Capital of Banks Improve But Basel Advises Them to Be More Vigilant

Capital of Banks Improve But Basel Advises Them to Be More Vigilant

The capital of Australian banks has improved and yet the global regulator is not convinced that financial institutions are doing all they can to advance their plight and particularly address the unwanted disparity in banks' calculations of risk-weighted assets, reported Australian Banking and Finance.

The way these banks address their risk-weighted assets is important for the implementation of the Basel III framework, which was published ahead of the September 5-6 G-20 leaders' summit in St. Petersburg.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), which released its fourth progress report on the implementation of the Basel III framework, stated that the average common equity tier 1 capital ratio of active banks-especially those on the international scene-increased from 8.5 per cent to 9 per cent of risk-weighted assets.

The report furthered that only half of the banking industry's financial institutions will most likely fall below the required capital ratios by the 2019 requirements. The aggregate annual profit of the industry is $596 billion.

Remaining Vigilant

Although there are clear progresses in the capital of banks, the global regulator warned them to be still vigilant in light of the challenges presented by the global economic environment, a separate report in News.com.au cited.

There are potential deteriorations in the banks' asset quality, and capital adjustment may be require of banks because of the need to deepen the process of the implementation of finalized capital regulations.

Currently, the global regulator is assessing the consistency of capital regulations of China, Australia and Brazil. It has recently finished reviewing that of Switzerland, which has the most secretive bank policies in the world.

These assessments are part of the BCBS' Regulatory Consistency Assessment Program (RCAP). It aims to prove that banks that absorbed and implemented the Basel III standards are stronger than those who did not.

Material Variations

There are "material variations," however, in the measurement of risk-weighted assets of these banks, the report in Australian Banking and Finance stated. The studies of the banks' risk-weighted assets in banking and trading books differ even for identical hypothetical test portfolios.

The global regulator then wants banks to improve their public information and regulatory data collection to better understand what risk-weighted assets mean. It also wants guidance and clarification regarding sectors that are usually lost to the public.

In the long run, BCBS is planning a four-policy approach, which will hopefully improve the comparability of the results of the assessments while making sure that a balance between risk sensitivity and the complexity of the Basel III framework is ensured.

How to Deal With Market Corrections 10 Do's and Dont's

How to Deal With Market Corrections 10 Do's and Dont's

A correction is an event that will adjust the equity price of a stock to its actual value. This can cause a price to go change even after speculators respond in different ways to certain news stories or certain profit opportunities.

A correction might be useful because it will make the value of an investment easier to deal with. However, there are some risks that come with some of these events. It is true that you could get a good profit if you have a mutual fund that is impacted by a correction. However, there are also some problems that might cause issues with market corrections.

There are a few things to take a look at when it comes to corrections. You must think about these factors during any correction no matter how intense it might be.

First, you should look at your asset allocation to see that it fits in line with your goals. You should not try to reduce your equity allocation if you feel that stock values will fall. Timing the market is never a good idea because it hardly ever works.

The next tip is to think about what has happened in the past. Corrections have often resulted in great times to buy things. You should take a look at a diverse number of NYSE companies when their values decline. Try going when stocks are twenty percent under the 52-week highs.

You also have to avoid grabbing your cash from the past rally. You should be careful because you could potentially buy new issues in the future. There is no real way how you can predict what will happen at this point.

The fourth tip will be to see what could happen later on. You cannot easily figure out when a rally is going to take place let alone how long it might go on for. You have to find quality equities at the right times so you can earn more off of a rally. Getting things when they are down is always a good strategy.

Sometimes a correction might keep on going well after it starts. You will need to buy stocks slowly while waiting to completely secure a new position. The goal is to see what the declines might be like while also preparing for long declines just to be sure.

The use of cash has to be understood as well as possible. You have to be out of cash during the correction. You have to keep your cash flow from changing so the market value change will only be based your particular perception of what you see out of it.

Your working capital is a point that has to be factored into the process just as well. This is despite the ways how prices might fall. Your working capital should continue to grow at this point. You will have to check on the fundamentals and price of whatever you have and avoid trying to adjust the flow with your own ideas. You should check on your experiences but try not to force anything.

Identifying new opportunities to buy other stocks might be useful just as well. You can do this to figure out what stocks you want to deal with. This can be done regardless of what people on Wall Street might say. The key is to stick with value stocks so you can avoid the risk while also getting the most out of something.

You have to see how your portfolio is performing during a correction. This includes looking at it based on your asset allocation goals in mind and how interest rate cycles are going. You should never try to analyze your performance based on calendar quarters or years. Also, the Working Capital Model should be used when examining your portfolio because it lets you analyze your personal assets.

The final tip will be to talk with a broker about your portfolio. You might want to talk with that person if your portfolio has not increased in values in the last few years.

Remember, these tips can all be used while everything is going down. This will make things a little easier for you to live with.

There's no way how you can really predict how long or deep a correction may be. Not all mutual funds can thrive off of corrections either. Still, you should be careful when seeing how these corrections work because there is a very realistic potential for you to get the most out of an investment if you are careful enough with it.

Foreclosure Is a Kind of Debt Collection - Here's How It Works

Foreclosure Is a Kind of Debt Collection - Here's How It Works

Foreclosure is designed to allow for possession (or repossession) of property that was used to secure a debt that was subsequently unpaid. Most people simply think of foreclosure as "getting kicked out of your house," and in many situations that is an appropriate understanding. In reality foreclosure addresses ownership rights rather than possession, however. It involves the termination of at least one person's rights of ownership in favor of another person, and this can, but does not always, lead to eviction.

We don't think of it very often, but one of the great inventions of English law was the division of property into different property "interests" or rights that could co-exist in the same property. The state "owns" physical property in one way, the landowner in another, and the tenant also has certain ownership rights, for example. If the landowner is married, both spouses will have rights in the property, and it is possible to divide the rights up in many other ways, too. Another form of coexisting rights is the way the same property could be owned by you, but subject to a mortgage and also various sorts of liens.

It is with the mortgage and liens we are primarily interested here, because these can be "foreclosed." It is worth remembering that while most people (including the courts) only think of "purchase-money mortgages" (the mortgage you take out in order to buy your house) when they analyze foreclosure, there are other ways liens can be placed on your house (by the state for taxes or judgments, to name two), and all liens can be foreclosed. Mechanically what happens is that the foreclosing party causes the property interests to be divided and paid off - and the way that is accomplished is by selling the property and splitting the money up according to the priority of interests.

There is a definite hierarchy of interests, and the higher interests must be completely satisfied before the lower interests get anything. Eventually, if every interest is satisfied and money is left over, this would go to the property "owner." Or to put it another way, being the property owner means that you get whatever is left after all the other interests are paid off (you are entitled to the "equity"). But usually, if there is not enough to cover all the secured interests, you will owe the secured parties money personally.

Let's consider two examples. In the first, Owner A each own houses worth $100,000 on the open market. That's what it sells for.

Owner A has the following liens against the property: a purchase money mortgage of $35,000, a home equity loan of $10,000, and a mechanic's lien of $1,000. After subtracting all the debts, A is left with $54,000 - Equity

Owner B has the following liens against the property (in this order - the order of liens is beyond the scope of this article): a purchase-money mortgage of $110,000 (the house is "underwater" because the loan remaining is more than the house is worth); a home-equity loan of $10,000, and a mechanic's lien of $1,000. In B's situation, after subtracting all the debts, B is left with a negative number: -$21,000 equity.

If neither one can pay off the purchase money mortgage, go into default, and are foreclosed, here's what happens.

A loses possession of the house, and all security interests in the property are "extinguished." The money is enough for the mortgage, and that is subtracted and given to the bank. Because the home equity loan and mechanic's liens was "secured" by the house, the foreclosure breaches the contract with the lender. It intervenes (legally) in the foreclosure and demands its money and gets paid before anything goes to A. Because the lien was "subject" to the other agreements, it gets paid afterward, again before A gets anything.

In B's situation, the bank gets all the money, and the lenders are left with claims against B. Their security interests in the property are extinguished, and chances are good they'll lose everything they had lent.

What if, instead of not paying the bank, A and B had failed to pay the home equity loan? In that situation, the Home Equity lender could foreclose on the loan. Lower level security interests can foreclose on the loan. It would be conceivable that any other person with an interest in the property, including the mechanic, might take some action to intervene in order to protect its interests, although in B's case, especially, this is unlikely. The bank will get all the money, and the home equity lender will get nothing even though it is the one that foreclosed.

This explains why debt collectors rarely foreclose on a house. It will cost them money but get them nothing. But that isn't to say they couldn't or that it would never make sense for them to do or threaten to do.

How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor

How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor

Financial planning is one of the most important things we can do to prepare ourselves for a successful future, whether that future includes sending your kids to college, paying for a fairytale wedding, building a dream home or retiring comfortably. But financial planning is a complicated process, because no two people are the same, and everyone has different goals.

In addition, there is so much to know and to keep track of - stock market fluctuations, economic forecasts, risk tolerance, financial goals, investment goals, portfolio performance, etc. - that it is important to work with a financial advisor and wealth management team working toward your financial objectives and goals.

The problem with choosing the right team is that there are tens of thousands of financial planners and investment managers out there. How do you know which one is right for you? Here are some things to consider:

1) Do you want a firm that takes a one-size-fits-all approach to financial planning, or do you want to work with an advisor who customizes a plan for you based on your specific goals?

2) Do you want to work with someone who represents one company's investment products, or would you prefer to work with an investment manager who has access to a variety of companies and products?

3) Do you want an advisor who mails out quarterly statements but never calls, or would you like someone who checks in with you regularly to discuss your portfolio's results compared to your goals?

