When to Hold ‘Em, When to Fold ‘Em: Practical Investing Tips from a Poker Champion

While competitive poker and investing might be completely different worlds at first glance, one woman is on a mission to bridge the gap between the blinding lights of casino fervor and financial viability.

Annie Duke, a former professional poker player and one-time World Series of Poker champion, frequently shares the strategic and psychological parallels between winning poker players and successful investors at industry events for financial planners and advisors.  If her resumé as a master of the felt-topped table is not convincing enough for such a role, rest assured that Duke is no one trick pony.  She also spent time as a Ph.D. student in psychology at the esteemed University of Pennsylvania.

According to Duke, both poker and sound investing require the participant to make present-day decisions in anticipation of future outcomes.  Although the exact market dynamics and returns of years to come are always an unknown, developing a poker player mentality by learning common moves and patterns of play can be a great benefit to the investor.

Fortunately, it is easy to find help when staking out your financial future.  Professional financial advisors have local offices just a phone call or short drive away.  There are also a wealth of financial tools available online, ranging from monthly budget calculators to electronic stock trading platforms.

Not every poker hand is a winner, and neither is every investment.  Duke cites a concept in the poker world known as “tilt”-the tendency of a player to become frustrated and overly reactive when using a less than optimal strategy-as a condition for savvy investors to avoid.

Too often, investors develop emotional connections to an investment and unnecessarily cling to losing positions, or they fear reversing course on a previously made decision.  It is typically in investors’ best interest to cut their losses and regroup when an investment goes south without a clear path to recovery.

A professional financial advisor should be your first line of defense to identify and fix any underperforming investments in your portfolio.

Displaying the type of gutsy determination that made her a pioneer in women’s poker, a game that has seen a surge of resources encouraging female participation, Duke encourages investors to take calculated risks that maximize the value of their positions.

While some degree of risk is inherent in every investment, people tend to manage volatility by gunning for only small wins, and conversely, limit themselves to only small losses.  The psychology behind this method instills a false sense of success in the investor by shifting the focus from financial gains to mere “win” collecting.  Duke points out that optimizing returns on investments needs be the goal of investors, and a sensible, ironclad strategy should follow.

Duke may offer a number of tips and tricks on how to succeed in poker and investing, but she cannot account for every possible scenario.  No one can.  Great investors are those who understand probability, and who make timely, corrective adjustments when the markets behave unexpectedly.  Just beneath the surface of every stock plunge, market mishap, or untimely sell-off lies lessons learned and improvement opportunities for the investor who dares to seek.

As Duke’s brother, also a professional poker star, once advised her: “winners are comfortable admitting to themselves what they do not know.”

Easy to Follow Tips to Manage Your Debts

Being free from debts lets you live your life without any worries. You can make your savings grow and allocate the budget you need for the things you want to have, a new house, car, and travel opportunities. Freeing yourself from your debts all comes down to good management. Here are some debt management tips that can help you out:

1. List down your expenses.
Knowing how much you owe is not enough; you have to watch how much you are spending. Keeping track of your expenses lets you know whether you are making progress in reducing your debt or not. If reducing your primary expenses is not feasible, try focusing on your small expenses and see how much they add up to your overall expenses. In most cases, you will find that these expenses are not that important, which make it hard for you to pay up your debts.

2. Avoid impulse buying.
You can be susceptible to impulse buying. A simple visit to your favorite store may end up with an unnecessary expensive purchase. Hence, avoid temptation in the first place. Avoid places where you would usually feel that unreasonable urge to buy something. It can be an electronics store where you would be tempted to buy the latest cool gadgets you probably don’t need or that fashion store that has all the accessories that go with the current trends.

3. Choose a debt payment plan that suits you.
This can help you organize your payments. Some suggest paying off debts with the highest interest since it can help take off the mental pressure while others suggest settling smaller balances mainly for motivation. The choice is yours.

4. Be a bargain hunter.
While paying off your debts, it would help you if you would shop for bargains. It lets you get the items you need at a cheaper price. Also, be on the lookout for discount coupons; establishments usually offer them during peak season. Even though buying foods in bulk helps get discounts, it won’t help you save up money. Since buying in bulk means getting things that you won’t be eating for several days and even a few weeks. Stick to buying food items that you will be eating for the next few days.

5. Prioritize your savings.
It is recommended that you take at least six percent of your income and put it in your savings. Putting your money in your savings account not only prepares you for emergency expenses but also lets you earn money in savings interest. This may seem like a simple tip but only a few people actually do this.

