What is Investing?

Investing refers to the act of purchasing assets, which are also called investments, with the expectation or goal that they will increase their value over time or pay you income. It is a way to potentially increase your money. Investing is the purchase of specific investments. This is often done through an investment account.

You may currently be saving money in a traditional bank savings account or something similar.  These bank savings accounts typically have a lower rate of return than the potential returns from investing. This is why many people consider investing for long-term goals, such as buying a house, or retirement.


What types of investments are there?

There are many types of investments.  Three main types of investments are: stocks, bonds,  and real estate. There are also mutual funds, exchange traded funds, or ETFs, commodities and, more recently, cryptocurrency has been considered an investment. Fine art,  antiques, and other collectables are other possible types of investments.

Let’s look more closely at the main types of investments. First, Let’s look at Stocks.

Stocks. You can buy shares of stock to get partial ownership in a company. You can share in the company’s potential gains or losses as an owner or shareholder. Stocks may also pay dividends, which are regular payments. Stocks can be risky as there are no guarantees of returns, and companies could even go out of business.

Bonds.  If you invest in bonds you are lending money to a government or company for a set period. You will receive a fixed rate return on your loan as well as the amount you originally paid for the bond. Bonds are also known as fixed income investments , and they are generally less risky than stocks. Some bonds, however, are more risky than others.

Real Estate.  Real estate can be a house, a building or piece of land. Real estate investments come with varying risk levels and can be affected by many factors such as the employment rate, school quality, and location.

Mutual Funds and ETFs. You may be interested in mutual funds and ETFs if you are looking to invest in any one of the prior investments but aren’t sure which specific investment to make. ETFs and mutual funds invest in stocks, bonds, and other types. ETFs and mutual funds allow you to invest in many assets simultaneously when you buy their shares.

How does investing work?

Investing is when you purchase an asset at a lower price and then hopefully sell it at higher prices. It’s also called appreciation when an investment increases in value between the time it was purchased and the time it is sold.

For example, a share of stock may appreciate if a company has more sales or increases its profits. A home may appreciate in value because of more jobs and people have more money and are willing to live in the area.

Investing is not only profitable due to appreciation, but also by purchasing and holding assets that produce income. Income investing does not aim to make capital gains by selling assets. Instead, it aims to purchase assets that produce cash flow over time and keep them for as long as possible. A bond, for example, may do this by paying regular interest.

What are the risks of investing?

Investing involves risk. There are many risks associated with investing. You can lose money more likely if you take on more risk. However, your investment returns will potentially grow faster if you take more risk.  It is important to decide how much risk you are willing to take when investing. Financial advisors generally recommend that you take on more risk when investing for a distant goal, such as when you are still young and want to save for retirement.

How can I start investing?

It’s easy to get started investing. You don’t even need a lot of money. To invest, you will likely need to open up an investment account.

One type of account is an online brokerage account.You might prefer the convenience of doing your research online and picking your investments by hand. For beginners, you should consider the ease of diversification offered by mutual funds and ETFs.

Another type of account is with a financial advisor. Talk to a financial adviser that is available to help new investors if you prefer getting professional help for investing. A financial advisor can help you by building a trusting relationship with someone who can help you choose and manage your investments.

In summary, investing is a long-term venture, no matter how small or large your investments. You’ll likely reap the greatest rewards if you start early, and continue to invest over time.

Categories Investing and Financial Planning
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What is a Credit Card?

A credit card is a card that consumers can use to purchase goods and services. If you have a credit card, you agree to pay the credit card company the full cost of the item purchased as well as any fees or interest if applicable, at a later date.

A credit card is essentially a loan that allows for purchases on credit. You don’t need to have cash to make the purchase. Instead, you repay the credit card company back later, along with any interest and fees.

How can you get a credit card?

You will need to apply for a credit card through a bank or other financial services company. This allows the lender to determine if you can repay the loan amount. Once you are approved for a credit line, you will sign an agreement which lists details such as your credit limit, purchase interest rate and any fees. It also includes a promise to repay any money borrowed. You should know what the interest rate is and when your credit card bill due each month.

Credit limit is the maximum amount a person can borrow on a credit card. Credit limit is determined in large measure by credit history and income. Credit card companies will examine these reports before giving you a credit card.

What happens when you use your credit card?

When you use a credit card, for example when making a purchase at a store, you are authorizing the credit card company, to pay the purchase on your behalf. The promise is that you will repay the amount at a later time.

A credit card account is charged every time someone uses it to purchase something. The credit card company will keep track and add all purchases to the card-holder’s statement. They will then issue a bill at each billing period, which is usually every month. To avoid interest or other charges, you need to pay the full amount on or before the due date.

Cardholders who have not paid their monthly bill in full, and have accrued additional interest are at risk. The interest compounded over time as long as there’s an unpaid balance. Your card may charge interest depending on the interest rate. Credit cardholders may be charged interest for amounts borrowed beyond the due date. They will also be required to make minimum monthly payments until the balance is paid.

