2018 Financial tips

Things are bound to change in 2018, and there will be many milestones we will reach, but it is important to set financial goals on an urgent basis so that you do not make a mess of the opportunities you’ll get in the coming years. With this, let us focus on the following financial tips that should be incorporated into your financial planning chart for 2018.

1. Spend less on luxuries and more on achieving your goals

As noted above, we are confident that you’ll get many opportunities in 2018 and if you want to make the most of the possibilities available, you should make sure that your funds are invested in the right direction. So, make sure that you do not spend unnecessarily on luxuries and invest most of your earnings on achieving your goals set for 2018 and the coming years.

2. Make sure that you improve your credit rating constantly

A Dent in your rating can be difficult to be repaired over a period, and so it is important to be sure that you make constant attempts to improve your credit rating and never let it fall. This is important because it will help you and get the necessary business loan if needed. We are not saying that you cannot survive without a business loan, but if there is an urgent need and the same can be satisfied by your credit rating, you should make sure that you maintain it. Another point to be seen is that a strong credit report will also help you in getting some of the best credit cards available for you.

3. Contribute to a retirement plan

It is important to contribute to a retirement plan and start with it as soon as possible. Remember that you can contribute a certain sum of your total earnings to a retirement fund and make sure that you do not have to be dependent on anyone post-retirement. With this, it is important to analyze the age of retirement even. Depending on your age, the amount to be contributed can be modified and thus, the desired level of satisfaction will be achieved.

4. Create an emergency fund

It is suggested to have an emergency fund that can help you get out of trouble when there is no other alternative available. Many people create an emergency fund but use it for their luxuries, and this is not the right thing to do. It is an emergency fund, and you should use that only in case of an emergency.

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Ed Rempel – Not Sold on ETF’s and Index Funds

Why I Won’t Own an Index Fund or ETF

 Skilled Fund Managers

Many investors are skeptical that there exist fund managers who have skill and who can beat the index over the long-term. Other investors believe that there are fund managers who have skill, but that it’s impossible to identify them ahead of time.

There are skilled fund managers that can be identified ahead of time. I know quite a few of them. You just have to look using the right criteria.

Identifying Skill

When looking at funds, many investors take an objective approach and study recent returns, look at ratings or statistics, or try to forecast which sectors will perform well.

Other kinds of skill evaluations are more subjective and rely on insider judgments, e.g., doctors assessing other doctors, or even actors judging performances of their peers.

The evaluation of a fund manager falls somewhere in between those two approaches, the objective and the subjective. I believe that, to find the best fund managers, you have to study them, not the fund.

Start by finding fund managers that have beaten their index over their career or long periods of time. This could be in more than one fund. They do not need to beat the index every year – just over time. Then study them to find out how they do it. Is it because of stock-picking skill?

Outperforming the appropriate indexes is just one factor in the criteria. Top fund managers are usually not trying to secretly follow the index–they’re more likely to have an effective style (like value investing), and have high “active share,” which means that they’re investing in a way that differs from the index; they also often have great experience and have their own money invested in the funds that they manage, i.e. “skin in the game”.

My All-Star Fund Managers

One of my special skills is identifying all-star fund managers — it’s essentially my main focus related to investments. I’ve found around 50 fund managers over the years who I would characterize as having superior skill, and all of them have beaten their index over long periods of time.

Most of those 50 managers are on my “watch list”. I own only a handful of those funds. Although I’m resistant to the idea of sharing statistics about my own personal investments, mostly because my investment style may not be suitable for every investor, I want to emphasize that it’s possible to identify skilled fund managers early and ahead of time.

Why I Will Never Own an ETF or Index Fund

I won’t ever own an ETF or an index fund because I’m not happy with below-index returns. I choose investments based on the fund managers–I want to invest with the Albert Einstein of investors, the absolute best. ETFs and index funds don’t have fund managers, so I’m not interested. The goal of investing is to obtain the highest long-term return after fees, and a skilled fund manager provides enough value to pay for those fees and more.

Above-Index Returns

There are really two options when you’re pursuing above-index returns: one, you can find yourself an all-star fund manager, or, second, you can choose a portfolio manager who’s paid by performance fee. When portfolio managers are paid by performance fee, they’re motivated to beat their index. If they don’t beat the index, the fees are similar to ETFs. If they do beat the index, the fee pays for itself.