4) Would you like to work with a firm where you work with whichever advisor answers the phone like a customer service call line, or do you want a relationship manager that responds to you personally, knows you by name and truly cares about your financial success?

5) Do you want an advisor who only has a fiduciary responsibility to offer products and strategies that will fit your situation, or do you want an advisor like a Registered Investment Advisor who is required to put your financial needs first?

If you want a generic, one-size-fits-all, don't-bother-me type of advisor, then just about any advisor will do. You hand over your money, he or she invests it, and then sends periodic statements.

However, if it is important to you to work with an investment management firm that will customize a financial plan that meets your needs, understands the market, represents various companies and who really wants you to reach your goals, then make your choice more carefully. Interview several wealth management firms, get referrals from trusted friends and family and make the best decision for your financial future.

Why to Start Trade Binary Options Today

Why to Start Trade Binary Options Today

There are a number of reasons why traders new and old are turning to binary options en masse. Binaries are a relatively recent development in the world of trading. Their predecessors, digital or all or nothing options were only approved by the SEC in 2008. They have since made it to the online trading community and have changed the face of trading in only a few short years. Up until binary options made it to the Internet, online trading was a considerably more complicated affair. Online Forex trading currently has the largest share of online traders. But trading Forex has some disadvantages that Binary options negate by their very simplicity.

Firstly when trading Forex you only have access to currency pairs, this may not be a great hindrance to most traders at first but being limited to currencies alone limits the options at your disposal. Most Digital Option brokers offer trades on stocks, commodities and indices as well as currency pairs. Having these other assets to trade upon offers advantages to binary traders. This is because they can rely on correlations between assets when trading to diversify their trades. But this is the least of the advantages that binary traders have over Forex traders. The way binary options work make them a better alternative to online Forex for a number of reasons. Firstly binary options have preset risk and reward levels, meaning that traders know before placing a trade how much they can win or lose. This means binary traders have far more control of their bankrolls than do Forex traders. Binary trades only have two possible outcomes and only two possible choices a trader need make. Either the stake will earn a certain profit (somewhere between 60 and 80 percent), or most of the amount staked will be lost. And all you need to decide on is whether the asset you are trading on will rise or fall. With Forex not only do you not have this luxury but you also purchase your currency pair for slightly more than the market price, meaning it has to rise higher for your trade to be successful, but you also have to sell it at a lower price than it is actually worth, meaning you are being put at a disadvantage at exit as well at on entry.

But binary options are not only an attractive alternative to the current status quo, their simplicity makes them far more efficient trading vehicles. Binary option is particularly handy because the trade durations are about as flexible as you can get. Traders of binary options are able to select from a number of trade expirations, from just 60 seconds to the end of the year. This flexibility is far more useful in the case of shorter term positions. The ability to precisely define how long a trade lasts is invaluable as it allows you enter trades at the right moment, profit from momentary fluctuations in price action and not be tied to the fortunes of a given asset for any longer than need be. Short expirations and preset risk structures also allow you to make money when an asset swings the other way. This eliminates the need for lengthy trading sessions, meaning you can make more in a hour of intense binary trading than you can with a day long Forex trading session.

Finally with binary options gaining a wider acceptance and different broker companies being regulated, the only real advantage that Forex had, basically an increased level of respectability, is rapidly being overturned. In trading, as in all aspects of life, the better idea prevails. Binaries make more sense, for all kinds of traders, beginners and experienced ones. Forex would do well to take a leaf out of the binary options playbook. Simplicity is key.

Banking and Financial Institutions - Curbing Future Challenges

Banking and Financial Institutions - Curbing Future Challenges

Banking and financial institutions are broadly categorizing themselves to offer the greatest support to their worldwide customers. Even they are using high-end technological podiums to strategically face today's business challenges. They are not only facing hard challenges, but also progressively transforming their service models through IT architecture and better productivity models. They are strengthening their front as well as back offices to cut their rising operating costs. They are also focusing newer distribution strategies such as multi-brand channels harnessing to tap emerging markets. This will eventually improve customer-to-product ratio and fulfill their expectations.

Moreover, banks are looking for more revolutionized processes that enable greater intelligent service as well as interactions. It helps in developing sound and future-proof service-oriented architecture that much enrich channel capabilities and process improvement. In fact, banking experts are more looking to replace existing technological features with more powerful application features that foster business growth and continuity. They are developing acute banking-specific applications with the help of banking and economical specialists. They are revolutionizing middle ware products as well as database techniques.

Banks are continuously reducing their IT costs and improving time to market their products or services. This is enabling them to better serve their client's need and address their critical problems. They are eventually offering them the greater flexibility to frame a transformational journey according to their business requirements. It also allows them to progressively change their business and IT operating models by mitigating the high-rising future-driven technology obsolescence risks. With the help of service-oriented features they are enhancing their commercial banking products and other cross-boundary operations.

Today, to face the challenging environment, banks are looking for:

  1. The completely connected global market to reduce banking complexity and operations
  2. Adhering to regulatory and compliance-related requirements
  3. Fulfill rising customers demand
  4. High-class innovation in banking technology
  5. Mobile accessibility

Banking and financial institutions are also taking help from the business consulting firms and IT service providers to develop a powerful combination of technology and integrated business applications. They offer business-based applications that are highly useful for business owners.

In essence, besides recalibrating its resources, banks are busy in meeting customer demands with the most precise solutions that are specially tailored to the banking industry. They are looking to deliver innovative business services with best-in-class performance. For better and smooth services, banks are making real-time decisions across all channels to certify future projects. Altogether they are mitigating the risks involved in the IT operations and curbing the challenges for smoother roadways.

SEPA: The Most Popular Forms of Electronic Payment Within Europe

SEPA: The Most Popular Forms of Electronic Payment Within Europe

Thanks to technology - we can now lead an easy going and relaxed life! The way technology has changed things over the last few decades is absolutely remarkable. It has changed the way we manage our homes, it has changed the traditional work methods at office, the way we communicate and connect to each other and the also the definition of non-stop entertainment. Predictably it has also contributed much in the ways we make payments and handle banking.

SEPA Direct Debit - The Concept

In this context, when discussing how new avenues have opened up with electronic forms of payment, we are going to talk about SEPA / Single Euro Payments Area, one of the most popular e-payment forms, which was put forth by the European Union as an initiative to convert the international euro market into a singular domestic unit with SEPA Direct Debit

How SEPA works?

Believe it or not as SEPA has taken over the market, traditional payment forms via cash and cheques has almost gone obsolete in countries as Scandinavia and Netherlands. UK Payments Council has confirmed that SEPA has attained quick consumer uptake as more and more people find it a safer and accurate method of paperless transaction. Another vital point that makes SEPA well accepted is the fact that it can handle large volumes of transaction and with zero faults! As a result SEPA has been introduced in 32 countries across the globe, which means that now a consumer can make payments to anyone anyplace using a debit card - the user bank will deduct that particular amount and credit it to the receiver's bank! End of story!

Advantages of SEPA Direct Debit Solution

The three basic advantages that SEPA guarantees are -

• Speed
• Simplicity of process
• And Cost effectiveness involved in money transaction

However SEPA is applicable to countries that are within the Eurozone.

Why European Banks are promoting SEPA?

SEPA is being fiercely promoted by European banks as it helps curtail manual labor and flaws, enhances work performance and decreases overall expense. For banks SEPA is an effective solution to handling large volumes of data processing each day - and why not, after all e payment makes the fund transfer process easier, smoother, fast and accurate.

SEPA Goals:

Goals of Sepa are directed towards uniting the fragmented European market through common financial instruments and infrastructure. This will help diminish European economy of transferring capital around the market to at least two percent of the total gross domestic product, which is a huge amount saved to almost 2.5 trillion.

A Few Important Things to Note about SEPA:

However there are a few things that you need to know when opting for a SEPA clearance:

• To undergo a SEPA clearance you need to produce an IBAN bank account id card.
• All domestic money transfer will be routed by IBAN
• All existing national-designation plans will be eliminated by 2014, February. This means that consumers will get a standardized platform to access fresh payment devices.

SEPA it is hoped will intensify competition between banks and corporate across European countries. On the other hand, clients will also enjoy cost effective and efficient service when it comes to moving funds from one place to another within Europe.

What To Expect In Internal Auditor Job

What To Expect In Internal Auditor Job

Auditing is a complicated process that dissects everything about a company or a business. Auditors are there to find out if a certain company is sticking to rules and regulations, that's why they are not very popular with non-compliant business owners. But auditors actually do a lot more than that. They are there to ensure that an organization is not exposed to risks, that they are protected from possible thefts and data manipulations, and that their financial and operational reporting are effectively implemented and free from errors.

An auditor's specific tasks deal with a company's financial-reporting mechanisms. An auditor must ascertain that all values processed are accurate and reliable. Timely processing of products and reports should be asserted as they can distort results in a transaction. Distortions in reports and transaction results could reveal misinformation that could be damaging on the part of the investors. Inventory is also an integral part of the job. Analyzing old and new inventories will give a bigger picture of a company's financial status. Every part of the business must undergo the inspection of the auditor so he/she can identify risks and recommend the next steps to avoid falling into problematic circumstances.

The education requirements in becoming an internal or external auditor is a college degree in business or other related majors like accounting, finance and economics. A master's degree in those majors is also a plus. After undergrad studies or a after graduate school, there are certifications that one must get before applying for an audit job. There are a lot of certifications one can get, some examples of these are the CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CGAP (Certified Government Auditing Professional) and the CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor). Certifications are highly important in this field. Auditors with certificates often get the job over someone without.

