Chatbots for Trading and Investment: A Good Idea?

The notion of artificial intelligence is no longer a fictional concept. From user-friendly programs such as Siri to the complex algorithms included in Google Cloud Prediction, the software is becoming an important part of our daily lives.

One particularly interesting scenario can be seen in the rise of the “chatbot”. Through a series of complex computations, these systems are meant to supply human-like responses to their living counterparts. It can be argued that the most well-known online chatbot is a program known as Cleverbot. So, this naturally leads to the question as to whether or not these silicon-based algorithms are wise enough to be used within the world of complex, yet sensitive, user query led interactions.

The Ultimate Intention of a Chatbot

We should first be clear to note that a Chatbot cannot (presently) offer the same level of insightful interaction as demonstrated by HAL 9000 in the film 2001. They are intended to provide a user with answers to very specific questions. Product information is a common example. Having said this, the use of artificial intelligence will help the bot to appear more “human” as levels of interaction increase. In other words, these algorithms learn by experience. So can intelligent programs like this ever be employed within the world of online trading? Financial Times author, Kevin Rose wrote an article back in 2014 about retail trader, CMC Markets, who already use price pattern recognition which identifies up to 40,000 technical trade set-ups each month, impossible to do for a human – This begs the question how far are we from chatbots relaying highly sensitive bits of information?

The Current State of Play

You may be surprised to learn that there are already a number of trading-related chatbots in existence. AJ Bell youInvest and a Chinese firm known as Xiaoi are two notable examples. These and others such as PollyChat utilise Facebook Messenger to “speak” with the user, so there is already a heightened sense of familiarity. After a series of macro questions, a personalised profile will be created. It is therefore much easier to access the most relevant news and information based off of one’s trading preferences. Having said this, these bots are far less intuitive. They are primarily designed to help the trader make his or her own decisions as opposed to automatically generating investment calls to action.

Potential Implications

What types of conversations the traders could potentially encounter when using a chatbot? Current technology limits these exchanges to be somewhat rudimentary. Examples here may include:

  • What types of stocks would you like to see?
  • How can I help you formulate an investment plan?
  • Are there any sectors that interest you?

Besides these general queries, many conversations will revolve around the bot trying to understand the strategies of the user. This can again be accomplished through a question-and-answer session:

  • Do you think the United States will soon raise its interest rates?
  • Is the outlook for the euro bullish, bearish or neutral?

The answers to these and other questions will help the bot formulate appropriate recommendations.

A Wise Decision?

Are chatbots a good idea for traders? Yes and no. They can be a highly intuitive user interface for those who may be new to the industry. However, any discrete recommendations in the future will likely be based off of algorithms alone. This could lead to potentially erroneous trades and until technology advances, it is wise to employ chatbots as a supplement to any strategy as opposed to a strategy in and of itself.

How Business Owners Can Invest Their Earnings

display stock market numbers and graph

Running a successful business is no easy task. After all, recent research reveals that four in ten small companies don’t last for five years. After the recent political and economic uncertainty in 2016, many were also expecting this rate to rise further. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be overly pessimistic, and if your business is doing well, you should continue to forge a path to success. Here, we discuss the current economic situation and how you can reinvest your earnings at the current time.

The Current Economic Situation

Against expectations, the broad outlook for the UK economy is positive. Recently, the British Chambers of Commerce have announced that UK buying habits have shown strong resistance to the Brexit vote.

This level of robust customer spending means that the outlook for trade and investment for UK businesses is broadly positive. The economy is expected to grow a further 1.4% in 2017, which is almost at pace with the 1.8% growth we witnessed in 2016.

As a result, if you’re looking to invest some of your wealth, now could be the time. Let’s take a look at how you could make the most of the broadly positive economic situation.

How Can You Invest?

To help your wealth grow, you can invest internally within your business or externally. First, let’s look at your internal options.

Internally

Staff ­– if your customers are keen to keep spending high, then let them. Investing in new staff members means that you’ll be able to service larger orders in a higher volume, boosting your revenue.

New Products – Likewise, consider diversifying your offering to take money from your competitors. By investing in market research, you can find out what your customers really want and cater for them.

These two tactics will help you strengthen your business and generate new revenue. Sometimes, you have to spend your wealth to save even more. However, although these will help you accrue wealth, it may also be worth diversifying your assets through external investments. Your best options here are:

Externally

Property – the UK housing market continues to boom and shows no signs of slowing down. Housing is generally considered as a solid investment; particularly buy-to-let, which is low risk.

Stocks and Shares – If your business is doing well, then it’s likely that others are, too. So, it could be worth investing in other businesses. This is a higher risk strategy than investing in houses, but the rewards are potentially higher, too. Take a look online for advice on what investments could be profitable.

