Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gold Vs Paper Currency: Why The Precious Metal Is Your Best Bet

Precious metals have been a popular investment since the economy went haywire back in 2008. While the value of the dollar has consistently eroded, the value of precious metals such as gold and silver has been rising inexorably. For thousands of years people have recognized that precious metals hold their value like no country's currency can. Precious metals also provide a great hedge against economic uncertainty. As financial uncertainty spreads worldwide people have found investing in precious metal provides them with a measure of financial stability and even allows them to turn a profit. 

Gold and Silver Have Intrinsic Value

There are a number of good reasons to invest in precious metals. Precious metals are physical commodities. They have value in and of themselves. They can be used as collateral or to purchase goods and services almost anywhere in the world. Things like currency, stocks and bonds are only pieces of paper and virtual goods. They may represent something of value, but they have no real value themselves. If the companies or governments that issued them fail they become worthless. Precious metals, on the other hand, retain their value regardless of what happens in the political/economic landscapes. The value of gold and silver can simply never go to zero. 

A Limited Commodity

Another reason precious metals are better than cash is because they are a limited commodity. There is a finite amount of gold and silver on the planet. This is part of the reason they are so valuable. True, companies mine for them every day, still they represent only a tiny fraction of the resources on the planet. Reams of paper money are printed in countries all over the world each day. When governments (or counterfeiters) want more money they simply print it. But there have been numerous instances where it took baskets of money to buy a loaf of bread. That has never been the case with precious metals.

Durable And Versatile

Gold, silver and other precious metals are versatile. They can be transformed into jewelry, used in industry, made into coins or bars and still keep their value. They are also able to hold their value when deluged by water, burned by fire or broken into pieces. The same cannot be said of paper currency. For paper money to have any value it must be in pristine or near pristine condition. Damaged bills are usually not accepted as legal tender. Paper money can also easily be rendered useless by flood, fire or a mischievous child playing with scissors. This makes it a more risky proposition to have your wealth in paper currency than precious metals.

Enduring Value

For thousands of years precious metals have been used as a means to pay for goods and services. During that time many forms of paper currency have become worthless. Many forms of paper currency today are theoretically backed by precious metals. It makes more sense to own the precious metal than the paper currency. Banking today is handled electronically. With a few strokes or miss strokes on a computer the life savings of millions of people can be gone in an instant. If people are looking for a medium of exchange that has stood the test of time precious metals is their best bet.

How to Invest

If you are now convinced that gold is something you'd like to invest in, the 1st step is to find a reputable gold dealer that can help you through the whole process of investing in gold. Do your research and look at different gold dealer reviews on the web. It is recommended to work with a dealer that is in your area and that has some positive testimonials from other clients like you. Also, look for accreditations to make sure that the gold or silver you're purchasing meet the minimum purity requirements.

Investing through your IRA

One of the most popular ways of buying gold in 2013 is investing through your IRA or 401k retirement accounts. Many Americans don't know that this is possible, yet it is one of the best ways of investing in gold. Check out a site like goldiraguide.org to learn more. One of the main advantages of buying gold through your IRA is the tax-saving aspect. In fact, certain plans allow you to buy gold bullion coin or bars tax-free, as long as your gold is being held by an accredited custodian. 


Johnny Stein is a financial analyst who occasionally blogs about precious metals, stocks, real estate and other investment options. He has over 30 years of experience in commodities and stock market investing in the United States.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Investment Strategies For Beginners

In today's economy, many people are searching for methods in which to invest their money and have it working for them, instead of them working for money. Home based business and corporate downsizing seem to be the norm, and many people are starting to realize that government and company pensions might not be there in the future. Fortunately there are a few methods to ensure that you retire in comfort. Investing for beginners doesn't have to be complicated. 

Real estate is an investing option, but it can be expensive, and requires a hefty down payment of atleast 10% of the buy price. If you have tenants, you could be in a for a bumpy ride if you need to evict them, or they keep calling to report problems with the furnace, plumbing, air conditions, etc. Fixing up a property or flipping can also get quite expensive and not give you the return you're looking for.

Stocks offer a much more viable investment, as it doesn’t require a lot of capital, and if you choose wisely, can offer you a stable and predictable income. You can choose to hire a stockbroker to make informed choices for you, or you can choose to make your own stock choices. If you hire someone, be aware that they will take a fee out of your profits.
Choosing your own stocks is a better option in the long run. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but with some education and knowledge, nearly anyone can become successful at stock and options investing.

If your investing knowledge is limited, it’s best to buy some books for beginners, written by successful investors. There are many how-to books on the subject by some of the world’s best investors, such as Derek Foster, Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch. Their books include strategies and tips on how to make smart investing decisions. They are also simple to read and know.

