Thursday, December 21, 2017

2018's Booming Commodities For Smart Investors

Commodities are perhaps the oldest and most durable of markets. After all, human beings will always need materials and always speculate on what the future might hold. The past few years and the rapid up-tech trend have seen what we understand to be the commodities market shift, with regulators even suggesting bitcoin should be traded as a commodity.

Bearing that in mind, you might be wondering what 2018 could hold. Which commodities are set to rise up the ranks again, like silver and gold ore- and which are set to fall? Will there be newcomers and disruptors, or more of the same?

Titanium has found a niche in the past few decades for one big reason - paint. Titanium oxide, in its various forms, provides the basis and key ingredient of many of the paints you’ll see plastered on buildings globally. Whilst tubes and piping previously formed a big part of the market, they took a bit of a fall. However, as TMS Titanium have reported on, titanium has started to find new applications in medical and 3D printing. It’s even been reported, this week, that titanium is finding use in an exoskeleton for future warfare.
The strong and light qualities of the metal make it a decent bet when you’re looking for a new investment.

It might surprise you to see copper on this list. The much-maligned metal has faced a 5 year decline, reaching a 7-year low in March 2016. However, the metal is starting to pick up traction again and has made serious gains in the past year. The increase has led to exports booming the world over, including in Chile where copper has made a presidential candidate. With the trend set to carefully increase, it is worth investing - but keeping a close eye on, as copper can be a volatile market given the long time it takes to get production up and running. This is especially compared to…

Oil has had a tough time in recent years, despite oils famous versatility of uses. This has largely been down to a glut of surplus supplies on the market, driving prices ever further down, despite the presence of embargos on Russia, Iran and other oil producing countries. However, that surplus has been forecast to come to an end in the coming year and as a result it can predicted for the price to rise a decent amount - though increased US production under the Trump administration’s policies mean that price might not be a huge booster.

So, those are some of the very best commodities for 2018. Not exactly new or crafty, but certainly worth looking at and diversifying into.
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Monday, December 4, 2017

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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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Mistakes To Avoid For First-time Property Investors

The real estate game is quite hard to navigate in these troubled financial times. Before, it was possible to make a property investment and to be sure that that investment is going to pay off. However, today, with the omnipresent shortage of money, the profit is by no means guaranteed, and there are many bad shortcuts that you can take.  These shortcuts can easily leave you lying naked in the bankruptcy bushes with multiple financial cuts and bruises.

Since there are so many articles on what to do when investing in property for the first time, here are some definite don’ts when it comes to investing. Doing these things is something that should be avoided at all costs, if you have plans to rise to the top of the property investment game.

Don’t let your heart cloud your judgment

When purchasing your first home, it is only natural that you will let your emotions decide what you are going to purchase. You will live there, possibly for the rest of your life, and because of this, you will need to make sure that the house has that real ‘feel’ about it and that you will be able to call it home.

However, when making a first-time investment in a house that is supposed to pay off later on, it is most definitely undesirable to let your emotions rule your purchase. You don’t want to end up with a house that you cannot rent or sell, just because you liked how the lawn was done or how nicely painted it was. Also, letting your emotions rule your purchase can lead you to over-paying for a house, thus going into red from the very beginning. 

This is why it is advised to perform thorough checks for the property that you are willing to purchase. Is the neighborhood right for attracting quality people to live there? Will the property provide the return that you require for the invested capital? When making an investment, always bear in mind that real estate business is governed by economy, not emotions.

Rushing in or procrastinating

There are three types of real estate investors, and these are: rushers, procrastinators and those who are in the middle. Of all these, only the last ones have a chance of making money in the real estate investing business. The other two groups usually never make it past their first investment, if they make one at all. And here’s why:

The rushers are the ones who attend one seminar and see this as an excellent opportunity for them to get rich over-night and get out of their financial troubles. This is why they jump the first wagon that is open to them, and buy the first property they hear about. After that, they are left with a property they can hardly sell, or can hardly recoup the money they invested. When this happens, they usually quit the property investment, and that’s the end of it.

The procrastinators are the ones who go beyond that one seminar. However, they have another problem. They go to too many seminars and get their minds overburdened with information. This abundance of information leaves them baffled as to what to do, and they usually pass up vital opportunities just because they are unsure of their further doings. They analyze things too much and end up doing nothing. This is called paralysis by analysis.

The best thing to do here is to find the middle ground. While the first group may overcome their mistakes and learn through their experience, the second group will never get into the property business. This is why it is essential to note that you cannot learn everything at the beginning. You should learn as you go, but be sure to learn quickly. Only this way will you succeed in the harsh game that is real estate investing.

