How to Start Investing with Only $100

Who said you need hundreds of dollars to become an investor? Most average income earners don’t have fat bank accounts that can be readily invested. However, that doesn’t mean the struggling workers cannot actually double or quadruple cash assets by investing. If you have $100, you can become an investor. Here are several ways you can do this:

Open a Savings Account

The easiest and the simplest way to start investing is by opening a savings account. Rather than let your cash sit under the mattress or get spent in a checking account, open a savings account. Your cash will actually grow each month and each year with interest payments.

Most savings accounts generate low yields, but your money will be protected. Savings accounts are one of the least risky ways to invest. You can make money as long as the annual interest rate is above the inflation rate. Even if the bank’s interest rate is lower than that, you would have more money at the end of the year than when you opened the account.

So if you have $100, instead of spending it, put it in a savings account. This could be the start of an emergency fund or a way to save for covering the down payment of a house in the future.

Buy Low-Cost Stock (Carefully)

Buying stock doesn’t have to cost you hundreds of dollars. In fact, there’s a whole “wild west” part of the stock market that deals with so-called penny stocks, which is anything that costs less than $5. Not all low-cost stocks belong to this category. But you can buy plenty of penny stocks with mere change.

There are two things every amateur investors should know about these low-cost stocks: they are cheap and they are also very high-risk. The low-cost stock sector is notorious for scams, particularly email scams. Therefore, newbie investors should proceed with caution. It should be noted, however, that some low-cost stocks are actually legitimate. There are plenty of stories about how investors bought these stocks for as cheap as a dollar only to see the value increase to $10 in two weeks.

Penny stocks are a great option when you don’t have enough cash to invest in any “serious” assets. However, buying cheap stock is not a gamble. With the right amount of research and know-how, you can avoid the pernicious scams and make real money.

Invest in a Crowdfunding Idea

If you want to invest in a promising small business, investors typically need more than a hundred bucks, but not online. Platforms like Kickstarter allow entrepreneurs and innovators to accept tiny loans from interested investors. Browse a crowdfunding site for a business idea that you think might pay off. You can invest in return for free products or stakes in the company, depending on what the borrower is willing to return for the money.

You can get the best returns with crowdfunders who will return your cash with interest once their idea has come to fruition. However, be careful about whom you crowdfund. Find crowdfunders with a track record of delivering to protect your investment. Some may be willing to offer security for your money.

As you can see, there are plenty of lucrative ways you can invest a mere $100. It’s recommended to start early with small amounts to gain experience and knowledge. Later, you will be confident enough to invest larger sums.

Bankruptcy Benefits You Want To Know More About

When you declare bankruptcy you go through a highly emotional moment. Stress will pile up and what you do is going to affect your self-image, reputation and future credit. Every person that files for bankruptcy goes through the struggles of rebuilding credit while loan securing becomes a challenge. Lifestyle changes happen and you are faced with a rollercoaster of emotions. However, this does not mean everything will be bad.

What many do not realize is that bankruptcy also has some serious advantages. They do offer relief if you are faced with debt. You can avoid the letters and phone calls that demand payments and the entire process is nowadays much simpler than it used to be, especially when hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney. In order to offer the information you need, remember that bankruptcy filing brings in the following important advantages:

  • Older liabilities (those that are over 3 years old) will go away.
  • Repossessions, missed debt payments, lawsuits and defaults that could hurt credit score more are avoided.
  • You can start rebuilding credit sooner rather than later.
  • While student loan debt cannot be eliminated, bankruptcy will stop lenders form using their aggressive collection actions.
  • The fact that you will lose credit cards is actually an advantage since this removes the appeal of using them and ending up in more debt.
  • You get a new start as you face the reality you are bankrupt.
  • You avoid the embarrassment of having to go through dunning letters, phone calls from your creditors, cancelled CC cards and declined authorizations for credit charges.
  • You avoid having your name listed in the papers or in court records because you are sued.
  • You can still obtain loans from lenders that are specialized in dealing with people in your situation.
  • State exemptions will allow you to avoid the situation in which several owned items will be repossessed.
  • Trustees and judges surely heard stories that are way worse than yours and the fact that you file for bankruptcy means you take responsibility. This can actually give you preferential treatment.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, filing for bankruptcy is not a bad thing. In fact, in the event your experienced bankruptcy lawyer recommends it, this is exactly what you should do. There are so many situations in which bankruptcies proved to be the best thing that happened to someone, simply because it offers a brand new financial start. It is tough but it is much easier than having to deal with fighting a constant bad financial situation without having any real way of getting out of debt.

