Friday, May 16, 2008
The best business investment opportunities
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Sunday, May 11, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Edited by Paul Maidment and Larry Light 11.21.07, 3:00 PM ET
- Video: Making Mine Money
- In Pictures: Best Places For Retirees
- In Pictures: How To Respond To Dropping House Values
- In Pictures: The Most Expensive Bottles Of Wines And Spirits
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
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Monday, February 25, 2008
Real estate investment managers have become quite popular in the last years, specially with the real estate bubble. These companies have become the new investment fad in the
market. They aren't the only source of investment, though. There are other choices, like the stock market. But the important thing is that you feel comfortable with the investment fund manager of your choice.
So, which is going to be? Securities or asset investment managers? The US market provides hundreds of investment management companies, and all of them will tell you that they are the best ones. Of course, that can't be true, so it is you, the potential client, the one who has to take that decision. And, in order to do that, you need a bit of additional information.
What Is An Investment Manager?
An investment manager is an organization who is specialized in placing money in determined values in order to accomplish a pre-accorded goal. For example, a bond manager will look for bonds, domestic or international, that can provide the best return over investment to their clients. The goal can be a minimum of 5% in a period of 5 years.
There are two types of investment managers. The f irst one are institutions, such as insurance companies, pension funds or corporations, among others. Remember that all of these organizations have huge amounts of money that need to be invested in something until it is required.
For example, let's say that you are the investment manager of Google. You company has, right now, $1 billion of capital, deposited in a bank. Are you going to leave it there, accumulating low interests, or are you going to invest a part of it in a more profitable, 12 month bond? The trick is to make an adequate balance on the future needs of the company and the best destiny that you can give to the money.
The second type of investment managers are private investors, companies that look for people who don't know how to invest in the market, and require an intermediary that can do the work for them. All for a fee, of course. In this scenario, the individual tells the company for how long they wish to invest their money and the company will determine the best choices.
For example, they may mix a low risk security like US Treasury bonds with shares in a new gold mine in Ecuador. These kind of companies are also known as fund managers, investment advisors or real estate investment managers.
The investment manager services industry moves, in the whole world, trillions of dollars per year. This is due to the fact that every company is a fund manager in it's own way. The good thing about this is that it provides dynamism to the economy of the whole planet, benefiting millions of people in hundreds of countries.
Active or passive investment strategies, both of them entail determined decisions and responsibilities. On one hand, you can dedicate
a lot of your time determining which are the best choices. On the other hand, you can simply delegate that responsibility to a company that is specialized in international investment strategy plans.
There are many of them, who specialize in stock investment strategy, property investment strategy, retirement investment strategy, among many others. Either way, it is important to know more about international investment, so let's find out what is it exactly.
What Is International Investment?
International investment is the act of putting your money in assets that are located outside the United States. This branch of investment has generated a great deal of interest among investors since it permit's them to place their capital at locations that may generate higher profits for them.
An additional advantage is that, since the American market for determined goods is already overexploited, it provides a new "route of escape" for all those investors who aren't willing to invest their money in markets with too many barriers. For example, consumer products or telecommunications.
Objectives Of International Investment
Once you have decided to leave behind the domestic market and incursionate in other continents, you need to determine your objectives. It isn't as simple as saying "I want to invest in China". There are three variables that need to be considered before doing this. These variables are growth, safety and income.
In investment, the objective of growth is capital gain. For example, let's say that you are interested in making your capital grow, but do not need the money right now. So, you may buy shares from a Fortune 500 company and wait some years until you have reached your objective. Only when you reach it, you will sell your stock, and, ergo, your investment plus gains.
Another objective is safety. Many people see international investment as an excellent way of providing them a constant flux of income. As a matter of fact, millions of people around the world use it as their main source of revenue. What's the purpose of killing yourself at work when you can earn enough money through your investments? That way you can dedicate to things that may not provide you with a lot of money, but that can be more satisfying.
So, let's say that your passive investment strategies includes companies that put your money in relatively safe international investments. One interesting option is provided by governments. As in the case of the US Government who issues bonds for financing determined projects, other democracies in the world do the same thing. Countries like Germany, France and England emit government bonds for their own use. The same thing happens with corporations. Transnationals like EADS, Philips or Nestle are very interesting options.
Finally, there is the issue of income. In the case of income, your prime interest is to obtain the biggest amount of money, without taking into consideration the risk that may entail. In order to do that, individuals need to look for opportunities with a low investing rating, but with a great potential for monetary gain.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
There is a lot of information out there about real estate investing. This information can be sometimes confusing, because it is never really clear what the best investment strategies are. This article focuses more on the best strategies that will work in the current real estate market. This is a biased market skewed more towards buyers. There are many homes for sale out there, however, they have very few people currently looking for a home to buy. Therefore, every investor in the market today needs to use those strategies that are most likely going to succeed in this market. He or she needs to focus more on strategies that are most likely to attract buyers or renters to their properties. Here are the 3 best options.
