Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Can the Iron Ore Market deliver you a Financial Return?

When it comes to investing in metal, it is usually precious materials such as gold and silver that appeal to traders. These sources of wealth are extremely secure and reliable, while assets such as silver also have industrial applications. Given that precious metals can also be traded through ETF’s (negating the burden of ownership), they remain extremely popular in the contemporary economic climate. There are other metals that are worthy of consideration to, with emerging markets like the iron ore sector currently dominating the international export scene.

A snapshot of the Iron Ore Market

Traders are always keen to diversify their portfolios, especially in a volatile economy that is subject to constant and sudden change. The emergence of a relatively new market such as the iron sector therefore represents extremely positive news, especially for investors with a global outlook. This commodity began to dominate the Australian export scene between 2013 and 2014, for example, earning a staggering $75 billion in this time and outstripping the performance of other, more illustrious assets.

Given the strength of the Australian economy, it is worth noting that iron ore has made a huge contribution to this during the last two years. It is the biggest export revenue generator in Australia, accounting for 27% of all exports sales at the end of 2014. Now a more lucrative investment than gold, silver and even coal, iron ore has captured the attention of international traders and provided them with an opportunity to diversify their efforts. Unlike precious metals, however, the value of iron ore is determined almost entirely with its core purpose.

Why Iron Ore has emerged and how to make it work for you

More specifically, the recent economic turbulence has forced governments to consider initiatives that have the potential to drive economic growth. Infrastructure construction has proved to be one of the most popular measures, and this in turn has driven demand for manufacturing steel. Of the estimated 3 billion tonnes of iron ore mined annually across the world, a staggering 98% is consumed by steel mills.

While the decline of the Chinese economy may impact on the global demand for iron ore, for now this is one of the biggest growth sectors in the financial market. This is appealing to traders, who can also benefit from flexible trading methods such as over-the-counter forward contracts and principle to principle buying and selling. This is certainly a market to watch, even as the fortunes of the global economy continue to fluctuate.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Eurozone Business Activity Better than Expected in October

October has proven something of a struggle for the Eurozone nations. The single currency’s price has remained low throughout, and the continued reverberations of the Greek crisis have been felt within the region, exacerbating new fears surrounding the Volkswagen scandal.

As a result, many expected industrial growth to remain slow, yet recent figures from the US’s Manufacturing Purchasers’ Index (PMI) have proven to be surprisingly promising. With a healthy growth identified over the course of October, we look at the impact this will have on your trades going forwards…

How PMI Scores Work
A key indicator of economic growth within a nation is the US’s seasonally adjusted PMI. It has long been posited as a primary identifier of the financial and manufacturing performance of a locale, and a positive performance often prefaces a rise in the value of a nation’s currency.

The Eurozone’s PMI score is calculated based on the services and manufacturing conditions in eight key countries: Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Austria, and the Netherlands. Where the assemblage ranks below fifty, this indicates a contraction of activity; where it ranks above, it indicates an expansion; and where it remains the same, activity levels have remained static.  

October’s PMI Results
October proved to be a surprisingly healthy month for those countries that are part of the Eurozone. With figures rising from 53.1 in September to 54 this month, this places its performance well above the neutral 50 threshold, indicating promising signs of a continued economic recovery.     

Perhaps more interestingly, this figure also ranks above the figure touted by economists, who expected it to remain around the 53 mark.

This result was particularly surprising because the figure placed not only well above what was expected, but also constituted a two-month high for the beleaguered nations, and one of the strongest monthly expansions seen over the past four years. 

Germany: The Star Turn
This growth came as something of a shock to commentators, traders, and brokers like FxPro, particularly because Germany proved to be the assemblage’s star turn.

Despite fears over the continued impact of the Volkswagen scandal, the Eurozone’s largest economy delivered an incredibly positive performance, scoring 54.5, up from 54.1 in September.

A Less Promising Performance for some Sectors

Unfortunately, continued economic recovery cannot be taken as gospel on the back of these results, as some sectors fared better than others.

Of those less fortunate, the Manufacturing PMI Output Index showed a marked fall in performance. Although it had ranked at 53.4 just one month ago, it fell to 53.3, its poorest score in five months.

The Fate of the Euro

The results of the latest PMI proved to have positive consequences for the euro, which has continued to lag behind many of its European and international competitors.

Indeed, immediately following the publication of this data, the single currency experienced a slight rise versus the dollar, and with renewed faith in the euro, this is a trend that may well continue.

