Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Various Ways to Invest in the Stock Market

Most people like the idea of investing some of their money in the stock market, but the question becomes how best to go about doing this. There are actually many ways you can invest your money in stocks, and the following is a discussion of the different methods that people use to do this, both the advantages and disadvantages. 

Invest the money yourself
Basically, you decide which stocks you want to buy and when you want to sell them. Naturally, you are responsible for your gains and losses, but at the same time, you have the freedom to do what you want with your money, and have 100 percent influence on your stock market investments. This type of investor uses discount brokers for their trades, to keep the expense of buying and selling stocks to the bare minimum. The downside to this method of stock investing is that it takes time to do the necessary research to find the stocks that are good buys, and also the research to know when to sell a stock. 

Use a traditional stock broker
This type of broker charges more for commissions than discount brokers, but they provide recommendations for stock purchases. They do much of the research for you, but you are still the one that makes the final decision on when to buy or sell. The broker is only providing recommendations. For those who do not have the time to do their own research, this is often the best way to invest in stocks. However, you need to spend time researching various brokers to find one that will perform for you, as well as one that you feel comfortable with. 

Buy index funds
This is a simple way to invest in the stock market. Basically, you are buying a mutual fund that consists of stocks that represent an index. For example, the most popular index is the Dow Jones Industrial Average. When you buy a share in a mutual fund that is indexed to the Dow Jones, your fund will rise or fall depending upon the rise and fall of the Dow. Index fund managers are simply buying the stocks in the Dow Jones, without any research involved. There are other index funds. Another example is the Standard & Poor's 500.

Let someone do it for you
Many people, especially those with a lot of money to invest in the markets, simply use a private equity investment firm. Depending upon the size of the firm, one or more managers invest your money along with other clients. The money is pooled, and fees are charged for the service based upon performance and other factors. There are many equity firms available to manage your money. Some are of a general nature while others invest in specific areas of the market. Vista Equity, for example, is an equity firm co-founded by Brian Sheth, and they focus on technology. Sheth is personally involved in the managing of the firm's portfolio. 

Keep in mind that there is no best way to invest in the stock market. What is best for you will depend upon many factors: how much time you want to devote to research, what area of the stock market you want to invest in and how much skill you have with investing. Whatever your situation is, you are never committed in the long term to any single method, and you may want to choose to divide your money up using two methods.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Get a Headstart on Your Investments

As a young individual applying for college, you may not realize that you are actually looking to make your first big investment of your life.  Higher education is often viewed as a financial investment in your future.  It makes sense.  Invest money in a two or four year program for a degree.  This degree leads to opportunities of greater future earning potential.  It is simple; invest money to make money.

There was a growing trend that called for everyone to get a college education which eventually increased competition in the labor market.  It became harder to get a job without a degree which only helped propel the trend.  Basically, everyone wanted a degree because everyone wanted a job and money. 

With that being said, the rise in demand for college education brought on a rise in tuition and cost of attendance.  The escalation of college expenses increased the prominence of student loans.  Since the average college applicant could not cover the overall cost of attendance, student loans became a popular solution to funding college.

Long story short, outstanding student loan debt exceeds $1.3 trillion today, and it surpasses consumer credit debt as one of the top sources of debt in America.  This debt falls heavily on the millennial generation and college graduates within the past decade.  With financial hardship right off the bat, it became much harder for new, young employees to start other important investments which has greater repercussions than first thought. 

The moral of the story is that important investments are neglected by those with student debt.  Investments such as home ownership and retirement funds are extremely important for financial health down the road, and it is common for student loan borrowers to focus on student loan debt before moving on to other goals.  

Luckily, there are ways to limit the burden of student loans that lead to more financial flexibility in the future.  Some of these involve circumventing student loans entirely while others involve a change in approach to them.  Here are several ways to quickly cut away your student loan debt and pave the way to greater lifetime financial investments.

Find "Free Money"
When talking about "free money," you are talking about grants and scholarships.  These are opportunities to fund your college education without any repayment responsibilities, hence the term "free money." 