What are the advantages and costs of using credit cards?

Credit cards allow you to have quick access to money and can be used to shop in-store or online. They also provide extra cash in an emergency. Credit cards may offer cash back and rewards points, as well as the opportunity to improve your credit score.

The negative is they may also come with high interest rates and fees, and cause you to spend too much and take on too much debt.

In summary, credit cards, if used smartly can be very convenient and beneficial. However, be cautious and careful how you use them, and watch out for overspending. This will ensure you reap the benefits and avoid any drawbacks associated with credit cards.


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What are Taxes?

What are taxes? Taxes are funds that companies and individuals must pay to the government for the purpose of funding government operations.  Taxes are mandatory and cannot be avoided.

A tax system is common in most countries. It allows for the payment for national, and  public needs as well as for government functions. Revenues from taxes finance  such things as roads and schools, or programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

There are many types of taxes to be aware of, including sales taxes and federal income taxes. The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, collects federal income taxes within the United States. Other taxes are collected locally or regionally. Taxes are the main source of revenue for governments.

What are the various types of taxes? The majority of taxes can be broken down into three categories: taxes on your earnings, taxes on the things you buy, and taxes on what you own.  Examples include Income Tax, Sales tax, and Property Tax. With this in mind, here is a quick overview of the most important types of taxes that you need to know to be a competent taxpayer.

Let’s discuss Income tax.  For income tax, a percentage of income is remitted to the federal or state governments.  Income earned, salaries and wages, tips and commissions are all factors that affect taxes including unearned income, such as interest.  Income taxes are paid by individuals and businesses. Individuals pay personal income taxes, and companies pay corporate  taxes. Income taxes are usually collected by both the federal and state governments.

If you are an employee, another tax you are likely to be paying, is Payroll tax.  Payroll tax is a percentage taken from the pay of an employee by an employer.  Payroll taxes are used to finance social insurance programs, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Next is sales taxes.  Sales taxes are charged at the point where a customer makes payment for a product or service. The customer pays the sales tax to the business, which then remits it to the government. These taxes are on goods purchased, such as the items you purchase at retail. Groceries, gasoline for your car, and other items are all examples of goods with sales taxes. 

Another main type of tax is Property tax.  Property tax is based on land value and property assets. This tax is based upon the property or real estate that individuals or businesses have. Every county and every local municipality has its own tax rate. Commonly, the county collects this tax.

You should be aware that these taxes are collected at different times.  For example, If you make $3,000 a month, and are taxed at 10%, $300 should be deducted from your paycheck to pay taxes.  If you then use the money you earned to go shopping for a new cell phone for $500, and your local sales tax is 7%, you will pay another $35 in taxes.  In total, though not all at once, $335 of your monthly $3,000 in income is collected in taxes.

So where is the tax money being used? Depending on which level of government the tax was paid to, it may be used to fund various things. The government uses the tax money to purchase items and services. These items are available at the local, state and federal levels. These items are often considered public goods or things. They are most beneficial to the majority of people. Examples include transportation, education and health care. Tax paid to the local government can be used to build schools or parks. Tax paid by the federal government can also be used to fund social security and defense programs.

You may be asking, are taxes too much to pay?  There are many opinions on how high taxes should go. Some argue that taxes should not be too high to prevent the economy from growing. Others believe that strong taxation distributes income and provides for the common good. Schools, roads and hospitals depend on your contributions to taxes.

In summary, there are many tax types that can be applied in different ways. Understanding taxation can help you gain a better understanding of how your money is taxed. Taxes are something you can’t avoid. Understanding how taxes work can help you make smart decisions about managing your finances and maximizing your net income.

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What is a Budget?

If I earn $3000 a month, can I pay for my rent, food, and other expenses and also have money left to save? 

Or will I run out of money before my next paycheck? 

To find out, you need to create a budget.

What is a budget?

A budget is something people use  to help manage their money. You create one based on an estimate of your income and expenses for a set period of time, usually a week, month, or a year.  A budget is a spending plan that helps you know in advance if you have  money to pay for the things you want or wish to save.

What does a budget  include?

Your budget includes all of your income (including income from work, part-time jobs, and gifts); and all your expenses. These expenses can be needs like rent, utilities, and groceries or wants  like dining out or entertainment. You can also save or set aside money for future large purchases. You can use it to pay for things such as a vacation, a new cellular phone, and other large purchases.

Why create a budget?

A budget helps you live within your  means and encourages you to make sound financial decisions. It is easy to see the whole picture of your financial situation when you track and record your income and expenses. You can then identify and cut unnecessary expenses, so you can save more, and spend the money saved on things that are important to you. The extra money could be used to invest  or pay off your debt. 