Getting above-index returns is all about finding skill.

An Introduction to Financial Instruments

What are financial instruments, and how are they used in the world of finance? These are the kinds of questions you might be asking yourself as a newcomer to the market. You will certainly need to know what they are, and how you can make the most out of such assets.

These financial instruments are simply the types of assets which can be bought and sold. Such financial instruments are often also regarded as capital packages which are up for trade. The majority of financial instruments will keep a very useful stream of capital which fuels investors all over the world and their various activities in the market.

Making the Most out of your Means

Such assets come in various forms, including as cash, or in some cases as a right stipulated by a contract that the delivery of receiving of cash must be adhered to. They can also be a piece of evidence that one is entitled to ownership of a particular entity.

Financial documents are generally broken down into two forms, virtual or real documents which connote a tangible agreement made regarding any kind of monetary amount. Those financial instruments which are equity-based will provide proof of ownership for a particular asset.

A financial instrument based on debt will obviously be for things like loans which were formed by investors for the sake of asset owners.

More Interesting and Valuable Forms

Then there are the financial instruments that fall under a third and very unique category, that of foreign exchange instruments. Such a division is broken down further into other subcategories, such as common share equity and preferred share equity.

The International Accounting Standards has outlined financial instruments to be any binding contract which will provide financial assets to one party, while to another it will provide a liability which possesses an equity or financial liability.

The Variety in Financial Instruments

There are two main kinds of financial instruments: Derivative instruments and cash instruments. Such cash values will be influenced directly and stipulated by the current markets. The relevant securities need to be easily transferable.

One can also use cash instruments in the form of deposits, as well as loans which were appropriately set up between a lender and a borrower.

The attached characteristics and values seen in derivative instruments will generally be based on what the underlying vehicle factors happen to be, such as indices, interest rates, and of course assets.

The Classes of Assets

There is indeed what is known as an asset class when we look at financial instruments. Such classification will depend on an asset’s formation as an equity-based or debt-based asset. In terms of financial instruments that are short-term and based on debt, you can expect a lifetime of around a year or less.

You need to ensure that you know how this classification system works, especially with the assets you are most likely to encounter the most, depending on the main sectors of the market you may be entering.

Things to Know Before Investing in Bitcoins

Bitcoins are amazing, and we love using Bitcoins for almost everything we work on. However, it is possible that there are many things you do not know about Bitcoins and knowing the same can change the game for you in totality.

So, here are some of the most important points to know before you invest in Bitcoin.

1. Learn about the process

Bitcoins are extremely easy to use, and it shouldn’t be difficult for you to use Bitcoins and complete your transactions at the earliest. However, it is advisable to learn the process in detail, making sure that you have adequate knowledge about everything that is related to the process. To start with, you should know about Mining Bitcoins and transaction fees that are related to every transaction completed by you.

2. Keeping a track of your Bitcoins

We all know that if the transaction is being accounted in the Global letter and so we stop caring for our accounts. Making this mistake because it can cause you serious problems. With this being said, make sure that once you have completed your purchase for Bitcoins, you move them into your wallet instead of leaving them at the exchange. If possible, opt for hardware or paper wallet in order to store your Bitcoins.

3. Buying Bitcoins from reputed exchanges only

Bitcoins are safe and easy to transact, but one should avoid buying Bitcoins from exchanges that have a bad reputation. Transacting at the wrong exchange, you might be at the risk of losing a decent chunk of your money. So, the extremely careful about it and make sure that you’re buying Bitcoins from exchanges that are repeated and trustworthy.

4. Bitcoins are exclusive and not an alternative

Although there are many posts online that consider Bitcoins to be as good as gold, you should know that Bitcoins are exclusive. Gold has its value and considering Bitcoins to be an alternative to gold is not a smart thing to do. The two commodities have their value, and each option should be considered as an exclusive option.

5. Bitcoins are not manipulated by the government

When regular currency gets manipulated by every country’s government, Bitcoins cannot be manipulated. This is one of the biggest reasons because of which it is considered to be one of the best forms of currency available today, and people have faith in it. With this, you should also know that there will be transparency on a global level and it will help us be satisfied with our money being stored in the form of Bitcoins.