Do some online research on your own to check out some companies you may be interested in. Learn all you can about what they do, their earnings, their customers, etc. If you can’t find the information on their website, contact them and question them directly.

Once you have some companies in mind to invest in, you can paper trade or use ‘fake’ money. This simply means that you are going to keep track of the stock without using any real funds. You can do this on paper, but it is better to open a trial account online to keep track of them. There is absolutely no risk, as you aren’t using your own money. You will get a better thought of how the stock market works and you will gain some tips and knowledge on how to choose your stocks wisely.

Now that you have a excellent thought of how to trade, what companies to look for and how you make money, you are ready to invest with your own funds. If you are still a bit nervous, start with a small amount until you become more comfortable with the process. Soon you will have a diverse portfolio and you will be at ease knowing your retirement fund is growing. Investment for beginners is not that hard at all.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Investment Strategies For People On A Budget

If you’ve done any reading on financial management strategies, you’ve certainly come across advice telling you to create an investment portfolio.  A collection of diversified investments is, according to this advice, a key part in assuring long term personal financial success.  Investing is an important matter though it’s one that many people struggle to understand.  They’re under the mistaken impression that investing is a task that’s difficult and expensive to accomplish.  While it’s true that putting together a solid investment portfolio will take many years, there are actually a number of simple investments that you can make today.  Even better, many of these simple investments don’t require a lot of money.  Even on a budget it’s possible to put your money to work for you.

One savvy investment strategy to consider is to buy silver coins.  Many national mints, including the U.S. Mint, produce gold and silver investment coins.  The 1 oFnofz silver eagle is the current silver investment coin offered in the United States; this is the counterpart of the well-known gold eagle coin.  The government guarantees the weight and purity of the silver so you can feel confident that the coin contains exactly one full ounce.  Knowing precisely how much silver you own is helpful when totaling the collective value of your coins.  The price of silver and other precious metals reported by financial news sources is typically by the ounce.  For instance, if you own six one ounce silver coins and the current price of silver is twenty-five dollars per ounce, then your six coins are worth $150.  You know precisely how much your silver is worth without having to do a lot of complex multiplication and division.

The precise nature of mint-issue bullion coins is of particular interest to investors.  As mentioned above, convenient calculation is one major advantage.  Another advantage becomes clear when it’s time to sell your silver.  Trying to sell an investment coin or other piece of silver that comes with no guarantee of its weight or purity is very difficult.  Buyers will be reluctant to purchase from you because there’s no easy way of determining the quality of the si you’re selling.  If you want to sell a piece of silver that has no guaranteed weight or purity and get its full value, you might have to pay for a technical assessment of the piece.  Only then can your buyer feel confident about the silver they’re purchasing from you.  This difficulty can be easily avoided by purchasing government-issued bullion coins.

Many governments issue investment coins in gold and silver.  These coins are typically issued in one ounce denominations.  Often, ¼, ½, and full ounce denominations are available; other weight denominations are sometimes available.  Investment coins have been minted for many years and are actively sought by both collectors and investors.  The historic relevance of coins such as the British gold sovereign and the gold Krugerrand from South Africa add a special flair to any coin collection.  Certain bullion coins actually accumulate additional value because of their historic or artistic value.

Purchasing low weight denomination silver coins is a good way to begin investing.  Silver coins are affordable, easy to resell, and have a very favorable return.  They’re also very beautiful and make excellent heirlooms and gifts.
Dorian Travers is a freelance writer and blogger and likes to keep his readers informed on subjects where life meets money.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Gold Investment: Important Facts You Should Know

For the past years, gold investment all across the world has grown dramatically. Investing in gold is considered a low risk investment. The truth is, the price of gold tends to increase during inflation periods. No matter what a market's economic status is, the value of gold will never decrease because it will always be considered a precious metal. If you are planning to invest in gold, read on and find out more.

Insights on Investing in Gold

In 2008, the stock market faced a severe crisis. However in the same year, the price of gold began to climb. Over the next two years (December 2010), the price of gold increased, reaching $1,432.50 for every ounce. In this connection, it was reported that gold was able to reach a 27 percent increase in price. However, financial experts say that investors should maintain 5 percent of their portfolio in gold investments. This will serve as their hedge against market depression.

Gold Investment: How To Do It?

If you are wondering how you can invest in gold, one of the options you can choose is to buy gold bullion. This is one of the simplest ways to make an investment. Just make sure to buy it from trusted dealers. One of the most famous forms of golf bullion are minted bullion coins. You can purchase a lot of coins at once and opt for higher denominations; it should be at least one ounce.

Another option you can have is to buy gold-based financial instruments. This is a great option for those investors who do not want to worry about storing gold coins. You can opt for Exchange Traded Funds (also known as ETF's). You can purchase these financial instruments on stock exchanges.