For example, if you use a budget and discover you are spending $200 each month eating out, you may decide you want to lower that to $150 and instead save $50 more.

People often think of budget only as a tool for those who are finding themselves spending too much resulting in too much debt. But everybody can benefit from a budget. It can help you not only get out of financial trouble but also to prevent you from getting in it again.

A budget gives people a better view of their finances, which allows them to make wise money management decisions. They can plan for large purchases, avoid overspending, and increase their savings.

A budget helps you determine whether you have enough money to pay for all your needs and wants. You can make a spending plan that prioritizes the financial items that you need and those that you want. A spending plan will help you to pay down debt and save money when you spend.

Budgeting, regardless of your income level, can help you manage stress and keep your finances on track.

Categories Budgeting, Saving Money
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What is the Digital Currency Bitcoin?


Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be bought, sold, and exchanged directly without the need for intermediaries like banks. Satoshi Nakamoto was the original creator of Bitcoin. He stated that he needed an electronic payment system that relied on cryptographic evidence instead of trust.

Bitcoin is not only the first cryptocurrency but also one of the most well-known among the over 6,000 cryptocurrencies currently in existence. The financial media covers every dramatic high and stomach-churning fall, making Bitcoin an integral part of the landscape.

Every Bitcoin transaction ever made is recorded on a public ledger that can be accessed by everyone. This makes it difficult to reverse or falsify transactions. This is by design. Bitcoins don’t have any government backing or institutions that issue them. There’s no guarantee of their value other than the proof embedded in the system.

Bitcoin’s value has increased dramatically since its public launch. Bitcoin was once worth less than $150 per coin. However, as of July 1, 2021, one Bitcoin is now worth more than $30,000, though it even reached $50,000 before falling. Its supply being limited to 21,000,000 coins, many who own the coins anticipate its price will only continue to rise as institutional investors start to treat it as a kind of digital gold to hedge against market volatility.

How Bitcoin is used

People in the United States use Bitcoin to diversify their portfolios, and it is a popular alternative investment. Although you can use Bitcoin to purchase, the number of vendors who accept it is limited. A service can connect your debit card to your crypto account. This allows you to use Bitcoin in the same way as you would credit cards. This generally means that your Bitcoin can be instantly converted into dollars by a financial provider. 

People sometimes use cryptocurrency to replace their currency in other countries, especially those with less stable currencies. Bitcoin  gives people the option to hedge against the worst case scenario. 


Bitcoin is built upon a distributed digital record known as a blockchain. Blockchain is a linked data body, as the name suggests. It is made up of blocks, which contain information about every transaction. This includes date, time, total value, buyer, seller and unique identifying codes for each exchange. The digital chain of blocks is created by the aggregation of entries in chronological order. Blockchain is not managed by any single organization. Your copy is also updated as it’s updated by other people.

Although it may sound risky to think that anyone could edit the Bitcoin blockchain, this is actually what makes Bitcoin secure and trustworthy. To add a transaction block on the Bitcoin blockchain, it must first be verified by all Bitcoin holders. The unique codes that are used to identify wallets and to process transactions must also conform to the correct encryption pattern.

These codes are random and long making it difficult to fake. This level of statistical randomness blockchain verification codes is required for every transaction greatly reduces the chance anyone could make fraudulent Bitcoin transactions.

Bitcoin mining

Bitcoin mining refers to adding transactions to the Bitcoin blockchain. It is a difficult job. The proof of work process is used by people who mine Bitcoin. This involves deploying computers in a race against the clock to solve mathematical puzzles that verify transactions. The Bitcoin code rewards miners who solve puzzles and help the system by giving them new Bitcoins to encourage them to continue to race.

It was possible to mine Bitcoin in the early days. But that is no longer true. Bitcoin’s code was designed to make it more difficult over time. It requires more computing resources. To be successful in Bitcoin mining, you need powerful computers and cheap electricity.

Where to Buy Bitcoin

Many people purchase Bitcoin through exchanges like Coinbase. You can buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency through exchanges. To open an account, you will need to verify your identity as well as provide some type of funding source such a bank account, debit card, or bank account. Coinbase, Kraken and Gemini are the most popular exchanges. Robinhood is a broker that allows you to buy Bitcoin.

No matter where you purchase your Bitcoins, you will need a digital wallet to store them. It could be a hot wallet, or cold wallet. Hot wallets (also known as online wallets) are stored by exchanges or providers in the cloud. A cold wallet, also known as a mobile wallet, is an offline device that stores Bitcoin but is not connected to any internet. 

While Bitcoin can be expensive, some vendors allow you to buy fractional Bitcoin. Fees are a small percentage of the crypto transaction amount, but can add up to large-dollar purchases. Remember that Bitcoin purchases take longer than other equity investments. It may take up to 10-20 minutes for your Bitcoin transaction to appear in your account, as it must be verified by the blockchain.

