Monday, September 19, 2016

How long for Parcel Post (USPS) to Hawaii?

If you shop a lot especially on eBay, you will come across a lot of sellers offering free shipping. Free shipping offers often is the deal maker. However, if you are from Hawaii and you see that they offer free shipping to Hawaii, you may want to think twice about buying or contact seller for the shipping method.

Shipping to Hawaii is expensive for online marketplace that is why scores of companies are charging shipping for items specifically for Hawaii, Alaska, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

See, a lot of sellers now are using Parcel Post from United States Postal Service (USPS). Parcel Post is now being used by a lot of stores including sellers on eBay and It is cheaper that FEDEX Ground and UPS Ground shipping services.

The problem lies with the delivery time. The delivery time for Parcel Post to Hawaii can take up to 4 weeks now. That is down from 6 weeks. I have see 3 weeks also and overall that is a good news.

Now, those unsuspecting buyers will never know that they did receive free shipping, but at a slower delivery time of at least 3 weeks. This is specially important when items are badly needed.

Buyers need to contact sellers and ask for the shipping method. I would pay the extra shipping just to get a more predictable and faster delivery time frame. Another alternative if possible is buying the item at a local store.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shipping delays by Prime Hawaii members continue

The rumored delays of Prime members in Hawaii continues.

There have been a lot of discussions of shipping delays by to Hawaii Prime members. We tested it ourselves and we can confirm that does delay Hawaii Prime members their shipments.

Scenario 1
We ordered a case worth $7.99. It was paid on Monday. It finally shipped on Wednesday. We had to wait for another week to get the shipment. We received the item on the next Friday. Apparently, is using ParcelPool (dba International Bridge Inc.) to deliver specifically for Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico Prime members. This company uses ground shipping so it take up to five days to reach California warehouse where it is airlifted to Hawaii.

Scenario 2
We ordered a smartphone ($149.99) and a screen protection ($7.99) on Saturday and it did not ship until Wednesday. It got shipped Wednesday after we contacted Customer Service about the shipping delay. They responded in 12 hours and said that it is taking longer to prepare the items for shipment. This is bull. They shipped the items Wednesday FEDEX Overnight.

This ridiculous shipping behavior of to Hawaii Prime members is getting out of hand. shipments to Prime members in Hawaii usually takes five business days. However, it can take up to two weeks nowadays.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Is Stash Invest Safe?

Stash invest app was conceived in early 2015. The company helps Americans start investing for the long term. A lot of people found investing intimidating, expensive, and unrelatable. That's how Stash invest came in.

It's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo! Finance, BuzzFeed News, Fox5 New York and Associated Press AP to name a few.

Is Stash Invest safe?

StashInvest © Collective Returns Inc. - Collective Returns, Inc., dba Stash Invest (""Stash""), is an SEC registered investment advisor.

Stash employs 256-bit bank-grade encryption to secure all your information, from personal info to purchase history and more. Stash uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to help ensure any information in the Stash app and Stash website is (instead of are) are protected. 

User ID, Password, and PIN 
To access your Stash account, you must supply your unique user ID, password, and PIN. Anytime you leave the app, you need to enter your PIN or use Touch ID to get back into your account. Your account is automatically locked after 3 invalid login attempts. 

Stash software, hardware, and IT infrastructure are kept secure with multiple levels of defense. We constantly monitor the latest technologies to keep our systems up to date and up to the industry’s highest standards. 

Session Timeout 
After 15 minutes of inactivity, Stash will automatically end your session and require you to sign back in; this protects your account and lowers the risk of unauthorized access on an unattended phone.

Stash invest is safe because it offers encryption, security features, and is a registered advisor under the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Acorns Fees: How to avoid paying them

acorns logoOne of the hidden costs of robo advisers are the hidden costs. One such is the case of Acorns investment app.

Acorns touts its simple fees.

  • For accounts under $5,000, the fee is $1 a month.
  • For those over $5,000, the annual fee is 0.25%. 
Let's say you invested $50 and got the free $5 from Acorns. Then, you start recurring deposits of $20. 

$50 + $5 + ($20*12)

$50 + $5 + $240
$295 Net Invested

$295 - $12
$283 After Acorns fees

The $12 represented a 4.24% of the total net invested. That is an outstanding amount. 

There are also separate fees collected by the exchange traded funds where your money is invested. 

Education is key
You can't avoid the ETF fees, but you can avoid the Acorns fee. If you're a student and not yet 24, using your .edu email will eliminate the Acorns fee.