However, not everyone is fit to work as an internal auditor. Here are some of the personality traits that you would need to have if you are planning to be an internal auditor in the near future.
• An auditor must be a team player. Especially in dealing with larger organizations within a limited timeline, you must work with other auditors to be able to deliver a comprehensive report on the organization.
• Be able to anticipate issues. Every minute detail should be considered as they can further an investigation and reveal a company's bad processes and performance.
• A good sense of professional skepticism in reviewing a company can help in identifying fraud and can protect their assets and liabilities.
• It is important to possess communication skills to be able to build rapport in dealing with people at different levels of a company. Being scrutinized by an auditor can seem overwhelming and intimidating so it is important to relay that you are not here to look for faults in their system but to help them further develop their organizational framework.
• You must acquire the trust of employees, managers and directors to get their cooperation and be able to perform the tasks expected of you. You will often come upon resistance in your activities or someone might dissuade you in finding out embarrassing information. The way to get around this is to assert yourself in a friendly manner.

Internal audit jobs deals with all the minute details in a company's inner workings. It is filled with responsibilities that if not done well could mean disaster on the part of the company. If all of the above mentioned appeals to you, you are more than welcome to hop on the high-paying world of finance.

How to Choose Between a Small Business Loan and a Merchant Cash Advance?

How to Choose Between a Small Business Loan and a Merchant Cash Advance?

Running a small business is something that requires constant attention. A business owner needs to juggle different roles one of which is financial controller because without finances a budding business will fail. That being said finances are needed for things like restocking the inventory, purchasing updated equipment, repairing, upgrading and paying staff. But there are times when you will find yourself low on capital and in situations such as these how do you find the money to keep your business alive? As a business owner you have a number of financing options at your disposal, so much so that it is probably hard to decide which of these offers are best for business. Below we look at two of the biggest types of financing and how they work.

Small business financing

You can usually get small business financing from a bank and this is the first step that most businesses take when they need money. Small business owners are required to submit an application to the bank after which the bank will examine a number of factors which include their business history, credit history and the collateral they can put up. If you are approved for the loan you will receive the lump sum amount you applied for accompanied in most cases by a fixed repayment installment which needs to be paid on time or you will incur penalties. The process of getting business financing can take weeks if not months.

This type of business financing is usually best for businesses that have predictable monthly sales. The business owner should also have the ability to put up collateral and have a strong credit history. You also shouldn't be in a hurry to get the loan because if you are then this is probably not the best option.

Vendor Financing

Vendor financing allows business owners to get up to around $150,000 if they are an accredited distributor, vendor, manufacturer or a reseller of equipment. Unlike a regular business loan this is based a lot on your own personal history as well as your business history but you do not need to have perfect credit to avail this type of financing. This loan does not require extensive paperwork or a list of your clients. All you need to do is to show proof that you are an accredited vendor, and your credit history. That being said many companies reserve the right to ask for more documentation to ensure that they know everything about your business prior to approving the loan.

Vendor financing is great for small businesses whose business varies each month and for business owners who do not have perfect credit and zero collateral to put forward. The money can be used to increase inventory and venture into new markets. However, these types of loans have a higher than usual interest rate associated with them primarily because they are unsecured loans.

Retirement Income Takes a 1 - 2 Punch With Both Higher Taxes and
Excessive Plan Fees

Retirement Income Takes a 1 - 2 Punch With Both Higher Taxes and Excessive Plan Fees

Now that the dust has settled after the New Year, a topic on everyone's mind is what will happen to tax rates in 2013 and beyond. It's not certain what the final numbers will be, but most experts agree that we are likely to see tax hikes across the board including income tax, capital gains tax, and taxes on dividends.

And with these tax increases, most people will continue to pay fees on 401(k) retirement plans that are needlessly high. Thus delivering a 1-2 punch to personal retirement income and making it more difficult for your employees to meet their retirement goals.

The tax rate is not something we as either individuals or business owners can change.

However, retirement plan fees are within your control. Knowing what fees are paying for, and who is responsible for paying such costs should be taken into consideration when analyzing and comparing retirement plans and investment options.

There are 3 common types of Fees Associated with Retirement Plans:

1. Plan Administration Fees - These types of fees cover the administrative tasks of the account and plan. Such activities include recordkeeping, safekeeping, investment counseling and services to plan sponsors and participants. This fee can be paid by the plan sponsor or may be passed along to a participant as well.

2. Investment Fees - Fees cover the cost of managing a fund and related expenses. These fees are usually charged as a percentage of total assets held. Included in investment fees is the 12(b)-1 fee, a marketing fee often used to offset the cost of other services.

3. Individual Service Fees - The third type of fee is often paid by the plan participant. This fee covers redemption costs, brokerage or mutual fund window fee, advice related fees and can also cover distribution fees and service fees on participant loans.

How High is Too High?
At the end of the day it depends on a number of factors, but as a "general" rule fees shouldn't exceed 2.5%. Some start-up plans with unique features can blast past that number... no doubt. In my professional opinion, anything above 2% is high and excessive for total plan fees.

Take Action
With the impending tax increases, can you afford to continue paying high retirement plan fees? Don't "give away" more of your money than you have to. You're going to get hit with higher taxes, but with a savvy financial planning consultant in your corner you can avoid the sucker punch of excessively high fees.

Tracking Small Business Vitals in QuickBooks

Tracking Small Business Vitals in QuickBooks

As a business owner, you want to see key information often and easily. My favorite is still the Company Snapshot. You can see your Account Balances, Payables, Receivables, Income & Expense Trends, Top Customers, Top Products/Services (Items), Reminders, pie charts for breakdown of income or expenses and more. If you hold your mouse over the graph, you'll see the actual dollar amount. There are a total of 12 different charts/graphs/lists you can put in the snapshot. Not only do you get to choose which ones you see, but you can arrange them any way you want by dragging the boxes. You can also choose date ranges for your sales reports from the drop-down menu (custom is not an option).

The Company Snapshot may be on your toolbar (mine is) or you can click on Company>Company Snapshot.

1. To pick what you will see in your snapshot, click on Add Content

  • While you can choose from 12 different charts, you will see only 4 at a time. The plus by Add means you can add it, and the check by Added means it's already in your snapshot.

2. Once you've selected your content, you can place your mouse pointer on the title bar and move them around.

3. Place your mouse pointer on a bar in a chart to see the actual dollar amount.

4. Payables and receivables that are past due show up in red, so you can quickly differentiate

5. While you're in the Company Snapshot, you can click over to Customers and check out different customers - see how long they've been a customer, how quickly/slowly they pay, the best-selling products/services.

Another way to help you monitor your receivables is to look at Average Days of Pay, found in the Customer & Receivables reports in QuickBooks. The Summary report shows how long on average your customer pays you AND the overall average days of pay among all your customers. This lets you see who's really slow (maybe you want to drop them or charge differently) and if you need to be more proactive in your collections.

For other reports you want to see often, there are two methods I like.

1. Put the report you want to see right on your toolbar, so it's just a click away

  • Memorize the report, then click on View>Add "Name of your report".

2. Run a group of reports all at once. I do this monthly and quarterly; you may also want reports for monitoring inventory or monitoring jobs and reviewing completed jobs.

  • Create a group:
  • Report>Memorized Reports>Memorize Report List
  • Down at the bottom of the list, click on Memorized Report>New Group and name your group
  • When you memorize your report, select Save in Memorized Report Group and select your group
  • Then you can run your group of reports by simply clicking on Reports>Memorized Reports and select your group. All the reports will run - sooo much faster than you will ever be!

While QuickBooks does not have exception reporting per se, there are a few ways you can get some exception reporting.

  • If the exception can be expressed by percent (i.e if you go over or under by a certain percentage), then in many of the QuickBooks reports, you can opt to have a percentage column show, so you can quickly see if there are any exception percentages. In some reports, you can even sort by the percentage.

  • Depending on the exception, you may want your bookkeeper to review some reports and alert you when there is an exception. That doesn't eliminate your responsibility for all reporting, but can assist with some of your workload.

  • If you use Enterprise, you can take advantage of the Q-ODBC for some custom reporting.

  • You may find that some third party reporting and dashboard software can provide some of these metrics for you.

Whatever you choose, the idea is to know what you want to monitor and develop a system so you can easily and routinely monitor what you deem important.

How Many Times Do You Hit Snooze?

How Many Times Do You Hit Snooze?

The snooze button! It's your early morning friend - or foe - depending on how it sets you up for your day. For some of us, it's that annoying sound that goes off in the morning. (Who here gets major bedhead?)

Just hitting the snooze button requires a major amount of sheer energy! Once we do it we go right back to la la land. But for others, the snooze button can be your friend. It can give you some extra time to lay in bed, and be intentional about what you want to achieve for your day.

The more intentional you are about what you want to accomplish for your day, the higher the odds that you will get what you want.

Many people ask me about what it takes to be a smart investor. Funny thing is, investing is all about odds and probability. Yes, investing can be overwhelming, especially if you don't understand all of the financial lingo. I've got 4 strategies that you can use for your investment plan. Stay with me on these. It won't hurt a bit!

Keep in mind these are general recommendations - this is not individual investment advice.

1) Dividends: Consider investing in dividend funds or dividend paying stocks. Dividends are money that you could get if you own a stock, or own a mutual fund that owns stocks. A dividend is money that companies pay to shareholders. They are paid after the company earns a profit. Dividend paying stocks have significantly outperformed non dividend paying stocks for the last 40 years (source: Ned Davis Research) Keep in mind that just because this happened for the last 40 years, it doesn't mean that it will happen again. Remember you are investing in stocks/stock mutual funds, and you can lose money.

2) Stay in the game of investing and set up an automatic investment plan. The odds are that if you automatically invest a set monthly amount of money every month, for a really long time, like 20 or 30 years, you could make a lot more money. Remember, automatic - not a reminder you set for yourself in your calendar to invest money.