Investing In Bitcoin

You can invest in Bitcoin like a stock. Bitcoin IRAs are a special retirement account that allows you to buy and hold Bitcoin. No matter where your Bitcoin is held, there are many ways to invest it. Some people buy and hold for the long-term, others buy and sell when prices rise, while others place bets on Bitcoin’s price falling. 

Important note: Although crypto-based funds can be used to diversify crypto holdings and reduce risk, they still have significantly more risk and are subject to higher fees than broad-based index funds that have proven steady returns. For investors who want to steadily grow their wealth, index-based mutual funds and exchange-traded fund (ETFs) may be a good option.

Although many financial professionals support clients’ desire for cryptocurrency to be purchased, they won’t recommend it unless clients are interested. Some planners recommend cryptocurrency for their clients’ side investments due to its speculative nature. Make sure that it doesn’t take up too much of your portfolio than what you are willing to lose.


Information is for educational  purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Consult your financial advisor.

Categories Investing and Financial Planning
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The Reasons you are Losing Money Day Trading Stocks

Are you losing money day trading stocks? You may have heard the numbers that 95% of traders lost money or that just a couple of percent of traders earn a living at it.  The simple fact is many traders will lose money day trading stocks and it can not be easily prevented. All kinds of reasons are given for your losses, such as bad luck, poor cash management, poor time, or a bad plan.  The fact is, however, while you may make money in the short term, over the long-term you are more likely to lose trying to day trade, and should therefore most likely stick to longer-term investment strategies.


Stock Price Movement

To comprehend why many who trade stocks lose, we will need to understand how stock prices move and what causes them to move. In addition, we should take into account the high amount of folks who get involved directly as soon as the price is going to change. This is the place where the bulk of losses occur.

If a purchasing frenzy takes hold in a current market, it is difficult to observe the motion for what it is: something which will end. But at the present time, people view other folks purchasing, making them believe they should they purchase today then other people would purchase after them. Anytime you create a speculative buy, you’re doing this because you think other people would purchase after you, pushing up the price which permits you to sell for a gain.
Stock prices increase if more folks are stepping into purchase than are eager to sell. While we could do all kinds of fancy analysis and also create predictions, all we’re really doing is creating a wager that individuals will step in to purchase or sell. We’re analyzing individuals, since it’s individuals who purchase and market and cause stock price to proceed. And it is those who create repeating patterns, which we are able to trade from, in the financial markets.


Buying at the top

An uptrend is made by an increasing number of people continued to push the stock up. Folks will need to be ready to pay higher and higher prices. Finally, there are not any more individuals that are eager to purchase at higher prices, or you will find more people eager to sell than buy. The men and women who bought close to the top are left handed the losses.
One large issue is that a very high amount of individuals become involved directly close to the top.  After the masses have piled  there’s absolutely no one else to purchase and the men and women who bought previously in the tendency begin to market, which scares the men and women who purchased late in to sell, and the domino effect starts bringing down prices.

Let us look for instance: GameStop (GME) in 2021. Towards the beginning of 2021, a great deal more people became curious with the news on GameStop and the message boards. With all the news on GameStop there was a explosion, and a hope of quick wealth, bringing a completely new batch of buyers to the stocks.  While early on, GameStop made possible sense as an investment due to potential positive catalysts.  However, later these catalysts were already priced into the stock and that’s when the masses began to jump in and many sustained large losses.  Early investors were rewarded while late ones suffered losses.

Definitely, involvement was the greatest near the very top. While informed investors made money off this buying frenzy, the people who made the purchasing frenzy (and also the information shows they purchased in the top), dropped a great deal of cash.

The majority of men and women become concerned near turning points. Which means most men and women shed, and therefore are from the simple fact that the catalyst for turning the marketplace another way. There’s a limit to all, and also the mass frenzy triggers that limitation to be struck.
However, the marketplace keeps slumping greater and a number of those stragglers combine in and purchase. Some still hold out as well as the marketplace keeps ticking greater. Finally, most of the populace is bullish, and there are still a few stragglers, along with the market keeps moving up. At length, pretty much each man who may possibly buy is currently in, and marketplace plunges the other way.
When fund managers have practically no money available it means they’re fully invested on the sector which means a change is very likely to happen shortly. The dilemma is that the marketplace doesn’t generally reverse reduced before the funds/investors are in, and it does not move considerably higher until cash was pulled from the sector and many funds/investors are holding a lot of money to reinvest.

The marketplace is not likely to reverse to some substantial degree until nearly everyone is on both sides. Which means nearly everyone who joined the party late will lose. A whole lot of people might just opt to wait but will the marketplace. And when people are split, then the marketplace will proceed into a such fashion. Without a high number of individuals to make an intense, the marketplace will not hit an intense and reverse.

