Financial Priorities.

First things first, apparently I’m a little late to the game, but I made a Facebook fan page last night for Punch Debt In The Face (See the new widget in the sidebar on the right?). I don’t really get why that’s better than my Facebook profile page, but for some reason people tell me it is. I also don’t know why likes are important on a page, but again, someone told me they were. Would you take a moment to head on over to my new fan page and gimme a little Likey Likey. If you do, I will…well… do absolutely nothing for you. Sorry, just being honest.

Alright, on to the content…

Do you have an income? Do you have expenses? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you darn well better have some financial priorities in place.

While there are a million different things we could talk about in regards to financial priorities, I want to focus on just one. Which comes first: investing or paying down debt? Hey, speaking of…

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Answer: Chuck Norris.

In all seriousness, I think financial priorities are something most of us think we have figured out, but don’t always truly understand. Today I’m going to show you why investing in your 401K is often a better option than paying down high interest credit card debt.

Let’s look at an example:

Jane, makes $50,000 year. She’s 30 years old and her employer fully matches 5% of any contributions she makes to her 401K plan. Jane also has $5,000 in credit card debt, at 15%. What should Jane do, pay down the card as quick as possible, or start building up a nice little nest egg for retirement?

A 15% APR, on a $5,000 balance, means Jane will be paying about $62/month in interest. If she made nothing, but minimum payments, it would take her a little over 22 years to pay that sucker off. She’d also pay $5,729 in interest over that time resulting in a total payment just shy of $11,000. Yikes, that $5,000 original bill became a whole lot more expensive. Better pay that sucker off ASAP, right?

Now let’s examine the investing route.

Jane would be investing $208/month in her 401K if she contributed 5%. Her employer matches that and gives her another $208. If she earned a doable 6% return on this money, and never got a raise in her life, she would end up retiring at age 67 with $683,030 in her 401K. Not bad at all.

If Jane decided to postpone contributing to her 401K, she could use that $208 to make accelerated debt payments each month. But let’s not forget, that 208 number is pretax, so in reality she’d have about $175 extra to throw at her credit card. With the additional payment, Jane will now be credit card debt free in 20 months and will have only paid about $673 in interest. Sounds a heck of a lot better than the 22 years it was going to take in the first example.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Wanna know what Jane’s 401k would look like if she didn’t start investing until after she became CC debt free? She lost nearly two years of company matching and compound interest, resulting in $596,388 in her 401K. That’s $86,642 less then if she started investing at age 30.

Guys and girls, this point is SOOOO important it can not be overlooked. It is absolutely in Jane’s best interest to start investing in her companies 401K, even though she is not debt free. If she waits until she has her credit card paid off, she loses a crap load of money. I know this seems to go against the grain. Credit card debt is evil, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean it should always be at the top of our financial priorities.

Obviously, in a perfect world you will have enough discretionary income that you can not only contribute to your retirement, but also pay down your debt quickly. I always have been, and always will be a DEBT PUNCHER, but only when it is in your best interest.

Does your employer offer a 401K match? (I’d like as many people as possible to answer this question since I’ve heard a lot of the retirement benefits in the private sector have been getting cut left and right). Are you taking full advantage of that match? If not, you’re stupid. I’m sorry, you just are. You are literally giving up FREE money. In Jane’s situation would you go the way of Dave Ramsey and still pay down your credit card first, or would you let number’s guide you and start contributing to your retirement?

p.s. Like me on Facebook, I’m desperate 🙂

6 ways to save money for your small business

In today’s economy, all successful small businesses are looking for any and every way to lower costs for the business.  Many small business owners fail to dedicate enough attention to this because they are spending the majority of their time doing what they do best, which is run their business.  If you are a business owner who is like this, it may be wise of you to assign an employee to examine all expenditures at your business.  There are many ways in which a business can save money.  Here are 6 ways most business owners can save money for their cherished investment.

Hire smart, inexperienced people.

That is right I said hire inexperienced people.  Experience is not the only thing of value someone can bring to your organization.  Experience certainly costs more. One way to do this is the next time you put up a job ad, eliminate any mention of how many year’s experience someone must have to apply for this job.  Replace it with “Recent graduates welcome to apply.” Some businesses have used this approach to success and hired candidates fresh out of college or graduate school.  This allows your business to gain a monetary advantage by providing an entry-level salary and can benefit you by having employees who are up-to-date on the latest technology.

Make sure your business is classified properly.