Here's a hypothetical example of investing one time vs. investing one time and investing automatically:

Invest $5,000 and make 6% a year for 20 years = $16,035 Invest $5,000 and $50 a month for 20 years = $39,653

That's $23,000 more, just for investing an extra $50 a month. Hello!!!

3) Diversification. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Many people think that if they own 6 different stock funds, they are diversified, when in fact - all 6 of those stock funds will go down if the stock market does. You are diversifying yourself away from a specific stock, but you aren't reducing your exposure to the entire stock market. The odds are that you could be more diversified if you add other eggs like bonds and real estate stocks to your portfolio. Just because you are diversified doesn't mean that you wont lose money, but it could help you.

4) The odds are that if you have a specific reason for why you are investing in the first place, you will be committed to your investment plan, and follow through. That specific reason needs to be a meaningful goal.

What Is a Credit Union?

What Is a Credit Union?

Do you need a new place to store your savings? Are you frustrated by the surcharges, unhelpful customer service, and hidden fees associated with commercial banks? You may want to look into keeping your money at a local credit union. These financial institutions serve many of the same function as most banks, but they differ in a variety of fundamental ways. Each institution provides different benefits to different individuals, businesses, and borrowers. Whether you want to take out a loan for your small business, or you simply need a checking account, this might be the choice for you.

So what exactly is a credit union? It is a cooperative financial institution in which its members use their funds to offer services and funds to other members. They are not for profit entities, and there are structurally a cooperative to ensure fairness. Many people find them to be beneficial because unlike a bank, which is a business designed to make profits for its shareholders, these financial institutions are owned by its members. Profit is not a driving factor for the institution. Each member often has the ability to vote on the organizations' activities, and some members are even paid dividends at the end of each fiscal year.

These intuitions also offer much more personal, family-like customer service. The customers are the owners, so the decisions made will benefit everyone involved, and in most cases, this means that dealing with customer service in a credit union is much different than traditional banks. Plus, since the main incentive isn't necessarily to make a profit, and there is much less pressure for the organization to find ways of making money, you may find your experience to be much more genuine.

There are a few disadvantages to this model. For instance, there are fewer ATMs than many banks. National commercial banks may have ATMs scatter across the country, and there are probably several in your area, which means that you are less likely to have to pay a surcharge to get money from an ATM. In many cases, a credit union will allow you to use a third party ATM, and if you are charged a surcharge to use the ATM, you will get a refund on your statement.

Membership is also restricted in these financial institutions. They tend to focus on people who are involved in the community and people of modest means. Applying to join may be slightly more difficult than getting an account at a commercial bank. Just like banks, your credit union will offer you a variety of financial services and products. From savings accounts to checking accounts, loans, and mortgages, you might find that this non-profit organization is the right choice for you.

What's in Your Stimulus Package?

What's in Your Stimulus Package?

Here are 5 easy tips to stimulate your economy.

  1. Stay calm. If you are panicked, you will not be healthy. You need to be calm in order to see all the goodness in your life. In order to take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you each day, you must come from a centered place. If you operate from fear, panic, or anxiety, your body and mind will suffer.
  2. Greatest resource you have is your brain. Your ability to create your life is the most potent solution to any problem and of course, everyone needs help to accomplish that. Help from family, friends, trusted colleagues, and professionals who can assist you on your path. It's really tough, especially for women, to do it on your own. We women need a community, which we can share with, explore, and connect. We need our tribe where we feel accepted and honored each and every day.
  3. Decrease stress--it's a must! We know stress can easily decrease vitality, strength, and health. Negative thinking can also stress you out. It can affect your cortisol levels, which in turn can prevent you from losing the weight you want to lose, sleeping well, having energy, and looking your best. By decreasing your negativity and focusing on the good things in your life, you will have more peace of mind, more energy and will naturally want to take care of yourself.
  4. Wanting something more. Did you know that most of us want something bigger, better, and more stable in our daily lives? Even though we want to improve, we also want to find the peace we long for and the depth of connection that makes it all worthwhile. I, of course, often wonder what more can I do to help my clients achieve more balance in their busy lives.
  5. Doing less. I am now reading a book entitled "How Not To Be Afraid of Your Own Life" by Susan Piver. The author discusses three forms of laziness. The first is the "regular" kind, where we snooze a little longer on Sunday morning and then laze around the rest of the day. Then there's discouragement, where we give up too soon before we see the results we want to see. The third type of laziness is actually being too busy. How many of you know about this one? This is actually, where you fill up your schedule and forget about your personal priorities and self-care. Yes, its true being too busy is a way of not doing what you should be doing to make your life rich, rewarding, and fantastic! In this world of overwhelm and no time, it's certainly something to think about. What if we made time for ourselves every day to center, relax, and regenerate. I think if we did that, the world would actually be a better place.

And here's a Bonus Tip:

To make your day a little lighter--laugh more, love more, play more and let go more.

What Do You Need to Know About Scalping Forex Strategy?

What Do You Need to Know About Scalping Forex Strategy?

Scalping forex is a strategy that is used in forex trading by traders who want to make fast profits based on small movements of pips. The entire trading happens within few minutes and profits are made on 5 -20 pip movements.

There are many techniques that are used by individuals and traders to increase their profits and minimize their risks and scalping forex is considered to be a very good option. Its popularity has increased in the past few years as it has enabled traders to make consistent profits.

Although scalping forex is considered risky by some traders, if it is done carefully and timed correctly, it will help in reducing the risk. The ideal time to adopt such strategies during trading is when the market consolidates.

Scalping forex should be avoided when the market is volatile as it increases the risk of loss. It needs a lot of discipline to practice such trading as even a small impulsive decision can wipe the entire profit of the day. As forex trading can be done all through the day (twenty four hours) most traders do multiple trades and earn small profits.

Forex trading has become one of the most lucrative ways to earn money online and there are various tools and techniques available that makes this process easy. Scalping forex is one technique where the trader enters and exits a position very fast. Pip movements of 5 -15 are considered ideal to close the trade.

Most individuals or traders who follow this technique of trading end up doing several small trades of this nature during the day. Although the profits appear small initially they can add up and give good returns at the end of the day.

It usually requires some experience to do scalping forex trade as you will need to watch the small movements of pips carefully. However even people with little or no experience can do this form of trading easily. There are online tools that are available and traders can use them to practice scalping forex technique before they actually start trading with it.

Traders will need to follow the forex market closely to monitor the small changes in pip accurately. This will enable them to finish the trade within minutes. There are also many online tools that help traders follow the movement of pip accurately and this will help them do as many trades as possible in a day.

Although there are no restrictions to the number of trades that can be done in a day, it is advisable to restrict them when the market is consolidated and avoid them when it is volatile. This will help lower risk and increase profits.

It is much easier to see a 5 pip profit than a 30 or 40 pip profit while trading. So it would be advisable to opt for the smaller profits that are available rather than wait for the larger profit and lose everything. Scalping forex is one of the best ways to make small but consistent profits.

Monthly Budget Planning in 4 Easy Steps

Monthly Budget Planning in 4 Easy Steps

Making a financial budget for your home may sound daunting but it really isn't. Patience and realistic estimates are all you need to come up with the perfect spending plan, and here's a quick walk-through of the process.

1. Determine your disposable income

Calculate your after-tax income (Salary, bonus, investment income, and money you get from your bank account, etc.).

2. Calculate your projected and actual expenses

  • Spending on running the home (groceries, car fuel, rent, utility bills, repair and maintenance, etc.)
  • Spending on entertainment (eating out, movies, television, internet, vacations, hobbies, etc.)
  • Health and education (any regular medical bills, school and college tuition fees, books, etc.)
  • Debt obligations (paying down old debts from credit cards or loans, etc.)
  • Personal use items (clothes, bedding, visits to hair salons, shoes, etc.)

3. Calculate your savings

  • Money set aside in bank for future use
  • Investments in stock or bond market

4. Analysis time!

Are you in trouble or are you good? Did you spend more than you earned? How can you prevent that next month? Can you cut down your 'wants' and focus more on the 'needs'? How can you achieve world peace? The last question is probably not that relevant.

That's about it, except for the following variations and tips related to your financial budgeting process.

1. Save first. Spend later.

If it were up to me, Step 3 would come right after Step 1 (reach your savings target first and feel free to spend the rest) because it ensures you save something every month and helps control wasteful spending.

2. No hard rules.

Let the creative you come out and make your own sub-headings. You could consider 'eating out' a necessity or cover education and car expenses under an entirely new heading. It's really up to you and it helps to be a little creative. Why not use the following fun headings?

  • To run my awesome home in an awesome manner... instead of, 'Spending on running the home'.
  • To keep myself from losing my mind... instead of, 'Spending on entertainment'.
  • An apple a day doesn't keep the doctor away. I still need to spend on health... instead of simply, 'Health and education'.
  • I'm part of a world that runs on debt... instead of, 'Debt obligations'
  • My own life matters too, you know... instead of 'Personal use items'

3. What's the point?

Do you have a goal in mind to motivate you during the family budget exercise? Do you wish to save up for a new pair of stylish sun glasses or a vacation to Brazil? It can get tiresome recording everything so keep reminding yourself of the big picture.

4. Involve the family

Get your kids to create their own monthly budgets and share them with the family. This will go a long way in instilling good financial discipline.

5. Give priority to pockey-friendly items

If you ever need to make a big-ticket expense, like a renovation or lavish dinner party, go the budget-friendly route. Also try think about your opportunity costs and whether it's wise to spend on something luxurious instead of something that will simply get the job done.

How To Use Fixed Income Products In Both Strong And Weak Economies

How To Use Fixed Income Products In Both Strong And Weak Economies

Bonds are popular investment vehicles, yet few people know how to use them effectively. Here's a quick explanation of how to take advantage of fixed income products in both strong and weak economies.