Not only are many people left holding the bag on top, they also often scared out of the  market at market bottoms. Their capitulation selling signifies there’s not any one left to market, so shortly after the purchase price starts climbing. Once the prognosis is the most gloomy, since everybody you know is losing money and everything you see on TV is how poor the markets really are, there’s strong incentive to market and follow the audience. Yet more, the audience makes a bad choice, which it can not help doing, and also the market turns another way.

The examples are only supposed to demonstrate that the majority of individuals shed by behaving in mass in precisely the exact same moment. The masses can not avoid it, since it’s there actions that exhausts the tendency and drawbacks it. Although a long-term graph of the market indicates the purchase price of stocks climbing, keep in mind that the majority of the individuals are flushed out since they’re purchasing near selling and peaks close slopes. Moreover, those long-term graphs of the stock exchange, such as the S&P 500 indicator, do not incorporate the stocks which have gone bankrupt or even fallen on tough times. The S&P 500 just includes top businesses. If a business starts losing money, it’s dropped from the catalog and consequently has no negative impact on it.


Following the Crowd

That is where ineffective traders fail and the audience loses money.  After you hear from the friends and the networking is how great that this advantage is performing, or how awful that advantage is performing, it is difficult to have a contrarian perspective. As people, we have a tendency to default to accessibility prejudice, which is presuming that which we hear frequently. Should you make a wager against everybody else and you’re incorrect, your buddies laugh at you or you’re feeling sheepish. You experience sorrow for missing while some gain.

There’s a social cost not to be a part of the audience. You can not speak about transactions with other people, or you have to tread carefully since the majority of folks won’t hold your opinion. Should you have an opposite view into the audience, and you’re right, people can despise you because you made cash while they lost their top. Sound absurd?

It’s extremely simple to think you can get out ahead of the crowd. Following through on this is rather difficult. that is the reason why audiences move collectively. Everybody in the audience thinks that. Furthermore, if you know bid and ask prices, once people begin to market there are just so many stocks are every cost level, and thus in the event that you would like to get out you want to market to a lower bid price, then a lesser price, then a lesser one. Everyone can not get out, just the fastest and most seasoned commonly get out before real harm is done.

Nonetheless, it isn’t the professional cash manager demonstrating their ignorance, it’s those critics who know nothing about market moves. Most marketplace movement is made by professional money managers that are handling trillions of dollars in resources, and by additional professionals/businesses. Many of those fund managers will under-perform. Nearly all traders and investors won’t beat the grade because they create and are part of the benchmark.
What’s really intriguing is that while a fantastic hedge fund may create a mean of 20% year during the previous twenty decades, the typical investor in that finance has a higher likelihood of earning less than that. Why? Since they spend and pull out their capital at the wrong time. Particular traders do be able to outperform consistently. A number of different dealers and novice traders return to the markets using a small number of bills and lose it. There’s a steady and constant stream of those folks. They nourish the kitties of these traders who are successful. Additionally, the fact that all these men and women pile into (from ) market tops (bottoms) means you will find positive opportunities for the ones that may maintain an objective eye on the marketplace.

For a person to win, somebody else has to lose or give up gain.
The huge returns which lure folks in droves into the markets are what generate huge returns for losses and others into the droves. Crowds can not create powerful tendencies until all are involved. A tendency will not stop until almost everyone is on board with the audience. Considering that the audience can not triumph, that means just a small fraction of people can.

Day traders get trapped in precisely the exact same audience behavior without understanding it. That increasing stock they see all morning before leaping in, just to get it move another way, is precisely the exact same happening on a smaller scale. They experience brief long bursts of emotion that lead to short and long term actions/reactions, all resulting in patterns that are observable on all time frames. You will find are also levels of bullishness and bearishness over time frames, meaning times the trends and reversals are going to be competitive and sometimes more sedate based on the number of dealers (and the people ) are included.
The most important thing is that traders should stick to some well-defined strategy and trade that strategy even if it’s uncomfortable. Because the majority of the populace is more than pleased to combine with the audience, by having subject together with an adequate strategy it’s likely to be among the few successful dealers that does not participate in the audience’s losing ways.