These Stocks Might be Prime For a Short Squeeze

If you’ve never heard of a short squeeze, you might want to read carefully, if you’re looking to short stocks. Now, a short squeeze is simply a meteoric rise in the price of a stock due to an excess demand for the stock and a lack of supply, on the long side. Typically, you’ll notice stocks that have gone through a short squeeze have a high short interest and a low float.

Now, don’t worry if you don’t know what those terms mean yet. A low float describes a stock with a low number of floating shares, or shares available to trade on the open market. Short interest is the number of shares short divided by the number of floating shares. Consequently, if a stock has a high short interest, a large portion of its floating shares are held short. In order for a short squeeze to occur, you would want to see a high short interest and low float, as well as a positive catalyst. Let’s take a look at some stocks that could potentially be prime for a short squeeze.

Trader Jason Bond said, “Shares short, floating shares, short interest and days to cover are just some key metrics you’ll want to look at when you’re scanning to see whether a stock is prime for a short squeeze. Keep in mind that these values are all dynamic, and a stock could still experience a short squeeze, even if it doesn’t have an abnormally high short interest.”

Let’s take a look at one stock that might be prime for a short squeeze. Nutanix Inc (NASDAQ: NTNX) had 8.3M shares short and an average daily share volume of 2.45M. Consequently, Nutanix had a days to cover, or short interest ratio of 3.42. Now, the short interest ratio just gives an expectation of when short sellers may close out their position, which could lead to increased buying pressure.

Here’s a look at Nutanix’s short statistics.

Source: Nasdaq

Now, although NTNX does not have a high short interest, it did have a positive catalyst and a relatively low float. Additionally, on the technical chart, it’s forming a bullish reversal pattern.

Source: TradingView

Nutanix and Dell Solutions recently announced that Vast-Auto Distribution opted to use the Nutanix Enterpriser Cloud on Dell EMC XC Series to achieve faster performance and fewer administrative costs. Not only that, but Nutanix beat its revenue estimates in May, as large companies are opting to use their products and services. That in mind, some traders may view this as a potential short squeeze candidate.

Another stock that could be ripe for a short squeeze is TOP SHIPS Inc (NASDAQ: TOPS). As of May 15, 2017, TOP Ships had shares outstanding of 1.79M, 0.12M shares floating and 0.15M shares short. Consequently, TOP SHIPS had a short interest of over 120%. That in mind, this stock could potentially experience a short squeeze in the event of an extremely bullish catalyst.

If you’re short a stock, you’ll want to look at some of these metrics outlined here. For now, these two stocks are some that you might want to shy away from, if you’re looking to get short, as they may be subject to a short squeeze soon.



4 Retirement Considerations – It is Never too Late

“They” say an individual needs $1,000,000 in order to retire comfortably. Though that number may fluctuate from time to time it certainly never goes down. $1,000,000 is a lot of money for many people. It is even more when considering that the average American between the age of 55 and 64 has only saved $104,000.

So, how can one put themselves in the position to live comfortably in retirement? Below are several considerations you should calculate into future planning.

  1. First and foremost, what do you envision your retirement to look like? Do you plan on taking a cruise once a year? Or perhaps you want to open that vineyard like we see in those retirement commercials on TV. Perhaps you just want to buy a small boat and go fishing with the grandkids every weekend. If you want to spend big you will need to save big. If you do plan on taking those cruises to the South Pacific once a year, a millions dollars isn’t won’t likely get you there
  1. Assess what your likely dollar worth will be at retirement age. Easier said than done I am sure. Include items such as your home’s value. Ask yourself if you plan on selling your home and downsizing? Or perhaps you own 30-acres where you thought that vineyard was to go, but are now changing your mind. Take the worth of your assets and subtract any debt you may have. If retirement is still a ways away, make a plan to have your debt paid off beforehand.
  1. Calculate your monthly retirement income. Include Social Security, IRAs, mutual funds, work related pension, and any other means you are owed. Not sure what your monthly income will be when you retire? There are hundreds of retirement calculators on the internet. Just plug the account’s current balance, the dollar amount you are currently contributing per month/year, and the expected rate of return and hit “enter”. Also, and for Social Security estimated benefits, visit “My Social Security” and find out what your monthly payment will be based off of your work history. A great tool to use.
  1. Consider your current money going out weekly, monthly, yearly and adjust it to fit your retirement lifestyle. Perhaps you won’t need to pay for $50 power lunches in order to impress clients and co-workers. Or, maybe you have decided you will eat out 5-days a week post retirement. The point being set your budget and adjust accordingly. Also, don’t forget about taxes. Does your current state tax retirement income? Will the property taxes on your 30-acre vineyard have you living in your car?

