China Financial Funds Are Right On Track

China Financial Funds Are Right On Track

Atypical urge in most Americans to invest in the China Financial Sector is justified for at least four of the Chinese banks are now among the global top ten banks when measured through their market values. The steep growth curve in the Sino financial equity is a long term idea but almost certain owing to a regulated economic framework and market friendly policies of the state government.

For foreign investors, a China Financials ETF will suffice for more than just an urge, as the exposure enables a standardised vestment throughout the most liquid Chinese bank stocks and their respective ADRs [American Derivatives].

The Jefferies equity strategy team expects China's domestic consumption to form a major portion of its GDP, estimated to touch more than 72.5 % by the year 2025. Last year it was calculated to be a little less than 50% of the total GDP.

The Chinese economy exudes positivity not just for its billions of natives but also for its equity market. Last year figures show a decrease in inflation alongside the most needed increase in exports. Even domestic consumption of luxury items like cars has gone up, so have the circulation of bank loans. China has been increasingly importing commodities such as copper, aluminium and crude. All this indicates furthering growth in key sectors of the country.

The governmental policies are aimed at strengthening its stock market, improving lifestyle and social security of its inhabitants and raise incomes and indigenous consumptions. Infrastructure is a main focus so as to accommodate the urbanisation trend.

China's stock market seems to continue positively for the year 2013 and with the leadership open to newer policies and reforms, a stronger economy will unfold. China offers various funds including small cap funds and allows enough diversification opportunities to its investors.

Along with a strong currency support, the oil and transportation sectors have drawn great revenues even for the investors. China is working on to raise investment in its banking and financial sectors. Also private financing is encouraged.

International traders from the west and other international destinations are keen on profiting from the country's enormous overall growth prospects and may foreign companies have their operations / office in China.

The financial sector is another progressive segment opened up to global players. The Financial Sector in China is mainly dominated by the commercial banks. One such big (state owned) bank is the Bank of China limited, offers services such as investment & commercial banking, insurance, fund and investment management to a diversified list of clients in China, Macau, Hong Kong and about 29 other nations.

American interest in stocks and funds dealing with one or the other aspect of this nation are finding a place in their portfolios. In addition to this ETFs offer fair amount of liquidity and successfully deal with risks and company specific concerns.

Financial Advisor Strategies: Understanding Low Risk Investment Options

Financial Advisor Strategies: Understanding Low Risk Investment Options

When you're considering your investment options you must consider the risk you are prepared to take and it is highly advised that you consult with a financial advisor. Cash and Bonds are the lowest risk assets classes.

Cash is low risk asset class and so, in general, the funds invested in cash will not see a fall in value through the investment period.

In exchange for this security however you should only expect to receive very low rates of return on your investment.

Given the low rate of return, quite often you will find that the rate of inflation may be running higher than the cash deposit rate. In this situation while the value of the cash may not fall, the true value of the money or purchasing power will decrease and so provide negative real returns.

The advantage to cash investment is that it tends to be the most liquid form of investment and therefore it is easily accessible. Typically cash investing would be used to provide for your emergency funds and your day-to-day funds.

Cash investment is predominantly carried out through Banks using deposit and current accounts.

Bonds

Bonds are typically considered low to medium risk depending on the type of bond that you invest in. However, there are also high risk bonds available and so careful analysis of the type of bond you are investing in should be carried out.

What are bonds?

Bonds can be described as loans given to a Corporate or Government body for a set period of time after which the principle amount is paid back in full. The issuer of the bond may undertake to pay a rate of interest on the principle amount. This is can often be known as the coupon rate. Obviously the higher the coupon rate, the higher the returns will be on your investment.

However, you should be wary of bonds offering very high coupon rates as the higher the risk of the bond issuer defaulting on the repayment of the principle will be.

Bonds can be described as relatively liquid because you can buy and sell them on the open market. However, depending on the time of the sale, it is possible to lose money in selling the bonds.

Given the relatively low nature of most bonds the returns are likely to be modest at best and therefore you are not likely to see the huge returns on your investment.

On the flip side of this you are unlikely to see massive negative returns on this kind of investment particularly if held until the maturity of the bond.

As mentioned bonds can be volatile depending on the bond that you invest in and therefore there is need for careful management when investing in this asset class. Bonds can however form an important part of any investment strategy.

Uranium Funds - New Game Changers for the New Year

Uranium Funds - New Game Changers for the New Year

A leveraged play on Uranium funds and miner stocks seems to be a catching trend as the 2014 expiration date for the Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement [HEU] comes closer. Last year, events saw American derivatives of Cameco Corporation (a large cap Uranium Miner stock) growing up by7 % in the gone year and simultaneously being outperformed by the peers like Uranium ETF URA that appreciated 10 % in 2012.

This deficit may be clearly understood through the supply and demand figures from United States of America which houses 104 under operation nuclear power reactors. The reactors collectively produced only 4mllb of Uranium in 2012, while consuming 55mllb during the same year.

The good news is that a laggard supply is not affecting the demand which is constantly growing. Uranium commodity price has been in a crash mode since the failure of the reactor located in Fukushima, Japan leading to a world-wide apprehension towards nuclear energy as a staple power resource. With time the acceptance is regaining ground and the world demand for energy is on the rise. In order to meet this scenario the supply needs to be uplifted manifold. But with other countries too making an exit (or procrastinating their plans for expansion in this field) from the nuclear power and its associated reactors, the above vision seems to be on the back burner. In China 28 nuclear reactors are under construction. The changing picture in Japan displays the reversal of the anti-nuclear attitude by the new president's (Mr. Shinzo Abe) positive stance on building new safer nuclear reactors in the country.

Then there are the emerging nations such as India, China, South Korea and the likes of Russia that are introducing themselves to the nuclear industry by bringing in nuclear reactors.There are 62 new reactors being built in the world.The International Atomic Energy Agency has a very positive prediction which reads as follows- the nuclear power production will rise between 35% - 100% in 20 years. Simultaneously the Uranium demand will rise 60% in the aforesaid time frame. The world nuclear demand will exceed the supply by the year 2014 as estimated by The World Nuclear Association.