This is most important for purposes of Workers Compensation Insurance. Many industries have several different classification codes because the industries have several different types of businesses with different levels of risk.  The different levels of risk are reflected in the price businesses pay in premium.  Landscaping is a great example of an industry with many classification codes. Some companies simply mow lawns, other companies plant and maintain sod, others climb into trees with chainsaws to cut limbs and branches.  Each type of business has a different classification code and each level of risk pays a different price in premium.  Taking a little time to speak with your insurance agent about what exactly it is that your business does and does not do can save your business significantly in premium paid for workers’ comp insurance.

Try bartering with other businesses

Bartering is one thing successful small businesses are usually great at.  Especially bartering with other businesses.  Bartering might seem old-school but it can definitely be effective. Catering companies and coffee shops frequently work with companies, especially start-ups.  If you have something of value to provide them they may be willing to cater an event of yours for free or at an extremely discounted rate.  Actually, the possibilities are endless as long as you proactively establish relationships with other local businesses who can benefit from your services.

Switch banks

It should be no surprise that banks are looking to squeeze more revenue any way in which they can.  Banks after all are a business too and they need to turn a profit.  There is one fact many people and business owners fail to realize in relation to financial institutions: they are a business as well and they have to pay turn a profit in order to continue providing you the services they provide.   partner.  The industry is necessary for success in both your personal and professional life.  Switching financial institutions frequently is not a great idea, but shopping around to ensure your bank is competitive with other banks in your area is in the best interest of your small business.  If you can cut significant costs by switching to another bank, then it may be just what you need to do to save your company money.

Invest in a safety and return to work program. 

You might be wondering why I am telling you to invest in something as a way to save your business money.  Especially investing in something like a safety program. Healthy employees are happy employees and happy employees are productive employees.  Investing just a little time in an effective safety program can save your business immensely in lost productivity and insurance premium.  A return to work program is an essential part of any safety program.  The quicker an injured employee gets back on the job and in the routine of going to work, the more likely they are to return to regular employment.    This will prevent your workers compensation insurance premium from increasing from having too many to too severe claims at your business.

Embrace telecommuting.

Telecommuting isn’t possible for all businesses, but you might be surprised how many people can effectively do their jobs from a remote location.  If you can find ways to allow employees to telecommute it can be a huge money-saver for your business. It can cut down on wear and tear to your office space as well as your electronics.  Meaning you will have to replace these devices less frequently.  Many employees appreciate the opportunity to work from home and it may be a benefit you can and to their compensation package instead of a higher salary.

Bio

Walt Capell is the President/Owner of Workers Compensation Shop. Walt started Workers Compensation Shop in 2005. Workers Compensation Shop is a rapidly growing national insurance agency with a strong reputation for forward-thinking, out-of-the-box products and solutions for business owners. Walt would like to use his experience in insurance and as a small business owner to benefit the small business community.

 

XTrade Europe’s Market Predictions after the 2016 US Elections

A Look at History: The Election Cycle

Many economic and political analysts, including financial experts from XTrade Europe all agree that the outcome of the 2016 United States Presidential elections will have a lot of impact on a global and domestic scale.

Looking at historical data, it actually does not matter in the past whether a Republic or Democrat occupies the White House.  It does not significantly impact the US dollar’s stand on the Foreign Currency markets and it does not have a significant impact on the US equity markets.  If you are a trader who relies heavily on historical data, this is good news for you. In fact, various XTrade Europe researchers point out that election years actually coincided with favorable markets.  Many experts say that based on the events that happened in past presidential years; the effects on the market had nothing to do with who wins but the economic backdrop at that particular point in time.

However, there is also strong data that suggests that markets are significantly stronger when there is continuity.  This means that in years when the incumbent is sitting for his second term, the market averages increase.  Investors and traders lean more towards continuity if the actual economic and trading policy of the incumbent is favorable to the market.

XTrade Europe’s Market Predictions

Since this is not a continuity year, XTrade Europe financial analysts believe that there is still no guarantee on what will happen after the 2016 presidential elections.

When it comes to the stock market, certain stocks will not be affected with either with a Trump or Clinton victory.  As much as there are stocks that will not be affected, there are definitely investments that could be negatively affected.  For instance, if Trump wins, he will be opening trade agreements for American workers, and impose tariffs on goods from China and Mexico. If this is the case, many investors will veer away from multinational corporations, especially from countries where huge tariffs will be imposed upon under the Trump administration.