So much to consider. It may be beneficial to hire a financial adviser or planner. It goes without saying the earlier one starts to plan, the better. Though one cannot predict the future one can certainly pave their way to retire in financial comfort; regardless if you want that vineyard or just a rowboat and grand kids.

Passive Income and Stockbroking: A Mini Guide

Invest wisely, work smart and spend less. These are the three basic strategies behind building any type of passive income through stockbroking. If these principles are as simple as they sound, why are so many investors failing to turn a profit and build sustainable wealth over time? The truth of the matter is that developing a passive investment strategy can be a bit complicated. While the basic concepts are clear, their implementation may prove to be a bit more of a challenge. It is therefore prudent to take a look at some tips and tricks that will help to leverage the advantages of this approach.

Solid (Digital) Foundation

You may believe that you have developed the best trading strategy. Without being provided with access to the latest investment tools, your approach would still be fruitless. It is therefore crucial to adopt only the most advanced stockbroking platform. Dynamic trading software, numerous technical indicators, concise charting capabilities and mobile-friendly architecture are only a few of the tools which should always be at the disposal of the trader. Thus, it will be much easier to manage an account on a day-to-day basis.

Which Stocks to Choose?

This is one of the most common and most elusive questions. The ultimate choice will depend upon the expertise and comfort levels of the trader. Yet, there are several guidelines which are specifically designed to cater to a passive income strategy. Some of the main hints to keep in mind are:

  • Maintain a robust base with blue-chip equities.
  • Diversify into multiple sectors for greater stability.
  • Allocate a portion of the portfolio to longer-term assets such as properties and commodities.

Diversification will mean little without stability. This approach is one of the best ways to successfully manage both.

A Moderate Level of Risk

One of the most common mistakes is for a trader to believe that risk must be entirely avoided within a passive approach to stockbroking. Risk should not be eliminated, but rather mitigated and managed correctly. This is the primary reason why even conservative investors tend to dabble in more liquid positions such as binary trades and the Forex markets. However, a good rule of thumb is to never let the value of these positions exceed more than ten per cent of the entire portfolio.

The Psychology Behind Earning a Passive Income

According to The Glimpse, Psychology will play an important role behind this strategy. By the very nature of passive wealth management, the stock trader should set his or her gaze on the long-term financial horizon as opposed to becoming too preoccupied with short-term gains (or losses). It is wise to set quarterly benchmarks and analyse whether or not these can be met. Should expectations fall short, it could be a good idea to closely examine technical and fundamental trading methods. This is also the best way to avoid emotion influencing a snap decision one way or the other.

As we may be entering into unknown financial waters, embracing a passive stockbroking investment strategy now could be the most productive way to secure wealth into the foreseeable future.

Being an Investor Isn’t Easy. Here Are Some Tips from BenefitGuard

Everyone agrees that the stock market is expensive, it takes too long to recover from the recession, and central banks seem to have hit their limits regarding their ability to boost growth.

There is no market Armageddon on the horizon, of course, but it’s far from “get rich fast” either. The rumor circulating on Wall Street is that stock and bond returns will be lousy for years to come. This won’t result in you losing money, but the usual 7 to 8 percent return on stocks, or 3.6 percent on bonds, is a thing of the past –at least that’s what investment firm Bernstein thinks. Thins don’t look any different for private equity returns either.

So where does this leave you? It’s a trending hot topic on Wall Street. It was the headline of the Jill on Money Friday’s podcast.

This environment leaves you with three basic options. Your actions will depend on the level of risk you are willing to take.

Stay put. Boring is not that bad. It may not sound too sexy, but for many people, the best choice at this time is to remain invested and keep your portfolio as diverse as possible.
“You should be aiming for a boring portfolio at this time,” says Kate Warne, Edward Jones’s chief investment strategist.

Rebalancing soon is Jones’s best advice. If you haven’t taken a look at your portfolio for a long time, you should better give a call to your 401(k) provider or financial advisor and ensure that your diversification is on the right level.