The duration of a bond portfolio tells you how much the price of your bonds will change for each percentage change in interest rates. A high duration means more sensitivity or price volatility as interest rates change. Duration tells you virtually everything you want to know about the price sensitivity of U.S. government bonds, which are presumed to be risk-free from the standpoint of default risk. Prices of government bonds move with a mathematical certainty depending on the coupon and the maturity of the bonds, both of which go into the duration calculation. Investors increase the duration of their portfolio by increasing the maturity of the bonds they own, and shorten the duration by shortening bond maturities. As you move up the risk-of-default scale from government bonds, you can invest in what is known as "spread products," or bonds that are priced based on the difference, or spread, in their yield to U.S. Treasury securities. Spread products include mortgage bonds, high quality corporate bonds, junk bonds, and emerging market bonds, all of which typically offer investors higher yields in exchange for a higher risk of default. The price of spread products is not only impacted by their duration, but is also greatly affected by investor's perceptions of the default risk of the underlying bonds. These bonds are priced on their creditworthiness, and are often simply referred to as credit.

Bond prices move inversely to changes in interest rates. When rates go up bond prices fall, and when interest rates fall, bond prices rise. If you want to defend against a slow economy and falling interest rates, the easiest way to do it is to add duration to your bond portfolio by buying high quality (no default risk) government bonds. On the other hand, if the economy is growing and you want to defend against higher interest rates, you want to own spread products, or credit. These bonds should hold their value better than government bonds in a rising interest rate environment because:

1. Higher rates might be caused by a strong economy, which reduces the risk of default and puts a bid under bond prices.

2. The higher coupon offered by the bonds tends to cushion price changes caused by higher interest rates.

So, to review, if you want to defend against recession, increase your portfolio duration. And if you want to defend against higher interest rates caused by economic growth, own credit.

Sequestration - "The Sky Is Falling" (Again?)

Sequestration - "The Sky Is Falling" (Again?)

Chicken Little, that famous feathered friend who cried "the sky is falling" is at it again. Politicians all over Washington are shouting out that if "sequestration hits" the end will occur; no police, no fire, no air controllers, no food safety... nothing! Well forgive me if I'm a little cynical about this. How many times in the past have we heard this from these people who find their power strengthened by creating fear that the end is near? Let's remember, "Sequestration" was a political gimmick created by President Obama because the last time these non-leaders couldn't settle on a budget, Obama created this to politically get them all off the hook with the voters. So what's really going on?

Here are some important facts to consider; the U.S. economy is $15.6 trillion dollars; U.S. debt is around $16.5 trillion dollars; our federal SPENDING is around $3.0 trillion dollars and our federal income is around $2.8 trillion. OK, quick math, we're adding around $1.2 trillion per year to our already oversized debt. As a result of this, the debt rating agencies have of course lowered our credit score and threatened to lower it again, so the very people who are responsible for putting us in this malignant position are now screaming because we have to cut back spending, or raise taxes. This forced cutting known as Sequestration was supposed to hit January 1, 2013, but the politicians in Washington of course wouldn't work it out then so they postponed it until March 1st.

In order to put this fully into perspective, we need to understand two more critical facts about the U.S. budget. First, there are two sides to the budget; mandatory and discretionary. The mandatory spending which is stipulated by law includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veteran's benefits & interest on the debt. Without changing LAW, they cannot change these outflows. The discretionary side is set by budget agreement between Congress & the President and includes everything else; the 4 million federal employees of the Dept. of Defense, Debt. Of Labor, Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Human Service, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, Dept. of Treasury and the Dept. of State; and yes, the President's personal "Executive office of the President" containing 1,800 people. The Sequestration process affects ONLY the discretionary side of the budget.

The second important thing to understand is the budget process which is based on a unique, (only in government) concept referred to as "base-line budgeting". In business, or in your home, you set budgets based on how much money you bring in and how you wish to allocate that money. If you spend more, you've increased spending, if you spend less, you've cut spending. In government, budgets are set based on what you spent last year. So if last year, a given department spent $250,000 then the beginning point for their budget for this year is $250,000 PLUS an estimated increase based upon inflation. So if inflation is recorded as 2%, their budget for this year is $250,000 + 2% or $255,000. Therefore any spending increase LESS THAN 2% is a "cut" and any spending increase OVER 2% is an increase. Put your mind on this idea for a minute; how in the world would anyone be incented to reduce spending if their budget, power and livelihood were based on making sure they spend 100% of any years allocated budget? If they spend less than their allocated budget (a good thing in the private sector) their budget for subsequent years is forced to be less. If one thing were pointed out that is largely to blame for our bloated government, this budget process should be considered!

So considering this, Sequestration is calling for a roughly $85 billion reduction in spending (around 2.8%) of which only about $45 billion will actually happen. About half of this will hit the Defense Department and about half will hit the balance of discretionary budgets. So first ask yourself this; does a 2.8% reduction in a vastly over-bloated government really cause the end of life as we know it? The answer is NO. The thing that has Washington all upset is the process by which these "draconian" 2.8% reductions will happen. The process designed by President Obama takes a straight across the board cut of 2.8% so that results in each and every program, department, staff, etc. getting a 2.8% cut. Well, the bureaucrats don't like that too much because it doesn't allow them to take into account their own special pet projects. Too bad for them, but let's not forget it was THEM who got us into this mess in the first place.

There is a problem with the defense cuts and let me explain. The defense budget last year was around $690 billion; more than the rest of the world combined. With cuts that came through last year adding to this round of cuts, the defense budget forward is around $600 billion. The issue here isn't that $600 billion isn't a lot of money, but the current defense mandate is to support a global military presence and a reduction of almost 20% in their budget makes that almost impossible. So, the defense department's budget reduction forces changes to be made to their strategic objectives. This is serious stuff. In recent months, the Russians have flown nuclear bombers over U.S. territory in Guam, and the Chinese defense department has been discovered being the leader in computer hacking of U.S. business and government computer systems. Both of these nations understand our economic problems and they are not shy about taking advantage of them. This is perhaps the only part of this entire process that is cause for concern.

The bottom line is this in order to sustain our nation's prosperity we need to get control of Washington and its enormous appetite to spend our money, our children's money, and our grandchildren's money. The Sequestration process will not end life as we know it and when all is said and done, it will end up proving that cutting back Washington's bloated budgets will not kill the American economy!

What a Degree in Business Finance Can Do For You

What a Degree in Business Finance Can Do For You

Earning a degree in finance can lead individuals to pursue a variety of positions within this field. Positions often involve working with numbers, being an advisor, and other money management duties. This degree often goes well with a variety of other backgrounds, including computers, or marketing. A finance degree can be applied in residential, government, or corporate settings.

In order to first begin a position in a finance-related area, individuals should first earn a degree. While an associate's degree can be earned in two years, employers typically prefer individuals who have a bachelor's degree or higher. However, if people are only looking for an entry-level position, an associate's degree may suffice. Those who hold master's degrees will often find their qualifications fit the best job opportunities. Individuals who have earned a doctorate degree in this field may also look for positions working in a business school, college, or university.

One position available to those with a financial degree background is a credit analyst. These professionals work with businesses and individuals to determine their creditworthiness. Their job is to see how likely it is that the borrower will be able to pay back a loan. Credit analysts will assess financial history and the current state of the market to see if loan repayment is viable for a particular borrower.

Another career that may be considered is a financial advisor. Simply put, these professionals provide financial services to their clients. Most often, the job responsibilities fall between a mix of financial planner and investment advisor. Almost every single person who is in this position holds a bachelor's degree. In order to fully become a financial advisor, individuals must take and pass the Series 7 exam from Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Finance officers, who are also known as financial managers, are often supervisory leaders. They often work in credit unions, finance companies, and banks. With the amount of technology being incorporated into businesses now, financial officers often work more with data analysis and are advisors to senior managers. While the responsibilities of these individuals are often the same across the board, duties may vary depending on an individual's organization. Those working in the government will most likely focus on government appropriations and the budget process, while those in healthcare should be well-versed in healthcare finance.

A loan officer will work with individuals during the loan process. Similar to a financial advisor, loan officers assess creditworthiness to see whether potential borrowers are eligible for a loan. Employers also value loan officers who are adept at working with computers and other banking applications.

You Are The Value

You Are The Value

The biggest lie of all times - and most damaging in my opinion - by governments, banks and financial institutions is that they deliberately withheld and actively hid the fact that You Are The VALUE... not money or even precious metals. They are just the representation of the value or eternal essence... your soul.

The body is the transmitting utility or vehicle of value. Value is ENERGY which comes from each one of us. Your body is the vehicle that energy moves through in every operation of Being or Doing. The VALUE, your value is that energy. The system has been stealing your value. It started at the supposed registration of your birth which was actually the birth of a legal entity, trust, strawman or PERSON in your name. You can find more information about the birth certificate process here.

Every being in the Universe is eternal essence, every being is the VALUE or soul. That VALUE has been returned by the UCC filings of the former One Peoples Public Trust. All the value has been returned, the title, ownership and custody. It's not that the soul or essence has been physically taken but as in a house which is immoveable the title and ownership has been transferred, in this case illegally, by the system (for example some of the members of the 13 bloodline families). One of the main ways they did this was through the birth certificate process.

Since the UCC filings there has been lots of banker resignations, even whole governments have resigned. There is lots of unrest throughout the world. Pretty much everything you have done up till now they have 'bonded' and made billions in profits. Within the system they have been trading your value every minute of every day. They hid the whole VALUE concept through the birth bond account and trust that was created in your name. They stole everything by using and working under the commercial registry (UCC). People, schools, universities, prisons, countries and so on are all corporations.