Forex – Finally, consider being bold, brave and bright. Geo-political tensions such as Brexit cause currency fluctuations and changes. By investing some of your money in forex trading, you could make money on these fluctuations. This is a high risk, strategy, however, so educate yourself before you begin.

To conclude, the current economic situation looks positive, so consider how you could invest to maximise your wealth carefully.

 

 

Money-Saving Tips for Booking Your Next Holiday

Booking a holiday doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank. It’s impossible to enjoy a relaxing break away when you’re worrying about money every time you pay for a meal or buy a souvenir.  So, here are some money-saving tips to help put your mind at ease when spending money on your next holiday.

DIY Holidays

Is it cheaper to book a package holiday or to arrange the flights and the hotel separately? Research is the only way to find the best deal for your holiday.

Travel agents claim that their buying power brings down the cost of a holiday, but many websites are now specifically aimed at finding good deals on flights and accommodation. Sites such as Skyscanner and Air BnB have grown in popularity, so consumers may find that it’s cheaper to book separately when planning your trip abroad.

When to Book

In order to find the lowest possible fare for your holiday, you can plan the best time for you to book. Here are a few tips for finding the best prices:

  • For short-haul flights, you should book around seven weeks in advance and for long-haul, book around 18 weeks in advance.
  • Try to avoid the school holidays and book flights on quieter days and times – Tuesdays are often a cheaper day to fly.
  • If you don’t like flying, you could find a great deal on a last-minute cruise. Keep an eye on cruise holiday websites, such as Bolsover Cruise Club.

Planning in Advance

When you’ve chosen your destination, try to book activities in advance. Avoid turning up and trying to find the best spots in your guidebook once you’re there and do some research before you go. If you buy tickets for museums, shows, tours and activities online, you may be able to avoid lengthy queues and save some money at the same time.

Spending Abroad

When you’re thinking about changing your money to the local currency, don’t wait until you get to the airport to do it – it’ll be significantly more expensive than other payment methods. Money Saving Expert advises that the cheapest way to get travel money is by using a specialist credit card and repaying it in full. The second most cost-effective way is to use a travel money comparison tool to find the best rate, which is especially useful if you want to stick to a budget on your holiday.

Find the best deal when booking your next holiday by following our top tips for cost-effective travel – you can enjoy a relaxing, stress-free holiday, without worrying about money.

Struggle with loans debt

Most noticeable with it

Be certain to set a note do not advance payment so the extra amount is going to be put on the loan. Such loans arrive equipped with repayment methods that enable the borrower to control their debt in place of default. At the conclusion, certain loans may qualify for discharge. Given the nation’s high price of living, taking available loans is frequently the answer. The federal financial loans aren’t the financial loans getting people in trouble. For instance, in case you have federal loans with a fixed pace, but are optimistic regarding the marketplace, you may decide to switch to a variable speed. Sometimes, you will need to report your entire federal loans and the rate of interest from various other lenders too.

What everybody dislikes

A debt consolidation business can manage your short-term accounts and lower your rates on charge card accounts, aiding you to remain out of bankruptcy. After you’ve chosen a debt consolidation business and title loans in Austin, you can assess the different choices available. Only you must decide on a loyal credit settlement company for the right termination of your debt problems.

In case you have been not able to pay your debts at the present prices, consolidation might stop you from needing to default on loans every month. Understand how much it is possible to pay on debt monthly. The whole external debt could include its tax liabilities and accounts payable, in addition to other operational expenditures involved in running the organization.

Seek out a respectable agency today to acquire advice regarding how you can escape debt. Next, using your budget for a guideline, produce a realistic dollar sum that you can devote to paying your debts every month. In case you have over three debts and your creditors want various amounts at several times of the month you might find it challenging to co-ordinate your payments in a manner that works with your financial plan.

There are those who get into debt so badly they finally decide to apply for bankruptcy. All these different kinds of debt have to be analyzed with regard to current market value, to have a financial wellness report of the organization and to calculate the WACC. So to figure out the value, you should know the whole external debt of the business, as well as the valuation of its assets.

The benefits

There is a variety of strategies to address debt. Restructuring your debt will allow you to gain charge of your finances once more. Ask us your questions and learn what you have to know about handling your debts. Consolidating your debts is among the easiest methods of getting from the debt trap. An unsecured” debt isn’t tied to a certain parcel of property. Generally, paying secured debts is more vital that paying unsecured debts, therefore it’s important to realize the difference between both. America’s rising debt is likely to become an immense issue for each person who lives here.