For many younger investors, their portfolio mix is about 80 percent stocks and 20 percent bonds. Investors of higher maturity are probably looking at something like 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds. The problem is the stock market’s huge run-up during the 2009-2014 period, resulting in many people having more in stocks that they even know about. Don’t allow yourself to be caught unprepared; make sure you rebalance if you have to.

Look at a 401(k) plan. Most 401(k) providers will help you with fiduciary work but won’t take on any of the fiduciary risk for you. This is a growing concern for executives and HR Managers because of an increasing wave of employee lawsuits and scrutiny by the IRS and Department of Labor. BenefitGuard is truly different.

They believe that the service providers doing the fiduciary work on a 401(k) plan should be taking on the risks, not you.  And we’re not talking about being a co-fiduciary.

Unlike any other provider in the industry, they appoint professional fiduciaries to sign and act in the administrative and investment fiduciary roles for you. They will sign and act as your 3(16) plan administrator, 3(21) named fiduciary, and 3(38) investment manager. They also hold a one Million dollar bond on each and every plan.

With BenefitGuard, there’s no more signing your name on documents you don’t have time to review, and might not understand. And when the IRS and Department Of Labor come knocking, they’ll handle it for you.

Reduce your expenses. Companies adopt this strategy very often. When growth is at a stall, they concentrate on reducing their costs. This way they maintain their “bottom line” virtually unchanged. Investors can also follow this tactic by aggressively going after fee reductions.

There has been and overhaul of inexpensive index funds and mutual funds. Almost every provider is pressured to reduce their fees. Fidelity recently announced that they are lowering their fees for 27 funds. And you now have Robinhood, which is an app that offers trading without fees, a great difference from the standard $9.99 fee that brokers usually charge for stock transactions.

You can make considerable savings by cutting down on the fees you pay. If you don’t know the fees, you are currently paying, you can go to FeeX, a new website that will estimate them for you and propose a course of action toward reducing them.

“Usually, people can cut down their fees by about 85 percent” stated Yoav Zurel, co-founder, and CEO of FeeX.

The take home message according to Masters, investment strategist at Bernstein, is to go for higher diversification when things are uncertain, not lower. “Equip yourself with more than one ways to emerge as a winner.”


What you should know about supply chain management

What is supply chain management?

As its name implies, in its simplest terms, it means efficiently managing a company’s supply chain, which traditionally consists of three components: customers, a producer, and the producer’s suppliers.

However, many people forget about extended supply chains, which often include a number of additional entities, including the customers’ customers, as well as the suppliers’ suppliers. These subsidiary relationships are just as important as primary ones because they affect the supply and distribution of products.

For example, if you own a shoe company and your customers (shoe stores) lose customers due to street construction or store closure, this affects the number of orders they will place with your company for new merchandise. Reversely, if one your suppliers’ suppliers suffers from a plant closure or logistical issue that affects your business’ ability to manufacture product.

While most supply chain managers only control the immediate chain, they are ultimately responsible for the integrity and efficiency of the entire supply chain.

The art of supply chain management entails three key steps: purchasing, production and fulfilment. Supply chain managers oversee and work to optimize the processes of acquiring inputs from suppliers (purchasing), converting those inputs into a finished product (production), and delivering those products to customers (fulfillment).

In order to manage the extended chain, supply chain managers must ensure the locations where manufacturing and distribution facilities are located are accessible and in politically stable jurisdictions.  They must also decide how to organize which goods and materials go to which facilities and from which parts of the world to source the inputs.

Supply chain management is fundamental to a company’s viability.  From my experience, I have seen first-hand clients heavily investing in integrating the latest technology into their supply chain in order to promote efficiency and sustainability.

As the world becomes more globalized, the role of the supply chain management has become even more important, especially for companies that source goods and raw materials from around the world. To help ease some of the confusion caused by the vastness of an multinational supply chain, many managers are utilizing a robust array of software to help track, log and monitor each link in the supply chain.

In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, “The market for supply-chain management software grew 11% to $11.1 billion in 2015, on a constant-currency basis, and is estimated to grow to $17.6 billion by 2020.”

Growth in the cloud computing sector has also ushered in a new age of supply chain management that offers better control of logistics and transportation. Monitors on trucks connected to the Internet of Things can notify managers of shipment distributions and transport issues in real time giving managers time to look for alternate solutions.

As the old adage says, you are only as strong as your weakest link — it is the supply chain manager’s job to make sure no links are weak or compromised.