When it comes to the value of the U.S. dollar, technically it is not the new president that will affect its value.  However, when the Republican Trump wins, it means a change in party and many changes in trading policy, which may affect exports.  Trump is on the record as saying that he wants to change many trading policies. This might mean fluctuations in the US dollar, but the long-term effects could be favorable.

No matter what happens to world financial markets, there are still strong sectors that traders should consider.  These sectors will certainly grow stronger no matter what the political state is.  According to XTrade Europe, digital products, cloud technologies, and cyber-security will continue to gain.  It is wise to invest in companies within these sectors.  Another bright spot in the future is the big percentage of the retired and ailing baby boom generation spending trillions of dollars on health care, leisure, and hospitality.  These are some things that traders can consider when they decide where to put their money when they are trading online.

 

Investors At XTrade Explain The Importance Of A Trading Plan

How can a trading plan help you to make better trades in XTrade and help your business? Really, a trading plan is good common sense as it will help you emotionally. Why do we say that? Let’s see.

Use XTrade To Control Losses

Traders always get losses at some point. The idea is to make more profitable trades than ones with losses. However, a plan to control potential losses should be firmly in place so that trading through XTrade is not based on raw emotions reacting to the negative impact of your money taking a nose-dive. This kind of “skin of the teeth” trading is not wise and will not result in constant success, which is the end game.

As a well-configured trading plan can make you money, this should be considered as having utmost importance. Just the process of managing your money can equate to three quarters of the job, the rest is rejigging the plan to find the best one for your particular needs.

Browse Your Options

So what are different plans that successful traders employ?

Making a plan includes creating your own personal strategy. “Gut” decisions will only take you so far. Technical analysis and a system of indicators are a popular choice. When using the latter, you may have an edge as you utilise stops and limit orders to keep you on track. Set limits as to a percentage of loss with an auto stop made at the opening of the trade. Pre-defining your trades in your account will help you be to modest, limiting greed which can spell death to traders. No loss is accepted willingly, but making a sound business decision to cut your losses may allow you to live to profit another day, setting the balance back in order—hopefully in your favour.

Your Plan May Include Other Plans

You should ask yourself questions such as:

  • Have I read up on the affects of trading on psychological health? What will be my plan to combat the emotions involved?
  • How can I implement and operate my plan?
  • What is my stopping point? How much money is necessary to trade with? Can I deal with the financial risk? What is the worst that can happen and how can I plan to deal with it?
  • What will be my selected portfolio? Why have I chosen the markets I am going to trade in?
  • What is the purpose of my trading and why does it matter to me? Should I trade daily or for longer stints?
  • How many losses will I permit before I stop for the day?
  • What kind of a profit should I expect to fulfil my plans to keep afloat?

These questions should all be answered seriously and under much consideration BEFORE you even attempt to trade with real money at XTrade and turn the odds in your favour. If you don’t plan for success you will be planning for failure. Plan smart, just as every business has done before it begins the long trek up the ladder of success.

Sensible Tips to Help You Work Towards Greater Financial Stability

Financial stability is a goal many people hope to achieve, but most arguably don’t know how to get started in working towards that aim. That often means they get discouraged before ever really carrying out any positive changes that make it easier for their aspiration to become a reality.

Constantly Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses

Some people only actively look at their budgets and examine the expenses they can cut out if they’re facing dire circumstances. For example, an expensive medical crisis, or the need to save up for a costly plane ticket in a short amount of time are both situations that could make a person take a closer look at his or her spending habits and reshape their ways of buying things.

Ideally though, you shouldn’t wait until severe situations to do that. It’s smart to be highly aware of how much you normally spend, and constantly ask yourself whether the purchases you make are essential. After a while, you’ll naturally be living a frugal lifestyle, which should go a long way in helping you gradually become more financially stable.

Put Some Into Savings Every Month Automatically

Much like the practice of scrutinizing a budget and targeting unnecessary spending, saving money is something some people don’t do without good reasons. They might save up for a specific notable item, like a vacation or a car, but generally don’t see saving as something to do on a regular basis.

Only you can decide what types of services you are looking for in a financial advisor. Services can range from regular educational events and materials to visiting a local office where you can see your advisor face-to-face. For example, Fisher Investments CEO Damian Ornani believes excellent client service involves teaching people how to make informed decisions and listening closely to their individual needs, while Charles Schwab offers an in-person experience via a multitude of local offices. Whatever you decide works best for you, always expect excellent service even as a beginning investor.