Think Independently to be successful

For people who actively wish to trade, do not be tempted into the general audience. Think independently, so doing your research. Have a look at charts and see how costs responded to unique occasions and cost patterns. Develop or find out strategies for benefiting from shared price patterns. You do not have to be correct all of the time, even if a pattern just works out 50 percent of this time, however if you earn more on winners than you shed on winners, that’s a winning blueprint. In producing your own trades according to your research and strategies you’ll at times be aligned with all the audience, and at times you won’t. However, it does not matter. You are trading your game, according to data you understand and trust from performing your study and analyzing your strategy.
When you’ve got a technique, switch off the TV, discussion boards, along with other’s views of this marketplace. You’ve completed the job on your strategies, so expect them. Everybody comes to trading stating they will be better than everybody else, or that they simply need a small taste of their profits and they’ll be happy. However, to earn money consistently means that you have to be at the top few percentage on the planet. Being at the top few percent of whatever is not simple. However, it can really be as straightforward as purchasing and holding an index fund to get a slow accumulation of earnings. That’ll place you ahead of a good deal of hedge fund shareholders. Or, if you would like higher yields that are certainly possible, it entails learning or developing plans and then placing them into training more actively
We’re just as great as our subject. We could be a fantastic trader daily, and stink bad another if we stop following our strategy. A lot of men and women feel that once they get profitable they could unwind. Can you see professional athletes simplicity away after they make it into the pros?
Those that survive like it. They like the challenge and the contest. People who adore trading will place in hours without day considering it. Individuals who just trade to earn a fast buck won’t ever have the ability to compete with the individual who enjoys it and immerses himself in the practice of studying and improving. Only trade in the event that you truly wish to. With no fire you’re at a massive disadvantage to the men and women who possess it.
While I think that it’s very important to clarify things people know what they’re getting into. You need a great deal of time to become successful at trading, and put in a great deal of time to keep that performance and attempt to improve. Though some with commitment, time, and enough funds can be successful in trading, the majority of folks will lose.   As people we have an option regarding how much effort we will put into it.

Categories Investing and Financial Planning
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April is National Financial Literacy Month

April is Financial Literacy Month, and it’s a great time to help improve financial literacy for everyone, especially our youth. With our ever changing financial system, it is even more important that students have the opportunity to learn about personal finances, and how the financial system works. Integrating financial topics into your classroom is important. Financial literacy is not something that should be taught in a single course. No matter what grade or content area there are many opportunities to teach students how to be financially proficient.

Through the entire month of April, organizations throughout the nation conduct an assortment of activities and execute initiatives designed to enhance financial literacy, particularly among our country’s youth, and also encourage financial well-being for many individuals.   Originally, NEFE turned Financial Literacy Day to the Jump$tart Coalition to promote one of its network of domestic partners and country coalitions. Jump$tart Coalition in 2000 started promoting April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month and afterwards, as only Financial Literacy Month. April is occasionally known as National Financial Capability Month, but whatever the tag, the attempt to increase consciousness regarding the importance of financial literacy and the requirement for successful financial education is a cooperative mission and a shared objective.

Originally, Financial Literacy Month advocates hoped it would ignite national, state, and local authorities, in addition to colleges, nonprofit organizations, companies, and people, to celebrate the month with financial literacy programs and actions. While no U.S. president has signed a statement officially declared the month, the House and Senate have completely supported National Financial Literacy Month through joint settlements. Through the years, Financial Literacy Month has also played a vital part in the national plan for financial literacy, not just in the United States but in other nations too. By devoting a month to financial literacy, policymakers acknowledged its significance before allowing financial disasters that cost people, families, communities, and nations when financial understanding is lacking.

The month is an outstanding opportunity to examine and update your own financial smarts. Whether you are just beginning or have been making your self knowledgeable for quite a while, it is never too late to find out about saving and enhancing your financial outlook. Creating a foundation and constructing financial understanding is the basis for a brighter future. National Financial Literacy Month places the significance of learning about financing as well as the tools to find out about them directly from the classroom, also.

Regardless of the era of our kids, placing the know-how and tools at their hands provides them the capability to make wise decisions today and in the foreseeable future. Invite your pupils to take part in a financial literacy program. Take the time to educate your kids more about financial responsibility and search resources and tools that will assist you direct them through the pitfalls. Stop by MoneyInstructor.com to learn more and utilize #FinancialLiteracyMonth and #MoneyInstructor to discuss on social networking.   We encourage everyone to promote financial education in this month and throughout the year.

Categories Kids & Money, Personal Finance, Teaching Money
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5 Ways To Make Sure You Don’t Have Any Credit Card Debt

At some point each of us will be approached to sign-up for a credit card. Some of us decide we don’t want to take up the offer, citing that we don’t want to have spiraling uncontrollable credit card debt. Others decide to take up the offer, and that’s exactly what happens – spiraling uncontrollable debt! However, there is a third way: take up the offer and make sure you don’t have any credit card debt, all you need to do is keep in mind the following:

It’s a credit limit, not unlimited credit!
A mistake common to most first time credit card users is that the credit card limit “needs” to be used. There also appears to be a common misunderstanding that credit cards are “free” credit. In fact, neither could be further from the truth. You don’t need to use the credit card limit, and it is not free credit! Conversely, if you want to affect a manageable credit card debt scheme, you’ll start to put away the money you would otherwise have spent on the credit card purchase into an interest-bearing savings account and then use this money to make the repayment of your credit card bill when you get your next statement.