Scholarships are extremely popular.  They are offered to people for any and all reasons such as merit, heritage, financial need, or even individuality.  The best way to find which opportunities fit your criteria is to utilize online scholarship resources.  Sites such as these lay out information and deadlines for scholarships  which makes it easy to secure free funding for higher education.
Grants are similar to scholarships, but they are less diverse and not as abundant.  The federal government provides several grants (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and more) to students of significant financial need, prospective teachers, and military veterans.

The benefits of a grant or scholarships are simple.  The need for a student loan lessens with multiple scholarships and grants, so there is a better chance of graduating debt-free.

Student Loan Refinancing
Many graduates find themselves with multiple student loans which is a recipe for disaster.  More than one loan means more than one interest payment which can exacerbate a loan uncontrollably.  There is a simple solution to mounting and multiple interest  payments: student loan refinancing.

Refinancing is a well-known tool when dealing with mortgages, and it is growing in prominence for student loans.  A private lender essentially refinances multiple loans (private or federal) by lumping them together and changing the repayment terms to benefit the borrower.

The end result is a loan with one interest rate and an altered repayment period.  Refinancing nearly always reduces amount spent on interest over the life of a loan.  Without the burden of student loans, a retirement fund can be started without causing as much financial stress.

Pick the Right Major
One interesting criticism of student loans involves choice of major.  Today, loans are given out without much consideration of the borrower's major which has been brought up with controversy.
Without naming any majors, a simple generic example suffices.  An overall loan of $120,000 for a four year degree is disbursed.  The borrower finished his or her education only to enter his or her field with an earning potential of $35,000 a year.  From the lender's perspective, this is a bad investment.  From the borrower's perspective, this is a tough debt situation.

The piece of advice here is to pick the right major.  Researching different professions and salaries can provide insight on different earning potentials. It is ideal to choose a career path that has the ability to sustain student loan payments on top of the cost of living.  This is generally good advice, but it is paramount for a healthy investment career.

Proactive Payments
There are a couple of ways to tackle student loan payments that greatly decrease the repayment period.  And they both involve tackling interest in a different way.  Student loan interest capitalizes each month which basically means each subsequent interest accrual is larger than its predecessor.
One of the first practices is starting interest payments while still in school.  This keeps interest from building excessively onto an original principal balance over the life of the loan.  The other method involves making monthly payments that are larger than the minimum requirement.  This practice limits the rate of interest accrual by cutting away at the principal balance.


By paying off interest early and making larger principal payments, the capitalization of student loan interest can be countered which saves money down the road.  Money saved down the road can be put towards other important investments.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

4 Online Programs Ideal for Beginning Traders

The concept of investing in the stock market is one that holds appeal for many people from diverse backgrounds, and with opportunity to make unlimited money, it’s one of the main ways people can earn a reasonable return on their money.

While investing in the stock market can be alluring, and can ultimately also prove to be very valuable, it’s not necessarily something that can be done without prior knowledge or education. Investing in the stock market can be complex, and having at least a general understanding of terminology and concepts can go a long way for novices.

Below are four online trading training courses that are ideal for beginners as they begin to dabble in the stock market.

Training Traders
Training Traders is a well-known online learning center that offers programs in-house as well. Participants can enroll in classes aimed at day trading, long-term or position trading, and all education is based on the Price Behavior methodology. This particular trading method is versatile enough to be used not only for stock trading, but also currency or futures trading. Training Traders also utilizes a Trading Software System, that helps traders of all experience levels gain an advantage.

Online Trading Academy
Founded in 1997, Online Trading Academy features a patented training strategy that aims to help students identify high profitability and low-risk opportunities. As well as online courses, Online Trading Academy also operates more than 30 financial education centers around the world. All instructors are experts who have been part of the market, including brokers and business leaders, and each is not only an experienced online trader but is also actively involved in trading through their own account.

Timothy Sykes Millionaire Challenge
Timothy Sykes has become somewhat of an icon in the penny stock trading industry. His popular blog has earned him many followers, and his Millionaire Challenge provides a way for anyone to register and then learn his secrets for turning penny stock trading into wealth. The learning tools offered through the Millionaire Challenge are designed to help students learn from their own trades as well as from the experience and expertise of others. While the other names on this list are great for learning the general ins and outs of stock trading, Timothy Sykes Millionaire Challenge is really for people who want to hone in on penny stocks, specifically.