Securities like Cameco Corporation and Paladin Energy will be the direct beneficiaries in an improved sentiment scenario. Cameco which accounts for 16% of world's production from its mines in Canada, United States and Kazakhstan also owns foremost land positions in areas promising new discoveries in Canada and Australia.

Amid the positivity there are few glitches that can be discussed such that another disaster similar to the one mentioned above could create havoc for this industry, secondly there are chances that the world demand could grow at a slower pace than projected and the other alternate energy sources of natural gas and solar power might work out to be cheaper and more abundantly available, but more than the analysis, it is the simple law of demand and supply that may make the yellow cake and its related products a probable game changer for 2014.

"H.E.U is a trade understanding that accounted for 24 million of the total 177 millions of global demand in 2012 and allows Uranium extraction from the old Soviet weapons and war-heads. This treaty stands for dissolution thus creating a huge gap between the metal's supply and demand figures. Capital Markets over the world, have been gradually discounting this production aberration to enhance their stock prices, which saw a recent frenzy not more than three months ago. Current market figures that more or less indicate a certain bottoming out of Uranium Mining Fund are compelling investors to take a closer look at pure play broader market products like index bound Uranium ETFs that use a wide spectrum approach while acquiring industry specific assets."

Analysis of Costco Corporation

Analysis of Costco Corporation

CASE 1. COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION ANALYSIS

The purpose of this memo is to analyze Costco's performance compared to Sam's Club and BJ's.

Costco Wholesale Corporation is a wholesale club that requires customers to purchase annual memberships in order to shop at their stores. Costco's main competitors were Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale. Costco purchased Price Club in 1993 which enabled it to survive in the competitive wholesale industry. It also adopted a strategy that was different as compared to its major competitor, Sam's Club This enabled Costco to be the largest wholesale club in the industry in 2001.

I. Costco's Performance in Relation to BJ's

When I compared Costco's total revenues with BJ's total revenues in Exhibit 5 of FIN 197 Seminar in Finance case book, I realized that Costco's total revenue were increasing at an increasing rate with the exception of year 2000 to 2001. BJ's on the other hand, had growing revenues until 1999 when their revenues then began to grow at a declining rate.

Costco has a higher membership fee and more and this enabled Costco's total revenue to be higher than BJ's. This membership fee is very important as it is the main contributor to the company's bottom line since sales excluding membership fees barely covers operating expenses. Costco also has more warehouses and much higher sales per store. Costco has warehouses in many international locations while BJ's only have warehouses in the US. However, Costco has a lower operating and gross margin which shows that BJ's has more efficient operations and higher product prices than Costco. Costco's inventory turnover ratio is outstanding as it is much larger than BJ's. This clearly shows that Costco has an excellent operating efficiency.

II. Costco's Performance in Relation to Sam's Club

Sam's Club, on the other hand, has more members and warehouses as compared to Costco which makes it Costco's largest competitor. However, Costco had larger total revenues, sales per store and operating income due to its strategy. This is also because Costco is more internationally dispersed compared to Sam's Club as it has more warehouses in international locations. I am unable to compare Costco's financial statement performance with Sam's Club because Sam's Club data is joined with Walmart.

III. Costco's core strength and strategy

Costco pursues the strategy of focusing on lowering the unit price of goods and purchasing few Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) from its vendors which enable production savings.

Costco's core strength is designed to provide it with higher total revenues and also to create value to its customers. Their core strength can be divided into two:

• Targeting a wealthier group of small business owners and middle class shoppers which is different from Sam's Club.

• Refusing to mark up products more than 14 percent over the distributor's price

Costco's strategy is really efficient in providing it with a competitive advantage over its competitors BJ's and Sam's Club. This is definitely a long-term value enhancing strategy because Costco's main goal is to create value to their customers. They will definitely obtain many loyal and satisfied customers who do not mind paying a higher membership fee to join Costco. Costco is also a very ethical company as they are not implementing a strategy which serves to reduce their costs and cheat customers of their money in an indirect way.

Direct Debit Payments a Top 5 Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Direct Debit Payments a Top 5 Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Direct Debit payments are a quick, easy and popular- for over 50% of the UK bill paying population, a Direct Debit solution is their preferred payment method.

Despite their popularity, there still seem to be a few myths and misconceptions around Direct Debits, so we thought it would be interesting to highlight - and disprove - the 5 most common myths...

Myth #1 - Direct Debits are the same as Standing Orders

This product differ from Standing Orders in a number of ways. A Standing Order is for a fixed amount on a fixed date whereas this product are completely flexible, and can be for variable dates and amounts.

A Standing Order is originated (pushed) from the payer's bank, whereas a product is originated (pulled) from the organization collecting the money. Perhaps the most important fact for customers is that the payments are fully protected by the product Guarantee. A Standing Order offers no such protection.

Myth #2 - Direct Debit software is expensive

Many businesses are under the mistaken impression that the software needed to collect this payments is expensive.

The truth is quite the opposite, particularly if your solution is Cloud-based. You don't have to purchase any expensive in-house software, and you won't have to pay for installation or upgrades.

Myth #3 - Direct Debit software is difficult to install

With Cloud-based Management software, you don't need to waste any time installing or configuring hardware. The Cloud is simply remote access computing, with all the hardware and software needed sitting in a secure, external location - so you don't actually have to install anything. Your provider should take care of all that for you.

Myth #4 - Direct Debit software means lots of costly upgrades

A good Cloud-based solution will operate on a modular basis, so you only pay for what you use and can control your resources, with the ability to scale up or down on demand. For example, you shouldn't have to pay more if you want to add more payers - your annual subscription fee should cover additional payers, and allow your business to grow without any additional costs.

Myth #5 - Setting up Direct Debit Payments is time consuming

A popular misconception is that all customers have to sign a paper this Instruction, meaning that businesses have to arrange a face-to-face meeting or wait for the instruction to arrive in the post.

The Truth? Paperless the product instructions are a common sign-up method - and are much quicker than a paper approach. Instructions can be completed via the telephone, online or face-to-face.

Residential Lettings Market Strengthens

Residential Lettings Market Strengthens

Landlords have continued to see rents rise in the residential lettings market in some parts of the UK while at the same time tenant arrears have been following a downward trend. Across the whole of England and Wales the average rent has also been rising in the private rentals sector. Tenants have been experiencing rents at record highs in many UK regions, including the South East, the East of England, the North West and Yorkshire & the Humber, but most notably in London where they have been hitting new peaks.