However, this is not information that traders should immediately seize upon. Although current data seems to have been interpreted as positive, leading to a slight rise in the euro, Markit have been quick to comment thus:

“Unless the PMI business activity and price indices pick up in coming months, the relatively weak growth and deflation signalled by the survey will add to expectations that the ECB will step up its quantitative easing programme.”    

In addition, it’s also important to note that these results have been markedly more upbeat that the competing figures produced by the Institute for Supply Management. These indicated that manufacturing growth had essentially stalled in October, leading to a less promising outlook for the remainder of the year. 

So what does this mean for euro traders going forwards? Simply this: proceed with caution.
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Sunday, October 25, 2015

How to Save Money as a Single Mom on a Budget

single mom on budgetThis article, as the title indicates, is for those single moms on a budget who are struggling to make ends meet. It is very tough these days to see for all the needs of your kid and also to spend for all the household needs, not to mention that prices are usually heading up while the salary increases with slower pace.

Take a look at the tips described below to help you save money while you are on a budget:

Get Help
Take a look at all the benefits that your local government has set in place for people in your situation. There are all sorts of social claims that you can file for and you will be surprised to find out that many single moms on a budget are reluctant to apply for these financial aids. You will find a program that can help you pay the utility bills each and every month. Isn't this great? So, take these into consideration and you will be able to save a great deal of money along the way.

Check with the freebies that are available with various promotions. At this point you should also start couponing, since these coupons can be found as well online from where you can print them down and save the costs on your grocery shopping. Also items for kids are available online at discount prices as compared to the local stores.

Yes, clothing seems to be so expensive these days, especially for babies and toddlers. If you have a sewing machine in the house, it is even better because you can start creating and sew clothes not only for your kid but also for yourself.

Check with online websites where many articles are sold as second hand and are still in good condition. Craigslist is one such site and very popular for many online shoppers.

Sell that Baby Clothes
You can start selling the baby clothes of your kid once he or she has outgrown them and with the money you make you can purchase new clothing for them.

Extreme Couponing
Always be on the lookout for local sales and once you have also coupons for those products you can get them for free. It may take you some time prior to getting used to these procedures, but once you see how much you can save on these ones, you will do it on frequent basis.

Cook at Home, Stop Eating Out
One last tip to save money for single moms on a budget: cook all your meals at home. Eating out is always an expensive initiative; we talk here about good food not eating at any fast food which is definitely not a healthy choice. Instead with groceries you get through coupons you can start cooking delicious meals for you and your kid. Also when you are on the go with your kid, do not forget to have a snack prepared by you as in this way you won't have to buy anything while spending time outdoors with your kid.
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

MBA vs CFA. Which is better?

MBA vs CFA. Which is betterAs someone who is interested in finance and business and want to enhance your professional value, you likely will have a dilemma: MBA versus CFA – which one is better to have?

The answer depends on the type of career you want to pursue in the next five to ten years. In a nutshell, CFA is finance focused while MBA allows you to work in multiple industries. There are differences in the skills acquired, career paths, costs, time committed, compensation, brand image and value perception, and network.

Skills and career path
A CFA develops skills in securities analysis (equities or bonds), portfolio management, and asset allocation, which are suitable for a buy-side investment management firm job or a sell-side (investment banks and brokerages) financial analyst, portfolio strategist, or a corporate finance career. An MBA curriculum covers management, finance, organization, marketing, accounting, strategy, and in some schools, entrepreneurship, giving you a wide set of skills for various industries, and not just finance. However, a study by the London-based Efinancial Careers found that in a database of 17,000 resumes, 13% of the Managing Directors at Investment Banks have CFAs while 18% have MBAs, making MBAs more likely to land a higher-powered Investment Banking job. 

Time and costs
It takes on average four years (and about 300 hours per year) to pass the three levels of the CFA exams. To get the CFA charter, you also have to work in the investment-related field for four years before, during, or after passing the exams. As of June 2015, the pass rate for the three levels were 42%, 46%, and 53% respectively, which means that about 50% of the candidates need to retake at each level, making the length of completion often longer than four years. Full-time MBA takes two years to complete, and you get a degree at the end. The pass rate on average is over 90%. The catch is that CFA only costs about $4,500 for the three exams and about $300 per year to be a CFA Institute member, a requirement to maintain your CFA charter. A two-year MBA degree today costs anywhere from $60,000 to an eye-popping $200,000 to obtain.