Why Consider Investing in Gold in 2013 - The Benefits You Can Get

Gold investment can offer long term security and stability. It can provide security to your holdings and portfolio and offer a superior return on investment. This type of investment is considered a strong and superior investment even in times of depressions and recessions. It is a way of protecting yourself from the unstable twists and turns of the markets. You can also enjoy a brighter and more progressive financial future. Here is a list of reasons why you should opt for a gold investment in 2013:

1. An Excellent Protection For Investors - It is indeed true that recessions, depressions, and other events can negatively affect your overall investments. With this, it would be a risky choice to invest in any type of investment if you are looking for a long term security. However, investing in gold can offer you a measure of security even in tough times. With gold, you can be assured to enjoy a greater or higher return on investment despite of market crashes and recessions.

2. Superb Security - In order to secure a better financial state for your business and loved ones, it is very essential to build a strong portfolio. To obtain a more robust portfolio, investing in gold can provide you superb security in any economic or market condition. This is due to the fact that gold has a long term value.

Investing in Gold in 2013 is Beneficial For All Investors

A lot of global markets are still struggling economically. Market crashes and recessions have badly affected various markets all over the world. In this connection, investing in gold is a perfect opportunity for every investor to build a highly safe and robust portfolio that can withstand even the most chaotic market situation. Gold investment in 2013 provides a higher level of security for all investors. Whatever happens to the economy, gold will always be a highly profitable investment.

Marie works for Sumatra Copper & Gold, a gold mining company in Indonesia.
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

10 Steps To Financial Health And Wealth

You are driven to succeed. You save money. You actively invest in a retirement account. You read financial literature, yet you are still unsure if you will have enough to retire. Chances are, you are on the right track. Run through this checklist of ten steps to financial health and wealth to see if you are doing all you can to succeed.

Here are 10 steps to being financially healthy.

Create a Balance Sheet
A balance sheet will show you exactly where you are now. In one column, make a list of everything you own. Include mutual funds, cars, cash, bank accounts, jewelry, etc. Then, make a list of everything you owe. Be completely honest. Include home mortgages, credit card debt, student loans, car loans, etc. This balance sheet will be your gauge of where you have been and where you are going. You can use this sheet to pinpoint which debt should be paid off first, and which savings account should be added to. You should update this sheet annually. A good time to update this sheet is when you are preparing your taxes each year.

Contribute to Your 401k
If your employer matches any amount of 401k contributions, invest this amount. Let’s say your employer gives you a 5% match on your contributions. If you give 5%, your employer gives 5%. You have already earned a 100% return on your investment. Regardless of your salary or credit card debt, you cannot afford not to take advantage of this opportunity.

Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt
Look at the debt you listed on your balance sheet. Rank debt from highest interest rate to lowest. Decide how much money you can put towards this debt each month. Make payments until this item is paid off.

Fund a Roth IRA
If you make less than $95,000 (single) or $150,000 (married), you are eligible to open a Roth IRA. You deposit after-tax money into this account. Once you are 59 ½ years old, you can withdraw funds tax-free.

Buy a Home
Stop paying rent. Buying a home allows you to put money into something that is your own. Most forms of mortgage interest are tax-deductible.

Build an Emergency Fund
The ideal amount of an emergency fund is different from person to person. Calculate your monthly expenses. Multiply this number by six. In general, this number is the amount you should have saved in an emergency fund.

Look Into Other Investment Opportunities
Once you have completed the above steps, start looking for other investment opportunities. These could be brokerage accounts, rental properties, antiques or certificates of deposit.

Invest in Yourself
Take time to invest some money into educating yourself. Is there a class or program that you could take that will lead to a promotion at work? Consider putting money aside for it.

Start a College Fund
If you have children, you may consider starting a college fund. Be sure that you are adequately saving for your own retirement before starting one.

Review Your Performance
Every quarter, have a meeting with yourself to check your financial plan. Are you saving what you should? Is your debt diminishing?


Jessica Bosari is a long time personal finance blogger, writing about building wealth for asset management services company, K2 Technology.

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What is ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and How does it Work

Understanding ETF, Definition of ETF
Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, have earned a place in the portfolios of millions of investors because of their low cost and convenience.
An ETF is simply a basket of securities, usually stocks, that is designed to track a market benchmark. It may follow a broad-based index such as the Standard & Poor's 500, or a more specialized area, such as health care companies or Chinese stocks. About 2% of US households hold ETFs, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group for US investment companies. As their name suggests, ETFs are traded on the stock market, so they can be bought and sold just like regular shares of stock.
At the end of 2007, there were 629 exchange-traded funds with total assets of about $608 billion, according to the ICI. The funds are fairly evenly divided into three categories: broad-based stock funds, industry-specific funds and international stock funds. There are also about 50bond ETFs that track indexes of corporate or government debt.
Because ETFs are suitable to many kinds of investors, they have become one of the investment industry's fastest-growing products. From 2005 to 2007, assets in ETFs doubled, and the number of funds tripled, according to the ICI.
Spyders and Other ETFs
The largest exchange-traded fund as of May 2008 was the SPDR Trust, which tracks the S&P 500 and trades on the American Stock Exchange. "Spyder," as it's called, got its start in 1993, making it the oldest exchange-traded fund. Other large ETFs include the iShares MSCI EAFE fund, which follows a benchmark of foreign stocks in the developed countries of Europe, Australasia and the Far East, and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets fund, which invests in stocks in developing countries.
More recently, the trend in ETFs has led to greater segmentation and the creation of highly specialized portfolios, such as the WisdomTree Dreyfus Chinese Yuan Fund, which can be highly volatile, making them less suitable for mainstream investors seeking broad-based diversification.
ETFs are close relatives of index mutual funds and offer the same advantages of diversification and convenience that have made funds a popular investment choice for individuals. Because these funds simply buy securities listed in a given index, investors can avoid the expense of paying a manager to select investments on the basis of research. Lower fees are one of the main reasons why low-cost index funds have provided above-average returns to investors, according to Vanguard Group. As of 2007, index mutual funds held about $200 billion more in assets than ETFs.
Companies that offer exchange-traded funds include:
  • Barclays Global Investors
  • State Street Global
  • Bank of New York
  • Vanguard Group
  • Fidelity Investments
ETFs vs. Index Mutual Funds
Some investors may find ETFs better suited to their needs than mutual funds. According to Vanguard Investments, ETFs are beneficial to investors who:
  • intend to buy a fund and hold it for the long term.
  • have a large amount of money to invest at once.
  • need the flexibility to buy and sell funds throughout the day.
Index mutual funds, however, may be preferred by investors who:
  • wish to rebalance their portfolio on a regular basis.
  • plan to invest fixed amounts over time, a method known as dollar-cost averaging.
  • don't have a lot of money to invest right away.
Hidden Costs of Dollar-Cost Averaging
ETFs often have lower costs than mutual funds that cover similar segments of the market, but that advantage can vanish when fees are taken into consideration. For instance, if your broker charges a $10 commission for a trade, you could pay $120 a year to make regular monthly investments in an ETF. Many mutual funds waive fees for recurring investments.
No Minimums on ETFs
ETFs can be bought in small increments, one share at a time. Most mutual funds, however, require minimum initial investments. As a result, for new investors with few assets, an ETF may be the simplest way to begin building a portfolio of indexed investments.
Trading During the Day
Mutual funds receive only one price per day, at the close of trading. That makes it difficult to move in and out of mutual funds during the day. The price of exchange-traded funds fluctuates throughout the day. As a result, it's possible to trade these funds at any point during market hours. Keep in mind that commissions apply to all trades of ETFs and that these fees can erode your total return.
Kicking the Tires on an ETF
When considering a specific ETF investment, the same questions apply as with mutual funds. You'll want to determine which index the fund tracks, and what the largest holdings of the fund are. Also, find out how expensive it is to own the fund as measured by its expense ratio, then look at the performance of the fund over both the short term and long term. Other factors to consider are the fund's dividend yield, a measure of how much income it generates from dividends and its total assets. In general, funds with larger assets can charge lower fees. 
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Return on Invested Capital

Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) is a sophisticated way of analysing a stock for return on Capital that adjusts for some peculiarities of ROA and ROE. Its worth knowing how to interpret it because its overall a better measure of profitability than ROA and ROE.

Essentially ROIC improves on ROA and ROE because it puts debt and equity financing on an equal footing. It removes the debt related distortion that can make highly leveraged companies look very profitable when using ROE. It also uses a different definition of Profits than ROE and ROA, both of which use Net Profits. ROIC uses Operating Profits after taxes, but before interest expenses.

Again, the goal is to remove any effects caused by a company's financing decisions -does it use debt or equity?- so that we can focus as closely as possible on the profitability of the core business.
The true operating performance of a firm is best measured by ROIC, which measures the return on all capital invested in the firm regardless of the source of the capital. The formula for ROIC is deceptively simple

Return on Invested Capital

Invested Capital =Total Assets - Non-Interest bearing Current Liabilities - Free Cash Flow
(Non-interest bearing current liabilities usually are Accounts Payable and other Current Assets)

You may also want to subtract Goodwill, if its a large percentage of Assets.
What does all this mean to you if you hear someone talking about ROIC? Simply that you should interpret ROIC just as you would ROA and ROE - a higher Return on Invested Capital is preferable to a lower one!

Rough benchmarks for analysing a firm's ROIC

In general, any non-financial firm that can generate consistent ROICs above 15 percent is atleast worth investigating. And if you can find a company with consistent ROICs over 30%, there's a good chance you are really onto something. 
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Best Websites to Get Stock Market Quotes

If capital investments are made, then it is important to find a website with stock market quotes to check up on them. There are many various websites that many have heard of to find these quotes. One of these is Yahoo Finance. It is a great website for real time and delayed quotes, and they are all free. What is great about the website is that it is a great source for beginners who want to invest in the stock market. The stock market quotes are not quite enough for stock market professionals, but there is plenty of basic and important information though that is very profitable.

Another well-known site is Google Finance. It offers great amounts of information with good detailed stock market quotes. This site is in the top five sites to get quotes. This is a great place to check up on capital investments.

Next is stockcharts.com. It is a very reliable site with user-friendly stock charts. There are plenty of benefits on this site such as the option to display the charts on the website onto other blogs and sites, making them more accessible for others. This site is labeled as the best site for technical analysis because of that.

Another great site with stock market quotes and good learning tools is investopedia.com. They have free tutorials on how stock trades are really done. Everything is provided in order to prepare one to play the stock market well.

Finally, there is marketwatch.com. What makes this site trustworthy is that prominent sites such as Google and Yahoo use it as a source of information. Like the others it is very user-friendly, with plenty of information on how to keep track of your capital investments.

The internet hosts plenty of knowledge worth digesting in the investing world. These are the best sites with easy to understand information and clear stock market quotes.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stock Market Timing Strategies to Use

Tags: Top, Best, Stock Trading Strategies, Stock Investing Strategies that work, Stock Purchasing Strategies.
Stock market timing is crucial for success, and there are a number of different strategies used by traders and investors to try and evaluate the market for the right time to buy or sell. These strategies can use fundamental, technical, or quantitative methods and measures, or they can involve a combination of two or more methods used together. These strategies are supposed to assist you in understanding the stock market movements and patterns. Stock market timing which uses fundamental indicators will only look at the economic and financial affairs of a company and stock, and nothing else. These factors can include stock dividend yield, the current income and debts, and other factors in these areas.

Another strategy for stock market timing uses technical indicators of the market condition and value of an investment. This strategy involves closely evaluating the stock market performance, including the trading volume and share price on the market, in an attempt to see any patterns which may be emerging. The cause of the pattern is not evaluated, just the pattern itself. The pattern involved may be a higher or lower volume of trading on the market, or significant price fluctuations over a short period. This strategy for stock market timing may be used alone or with quantitative or fundamental indicators for a more accurate market picture.

Some investors may choose to use the Dow Jones stock market indicator as the basis of their timing strategy, while others prefer another index or market indicator, such as the S&P 500 or NASDAQ. Successful and profitable investing can often lie in perfect stock market timing, so strategies are important. When you are playing the stock market you are taking a financial risk, and the more you know the better your strategy will be. This is why many investors may look at more than one of these indicating components to determine the market conditions and ideal investments.

By InvestmentAdvisorTips
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Understanding Mutual Funds

Mutual Fund is a type of investment fund. An Investment Fund is a collection of investments such as stocks etc. Mutual Funds can be an economical and convenient way to invest in the stock market. Pooling your money with other investors enables you to purchase shares of stock from companies you might not be able to purchase on your own, offering diversification and professional management of your money. Unlike most other types of investment funds, mutual funds are "open-ended" which means as more people invest, the fund issues new units or shares.There are different mutual funds for different investment objectives, so how do you know which mutual funds are right for you?

1.Identify your Investment Objectives. What do you want to do with your money? Are you planning for retirement, or maybe college education for your children? Do you want tax free income? Recognizing what your investment objectives are is the first step in understanding what type of mutual fund is appropriate for you.

2.Identify your Investment Time Horizon. How long can you invest your money in a mutual fund before you will need it? If you are many years from retirement, you may want to take advantage of the long time horizon and consider a mutual fund that invests its assets in an aggressive mix of stocks that have capital appreciation as a goal. If, on the other hand, you are close to retirement, a shorter time horizon may dictate a mutual fund that is geared toward a mix of conservative stocks and bonds that will provide an income stream to supplement your retirement income.

3.Identify your Risk Tolerance. Are you a conservative investor who gets nervous about the up and down swings of the stock market? If so, then maybe a mutual fund that invests in high quality bonds that won't fluctuate in relation to the stock market might be a good fit for you. Or maybe you have a higher risk tolerance, in which case a mutual fund that invests in a portfolio of technology stocks may suit you. Identifying how much risk you are willing to accept is an important consideration when deciding on your investment objectives.

4.Understand the Objectives associated with the Mutual Fund. What are the objectives of the mutual fund? Some mutual funds concentrate on growth and pay little in the way of dividends (interest on your money). Other mutual funds forego growth to concentrate on maximizing dividends. Still others will generate tax free income.

5.Understand the fees associated with managing the mutual fund to determine if they are reasonable in relation to similar types of funds. Mutual fund fees that are higher than the industry average can have an impact on your rate of return.

6.Understand how the Mutual Fund is Managed. Some mutual funds are managed by only one fund manager and others by multiple fund managers. In either case, some questions you may want to know about the fund managers are: How well have they earned money for their shareholders? A mutual funds performance is a reflection of how well the fund manager's investment decisions have made money for the shareholders of the fund. How long have they been managing the assets of the mutual fund? A fund manager that has been managing the fund for a short period of time won't have a track record of performance over different market conditions and economic cycles. How often do they buy and sell shares of stocks or bonds for the fund? Frequently buying and selling shares of the underlying stocks and bonds can generate increased transaction costs and contribute to higher mutual fund fees.

7.Read and Understand the Prospectus and Annual Report before investing in a Mutual Fund. The prospectus is a detailed booklet which describes the mutual funds investment objectives and lists the management fees and costs associated with investing in the fund. Details such as investment results, average annual rate of return, total fund operating expenses, minimum initial investment required to purchase the fund and minimum subsequent investments are some of the topics covered in the prospectus. The annual report contains a letter to the shareholders from the chairman and president of the fund and explains how the fund performed during the prior year and how they expect the fund to perform in the upcoming year. It also profiles the fund manager's investment philosophy and offers their perspective on the fund. Each stock or bond is listed as a percentage of the fund's total investment and is found in the annual report.

 Following these steps can help you make a better informed decision in your understanding of mutual funds while helping you achieve your financial goals.

By WikiHow
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Friday, February 8, 2013

How to Plan Successful Forex Trades

Planning things out is the best way to succeed in any subject. With something as complicated as forex, you have to understand everything that is involved with succeeding, and expanding your knowledge on the subject to form a plan is what you are supposed to do. If you need help trying to figure out a way to plan out a forex strategy, then read on to figure one out.

One of the first things you are going to do is look at the recent news about all currencies. You want to see if you can find any trends by looking at news and charts from countries that you are potentially going to make trades with.

You want to avoid adding emotions to your trades, so make sure you get rid of your personal life and your feelings from outside things and focus on your forex trading. You should be thinking logically with every trade to ensure the most successful outcome. Sometimes people become engulfed by their emotions and trade recklessly, resulting in losing a lot of money don’t be like this.

You want to be an expert in forex, so a great way to better your knowledge in the subject is to research. When you become an expert with asian currency for instance, you know what it takes to successfully make money with good trades with that type of currency.

When you see other people succeed, take note of their tactics and mimic them if possible. There is nothing wrong with picking up characteristics from other people your goal is to make money and nothing else. As long as you are reaching your goals, you are achieving success, so don′t have shame.

You cannot think that you can make a quick buck with forex and then quit. When you invest into forex, you are making an investment that is going to probably be a long term one. So make sure that you plan to make trade investments for quite awhile now. The longer you find yourself investing, the easier it will be for you to make money and the better future you can secure for yourself.

There are a lot of options you can explore if you are feeling lost. You can do things to help you along the way like start up a managed account. This way you can ensure that you do not waste all of your money. You can find people to help you along the way as well, so talk to brokers, friends or family and see what assistance they can provide.

Don’t you feel more confident about investing your time and money into forex now? There is a potential to make a lot of profit with forex but only if you dedicate the time to do so. With all of your new found knowledge on forex in this site, you should already be devising a plan about what you are going to do to succeed in forex. Go ahead and reread this article if you need to, you want to ensure your success so make a commitment now and enjoy yourself later.

By BobbyJack
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

5 Quick Research Tips For Busy Investors

Active investors need to monitor their portfolio for changes constantly. Passive investors, or those with a longer-term horizon, however, can afford to take a more laid-back approach. But all investors still have to do their homework from time to time. The following five tips can help you manage your time and your investments properly.

1. Keep Abreast Of Market Trends - Weekly 
You don't have to have your TV tuned in to CNBC at all times, but you should peruse the latest financial magazines and trade journals, and try to tune in to finance-focused TV shows at least once a week. The web is another terrific place to read about strategies for investing, as well as to obtain a feel for what the professionals are saying about the market's anticipated direction. To cut through all the excess reading - just make sure you get a handle on which industries are in or out of favor, along with the health of the overall market.

Read or Listen to the News Remember that geopolitical goings-on can affect your portfolio holdings; so can news of higher taxes, or currency fluctuations. This means that you should at the very least, catch the weekend market reports on TV or in your local/national newspapers. The goal here is to get the big picture or the trend, and then to make changes to your portfolio accordingly.