On a monthly basis, rents have been rising in eight English regions in total. The South East (excluding London) saw rents climb the fastest as it continues to be difficult for first time buyers to secure a mortgage despite the government programmes, such as Funding for Lending and Help To Buy, which were designed to solve the problem of mortgages only being available to those with large deposits. The lending criteria imposed on many potential buyers has caused the market to stagnate in many parts of the country.

However, in certain regions, such as Wales and the West Midlands, month-on-month rents have been observed to decrease and on an annual basis rents also fell in two regions, decreasing by 1.9% in the South West, and by 1.8% in Wales.

The rental market is right in the thick of its peak season in late summer and early autumn, and the demand from graduates and those starting new jobs has added a new layer of competition for the best properties on top of the existing group of frustrated buyers who cannot obtain an adequate mortgage. The stringent mortgage finance criteria and large deposit requirements imposed by the mainstream banks and building societies for potential buyers continue to increase the pressure for additional rental properties.There is the possibility of this situation easing over time as the Funding for Lending and Help To Buy schemes introduced by the government begin to filter through and result in increased lending to borrowers with small deposits.

The government schemes designed to help first time buyers get on the property ladder in the UK will need to be significant and sustained over a long period of time before the current demand for rental property eases and rents return to more affordable levels.

Whether you are a first time buyer looking for a relatively modest mortgage or are an existing home owner looking for a million pound mortgage to upgrade from you existing home, everyone is hoping for an improvement in the situation where monthly rental costs are at least the same as the cost of a mortgage but it is simply the lack of a large deposit preventing people from being able to secure a mortgage and buy a property. As the Help To Buy scheme is now opening up new mortgage deals from banks such as RBS to those with only a 5% deposit and specialist mortgage brokers are increasingly securing funding from non-traditional lenders, it appears that the state of the property market may be set to improve.

Turn Your Vacation Property Into An Investment Property For More Income
and Tax Breaks

Turn Your Vacation Property Into An Investment Property For More Income and Tax Breaks

If you've been using your vacation home just for your own enjoyment, you're tax breaks on mortgage, taxes, and expenses you pay on it are limited. Turning it into an investment property can not only bring in some extra income but increase your tax breaks for holding it -and still allow you to enjoy it.

Your vacation home becomes recognized as an 'investment' for the IRS investment tax breaks if you rent it out more than 14 days per year and restrict your personal use of it to either 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it - whichever is more. By renting it more than 14 days per year, you can treat it as a rental property (IRS Pub 527 on rental and vacation home property) so you can deduct all your rental expenses subject to the passive loss rules.

The passive loss rules restrict your annual rental loss to the extent of its rental income. But if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $100,000 or less, you're allowed to claim rental losses of up to $25,000 each year even if they are above your rental income. This 'allowed loss' is phased out as your AGI increases from $100,000 to $150,000 (check if current phase out limits are higher at the time of your reading this).

*So what are those rental expenses?

Rental expenses include all your Schedule E expenses as for any property. That means advertising, annual maintenance costs, mortgage interest, and property taxes. And it means depreciation too. Remember, depreciation is a book keeping amount that doesn't take any cash out of your pocket; it's an amount of loss attributed to the rental building during the time you own it; it's wholly independent of maintenance costs.

Hopefully you can earn some serious rental income. But often it doesn't take much rental income to cover your yearly out-of-pocket expenses to maintain your rental. But your costs including annual depreciation can still exceed your rental income to produce a net 'allowed' loss. Use that loss to offset your personal income - if you're AGI is low enough as mentioned above. That's an important tax break...

The depreciation loss that shelters your personal income from tax while you're getting rental income that covers 'out-of-pocket' expense is a real help to you. And, you get to use your rental home for some 'free' vacation use for a couple of weeks too.

*No thanks, I want to use it a lot for myself:

If you don't make it an investment (i.e. as a rental) property, you really only have mortgage interest and property tax deductions you can take on it. And those generally require you to itemize your deductions, and often that's the case due to the mortgage on your principal home and the working income taxes you have.

But if that's OK with you, realize you can still rent it, but for only 14 days per year. And that rental income you receive for those 14 days or less is tax free. That's a boon.

If you rent it for more than 14 days and your personal use is also more than 14 days and more than 10% of the rental days, then you can deduct some additional but limited expenses (including depreciation) but only up to the extent of rental income your receive - and claim on your return.

So, a vacation home can put more money in your pocket than just its long term appreciation value. With it you can have your cake and eat it too.

4 Benefits of a Wealth Manager

4 Benefits of a Wealth Manager

Finding the right wealth manager can be one of the most rewarding accomplishments you can achieve. There are many great wealth managers out there that can really make a difference in you achieving your retirement goals and actually being able to comfortably retire. That being said, not every one of them is a great fit for each individual. You need to take the time and make sure you find the right one to fit your personality and objectives. If you succeed at that, a wealth manager can be a huge asset to your financial success. Here are a few of the reasons why:

  1. Wealth managers bring expertise to the table that you don't have and would take years to learn and develop on your own. Some of them even specialize in specific niche areas like international investing, precious metals or managing clients with large net worth.
  2. They are also invaluable with assisting you in setting goals and objectives. They often force you to sit down and make a plan with them. During this initial consultation, they help you predict your monthly income needs in retirement and then calculate your total retirement goal and develop a strategy with you.
  3. They will require you to sit down with them one or more times per year to review how you're progressing and review any life changes that have occurred like marriage or new children being born and how that may affect your plan.
  4. The best thing about hiring a wealth manager is that they monitor and do a lot of the administrative work for you so that it frees up your time to do other things. The best ones will often call you from time to time as they change in and out of investments to keep you on target to achieve your goals.

One of the most challenging obstacles to a wealth manager's worth is the fees and commissions that they charge and the investments they have available to their clients. There are many firms out there that have funds that outperform the market for periods of time. Other managers prefer to use lower cost ETF's as a vehicle to compound growth. How much they charge in load fees and commissions can be crucial. You need to understand what all the fees and commissions amount to so that there are no surprises. There can be situations where the market goes up by 3% but your account shows no gain. This can be because of the fees and commissions that you paid. In cases like this it seems like wealth managers aren't worth it, however, there are many good ones out there that will perform well even after fees, it's just important to understand how the big picture is affected.

