Do You Let Your Debt Bully You?

ID-100206615I’ve mentioned that my birthday is approaching…the big 3-0…We don’t plan on doing much but we will be going out to dinner on two separate occasions, once with some family and another evening with some friends. I have decided that given I’ve spent quite literally, umm, maybe $50 total in the last three years on clothes, all of which are likely comfy clothes, I would buy myself a new shirt or two for the events. As well, I had the intentions of wearing them to a few other up coming events with work. I need clothes.

I don’t know where I got the number but I figured I would allow myself $100 to buy whatever I wanted (and could). Stipulation being they had to be real, grown-up (I am almost 30 now…), with no stretch, t-shirt quality or could pass as gym attire-real effin clothes. It’s not that I don’t enjoy clothing it’s just that I’m lazy, hate shopping and hate spending money on myself even more. This wasn’t always the case though, there was a time in my life (many years and about 15lbs ago) when I would dabble in fashion and give a crap what I looked like. I headed to the various websites of the stores I used to frequent and started my search. I found a few shirts I liked on one site, all of which would do just fine. I added them to my online bag and went to checkout but a strange thing happened, I couldn’t do it!

Immediately, I started talking myself out of it. I didn’t need them. I was wasting money. I’m being so selfish

As I sat there staring at the online cart, unable to push the ”pay now” button, I closed the browser and walked away.

Then it hit me. I am allowing my debt to bully me!

That asshole! Bossing me around telling me I can’t and shouldn’t do it! But guess what?! I’m going to! Not because I ”deserve it” or because I need them (which is a fact) but because I want to, I can, and because I have allowed it for myself.

I’m a responsible debt payer. My husband and I are working our buns off to pay this monster down and will be rid of it (mostly) within 36 (almost 35) months. We are in a position where I have made my extra debt payments like a good girl and I will allow myself to look presentable for my birthday. If I was slacking on the debt payments sure, likely not a great allocation of funds, but we hustled and we made it.

I didn’t go back and buy the items yet but I plan to. I’m going to go in the store instead since I don’t have time to wait for shipping arrival. These shirts better be as cute as I hoped, I have a point to prove ;)

Have you ever let your debt bully you out of a purchase?

If you’re unsure if you’ve ever fallen victim to debt bullying look for these signs:

  • Unnesessary mental back-talk
  • Cold sweats over the smallest of purchases
  • Talking yourself out of buying necessities (anything from bread to diapers)
  • Hoarding cash
  • Walking around like you permanatly live in a scene from ”Survivor” because you’re scared of buying real clothes
  • Ignoring all social engagments because you don’t want to spend the money, even though you budgeted for it
  • Not buying the items you want, and need in online shopping carts out of shame

Photo Credit

How Being in Debt Has Set Me Up For Retirement


Where we currently spend our frugal summers. I could handle my summers in retirement with this view every day, if I ”had to” ;)

I’m quickly approaching my 30th birthday and I can admit that I have zero dollars saved for my retirement. While some people would rightfully be freaking out I’m totally calm.

I have a decent life right now, debt and all. I mentioned in my post outlining our debt payoff plan that my plan was a ”life happens” plan. Meaning, I fully expect life events to pop up and for this plan to still hold up. We’re currently not living so tight there is zero room to give, nor have we maximized every single outlet for increased income (should it look like we may have a ”low month”). We like our lives for what they are right now and enjoy the balance that we have between our jobs, family, interests and goals. If, once our debt is paid off we continued to live just the way we currently are-with cable, decent grocery budget, safe reliable vehicle with gas in it, clothes on our back, the odd frugal family getaway, I’d be content. I want more, but I know I could have a life that I would be content with.

Living on less has taught me well

While retirement experts suggest you aim for a retirement income of upwards of 70% of your current income, once our mortgage is paid off- and it will be years before retirement age- we’ll be very comfortable living on 40% our current income. Being in debt, and being forced to live such a lifestyle that allows us to have this balance between paying it off while still living, has taught us what we really need and are comfortable with. So while there is no reason why we can’t save enough for the projected ”expert” level of 70%, even if we’re late starters, if we come short I know we’ll be more than fine. Anything over 40% our current income is extra icing on the cake in my eyes.