Pay as you go, don’t go as you pay!
Another common mistake made by most credit card users is to use the credit card when they don’t have the ready means to make payment for the product being purchased in cash. Sensible credit card use, where you don’t encounter unmanageable levels of credit card debt, means that you pay off your credit card balance in full at the end of each statement period. Here, make no mistake about it, credit cards are dangerous and expensive means of funding debt if you do not have the intention to be disciplined enough to at least try to make the repayment in full each statement period. If need be, use the credit card again in the next statement period; but do everything in your power to make sure you clear the balance at the end of the statement period!

Don’t just pay it – look at it
A third common mistake made by credit card users is just to pay the minimum balance at the end of the statement period. It’s almost as if they’re ashamed to see how much they charged to their card. But, you should keep in mind that credit card fraud is rife and so you should check your credit card statement each period to make sure you have not been charged for something which you clearly did not charge to your card. This goes double if you have charged anything to your credit card over the internet. To this end, not reviewing your credit card statement at the end of each payment period is a sure fire way to ensuring that you’ll soon have an unmanageable credit card debt!

Calculate the interest & fees – don’t just take their word for it!
As with all matters of finance, if you want to ensure you use your credit card properly and do not encounter any excess or unmanageable credit card debt levels you’ll need to educate yourself on how the process of credit cards, their interest rates, and their fees work. Always keep in mind that it is not uncommon for people to make mistakes and a computer is only as good as the person programming it! So, although it may not happen often, there is a chance that you may spot a mistake in the calculation of interest and the fees payable.

If all else fails – don’t be afraid to cut your credit card up!
As soon as you start to think that your credit card debt levels are starting to take control of your life, the time has come for you to cut the card up and to start to eliminate the credit card debt as quickly as possible. Do not, at all costs, let the credit card debt take control over your financial well-being, or take the risk of spending many a sleepless night wondering how you are going to make your next credit card debt payment.

Categories Debt & Credit
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How to Deliver a Successful Training Course

Whether you just received an assignment from your boss to develop a training course, or you are a manager that wants to train your staff on specific skills, you may be wondering how to get started.  Not all companies have a training staff.  And, while most people have attended a training course at some point, few ever give thought to what it takes to develop and deliver a successful curriculum, until they are thrust into the spotlight.  Don’t panic!  There is a rational way to approach this.

First, you need to gather information.  If the task was assigned to you, find out from your manager what she wants to accomplish with this training.  What should the students know at the end of the class?  If you were going to issue a certificate, what would it certify your class members to do?  If you are the manager, sit down and think through what you want to accomplish with this training.  Set goals.  And develop an evaluation sheet for students to complete when they are finished with the course work.  Ask questions that will give you feedback about whether you met your goals.  Did they learn what you wanted them to learn?  Did they find the course interesting?  What would they want to see improved?  What did they like the best?

Next, you need to find out about the people who will attend the class.  Are their skills very diverse or are they all in the same profession with approximately the same knowledge base?  Teach to the lowest level student in the class.  If you have to spend an hour getting that one person up to speed, so as not to bore the others in the class, consider spending time with the student before the class, or giving them ‘pre-work’ to get them closer to the class average.

Depending on the class mix, and the type of people you are teaching, you might consider sending out an advance questionnaire.  If you are teaching upper management staff, and you don’t want to waste their time, you can find out what your boss expects, and get her permission to poll the students.  Find out what they want to get out of the class and what their hot buttons are, so you will be on target with your curriculum.  But understand that you can’t be all things to all people.  Try to hit 80% of the common factors defined in the questionnaire and you’ll be fine!

Before you send out announcements, decide how long this class will be.  The length of the session(s) will depend on the planned curriculum, who will be in the audience, and what you want to accomplish.  Be sure to include plenty of breaks so you don’t lose the attention of the class.  And, if the training or seminar is confidential or sensitive, you may want to seriously consider an off site location.

When you have all your information together, you can start to develop the training class.  Look at the time available; add in at least one 10-15 minute break for every 2 hours of teaching time.  Consider a longer lunch if you have managers or critical employees in the class.  They will need time to eat and make important phone calls before going back into the classroom.  Once you have calculated the break time, you can calculate the total hours of teaching time.  Subtract a small percentage for getting the class settled after each break, and for unexpected interruptions and questions.

Take your total available hours and break it down into components.  Assign times to each component so that you can use the agenda to let the class know what you are doing and when.  If there are segments that a particular member does not need to attend, they will know when they can leave without missing anything that is important to them.