Hiring one of these professionals can be a great tool in your arsenal if you choose the right one. They're especially valuable if you hate planning or don't understand what your retirement needs are. If you also lack the time to manage your accounts, it makes a lot of sense to pay someone else to do that for you. The last thing you want to do is get to retirement and only then realize that you should've had a wealth manager all along.

Qualifying Income for a Mortgage

Qualifying Income for a Mortgage

How is qualifying income for a mortgage calculated?

Is it safe to assume that you understand you will need an income in order to purchase a home? I sure hope that is a safe assumption. In case my assumption is incorrect. Yes, you need income in order to qualify to purchase a home. There are always caveats and exceptions to rules regarding qualifying income. I will cover those exceptions in a later article. For now, lets cover the general basics of qualifying income.

Job History

The first question after asking for information to check your credit will be about your income. The mortgage application requires me to collect two years of work history. The general guideline is that all lenders like to see a consistent work history over the past two years with no gaps of unemployment and a rising income. I know that extenuating circumstances can happen and that is why I mentioned I will deal with those in a future post. For now, let's stick with the general guidelines. You don't necessarily have to be with the same employer for the past two years but you do want to stick to the same profession or industry if possible. So have your work history, including dates of employment, documented for a smoother and easier application process.

Income

People get paid in many different ways. The most important thing to understand about this is that all qualifying income must be documented and proven. Keep in mind that we use the gross amount (the money you get paid before taxes and all other deductions are taken out) for qualifying income. If you get paid a regular salary every week, two weeks or monthly, you have it easy. Just provide a months worth of pay stubs and we are good to go. Hourly workers need to provide a months worth of pay stubs as well. In order to calculate an hourly workers income we will look at the last 52 weeks worked and divide by 12 to come up with the average monthly income. If you are an employee that receives a commission income we will need to show you have received commissions for at least two years and then average that over 24 months to calculate the average commissions per month. Self employed borrowers must be self-employed for at least 2 years and provide 2 years of federal tax returns. The amount of income claimed on the federal tax return over the 2 years will be averaged over 24 months to calculate the average monthly income. If you want to use income from a second job there must be a minimum of two years uninterrupted history of this income.

What income documents you must have ready at a mortgage application.

A month of pay stubs - all salaried or hourly borrowers

All W2's from all jobs for the past two tax years - all salaried or hourly borrowers

Copies of your Federal Tax Returns - ALL borrowers

Can You Imagine Retiring?

Can You Imagine Retiring?

21 year old Nick Bradley was a young man full of vitality and life. But despite his good graces and his good common sense, he could no more relate to retirement than he could relate to walking on water. He could hardly even imagine how the next 2 years would unfold. Can you imagine retiring?

So when Nick's father sat him down to talk about retirement, Nick couldn't help smiling at the futility of such a conversation with him. First of all, he was NEVER going to be old and secondly, he was going to be so rich that retirement would become a moot point.

Mr. Bradley knew his son well... "let's take a worst-case-scenario. Nick, suppose something happened to Mom and me, leaving you to fend for yourself in this world. And suppose any money I might have left to you was eaten up by indebtedness. You would be forced to think outside the box."

Nick did not like the direction this conversation was taking... he was supposed to meet Sarah in 10 minutes and Sarah wouldn't accept being stood up. Despite himself, he was intrigued by his father's words.

Mr. Bradley continued, "I'd like you to think outside the box in terms of retirement, Nick. Imagine that you have the power to design your senior-years into something of your own choosing. Imagine that fate would have no hand in what becomes of you in your later years... imagine you are master of your fate. Nick, this is the position you are in, right now, regarding your long-away retirement."

Nicholas Bradley was caught up in the moment, both fascinated and leery. His meeting with Sarah faded into the background as his anticipation of his father's words grew... "You may not want to think about retirement because you are so young but I'd like you to investigate an Individual Retirement Account. IRA."

"You may be a slob when it comes to your laundry and all those Starbucks cups in the backseat of your car. But when it comes to your finances, you can't allow yourself to be disorganized. Open an IRA and try to put, at least, $25 into it each week until you retire. You will be a prosperous man no matter what else happens"... Mr. Bradley clearly emphasized "at least $25."

Thank goodness for cell phones... Nick excused himself to reschedule his meeting with Sarah and when he returned his father handed him $25 in cash. His Dad told him to make this the last twenty five dollars he ever spent frivolously.

Nick didn't know if he was depressed or ecstatic over their conversation. The idea of retirement was a for-real downer but the idea of being wealthy was enticing. He recalled the occasional ads he'd seen about individual retirement accounts. He would carefully think over the things his dad said.

Free Mortgage Calculator Online - How To Make The Best Financial
Decision Regarding Your Home

Free Mortgage Calculator Online - How To Make The Best Financial Decision Regarding Your Home

Buying a home is no small thing for most people because this is generally the most expensive thing they will ever buy. There are many different factors to be considered when finally making a purchase because this can have far reaching consequences. A mortgage is a particularly big thing to get into because you will have to make payments for the certain period, often many years at a stretch) until you have finally paid for the house. Keep in mind that this generally takes a big chunk out of your disposable income. Thankfully, you can make use of a free mortgage calculator online to find out whether you are making the right financial decision.

A free mortgage calculator online is very easy to use. All you have to do is input the data required and you will get data you can use to make the best possible decision. At the same time, you should be aware of the fact that the results given by the calculator might vary slightly from the actual mortgage payment. Also, this is only one of the factors you should use when evaluating the feasibility of buying a home.

The most common type of calculator computes your monthly mortgage payment so that you know exactly how much you have to pay over the entire duration of the loan. These calculators generally take all fees and charges into account. If you know the amount by which your monthly disposable income decreases then you can plan your life better. You can also work backwards seeing which home you can afford by fixing an affordable mortgage amount first. A calculator will also help you decide how large your down payment should be.

Another popular calculator helps you determine whether you will save money or not when you pay more money than you're agreed upon mortgage amount. Since some lenders charge money if you overpay, then you need to know whether you save sufficient money by making an over payment.