When eternal essence 'embodies' this is actually the 'Notice' that the soul is in the body and is able to use that body to manifest and create ie value. What the system does is use the birth certificate process to take over the body ie title, ownership, custody. All the paperwork is sent off to the world bank and IMF. From that day onwards you are unwittingly doing everything under the guise of your corporation/trust. Your account at Central Bank is charged. All the paperwork from the courts and so on is sent to the same central area and they get credits for every transaction or contract.

According to the system you do everything by your own freewill choice - all be it very often under the threat of fines, costs, and even imprisonment. You do not have to contract with the system, even when they threaten you. If you are 'forced' to sign something always put the words 'without prejudice' before your signature which means that you can't be held to a contract which you havn't seen all the facts to.

The good news is that your VALUE has always been accessible. The financial system is a physical representation of the energetics. It is a transfer system so the tools are very good. However the issue is that they stole what didn't belong to them... your VALUE. They also hid large parts of the financial system, the debt part you see is just one aspect of that system, but there is another part which will be revealed shortly.

Five Simple Steps to Reducing Your Electricity Bill

Five Simple Steps to Reducing Your Electricity Bill

It is summertime and with it comes not only soaring temperatures, but soaring electricity bills. Almost everyone pays for power, whether gas, solar or fossil. Other sources of energy used to create electricity include coal, nuclear and wind. A very small percentage uses Hydro-Electric to create energy, simply by the movement of water, as practised by Hoover Dam. Regardless to what source a company uses to produce energy, unless one is totally off the grid producing one's own energy, it leaves consumers having to pay to use electricity to power just about every household appliance. During summer time, hot temperatures and high humidity require the increase of or constant use of air cooling systems. As a result, many face higher electricity bills. The good news is that we can say goodbye to those climbing bills by following a few basic principles. There are some simple guidelines each consumer can adhere to that can significantly reduce the amount of power used and thereby lower monthly bills.

STEP 1

SWAP THOSE ENERGY GUZZLING LIGHT BULBS

Most of us do not realize the amount of energy used by the flick of the light switch. Incandescent bulbs are the greatest culprits. They are highly affordable but come at a high price in terms of power usage. Your average 60 watt incandescent bulb uses about ten times more electricity than a CREE 6 watt LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulb whilst giving as effective lighting without the exessive heat factor. CREE bulbs may run you about $12 to $13 dollars each as compared to the one dollar incandescent bulb, but you will notice a reduction in your overall electric bill.

STEP 2

LOOK FOR THE ENERGY STAR ON ALL APPLIANCES

With the focus on clean energy and energy efficiency, most appliance manufacturers are becoming more energy aware, developing products that aim to minimize power usage. The consumer now has the option, in most cases, to choose energy efficient appliances over the energy guzzlers. Southern California Edison funds and offers a great rebate program that reimburses the consumer for making these energy smart choices. It is estimated that upgrading to an Energy Efficient model can earn savings up to $180 annually. (You can earn up to $4000.00 for making these home improvements). That is significant. Just imagine the long term savings projection should we switch all our appliances to those with Energy Star rating. To sweeten an already sweet deal, they will even haul away your old regrigerator or freezer for free on top of the cash rebate. In California there are even lamp swapping events. Take your energy inefficient lamp to the venue and have it replaced for free, for a lamp that will make your electric meter smile.

Fun Fact: New dishwashers are designed to save water, using half as much at the older models.

STEP THREE

IS IT TIME TO REPLACE THAT OLD WATER HEATER? POOL PUMP? CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING UNIT?

Think about it for a minute. Your water heater, pool pump and central air are the things that run, and run and run. During the summer months, that pool gets possibly the most usage of the year. Therefore the pool pump has to be kept running periodically, if not a minimum of six hours daily. Then there is the central air that is worked non stop during the brutality of the summer heat. Most consumers want to keep their homes at a cool and comfortable 75 to 78 degrees during summer. The water heater simply stays on so that we have hot water at the touch or turn of a faucet. So you may be wondering, how do I change these fixed variables? Again, it may require an initial investment of time and money, but the long term savings and investment are worth their weight in gold.

Most of us, blessed or cursed, depending on how you look at it, with a pool may have the standard, old, energy gobbling pool pump. Today there is now the Variable Speed, Permanent Magnet Motor pool pump. These energy efficient pumps produce less heat and vibration and Hayward EcoStar claims that their pump will save 60% to 90% on the electric bill! It is a no brainer that a pool does not need to run on a high speed, all of the time, thus having a variable speed pool pump, offers higher efficiency which can then translate to profit/savings.

We have agreed that the air conditioning unit, though a well loved necessity, through continuous summer usage, is one of the worst enemies when determining how high or low our bill is. Changing an existing high energy, air conditioning unit to an efficient alternative, the Evaporative cooler is not only encouraged but rewarded via SCE's $300 rebate for the upgrade. You can also research the Lennox Solar HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning)system. Their "solar-ready air conditioners and heat pumps can harness the power of the sun to reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to half". With these new solar supported systems, a unit can either be powered in part by solar energy or be completely off the grid, if one has solar panels set up to accommodate solar power generation.

Fun Fact: Get a tax break for going solar. By installing a solar-ready air conditioning unit or heat pump and attaching at least one solar module, qualifies a tax payer for both the solar and HVAC tax credits!

Energy Star states that, "heating water accounts for approximately 15% of a home's energy use and that high efficiency water heaters use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models saving homeowners money on their utility bill'. The Energy Star Qualified Water Heaters are therefore a must have for anyone who is working toward a truly energy efficient home. A great option to keep in mind is the Demand (Tankless) Water Heater. Since there is no storage tank keeping the water heated continuously, there are no standby losses. Water is simply heated on demand. Two other possibilities would be the Heat Pump Water Heater and Solar Water Heating systems.

Fun and Financially Frugal Fact: PG&E will offer a $50 rebate per unit for every High Efficiency Clothes Washer replaced. Note that PG&E has a list of CEE (Consortium for Energy Efficiency) and Energy Star models that qualify for rebate. Check list before purchase.

Fun Fact: PG&E offers two tiers of home upgrades.

Up to $2500. in incentives - "Three measures focused on your home's building shell, including ductwork and insulation and major systems."

Up to $4500. in incentives - "A customized and comprehensive plan focused on building shell, windows, water heaters, and heating and cooling systems. "

STEP FOUR

MONITOR DAILY USAGE.

Most power companies with online services as PG&E and Edison offer their customers usage monitoring through an online account and the installation of a Smart Meter. By a combination of these two, one can see current and projected usage. By having this option, if one's projected seems high, usage can be curtailed accordingly. The consumer can observe peak usage and through trial and error, determine what the true power guzzlers are. See usage soar when the washer/dryer is in operation. It can require from as little as turning off more lights at night or maybe doing fewer loads of laundry per week. The advantage of usage monitoring is key to keeping our power bills in the range we want them to be. Additionally, this service is free.

STEP FIVE

CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE TO POWER USAGE

It is an attitude change. For those of us who are aware of the environment, the state of non-renewable energy sources as fossil and coal, desirous of finding and using the greener, better-for-the-earth energy sources as solar and wind, it is a constant search for information. We make every power choice with the realization that many or most sources are non-renewable. This is not about the ability to pay a power bill. This is about energy efficiency and maximization of resources.

Do we really need to keep every single light on in the house?

Does the A/C have to be running below 75 degrees keeping the house like an ice/meat locker?

Do you have to wash two or three items of clothing? Can you not wait to accumulate a full load before running the washer/dryer?

Words of Caution: Investigate the installation of solar panels for your home but beware of companies that try to sell or rent you solar panels. It can get very costly and with some companies, you cannot reap the benefits for many, many years. Do weigh the costs of a long term loan for installation against the costs of simply upgrading your household appliances and lighting fixtures to more Energy Efficient ones.

Fun Fact: Southern California Edison will offer you a rebate, for as long as funds for the program are available, for replacing your old refrigerator.

Annually Revise Your Savings Withdrawal Rate To Maintain Your Asset
Value

Annually Revise Your Savings Withdrawal Rate To Maintain Your Asset Value

Perhaps you rely on your savings to supplement your Social Security and Pension incomes. If so, make sure you revise how much you withdraw each year to make your savings last.

Ideally what you take out of your savings should increase with inflation each year so the purchasing power of your withdrawals remains constant to maintain your living style. But of course you don't want your remaining savings to shrink to support those withdrawals. So you must plan for what you can withdraw annually to also preserve your portfolio against loss in its value.

As a retiree, you ought to have at least 50% of your saving portfolio in high quality income generating investments. The remaining 50% should be in high grade equity investments. You need those equity investments to help grow your portfolio and offset inflation's diminishment of its overall value.

A tentative 4% withdrawal rate Considering the average performance of markets, many advisors recommend using a maximum of 4% as a withdrawal rate from your savings. That statistically allows for preserving the portfolio's real value and the real value of your withdrawal's purchasing power. So, the quantity of money you withdraw each year increases with the inflation rate.

But investment markets do change - moving from bear markets to bull markets, and back. And that affects your earnings. If you experience a bear market (i.e. those headed down) and sideways markets early one in your retirement, adjust your withdrawal rate downward.

That's because that 4% withdrawal rate doesn't work for bear markets. If you let your portfolio go down early in your retirement, it may not be able to recover later early enough during your retirement years to supply your initial savings' income when a bull market eventually returns.

Frugality and an annual appraisal of your withdrawal rate Try to reduce your living expenses to ease the need for tapping the full 4% of your portfolio income. Perhaps you can postpone travel, spend less on restaurants and entertainment, and replace cars and other items less often. Bear markets last about 2 years.

When the bull market comes back, you can bring your withdrawals up to the 4% - and maybe splurge a little too. If you stick to just the 4% during bull markets, you'll build surplus growth in your portfolio that'll will allow you to maintain the 4% during later bear markets.