Another way is owning the ETF funds outright eliminating the middle man, Acorns. 

Here comes Motif Investing. It is an online stock broker and it charges $9.95 per trade on Motifs and $4.95 on individual stocks.

Motifs are like ETFs, but it can consist of ETFs and individual stocks up to 30.

Someone has copied the portfolio allocation of Acorns on Motif. The good thing about using Motif Investing is that you own the ETF funds and for a small one time fee of $9.95. Yup, you heard that right. One time fee. There is no annual fee. 

Let's say you put in $500 to the Motif tracking the Aggressive Acorns portfolio. The $9.95 Motif charges on the trade only represents 1.99% of the total invested. It is not recurring either. If you invested $500 on Acorns investment app, the $12 fee represents 2.40%.

Motif Investing comes up top.

No recurring fee, cutting the middle man.

The chart or Motif below tracks the Aggressive portfolio. The sign up process is the same on Acorns. It takes 3 business days for your deposits to clear. 


Saturday, April 23, 2016

How Acorns App Investment Works

Acorns is app-based investment vehicle.

With as low as $5, you can start investing. The best thing about Acorns is that it charges no commissions which usually costs $4.95-$8.95. The dividends are reinvested automatically, growing your investment using compound interests. 

Acorns works by diversifying your portfolio using your investing style:
  1. Conservative
    • offers income and capital preservation
  2. Moderately Conservative
    • offers income and capital growth
  3. Moderate
    • offers capital growth with safe cushion
  4. Moderately Aggressive
    • offers capital growth with risk
  5. Aggressive 
    • offers maximum capital growth with a lot of risk
Acorns uses six exchanged traded funds which are like mutual funds, but are more easily tradeable like stocks in general. 

We have LQD, SHY, VB, VNQ, VOO, and VWO. You can click the SYMBOLs for more detailed explanation. 

I like the MODERATE PORTFOLIO because it provides great diversification. 
Large Company Stocks 16% - Top dog US stocks that will stand market shocks
Small Company Stocks 19% - Small companies showing tremendous growth
Emerging Company Stocks 10% - I would love to see this at 5%. Too much risk with China. 
Real Estate Stocks 16% - This is where you will get the most dividends. Love REITs.
Government Bonds 19% -  With the backing of Uncle Sam, very safe, status quo, pennies
Corporate Bonds 20% - Top dog in bonds, very safe, dimes

If you are in your teens or twenties, I highly recommend Aggressive, Moderately Aggressive, and Moderate. However, it all depends on when you will need the money invested. If you don't need the money in 5 years, the Aggressive and Moderately Aggressive portfolio will work.

If you need the invested funds in a year, I highly suggest the Moderate, Moderately Conservative, and Conservative. Your money is protected and you will not see much fluctuations during market crash. 

For those nearing retirement, Moderately Conservative and Conservative provides some growth (pennies and dimes), but your invested funds are preserved from any market crash. 

Don't forget the fees. 

It's free for students under 24 years old who used their .edu email to register.

It's $1 a month for account holders with below $5,000 total invested.

If your investment goes above $5,000, there will be a flat fee of 0.25% from your total fund per year. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

TerraForm Global is taking steps to create some distance from its parent SunEdison

TerraForm Global shines as it sues its sponsor SunEdison for misappropriating funds intended to acquire renewable projects in India.

Litigation against SunEdison, Inc. On April 3, 2016, TerraForm Global, Inc. (“TerraForm Global”) filed a complaint asserting claims against SunEdison, Inc., SunEdison Holdings Corporation (collectively with SunEdison, Inc., “SunEdison”), Ahmad Chatila, Martin Truong and Brian Wuebbels in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (TerraForm Global, Inc., v. SunEdison, Inc., et al. C.A. No. 12159-VCL). The complaint asserts claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and unjust enrichment relating to the failure by SunEdison to transfer equity interests of certain renewable energy projects in India (the “India Projects”). As previously disclosed, in the fourth quarter of 2015, TerraForm Global prepaid $231 million for the India Projects. The complaint seeks various forms of relief, including a constructive trust upon the equity interests of SunEdison in the India Projects, money damages from the defendants, restoration of the $231 million to TerraForm Global and such other relief as the court may deem just and proper.
TerraForm Global warned in a March 29 filing that “there is a substantial risk that SunEdison will soon seek bankruptcy protection.”

“At the yieldcos, at some point they need to get into self-preservation,” Swami Venkataraman, an analyst with Moody’s Investors Service, said in an interview April 4 after TerraForm filed its lawsuit against SunEdison.