Age isn’t really a factor…

Though starting to save for retirement into your early 30’s may be ”old” by some standards the fact is that we’re still young, we have great promising careers and nothing but income potential in front of us. If our income froze right now we’d still be ok given that we’re able to pay down our mortgage and put over $2,000 per month towards debt today. Though I have dreams of how I want to allocate that $2000 when the debt is paid off- broken up between retirement savings, vacation and a little more wiggle room in our current budget, it still comes down to the fact that I have more than $2000 per month to play with and funding retirement trumps all other plans. If we invested even half of that $2,000 each month we’re projected to hit a savings goal that would supply an annual income in retirement that would give us a very comfortable retirement, more money than I think we’d spend (but will obviously save anyway!).

Being in debt has shown me that we’re capable of some pretty amazing things when we’re forced into the situation. While I certainly don’t dream of a retirement with no fun or games, life has shown me that should we be forced into a situation we can always make the best of it. I’m glad we won’t be approaching retirement with nothing but room for disappointment. If I was setting myself up in life with expectations for a very lavish retirement and couldn’t do it, I’d be a mess. Retirement is not the stage in life where you’re forced, for the first time, to make theses sorts of financial changes. You’ll likely blow through your money too fast with no means of getting it back. I’m glad I learned the financial lessons I did, the hard way, while I was still young and able to carry my lessons learned forward in life.

3 Reasons You Should Invest in a Credit Card Reader

Credit card readers are unique pieces of hardware designed to interact directly with a point of sale terminal in order to process transactions that are paid with by a credit card. They are flexible and maintain the security of the customer, making it easy to transact business without having to worry about loss of funds or breach of security. They can be used with any type of card, making them non-specific and allowing even more freedom when purchasing one. They can usually be obtained from suppliers such as Shopify quickly and easily. For any business, installing a credit card machine can have a number of massive bonuses to the processing efficiency of the enterprise. Some of these include:

More Diverse Methods of Payment Available to Customers

Not everyone pays with cash these days. In fact, not a whole lot of people use cash for payments any more. This might come as a surprise to a few people, but many retailers and businesspeople know that the tide is moving away from liquid cash and moving towards having a credit card. The reasons for this are manifold, ranging from increased security to the benefits that a cardholder gets from using and the card to pay for items. This fact translates to more and more people using credit cards as a means of payment. In simpler times, the alternative to cash was the check and many businesses have stopped accepting these are payment because they are simply so easy to defraud. The credit card goes one step above the check by giving instantaneous confirmation of the transaction and at the same time being incredibly difficult to defraud. It inspires confidence to the merchant and providing a point of sale terminal equipped with a card reader is essential in the life of a business. Giving customers the advantage of paying with a credit card endears you to them and gives you the edge over other companies that don’t have a reader installed.

Quick and Easy to Install

Most point of sale terminals come with a ready interface to accept card readers. Readers are usually discrete peripherals designed with the purpose of running a card transaction through and doing the requisite electronic debits as necessary. When you purchase a card reader for installation with a point of sale terminal, the installation itself couldn’t be simpler. In many cases there is a simple plug and play interface (USB or otherwise) that connects the reader to the terminal. More complicated readers have additional initialization protocols, but these are still relatively simple and most technicians won’t have a problem installing the device easily. This translates to less downtime when attaching a peripheral to the point of sale terminal. This installation is so simple that it can be done in a matter of minutes.

Affordable Way to Increase Bottom Line

Credit Card machines are relatively inexpensive. They usually have prices that fall well within the upgrade budgets of small and medium sized enterprises. The investment into a credit card machine isn’t as large or as cumbersome as some would think. With the quick installation time, it already saves money being lost from downtime. In addition to this, the initial cost is a pittance. The sheer amount of business it generates is massive by comparison. These machines usually pay for themselves within the first four months of installation. It should be noted, though, that the best location for placing a credit card machine is in a busy, well-trafficked area. Even places that are out of the urban sprawl can benefit from the installation of a card reader, although these usually take a lot longer to see benefits from their installation.