Even though a mortgage calculator gives you very useful information, you need to get a proper quote from your lender before you actually make any payment. You can use the breakup of charges to negotiate a better deal with the lender. It is best to put in the necessary effort while working out the details of the loan so that you can buy your dream home without having to go through a lot of financial hardship.

Simple Ways to Price Catering Services

Simple Ways to Price Catering Services

As far as catering services are concerned, finding a company that suits all of your needs may be tricky. The best way to get the most for your money is to price the catering services that are available. Conducting a little research will not hurt when you are evaluating the catering services that are available, you should keep a few things in mind.

Before any steps are taken, you will have to have a meeting. You and the caterers will need to meet in order to discuss the services that they are able to provide and what specials, if any, that they have. During this meeting, discuss the event that you would like the company to cater and a few foods that you had in mind. In this instance, you and the caterer can brainstorm the entire event at hand and discuss the foods that would be most appropriate.

Requirements
Depending on your needs, you may have to schedule two or three other meetings after the initial meeting. After your initial meeting with the caterer, schedule another meeting to discuss your menu.
During the very first meeting with the caterer, you will be discussing prices and available services. Depending upon the available time that you have, you may have to schedule another meeting. During the second meeting, discuss the type of food that you desire at your function. Most of the time, the second or third meeting takes the most time. Tell the caterer what your function is about and how you would like to incorporate the food. While you are discussing the menu with the caterer, this is the perfect time to let this professional know if you have any vegetarians attending your function. It may be best to include a few dietary and vegetarian dishes to be on the safe side.

Planning
Once you are aware of the prices that will be associated with your event, you can plan everything else. If you are on a tight budget, it will be in your best interest to pay for these services before you make the payment for anything else. Before you make a payment, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the services that the price includes. This is the best way to make sure that there are not any misunderstandings.

The Guests
The last step is acknowledging your guests and if they enjoy the food that has been provided. If everything goes well, you will be able to keep the catering company that you used shortlisted. Make sure that you provide a review and rate the catering company to let others know of your experience.

Three Kinds of Banks

Three Kinds of Banks

Bank is a financial institution, where people deposit all their money to keep it safe. It is one of the safest modes of investment. Banks aren't only accepting deposits from customers, they offer people loans to purchase property and other things to their customers. There are different kinds of banks all around the world where each bank offers different kinds of service to their customer based on their needs. Here are in this article we will help you with complete information on 3 kinds of banks and their services.

Here is a list of 3 kinds of banks and know the services offered by them to customers. Most of the people can use these banks to fulfill their needs and as they can increase their earnings by investing in mutual funds. You can choose the best kind of banks based on your needs.

Retail banks

Retail banks deal directly with small business owners and consumers. The main focus of these banks is savings and savings products mainly, their deal with other products also like loans and other mortgages. If you need a loan, you can apply to the banks using either the online or offline application. Once the applications are received by the bank representative, they will contact you through phone and give you all the details regarding the loan application process. If you want to protect your investment you can use the fixed deposit options available in a bank, where you can get earn extra money based on the maturity of fixed deposit you have deposited, you can also use the savings option to protect your investment. If you're running a business, you can make use of the current account option.

Corporate banks

Corporate banks offer a wide range of service to business people based on their needs. Where if you need a large sum of money to expand your business to various locations, in such times the corporate banks are the best option you can go with. Corporate banks deals with both small business and large business owners. Every corporate bank in your location follows a different application process based on the rules and laws applied to all the banking institutions by Federal bank.

Investment banks

These offer services like insurance and mutual fund options. Insurance options protect your investment and matures after a few years. These loans benefit you, else you can go for mutual fund options which are risk based.

Choose the right kind of bank and protect your investment.

What You Need to Know About Technical Analysis Software

What You Need to Know About Technical Analysis Software

Trading systems software brands have a feature that lets the program assume the duties of a technical analyst. This particular task is crucial in the trading industry as it helps predict the future of a particular financial market. Basically, it also builds a trader's confidence in aiming for the highest level of success and profit for his or her investment.

Moreover, technical analysis provides the trading industry a preview of what's in store for everyone, both negative and positive. That eventually leads the traders into planning precautionary actions that will solve existing and looming trade problems.

Technical Analysis Software Defined

The introduction of advanced technical analysis software in terms of handling technical analysis is indeed beneficial for all companies and individuals involved in the field of trading. This software was specifically created to automate technical trading tasks such as charting, analysis and generating functional reports. It often comes in commercial or open source form which works on a computer, a mobile phone or a PDA (personal digital assistant). This type of financial market application can only be used in gadgets where one has already downloaded it.

What Technical Analysis Software Can Do

The best stock trade software usually has technical analysis capabilities and some brands are even free of charge. This aids every technical analyst in reviewing the past records and foreseeing the upcoming developments in the stock and other financial markets, too. Some software types are made to concentrate on one specific aspect like back testing, while some choose to cover all aspects. In order to establish a trading system that is fully-automated, a good combination of two or more software packages is necessary. It is through this software or system that traders can easily spot the most lucrative combinations of currencies to trade.

Choosing the Right Technical Analysis Software

To increase the chances of a placed trade having a positive outcome, one must choose the right technical analysis software from the long list of brands available for purchase. It helps to consider some important factors in selecting the specific trading software that would fit one's trading style best. These vital factors include visual charting, analysis based on real time market movement, predictions based on recurring patterns and trends and an affordable price. Of course, it is better to go for real time software as this is more accurate.

Prior to purchasing a particular brand of technical analysis software, one must have already asked for all the needed information as to how it is run and how it can be programmed according to the user's personal trading preferences. This is because most software types can be quite complicated that most traders, except the experts, can have difficulty using them for the first time.

Choosing The Right Type Of Guardianship To Protect Your Loved Ones

Choosing The Right Type Of Guardianship To Protect Your Loved Ones

Many families assume that it will be easy to appoint someone as guardian for their parents when the time comes. They believe that it is easy to establish a plan that will protect their loved ones financially, emotionally and physically, but this often isn't the case. If you and your parents wait too long before establishing someone as a guardian, you might miss the window of opportunity you have. Or you may discover after being appointed that the type of guardianship you sought doesn't cover the decisions that need to be made. To make sure your parents are properly protected, learn about the many ways you can be a guardian and what the limitations of each arrangement are.