(Note: Don't get lured into making a decision because of the "news of the day." In other words, the financial commentary that you see on television, like your nightly news, is sometimes embellished in order to garner more listeners. So again, try to decipher the longer-term trends and weed out the day-to-day nonsense the financial media outlets use to hype their broadcasts. The question you should always be asking yourself when watching or listening to financial commentary is "How will this impact me or my portfolio?")

2. Review Financial Statements - Quarterly
This rule applies mainly to investors who buy individual stocks. Investors should review the Management Discussion & Analysis (MD&A) section of a company's financial statements, as well as the 10-K, 10-Q and proxy statement (which are filed with the SEC) to get a better idea of management's take on the opportunities and risks for the company along with its recent performance.

When you do this research, ask yourself the following questions:
·         Is management optimistic about the company's future?
·         Has it made any insightful remarks about future earnings potential?
·         Is it pondering a large acquisition or asset sale that could impact earnings?
·         Is its credit in good or bad shape? Might that impact the future growth of the company?
These are all issues that may be addressed in the financial statements and which are helpful to the investor's decision-making process. Be a detective, and try to dig past all the public relations fluff to see what management really is saying.

Sometimes the written word is the best venue for investors to gain valuable insight about the inner workings of a company, because face-to-face meetings and some conference calls are highly scripted, especially given the rise in shareholder-initiated lawsuits.

3. Call Or Interview Funds Or Firms - Once or Twice a Year
Trying to catch up with professionals in charge or funds or firms can be a full-time job, so it's often best to choose when you attempt these types of correspondences. Pick a time of year when they are slower or more able to talk to you - and once you've got them on the line, pump them for information on where the market or a particular industry or stock is headed. Sometimes they will provide valuable insight that you hadn't yet pondered - or don't have the time to research.

When talking to these professionals, try to ask open-ended questions such as:
·         Where do you think the company is heading?
·         What are the biggest risks going forward?
·         What do you think Wall Street analysts are overlooking or undervaluing in regards to the company?
You may be surprised by the candor of the responses you will receive - at no real time cost to you!

4. Attend Conference Calls - Yearly
Don't be intimidated. Call up the investor-relations representative at the company you own stock in to see if you can listen in on the company's year-end conference call. You can also check the company's investor-relations section on their web page, which will often provide information on the date of the next call along with a link to listen to the call online. Because of Regulation Fair Disclosure and the focus firms have these days on disclosing information to both individual and institutional investors at one time, many firms will allow individual-investor participation if the investor requests to participate in advance so that the company can arrange to set up a separate line.

What you are listening for in this call is what management says about the company's future, but also the way in which they say it. Do they believe what they are saying? Are they enthusiastic or merely going through the motions? This information may provide you with the desire to either buy more shares or to liquidate your position entirely.

The first part of the call will go over the company's financials for the time period along with any other pertinent developments. This is then followed by a Q&A session, generally with analysts, which is often the most important part of the call since you can see how management reacts to these tough questions.

(Note: As mentioned above, many calls are scripted, and management is sometimes tight-lipped about the future because they don't want to be blamed for any failures. With that in mind, the investor should not only be looking for what is said, but what isn't said as well. If a company usually makes financial projections every quarter, but has suddenly stopped, then that may be a bad sign for the company, but a good sign for you to get out.)

5. Avoid Gossip or Speculation - Daily
You don't need to track market changes on a daily basis to be successful as an investor, but being aware of the trends in the marketplace can help you to cut down on listening to "hot tips" or rumor mills throughout the day. A good way to stop the anxiety caused by the investing gossip you hear is to chase the right kind of information now. Two big areas to focus on are interest rates and commodity/labor costs.

Seek Interest Rate News
Higher interest rates usually beget lower stock prices, because if companies spend more money on loan payments, it will depress their earnings, and lower earnings equate to lower stock prices. Conversely, lower rates can mean that both companies and individuals will spend less on interest payments, bottom lines will increase, and higher earnings translate into higher equity prices. Knowing that most interest rate news is being accounted into the market prices now and being able to see how it can affect future prices will help you weed out any gossip tips you may receive now.

Track Commodity/Labor Costs
Investors should track fuel costs and other commodity prices to gauge how those fluctuations may impact their holdings. For example, some industries, such as trucking, see their profits drop dramatically when crude-oil prices increase. Others, such as oil-exploration companies, fare better when oil trades higher. Rising steel and lumber prices will adversely affect construction and manufacturing companies. Rising labor costs will bury everybody, but particularly retailers that typically hire workers at minimum wage. If you know what's in your portfolio ahead of time, you can cut the anxiety in its tracks and adjust your portfolio accordingly.

