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
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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 ?

FRM vs PRM

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.

Conclusion:
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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