Day Trading Academy

With a collaborative approach to training and trading Day Trading Academy brings together experienced and beginning traders, with the concept of everyone helping each other succeed. There is no software that’s part of this program, and instead, the goal is always to teach students how to read the market. The curriculum is split into four sections: beginner, intermediate, advanced and pro and two classes are held each week so that students can cover relevant topics and review the market together, live. All of the live trading classes, reviews, and daily market recaps are recorded and saved into the video library so users can participate in training whenever it’s convenient for them. 
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Future is Now! Start Saving For Retirement

Retirement seems far away, but it is a reality that everyone needs to face. With life expectancy increasing, individuals will have more time to spend in their golden years. However, they cannot depend on the steady income of a pension or the assistance of social security to support them. 

Therefore, it’s up to each person to plan for retirement. Meeting with a certified financial planner is a good way to map out your investment strategy. However, there are some things you can do on your own. 


Establish Your Plan 
Before you start to calculate the savings you will need, figure out what your net worth is today. Your net worth is the total value of your assets minus your liabilities, which includes expenses such as your mortgage and other debts. If your net worth is negative, don’t worry. Now you can determine what you need to do to move toward a positive number. 

Next, calculate how much savings you will need to reach your retirement goal. Plan on generating a nest egg that can generate 70 to 80 percent of your pre-tax, pre-retirement income. Once you have come up with that amount, think about what you can do to save money on a regular basis. 

Create a budget which includes your recurring expenses. As part of your monthly bills, include your savings contributions. A budget will show you where you are spending your money, and it will help you prioritize which debts should be paid off first. 

Adopt a Savings Mindset 
When you look at the amount of money you will need to save, the number can seem overwhelming. A retirement fund such as a 401(k) or a Roth IRA can significantly increase in value over time. Therefore, make regular contributions to your funds so you can maximize your account’s growth potential. 

If a significant portion of your spending is going toward credit card debt, pay it off as soon as possible. The high interest rates usually exceed any earnings you will receive on your savings. 

Utilize Workplace Retirement Plans 
Many people don’t take advantage of retirement plans at their place of work. In many cases, employers match contributions, which translates to increased savings. If you don’t contribute, you are turning down the opportunity to obtain free money that will earn compound interest! 
Individuals who are self-employed and work for small businesses have options in this area too. Check with your tax specialist to see what types of retirement funds are available. 

Diversify 
If you want to protect your nest egg, a financial consultant will advise you to diversify your portfolio with a combination of stocks and bonds. Your savings configuration should reflect your age and the level of risk you are able to assume during each phase of your life. For example, Fisher Investments has a number of publications that review a variety of retirement investment strategies. 

Additionally, invest in unrelated industries to minimize risk. For instance, there is little chance that the performance of stocks in pharmaceuticals will affect the high technology sector. Also, consider investing in different economies, rather than funds that are focused on a single country or region. 

Watch Your Mortgage 
If you are a homeowner, your residence is a significant asset. If you have a mortgage and interest rates fall, consider refinancing. The cost savings over time will be significant. If your monthly payment has decreased, put the extra money into your retirement savings. 

If possible, pay off your mortgage before you are ready to retire. Eliminating your monthly mortgage payment will automatically increase your income. 
Keep Working 

You don’t have to stop working when you reach retirement age. Instead, reduce your hours or find a less-demanding job. When you work over a longer time span, you will be able to increase your savings portfolio, which allows compound interest to continue to work its magic. 

Although you will be making less money, you will probably have fewer expenses during this time of your life. For instance, your mortgage will be paid off and your children will be finished with college and hopefully on their own. 

Planning for retirement doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. If you follow these simple steps, you will have well-defined plan that will point you in the right direction. Once you start saving, you will be able to look forward to the bright future that lies ahead of you.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

How to Start Investing with Only $1,000

So, you are prepared to enter the world of stock market investing and you have set aside only $1,000 for that purpose. However, before you plunge into the complex world of the stock market, there are certain things you should put into consideration. One of the many concerns for investors with limited funds isn't only what to invest in, but also the way to go about the actual investing. You’re going to discover that not long after you enter the stock investing market, you might find yourself facing a lot of considerations from minimum deposit restrictions to the importance of diversification among others.


