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Financial Tips Corliss Group Online Magazine: Essential Money Tips for New College Grads

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Graduation is the theme all around my neighborhood. It is a time of excitement and big dreams. Unfortunately in most cases, personal financial sense is not a taught at college.

Once out of college, going from living broke to a big paycheck every month can easily encourage lifestyle inflation and a downward spiral of bad financial habits. Hence, it is essential to establish a good personal finance foundation to avoid getting trapped in a lifetime of debt. Here is a checklist I would hand over to a new graduate to make sure they start on the right path.

Earn

Learn to network efficiently: Invest time in networking. Learn about your colleagues. Find a mentor and build relationships at every level, both above and below yours.

Start a case study file: By “case study file,” I mean make a list of all your accomplishments rather than a list of projects you worked on. For example: Cut 20 percent of production costs while maintaining the same product quality. Include information on which project and what you did to achieve that. This will be of great use in many situations like an annual review, a salary negotiation or a new job search. In addition, keep your resume updated at all times.

Promote your personal brand: As a job candidate, 86 percent of potential employers will look at your social profiles, so spend some time cleaning up all your social media profiles.

Spend

Create a budget: You might feel like you are flush with cash going from a student’s pay to a full-time-job’s pay. Create a budget even before you get your first paycheck. Continue as much as possible to live like a student and set money aside for your future goals.

Save

Pay yourself first: The first bill you should pay each month should be to you. Before you pay for your groceries, before you pay your mortgage, before you do anything else, put money aside in your savings. Most people will wait to pay all the bills and save the money left over. It is fine in theory, but the problem is there is almost never anything left over. If you pay yourself first, even if it seems impossible initially, you will learn to live with what is left over. This way you will always spend less than you earn.

Borrow a book or two on finances: Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with as much personal finance knowledge as possible. I recommend “I Will Teach You to be Rich” by Ramit Sethi, if you are just starting out.

Start an emergency fund: Establish a rainy day fund as soon as possible. Start with $1,000 to cover small emergencies, then move on to saving ‘X’ number of months’ expenses to make sure a sudden job loss or illness won’t put you in debt.

Think five and ten years ahead: Right now your 20-year-old self might say that you are never going to get married or you will always be renting. But in five or ten years, it is very likely you would have changed your mind completely. Do yourself a favor and start saving for standard goals anyway — a wedding, down payment for a house, or your dream vacation. If you don’t end up spending money on a wedding, you can always reallocate it to another goal.

Invest

Get started today: Time is the most powerful ally when it comes to investing. Many people keep waiting to learn everything about investing to start. Don’t get stuck on debate minutiae. Get started with some basic, low expense, index funds — total stock market or life-cycle funds. As you learn more about investing, you can adjust them accordingly.

Don’t pass up free money: If your company offers a 401(k) plan, especially with matching funds, take full advantage of it. Sign up to contribute the maximum. That way you will never see the money in your wallet, you won’t miss the money, and you won’t be tempted to spend it.

Borrow

Manage your debt: If you have student loans or credit card debt, pay them off aggressively, starting with the highest interest rate loan.

Avoid consumer debt: I do not believe credit cards are evil, but they are not for everyone. Understand the pros and cons of credit cards. Do not buy things you cannot afford. If you want something, save for it.

Build your credit: Unless you are determined to pay everything in cash, you need decent credit to get a good interest rate on your loan, whether a car loan or a mortgage. Even if you are in the cash camp, it is still a good idea to maintain a great credit score as it is now used by utility and insurance companies to give you preferred rates.

Protect

Insure adequately: When you are in your 20s, you might feel invincible and be tempted to skip health insurance to save money. Don’t! Accidents happen, and so do sudden illnesses. If your company offers health insurance, that is most likely the cheapest option. If you are under 26, you can also check the cost of insurance as a dependent on your parents’ plan. If you are single with no dependents, you probably don’t need life insurance, unless you have a loan that someone else co-signed for, if that is the case, insure yourself at least to cover that loan amount.

