Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finding a mentor

I'm often asked, how does one go about finding a mentor, in life or in business? We all know the value of locating such a prized individual where we, as a humble protege, through osmosis simply being around such a person will propel our career to new heights.

So, the question begs, when one is simply starting out in life and has nothing to offer (career wise for example) in order to attract such a guru, and just when one needs this guidance most, where does one find a mentor?

I have indeed been blessed with a number of coaches, teachers and individuals on my career path that took me under their wing. Some great advice here, some axioms of life there, but my greatest mentors of all, I have yet to meet most of them.

My current mentor, a best-selling author and writer with The New Yorker, is one Mr. Malcolm Gladwell. I have yet to meet him but feel I know him intimately. I have just finished his third book, Outliers and of course, have read nearly everything he's written and watched every YouTube video published.

Mentors are all around us. I think the simplest way to locate the most brilliant minds and custom-tailored mentors for you and I exist at book stores, libraries, on the Internet (check out the TED speakers). One doesn't need to wait a lifetime for thier personal guru to come along or even meet these great teachers and leaders in person. Their genius, their experiences and successes, for us to reap, exists (and for free) at our convenience. So dust off that library card and get ready to meet the greatest minds of all time - they're waiting for you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Do you have a money or credit question?

Please send me your money or credit questions. Simply click "comment" at the end of this post and I'll reply in the new year.

Looking forward to helping you prosper in 2009!

Merry Christmas to you and happy holidays!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Don't show your ID when paying by credit card

Do not show your ID this Christmas shopping season when paying by credit card!

I've personally been asked, exponentially more over the past 6 months, and it seems to happen much more here at home (Edmonton) than any other city I've travelled to across Canada.

Here's how the conversation goes.

You present your credit card for payment. Sales clerk - "Can I please see a piece of ID?". "Why?" you ask. "Well, it's actually to protect you...imagine if someone had stolen your credit card. It's our store's policy to protect you. By examining your ID, we know it's you."

Well, that's logical you surmise and even down right thoughtful. How Canadian of them!

Actually, it's not thoughtful at all, extremely dangerous and for their protection, not yours.

Here's why:

1. If the clerk is a would-be-thief or a hidden camera exists somewhere in the store recording your information (and this has been reported a number of times over the years in Edmonton), now the thief has everything they could possibly need to steal your total identity. If you whipped out your driver's licence for the clerk with your credit card, not only have you exposed your card number and expiry, but now possible crooks have your full name, address, drivers licence number and birth date thanks to that "caring clerk."

2. The stores asking for your ID say that they're really protecting you. Um, nope! They're protecting themselves. Here's why. Both VISA and MC stand behind you the consumer fully if your credit card is stolen - 100%. So, you're already protected if someone is making purchases with your card before you even realize it's missing. It's actually the store that's protecting themselves because if the purchase was made with a stolen credit card and the signature wasn't checked and didn't match up for example, VISA and MC may hold the merchant accountable and they'd be out the purchase - not you.

Lastly, a store may not refuse your purchase if you decide not to show your ID. I have, on a number of occasions, been refused and although I explained all of this to the store clerk and manager (OK, argued), they still refused my purchase with a credit card. In all cases, I have reported these stores to VISA/MC. Bottom line: A store is allowed to ask you to provide ID as a store policy, but you are not required to do so by VISA or MC which is clearly stated in their merchant account.

Enjoy your shopping this holiday season but please do so with care. That clerk may really believe she's protecting you as her manager requires her to do so, but protect yourself. Keep your identity safe even if it holds up the line.

CTV Edmonton Interview on She Inc.

Check out this YouTube video on my newest book, She Inc.


ABC's of Mortgages

Check out this Youtube link for the video: