Thursday, July 30, 2015

Money Saving Tips You Can Use Starting Today

Money Saving tipsWith the state of the economy in the country today, it is more important than ever that people learn how to manage their money, budget their finances, and control their spending. How to save money is one of the most commonly searched terms online. If you are looking for some easy and practical ways to cut costs and save a little more green each month, then check out these five tips:

1) Buy at local markets over big chain stores- Farmer's markets, local farmers, and flea markets can be a great place to get the things you need at a fraction of the price. Big named stores and chains have a lot of overhead that causes the cost of products to be much higher. Small mom and pop shops and farms do not have the big overhead and can often offer much lower prices for much higher quality product. It is the benefit of small business marketing and production.

2) Carpool or use public transport for commute - Driving your own vehicle every day not only hurts the environment it also hurts your wallet. The wear and tear on your vehicle, the cost of gas, paying tolls, and other expenses and quickly add up. If you have long commutes or you live near public transport, you can benefit form getting a ride to and from work on the bus system. Also you can look at forming a carpool group to share commute costs with your co-workers.

3) Off brand vs name brand- Today's advertising market is all about brand recognition. The big name brands have huge budgets for advertising which is why more people know about their products. However, the cost of that advertising gets attached to their products and passed on to you. It you can but store brand and off brand products that are the same as the big name products, you can save a lot of money every month on the things you use all the time.

4) Thermostat and fans over AC at home- Cooling your home during the hot summer months is one of the biggest expenses a homeowner faces. Instead of cranking the AC to 70 all the time, try to keep it around 75-77 and use fans to keep the air flow cool. Also keep window open in the cooler parts if the day and at night and close them during the sweltering parts of the day. This can help you save your AC system from driving your energy bill through the roof.

5) Cooking meals at home instead of eating out- Everyone loves the convene ice of fast food and the relaxation of eating out and being waited on. However, you pay a lot for that convenience and service, so if you need to cut back on spending and save money consider cooking at home and making your own meals. Save dinner out and those fast food stops for the special occasions or the true emergencies when you need a quick option for food.

These are just a few ways you can start saving money right now. There are many other easy and practical things you can do and many changes you can make to your daily routine that will help you save money, cut expenses, and have a happier and less stressful life.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Tips for Making Big Money off Commodities

Trading commodities can be highly lucrative, provided you avoid the myths associated with these financial instruments.

The Benefits to Trading Commodities
Commodities are heavily traded on global financial markets. They include primary agricultural products or raw materials such as coffee, copper, gold, wheat, gasoline, oil, silver, cattle, aluminium and lumber. Even though commodities are the darlings of experienced traders, many casual traders and intermediate-level traders are hesitant to trade them.

Among others, various myths abound regarding the profitability of these tradable assets. In today’s markets, commodities are easily traded and they do not require traders to actively take physical possession any products. On a difficulty scale of 1 – 10, many traders are of the opinion that commodities rank highly in terms of difficulty, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The good news is that you can generate profits from commodities, whether the prices are rising or falling. By carefully watching market movements you can anticipate rising and falling prices and place call and put options accordingly. With a little insight and market savvy, it is fairly easy to understand commodities and profit off them accordingly. Every day, scores of traders generate windfall profits off commodities and this is entirely possible in bullish, bearish and volatile markets.

How Much Money is Needed to Trade Commodities?
Depending on where you trade, and what you trade it is relatively affordable to trade commodities. For example, some brokers will allow minimums of $2,500 to register accounts to trade commodities. Others may seek amounts of $5,000 or more. Since leverage is involved, the amount you deposit is only a fraction of the size of the position you can open.

There are other ways to trade commodities online in the form of binary options. This method of trading allows for speculation on a select group of commodities with traders making predictions on future price movements. Contract positions can be opened for as little as a few dollars per trade and it is possible for no leverage to be involved.

What to Avoid when Trading Commodities
One of the biggest mistakes that novice traders make is too much leverage. And this isn’t only for commodities, it’s for stocks, indices and forex too. Leverage allows traders to place as little as 3% of the value of the trade down, with the rest being provided by way of leverage. High leverage commodities are typically traded in futures contracts.

New traders are often overwhelmed by the trading power of leverage, since it allows you to open far greater positions than your available budget allows. A caveat is in order though: leverage has incredible upside potential, but so too is the downside. Traders should limit the number of futures contracts to the bare minimum when leverage is involved, since high leverage trades can wipe out your investment bankroll.

Since you are not required to take physical possession of the commodities you are trading, you only need to watch your trades to make sure you know when to enter and when to exit. Traders are advised to be sure to close futures contracts prior to the first notice day, several weeks prior to the contract expiry. One of the most important rules of commodity trading is to avoid making poor judgment calls time and again. If a strategy didn’t work the first time, it’s foolhardy to employ that strategy multiple times. Since it is not really a zero sum game, losers lose more on every trade and winners gain less on every trade.

The best advice is to start small, learn from guru traders and use a demo trading account to get your foot in the door. Commodity trading is a vocation that requires years of experience. As you increase the number of winning trades over time, so you will learn how to consistently generate profits trading commodities. Money management, education and the right strategy can go a long way towards success in the commodities markets.

Author’s Bio: Brett Chatz is a graduate of the University of South Africa, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with Economics and Strategic management as his major subjects. Nowadays Brett contributes from his vast expertise for the globally renowned spread betting and CFD trading company – Intertrader. 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sustainable Responsible Investing and its Benefits

Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI) focused asset managers are facing many challenges these days. Their main task is to screen socially responsible companies by doing extensive research. They are also entrusted with the task of identifying companies that have superior ESG practices in comparison to the other companies. When it comes to the roles and responsibilities, the SRI focused asset managers have to generate good returns while investing in firms that amalgamate aspects of social and environmental responsibility and corporate governance.  

For Sustainable and Responsible Investing research tasks, asset managers generally rely on consulting companies. These consultant companies adopt stringent processes for company analysis and help in identifying the right data sources for various ESG parameters. These companies perform extensive research across multiple information sources and generally follow the three-level quality process.  

Hiring a multilingual consultant company is always a good idea because such companies can hunt through local media when they are evaluating the most lucrative emerging markets. Most research companies will provide you with highly qualified professionals, but you will have to consider the turnaround time (TAT) as well. Most research companies will commit a few days for extensive research on the various companies.

Many people are not aware of the transition of responsible and sustainable investing, which actually was an offshoot of socially responsible investing. The former was an approach that generally included owning certain types of assets. There were some region-influenced socially responsible investing ideologies that refrained for buying sin stocks (those of pornography distributors, distilleries, casinos, tobacco producers etc.)  

Most financial experts will tell you that socially responsible investing is now a subsector of sustainable and responsible investing—which still excludes owning some categories of assets. Today, fund managers who are involved in SRI search for companies that are looking to minimize the carbon footprint. The synonyms used for sustainable and responsible investing are ethical investing, green investing and impact investing. 

There are innumerous investment opportunities for SRI investors. In fact, there are hundreds of SRI mutual and exchange traded funds that are offering the vivid investor fantastic investment opportunities in different areas of the market. It is important to have a deep understanding of SRI funds before investing in them. These funds generally invest in two types of stocks—growth stocks and value stocks. The main categories of SRI funds are large, small and mid-cap SRI funds. In addition to these, you will also find categories of domestic, foreign and global SRI funds.

SRI managers are an elite class of fund managers who believe in avoiding companies that don’t have potential to effect change. There are many investing companies that have SRI focused funds—in which you can invest. Before you get enthralled by the idea of investing in SRI funds, you will have to perform negative screening and perform an ESG indicators analysis. This involves in-depth screening of firms on different ESG parameters or criteria. You may have to also look at some growing trends in the European markets if you want to invest in the European firms.     

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