry on with the current tax rates and policies which seem, as this report shows, to be increasing US incomes faster than those in other countries and boosting productivity faster as well.

Oslo Marathon: 4:27:19

I finished the Oslo Marathon in 4 hours 27 minutes and 19 seconds. It was the toughest run that I have ever done as I was running with the Flu and I was cramping all over my legs. I am not going to use that as an excuse for my poor performance, so I have a lot to improve with regard to training, my diet and mental discipline. I have promised myself to work harder for the next marathon.

Here are the official results from the Oslo Marathon.