Nobody cares more about your money than you do. By setting up a good financial foundation, you are setting yourself up for success.

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Saving Money: Tips everyone in their 20s should know by Financial Tips Corliss Group Online Magazine

Financial advisers stress that there are several money lessons everyone in their 20s should know. For example, start saving at least 10 percent of your monthly income.

Changing your financial state requires a kind of time travel to commune with your future self. Where do you want to be in 10, 20 years? Are you on the right path, or heading in the wrong direction?

The time value of money—that is, how savings, investments and debt levels compound with the passing of years—means that money habits, good or bad, created when we start to earn cash echo into the decades that follow. And a whispered bit of wisdom up front can keep you from howling over your mistakes later in life.

We polled our NerdWallet network of Ask an Advisor certified financial planners about the greatest regrets and lessons you should learn in your 20s, 30s and 40s. Taken together, these could be considered 12 steps toward securing your financial future. And they all hinge on two keys skills we must learn—and often relearn—in our money lives: prepare and stick to a budget, and establish good savings habits.

We’ll address the 30s and 40s later this week, but first: your 20s.

“Understand that the world has changed. You will be more responsible for your financial future in regard to earning a living, retirement planning, funding and investing, health insurance coverage and costs and less coverage through government programs,” says Jerome Deutsch, managing director of U.S. Institutional Markets for Index Strategy Advisors in Decatur, Georgia.

“Learn, plan and live mindfully and with a long-term perspective. It may not sound like fun, but you have a long life ahead of you.”

Pay yourself first

Save at least 10 percent of your monthly income. “The earlier you start this, the easier it becomes,” says Michael Keeler, president of GFS & Association in Las Vegas. “If you can learn to live without 10 percent of your income, you’ll do great in retirement.”

Use the savings to set aside the  equivalent of six months’ gross income. “This money shouldn’t be subject to market whims and shouldn’t have the goal of making a lot of interest,” says Larry R. Frank Sr. of Better Financial Education. “The objective is to develop the war chest for unexpected expenses and to develop the habit of keeping your standard of living within your means”—to spend less than you earn.

After you’ve built your emergency fund, focus on paying down debts or begin to invest.

“Student loan debt comes next,” says Sara I. Seasholtz, president of Preferred Financial Strategies in Mooresville, North Carolina. “Then they should participate in the 401(k) where they work and contribute whatever is necessary to get the match from their employer. This figure seems to be 6 percent in most cases.”

Don’t go crazy with credit

Live within your means and resist the new spending power that comes with having income and a few credit cards. Otherwise you will spend your 30s paying for your 20s—and your future self will hate you for it.

“My number one piece of advice for those in their 20s is—beware of debt and credit! So many of us have made the mistake of bankrolling our 20s with credit cards, and spent our 30s digging ourselves out,” says Carrie Houchins-Witt, owner of Carrie Houchins-Witt Tax and Financial Services.

“As tempting as going out and buying that new car may be, I would advise against it. Now is the time to start building up emergency funds and a strong foundation to invest in assets that appreciate,” says Jeremy S. Office, principal of Maclendon Wealth Management in Delray Beach, Florida. “The pleasure of not having debt or paying it down will last much longer than that new car or luxury item.”

Marriage? Think again

The heart rules, but if the head were in charge you wouldn’t think of marrying in your 20s. Why? Roughly half of all Americans get divorced in their lifetime, true, but those who marry before the age of 30 are especially likely to.

In 2012, 80.6 percent of all American women who had a divorce and 72.8 percent of all men were below the age of 30 when they married. “I started family before settling in on long-term career plans [and that] made it difficult to transition back to career later after 10 years and divorce,” says Jean Schwarz, managing director of Lumina Financial Consultants in Vienna, Virginia.

“Experience shows [that] all of us change so much between 20 and 30. Looking back, we wouldn’t recognize or want to be ourselves at 23-to-25 when we are 30,” adds Seasholtz. “To be a good mate and partner one needs to know themselves well. They need to be established and have some successes in life.”

Maybe settle for a long engagement.