How to Deal with Debt in Australia

Debt can feel like an avalanche slowly rolling down a snowy hill. Starting as a snowball of one missed credit card payment, it can grow over time into several credit card payments, missed mortgage payments, and then utility payments. With the weight bearing down upon you, it’s easy to feel crushed by the responsibility. However, looking at ways to handle debt can sometimes add to feeling overwhelmed. Below are five

Refinancing with Lower Rates

Sometimes, getting ahead of debt is the best way to deal with debt. Refinancing can help lower payments if you’re able to get a good deal on your origination fees and closing costs. If you’re already feeling the pinch of debt, you can refinance to take out additional cash. One mortgage broker in Perth notes that a cash-out refinance offers a way to borrow at a low interest rate.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan to pay off existing debts. A cash-out refinance as discussed above is one way to do this. By putting all your debts in one place, you can streamline your payments into one bill. When interest rates are low, you’ll be able to get a lower interest rate through the loan than through the individual payments which can help lower your monthly bills. For example, if you’re paying off multiple credit cards and paying high rates one each one because you fell behind in your payments, consolidating your debt into one lower interest payment can help you climb out from under the payments.

Debt Management

Debt management, although often confused with debt settlement, negotiates old payments with new payment plans instead of taking out a loan to cancel previous debts. The process usually takes 3 to 6 years to complete. First, you will work with a credit counselor to review your overall finances to create a monthly budget. Then you will plan how to pay off the debt based on your monthly payment abilities and number of accounts that need payment. Finally, you may be asked to use a direct deposit program to pay your monthly amount and then cancel all your credit cards.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement essentially creates a way for you to negotiate dollars owed to your creditors. This is a fairly extreme option since it will hurt your credit score. While you can attempt to negotiate your debts on your own, Quantum Finance offers resources to help you find a settlement agent. Settlement agents will work with you to review your debt, income, and savings to help you determine what can be used to pay your debt. Then they will have you sign a contract for you to pay the settlement agent instead of your creditors. The money is put into escrow until you have enough to pay off the negotiated amount. After that, they attempt to negotiate a new amount with your creditors where you pay a lump sum the comes from the escrow. It’s important to have a legitimate settlement agent otherwise they may not be able to settle for you. Keep in mind, that they will take a fee from a percentage of the escrow account. If they do not negotiate well, then you are worse off because you will be further behind in your payments since you paid your money to the escrow account not the creditors.

Bankruptcy

In Australia, you have the option to present a declaration of intention to present a debtor’s petition. This gives a 21-day protection period where unsecured creditors can’t act. This acts as a probationary period pending bankruptcy. If you then want to file for bankruptcy, you can. Filing for bankruptcy covers most unsecured debts such as credit and store cards, utility bills, and medical, legal and accounting fees. Before assuming it releases all debt, make sure to check with your creditor to see if it will erase Centrelink Debts, Australian Taxation Office debts, victim of crime debts, and toll fines.

Keep in mind that there are also several debts including court imposed penalties and fines, child support and maintenance, HECS & HELP debts, and unliquidated debts.

Business Credit Secrets Every Owner Needs to Know

While most business owners understand how important it is for them to have excellent credit, very few know the basics of business credit.  In fact, one survey showed that 72% of all business owners in the U.S. don’t know their business credit score.  A big reason is that the secrets of business credit are rarely discussed; this is a shame as businesses tend to be heavy users of credit.    As such, here are some business credit secrets every owner needs to know.

A Brief Introduction

Similar to your personal credit score, the creditworthiness of your business is being graded by credit agencies and there are five reasons why your business credit score is important.

First, it affects the maximum loan for which your business qualifies.  While some banks & funding companies will offer small business loans to those with no credit, most banks require a high credit score for approval. Even if you are approved with a lower credit score, you will have to pay higher interest rates due to your credit score and this will cost you more money over time.

Second, your suppliers will access your business credit to calculate whether they will extend trade credit to your business.   This can impact your ability to purchase inventory on credit from a supplier.

Another way business credit is used is by insurance companies.  These company will look at your business’ credit score to determine how much they will charge you for premiums.  This might sound unfair, but insurance companies believe that policyholders with poor credit tend to make riskier decisions.

If you are looking to gain government contracts, then you want to make sure that you keep a close eye on the creditworthiness of your business as most tenders will include minimum credit score requirements.

Finally, an excellent business credit record helps to protect your personal credit as it reduces the necessity to use your personal credit for your business.  Remember, businesses are heavy users of credit, so if you are relying on your personal credit cards, then you are playing with fire.

What Goes into Your Business Credit Score?

Ok, so you have found out your business credit score but now you want to improve it.  As such, you need to know what goes into calculating your business credit score.  These factors include your business’ Credit Utilization Ratio, payment history, length of credit history, outstanding debts, public records, the size of your company, and any risks related to your industry.