The only thing that does need to be added is that it is really important to hire a highly experienced bankruptcy attorney. His/her help will be really valuable as you are 100% sure all documents are properly filed and you are represented in front of authorities. Whenever you look for a bankruptcy attorney, always hire the best one you can find. This is the smartest thing you can do to get you back on track.

How to grow your income as a Canadian in the USA

Every person dreamt at least one time to start their own business. The process itself can be considered an exciting venture, but if you are a Canadian in the USA and you plan to do it, then you can find the process as quite scary. Changes happen every day, especially when it comes to rules for foreigners to grow a business in the USA, and you find difficult to keep up with them. You may even ask yourself sometimes, if this is the path you want to follow, and if you should build your business here, or you should go back home. Well, the first thing you should keep in mind is that the United States is a welcoming state when it comes to foreign investors, and it will continue to be for the years that are about to come.  Also, you will not have any difficulty if you want to incorporate your business into their industry, because there are various resources you can take advantage of. Here are the steps that will help you become a wealthy Canadian in the USA.

Check the types of entities you can open in the US without being a resident

In case you want to open a business in the USA, then you should know that you can choose from two different types of entities: corporation and Limited Liability Company. Also, you have the possibility to opt for an additional variant the S-Corporations. The majority of people will probably advise you to opt for the C-Corp option, but there are more advantages you will benefit from if you will decide to open an LLC. The main one is that it has a limited liability form, and this means that the members funding it are protected from personal liability when it comes to business actions and decisions. This means that your personal assets will not be in danger in case you make a bad investment.

Another great benefit you will have if you will opt for an LLC, instead of a C or S-Corp is that you will not have to deal with the same strict record-keeping rules. But multiple new companies founded by foreigners have the form of a C-Corporation, because this form offers you the possibility to expand the business by offering you an unlimited stock. Also, as a foreign investor you may find this option more suitable, because it can protect you from the close IRS involvement.

Do you need a visa if you want to open a business in the USA?

Well, the answer is yes, but you have multiple options from which you can choose. The most popular one for Canadians is the E-2 visa. If you want to obtain this type of visa then you will have to meet certain requirements. You have to be a citizen of one of the states that are members of the Treaty of Friendship Commerce, or Navigation with the USA. And as you already know Canada is part of the treaty, so you will have no issues to meet this criterion.

The second criterion requires you to have invested or to plan to invest a large sum of money in a USA company. There is not a certain amount of money established by the rules at the present moment, but in order to have chances to get the visa you should prove that you plan to invest more than $100k. The rules state that it has to be a substantial part of your personal funds. The final criterion asks you to show that you are able to control share of your company.

This visa also offers your spouse the possibility to get a work visa, and it will be renewed indefinitely.

Consider taking advantage of the Delaware trust

It does not matter where your home state is, you can benefit from the Delaware trust. Why should you consider this option? Well, because the diversity and power of the US is enormous when compared with the one of states like Canada. If you want to find more about the process of purchasing 1031 exchange properties for sale, then you should know that you will have the advantage of getting into a business that will last. It will offer you the possibility to preserve your family funds and you will also benefit of asset protection.

What company registration implies?

Every state in the US requires different steps in the registration of the company. Also, the steps differ according to the type of entity you want to establish, because if you want to form an LLC, you will have to follow different steps than if you want to form a C-Corp. The Delaware process is the right model to check if you want to know what the basic steps are.

  • You will have to choose a unique name for your business, one that it is not already registered. If you want to check the name, then you can use the trademark database offered by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
  • You have to check if you or the named company agent are able to receive your business legal documents.
  • You will have to fill out a certificate of incorporation. In this document you will have to state the name of the business, your address, or the address of the company’s agent, the name and legal address of the incorporator, and the values of the authorizes shares. The fee for this document starts from $89 and it can raise according to the type of company and amount of stock issued.
  • You will have to pay a franchise tax and to file an incorporation report
  • You will have to get an employer identification number, because this is the only way you will be able to hire employees, pay taxes, open a bank account for your business and obtain other licenses required by the process.