Know and build your FICO score

Your FICO score is a measure of your creditworthiness, and is based on your payment history, credit utilization and length of credit history, with scores ranging from 300 to 850.

Tracy Becker, president of North Shore Advisory Inc., a national credit repair company, cites an example when suggesting  how to building a strong credit rating in your 20s: First, have your parents add you as an authorized user to one of their credit cards. Then open a secured credit card, which usually requires a cash deposit roughly equivalent to your credit line. Six months later, the woman in the example had a FICO score of 660.

“The reason her score was this high without much credit is due to her Mom’s old Visa card being reported. The Visa card aged her average age of credit substantially, giving her extra points,” Becker says.

This opens the door for future credit lines and securing bank loans when you want to buy a house. Key, of course, is keeping your balance low and paying on time.

Ultimately, you are young and you have time to make mistakes and recover. But you’ll be far better off if you get off to a good start now.

“I never considered the impact that waiting to build savings and investments would have on my long-term financial security,” Schwarz says. “I didn’t think about time value of money until my mid-30s.”

Financial Tips Corliss Group online magazine: Here’s How to Navigate the Noise and Find the Best Market Tips

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There’s a whole lot of noise out there in financial media these days. Investing blogs are everywhere, CNBC and Fox Business Network broadcast investing advice 24 hours a day, and even when the U.S. market is closed there’s some issue in an emerging market that threatens to affect stocks at the next opening bell.

So how can you make sense of this, tuning out the noise and tuning into the information that matters?

Jeff Macke — the current host of Breakout on Yahoo Finance and one of the founding fathers of CNBC’s Fast Money — recently penned a book to help you do just that.

His book, Clash of the Financial Pundits (available here on Amazon and co-written by fellow pundit Josh Brown), is an exploration of how pundits make calls and sometimes even move markets.

But it’s also a guide into how financial media works, what makes pundits tick and how individual investors can better use the information at their disposal to make more money.

The book’s most valuable section, in my opinion, includes these tips on examining pundits, offered by Jeff Macke and Josh Brown:

1.         Who is this expert, and what firm or organization does he represent?

2.         What does her professional affiliation mean in terms of the opinions she’s sharing?

3.         Does he have the same time frame or investment objectives that I do?

4.         How many ideas is she generating each day or week? How much thought is going into each one?

5.         What are the consequences for him if he is wrong? Will we ever hear more about this idea in a follow-up?

6.         How does the opinion I’ve just heart relate to my own portfolio or investing goals? Is there any real relevance?

7.         Why am I reading or listening to this in the first place? Intellectual curiosity? Entertainment? Or do I have an actual need to employ this sort of information?

8.         Is there a publicly available archive of this person’s previous opinions and forecasts? Have they been mostly accurate or mostly wrong? What were the driving factors behind the accuracies or the great calls? Luck? Skill? Good timing? Strong research? Some combination of these elements?

I love this list. And the only thing I would add to it is:

Buy Clash of the Financial Pundits, both to improve your media literacy and to have a better understanding of just how the financial advisory business works.

A Conversation With the Author

Author Jeff Macke has a lot of great advice on how to navigate both the markets and financial media. But mostly, his advice centers around embracing personal responsibility and the imperfection that is inherent with investing.

“Your goal is not to really become a master of investing or trading, it’s to be able to become at least up to the level where you know what you don’t know and you don’t get yourself in trouble,” Macke told me last week via telephone. “Don’t do things like day trade the hot IPOs, or pay more commissions than you should, or stay uninvested because you’re just going to sit on the sidelines with 50% cash and wait for a pullback, or start thinking things like the market should do something or else.

“You have to be an informed investor and ask the right questions, but it doesn’t mean answering everything yourself.”

Asking the right questions doesn’t just involve searching for the best big investment opportunity, either, but also searching for the right place to get your financial news.