Business as usual

TerraForm Global (NASDAQ:GLBL) recently reported that it closed the acquisition of a solar project in Uruguay. The Alto Cielo consists of 26.4MW capacity. It has a 28-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the National Administration of Power Plants and Electrical Transmissions (UTE), Uruguay's state-owned utility. Under the terms of the PPA, UTE will purchase all energy produced by the Alto Cielo project for the duration of the contract. This is a very long contract because power purchase agreements with utilities are usually 20 years. The power plant reached commercial operation in March 2016.

Uruguay is one of a select group of investment-grade markets in the region.

In other news, TerraForm Global is awaiting regulatory approval to acquire 100% controlling interest in 32.6MW capacity in wind and solar projects in South Africa. The company paid approximately $73.6 million consisting of $67.7 million in cash and 544, 055 Class A common stock. The company has been selling the power generated from these plants to state-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. under a 20-year fixed-price power purchase agreement (PPA) since 2014. If the closing has not occurred by November 30, 2016, the parties are required to negotiate for 60 days to agree upon an alternative structure that would permit release of the escrowed funds. Failure to reach such agreement by January 30, 2017 would entitle BioTherm to sell the power plants to a third party.

TerraForm Global along with TerraForm Power will weather the insolvency of its sponsor SunEdison because their portfolios consists of assets that generate revenue.

Disclosure. We own shares of TerraForm Global. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

TerraForm Global Acquires 26.4MW Solar Power Plant

TerraForm Global reports new acquisition:
1. Alto Cielo Transaction
On April 8, 2016, TerraForm Global, Inc. (the “Company”) closed the acquisition of the 26.4 MW capacity Alto Cielo operating solar power plant located in Uruguay from Solarpack Corporaci√≥n Tecnol√≥gica, S.L. Following the closing, the Company has a 100% ownership interest in the Alto Cielo power plant. The power plant reached commercial operation in March 2016. The aggregate consideration paid by the Company for the Alto Cielo power plant was approximately $35.4 million. 
2. BioTherm Transaction
As previously disclosed, in April 2015, the Company entered into a purchase and sale agreement to acquire a controlling interest in three operating power plants located in South Africa with a combined generation capacity of 32.6 MW from BTSA Netherlands Cooperatie U.A. (“BioTherm”).

The aggregate consideration payable for these three power plants is approximately $73.6 million, comprised of approximately $67.7 million in cash and 544,055 shares of the Company’s Class A common stock, which is fixed in accordance with the purchase and sale agreement. The aggregate consideration includes amounts for certain additional rights and services. The completion of the BioTherm transaction remains subject to obtaining consents from the South African Department of Energy and project lenders and is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2016.

In August 2015, the Company paid $65.7 million in cash for the solar power plants Aries and Konkoonsies and the wind power plant Klipheuwel. In addition to the cash consideration, the Company provided 544,055 shares of its Class A common stock as consideration for the three power plants. Approximately $20.3 million of the August cash payment and all of the 544,055 shares of the Company’s Class A common stock were deposited into an escrow account. The remaining balance of $2.0 million cash is payable to BioTherm after the receipt of consent to the transfer of the power plants from the South African Department of Energy.

Prior to the completion of the BioTherm transaction, BioTherm is required to direct payment of all distributions from the Klipheuwel power plant to the Company, and the Company and BioTherm are required to jointly direct the release of amounts equal to the cash distributions from the Aries and Konkoonsies solar power plants from the escrow account to the Company.

Pending receipt of the consents from the South African Department of Energy and project lenders, the Company may at its discretion direct a sale of the power plants to a third party. In respect of the Aries and Konkoonsies projects, if the closing has not occurred by November 30, 2016, the parties are required to negotiate for 60 days to agree upon an alternative structure that would permit release of the escrowed funds. Failure to reach such agreement by January 30, 2017 would entitle BioTherm to sell the power plants to a third party. Upon closing of a sale to a third party, all sale proceeds are required to be paid to the Company, any amounts remaining in the escrow account are required to be released to BioTherm and the Company is required to pay to BioTherm the remaining $2.0 million cash balance of the purchase price.
Source: TerraForm Global

Disclosure. We own shares of TerraForm Global (Nasdaq: GLBL)

TerraForm Power sued by DE Shaw and Madison Dearborn Capital Partners for First Wind

The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that TerraForm Power, LLC (and TerraForm Power, Inc. as guarantor) would be liable for, and required to pay immediately, the accelerated earnout payment under the Agreement following any SunEdison bankruptcy.