However, if you take a different approach and automatically put some of your income into a savings account each month, you’ll likely be surprised at how much you cash you acquire. Even better, you probably won’t even notice having less disposable income if you set up a system where a designated amount goes into a savings account without your intervention.

Be Aware of Debt and Don’t Let It Get Out of Hand

Some people have credit cards they just whip out of their wallets without second thoughts. If that practice happens too frequently, the individuals could find they’ve racked up debt very quickly. Although debt doesn’t make it impossible to be financially stable, it does tend to hinder your efforts.

<p><a href=” Only you can decide what types of services you are looking for in a financial advisor. Services can range from regular educational events and materials to visiting a local office where you can see your advisor face-to-face.. For example, Fisher Investments CEO Damian Ornani believes excellent client service involves teaching people how to make informed decisions and listening closely to their individual needs, while Charles Schwab offers an in-person experience via a multitude of local offices. Whatever you decide works best for you, always expect excellent service even as a beginning investor.</p>

Be proactive and strategize about getting rid of your credit card debt before it becomes much more unmanageable. Start by becoming more conscious about the charges put on a credit card. Ask yourself if it’s possible to pay for those things in another way that doesn’t involve using credit. Also, focus on just one credit card at a time and decide you’ll gradually make payments more frequently than you charge items to it.

Realize It’s Never Too Early to Begin Investing

No matter your age or stage in life, it’s wise to have the mindset you can never be premature when it comes to building an investment portfolio. Choosing a financial advisor can sometimes feel overwhelming. Get off to a good start by insisting on excellent service.

When speaking with your investment advisor, remember it’s okay to admit you’re just starting out. He or she should pay strict attention to your long-term goals and help you start making a portfolio that puts those aims more within reach, and not you feel like your inexperience is a burden.

Take Out Insurance Policies When Possible

Financial instability often occurs when people have to sort out emergency situations. Although you can’t always anticipate life’s mishaps, it’s a good idea to protect yourself against them as much as possible by having insurance policies. As long as you’re aware of what kind of damage is covered by respective insurance packages, you could avoid having to pay out of pocket for things like expensive medical treatments and damage to your home.

If you already have insurance plans in effect, make sure to review them with a representative as your needs change. Doing that should ensure you continuously have appropriate coverage.

Hopefully, it’s now clear that financial stability isn’t an elusive goal. As long as you don’t get distracted and think practically about your money matters, you should notice uplifting progress over time.

5 Things All Successful Binary Options Traders Have in Common

binary options tradeBinary options trading isn’t for everyone. If you want to be a success, you’ll need to adopt some of the habits of truly successful binary options traders. Here are five such traits they all have in common.

Consistency

When most people think of successful binary options traders, they tend to imagine something more like a gambler who hits a lucky streak. These traders have a skill that allows them to hit jackpot after jackpot throughout their day.

The truth is much different, though. In fact, if you were able to spy on successful binary options traders throughout the day, you probably wouldn’t perceive when they had profited unless you could see their screens.

Our point is that success comes from small victories over and over. Sure, there will be times when you get to cash in on a particularly big wave of wins, but those shouldn’t be the only goal you have in mind when your trading day begins.

They Have a Plan

Achieving this kind of consistency begins with having a binary options trading plan in place. That’s something all successful binary options traders definitely have in common. They don’t sit in front of their computers and consider what every opportunity has to offer.

They’re like hunters who specialize in just one or two forms of prey. These traders look for signs that the trades they want are out there. Fortunately, software helps with this a lot. However, they don’t deviate from their plan just because something flashy catches their eye. This is how a binary options trading plan pays off over time.

Of course, they can modify their plan as necessary, but this doesn’t happen on a daily basis. Then it wouldn’t be a plan – just a list of preferences.

They Are Disciplined

As we just touched on, having a binary options trading plan is worthless if you can’t remain disciplined enough to stick to it. All successful binary options traders are disciplined and continue making it a priority to improve this trait.

Discipline isn’t just about sticking with a plan. Once you find one that produces consistent returns, this will become easier and easier to do. Being disciplined also allows successful traders to try new things and step outside their comfort zones, an essential step to increasing profits over time.

They Expect to Lose

If you listen to new-age advice, this kind of thinking is a death wish. People today are told to envision what they want and never expect negativity in their lives. Somehow this is supposed to provide them with everything they want and nothing they don’t.