“‘Consider the source’ is rule No. 1, whether you’re on the playground or watching television or whatever you’re doing,” Macke said. “For some reason there’s this void in understanding of financial media that it’s a product. That, when people would criticize CNBC on the up days for being a bunch of cheerleaders … that’s a ludicrous criticism; It’s a television network. It’s being run by people who are not finance majors who are not even necessarily CFAs, and it’s being produced like a television show is produced like MSNBC, like Fox News, like all of them are produced — by generally younger people who are getting on the phone and calling folks who can articulate their ideas in friendly soundbites and look good doing it.”

In other words, Macke said, if you’re blaming the pundits for leading you astray … you should probably look in the mirror instead.

“The people who are harshest on pundits usually have a problem with their own level of accountability,” he said.

The trick is to understand that being personally accountable does not mean being perfect. You will be wrong sometimes, but that’s OK. After all, even the greatest investors get it wrong — and in the book, Macke has some great conversations with pundits from Jim Cramer to Jim Rogers to Ben Stein about their mistakes and how they learned from them.

In fact, making mistakes gracefully — and honestly — is actually a more important quality than most think.

“The commonality, the theme that runs through each of the conversations is that these people have been wrong, they’ve made mistakes and they’ve learned something from it,” Macke said. “If you’re in the business of judging the pundits, look at the ones who have handled mistakes and how they’ve gone about their process and how it has changed them — to be wrong or right in public. That will tell you a lot about whether or not you want to listen to them.”

So if you’re willing to make some mistakes, how should you invest right now?

“If you’re in this game, you’re just going to have to concede the fact you’re going to want to take a couple flyers in there. Well, put 10% of your portfolio away and do that, knock yourself out,” Macke said. “If you truly believe and feel like you understand two or three companies, then create your own little portfolio.

“But your staples, your main food, you’re kind of bread and water should be index funds. That should be your core position — long the S&P 500 — because man, it is tough to beat.”

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Financial Blog Corliss Group Lenders Fear Spread of Chinese Commodities Fraud Case

Large banks and trading firms are frantically trying to determine whether they have fallen victim to a suspected commodities fraud emanating from the giant Qingdao Port in northeast China.

Citigroup and several other large Western banks are concerned that their loans may lack the appropriate collateral, big stockpiles of copper and aluminum at the port. The banks have inspectors on the ground who are trying to assess whether enough of the metals are there.

The worry stems from suspicions that a Chinese company pledged the same collateral for multiple loans. Chinese authorities are investigating the matter.

The case could have broad repercussions for the commodities market and the Chinese economy. Banks have funneled billions of dollars into the Chinese economy through these murky transactions, and commodities prices have been falling over concerns that such lending will dry up.

Western banks, including Citigroup, are bracing for any potential fallout.

Just months ago, Citigroup fell victim to a multimillion-dollar fraud in Mexico. If the Qingdao developments harm the bank, regulators and shareholders are likely to press it to explain why its controls had failed again.

Chinese companies are at risk, too.

Citic Resources, part of the state-controlled conglomerate Citic Group, plunged nearly 10 percent on Tuesday after it disclosed that it might be affected by an investigation into stockpiles of metals held at the port. Citic Resources said on Monday that it had asked the local Chinese courts to secure its metals stockpiles. The shares recovered on Wednesday.

The potential fraud is linked to an opaque corner of China’s financial system that has grown substantially in recent years, bringing huge amounts of capital into the country. Many Chinese companies and investors, struggling to secure traditional loans from the state-dominated banking sector, have instead turned to alternative, unregulated financing methods involving imports of materials like copper, aluminum and iron ore.

These commodities financing deals are part of a growing number of nontraditional lending activities that have pushed credit in China to levels that are raising fears among investors and analysts. Jonathan Cornish, the head of North Asia bank ratings at Fitch Ratings, estimates that total outstanding credit in China rose to more than 220 percent of gross domestic product last year, up from 130 percent in 2008.

A typical commodities financing deal works like this: Copper is imported using letters of credit, warehoused in duty-free zones and pledged as collateral for cheap bank loans. The loan proceeds are used by the importer to speculate in higher-yielding, short-term investments. The importer then either sells the commodity or the investment product after a few months when the original letter of credit falls due.

