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Become Your Own Financial Advisor
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” –Yogi Berra
If you build a house without a plan, what sort of results would you expect? Theoretically, you could get lucky and end up with the house of your dreams. What’s more likely, however, is that the house wouldn’t be anything like what you had wanted. You might need to move the doors and windows, build new walls and take down others – or worse.
Investing isn’t any different. Without a plan, you could (again, theoretically) get lucky, but the odds are against it. Without goals – and a well-thought-out plan for meeting those goals – you probably won’t end up where you want to be financially, in either the short- or long-term. You have to make goals to meet goals.
There are several ways to approach investment goals. Traditionally, investors have focused on generating the highest possible returns or beating the market, while staying within their comfort zones in terms of risk. A relatively new approach to wealth management is goal-based investing, which emphasizes investing with the objective of reaching specific life goals – such as buying a house, saving for your child’s education, or building a nest egg for retirement – instead of comparing returns to a benchmark. The theory is that:
Setting goals makes it more likely that you’ll save for – and achieve – every goal.
You’ll be more motivated to reach a goal since you can gauge its progress.
You can consider the time horizon and risk level separately for each goal, and invest accordingly.
Whichever approach you prefer, the important thing is to do something, and not just leave your financial health to chance. Many people work with financial advisors (FAs) – professionals who provide financial advice and guidance. They can lay out your options and help you find investments that match your risk level. In many cases, working with a financial advisor makes sense, but it is possible to be your own FA – if you’re willing to put in some time and effort.
Gold has unique properties as an asset class. Modest allocations to gold of 2 per cent to 10 per cent can protect and enhance the performance of an investment portfolio.* A 5 per cent to 6 per cent allocation is optimal for investors with a well-balanced 60/40 portfolio.
Retail buyers are embracing gold’s investment properties. Even so, gold still only makes up less than one per cent of investors’ asset allocations.
Investors of all levels of experience are attracted to gold as a solid, tangible and long-term store of value that historically has moved independently of other assets.* Our analysis shows that gold can be used in portfolios to protect global purchasing power, reduce portfolio volatility and minimise losses during periods of market shock. It can serve as a high-quality, liquid asset to be used when selling other assets would cause losses. National central banks, stewards of the world’s largest long-term investment portfolios, use gold to mitigate portfolio risk in this way, and have been net buyers of gold since 2010.
Gold has also become more readily accessible, due to the development of a range of products, which investors and advisors can include in their own and their clients’ portfolios. The diversity of gold-backed and gold-related products means that gold can be used to enhance a wider variety of individual investment strategies and risk tolerances.
Investors also make use of gold’s lack of correlation with other assets to diversify their portfolios and hedge against currency risk.
Why Invest in Property?
Investing is a choice many people make at one point or another, in the hope of bringing wealth to their lives. Whilst there are many investment alternatives such as stocks, bonds and cash, property investment tends to be viewed as one of the safest and easiest options.
However, property investment isn’t for everyone. Thus if you are considering investing in property, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons.
Capital Growth: The value of your property will grow over time and may be extremely beneficial financially if well chosen. Not only will you benefit from steady capital growth, but regular monthly rental returns
A safe investment:This is the only investment market which is not dominated by investors, hence creating a natural buffer in the market.It is also the most forgiving investment; if you purchase the worst house in the area, chances are that its value will still increase over time.
Mitigate risk: You can insure your asset against most risks; fire / damage / a tenant leaving, damaging your property or breaking the lease.
Anyone can invest: You do not have to possess a vast amount of knowledge, as you may with stocks or opening up a business.
Control: Unlike other investments, you are in full control of your property investment; you can make all the decisions and have control over all of your returns.
Tax benefits: Although tax benefits should not be used as a decision-making factor, it can be a benefit of investing in property. If your property is negatively geared, it may provide tax benefits.
In an age when most of our money is little more than electrons in our banks' computers, it may feel like bitcoins and other virtual currencies aren't that different from the dollars you directly deposit into your account each week or the 401(k) account that holds your nest egg.
But bitcoins are different. It is an online currency that can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.
While it's true that many investors these days experience their portfolios primarily as numbers on a computer screen, owning a stock means you have a small piece of something that's at least partially tangible. That is, the company has offices, factories and other assets. Similarly, all those blips in your checking account can be withdrawn as cash and carried around in your wallet, and that cash is backed by the financial -- and literal -- firepower of the U.S. government.
On the other hand, bitcoins exist almost exclusively as entries on a giant virtual ledger stored on computers worldwide.
While the purely digital nature of bitcoins may make some uncomfortable, it does have a major upside: A user's bitcoins can't be frozen by an angry government, and the movement of bitcoins in and out of a country can't be prevented, says Jelena Mirkovic, a computer scientist and assistant professor at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute.
Bitcoins are created or issued by a central bank. They are created by "miners," who solve one of a series of increasingly complex math problems through a combination of computing power and luck, Mirkovic says.