If you need further help in the process, then you can check the resources offered by the US Small Business Administration, because they provide comprehensive information foreigners could use.


The Three Most Common Financial Mistakes Made by Young People

NerdWallet’s CEO and Founder, Tim Chen, recently told reporters that his personal finance website sees several serious financial mistakes that young people are consistently making today. He says that if these problems are recognized and corrected early in a young person’s life they will can find peace of mind while building a secure financial future for themselves and those they may be taking care of.

Chen is quick to add that most young people are not well-grounded in financial planning, that it is rarely  spoken about at home when they are growing up or offered as a class at many institutions of higher learning. But in these uncertain times, when inflation threatens and financial institutions are being freed from many previous restrictions and guidelines that are meant to protect consumers, becoming something of a financial planner is going to become a necessary skill set for survival. Yet very few young people in the United States take the time or trouble to think deeply about their personal finances or consult with financial planning experts, especially since many of them unfortunately are just coming out of a drug detox as well. Chen suggests that young adults concentrate on these three areas of their financial lives:

How to handle a 401(k) account

Retirement funds from a job are most commonly packaged as 401(k) accounts. These accounts are an excellent way to begin saving up for retirement, and most major and middling companies now offer their employees a 401(k) account as one of the main benefits of employment. Yet because young people so often change companies in America’s so-called gig economy, they can easily neglect, or completely forget, to rollover their accounts from their old job to their new job. Chen says that doing this is not rocket science, but just common sense. New federal regulations make it relatively easy for account owners to initiate the rollover within sixty days of starting a new job. Chen notes that usually after sixty days the companies that manage a 401(k) account will begin charging up to two percent for managing fees if the account is no longer active. This can add up to a significant loss if the account is neglected for years on end. Keeping the account active at a new place of employment prevents that from happening.

Refinancing loans to reduce interest payments

Many young people are under the impression their student loans, car loans, and first mortgages are locked in at a particular interest rate that can never be changed. But this is not the case. Most young people don’t take the time to check to see if they can get a better finance rate on a loan as their credit score improves over the years, or as interest rates themselves fluctuate. Chen suggests that young people reassess their loan payments every six months to see if they can find a better rate.

Too much month at the end of the money

Many young people, says Chen, make the mistake of letting their spending control them, instead of controlling their money with a simple budget plan. It all boils down to spending less than is earned. One example is to budget for eating out — once the limit is reached each month, the discipline of a budget kicks in and no more drive through meals or takeout happens. It’s an easy skill to learn. Keep credit cards for emergencies only.


How To Make Money As A Freelancer

According to a study commissioned by the Freelancers Union, the number of freelancers in the Americas is expected to top 50% of the total population by 2020. As the on-demand economy picks up, more and more people in the working age have started picking freelance gigs over a steady paycheck.

There are a few reasons to this. Freelancing allows workers to choose their work timings. Also, freelance workers tend to diversify their income sources and this can very well make up for the uncertainty that comes with the absence of a salaried job.

But getting into freelancing is not always easy. This is especially true if you offer online services where you compete with workers from all over the world. Workers from countries such as India and the Philippines often succeed in undercutting your prices. The challenge as a new entrant to the industry is thus not only about winning customers, but also making sufficient income through freelancing.

Increase Productivity

One of the best ways to make money as a freelancer is by increasing productivity. It is a good idea to use tools and software applications that can make your job easier and more valuable. With this strategy, you could reduce the time you spend working on each project. This allows you to take up more projects and thus make up for your low hourly fee.

Let us take the example of a freelance graphic designer who designs logos for her clients. In a typical logo design project, the service provider is expected to understand the client’s brand concept and come up with at least half a dozen logo options. The client then picks their favorite from this list. It can take at least a day for a logo designer to work on even the simpler projects.