The problem in Qingdao appears to revolve around one such importer. Last Friday, Qingdao Port International, the biggest port operator in the Chinese city, announced that the authorities had begun investigating a suspected fraud related to the aluminum and copper stored in its warehouses. A day earlier, a report in The 21st Century Business Herald, a respected Chinese-language newspaper, identified the company under investigation as Qingdao Decheng Mining.

The report said Qingdao Decheng was suspected by the authorities of having pledged the same stocks of the metals — about 100,000 tons of aluminum and 2,000 to 3,000 tons of copper — as collateral for multiple loans, amassing bank debt exceeding 1 billion renminbi, or $160 million. Phone calls and emails to Qingdao Decheng’s parent company, Dezheng Resources, went unanswered on Wednesday.

Financial Blog Corliss Group: 3 Financial Tips for Engaged Couples

Planning a wedding comes with excitement — not to mention arguments and compromise. Many couples spend a lot of time securing the right caterer, venue, and honeymoon location. But merging two people’s finances is no small feat, either, and it’s even more important to plan how they will handle money together after the honeymoon is over.

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By implementing these three financial tips, you’ll keep the marital arguments to a minimum and the newlywed bliss alive and well.

1. Honestly discuss your financial pasts

The goal of this discussion is to truthfully disclose everything. Tell your significant other about your income, assets, and all of your debts. This is the time to air your financial secrets; it shouldn’t be a lecture about whose money management methods are better.

Use these conversations to listen without judgment and learn more about your spouse-to-be. No decisions have to be made about how to handle any of these issues. First, it’s most important to disclose your past, understand your partner’s, and open up the lines of communication.

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2. Talk about what type of person you are when it comes to money

It’s likely that one person is a spender, the other a saver. These “permitter” and “restrictor” archetypes will appear hundreds, maybe thousands, of times over the course of your marriage. But for a much more harmonious union, both partners will have to compromise when it comes to money matters. Through that compromise you’ll be able to develop a game plan for how much to save, how much to spend, and how much to contribute toward goals like traveling, buying a home, and securing your retirements.

3. Craft your road map

Talk about your financial goals. Discuss how you’ll construct, manage, and monitor your household budget. Determine whether you want to commingle your assets and incomes or keep them separate. Many couples choose to keep individual accounts and create one joint account for shared household expenses like rent, utilities, and groceries. Other couples commingle all of their income and have separate “fun money” accounts where they receive a certain monthly “allowance” — say, $100 per month, to save or spend however they’d like.

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Consider a prenuptial agreement, especially if one partner comes to the marriage with significant assets or debts. Even though this can be an awkward discussion to have with your betrothed, a mutually agreed-upon plan will quash any misunderstandings or nasty situations later on. Draft the agreement, sign it, put it away, and hope you never need to use it.

Congratulations are in order

Having these conversations before you walk down the aisle will make life much easier once you’re married. So carve out the time to focus on your finances now. It certainly isn’t as exciting as planning your honeymoon, but your marriage will be much better off for it.

Your credit card may soon be completely worthless

The plastic in your wallet is about to go the way of the typewriter, the VCR, and the 8-track tape player. When it does, a handful of investors could stand to get very rich. You can join them — but you must act now. An eye-opening new presentation reveals the full story on why your credit card is about to be worthless — and highlights one little-known company sitting at the epicenter of an earth-shaking movement that could hand early investors the kind of profits we haven’t seen since the dot-com days.

By Nicole Seghetti

This article is from The Motley Fool

Financial Blog Corliss Group: 20 essential pre-flight checks for investors

The simple checklists used by pilots and doctors every day have saved countless lives. Use these investment checklists to avoid losing money.

On October 30 1935 an early test flight of America’s first four-engine bomber, the Boeing B-17, ended in disaster when it nose-dived into the ground just after takeoff.

Overwhelmed by the number of different tasks involved in flying what was one of the most complex aircraft of its time, the crew simply forgot to check that a lock on the controls had been disengaged.