Guardianship Of The Person Covers Quality Of Life Decisions

This is what most people think of when they are worried that parents or loved ones can't make rational, safe decisions for themselves. If you are appointed to care for the ward physically, you will have the power to make all decisions related to care, comfort, support, education, day-to-day maintenance and any services needed for the ward, including where they will live and what medical treatments will be administered. If your loved one shows signs of developing dementia, Alzheimer's, or has been sufficiently incapacitated in an accident, this gives you the broad powers you'll need to ensure they are properly cared for.

Guardianship Of The Estate Focuses On Money Matters

This appoints a guardian to watch over and administer the estate or finances of an individual. The guardian can make financial decisions for both the short and long term in regard to any of the ward's finances, and real and personal property. If a minor inherits a sizable estate, a guardian is often appointed until the minor reaches the age of majority or an age set forth by the person who left them the inheritance.

Limited Guardianship Has To Be Defined In Court

If you are a guardian with limited powers, you can make many decisions for the person who is your ward, but not all of them. In many instances, you may be able to make decisions about day-to-day issues, but not financial ones. Sometimes another individual is appointed to handle any issues that aren't outlined in official documents. In any of these situations, the powers have to be specifically outlined by the court. If it is not outlined in the court documents, it is not a decision you can make. The ward retains his or her right to make those choices not outlined in court.

Testamentary Guardianship

A testamentary guardianship is established in a will by the parents of an individual who is disabled or unable to care for himself at the time of the parents' death. Although outlined in a will, this isn't binding until the court formally appoints a testamentary guardian to fulfill the position. Unless there is a valid legal reason, most courts respect the wishes of the parent or parents in this situation.

Temporary Guardianship

This doesn't often come up in regard to parents unless they are suddenly and unexpectedly disabled and there is hope of recovery. It is used for emergency circumstances and can only last for 60 days. It is meant to provide for a ward's protection until a more permanent solution can be found or until the individual recovers and is able to care for herself once again.

Because there are so many different types of guardianship outlined by state laws, it is best to consult with an attorney before letting your loved ones choose a guardian for themselves or their estate.

A 2013 Call for Financial Literacy

A 2013 Call for Financial Literacy

April is a busy month honoring as it does everything from the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide to autism, poetry, trees, and the earth, too. It is actually also a month devoted to financial literacy-an absolute must given the ongoing state of the American economy and the impact it's having on all of our lives.

Unfortunately, the federal government is the last place to look for an example of responsible money management. A quick perusal of Obama's new "budget" plan tells it all, calling as it does for a deficit reduction of more than $4 trillion over the next ten years-but new spending in fiscal 2014 of $3.8 trillion.

Couple that with the fact that, as of 12:28 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, the national debt stood at $16,814,506,044,148. Breathtaking, no? Just two days later on the 15th-tax day, no less--that figure had jumped to $16,821,032,503,046, and the numbers keep spinning onward.

Unfortunately, many of us, like the federal government, are swimming in debt. Indeed, the average U.S. household holds about $15,204 on their credit cards alone. Then add to that our average $148,818 in mortgage debt, and you end up with a whopping total of $848 billion owed on credit cards and $7.93 trillion on mortgages! Then too, 25% of us have no savings whatsoever, and just 11% of us with a 401(k) are putting enough money aside for retirement.

So much for role modeling... No wonder, then, that young people owe countless sums, too. Student loans alone have them in their grip with numbers that speak for themselves:

  • Average student loan debt: $33,005
  • Total student loan debt: $1,007.6 billion

Then add in what they also owe on their credit cards, cars, and mortgages, and it turns out that 20-somethings hold an average $45,000 in debt.

Some say part of the problem is that only 13 states require high schoolers to take a course in finance, despite evidence that those who do are likelier to pay their credit card bills on time and save, too. Moreover, while 45 states have adopted them, the Common Core State Standards do not address personal finance or economics whatsoever, instead focusing only on English and math.

As journalist and author Dan Kadlec explains, "Personal finance is 'reality' in the post-financial crisis world and should be regarded as the Fourth R. This is an emerging core subject area in schools throughout the world." For that reason, GW economics professor Annamaria Lusardi says, "We don't ask parents to teach math and physics and history. Why would we ask them to teach financial literacy?'

True enough; schools certainly have a responsibility to prepare their students for the real world of money management, but, at the same time, we parents do our children a huge disservice by keeping financial matters off the table, so to speak. Indeed, an ING survey reports that one-third of us are actually more prepared to talk to our kids about drugs, alcohol, sex, and, dating than we are money. The result: 87% of teens admitted that they know little about personal finance.

Additionally, a T. Rowe Price survey found that among parents:

  • 77% said they don't always tell their children the truth about money matters;
  • 50% admitted to regularly setting aside money to save or invest;
  • 43% set savings goals;
  • 32% avoid talking about their family's current financial situation with their kids.

Advises personal finance expert Howard Dvorkin, "Financial education must start from an early age. In the same way children learn about writing and reading, they should learn to manage money. It doesn't mean that at the age of 8, children should know how credit cards work, but they should be able to administer their allowance, and later on learn basic finances to avoid falling into debt once they obtain their first credit card."

In other words, we've got to do a better job and the younger the better. As author David Bach has suggested, the time is right when you hold up both a $1 bill and a $100 bill and your child knows which one to take. Start with an allowance and teaching your child to divvy up his "earnings" between spending, saving, and charitable giving. Add chores, too, to better prepare your child for real world work.

A recent online research study found that only 51% of parents give their kids an allowance, and 21% of them said they do so in recognition for chores. Meanwhile, just 47% use allowance as a way to teach about how to handle money irrespective of chores.

Another good idea is to gift with cash. It might not be as exciting as the latest Lego set or scooter, but doing so paves the way for youngsters to save for a dream list item and leave the rest untouched and accruing interest in the bank. Yes, you should also consider opening a bank account for your child, and Pennsylvania's Univest has just what you need. It's called the Eaglet Saving Account, and to get things started, the bank will deposit $10 in the account for you. Plus, no minimum balance is required nor is there a monthly fee.