In the end, all I have to say is to stress that these two of the most common mistakes should be avoided at all costs, because if you make them, you can count yourself out of the game before you have even joined properly. Avoid them, and there are great chances that you will prosper. Who knows, maybe in a few years’ time you will be the next big thing that happened in the real estate investment. 


Damian Wolf is a writer and online marketer. He mostly writes about business opportunities and self development tips. Damian currently works  on advanced online strategy for Simple Home Invest website , great Australian property investment service.
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Unorthodox Investment Strategies That Paid Off

There are times where investment strategies rely heavily on trends and when things seem to be on the upswing, everyone wants to be a part of it. One of those trends currently is Bitcoin, where one Bitcoin is valued at over $4,000. Everyone from investors to the general public wants a piece of it as it seems that further growth might just be on the cards. Those who invested in it years ago will reap the rewards now. But back when it first started, economists and investors were not keen to get their hands dirty in case it failed. There is a fine line between a calculated gamble and a good investor knows which is which
Investors Who See Potential
James Clunie used the American elections as the deciding force behind betting against the American stocks. Although the outcome will only be revealed in the future, it is worth the watch to see whether this decision pays off. According to investor Jason Sugarman, it's important to have a passion for the industry. For him, his love for his family and a keen understanding of the sporting world determine his decision-making. Will these decisions bode well for these two investors? Only time will tell as patience is one of the most important factors in investing. One of the fundamentals of investing is to try to get in while the price is low. This means that investors benefit from the growth without having to fork out higher amounts for a single fund unit or stock. These might just work in their favor.

Stocks That Did Well During the Great Depression
It’s hard to imagine that a stock market collapse would still see some individuals profit from investments on the stock market. The surprising winner was in Electric Boat, which saw massive returns of up to 55% from 1932 to 1955. This can be attributed to the need for Americans to feel more secure as they were coming out of one war and heading to the next. Two other defense stocks made it to the top 10 as well. These include Douglass Aircraft which gave returns of 23,5% and Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator with returns of 21,6%.

Investments can seem confusing at times and that is because the volatility of the markets determines the outcome, not the past performance. Proper financial advice, having bags of passion and carrying out plenty of research will allow investors to choose funds or stocks that match their needs but won’t guarantee success. If it does not specify “guarantee”, there is a risk of loss.

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Samy Mahfar On Why you Should be Adopting Technologies Into Real Estate

Samy MahfarSMA Equities is a New York-based investment firm that invests, builds and manages multifamily developments, retail, office and mixed use properties with complementary expertise in all facets of development and asset management. SMA investments are nationwide, with the largest share of our assets located within the greater New York metropolitan area. Throughout SMA Equities‘ history, starting in 1986 as SMA Realty, the company has excelled as an active hands-on organization, rather than passive investors.  We had a chance to get insights from SMA’s very own CEO Samy Mahfar when it comes to real estate and your retirement.  Here’s what Samy sent to us in an email recently:

It’s no secret that the real estate industry as a whole has, historically, had a hard time adapting to new technologies. With many agents with varying backgrounds, working for a wide range of agencies, it’s little wonder that new technology is slow to catch on. From small changes like new listing technology and syndicatiosn to utilizing cutting edge software to streamline operations, bringing technology to the real estate sector can be a challenge. Technology, however, has the future to permanently shape the face of the real estate industry—and many real estate professionals are realizing exactly how beneficial it can be.

Change Is Hard

Technology in the real estate sector is relatively young. This new factor, coupled with the need for change in order to introduce technology into a real estate agent’s daily business operations, explains part of the reason why technology throughout the industry has remained at status quo. Change is hard, especially in bigger organizations where everyone has to come on board in order to successfully implement new technologies.

The reward of implementing new technology in real estate, however, is well worth all the difficulty that goes along with it. As a reward for taking the time and accepting the startup expense associated with advances in technology, both management and lower-level employees will be able to enjoy more productive schedules, increased sales, and less time spent dealing with common tasks. For example, the recent StreetEasy saga—which ended with many big companies choosing to pull their listings from StreetEasy—could have been circumvented had REBNY stepped in as an innovator with an effective solution to fill the void.

Taking the Leap of Faith

Stepping out and taking that leap of faith to technology should always be focused on the specific needs of the company, not on what’s “in” at the current moment in time. You need technology that will measurably benefit your business, not just the technology that everyone else is using! There are several things in most real estate ventures that can be substantially aided by technology, including:  
·         Streamlining the operation as a whole
·         Making back office tasks easier
·         Creating easier management and oversight opportunities

Technology gives everyone the opportunity to become an expert and do due diligence in a way that, in the past, simply wasn’t available for small to medium sized investors. Increased availability of data, speed, and efficiency all make it easier to close a deal and ensure that every person involved in it was able to make the most out of the transaction.