All in all, a credit card reader can be quite a benefit to any business aiming to see an increase in their bottom line and at the same time needing a solution to see more efficient movement of sales. A credit card reader fulfils both of these requirements by giving customers a quick, easy way to pay that can be trusted together with the efficiency of fast transactions. Consumers that prefer to use their cards would be much heartened by the inclusion of a card reader in a business’ checkout counter. Having a card reader usually tends to draw consumers who have all their money on their cards as opposed to having some of their money as liquid assets. It is those customers, who are slowly increasing in number, that make all the difference to having a viable card reader system set up for their use. As time goes by more and more customers will be of this type, making it all but economic suicide to not have a card reader installed. It is advisable to get a card reader installed as soon as possible to capitalize on the change in the mindset of the buying populous.

Ridiculous Expense Edition: That Time I Spent $80 on a Light Bulb…

Today I have a guest post from the lovely Kayla over at Shoeaholicnomore!

During my freshman year of college I lived in the dorms. I’d never lived on my own, paid rent, or bought groceries (other than snacks to supplement the dorm’s food plan). To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of real world experience.

Toward the end of the year my then-fiancé and I were looking for an apartment and decided we didn’t want to spend more than $600/month on rent. Where we came up with that number I’ll never know, but that’s the budget we used.

After viewing nearly 50 properties of varying degrees of disgustingness, we finally found a place for just over our budget. The rent on this one bedroom was $620, but it included all utilities so we could use as much energy as we wanted!

The down-side of this “great find” was that it wasn’t in the best neighborhood and truthfully it needed a lot more than TLC. There was a spot in the living room where I refused to walk for fear of falling through the floor into the basement apartment below.

After some very dramatic events, I ended up renting the apartment by myself instead of with my ex. This meant that I had to come up with the rent money and all my other living expenses on my own while going to school full-time and working part-time. It was a tough time for me financially, and this is when I started to ignore my finances and get into debt.

Because the apartment was in a not-so-nice part of town, I left the outside porch light on all the time and I would commonly leave the radio and a light or two on inside while I was gone at work and class. My hope was that someone would think the apartment was occupied and thus I could avoid a break-in. The porch light also helped during the winter months when it would still be dark as I left in the morning and would be dark again before I returned home in the evenings.

Near the end of my lease in May, the porch light finally burned out. The worst part about this apartment was that the building was originally a single-family house built in 1911. It had very high ceilings and being a college student, I didn’t have a ladder to change the outside light bulb myself. I called my landlord and requested that the bulb be replaced and didn’t think anything about it until I got a bill for the “service”. They wanted $40 for changing that one light bulb!

Of course I thought it was ridiculous so I ignored the bill completely. When my lease was up and I got my deposit back I noticed that $80 was missing from my original deposit. After asking why it was missing, they sent me an invoice showing that $80 was deducted for the light bulb incident! I was annoyed, but I didn’t contest it and went on down the road.

Now that I’m more wise and aware of the world, and my finances, I realize I could’ve done things differently to avoid wasting that $80.

I could’ve ignored the bulb since I would be moving out anyhow and prayed they didn’t notice during the inspection. Total cost: $0-80 and a load of guilt, 0-100% savings

I could’ve asked a friend with a ladder to help me change the bulb. Total cost: about $5 for a new bulb, 94% savings

I could’ve paid the bill the first time around. Total cost: $40, 50% savings

I could’ve contested the $80 bill. Total cost: $40-80, 0-50% savings

I’ve certainly learned a lot about life and finances since then. Now I know better when faced with an expected charge on a bill: always question it the first time and avoid paying late charges/interest if at all possible.

Have you ever paid for a ridiculous expense?

Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at Shoeaholicnomore.

Is The Personal Finance Community Too Judgmental?

wpid-20140713_232643.jpgWhen one opens their lives up on the internet be it though engaging in social media, blogging  or uploading cute pictures of your kids on Instagram, like it or not, you are willingly opening your lives up to outside criticism. This is especially true of blogging and a huge reason why it requires a bit of thick skin. You are, without a doubt, going to get backlash from casual readers to fellow bloggers. Creating a variance in conversation is what I love about blogging though so I welcome it, life would be pretty boring if people agreed with everything I said and did. We grow as people through exploration and accepting changes.

Last week I published a post titled ”How much is too much for groceries”. If you read my blog regularly, or even know me personally, you know I was by no means trying to ”bash” anyone or have a ”holier than thou” attitude. I was, in all honesty, looking to do what bloggers do best, create conversation. As someone who only spends about $500 per month on food, $800+ seemed like a lot to me, I didn’t say it was as lot for everyone nor was I trying to imply you’re a bad person if you spend more than what I spend on food every month, I genuinely wanted to know how far off the mark I was with my readers for average money spent per month, that’s it.