Unfortunately, the market doesn’t care about what you believe. There’s no predicting its every movement which means that you’re going to suffer losses from trading binary options every single day.

Successful binary options traders expect this, so, when it happens, they don’t become rattled. They know that some days they’ll lose even more than usual. When that happens, they hardly react. They expect it, so it’s not a big deal. These traders develop plans around this type of forecast, which is how they profit time and time again.

They Have Hobbies

Believe it or not, the most successful binary options traders don’t spend every waking hour in front of their computers. They have friends and family and all the demands that come with both.

They also have other areas of interest. These hobbies provide necessary opportunities to get away from trading binary options and give their brain a bit of a rest.

At the same time, hobbies also give them further opportunities to learn things and improve their skills. These are important mental muscles to build which can then be used to improve your performance with binary options.

Becoming a successful at trading binary options is going to take a lot of work, but if you can adopt the traits we covered above, you’ll find it much easier and will experience increased profits much sooner.

 

For more information:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/hedgestone-group

Buying Property: Is This the Best Investment for You?

Once upon a time, if you were going to achieve the “American Dream” you’d need to be a homeowner. However, recent studies have indicated that many are starting to believe that owning property isn’t the best financial investment with 43% of participants in a study believing this to be the case. Furthermore, nearly 50% felt that financial success could be achieved just as easily by those renting property as those who owned it.

So, is owning property a good long-term investment? Or, are people given more financial flexibility and just as much security if they rent a property?

Long-term Investments in Property

As mentioned previously, many Americans now believe that strong long-term investments aren’t achieved through housing. A leading expert on housing in the U.S., Robert Shiller, found that from 1890 to 1990, there was almost no change in the real inflation-corrected prices of houses.

Evidently, these statistics go against the reasons why people will purchase property to invest, as most will believe that buying property will provide them with a financial gain in the future when they come to sell it. With decreasing housing prices witnessed during the early stages of this century and in the 20th century, the instability of housing prices doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

While housing does stay in line with inflation (historically speaking), there are a vast amount of changeable factors that can have a negative effect, including changes in style preferences, technological advancements and changes in amenities.

Higher returns over time are far more likely to come from the stock market than property investments and are perhaps a more clear-cut answer for those looking to invest. Places like Money Morning offer advice on where the best investments can be made, helping to protect money from inflation. Nevertheless, many would still argue that housing offers security and a sense of pride when investing in this.

The Financial Security of Renters

Even though attitudes are changing towards buying homes and renting, it is still clear that being a homeowner is more likely to be a better financial decision than renting. A report conducted in 2013 found that a higher net worth was generated by those households who had a low- and moderate-income, compared to their equivalents who rented property.

While the study didn’t provide conclusive evidence that homeownership is the right avenue to take, it did show that over three years, those with mortgages increased their net worth by $20,000 compared to those renting who achieved $15,000.

Many do argue that renting should increase wealth faster but research always tends to find that homeowners have this advantage instead.

Should You Invest in Property?

Homeownership isn’t for everyone and it may not be the right decision for you. To start with, you’ll need to find a large payment that you’ll have to make upfront, which will affect your liquid assets for quite some time. And, mortgages can vary so you’ll need to look into the rates, fees and payment schedules of these before proceeding. Also, take into consideration where you’re looking at property because some areas will provide greater benefits for renters than homeowners, and vice versa.

Should you be thinking about investing in property to rent out to others, there are also a number of financial considerations you’ll need to make here. Like a dividend-paying utility stock, rental income will provide you with steady payment amounts each month, where any price appreciation you achieve will be a welcome addition. However, unlike buying a low-cost index fund, you’ll have to consider the additional work of having to deal with tenants and maintaining the property.

You’ll need to establish whether you can take on this extra work and whether you’re prepared to deal with tenant calls out-of-hours and what you would do if a tenant stopped paying their rent. Make sure you’re aware of what ongoing maintenance costs you may have as well as the initial costs of renovations. If all of these aspects aren’t taken into consideration at the start of your investment, it could severely impact the returns you receive.

In summary; if you’re looking to buy a property to get your first step on the property ladder or you want to make some investments for the future, carefully consider what options are available to you. Analyze what return on investment you can realistically expect and calculate this against other avenues, such as investing in stocks. Doing your homework first will enable you to make an informed decision that provides you with the right financial investment for you.

Jade Gould is a consultant who works with individuals and selected small businesses. Keen to share his knowledge and always ready to offer his opinion he really enjoys writing articles and seeing his words help others.