Meanwhile, the Internet is a goldmine of financial resources for families. One of the most notable is DoughMain which offers "a set of integrated online applications, including a family calendar, chore tracker, and an allowance and rewards tool." It also offers three gaming websites, featuring "teacher-developed content including specially selected concepts in financial literacy for kids." And all that is just for starters.

Another site worth a look is tykoon.com, which calls itself "the premier financial tool for kids and their parents, empowering kids to develop stronger financial values with real money and real-life experiences-all under the safe and watchful of eyes of their parents." It simply doesn't get any better than that-plus it's also available as an app.

Also lending support is the FamilyMint™ Money Management Certification Program, "a complete step-by-step program for learning money management." As the site says, "Teach your kids to be good stewards of their money with this award-winning program. Only a few minutes a week results in lessons that will last a lifetime." Offering workbook and online versions, the program will help form and reinforce such essentials as:

  • Saving
  • Tracking money
  • Setting goals
  • Delaying gratification
  • Writing checks and deposit slips
  • Budgeting
  • Understanding interest

The bottom line: In the face of our deficit-bound federal government, stumbling economy, and all-around out-of-control debt, making money management a family priority is an absolute must. Ditto when it comes to saving for rainy days and retirement, too. In other words, teach your children well, and serve as an example of wise financial decision-making. Be sure, as well, to convey the difference between wanting something and actually needing it-and then behaving accordingly. No regrets.

Understanding Banks and Their Services

Understanding Banks and Their Services

Without money, it's hard to make it in this world. Whether you have a lot or a little money, you need some place to store it all. This is why banks are necessary. You may not have known how essential these financial centers are. If you have all your savings and earnings just laying around the house, you must think twice. What if you happened to misplace it? What if it was stolen? Big losses are hard to get back. Here's a little info on the different types of facilities that exist to protect your money. You need a better idea of their function and how to get what you need.

There are many types of banks that exist today. No matter what your plans are for your money, there's a place where you can manage it all. One type of facility is an investment depository. This is where businesses can raise money and work in the investment market. Bonds and stocks are distributed at this type of facility. Commercial depositories also work with businesses. These facilities provide checking and savings accounts for all kinds of businesses big and small. And of course there are retail banks. These are the facilities that everyday individuals set up accounts, cash their checks, and handle financial business. Credit unions are non-profit organizations that are owned by the members or individuals who are a part of it. There are so many options when it comes to storing your money the right way.

Your personal funds are unprotected or unsafe if they are not properly stored. Using these services also makes it much easier to keep track of your amounts and transactions. Piggy banks are for kids. Once you become a full grown adult with a steady income, it will be difficult to keep track of all that money without the proper tools. But each facility has its own set of terms and agreements. To start a personal savings account, customers must have a certain amount in order to open it. Customers with checking accounts may be offered a debit card as well. This will teach them financial and spending responsibility. Also, having a checking account will save customers the money they would normally spend buying money orders or cashing checks without an account.

It's no secret that people's spending habits can get out of control. The services of banks can help people to save more and limit their habits. Customers can be alerted when their funds get too low. There are also monthly bank statements issued to all customers. This way individuals can be reminded of their budgets and keep track of what was spent. You may not have noticed how convenient these features are. Speaking with a banker can be the beginning of a great decision. Not everyone is good with math and counting. Professionals can do this for you as well as keep your money safe and protected for years and years to come. There is a financial center that is right for you and your needs.

First Time Buyer Programs - Should You Buy Your Home This Way?

First Time Buyer Programs - Should You Buy Your Home This Way?

Have you always dreamed of owning of your own house but are unable to do it on your own? There are first time buyer programs which have been designed to come to the aid of people who don't have a high income. However, you need to understand exactly what these programs entail before you make your decision. After all, buying a home is no small step. Resources such as BuyerPrograms.net indicate that these programs are very useful, both for you and the community.

First time home buyer programs vary from state to state. Even so, they have certain similarities in how they are run. Depending on where you live, the benefits of this program could include:

* Very affordable down payment (or none at all)

* Attractively low rates of interest

* Reduced fees and charges on various services associated with the loan

* Deferred payments in the event that you run into financial difficulties

On casual examination, these buyer programs are very attractive but you have to be prepared for a few problems. These problems can be quite serious but this too depends on which state you live in. The various problems associated with first time home buyers programs include:

1. You generally won't be able to select the best property in an area. If you take assistance from this program then you will only be able to select from low value properties in a particular area. This is because there is generally a limit on the money made available to you through this program.

2. There are sometimes restrictions on when you can sell your home or rent it out. If your circumstances improve and you want to trade the house for something better then you won't be able to.

3. In some cases, you might have to pay the lender part of the increase in value of your home.

4. You might not be offered a big range of mortgage options since you are in any case getting your money at a very attractive rate of interest.

The only reason you should take help from first time buyer programs to buy your home is if you are genuinely in need of money and are willing to stay in a home that is not quite the best one in your city. If you meet the income restrictions of the program then this is a very good way to start building your assets right up from scratch.

6 Ways to Get Your Information Quickly in QuickBooks

6 Ways to Get Your Information Quickly in QuickBooks

Let's face it - you're busy, you have information you want to know but don't want to spend all day getting it. Especially in the summer when you are either at your busy season or want to go on vacation. So here are 6 ways you can get your reporting quickly.