"On April 3, 2016, a complaint was filed by D.E. Shaw Composite Holdings, L.L.C. and Madison Dearborn Capital Partners IV, L.P. in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, against TerraForm Power, LLC and TerraForm Power, Inc. (D.E. Shaw Composite Holdings, L.L.C., et al. v. TerraForm Power, LLC, et al., Index No. 651752/2016). The complaint was filed in connection with the Purchase and Sale Agreement, dated as of November 17, 2014, for the First Wind acquisition (the “Agreement”). The complaint alleges that SunEdison, Inc. (“SunEdison”) owes plaintiffs approximately $231 million in earnout payments under the Agreement, and that those earnout payments would become due and payable immediately upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition by SunEdison. The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that TerraForm Power, LLC (and TerraForm Power, Inc. as guarantor) would be liable for, and required to pay immediately, the accelerated earnout payment under the Agreement following any SunEdison bankruptcy.

TerraForm Power, LLC and TerraForm Power, Inc. believe that the lawsuit is without merit and plan to vigorously defend it."

Monday, April 4, 2016

TerraForm Global Terminates Acquisition Of 41.8 MW Hydroelectric Power Plants In Brazil


Company entered into a Termination Agreement with Renova.
The company paid $10 million to Renova in April 1, 2016.
Trouble keeps on adding up.
TerraForm Global (NASDAQ:GLBL) announced today that it has terminated acquisition of hydroelectric projects from Renova.
On March 29, 2016, the Company entered into a Termination Agreement (the "Termination Agreement") with Renova with respect to the Securities Purchase Agreement dated July 15, 2015 among the Company, SunEdison and Renova relating to the Espra hydro-electric power plant (the "Espra SPA").
The acquisition originally consisted of three small hydroelectric plants with installed capacity of 41.8MW in Espra, nine wind farms with installed capacity of 195.2MW in Salvador, and five wind farms with 99.2MW of installed capacity in Bahia. The hydroelectric projects have an original power purchase agreement PPA of 20 years through 2028 while the wind farms have a term of 20 years through 2032. The two wind power plants in Bahia and Salvador were acquired in September 18, 2015. Terraform Global paid for the Salvador and Bahia wind power plants $116.7 million in cash and 20,327,499 shares of Class A common stocks.
Termination Agreement
Under the termination agreement, TerraForm Global will pay Renova $10 million in connection with the termination of the hydroelectric power plants. Both parties have "granted each other full releases of any further obligations under the Espra SPA." TerraForm Global made the payment on April 1, 2016 to Renova. The hydroelectric projects would have contributed between $4-5 million cash available for distribution on an annualized basis.
Trouble Adds Up
Included with the termination announcement is the disclosure of first amendment to its credit and guaranty agreement:
First Amendment to Credit and Guaranty Agreement On March 30, 2016, TerraForm Global Operating, LLC, a subsidiary of the Company, entered into a first amendment (the "Amendment") to its credit and guaranty agreement with Goldman Sachs Bank USA, as Administrative Agent and Lender, the other credit parties, and certain other lenders party thereto (the "Revolver").
The Amendment provides that the date on which TerraForm Global, LLC ("Global LLC") must deliver to the Administrative Agent and the other lenders party to the Revolver its financial statements and accompanying report with respect to fiscal year 2015 shall be extended to April 30, 2016.
In March 30, 2016, TerraForm Global announced that it will be filing its annual report late. Brian Wuebbels resigned from his position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. On the same day, Mr. Wuebbels also resigned from his position as a director on the board of directors the company.
The next day TerraForm Global received a notification letter from an Associate Director of NASDAQ Listing Qualifications. The notification letter stated that because the Company has not yet filed its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015. The Company has until May 31, 2016, to submit a plan to NASDAQ as to how it plans to regain compliance with NASDAQ's continued listing requirements.
All TerraForm Global's problems can be attributed to its sponsor SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE). TerraForm Global overpaid SunEdison for projects. To top that off, it also prepaid for renewable projects in India worth $231 million that are still in construction. Reports are also circulating of SunEdison's bankruptcy and it is seeking partners or to unload projects all over the world.
This is looking bad for TerraForm Global. The company has an attractive portfolio and good dividend yield. However, investors should be wary and wait for the annual report to be filed before taking any positions.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

UPDATE: Flyt Express Shipping on eBay

I just checked my eBay account and got an update from Flyt Express tracking.

It is still in China, but at least the Flyt Express tracking number is working.

I will wait this out and not file a PayPal dispute.