1. Buying for long-term hold: this involves buying a property with the intention of renting it out for several years prior to selling the property. They real estate investor in the situation looks for homes that have been deeply discounted, buys these homes, and then turns around and rents them out with positive cash flow. Their goal here is to make at least $200 a month after paying all of the expenses, which include the mortgage payment on the home, taxes, insurance and any other expenses related to maintaining the property. The advantage of using this strategy is that the tenants end up paying down the mortgage for the landlord. The home builds equity with time and is eventually owned free and clear by the landlord after several years of renting the property. The key here is to buy the property at a discounted price and rent it out with positive cash flow.
2. Buying for short-term flip: this involves buying a property at a great discount with the intention of selling it right away for a quick profit. The investor here buys the property with at least a 30% equity. He or she then turns around and sells the property to another investor leaving a 10 to 20% equity for the new owner. This is called wholesaling. This strategy used to be very popular a few years ago. It is still being used today but it's not as popular as before. The key here is to buy the property only after you have already located a buyer. The best way to do this is to build an e-mail list of potential buyers. Another option is to borrow a list from someone else. Here is the step-by-step process: you build an e-mail list or you locate the list owner, now you locate a property with significant equity, you collect details about the property and send out an e-mail to your list, you now close on the deal and then turn around and sell it to the end buyer for a profit.
3. Using the lease purchase as an exit strategy: in this situation, you are buying a property with the intention of renting it out for one or two years prior to selling it. The first step here is to buy a property at a discount. You then locate a buy/renter who signs to agreements: the first is a lease agreement for about two years, the second agreement is an option agreement. The buyer has the option to actually close on the deal within one or two we years. The investor cashes out at the end of the option agreement. The advantage of using this strategy is that you get very good tenants who actually take care of the property while paying a higher than usual rent. Thus you get positive cash flow and you serve the property at a huge profit within one to two years. This is one of the best options in the current market conditions.
Planning for your future and retirement relies on planning the right kinds of long term investments. There are many different types of long term financing investments, and everyone needs to have some sort of investments for their future.
Planning your retirement and long term investments go hand in hand.
Let's face it. You will not be able to work forever. No matter how healthy you are, there will come a time when you will not be able to work, due to health problems or simply aging. What will you do for an income when the time comes to retire? This is why planning your long term investments carefully is so important. Maybe you think you will be able to rely on Medicare and social security to take care of you during your retirement. Well, if that is your plan, it is first time buyers to look at the news. Social security is in trouble.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Have you ever wondered why investors behave the way they do? For example, why do people invest in bonds or stocks or not at all? Since I am an advocate of stock investing, let me make the case for stock investing.
So, why invest in stocks? No, I won't just invest in any kind of stocks. There are goals associated with investing in stocks. For starter, stock investors would want to be compensated more than if they put their money in the bank. Anything else? Yes. Stock investors would want to be compensated more than the risk free interest rate which currently yield around 4.7%. For your information, risk free interest rate here is the 10 year Treasury bond which is backed by the United States Government. These bonds are deemed to be free from the risk of default.
Therefore, when we invest in stocks, we would want a return in excess of 4.7%. How much more? That varies within individuals. Some wants a 5% return. Others are satisfied with 6% return. Personally, I would want at least 7% return for my stock investment. There are reasons for this. Stock investing is relatively volatile and full of uncertainty. Interest rate goes up and down which will hamper our return as stock investors. For example if interest rate rises to 8%, would aiming a 7% return for your stock investment worth the risk? Probably not. In this case, most people prefer to put their money in the bank and enjoy the higher return.
Having said that, we need to know how much stocks have given investors historically. For the US stock market, the return for the last century has been in the neighborhood of 10%. That, my friend, is the sole reason to invest in stocks. Not because you want to own a piece of corporate America. You invest in stocks because historically it gives you a better return that other investing alternatives. No other investments boast that high of a return over the last century, not even real estate.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
The Fibonacci application is an indicator and strategy for the trader to predict the movement of the market and go with the trend. They will use the numbers in the series that are in fact present all around us, and some we use unknowingly in our daily lives as well. But while dealing in foreign currency we make specific use of these to help us tide over the sudden shifts that could occur in the market. They also allow the traders to make specific stop loss orders and help in earning decent profits at every investment made.
When the Fibonacci application and strategy for trader are computed it automatically reflects on what the support and resistance levels are, that will arise. This allows the trader to know when he must enter the market and when it is time for him to pull out of it. It helps them to identify the times of change and when the rates are likely to dip. For many beginners who are not familiar and well versed with the various indicators, this Fibonacci series would look like a string of numbers that just does not make any sense. But when they gain experience, they will realize that these are actually great life savers.