Your Time Is Money
Determining when your information is the most valuable can help you cut down on the hours you spend sorting through reports and financials. Summer months are typically weak months in the market, and purchased stocks may wane. September and October are also historically difficult months - and year-end tax-loss selling can depress stocks even further. If you are satisfied that the stock you own or wish to purchase is on solid footing, you can continue with your purchases, but make sure you consider seasonal factors when trying to time a purchase or a sale.

Being an investor doesn't mean that you have to receive a daily subscription to the Wall Street Journal or sit in front of your computer all day. But if you hope to fare as well or better than the market average over time, managing your time as you manage your portfolio can make the most "cents".

by Glenn Curtis

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Stock Investment Advice from Greatest Investors

If you are just beginning your foray into the world of the stock market, then you have probably heard many different opinions regarding stock investment advice or learn more about Stock Market Quotes . This isn’t a bad thing; ultimately, you should listen to many different philosophies and decide which one makes the most sense to you. One set of ideas you should consider come from some of the wealthiest investors of all time. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway board. They describe their investment philosophy as 4 simple ideas. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Stay Within Your Circle of Competence
Buffett says that you should only buy stocks of companies that you can understand. You should be able to understand the business model and how they make their money. More importantly, you should be able to see what the business will look like 10 or 20 years in the future. This is why Buffett likes companies like Coca-cola and Gillette: he knows that in 20 years people will still be shaving and drinking Coke. He won’t invest in companies like Google or Apple. It’s not that he doesn’t understand them or think that they aren’t great businesses; it’s that he has no idea what the competition and business landscape will look like in 20 years.
2. Durable Competitive Advantage
The second factor that goes into choosing a great stock is to find a company that has business characteristics that give it a durable competitive advantage. This is something that makes it very hard for competitors to enter the same market and begin stealing customers from them. Good competitive advantages can include a great brand that people trust, a reputation for low prices, or a talented innovate team.

3. Good Management
Buffett and Munger want a great management team to run their businesses. They aren’t really concerned about whether the management all have high IQs or a lot of business degrees. They look for people who are honest and have a lot of integrity. A quick method of analyzing the character of a CEO is to ask yourself if he is the kind of man you would like your sister or daughter to marry.
4. The Right Price
No matter how good a business is, its stock isn’t worth an infinite price. You must come up with a fair price that a rational person would be willing to pay for the entire business. Then you can check to see what it is trading for on the stock market. Checking the price is the very last thing that Buffett and Munger do.
If you keep in mind these four keys to investing, you can prevent getting caught up in the latest stock market fad or getting misled by a bunch of numbers running across your television screen. For the best stock investment advice, stick to the fundamentals and to the most successful investors of all time.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

What Jobs Can You Find With a CFA?

A Certified Financial Analyst, or CFA, is a person qualified to evaluate alternate investment proposals available to an individual or a company. There is a fiduciary relation between a CFA and his client. A CFA is thus not only a technical expert, but also possesses utmost ethical integrity and would never take a decision that would further his personal interests instead of the client's interest. CFAs are in great demand, and command large paychecks. According to the CFA Institute, a person needs to spend at least four years and put in a minimum of 250 hours of study time in order to obtain this degree.

Mutual Funds
Mutual funds companies deal with buying and selling bonds and securities, and are thus always looking for CFAs to help them make prudent decisions in stock and bond markets. CFAs, being professionally qualified to make scientific and rational decisions about financial assets, play a decisive role in shaping the market policy of mutual funds that have to provide a reasonably decent rate of return to numerous investors. As these companies deal with huge corpus of funds, they depend heavily on CFAs to chart out a proper plan of operations.

Insurance Companies
Insurance companies have huge liquid funds at their disposal. They usually invest such funds in stock exchanges and security markets to earn sizable profits. Such profits allow them to offer more competitive insurance products to prospective clients. CFAs play the role of security analysts and advise the companies on what shares they need to hold, and what shares they need to dispose and which shares they need to buy. As these decisions are extremely vital in making a large profit in stock markets, CFAs are held in high esteem in insurance companies. These analysts provide the vital inputs in making such crucial financial decisions.

Commercial Banks
Leading commercial banks of the world are very much involved in transacting in stock and security markets and other forms of securities that they prepare and transact among themselves. The global economic meltdown in 2008 occurred primarily due to reckless transacting in such synthetic securities. Banks have become wiser, and are now much more cautious about how they spend their funds in financial markets. Top international banks are thus on the lookout for CFAs who are professionally qualified in properly evaluating the actual worth of a particular security before advising their employers on a specific course of action. The high ethical standards maintained by professionally qualified CFAs also add to their attractiveness as potential employees.

Research Firms
All firms involved in researching stock markets and forecasting market trends need the services of qualified CFAs to conduct proper survey, analysis and study of stock trends and market movements. As qualified CFAs possess impeccable ethical standards, these firms depend on them to provide unbiased prognosis of future trends in security markets.

By Steve Jonathan

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