When you look at technology from a different perspective, you’ll able to see how it can drive efficiency and transparency, ultimately making people more money as a result. This leads to big opportunities in the real estate sector. Technology is already having a massive impact in this area, helping real estate professionals that embrace it become more powerful, more insightful, and more valuable. This will grow tenfold as technology becomes more efficient and evolves. 
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tricks to Maximize Your Grocery Savings

It doesn’t matter if you’re enjoying the single life and living off takeaways and TV dinners for one, or a parent who’s feeding a hungry family. Food is a necessary expense. But wouldn’t it be great if we could reduce the amount of money we spend at our local store? Saving money is easy if you’re equipped with the right knowledge. In this article, we’ll look at four tricks to maximize your grocery savings. So let’s get started!

Be prepared before heading out
Before heading to the store, make a shopping list. By listing everything you need to buy, you ensure that you’ll purchase only the products you need and help prevent your eyes from wandering to additional items (like cookies and candy). Always double-check your pantry for ingredients. Think of innovative new meals you can make with what’s already in there.

Take advantage of coupons and sales
Using coupons for shopping doesn’t appeal to everyone – but the prospect of saving money does! Fortunately, there are many easy ways to save money at your local grocery store that don't involve a host of coupon binders and countless hours of coupon-cutting. Feel free to cut out coupons for items you purchase frequently, but don’t forget to take advantage of technology to benefit from even more great deals.

For instance, Ibotta is an app that’s available for both Android and iOS, and is incredibly fun and easy to use. By using Ibotta, you can save an average of $20 every time you go shopping, and even more! Unlike most types of savings and coupon applications out there, Ibotta helps to personalize your saving and shopping experience.

Ibotta works in an incredibly simple way. Before you head to the store, simply click on your Ibotta app and select the products you’re intending to purchase. Once you have chosen an item, you will then be asked to complete a task. The more tasks you complete, the more money you will begin to earn. You can even invite your friends and family to join Ibotta using a personal referral link. With each friend or family member who registers with Ibotta, you will earn $1.

Know your local stores
Over the years, grocery stores have managed to perfect the art of laying out their shelves to make you spend as much as possible. Now that you know this secret, it means you can counteract their strategy. Stores will typically keep eggs, milk, bread and other daily essentials at the back of the store, which means you need to walk past all the delicious-looking snacks and temptations to get to what you actually came to shop for.

Make smart purchases
You are no doubt used to purchasing the same brands and the same foods, so you probably haven’t taken a closer look at what you’re putting into your shopping cart. To save more money at the grocery store, why not reconsider some of the choices you make in an effort to save more? Of course, fresh vegetables are great – but have you considered buying frozen? These are often a lot cheaper and work wonders for soups and as an additional ingredient in any meal. It’s also recommended to purchase produce that’s in season to get a better bargain.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

FRM or PRM ? Which is Better ?


Among Finance and Risk management students and professionals, there is a lot of confusion on two of the most sought after course on Risk management, whether they should pursue FRM (Financial Risk Manager) or PRM (Professional Risk Manager).  In this post, we will try to sort out the confusion and try to bring out the comparisons and differences, the easiest and hardest one to crack and the passing rates between FRM and PRM.

FRM designation is more popular than PRM. FRM is more established and well-recognized than PRM certification. It is administered and certifications are provided by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). Currently there are more than 26,000 certified professionals.

To be certified with FRM designation, you must
  • Complete two parts of the exam, Part I and Part II, which is offered twice in a year in May and November.
  • Have atleast two years of experience in the area of financial risk management or any other related field such as portfolio management, trading, risk consulting, risk technology, auditing, economics, industry research and faculty academic.

FRM Exam Format:
There are two parts of the exam, Part I and Part II. Each part of the exam is four hours long. Part I Consists of 100 multiple choice format questions and Part II consists of 80 multiple choice format questions. Part I is offered in the morning session while part II in the evening. This means you can give both parts on the same day. You must pass part I exam in order to have graded Part II.

Part I Exam Topic Areas:

FRM Part 1 Curriulum

Part II Exam Topic Areas:

FRM Part 2 Curriulum

The Exam results are pass or fail which will be notified via email approximately six weeks after the exam. The passing rate for the Part I exam is 46.7% while for Part II its 56%. The cost of registering for the exam is $350 for each part.
PRM is harder than FRM. It is also the most difficult and most technical risk management course in the world. It is administered and certifications are provided by the Professional Risk Manager’s International Association (PRMIA).

To be certified with PRM Designation, you must pass four exams. The Exams can be completed in one day or in four separate modules, which can be taken in any order over a period of up to two years. You must achieve a minimum of 60% correct answers to pass for each exam.