If a person is ready to take the necessary risks and use the Fibonacci application as a strategy, he will be able to identify the size of the position taken by the currencies he has traded in. If he wants to place a stop order close to the support and resistance levels, there is increased chance of leveraging and increasing the earnings. The Fibonacci is also a tool through which the profit objectives can be predetermined, and this is possible only in this strategy. For a person to have gains in the long run, they need to understand how the series works thereby cutting their losses and risk factor down. For more monetary success, combine the techniques of Fibonacci with that of the famous trader Gann.W.D.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Investment Advisors 101 - Ask Some Questions
Investment Advisors (IAs) come in all different intellectual, professional, and alphabetical varieties. They range in educational qualifications from High School dropout to PhD, and can be professional Accountants, Insurance Salesmen, Stock Brokers, Investment Managers, Dentists, Lawyers, TV personalities, and Gourmet Chefs. Anyone can be an Investment Advisor! It seems reasonable that your trust should gravitate toward those who have educational credentials, hands on experience with their own money, and no direct financial benefit from the advice provided. Stay safer by finding a fee only advisor who has just one profession... and the ability to say NO.
Why do people become Investment Advisors? Call me skeptical, but I don't think it's the ethereal glow they feel after implementing your new Financial Plan. Actually (once you appreciate that IAs are the primary delivery system for Wall Street's huge collection of one-size-fits-all products), you'll realize that it's the money. No conspiracy here, just a subtle brainwashing that has convinced you that the Advisor's primary objective is to protect your family. In reality, the primary goal of commissioned advisors is to protect their own families, and they accomplish this by selling Investment Products. The Investment Advisor label has become a euphemism for product salesperson just as Financial Planner nearly always means Insurance salesperson. Stay safer by finding a fee only advisor who has just one profession... and the ability to say NO.
Serious IAs can be identified by acronyms following their names (also by dark three piece suits and facial hair), RIA and CFP being the most common. As professional as this seems, designations do not create trustworthiness, for several reasons: IAs must become RIAs to be licensed to sell investment products. Most practitioners affiliate themselves with major Wall Street Institutions to defray their start up costs and many are subsidized in return for pushing their sponsor's products. Finally, most advisors will remain in bed with one company at a time throughout their careers, constantly touting the present firm's products as "best". Hmmm. Hundreds of companies, thousands of IAs, convincing millions of shoppers (investors) that they have just purchased the one very best product to achieve their financial goals. From cradle to grave, most IAs dance to a tune that's not being played by their clients.
Over the past several years, Wall Street has managed to invade the once respected Insurance Industry by attaching Mutual Funds to life insurance and annuity products, making them far too speculative to achieve their once guaranteed objectives. But the "variable products" scam dwarfs in potential long-term impact to the more recent high crime against investors. This is the one that ignores the (in-your-face-obvious) Conflict of Interest when Accountants sell investment products! Many professionals have multiple degrees; few have multiple practices. You deserve a specialist. If your CPA/Lawyer/Doctor (who's next) can make a living in his primary practice, why sell investment products? Greed? Hubris? And why does Wall Street allow these non-professionals to push investment products? Don't be naive, the more people out there pushing Investment Products, the bigger the bonus for the Captains of the Universe. Stay safer by finding a fee only advisor who has just one profession... and the ability to say NO.
In spite of the fact that the "burn out" rate among IAs compares with that of restaurants and Mutual Fund Managers, and that the advisory business itself is a cut-throat, competitive battlefield, the Financial Institutions that employ the majority of IAs prosper, multiply, and produce more product for your "eyes wide shut" consumption... because you, your products, and the management fees remain! A caring and successful Investment Advisor makes an excellent income and should; a successful financial institution buys other financial institutions!
The hierarchy of commissions paid to IAs can exceed 10% on "private deals", limited partnerships, and a litany of speculative products and services. On the more controlled substances (sic), Annuity commissions can run above 8% with 10-year lock up provisions common and Mutual Funds provide a generous 4% to 6% whether you see them or not. New issues, odd lot Bonds, and other securities that don't show a commission, include marketing fees and mark ups that can be substantial. What ever happened to individual Equity portfolios? It's a combination of in-greed-ients... products are less work and produce more money. Stay safer by finding a fee only advisor who has just one profession, the ability to say NO, and who knows something about individual securities.