Such a freelancer may instead make use of online logo makers like this one from Designhill. This AI tool accepts user inputs related to the client’s brand name, design styles, brand colors and industry to deliver a variety of high quality logos within minutes. In essence, a freelancer may bring down the time it takes to create an assorted list of high quality logos from several hours to minutes.

Using such productivity tools also help with converting more clients. On freelance marketplaces like Freelancer, Designhill and Elance, logo design projects invite hundreds of workers to bid on each project. You may stand out from the crowd of competitors by submitting a bid that includes a sample of such high quality logos. Clients are more interested to work with your business when they have an idea of what to expect.

Target Premium Clients

It can be extremely challenging for a new freelancer to make a mark for themselves. Most freelancers choose to overcome this challenge by competing on price. The trouble with this strategy is that undercutting your competitors on price only gets you low quality clients. In addition to paying less for your time, such clients are also routinely demanding and this makes your job even harder. Such projects suck up time and leave you with fewer resources to go seeking for better projects.

A better way to deal with this challenge is by targeting high value clients. Premium clients expect their service providers to have adequate experience in their industry. This is a luxury for someone new to the industry. You may however overcome this challenge by offering a ‘pay for performance’ deal. This is how it works – freelancers quote high for their client projects but however provide the client with the freedom to not pay if they are not satisfied.

This offers your clients with an irresistible deal which overrides any concerns they may have about your lack of experience. Although such campaigns run the risk of not being paid for, it is worth noting that clients love to work with high quality freelancers. So as long as you provide great service, you should not have any trouble getting paid for your projects. Once you have gathered sufficient experience, you may seek new clients on the basis of this portfolio.

Winning projects as a new freelancer is not easy. However, the tips provided above should help you kick-start your venture and build a brand and portfolio for your business.


Top 4 Reasons to Consider Refinancing Your Settlement Loan

Not everyone knows that it’s possible to refinance a settlement loan. In fact, there are times when refinancing will provide quite a few benefits. Before assuming you have the best arrangement possible, it pays to consider these possible advantages. If one or more of them applies to you, it’s time to talk with a company that offers refinancing options.

Lock in Lower Rates and Fees

At the time you secured the settlement loan, the rates and fees associated with it seemed to be fine. After all, everything would be taken care of once the settlement was granted and the obligation to the lender was fulfilled. Your main purpose was to secure the money needed to take care of basic living expenses, medical costs, and other obligations as you waited for the settlement to take place.

Now that some of the pressure is off, revisit the terms and conditions related to your present settlement loan. Is the interest rate really the best you could get? Would a different lender provide an arrangement with fewer fees and charges? When you find a lender who does offer better terms overall and who is willing to refinance the settlement loan, see how quickly the refinancing can be completed. If it’s managed before the settlement actually comes through, you could end up receiving a greater share of the money.

No Additional Application Fees

One of the things that sometimes stops people from exploring refinancing options is having to pay another round of application or other fees. What may surprise you is that not all lenders will charge more fees to refinance the obligation. In other words, you have the possibility of ending up with a better deal without paying anything extra.

Think of what that means if you secured some type of settlement funding to cover current and pending medical expenses. If you find someone who offers better terms for medical expense loans, you can refinance the obligation and not have to absorb any type of additional costs. You still have the money needed to cover your medical needs, and retain more of the settlement once the court makes a decision.

Change the Disbursement Options

Most settlement loan providers offer more than one option for disbursing funds. You can get a lump sum or receive monthly stipends of an agreed upon amount. What happens if you want to change the disbursement method? Some providers are flexible enough to allow a switch. Others will not change the disbursement option after the first one is sent to the debtor.

If your current provider will not change the disbursement plan, a different provider may be willing to refinance the total amount and allow you to change the way the money is received. Better yet, that provider may have provisions for changing the disbursement method at certain intervals. For example, you may have the option of switching from monthly disbursements to a lump sum disbursement at the beginning of each calendar year. That is a nice feature that comes in handy if your personal circumstances change before your personal injury case is finally settled in court.

Retain More of Your Settlement Once It’s Reached

Typically, the responsible party pays the amount ordered by the court and the funds are forwarded to your legal counsel. The lawyer receives his or share for services rendered, then the settlement company receives payment for all funds disbursed. Whatever is left is remitted to you. That remainder is affected by the interest and fees owed to the settlement company.