When comments started coming in, with quite a few new people popping up (thank you for stopping by), I was a little surprised at the interpretation of my post and other people’s comments. There was more than one comment stating in various words that the personal finance community was in general too judgmental (of non-PFers I imagine) and one person even said they limit their engagement within the community because of said judgement. While I thank you for your comment I feel like I need to defend the online community I am apart of, again please feel free to disagree.

While there is an extreme variance in what you will find within this community, everything from the extreme savers, early retirees, people in debt, millionaires, struggling students and everything in between, my experience is that people who blog and engage in this community do so to learn. We learn through interactions, posts, comments, arguments, reading, getting opinions, you name it. Though there has been many posts I disagree with I never felt that post was written in a judgmental tone, I simply have a difference of opinion, difference in experience or all together may think it is outright wrong. That doesn’t mean they are judging me for being different.

Had I written the post and finished with ” You’re all idiots and suck as humans if your family of six can’t or isn’t willing to eat on $400 per month” then yeah, that’s a judgmental and bitchy thing to do but for the most part the personal finance community offers opinions and questions to be challenged. My mission with the post in question was accomplished. People clearly pointed out how easily their family sustains themselves on $200-250 per week for a multitude of reasons and for that I thank you for offering me insight, even if I likely will never be in your position, I thank you for enlightening me, it was all I wanted.

I’ve said this before but I didn’t know personal finance was a ”thing”. I started this blog blindly and am so thankful for the internet niche I have stumbled into. Thank you for your comments, your encouragement, your disagreements and your lack of judgement when I’ve put myself out there. Maybe I’m alone but no, if we’re generalizing, the personal finance community is not judgement unless you include the personal challenges it may provoke, for that there is no apology.

I Asked and Got a Raise!

wpid-img_20130830_100750.jpgA few weeks ago I inquired on Twitter how often one should expect a raise and at what percentage. The most common response being ”annually, and inflation rate”.

I have never had to ask for a raise. I’ve negotiated my starting rate or salary but never had to ask for one. It was always given to me at a rate which I thought was fair but since being back to work from maternity leave, going on 16 months, I haven’t received one. Though I assumed it was an oversight by my employer, I decided to wait until the end of the summer (when my raises usually are) to approach the subject. When September rolled around with no pay increase was reflected on my pay stub, I brought it up.

My boss and I have a very casual relationship where we tend to do our best chatting via text and email. I work exclusively with him for 16 hours a week but we never actually have time to speak ourselves. We’re both very busy and no time to chat. Rather than just corner him one day during his only five minute breather, I planted a seed via text with a ”hey, I’d like to chat with you in the next week or two about a potential raise”. This way he knew I needed time and what it would be about. Nothing worse than catching your boss off guard when you want to talk about money.

I respected the fact that he was busy and waited a week. When we didn’t have time, and after he didn’t bring it up, I reminded him during one of our other conversations about work simply saying when he had a minute I was going to email him a document to look over regarding my potential raise.

My husband’s cousin works in HR and was able to provide me with a very detailed, province and city specified payroll document outlining basically everything about my job broken down by everything from years experience to dental specialty. It was a mecca of information and statistics. Though I was getting a fair wage, there was room for improvement based on this new found information exposing my entire field of work, I was prepared. I handed over the document and wanted to see what he thought was fair before I came at him with my (potential) counter offer.

I was also prepared to discuss my job, the vital roles I fill and my effectiveness as an employee. Though I was pretty sure he was aware at how vital I was after working together over five years, I was prepared none-the-less should the discussion come to it.

I was pleasantly surprised this week to see a 5% raise reflected on my pay stub. In my case there was very little negotiation actually took place. Once he had this document it was really all he needed and 5% was more than fair.

A few people have asked what I plan on doing with the raise, 75% will be going directly towards debt, helping me meet my goals and the other 25% being added to kiddos monthly RESP (education savings), no lifestyle inflation for this family, not yet at least ;)

Debt Free Bucket List: European Travel

Now that I have disclosed my plan to pay off the rest of our debt, it’s officially time to start living in the future right? Ok, at least let me indulge in a fantasy or two from time-to-time?