6. Choose cash over the debit card.
Most people prefer to pay with their debit cards simply because you won’t have to go to the bank to withdraw money you will need or write checks. However, paying with debit cards (and also credit cards) make it hard for you to limit your purchase. Imagine yourself enjoying playing online slots and putting all your money in without you being aware of it. Paying with cash, on the other hand, lets you see, first hand, how much money you are letting go. This makes it easy to do some cash limiting and increase your savings.

Keep these tips in mind when managing your debts and expenses. You might want to refer to this guide every now and then to make sure you don’t miss anything. Following these tips will help boost your savings and make it easy for you to gradually get rid of your debts.

Trump Presidency And The Job Market

President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would run for president nearly 2 years ago. At that time, he promised he would be the best president for jobs that God had ever created. He campaigned on pledges to create more than 500,000 jobs each year, add 25 million jobs over the upcoming decade, and replace our present globalism policy that has moved wealth out of the United States. He said he would instead come up with a policy of Americanism. What does that mean for job hunters looking for VP finance jobs in Chicago or accounting jobs in Los Angeles? Under President-elect Trump’s new American system, will there be more finance jobs in the country, as well as finance jobs with better pay?

New Americanism

President-elect Trump stated that if we can reduce our taxes, get ride of destructive regulations, and tap into the treasure of energy in America, we will see no limit to the jobs that are created and the prosperity that goes around. A Moody’s Analytics’ June 2016 report, however, suggested a different future an American economy under Trump, and we may soon see the report’s predictions coming true. This report described the end of a Trump presidency with the U.S. left with an unemployment rate of 7% and 3.5 million jobs fewer.

Is a Long Recession Coming?

The research branch of Moody’s Analytics went on to say that under the exact scenario Trump laid out for his new America, if all proposed policies become law, our country would suffer from a long recession and our economy would be smaller at the end of his 4 terms than when he took the oath of office. Moody’s argues that Congress would water down Trump’s proposals and the economy wouldn’t suffer as much as it could otherwise, but it would be diminished nonetheless.

Robert Lawrence, Professor at Harvard Kennedy Business School, specializes in international finance and trade, and he says that ending outsourcing to boost America could be an issue under the Trump presidency. He notes Trump’s sports jackets, eyeglass frames, and cufflinks that were made in China. He points to Trump’s shirts that were sourced in Bangladesh. Lawrence wonders whether Trump truly has a plan to keep jobs in the country, and many others are in agreement with Lawrence.

For now, we have the present to work with, and the present scenario in our economy is that finance and accounting jobs are in high demand in the United States. Beacon Resources knows where those jobs are. We will help you find them, and find the good ones that show exceptional promise of long-term career jobs.

To pay debts or to invest? What about both?

There is no sense to once again emphasize how important it is to invest – after all, making your money work for you is a fundamental principle of personal money management. One of the biggest obstacles one may face while deciding to start investing is the debt. In today’s world, it is hardly possible to avoid debts at all – even if you are not going to buy a house or a car, you may still need a student loan or a credit card. Whether to invest or to pay off a debt is actually one of the most common finance-related dilemmas. Isn’t it better just to avoid it, taking into account it will probably never be solved?

Large-scale investments are definitely not a good option for those who are deep in debt. After all, investments are always accompanied with some risk, which is why they may potentially bring to even larger debts. In view of this, it would be much wiser to start with small-scale investments, especially if you don’t have any substantial experience in this field.

What do you know about DRIPS? If you need a precise definition, you may find it here, while in a few words these are dividend reinvestment plans. The main idea is to invest SMALL amounts of money into dividend-paying stocks. In practice this means that you directly purchase stocks from one or a couple of companies, let it be Coca-Cola, Home Depot, GE, etc. (the list is really large), receive dividends and reinvest them. The main thing is to make such reinvestments regularly. This requires commitment and patience – if you have them, time will definitely show your efforts were not in vain.

ETFs, or exchange traded funds, are another option. These are financial products that track the performance of a certain sector (like indices, commodities, bonds, or baskets of assets) of the investment market. Depending on its type, to buy only one share of an ETF through a broker may be enough to track the performance of the total bond or stock market. Besides, depending on the underlying assets your ETF owns, you may receive dividends (if these are stocks), money from interest income (if this is a bond fund) or property-related income (if the ETF has made an investment into real estate). The Vanguard Group, one of the largest investment management companies in the US, would be a good place to begin.