The bottom line is that if you can refinance the settlement loan and owe less to the lender, you end up with more of the settlement money once your case is completed. Those funds can be used for anything you like.

Are you getting the best terms from your current settlement loan provider? If not, look into

settlement loans refinancing from today. Arrange to have a professional compare the specifics of your current loan with what this provider can offer. It won’t take long to determine if refinancing would be to your advantage.


3 Tips for Balancing Your Savings and Paying Down Debt

Choosing whether to save or pay off debts can be a difficult decision. Saving money for a rainy day or retirement seems like a top priority, but will your debts linger on for years to come? 

Managing debt and maintaining savings is tailored to each individual, and different strategies can be implemented in helping to achieve your goals. Here are three tips on how to maintain a balance between paying down debt and saving.

Learn to Budget

The first step to managing your finances better is learning how to budget. Knowing your expenditure can seem like a scary thought at first, but creating a budget helps to prioritize financial obligations.

Start with your monthly income after tax, and then list your expenses. According to Certified Financial Planner, Jeff Rose, it’s best to separate your expenses into three categories.

  • Fixed: rent and debt repayments (these expenses are necessities).
  • Variable: groceries, travel expenses and utility bills (expenses that can be adjusted).
  • Optional: expenses that aren’t necessary, such as going to the movies, out to restaurants or on vacation (expenses that you can live without).

Breaking down expenses into categories helps identify optional expenses. By reducing them, you’re saving money.

Refinancing Debt

Gather information and find out the total amount owed, the interest charges, and the terms of the loans like how long you have to pay. 

Student loan refinancing can be one of the most effective ways to lower your monthly outgoings and help make your finances more manageable. Refinancing is essentially applying for a private loan at a much lower interest rate, and that could potentially save you thousands of dollars. Refinancing companies tend to be strict in terms of eligibility. Most lenders will want to see a steady stream of income, ability to manage finances, and good credit history.

Paying Down Debt First

Now that you have an idea of where you can free up some cash, it’s time to prioritize paying down larger debts first and paying the minimum towards debts with lower interest rates.

Donald Hammond, MBA, CFP, and executive vice president at Maritime Financial Group suggests:

“List your debt from the highest interest rate to the lowest. Pay off the highest-interest cards and loans first, paying more than the minimum each month. Continue to at least make minimum payments on the rest. Work your way down until everything is paid off.”

With this method, Hammond suggests to get more aggressive on larger debts with higher interest rates. For example, paying $400 towards a credit card with an interest rate of 17 percent is going to be more effective than paying down a credit card with an interest rate of 7 percent. 

You Can Do It

Saving for the future and paying down debt doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Establish a budget, and you’ll get a clear picture of which outgoings can be tweaked to save money. The methods listed above are a strategy to chip away at your debts, maintain savings, and bring you one step closer to becoming debt-free. 

Extra Income for Artistic Types

It’s the ever-present bane of someone in the arts: how to actually make an income. Very few actors, painters, writers, and musicians can actually make a full living simply doing their craft and nothing else. Rarely does anyone actually become wealthy by it. Most artists take on a second (or third, or fourth) job in order to make ends meet. Waiting tables may be the classic method to go about generating income, but there are other, less exhausting options as well that provide the flexibility to let you pursue your craft while you make some dough.


If you have a particularly sought-after skill, such as web design, copy editing, or blog writing, freelancing may be a great option for you. As a freelancer, you hire yourself out to clients to perform a task for them. For instance, a company may need someone to proofread their monthly newsletter, but they don’t want to hire someone permanently just for that task. They will turn to a freelancer to do it as a one-off project or even on an ongoing basis. As a freelancer, you pick what projects you want to do, and you essentially piece together your own schedule, leaving you the time to pursue your art. Lots of freelance jobs are also remote, which means that you may even be able to work while you travel.

Freelancing can be great for artistic types, because you can freelance as you do your craft. An actor may go into voice-over work. A pianist may hire him or herself out to play for weddings and parties.

The drawback with freelancing is that it can be a bit tough to get started. Freelance platform sites like Upwork and MediaBistro can be great, but the competition is fierce. You might start by marketing yourself via word-of-mouth to friends and colleagues.