Most people need Investment Advisors. Life Insurance protection is vital; fixed annuities are helpful for people of limited means; Mutual Funds are the only option (pity) in most self-directed retirement plans. The vast majority of employed Americans are Investors, actively or passively, with little time or expertise to select securities and manage portfolios. (If the Democrats would accept this, they just might win an election.) But recent experience confirms that we all have a responsibility to our own money, a responsibility that we should only delegate to a professional if we know what the professional is supposed to know. The fact that he or she is an XYZ Fund representative just isn't enough. You need an independent advisor that has ideas rather than products and an understanding of markets, not marketing. If you are willing to ask the right questions, you can find an IA who might just be able to help you (and herself) at the same time. Try these for starters: Do you sell any products? Do you have a personal portfolio that I can review? Do you provide a "fee only" advisory service? How long have you been in the financial services business, and is it your only business? (It's not your job to educate "newbies"!) Are you affiliated with any other financial services companies? Do you have at least five non-family clients who you have been advising for at least five years... that I can contact directly? Will you be compensated for referring me to someone? Stay safer by finding a fee only advisor who has just one profession and the ability to say NO.
The ability to say NO? An advisor will tell you not to do something that he feels is inappropriate... a salesman will do what you tell him to do.
10 Essential Trading Elements
1. You can't take more risk than you are comfortable with - emotion is the enemy of the trader. Most of us are slaves to our emotion, which is why most traders fail despite the apparent simplicity of trading. To be successful, you have to manage emotion, and the first step toward emotional mastery is to not take more risk than you are comfortable with. If you can't sleep at night over the potential of losing more than $500 on a stock trade, then you should not risk more than $500 on a stock trade. The less you care about the outcome of a trade, the smarter you will execute it.
2. Stops loss orders must be used - one big loss can wipe out the gains of five winning trades. Success requires that you don't take big losses, so utilize stop loss orders. Once you are entered in a trade, enter a stop loss order and stick to it. If your brokerage does not provide the ability to execute stop loss orders, then change brokers.
3. No one cares more about your money than you - only you really care whether you make money or not. Therefore, do not depend on others to make you money; you have to take control and know what is going on. You can use the skills of others to help you make decisions, but ultimately, your success in the market will come down to what you do.
4. Losers react, winners predict - the market does not care about what happened in the past. If you are using publicly available information to make trading decisions, then you are using old information. The stock market moves on what it expects to happen in the future, and not on what has already happened. Use what has happened in the past to provide clues to what may happen in the future, but don't make decisions on information that is widely known.
5. The stock market is not fair - Within every stock, there are a small group of investors who know more than the general public. They have an advantage, because they can better predict what a company will do in the future. To be successful, we have to figure out what the investors with better information are doing, and then do the same.
6. Information is biased - the financial industry wants you to buy stocks. The brokerages that finance the companies, the newsletters that get paid to advertise company stories, the promoters that get paid to promote stocks, the media that sell more advertising in an up market and of course, the companies themselves all benefit when stock prices go higher. The more buyers, the higher prices go. Trust no one when making investment decisions, because everyone can have a bias. Only the market can not lie (although it can seem pretty stupid sometimes), therefore, trust what the market tells you.
7. Hard work does not make money in the market - you need to work hard to learn how the stock market works. You need to work hard to learn how to manage your emotions. You need to work hard to learn discipline. However, the most money is made in a market that is trending, one where there are lots of opportunities and it seems easy to make money. When the market is not trending, it is harder to find opportunities. Working harder when the going gets tough will cause you to take marginal trades. Take the obvious trades, they are more likely to work.
8. Black boxes don't work - there are a lot of companies selling trading systems that magically spit out buy and sell recommendations. The stock market is like a flu virus; just when you think you have it figured out, it changes in to something else. Therefore, systems too must evolve with the market. A system that worked in the past may not work in the future. However, what seems to always work is understanding how humans and crowds behave. Learn that, and you can begin to pick stocks in any market condition. More importantly, learn the art of trading well, knowing that you can not always be right, that you have to limit losses and let profits run and that you have to understand what motivates people to buy and sell. Systems, indicators, and computer programs are simply tools to help you make better decisions.
9. The stock market is usually efficient - actually, stock, futures, currencies and any other market that has enough people trading them are usually efficient. That means, most of the time you can not beat the markets. To do better than the masses, you have to identify situations where market efficiency is breaking down. That occurs when the crowd is emotional or when small groups of investors are trading on private information. Usually, that is most easily found when stocks are trading abnormally in terms of price and volume. Focus your attention on abnormal behavior when looking for trading opportunities.
10. Discipline is essential - you have to manage risk effectively, you have to use stops loss orders, you have to always be looking for high probability trading opportunities, you have to avoid taking too much risk and you have to let winning positions run. The laws of trading are nothing if you don't have the discipline to follow them.
The very first sentence:
"Successful trading of the stock market requires a lot more than knowing what to buy or sell. "
In other words....
IT'S NOT WHAT YOU TRADE, IT'S HOW YOU TRADE IT!
Mark developed his own momentum stock trading method that takes away all the stress from trading but still maintains fantastic returns in the stock market. He personally ran a $5,000 up to six figures trading a few minutes every week.