Now, write your curriculum, including presentation slides, handouts and notes.  Mix up the media to keep it interesting.  Don’t just stand in front of a dark room and talk or you will hear a lot of snoring after the first hour.  Typically, the slot after lunch is the most deadly.  Serve a light lunch, and then keep the sessions interactive for at least the next hour, so that people do not fall asleep!  Keep the training sequence logical.  Don’t skip around.  Start with background and foundation, and then build on that until you get to the final segment.  Always test for understanding to be sure you aren’t leaving any student in the dust.  Leave time for questions and answers at the end of each day.  Use a mix of presentation/explanation, questions and answers, and interactive work.  Get people up out of their chairs!  Have them take notes on a flip chart, take a poll that requires voting, or break them up into small groups to come up with solutions to problems.  In other words, keep them involved!  If you are teaching a software course, you can give them individual exercises, followed by a group exercise using the software.  That will keep the group interaction at the right level and the class members are more likely to call on each other after the sessions are complete if they want to ask a question, or see what someone else remembers.  Building a class bond is a good thing!

You always want to offer support and be accessible after the sessions are over, in case students have questions.  Be sure to provide handouts and exercises so that they can review them if they need a refresher, and give them a place to take notes in their class notebook.  Provide all the supplies they need for the course, and meals and break snacks.  And don’t forget proper ventilation (not too warm and not too cold) and comfortable chairs.

There you have it!  That is, by no means, all there is to know, but it will get you started.  Good luck on your teaching venture.

Categories Business, Communication Skills, Sales and Marketing
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World Economics

The study of world economics (also called international economics) is the study of all of the factors that influence the movement of goods and money around the world, and because it is so intricately tied, the related politics. This includes trade and trade policies, justifications for protection, currency systems and exchange rates, the monetary and fiscal policies of world governments and economic development.


Trade and trade policies

Trade policies can be most simply divided into two schools of thought: free trade and protected trade. Free trade proponents advocate a system of trade whereby all goods would cross all country borders freely, without restrictive taxes or import duties.  In this theory, the efficiency gained by each country producing what it produces best and cheapest overrides any losses by individuals who produce those same goods and will lose their advantage when imported goods are introduced. There are two types of efficiencies addressed in this theory: production efficiency and consumption efficiency. Production efficiency recognizes that some countries that can produce more of a good or service (with the same amount of resources) than others.  Consumption efficiency recognizes that consumers in a free trade environment will have a greater collection of goods and services from which to choose.  The proponents of protected trade seek to protect individual industries and even companies within a country from what they perceive as unfair competition.


Justifications for protection  

The justifications for protection include the potential for unemployment, development of new industries, national security and the threat of foreign monopolies. Some concerns envelope more than one of these aspects. For instance, protection of the American steel industry is deemed important not only for the jobs that are lost when the steel mills close down, but also the concern that a nation such as the United States should not become totally reliant upon foreign steel. In addition, it is charged that foreign steel industry is only successful because of protectionism and the monopolistic policies of foreign governments.


Currency systems and exchange rates

A currency system is the medium of exchange that a country uses to settle its debts with other countries. Most countries have their own exchange rate. (Although, since 2002, most of the member countries of the European Community have agreed to use the same currency, the Euro, and drop the mark, franc, florin, lira, etc.) But many countries that have a currency of their own which they use for domestic settlements may use a benchmark currency to settle international trade or debt. This so-called “settlement currency” is usually the United States dollar.

The exchange rate is a quotation given by stating the number of units of a country’s currency that can be bought in terms of 1 unit of another country’s currency. For example, if we say that the Euro-U.S. Dollar exchange rate is 1.2 USD per Euro, that tells us that it will take 1.2 U.S. Dollars to get 1 Euro.


Monetary and fiscal policies of world governments

Most governments view their role in economics as a balance in which they have to protect their citizens from adverse movements in the economy such as unemployment, inflation and economic hardship with the needs of the security of the nation. Governments use two main tools for achieving these objectives: fiscal policy, which is the level of spending by the government and the imposition of taxes and issuance of debt to fund that spending, and monetary policy, through which governments attempt to manage inflation by managing the supply of money.  The fiscal policy of a government  determines what the government should be spending money on, the protection of the nation or social programs or which combination of both and, once decided upon, whether taxes will be raised to pay for the programs or whether government bonds will be issued to raise these funds voluntarily. The monetary policy of a government attempts to achieve certain economic goals such as lowering inflation, raising employment levels or spurring economic growth. This is done through managing the money supply by changing interest rates (through buying or selling their own currency) or by changing reserve requirements of banks,  (open market operations), and setting the reserve requirements, the amounts banks have to leave on deposit with the central bank, thus loosening or tightening the amount of money in circulation.


Economic development

Each unit of government, from the national level all the way down to towns and municipalities are interested in fostering the economic development of their constituent area.  Even on an international scale, organizations such as the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, set goals and design programs to spur controlled economic growth.  On national and local government levels, governments establish many organizations with the purpose of generating new jobs or retain existing jobs, and stimulating industrial and commercial growth.

A nation’s economic development policy, coupled with its trade policies, economic protection systems, manipulations of currency, monetary and fiscal policies will strongly influence its politics and its relations with other nations.


Categories Economics
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