Having about 2 years emergency cash - in CDs and money market accounts - when you begin your retirement is helpful too.

The Emergence Of The Chinese Market in The International Shipping Trade

The Emergence Of The Chinese Market in The International Shipping Trade

With a population of more than 1.35 billion people, China is the biggest market in the world today. The Asian market is becoming more and more central in world commerce and there are several reasons why the Chinese market has become so central and so strong in the world economy, especially in marine trade:

Economical Growth- The world economy is showing signs of development and expansion allowing overall growth in western and eastern ports alike. In addition, new commercial lines from US harbors to the Far East are being added constantly. The increasing demand along with the growing quantity of goods will allow further increase in profits shares of shipping companies in the Asian-Pacific market.

Chinese Economy - Recent data are now showing a growth of nearly 8 percent in Chinese markets. Additionally, there is a lot of development of sea ports in the pacific thanks to increasing traffic of ships loaded with containers.

The Pacific Area - various countries in the Pacific region like Vietnam, Laos and Thailand are showing economical growth. There is an increase in maritime trade and the numbers are showing a steady increase in shipping traffic.

Fuel Prices- oil prices showed unstable fluctuation in recent years, but are now stabilizing. Also, recent technologies allow a decrease in fuel usages, therefore minimizing future transportation costs.

Due to all these reasons, shipping container investments are now gaining popularity, being an effective alternative investment opportunity that yields high profits. shipping cargo by sea has been used all through history as a way of trading and even today it still has a central role in the global trading, and getting more and more essential. Around 90% of world trade is made by sea.

There are many shipping associations active in the pacific region in order to manage all the shipping companies operating in the area. New, modern ports are built

How To Start Investing In Shipping Containers?

Investing in shipping containers is rather simple and easy. There are many investment companies all over the world that specialize in the shipping container leasing business. A quick search on the internet will come up with a basic list to start from. Basically, there are two types of container leasing companies: One type offers to purchase the containers and the company manages and leases the containers for you. The second type offer investors to become a share holder by buying company stock. As at seems, profits are much higher by becoming an owner.

Whether you are interested in becoming an investor or simply keep yourself involved, the emergence of the Chinese market in the international shipping trade cannot be ignored and it is a major part of the world's economy.

Human Action or Human Folly?

Human Action or Human Folly?

It seems the 'race to the bottom' is picking up speed; the 'race to the bottom' in value of fiat currencies, that is. Conventional wisdom calls for a reduction of the (relative) value of a currency, in order to 'support export industry'. The new government of Japan, headed by Mr. Shinzo Abe, was elected on that very 'platform'; the intention to deliberately devalue the Japanese Yen, supposedly to 'support' Japanese export industries.

Indeed, this theme is very common; all countries on fiat currency... that is, all countries... are using devaluation to 'support their export industries', and their economies... indeed, conventional wisdom says that Greece is in trouble because it has no currency it can devalue, as it uses the Euro... and power to devaluate the Euro is not in the hands of the Greek government, but in the hands of the EU... and Germany.

It is obvious that devaluation eventually fails, as any currency being devaluated against... like the Yen vs. the USD... will lead to a counter devaluation; the USD vs. the Yen... and so if the race to the bottom continues, it must eventually lead to zero currency value... of all fiat currency. If you are on the road to Hades, and you keep walking, guess where you end up.

Nevertheless, this insanity continues, in the belief that devaluation gives an edge... if only temporary... to the country devaluating. Politicians never consider the future, only the next election... and a temporary devaluation is a typical 'kick the can' into the future action so loved by politicians.

The real question is this; does devaluation actually do what it promises to do, that is 'support the economy' by 'supporting export industries'? This deserves a closer look... and a look at the causes, not the symptoms of loss of export competitiveness and economic decline... and the true consequences of devaluation.

Let's do some simple numbers; simple like 2 + 2 = 4... and see where the truth is. Is truth found in 'conventional wisdom', or in the position taken by New Austrian economists? The New Austrians' position is simple; currency devaluation is like soldiers heading into battle, but first throwing their bullets and ammunition away, because its 'too heavy'... !

In the modern world, all economies are intertwined; a car manufactured in the US for example, is really mostly assembled from components manufactured off shore; components like the engine, gearbox, accessories, etc... Not more than 20% to 30% of the final value of a car 'made in USA' is created locally, that is around 70 % to 80% of the value is imported.

Some industries have more local value added; but even something as apparently local as farming has much value added from offshore sources; diesel fuel, chemical fertilizers, capital equipment like tractors and combines, etc.

For the sake of keeping the numbers easy, let's assume that 50% of all value is local, and the balance is imports... and get on with it. Suppose that we consider 100 Monetary Units (MU) of an export product; these MU's could be thousands of dollars, millions of Euros... whatever, the results are the same.

If 50% of 100 MU export is local value, then 50 MU worth must be imported. So, the sale of 100 MU of goods results in 50 MU of imports, and 50 MU of local salaries and wages. Remember, all costs are salaries and wages; the raw materials, whether ore for mining, tress for lumber, grains or whatever are freely given... all cost is in extraction, production, transportation... and parasitism like taxes, regulatory expenses, overhead, bureaucracy etc.

So, assume the export industry is becoming less competitive... for whatever reason; less stuff gets sold, less salaries are paid out... the economy is shrinking. What to do? Well, the first idea is to simply lower the selling price; this is the typical knee jerk reaction to falling sales. Discount it, put it on sale, give a special... this should restore sales and competitiveness, no?

Suppose we discount by 10%; this should give sales... or 'competitiveness' a kick. The problem is, if we discount our exports by 10%, even if sales return to previous levels, we will sell the same quantity of stuff as before, but will only get paid 90 MU... and our costs to buy the 50% imports stays the same, at 50 MU; we end up with local value added of only 40MU... a 20% discount. Ouch.

Other things being equal, local wages and salaries must decline by 10 MU... that is, by 20%. This is very painful; labor unions, employees, worse yet voters will be outraged... why, they may even vote the rascals out... can't have that now, can we?

Let's try plan B; instead of discounting, let's devalue. If we devalue the local currency by 10%, our export product will in effect be 10% cheaper, (for offshore buyers) just like with the discount; our sales should rise, just like before. So far, so good... but what are the 'unintended consequences'?

Why, first, the import component will now cost 55 NMU (New monetary unit) which has the same value as 50 old MU's had. If we sell the same product for 100 NMU (rather than 90 OMU), then we need to spend 55 NMU (rather than 50 OMU) for imports, and we only have 45 NMU (the equivalent of 40.5 OMU) for local value added.

Wow; for the same sales as before, instead of getting 50 MU like before the evaluation, we only get to keep 40.5 NMU; we are about as badly off as if we simply discounted 10%. Under a 10% discount, our local value added is 40 OMU... well, at least we are 0.5 ahead... or are we?

What if the locals buy offshore stuff, like say Taiwanese TV's with their 'NMU currency'; remember, all imports are now 10% more expensive, as measured in old monetary units. In effect, the local standard of living took a dive. Or, 'inflation' took an uptick.

By golly, if this is the case, why do we devalue? Is it possible that our 'leaders' don't give a rat's ass about how much the real economy suffers... or about the standard of living of citizens, as long as they can keep their power, their perks, and their legal immunities?

Of course, this is the bottom line... devaluation is a sneaky way to hide a loss of productivity, to hide a drop in standard of living... and to find ready scapegoats to blame the 'inflation' on; greedy capitalists, speculators, the usual suspects.

New Austrians understand this situation clearly; that is why we consider devaluation to be sheer insanity... and the equivalent of throwing away your bullets before the battle. After all, if devaluation actually did some good, then Zimbabwe should be the most competitive, highest standard of living country in the world... and not the total economic disaster it in reality is.

If devaluation is not the way, what is? Simple; increase productivity, and achieve real competitiveness. Cut 'overhead' by cutting the parasites... and accumulate real capital. Real capital means more efficient machinery, more efficient infrastructure, inexpensive energy and a more productive, better educated work force.

Germany has some of the highest hourly wages in the world, yet their unit labor costs are the lowest... because of high capital investment. This is the way it must be, this is the law of economics; savings must come before investment. Debt does not replace real capital; in fact, excessive debt simply leads to capital erosion, and if carried farther, to capital destruction.

Fiat currency is indeed subject to devaluation... and thus capital destruction... but Gold and Silver are not; hence the term 'honest money'. This is why the world must put Gold and Silver to use as honest money. With the fraudulent practice of devaluation eliminated, capital destruction can be replaced by capital accumulation, and the ongoing drop in standards of living reversed.

4 Commercial Mortgages Guidelines You Should Follow

4 Commercial Mortgages Guidelines You Should Follow

Commercial mortgages are the loans that are taken by people who are in business for various reasons. The mortgage loan might be taken either to buy a business premise, to extend the existing premise, for commercial and also residential investment or even to develop the property. There are different types of commercial mortgages. For instance, you can take the loan and buy a business unit or you can use the business building as your security for your loan.

CORRECT FORM FILLING
However, before you apply for the mortgage, there are some guidelines that you should follow. For the loan to be approved, you need to be thorough in the things that you do.

Make sure that you fill the application form wisely. The bank or the institution have very tight rules and regulations and may disqualify you for very minor details. When you have your form in hand, you should look for a broker to assist you in the application. There are some terms that might be very complex such that you do not understand them. Do not fill things in the form that you do not understand. Ask for help from experienced professionals.

WISE MANAGEMENT
Make sure that you use the loan wisely.. Do not use the cash on things that are very unnecessary. If your loan is for business purpose, make sure that you manage the loan wisely and leave aside some of the loan advance to help expand your business. Make sure you plan to repay your loan quickly so that you can succeed in your business and not be bogged down with long term loan repayment.