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The crash led to the development of the pre-flight checklist, which pilots around the world now use routinely to ensure that the plane is ready to fly in every respect before takeoff.

An American surgeon, Atul Gawande, realised that his profession also made mistakes by forgetting key tasks – mistakes that could be avoided by the use of checklists. The introduction of these simple but vital to-do lists has saved countless lives in aviation, medicine and many other fields.

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When it comes to investing, checklists could save you a lot of money.

"If checklists designed to focus on the most vital areas and cut out unnecessary distractions can help people stay alive, then they can surely be applied to the financial markets," said Russ Mould of AJ Bell, the investment shop.

Mr Mould has come up with two checklists – one of warning signs, the other of positive aspects of a potential investment.

First, check whether a company has any of these 10 attributes, Mr Mould said. Any should give investors cause for concern.

1. Is there a dominant chief executive or shareholder?

2. Have there been frequent or transformational acquisitions?

3. If there is a focus on growth, what exactly is the company trying to grow? Focusing on growth in “earnings per share” or EPS is a particularly worrying sign, Mr Mould said.

4. Are there management bonuses that are triggered easily (usually via a level of EPS)?

5. Do the accounts regularly feature “exceptionals” and unintelligible footnotes?

6. Is the profit figure significantly bigger than the amount of cash generated?

7. Is interest cover – the ratio of profits to debt interest – less than 2?

8. Is dividend cover (profits divided by dividends) less than 2?

9. Does the company have a “mix of high operational and financial gearing”? Operational gearing means profits heavily depend on a particular level of sales, while financial gearing is simply having a lot of debt.

10. Do returns on capital consistently fail to exceed the cost of capital?

Now, here are 10 aspects of a company that could make it worth considering.

1. Is there “share price momentum”? A steadily rising price can indicate that investors are gradually waking up to a company’s strength.

2. Do the shares trade at a discount relative to the company’s peers and the market?

3. Is the company’s market share on a rising trend?

4. Is there a record of rising profits and dividends?

5. Have the company’s directors been buying shares?

6. Is the consensus among stockbrokers’ analysts a “buy” rating? Try to focus on research that is certified as “independent”.

7. Are profit forecasts rising steadily?

8. Is interest cover sufficient?

9. Are there any activist investors or hedge funds on the shareholder register? This could indicate that the company is about to be shaken up, potentially freeing it from poor management or a record of operational mistakes.

10. Is there a good standard of corporate governance? The chairman and chief executive should be separate and there should be strong non-executive directors.

By Richard Evans

This article is from The Telegraph

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Financial Blog Corliss Group - Here’s a tip: rubbish can be a dirty word

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CALL him Matt Black, which is not his real name. He looks like a clean-cut junior executive, but he has a dirty little secret.

These days Black is a regular lilywhite. He’s a husband and father and hides behind a glossy front: clean finger nails, Hollywood teeth, $40 haircut, mauve business shirts with matching ties.

It’s rumoured he has a Golden Retriever (not actual dog breed), test-drives Volvo station wagons on Sundays and is saving to send his pair of short Blacks (Jett and Koko) to the private school he went to himself.

But he wasn’t always such a cleanskin. He has hinted he used to “work in recycling management” but it’s odds-on his partner Ebony has no idea what that really means.

The truth is that the young Black was a teenage “tip rat” and lived with other tearaways who furnished their grubby share house with stuff hoisted from the Reservoir tip … including the fridge. Worse, they defrauded honest ratepayers by “recycling” goods straight into the boot and selling them for cash on the black market.

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These scavengers justified the tip-skimming rort by claiming it paid for their education. In fact, they spent most of it on beer, bourbon and home-delivered pizza. “The rest we just wasted,” Black admits. 

He eventually got out and went legit. Black is now just a media middle-management type with a shady past he hopes won’t come back to spoil a shiny future. But his story is disturbingly common: Many outwardly normal men are powerfully tempted to collect other people’s cast-offs.

“Even now,” Black confesses shamefacedly, “sometimes I bring home more than I take to the tip.”