Many of these criteria shouldn’t come as a surprise as they are like how your personal credit score the two differences are company size and industry risk.  However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as the focus of your business credit score is your business.

While each credit bureau looks at this information they are constantly tinkering with their algorithms.  For example, some reports claim that payment history accounts for roughly half of a business’ credit score.  While FICO’s SBSS also looks at financial reports and the owner’s personal credit record.

Now to the elephant in the room.  When just starting out, your personal credit history plays a major role in determining your business’s credit score.  This makes sense as your business is new and there isn’t much information to go on.  As such, you want to make sure you have a firm understanding on your personal credit score when you are setting up a new business.

This highlights the need to take steps to separate your business credit from your personal credit early on.  Doing so will help your business and it will ensure the risk to your personal credit is limited.

Secrets to Maintaining Your Business Credit Score

Actually, the ‘secrets’ are no secret at all.  First, make sure that you pay your bills on time.  If you can’t pay the entire balance on time, then make sure you make the minimum payment.

Second, use your credit but don’t overuse it.  Remember, credit agencies look at your Credit Utilization Ratio – that is the amount of available credit you are currently using.  If your utilization ratio is more than 70%, then you might have problems getting additional credit.    As such, you should consider reducing your outstanding credit balance.

Lastly, you want to make sure that you regularly monitor your business’ credit score.  This way you can find any issues early on and get them corrected.  One of the biggest problems with business credit is confusion between two businesses with similar names, so by monitoring your score, you will know if something is being misreported.  Remember to take care of your credit and it will take care of you.

How adjusting your work-life balance helps you pay off your debts

Yup! You heard right. It’s not only working like a donkey that gets your numbers out of the red zone. Taking a break and enjoying life is just as important. Now, if you are rocking two or even three jobs with a one-hour commute, you are most probably shaking your head about this whole work life balance thing. But then again, take a moment to think it over. You don’t need to earn billions per year, travel all over the world to chill out in the most exclusive places and get down and funky with high-class escort girls from elite escort agencies for a couple of hundreds per hour. To find some peace of mind, you do not have to sit on the sunny terrace of a 5* chalet in Lausanne looking over the Swiss alps and sipping champagne with one or two ladies or that stunning ski instructor from the luxury resort next door.

All you need is some free time, a nice place to sit down for a while – outside your daily comfort zone – and the will to chill!

What is the concept behind the term “work-life balance”?

It’s quite straight forward. A perfect work life balance means that you are investing just as much time into your work as you do into your free time. And that is how far the theory goes for about 95 % of all working people. Let’s look at some facts:

Splitting up an average working day of a normal employee aged between 25 and 54 with two kids, the Bureau of Labour Statistics came up with these numbers (approx.):

  • Work: 9 hours
  • Sleep: 8 hours
  • Leisure & sports: 2.5 hours
  • Eat & drink: 1 hour
  • Household activities: 1 hour
  • Caring for others: 1.5 hours
  • Other activities: 1 hours

That is one third of a day spend at work. Not too bad, actually. But if things go belly up on the financial side, these 8 hours just won’t cut it in order to make ends meet. According to “USA Today” the number of Americans juggling up to three jobs a day to pay off their debts has been at an all-time high in the last eight years! There’s even a name for those working the night shift after their “normal” job: moonlighters. If you balance up to three jobs plus family, the thought of squeezing in some “me-time” will probably make you laugh out loud. And the idea that this bit of free time can really help you reduce your debt seems pure science fiction. But when you put some thought into it, turning the dial only just a notch towards “life” can really make a difference.

Stop. Think. Act.

Three words that describe a perfect approach to almost any given situation. While shopping, arguing, scuba diving or simply living your life. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to balance up to three jobs so that you and your loved ones can make ends meet, something is obviously going wrong. You can, of course, blame anything and everyone – from faith to politics and the weather – or you can just chill out for a while and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just take an hour and sit somewhere without too many distractions. A park, for instance. Because doing nothing is a great way of finding enough peace to mentally hover above yourself and to take a look at what is going wrong, what’s OK and – just as important – what you like about your current situation and what you would really love to do. This won’t happen the first time when you’ll take that hour or those 30 minutes for yourself. But that’s just fine … it is a bit by bit process after all. And once you’re sitting on the park bench, looking at nothing and enjoy wasting a bit of your precious time, you are actually adjusting the scale of your work-life balance. In consequence, you are beginning to understand what needs to be changed and can then begin the process of doing so. If you like this train of thoughts, have a look at this well written and interesting approach and step by step guide from “skillsyouneed.com”.

30 minutes. Every day or once a week. Time for you and you alone. Time to chill and to reflect. Time to come up with a new idea or another approach. Time to make things better!