You also need to know how to file taxes as a freelancer. You should fill out a W-9 for your clients, get a 1099 form from the client (if you earned more than $600), and fill out a 1040 form for the IRS. How much you earn will determine the other types of forms you use. Since you’re self-employed, you won’t have part of your income withheld, so you may face a large sum come tax time. In order to keep this large amount from catching you off-guard, either stash away a percentage of your income every month or file taxes quarterly. You’ll have a lot of stuff you can write off, however. Keep track of everything that might be a business expense, right down to your computer! A good accountant can also help you figure out what you can write off.

Day Trading

If you’ve got a knack for numbers and tend to obsess over things, you might look into part-time trading. It usually takes about one to three hours of your time each day (during the official opening and closing of the market), especially once you get into the flow of it.

Trading, whether full-time or part-time, takes strategy and know-how. For instance, you should know what the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is. (It measure the speed and change of stock prices in order to determine if stocks are being overbought or oversold.) Make sure you educate yourself on a solid RSI trading Strategy from a reputable source.

There are some essential tips you should keep in mind if you’re a first-time trader. For instance, rather than jumping around from strategy to strategy, pick one and stick with it. As you gather facts about trading, make sure you learn how to trade as well. You might start with this strategy developed by a veteran part-time trader to help simplify and streamline the process for beginners.

And you can’t slack on it! Trading, even part-time, means you have to monitor the market all the time and make carefully-planned decisions. You can’t just trade when you feel like it; you have to dedicate yourself to a daily regimen. There’s not a lot of room for error. In the early days, you should also have another job, because you probably will make a lot of mistakes. Over time, though, successful trading can give you the flexibility you need to travel and say, “Yes,” to projects that forward your artistic career.


Lots of artists turn to temping as a way to make money. Temp jobs can last for one day, or they can last for months. If you are good at data entry, handling phones, or even cleaning, a temp agency may be a good way to go.

A temp job could be anything from covering the front desk for a day, stepping into retail service during Christmas, or stepping into a personal assistant role for a few months while the permanent employee is on maternity leave. You may go into a temp job knowing the exact end date, or you may go into one that turns into a permanent position–temp-to-hire is a common route lots of companies and employees take. And it’s a good way to learn new skills and make connections–that way, if you’re in a car wreck, you can call up that personal injury lawyer Surrey you worked for for a summer and get some advice.

When you apply for a temp agency, they do the vetting and interview process, so companies looking for, say, a new receptionist already know they have good options. And you can always turn down a temp job. Granted, you may have a maximum number of jobs you can reject, but if you are getting called for work on a day-by-day basis, and you have a gig come up, you do have the opportunity to decline. Since you’re technically hired by the staffing agency, you may be eligible for employer insurance if you work enough hours. And if there aren’t jobs available, lots of temp agencies will let you work a half-day for them, so you’re at least getting some pay for the day.

Of course, temping also means changing jobs frequently and having to get used to a new workplace environment time and time again. But if you want to financially support a life in the arts, temping may be a good, well, temporary way to pay the bills while you get established as an artist.

How Blockchain Can Change the World’s Financial System

Cryptocurrencies are volatile, and while they may have been a great investment for some, it’s unlikely that people would want their paycheck to be in bitcoin or a cryptocurrency. The world’s financial and retail markets are not designed to handle bitcoin or cryptocurrencies yet.

You can’t go into Walmart and make a purchase with bitcoin.

Volatility is the main factor holding cryptocurrencies back from going mainstream. But blockchain technology is much closer to changing the financial system.

Blockchain Has the Potential to Reduce Fees

Big banks have spoken, and Santander, a major European bank, suggests that blockchain could save banks $20 billion in fees. The report suggests that blockchain technology has the potential to:

  • Increase product confidence
  • Allow for near-instant clearing
  • Reduce the margin of error
  • Include transaction irreversibility

Distributed ledger technology has the potential to save big banks money, but there’s no certainty that this savings will be passed on to the customer. Banks will benefit from less intermediary services being required, reduced errors and faster clearing.