So which qualification earns more? According to Business Insider and PayScale, the median pay for someone with a ten-year plus experience is $132,000 for a CFA without an MBA, $119,000 for an MBA in Finance without a CFA, and $105,000 for a general MBA without a CFA. A dual CFA and MBA holder earns an even higher $148,000. There are now schools that prepare you to get the dual qualifications. 

Brand and perception
Based on the information from PayScale, employers in finance and investment clearly value CFA charter holders highly, arguably higher than the MBA counterparts. The CFA qualification is perceived the same everywhere in the world given the curriculum and exams are standardized. This is not the case for the MBA schools, with the powerhouses such as Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, MIT, Northwestern, and Chicago perceived higher by the recruiters. These schools likely have large endowments to mitigate the students’ debt load also. An MBA degree from the top ten schools also comes with better brand image and recognition, which means if you want to get the best overall “value” from your MBA, you should go for the very best schools, an extra decision to make.

While a CFA charter earns you respect in the finance field, your network is nevertheless contained in this one field. However, with your MBA degree, your alumni network spreads across various industries and countries, in government and private. Perhaps the biggest argument to get an MBA is the ability to expand your professional network, making a career transition easier. 

If you specifically want to stay in finance and investment, than a CFA charter is likely better than an MBA. However, outside of finance, to gain a broader sets of skills and to move between industries, an MBA especially from the top schools is the way to go. Increasingly, many have pursued one first, followed by the other, which is highly valued by the employers. 
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Friday, October 2, 2015

4 Things To Do With Money When You Lose Your Job

Manage Money When lost job
If you lose your job as I did, you should not panic. Although being unemployed can be devastating, it is not the end of the world. Of course, you will have to adjust your finances until you get another job. You will also have to file for unemployment benefits so you will have enough to get by. According to a report by outplacement consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, “US job cuts hit a nearly four-year high in July” as the military and the technology sectors announced layoffs. In addition, Hewlett-Packard also announced in September that it would lay off some 10% of its workforce, or 28,000 to 33,000 workers.

Four Things You Should Do With Money
Here are the four things that you should immediately do after you become suddenly unemployed:

1. Take stock of your resources. This is the one thing you should immediately do. Look at the amount of your savings, and then ask yourself, how long can I make it last? If you can get unemployment benefits, would they be enough for you to live on, and how much would you have to add from your savings in order to get by? In addition, look over any alternate sources of income you may have.

2. Create a revised budget. Now that you are unemployed and have no regular source of income other than unemployment benefits, assuming that you qualify, you need to downsize your standard of living. Look over all of your expenses and consider areas in which you can cut down. Start by removing the small luxuries you used to take for granted, such as eating out weekly and having a daily cup of coffee from the local Starbucks. Then look at all your other expense categories and look for other areas where you can economize. For example, you can look for cheaper food options without sacrificing nutritional value.
To make your budget more effective, you might want to do it on a weekly basis rather than the typical monthly. Since you no longer have a monthly paycheck to allocate, making a weekly budget allows you to take tighter control over your expenses and stretch your money.

3. Look into your health insurance options. Although it may seem that health insurance is an unnecessary expense when you have no regular income coming in, it is actually more of a necessity than ever. Although you may be healthy now, you cannot rule out the possibility that you might suddenly get sick or be in an accident that would require you to seek medical care or even be hospitalized. Under the Affordable Care Act, unemployed individuals and families can look for a Marketplace plan which may qualify you for savings and credits that would substantially reduce your premiums and Medicaid for those with limited incomes. In addition, if you have children, you may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program based on your income.

4. Prioritize your expenses.  Now that money is scarce, you should also make sure to pay your most important bills first. The five most important spending items that you should prioritize are your mortgage or rent, your utilities, food expenses, health and other insurance and medicine.
However, one thing you should not do is spend precious money paying down your debt. Even though you’ll be debt-free, being unemployed means you’ll have trouble getting additional credit when you need it. Instead, call your creditors and tell them that you’re jobless and enter into an agreement with them for you to pay the minimum amount to service your debts.

Surviving Unemployment
There are signs of hope in the economy. The unemployment rate recently hit 5.1% and there were 173,000 new jobs in August. A senior economist at Principal Global Investors said that the US job situation is still “moving in the right direction”. But it can still be very difficult to find a new job. So it is very important that you follow these tips to manage your money until you’re gainfully employed again. In fact, these techniques can even ensure that you don’t have to accept the first job that comes along and you might be able to wait until you can find a better opportunity or even a new career!

About the Author
Bill Achola is a personal finance publisher who owns a fast-growing, dynamic and innovative investment blog that empowers investors to make the right investment decision. To learn more, visit
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