Do you know the account minimums?
Stock investing may appear straightforward enough for the seasoned investor - All you have to do is open up an account with a brokerage firm. But, is it that simple? What you might not understand is that all financial institutions have minimal deposit conditions. What this means is that unless you deposit a specific amount of money, they will not accept your account application. With an amount as little as $1,000, some firms wouldn’t even consider you as an investor, talk less of opening an account for you.

Stocks
Discount brokerages have fees that are significantly lower than their counterparts, however do not expect them to assist you with any investment decision. Their charges are low because with them, you're in charge of all investment choices - you can’t ask for investment advice from them. With only $1,000 as a start-up investing amount, you're really on a tightrope as far as minimal deposit goes. Some discount brokerages like Banc De Binary will accept you while others will not. You’re going to need to look around until you find one that will accept your minimal deposit of $1,000.

Know the Costs of Investing
Commissions: Before you set up an investment account, you also have to think about the associated costs that you’re going to attract from buying investments. Usually, it’s going to cost you some money each single time you buy an investment (through commissions). And with a small amount of funds, these broker commissions can really poke a hole on your $1,000.

Furthermore, investing in stocks can really get expensive when you trade continuously, particularly with a minimal amount of money available to invest. Each time that you perform an investment action, whether selling or purchasing a stock, you are going to pay a commission aka trading fee. Trading fees can range anywhere from as low as $10 for each trade to as high as $30 for some discount brokerages.

Use Diversification to Minimise Risk
Some investors regard diversification as the only free lunch in investing. When it comes to diversification, the largest amount of difficulty in doing this may come from investments in stocks. Moreover, with a $1,000 deposit, it's almost impossible to have a well-diversified portfolio, so be mindful that you may need to invest in one or two firms (at the most) to begin with. And this is likely to increase your risk.

A Small Step Toward a Great Future

It’s very possible to invest in stocks with a small amount of money if you’re just starting out. But know that it’s more complex than merely picking the right investment and you must understand about the limitations which you face as a ‘newbie’ investor.
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

How automated trading affect future of trading and investing

According to recently released article from Bloomberg: ,,The Rich Are Already Using Robo-Advisers, and That Scares Banks", assets under management in automated programs gradually grow. They should also small investors seek automated solutions for their investments?

Mainstream idea of investing is in passive approach. On the stock markets you are usually trading or better investing in the long-term. It means that you buy shares of a particular company or a whole sector, and hold them. It often indicates the average return of 10% per annum. However, detailed examination shows the fact that achieved return at the investment on the local or regional level, doesn't have to reach positive numbers even in a matter of years. A typical example is Japan where stock market is experiencing bad times for 20 years. This can be good reason to leave old portfolio theory. Investors should in terms of uncorrelated returns and strong balanced portfolio think about adding active trading part. This part can use automated trading which protect investors against psychological aspects of active trading and also optimizes time dedicated to active trading.

Today's technology offers much better conditions to develop and trade automated trading strategies than a few years ago. Computational power together with the involvement of artificial intelligence, machine learning methods and data mining, allow develop and test individual trading logics in fraction of time. Thanks to this can developers of these automated trading strategies discover effective trading logics with predictive capabilities.
Still prevailing opinion that robots cannot replace human. This is the reason of skepticism about automated trading. Investors should realize that automated trading itself is only the end of the whole process. On the beginning is human who define the basics and control the whole process of developing and testing despite the fact that the process is automated. It is much more about looking for objective advantage in the market that can be traded by automated solution. From investor perspective is much easier evaluate results from automated trading than when active trading will make himself.

Automated trading gradually grows and solutions as well. Because the development of automated trading is both financially and knowledge consuming, investors should look for automated solutions, already created by developers for trading. In this point it is more about communication with developer about understanding principles of automated trading solution which he offers. Investors will know, how evaluate results from automated trading, what technological aspects does it contain and what support they receive if anything goes wrong.

Author: Daniel Stepnicka,
Director, Co-Founder of Algofxsolution.com.
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