Smart Contracts are Possible

Smart contracts are the wave of the future. These contracts are built into the blockchain and are often called self-executing contracts. From a financial perspective, smart contracts may offer the most exciting development in the financial industry in centuries.

The development is simple:

  • Conditions are built into a smart contract
  • The contract executes based on the conditions

If a web host required a smart contract, it may require $100 to be paid before the hosting environment was unlocked. A smart contract would wait for the $100 condition to be met before allowing the site owner to access the resources.

The contract could be used for anything, from product purchases to real estate purchases.

Smart contracts eliminate costly legal fees and are designed for precision. There’s less risk of fraud or contractual agreements not being made.

Peer-to-Peer Investing Options

The Harvard Business Review explains that blockchain allows new businesses to access growth capital much faster than with traditional means. Access to growth capital is done in a different way with blockchain than the traditional initial public offering or venture capital.

Peer-to-peer lending is an option that allows for lending through initial coin offerings, or ICOs.

ICOs have come under great scrutiny because a lot of the companies offering ICOs are fraudulent. But the ability to raise money has been impressive. Blockchain companies raised $200 million in funding through ICOs in 2016.

Risky and not recommended for the new investor just yet, companies in the future may build upon ICOs to fund their growth rather than go into IPOs.

Federal governments are also using blockchain technology to their advantage, with many considering their own cryptocurrency. There’s a potential for a future FedCoin, which Yale University has proposed. A FedCoin would allow for negative interest rates in the financial market, and monetary policies would be more enforceable and flexible, too.

The Bank of England also conducted a report stating that a central-bank virtual currency has the potential to boost the country’s GDP by 3%. There are a lot of legal and consumer hurdles that need to be met before a FedCoin becomes truly viable, but blockchain has the potential to change the financial industry like no other technology available.

Demand for Gold Weakest Since 2008, Is it Still a Good Investment?

This week saw Gold rise to a 2018 high as investors reacted to the widely expected decision by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates unchanged.

Hovering around the $1300 mark, gold has proven to be a more volatile commodity over the last few years, with stronger fluctuations than in previous decades. What was once considered a safe, no frills investment has recently had to compete with rising interest rates and more volatile markets in general. The introduction of cryptocurrencies into the equation and its volatility has impacted upon other assets prices, gold included. So, is Gold still the ‘safe’ investment as before and is it still a good investment?

In a report released by the World Gold Council, it was revealed that gold demand recorded its weakest first quarter of the year for a decade. Total global demand for the yellow metal stood at 973.5 tonnes in the period between January to March. This was down 7% on a yearly basis and the weakest first quarter since the financial crisis of 2008.

The largest decline in demand came from the investment sector, with gold IRA companies reporting coin and bullion consumption down by 15 percent.

So, if demand is falling and the price stagnating, is Gold a good investment? Well, Ron Paul seems to think so. The former Congressman and Presidential candidate said in an interview with CNBC that people should purchase gold to protect themselves against a 50% correction in the equity markets.

“The fundamentals show that the spenders are in Washington. They’re alive and well. The deficit is skyrocketing like never before. The market is destined to go down.” Said the libertarian.

Gold has always traditionally been seen as a safe haven investment. When there are political, economic and geopolitical concerns, people turn to gold as a safe investment. What we are seeing at the moment, is that the possibility that rising global tensions will support gold buying in the foreseeable future. Trade war talks between the two largest economies in the world – the US and China, if degenerates further could see gold as a safer investment that stocks, which would get affected most by an escalating trade war.

Another reason to think that gold will find further support are geopolitical concerns in the Middle East (again!) If tensions escalate further with Iran, the low risk element of gold will attract investment.

However, keeping gains in check will be rising interest rates. Although the Fed decided to keep interest rates on hold this, it is anticipated that there will be at least two more interest rate hikes before year is out. Any raise would boost the US Dollar and make push dollar priced commodities such as Gold and Silver a more expensive and less attractive investment.

There’s every reason to believe that gold can climb higher this year, possibly above the $1600 mark. A lot will depend on whether there is a crash or market correction in equities, but gains will be kept in check by rising interest rates worldwide. Overall, it’s hard to see gold down lower than it is and it’s still a good investment with some modest gains to be made this year at least.