COMPARE INTEREST RATES
Make sure that you approach a bank that has favourable interest rates. Different banks have different interest rates so you should make sure that the bank that you go to has rates that you are happy with. Ask the bank's existing customers if they are satisfied with the bank's services. You should also get a professional such as a property lawyer to check the terms and conditions of the loan and mortgage documents before you commit yourself.

AFFORDABILITY
You should also take a commercial loan that you know you are in the position to repay. Do not over-commit yourself knowing that that you cannot pay it back. As much as you need to buy or expand that business, take a reasonable amount of money that you can service. It is good to talk to a lot of people before you borrow money for your business or commercial property purchase. The broker that you choose should be able to advice you accordingly in view of your financial circumstances.

Follow these guidelines to help you determine if you should apply for a commercial loan.

Cyber Crime: A Threat to Financial Institutions

Cyber Crime: A Threat to Financial Institutions

The unprecedented growth of cyber crime on financial institutions is alarming. According to the An FBI report it has been revealed that over 400 reported cases of account takeovers by cyber criminals is with an actual loss of approximately $85 million.

A disappointing outcome of such cyber crime is the unimaginable burden on the banks, which puts customers money at high risk. Financial institutions clearly need to identify such threats and potential solutions to prevent the heavy burden of such unsafe events.

Challenges of Cyber Crime

Cyber Criminals are expert in designing special technology extremely difficult for identification by financial institutions and can easily sway naive customers. Such criminals are highly cautious not to spread their malicious intentions too far to be easily caught and instead use new tricks at regular intervals to trap users.

Financial criminals create attractive messages to run across banking websites. Upon clicking such ads, cyber criminals can easily access login details and passwords. These details are majorly misused for conducting fraudulent transactions and transferring lump sum amount of money to various other accounts.

ATM services are also prone to fraudulent activities by cyber criminals using various tricks to intercept confidential data in the card including the user's pin number. This way criminals can create fake cards to withdraw money from the individual's account.

Many financial institutions are concerned with the increasing frequency and new sophisticated methods used by cyber criminals. Financial threats are increasing costs to design resources and technology to combat cyber crime taking place on a large-scale. Electronic banking is one of the frequently used technologies by customers. Banks and ATM vendors are under constant pressure to handle attacks on mediums such as internet and ATM machines which today are primary sources to access cash.

Financial criminals find it very convenient to attack a single line of business like wire transactions. Frauds on such mediums facilitate the attacker for illegal activities such as money laundering which happens quickly and goes unnoticed. Many FI's are failing to employ necessary resources to deal with money laundering and maintain Bank Secrecy Act due to continual criminal challenges.

Small and mid-sized financial institutions need to be cautious in keeping their business open to certain industry type. A special risk management strategy needs to be adopted for long-term loans such mortgage, auto financing, energy lending all of which involve high levels of risk.

Viable solutions

At a macro level, financial institutions need to focus on seven major areas of risk management which include: Risk management for new products and services, capital planning, commercial real estate concentration, underwriting of industrial loans, interest rate risk, compliance with anti-money laundering schemes and consumer laws, technology and operational risks.

For consistent highly secured operations, financial institutions should outsource services to reliable security companies. This will also reduce the financial burden and cut down additional costs ad efforts to maintain an in-house security department for cyber crime.

With ever-increasing fraudulent activities, there is a dire need to buy advanced technologies and design specific applications to prevent all types or risks. These will abundantly minimize costs that arise from perilous acts such as hacking or money laundering.

To mitigate risks, it is essential for all financial institutions to increase awareness and access the appropriate resources to minimize risk of cyber threats. It is imperative to combat criminal activities by complying with regulations and keeping in mind the level of risks from all angles.

By monitoring financial crimes, a financial institution can immensely prevent criminals from attacking any channel that facilitates transactions to and fro the users. An integrated approach enables an organization to collect and analyze data from multiple areas of potential risk.

Cross channel, investigations can help minimize redundant procedures. Combined data can also help prevent malicious strategies an acts as a force multiplier to eliminate similar investigations and easily trap similar cyber attack on varied channels.

Software providers of bank websites and ATM services should be fluent with software updates to provide full security to customers. Essentially, financial institutions should not wait for a malware to strike but ensure that systems are highly secured to prevent the attack of malicious criminals.

Combating cyber crime is not a one day job or a prevention task after such a problem has occurred. Increased awareness and appropriate use of security resources are key measures to combat cyber crime. Financial institutions should prioritize prudence and formulate apt security measures to effectively combat any type of cyber crime.

Analysis of Target Corporation

Analysis of Target Corporation

TARGET CORPORATION ANALYSIS

The purpose of this memo is to evaluate Target's recent performance and compare Target's five proposed capital budgeting projects.

The first SuperTarget store opened in Omaha, Nebraska in 1995. Target differentiated itself from Wal-mart by focusing on their customer's shopping experience. The company had been highly successful at promoting its brand awareness with large advertising campaigns and as additional enhancement to the customer shopping experience, Target offered credit to qualified customers through its RED cards.

I. Target's Recent Performance Evaluation

Wal-Mart Revenue= $315.7 billion Wal-Mart Debt Rating= AA Wal-Mart Beta= 0.80

Costco Revenue= $52.9 billion Costco Debt Rating= A Costco Beta= 0.85

Target Revenue= $52.6 billion Target Debt Rating= A+ Target Beat= 1.05

Table 1: Retail Company Financial Information

Table 1 shows that Target's total revenue is the lowest as compared to Wal-mart and Costco but it performed better in relation to its company's debt management. Target's debt rating of A+ outperforms Wal-mart's or Costco's debt rating. This indicates that Target has very efficient debt management system in its company despite the fact that they need to acquire more funds to undertake their capital budgeting projects and the risk of them defaulting on their loan payments is very low. However, Target seems to be the riskiest company with a beta of 1.05 which is higher than the other two companies. I believe that Target's beta of 1.05 is not a very big issue as the total beta of the retail industry is 1.96 and Target's beta is still much lower than the overall industry's beta.

II. Target's Financial Ratios Evaluation

Net profit Margin (2005) = 6.89% (2006) = 4.58%
Return on Assets (ROA) (2005)= 5.84% (2006)= 6.88%
Return on Equity (ROE) (2005)= 24.55% (2006) = 16.95%
Asset Turnover Ratio (2005)= 1.44 (2006) = 1.50
Inventory Turnover Ratio (2005)=5.84 (2006)= 5.98

Table 2: Target's Financial Ratios

Table 2 shows that Target's net profit margin has decreased since 2005. ROE has also decreased since 2005 but ROA increased since 2005. Target's net profit margin decreased since 2005 because they decreased their interest expense in 2006. Target experienced a growth in sales and a decrease in interest expense from 2005 to 2006 which is a good sign for the company even though this resulted in a decrease in net profit margin. This decrease in net income also led to a decrease in ROE. The decrease in ROE is not a bad sign for Target as the total shareholders' equity actually increased from 2005 to 2006 which also caused the decrease in ROE. ROA improved from 2005 to 2006 which shows that management is really good at managing Target's assets to generate earnings.

Asset Turnover Ratio and Inventory Turnover Ratio improved since 2005 which indicates that Target is becoming more efficient in managing their assets and inventories. Turnover ratios are very important in the retail industry to ensure that the company is able to keep their costs low and generate significant profits. The improvement in inventory turnover for Target shows that Target is able to lower their warehouse and inventory costs in 2006 by effectively managing their inventory. This also led to the increase in sales for Target in 2006.

III. Capital Budgeting Projects Comparison

A. Gopher Place

The total population in the area in which it is located is one of the lowest among the others. There is the potential of cannibalism in that area if Target undertakes this project as there is a high density of Target stores already in that area. In addition, Wal-mart also plans to add two new supercenters there. Competition in this area will be pretty high with such a low population and so many stores. This project may not be able to generate high number of sales or profit for Target despite the huge population increase and high median income.

B. Whalen Court

It has the highest NPV due to its location in the most populated area. It will also bring the brand awareness that Target always sought for and provide free advertising to all passerby. However, the initial investment required for this project is huge and raises concerns on Target's ability to finance it. The risks associated with this project is too high as a small decrease in amount of sales will result in a huge negative NPV and losses to the company. This project may not be able to generate the high amount of sales or profit for Target as sales are expected to remain constant with a low population increase.

C. The Barn

It requires the least investment and produces a very favorable NPV. This small rural area will enable Target to expand their stores to a new market. However, it is located in an area with the second lowest total population. The median income of the population is also pretty low. Target can achieve huge profits in this area as only a small amount of sales is required to generate huge returns and Target will not encounter losses when sales decline. This project will generate huge amount of profit for Target despite the possibility that the amount of sales may be one of the lowest compared to the other projects.

D. Goldie's Square

It has the lowest NPV among all the other projects and does not look attractive from the NPV standpoint. However, it is located in a densely populated who have a high median income. A population with a high median income may result in Target acquiring many loyal customers. There is also a high population growth which indicates that sales will increase in the future. This project can generate the high amount of sales and profit for Target as growth materializes.

E. Stadium Remodel

It is located in an area with the highest median income and highest percentage of adults with 4+ years of college. Potential of sales look promising. However, there is not enough information to support this as sales has been declining previously. The outlook does not look too promising for this project. It is not a profitable project to undergo at this moment.

IV. Conclusion and Recommendation

Based on my evaluation of Target, I saw an overall improvement on Target's performance. I believe that Target will be able to earn huge profits and sales by sticking on to their marketing strategy and thorough analysis of future projects The Barn and Goldie's Square projects are the two projects that I would recommend as these are the most profitable projects among the others.

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