Finally, the third variant is online trading – in case you choose an appropriate approach, the returns may be indeed high and quick. It’s better to remember, however, that this method of income generation is quite risky, which is why risk management should become your highest priority. In view of this, special attention should be paid to high frequency trading – its biggest advantage is that you ALWAYS know how may you may gain or lose, which means that risks always remain under control. Apart from this, stakes may be as small as $25, which is very essential in case you are in debts. Where to find high frequency trading broker? Founded in 1983, Glenmore Investments may become a perfect start.

You think you don’t have money even to start? This is actually an excuse, but not a fact. If you start saving on morning coffee in Starbucks or fast food, you will see that the situation is not that tragic. So trust in yourself and don’t give up!

Unravel The Hold Your Debts Have On You With These Tips

There may come a time in your life where you are no longer able to keep up on the same financial path that you have been on. Maybe you technically can keep paying all of those debts but why would you want to do that forever? If you are ready to make a change and live without an abundance of debt hanging over your head, then you will want to consider the following tips.

When To Pay Off A Debt

If you have a large supply of extra funds and it would not hinder your day to day living right now, then you could just call all of your creditors, ask for the payoff amount for your loan, and pay it off. However, if that is not an option for you, then you need to go slowly. First, if you can, try to worry about paying off your debts one at a time and do not start to make these arrangements until you are free from seasonal obligations. For example, in good faith, you may make payoff arrangements with a credit agency three weeks before Christmas, but the holiday pressure might get to you and you could fail to meet your obligation.

What To Do When You Can’t Pay Your Debts

After sitting down to calculate your total bring-home income each month and the amount of your monthly expenses, you find that you are simply unable to crawl out of this financial hole on your own, you may want to consider something such as a California bankruptcy filing.

You will need to sit down with a quality bankruptcy attorney to discuss whether you qualify for a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. With the Chapter 13, you have a sufficient amount of income that would be deemed necessary to repay your debts under a payment plan created and protected by the bankruptcy courts. If you are too bad off financially, you may find that you quality for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

How To Prevent This From Happening Again

Once you get your debs under control, you will need to begin the planning phase so you never find yourself in this position ever again. A great way to improve your chances of being financially sound would be to set up an emergency fund and have at least a thousand dollars in it. This way, should a major appliance break or your furnace needs repaired in the middle of a cold winter, you will not have to worry about turning back to personal loans or credit cards to get the job done. The more you save in your emergency fund, the better off you will be.

Getting Professional Assistance

Should you find that you are continuing to have an on-going problem with debt, even after trying the previously mentioned tips, you will want to speak to a professional financial advisor. According to the Financial Planning Association, a financial advisor can help you set realistic goals, creates a comprehensive financial plan, and will help you adjust those goals and plans along the way as needed. There is a lot that can be learned from someone who has made financial planning their career.

While you may stumble across additional useful tips on your journey to financial freedom, this is certainly going to give you the best head start you could ask for. Before you know it, you will be free of the shackles your debts had placed on you and you will experience a sense of freedom that only comes from having a debt free life.

Why You Should Consider a Career in Accounting

Accounting is a field that offers financial opportunity as well as growth in your career.  For those entering college and deciding what major to pursue, accounting may well be on the list. Those already in school (or in their career) may be thinking of entering a new field that provides more financial freedom or exercises strengths you have not been able to use.  In either case, accounting has many benefits beyond the crunching of numbers.  Here are some of the many reasons you should consider a career in accounting.