At least he regrets a misspent youth as a junk junkie. Some never kick the habit and are drawn steadily deeper into the garbage caper’s rotten core. And clean-living folks are fascinated by dirty work on the dark side. Art imitates life — it’s no coincidence that everyone in Tony Soprano’s family claims he is in the “waste disposal business”.

Like abattoirs, knackeries and motor wreckers, bins can hide a multitude of sins. And tips are literally the pits — huge open cuts, filled to overflowing with the refuse of a throwaway society.

This separately brings us to the smell hanging over Bulla, right on Melbourne’s doorstep on the road past the airport.

Locals are kicking up a stink because the tip has one. A group of residents has got together to tackle the effects of what they see as a blight on the neighbourhood.

What was once a huge quarry is now filled to the brim with garbage — which legally includes asbestos, let alone any other noxious substances that might have been dumped there in the past.

Anyone who drives through Bulla will know the spot by smell and sight.

As an angry local writes on behalf of a posse of residents: “The tip … is an eyesore passed daily by thousands of commuters travelling to the airport and city from Sunbury, Diggers Rest, Gisborne, Lancefield, Romsey, Macedon and beyond.

“Of greatest concern to motorists are the dust clouds that blow out of the asbestos dump and the litter and mud strewn across the busy road. Does the dust contain asbestos particles? Are thousands of motorists being exposed as they drive past with vents open or windows down? Who knows? Who cares? Certainly not Hume City Council.”

The anti-tip people say the tip emits “nauseating odours” and thousands of pieces of litter, exceeds its legal height and generally shows an unhealthy disregard for the “health, amenity and wellbeing” of those nearby.

Now they are outraged because the council has just granted a permit extension to extend the tip’s life by two years. Apparently the council (and the Environment Protection Authority) believes the tip owners’ assurances they can “pulverise” the garbage and jam it into a smaller space so they can fit more in.

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No one wants a tip in their backyard but some people want to own one. “Where there’s muck there’s brass,” the saying goes. As with nightclubs and massage parlours, some people see a huge potential for profit in businesses that straitlaced folk avoid.

The people who run Bulla tip are an interesting lot, especially to those who live nearby. So interesting that last year the Australian Securities and Investment Commission deregistered Bulla Tip and Quarry Pty Ltd.

Certain identities associated with the company had previously been investigated over allegations of money laundering and fraud.

The tip operation was also examined by the Senate Inquiry into Liquidators and Administrators in 2010.

The tip is now operated by Bulla Quarry Developments, which just happens to be another company with ties to the previous owner. This might not be a coincidence.

In December 2007 diners at Melbourne’s Society restaurant pretended not to overhear a testy meeting between “Mick” Gatto and his financial adviser Tom Karas and share trader Leo “The Gun” Khouri.

Khouri accused Karas of costing him “$2 million” in a deal involving the purchase of the Bulla tip. Khouri later dismissed the confrontation with Karas over the tip deal as a misunderstanding — and Karas said the deal also left him out of pocket at least $100,000.

It was just one deal of several that led authorities to investigate an official liquidator that had brought in a company to manage the tip.

One man connected with that company was described at the time as a “Sydney bikie” and had earlier been named in court as an associate of so-called Sydney “boss” Karl “The Godfather” Bonnette 

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Not everyone at Bulla is reassured by this. One of many gripes is that a fire has been burning non-stop in the tip for more than 15 years.

The Bulla CFA can’t get keys to the tip from the management and is so angry about it that firefighters recently called in special cutting gear to cut the hardened lock.

Whatever it is that goes on at the tip, someone doesn’t want outsiders wandering around in there.

The council says the Environment Protection Authority has the authority to police the site but the EPA shrugs it off, saying tips have to go somewhere. Meanwhile, the tip produces licence fees for both the council and the EPA.

Something stinks at the Bulla tip but the unspoken policy seems to be “Nothing to see here, folks, so move right along”.

As for Matt Black, I’ll be seeing him at the next meeting of Tip Scavengers Anonymous. It’s our dirty little secret.

This article is from Herald Sun News

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