My husband and I honeymooned in Europe five years ago and we have been pining to go back from the day we boarded the plane home. We loved Germany so much we actually considered how we could move there. Though I can’t wait to go back to Germany and explore the rest of the country as well as surrounding Austria and Switzerland, I think our next trip will likely be the United Kingdom.

It wasn’t that long ago that the UK was lower on the travel list but it’s slowly creeping up to the top. I think a lot of it has to do with me getting older and being more genuinely interested in history, and more specifically where I come from. I know my family roots start in England where my husband is Scottish blood through and through. My sister-in-law has their paternal family free traced back to the 7th century, crazy eh?

I would love to take a (budget friendly) family vacation to the UK exploring all that the Kingdom has to offer and walk the lands our ancestors once did.

Given that I’m on the east coast of Canada and in close proximity to a major international airport, getting to the UK is quite easy and not that expensive (it was cheaper for us to fly to Germany than it was to fly across our own country). We’d likely fly into London and given that my brother-in-law is from N. Ireland and already has a UK driver’s licence, we’d look for a cheap car hire in London for him to chauffer us around! Growing up in the UK and travelling within it quite extensively makes him a great, free, tour guide and I can’t see us going without him!

I would likely spend at least two weeks travelling mostly between England and Scotland but if my brother-in-law was in fact with us, we couldn’t not go to Ireland and N. Ireland for him to see some friends and family, and to show us where he grew up. This is something he and my sister-in-law just completed earlier this year but I can’t see either one of them declining the offer to go again in a few years.

I love the idea of renting cottages for us to stay in as we travel. Given the size of our party (upwards of seven to eight people) I assume this is likely the most economical option. I also like the idea of not travelling with much of an itinerary and see where the roads take us. Only keeping a loose list of places we hope to hit.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say my recent obsession with reading the Outlander series didn’t reinvigorate my desires too. Just trying to keep it real. Again, this hypothetical and probably far-fetched trip won’t happen until we pay our debt off but it’s nice to dream in the meantime.

Any tips for travel in the UK on a budget? Must see places??

How to Turn a Business Vision into Reality: 3 Ways of Generating Income

While the fortunes of the global economy may be beginning to decline, there remains ample opportunity for individuals who wish to establish themselves in business. When you consider recent growth and the fact that governments throughout the world are striving to empower entrepreneurship as a way of kick-starting their economies, there has arguably never been a better time to start a business. This will require a certain degree of strategy and capital, however, as even relatively low cost ideas can encounter issues and quickly drain your existing funds.

Funding your Business: 3 Methods of Generating Start-up Income

When it comes to funding your business, there are a number of options to keep in mind. With this in mind, let’s consider the following options: -

  • Save your Disposable Income: There is a key distinction between product and service driven businesses, as the latter typically can typically be established with a smaller amount of disposable income. This means that it may be possible to fund your business using accrued savings, as long as they have been accumulated responsibly and maximized through the use of high yield savings accounts. To achieve this, simply strive to create a frugal monthly budget that enables you to cut recurring costs and commit the majority of your disposable income into a high interest bank account.
  • Generate Capital by Selling Unwanted Items: If your business plan requires additional funding, you may be better served by entering the growing thrift market and selling unwanted items. Whether you do this through popular e-commerce websites such as eBay or reputable pawn broker outlets such as H & T Pawnbrokers, the main aim should always be to identify the value of individual items before maximizing this though resale. This requires considerable time and patience, while you must also build a wealth of knowledge and an unyielding willingness to negotiate with others.
  • Consider the Benefits of Peer to Peer Lending: The contemporary alternative to traditional banking, peer to peer lending is now one of the primary methods used of funding new business ventures. In the U.S. it is currently estimated that only 25% of business start-ups are funded through bank loans, for example, as entrepreneurs have been deterred from using traditional methods in the wake of the Great recession. Peer to peer lending affords aspiring business owners access to a diverse range of benefactors and funding options, while it also enables them to create flexible deals and retain control of their destiny.


Can We Pay Off $70,000 in 36 Months?