  1. Demand is High. Accountants are always wanted.  Every company, government, non-profit, and individual needs some sort of accounting.  Often, they will need to hire an accountant to do that for them.  An accountant’s expertise is always necessary to keep a company running smoothly and ethically.  Also, consider this:  because you are already in-demand, you will be able to take your skill set wherever you go.  Becoming an accountant means that you can move just about anywhere.  It does not matter the state of the economy—in high times and low times, you will always be essential.
  2. Accountants—especially private accountants—enjoy a high level of job stability.  If you decide to be a private accountant, you will often work regular hours in a facility and perhaps in your own office.  You will often specialize solely in the company’s product or service and its capacity to earn profit.  Therefore, you will not have to learn from the ground up with every client; you can instead build knowledge within your own niche.  Like travel?  Public accountants will have the opportunity to be paid to travel more so than private accountants.  You may work with clients across the country or across the world that will allow you
  3. Great Salary Prospects. One of the biggest reasons people become accountants is for the impressive salary.  Because accountants are always in-demand, companies offer competitive rates.  Those interested in accounting will receive, over time, a drastic increase in salary due to experience and promotion.  According to salary.com, the national average entry-level salary is about $48,000, with the potential to grow into the hundreds of thousands over time depending on position and experience.  This is no doubt appealing to anyone looking make more money and live a lifestyle suitable to their needs.
  4. Use Your Skills. If you want a career in accounting, you need to seriously assess your natural talents.  You will undoubtedly need to be detail-oriented, analytical, and highly organized.  In addition, you must be an effective communicator.  You may often have the task of breaking down complex financial scenarios into easily digestible information.  Being an effective communicator also means building relations with other people—especially if you strive to be in a leadership position.  While some accountants, such as private ones, may have more solitary time in an office, there will be many times you will still need to create and strengthen solidarity with others.  Consider whether these are innate talents you have, or whether you can properly develop them.
  5. Accounting positions allow you to learn a wide breadth of information; the amount of knowledge and expertise is only as limited as the company you work for.  Working for the government may teach you a lot about the government structure, process, and law, while a non-profit may teach you more about cancer research or disadvantaged third world countries.  Working in accounting is just one way to have a variety of experiences and meet various people.
  6. The Education is Worth it. The road to becoming an accountant is by no means easy.  You will have to go through rigorous education, with most people gaining not only a bachelor’s, but also a master’s degree in accounting or even a doctoral degree.  You will also have to gain a lot of experience at an established firm to gain credibility.  The most trying of all of these is obtaining the correct certificate.  As a public accountant, you will have to get a CPA.  In order to do this, you must dedicate yourself to months of studying.  Luckily, there are many reputable resources to help you.  Make sure you invest in the best CPA review course to suit your educational needs.  In the end, many accountants believe that the hours of studying are worth the pay off.

The Big Question: To Invest or Pay off Debt?

A common battle takes over the minds of millions of consumers who are near the beginning of their wealth building life. Debt, which comes at a cost, and investing, which has the potential to pay off significantly in the future, are two financial tools often at odds with one another, and not much direction is provided by the financial powers that be on which to tackle first. While both serve a purpose, it can be daunting to determine which is the right path for you and when. Fortunately, there are several questions to ask yourself that will help in making the best decision for your specific financial situation.

How Much is Debt Costing Me?

The first question you should ask yourself when it comes to paying down debt or investing is how much your debt is costing you. High-interest rate debt, like credit cards and some short-term loans, should be your focus before dipping your financial toes into investing waters. That’s because, over time, compounding interest on a debt costs you tremendously, especially when you’re only paying the minimum amounts due. While you could be earning a high return on your money in an investment account, more likely than not, it won’t be as high as the interest you are paying to a lender. Focus your energy on paying down that debt first.

Do I Have an Emergency Fund?

If you’re considering taking some funds away from your debt repayment plan to put toward investing, you should take a look at your rainy day fund first. Everyone needs an emergency savings account that can be easily accessed when a financial emergency or unexpected bill pops up. Counting on credit cards or loans to manage a big bill in a hurry isn’t always the best option, as it could cost you quite a bit over the long haul. Set aside some of your discretionary income to build your emergency savings to an acceptable level before you start investing.

How Well Do I Understand Risk?

Hands down, investments are the sexiest part of a financial plan. That’s because some investments boast high returns with little risk, along with access to your cash without any withdrawal penalties. However, all investments carry some degree of risk; without an understanding of how that affects your bottom line, you could be headed for financial trouble. Before you get seduced by investments, you have to ask yourself if you’re prepared to take on risk. Investments fluctuate in value (yes, even the safer ones), and if you can’t stomach volatility right now, it’s best to work on your debt first and then explore investment options when you have more discretionary cash.

Can I Do This Alone?

Just about any financial strategy can be implemented – and championed – on your own. Resolving your debt issues may take some time to calculate and fit into your budget, but it’s manageable without the help of a pro. Investing, on the other hand, can be a complex strategy to grow your money, and as such, getting expert help from a financial professional may be your best move. Figuring out the balance between paying down debt and investing for the long-term can be done easily by employing the help of someone who’s been there, done that, or an expert who is actively helping others accomplish the same thing.

Before rushing down one path or another, it is important to understand that everyone has unique financial circumstances that should be considered prior to making a significant financial move. Ask yourself these questions to get a better understanding of what your priorities are, and then develop a plan to get to the next level of your financial life in a balanced, logical way.