PRM Exam Format:

Exam I: Finance Theory, Financial Instruments and Markets – 36 Questions in 2 hours.
Exam II: Mathematical foundations of Risk measurement – 24 Questions in 2 hours.
Exam III: Risk Management Practices – 36 Questions in 1.5 hours.
Exam IV: Case studies, PRMIA standards of nest practice, conduct and ethics and Bylaws –                              24 questions in 1 hour.

You can take all the four exams in a single day with 120 questions in 6 hours with a one hour break.

The passing rate for the PRM exam is 50%. The cost of writing single exam is $195 and for full program it is $500. The number of PRM holders is unknown since PRMIA doesn’t publish it, but it is certainly lesser than FRM holders.

Now you know the details of both the programs, so it is time for you to decide between these two. Which one of this is better? Well that depends on you. Both have most in common than differences.  FRM curriculum is more dynamic while PRM is more static. FRM is more general while PRM is more technical.

FRM is more popular and have a longer history, while PRM is backed by elite universities like NUS and HK University. But as far as international reputation is considered, FRM is ahead of PRM. If you are starting your career in risk, then FRM is right for you and if you are an experienced professional, consider the PRM. Both the designations are well recognized and respected in the risk management field and hence you can’t go wrong with either of them.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Top 10 Warren Buffett Investment Strategies

Warren Buffett Investment StrategiesWhat lessons can we learn from Warren Buffett’s Investing strategies. Whether you like him or not, his investment strategies are the best, which made him one of the richest people in the world. Warren Buffett‘s investment advice or his investing strategies are priceless and if you can grasp these strategies you should do well as an investor. We know there are other investment strategies out there, but his strategies are both easy to follow and have been successful for several years.

1.    Turn Snowballs into Snow Forts
Above everything else, Warren Buffett believes in the power of compounding over time with patience. In investing, this means starting as early as possible avoiding short term risk even if it means lower returns and letting investing returns build upon themselves. Buffett bought his first stock when he was just 11 years old.

2.    Look for companies with moat
Moat means competitive advantage that one company has over the other companies in the same sector. Warren buffett coined this term. Buffet always looks for firms with sustainable competitive advantages. The stronger the company’s moat, the most likely it will lead for decades like Coco-cola. Companies with greater competitive advantages have the ability to outperform in good and challenging times.

3.    Margin of Safety
This is one of the advices Buffet got from his mentor Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing. Margin of safety refers to buying securities when the market price is significantly below its intrinsic value. Buying securities with a margin of safety reduces risk and provides allowance for uncertain negative events.

4.    Invest in what you understand
One of the personal investing advices of buffet is to invest in the business which you understand and never invest in anything in which you don’t have any knowledge. This is the reason he refrained from the technology stocks. If you understand a business, you could have an upper hand when it comes to buying the stock.

5.    Hold on to your Stock
Buffett holds his stocks for a long time when he finds a gem. Buffett personally recommends holding on to your stock for a long term. Buying and selling securities frequently will cost you commission charges which you have to pay to the broker. The important thing in investing is finding great investments and holding it for long term.

6.    Buy Companies Cheap
Buffett doesn’t give much attention to EPS (Earnings per Share), a measure of a company’s profitability for each stock. Instead he considers companies with good return on equity, companies which generate a lot of cash, companies with solid operating margins and reasonable or no debt. He likes to invest in companies with consistent operating history and also looks to measures how well a company performs in different kinds of market including good and hard times.

7.    Invest in Quality Companies
Buffett believes in quality companies not in stock symbols. Most investors invest in the symbols or brands of successful companies without analyzing the business they invest in. As Buffet says “Invest like you are buying the whole company or business”. Treat investing as if you are buying the entire company. Investors are expected to know with the following before buying the stock. What are the company’s products? Who are its competitors? What differentiates it from them? What is risk in owning the company stock?

8.    Stay away from so-called ‘glitter’ stocks
An intelligent investor should analyze whether the stock in news has real value or it is just glittering at the moment. It is always beneficial to do your homework before investing in each and every company. It is wise to diversify your investments across sectors and in different asset classes.

9.    Become a conscious Investor
“It takes decades to build a reputation and minutes to spoil it. If you think about it, you’ll do things differently”.
It is necessary for the investors to think logically while investing and researching a stock.  You should keep on asking yourself why you want to buy a particular stock and should eliminate decision making based on emotions, intuition and herd mentality. As advised by Buffett – avoid the noise, do your own research and constantly update your knowledge and stock picking skills. Be a Smart Investor.

10. Know when to Quit
Once, when Buffett was a teen, he went to the racetrack. He bet on a race and lost. To regain his money back, he bet on another race. He lost again, leaving him nothing. He felt sick as he had lost nearly a week's earnings. He never repeated that mistake. You should Know when to walk away from a loss, and don't let anxiety or your emotions fool you into trying again.

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