A miner who solves the problem gets to put his name next to a predetermined number of bitcoins on a ledger, which records all bitcoin transactions and is constantly shared and updated by a peer-to-peer network similar to the original version of the music-sharing service Napster. The number of bitcoins and the speed at which they can be created is mathematically limited, with successful mining that earns fewer and fewer bitcoins over time until the number reaches a little less than 21 million. That's when it stops.
"You're trying lots of different combinations to find the solution," Mirkovic says. "There is not a way to solve this quickly, so you have to just do a lot of trials in order to find the answer, and that's what controls the market. That's what guarantees that you can't just manufacture lots of coins."
Sometimes it`s wise not to be the early bird when investing in forex, instead wait and see what the day will bring before you take action. The 10 A.M. rule is a great example of this concept, and is an example that protects your capital. Let`s say you want to buy a forex stock, for whatever reason; a trend play, or a market rally that you think a currently hot sector will participate in. You know that a great time to buy would be on a gap down, but the market is in rally mode and instead of gapping down, the forex stock gaps up. But buying the gap up is a bad trade. Now what do you do?
You use the 10 A.M. rule, and wait until after 10 A.M. for the right forex stock investing time to buy the stock. If the forex stock makes a new high for the day after 10 A.M., then, and only then, should you trade the stock. Of course, you will use stops to protect yourself, like you would on any trade.
Anyone who`s followed the market knows that a forex stock will often gap up early in the morning, only to suddenly sell off and reverse into negative territory. By following the 10 A.M. rule, you avoid the risk of this sudden reversal. If the forex stock does make it to a new high after 10 A.M., there is still trader interest in the forex stock, and it stands a good chance of gaining momentum and heading even higher.
Here is an example of the 10 A.M. rule on a gap up: A forex stock closes the day at $145. After hours, the company announces a two for one forex stock split. The next morning the forex stocks gaps up to open at $161. It trades as high as $166 before 10 A.M. For two hours after 10 A.M. it trades lower and doesn`t reach $166. At 2 P.M., it hits $166.50. The forex stock is now safe to buy, using the 10 A.M. rule.
Using a version of the 10 A.M. rule, you could watch for a hot sector to appear in the morning and follow the forex stocks in the sector that are up for the day. If the forex stocks are still making new highs at midday, they stand a good chance of finishing the day near their ultimate highs for the day, and could be good trading opportunities. This also applies in a down market and to stocks in forex that gap down, opening at prices lower than where they closed the previous day. In this situation, you should not short a forex stock that has gapped down unless and until it makes a new low for the day after 10 A.M.
Using the 10 A.M. rule ensures that you will never end up chasing and buying a forex stock when your chances of making a profitable trade are low. Remember, trading is all about probabilities. The more forex stock investing trades you make with a high probability of success, the more successful you will be. The 10 A.M. rule is a valuable addition to your trading plan, giving you a straightforward way to avoid making costly mistakes and to increase your number of profitable stock investing trades in forex.
The web and technology bubble has a lot in common with the rest of the business world in that there are essentially two disparate groups — the haves and the have nots.
The "haves" possess money, power, influence, or the right friends with those qualities. And for those in the coveted in-crowd, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the greater tech community become a world of opportunity where you're only limited by the quality of your idea and the caliber of your friends.
This dynamic births serial entrepreneurs and motivates angels and venture capitalists to pull their friends into investment deals.
For the first-time entrepreneur or founder looking for seed stage funding, this circle can be especially difficult to penetrate. Mashable reached out to angels, seed stage investors and VC firm partners and asked them to share their wisdom with the rest of us. What follows is the best advice and tips from these interviews.
The gargantuan startup acquisitions that have occurred over the past couple of years have certainly contributed to the increasing appetite for startup investing. With wins like WhatsApp being acquired for $19 billion by Facebook, Tumblr acquired by Yahoo YHOO -6.06%! for over $1 billion or the Israeli navigation startup Waze that Google GOOGL -0.26% Maps acquired for over $950 million and Nest Labs (which had no significant revenue and only two products) acquired by Google for over $3 billion, it’s no wonder that investors, rightfully so, have their curiosity piqued.
Apart from the startup founders and early employees benefiting, a large chunk of the proceeds from a company’s sale goes to investors who were keen to get in early. Startup investing, as shown in the examples above, can be an extremely rewarding asset class, offering an attractive alternative to the public market. Not only does it give investors the opportunity to get in early and experience huge returns, but it also gives a front-row seat on the thrilling roller-coaster of a startup’s growth trajectory. Without neglecting the fact that there is a high likelihood you may loose your entire investment, let’s face it, typically the major growth startups experience happens well before its IPO, therefore, by getting in early its likelier to provide favorable return on your investment.
Although investing in startups as an asset class tends to be a highly illiquid and risky proposition, in my opinion, aside from the regulations which have, to date, prevented the general public from partaking in these types of investments (mostly available for accredited investors only), a major factor why investors fear entering this investment arena is the lack of know how, which is something my team and I work very hard to address at Onevest, a leading startup investing platform, by doing educational webinars such as Startup Investing 101.