I was playing around with my trusty calculator last night to see where our debt stood. As of this month we owe a bit over $80,000 ($80,400). While this number seems impossibly large can we please remember that just two years ago our debt was closer to $109,000 (highest non-mortgage debt close to 116k). Since starting this blog, we’ve paid off $29,000 in principle debt, most of which was paid down in the last 15 months since my return to work full-time after my year long maternity leave.

While $29,000 is a decent accomplishment for 24 months by anyone’s standards, I’d like to attempt to kill $70,000 (of the remaining $80,000) in 36 months.

Why not worry about the other $10,000?…

The last debt that we’ll be paying off is my nationally issued student loan. A loan I currently make interest-only payments on and a loan which I can claim the interest paid as a tax deduction. Once the other $70,000 is paid off it will only take about five more months to pay this 10k loan off and again, all interest paid is a tax deduction where all other debt is not.

My Plan:

  • Pay off 0% interest loan first: $13,064 to be paid off in 12 months= $1088/month while making minimum required payments on all other debts. Total monthly debt total required: $2,064.
  • Come October 2015, 0% loan will be paid off and in following 24 months pay off remaining debt which includes student lines of credit and vehicle. I choose to pay the balance of the vehicle next for a few reasons. One, I like the idea of the vehicle being paid off in case something happens to it. Two, our auto insurance will likely decrease with paid off vehicle and three, it’s the largest single debt payment per month with a large portion going towards principle allowing us to pay it down quickly by snowballing out previous debt payments.
  • From Nov 2015- June 2016 (kiddo’s 4th bday!) pay off vehicle balance of what will be $13,200 (payment required $1,650/month)
  • From July 2016- Dec 2016 pay off two of three student lines of credit. Balance between the two will be about $9,800 (payment required $1735/month)
  • From December 2016-November 2017 (final payment the 1st of the month) pay off remaining $23,000 student line of credit (payment required $2,010/month).
  • December 2017 debt remaining (national student loan): 10,376 which will only take 5-6 months to pay off.

I have to be honest this is my ”life happens” plan. I’m fairly confident we should be able to do this. The evening out of some months being great and others not so great should make this plan possible. Though I am hopeful we can be done earler than projected, I have to remember that it takes $2,000 extra just to knock off one month of this plan so realistically this is the plan that we’ll execute within a month or two. Here’s hoping we can make this all possible!

The Growth of the Saudi Arabian Economy: Opening up New and Exciting Markets for Investors

While it is easy to deride the Great recession and its impact in the world, it is fair to say that some positive portents managed to emerge in its wake. Take the development that has been experienced in emerging and frontier markets throughout the world, for example, which has in turn created a more equal distribution of global financial power and influence. Such a development has reaped considerable rewards for international investors, who have been able to diversify their portfolios in the quest for more reliable financial returns.

Economic Growth in Saudi Arabia: Helping Investors to Diversify their Interests

The Middle East provides a particularly interesting study in modern economics, as it combines a number of developed, emerging and frontier markets within a small geographic space. With many of these economies experienced rapid growth in a short period of time in the wake of the Great recession, the region is also gaining power and global influence on an annual basis. This trend is unlikely to abate for the foreseeable future, as nations’ such as Saudi Arabia continue to invest in diversification and stimulate widespread growth that is not solely reliant on the revenue generated by oil or the potency of the energy sector.

As the leading economy in the whole of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia offers an interesting investment option in 2014. Although it has struggled to realize initial growth forecasts for the current financial year, its first quarter expansion of 5.1% exceeded the performance of the leading developed economies across the globe. Even though the growth rate eased to 3.8% during the second financial quarter, this still represents robust progress while it also suggests that rising oil prices and the government’s aim to diversify the economy are continuing to pay dividends.

The Last Word for Investors: Why Saudi Arabia May Offer a Unique Opportunity in the Years’ to Come

 For a country that is home to more than one fifth of the world’s recoverable oil deposits, it would be all too easy to rely on this resource as the sole engine for economic growth. Its leaders have resisted this temptation, however, and followed the example of established neighbours such as Qatar by developing a diverse array of revenue streams.

Simply by taking the revenue earned through the sale of oil and a widening portfolio of foreign assets, Saudi leaders are striving to invest their capital into a number of alternative industries including telecommunications and manufacturing. Such diversification subsequently offers international investors a unique opportunity to enter new and lucrative markets, while also setting a sound economic example for other developing countries to follow in the future.