  1. The Company Snapshot - still one of my favorite features in QuickBooks. You can check on payables, receivables, account balances, see trends in income and expenses, reminders and much more - all in one place. You can choose from 12 possible reports, organize them any way you want and choose the time frame from the drop-down menu (no custom dates). Past due invoices and bills show up in red, making it easy to pick them out. You can even print the snapshot.
  2. Process Multiple Reports - Run several reports at one time. You can click on Reports>Process Multiple Reports then choose the reports and dates. Guaranteed this is faster than you doing these reports individually.
  3. Run a Group of reports. This can be even much faster than the Process Multiple Reports - definitely a very powerful timesaver. So often when you run a report, you want it customized. (I'm hoping you memorize it so you don't have to recreate the reports each time!) Save the report to a Group when you memorize. To run the group, simply click Reports>Memorized Report list. From that list, double-click on the Group you want to run and all the reports in the Group will run!
  4. Having groups also helps you organize your reports so you can find reports more easily. How many of you have a ton of reports, all with similar names and you don't know which one you need to you use so you create another?! I've seen many outdated memorized report lists. Some Group ideas could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, during a project/job, after a job, open orders... you get the idea.
  5. Put your report(s) on your toolbar. While I'm a firm believer that all QuickBooks users should have their own login information for security reasons, another benefit is that you can customize QuickBooks to suit your personal preferences - including what's on the toolbar. So if you have a report you want to see frequently, click on View>Add (and it will list the name of the report), then give it a name (I recommend keeping the name short). Next time you want to review that information, it's simply a click away!
  6. Update a spreadsheet. This was a new feature in QuickBooks 2012. How often do you want to export to Excel and simply have the spreadsheet updated? You may have special formatting in the spreadsheet, or perhaps additional columns with your own formulas or inserted rows. Rather than recreating this spreadsheet from scratch each time, simply update the spreadsheet. You can either update from QuickBooks or Excel (in the QuickBooks menu)
  7. If you have multiple companies and use QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, another powerful feature is the Combine Reports from Multiple Company (Reports>Combine Reports from Multiple Companies). Then select the company files, the reports, date range, etc. Your reports will appear in Excel with columns for each company. Since the chart of accounts is often different between the two companies, having the software create the spreadsheet for you is a big timesaver.

So next time you want information from QuickBooks, don't let this take any longer than necessary. Get the information you need so you stay on top of your business, sales, jobs and head out the door sooner, be it for work - or fun!

The Good Bank - An Alternative Solution to the Banking Crisis

The Good Bank - An Alternative Solution to the Banking Crisis

Last week I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and I started to wonder: "Who is trying to stop the motor of the world?" The main culprit seems to be the federal government, which is behaving the same way as Rand's fictional "looters." And, since America's economy today is eerily similar to Rand's depiction of a society in decline, this brings up yet another question: Who and where is the modern-day "John Galt?"

If he does exist, maybe he can tell us how to fix the current fiscal mess. This question is being debated ad nauseam and yet nobody has come up with a plausible answer. So here is some outside-the-box thinking to help save the institution that made this country great: free market capitalism.

The "bad bank" is one idea being proposed, where an entity will be created to buy up all the toxic assets from the failing financial institutions. But where will all those toxic assets go? Do they just disappear into thin air? No, they would stay on a balance sheet until that institution calls them what they are - worthless.

As I ponder the questionable validity of the "bad bank" idea, it also leads me to wonder how the government expects to eliminate moral hazard without letting failing businesses go bankrupt.

Prior to July of 2007, most institutions were taking high risks with their mortgage related investments, predicting that, if they were to face bankruptcy, the government would bail them out. This assumption has proven to be correct. Due to the government's unwillingness to allow large banks to collapse, our financial institutions will continue to make the same mistakes time and time again. In other words, there's no longer any risk in "risky" investments. The government may honestly believe that bailouts are good for the economy, but they are only compounding the problem and making the recession worse.

Here is a proposed solution for this problem: A hybrid of free market capitalism and temporary government intervention. The first part of the remedy is, let the poorly run institutions fail. The most efficient economy is one where a large number of companies compete against one another. In an inefficient economy, fewer businesses compete. So by allowing mismanaged or incompetent banks to declare bankruptcy, we are also allowing entrepreneurial and properly managed financial institutions to spring up in their place. More importantly, this approach eliminates moral hazard and proves that risk is a very real thing that should not be ignored.

The problem with the "cold turkey" approach is that we would have to go through a significant amount of hardship to correct the current course we are on. It would also cause many efficient businesses to close up shop as the demand for their goods and services diminishes. Although this approach would ultimately correct the flaws in our system, no politician who values his job would casually ask the public to accept such draconian measures.

How about this: Instead of creating a "bad bank" to buy up all the toxic assets, create a "good bank," which would receive the taxpayer's dollars and have a mandate to lend the money only to qualified borrowers.

If we take the banking formula of lending $10 for each $1 in deposits, we could appropriate $100 billion of the taxpayers' money that is allocated for any one of the insolvent financial institutions - which will most likely fail anyway - and create a "good bank." This $100 billion could lend $1 trillion to qualified borrowers.

Is this nationalization? Yes, but isn't this what the government is doing right now anyway?

Fortunately, there is a solution for that. The "good bank" will be mandated to lend out to borrowers at a rate of, for example, 1 percent over the market rate. This makes sense because if people cannot get a loan or line of credit from anywhere else, they will still be able to get one from this "good bank," as long as they fit the criteria. This approach solves two problems: First, it frees up the capital for the borrowers who normally can get a loan or line of credit. Second, it actually ensures that the institution will not become a perpetual entity that public policy could screw up later at the whim of an overzealous politician.

Mandating 1 percent over market rates allows this institution to naturally dissipate when the free markets return. It will remain deliberately uncompetitive. This way, the taxpayers get their money back with a decent return, and the bank will not become a permanent liability down the road.

What about the large financial institutions we are trying to save for the benefit of our economy and society? Obviously, this new entity would circumvent the need for these institutions.

In other words, this approach would take business away from the failed institutions and allow efficient ones to run as they should. The "bad banks" are not lending the money given to them by the taxpayers anyway, so why should we enable them?

Once the failed financial institutions "fix" their problems, they would be able to operate again and take business back through competitive pricing. If they fail, then the new bank would compensate for the loss, and the supply of lending to the market would not suffer. The bankruptcy courts would sort out what the other financial companies don't pick clean by way of acquisitions. Letting nature take its course would bring us back to the Darwinian principle of the survival of the fittest.

If John Galt is among us, let us hope he does not wait for our economy to collapse before providing an answer to our problems, or else the "looters" will come up with a solution of their own.

Disclaimer: This article is intended solely for informational purposes only, and in no manner intended to solicit any product or service. The opinions in this article are exclusively of the author(s) and may or may not reflect all those who are employed, either directly or indirectly or affiliated with NUA Advisors, LLC.

By: Kirk Chisholm, Principal and Wealth Manager, NUA Advisors, LLC

How to Buy Insurance On Your Stock Positions

How to Buy Insurance On Your Stock Positions

Member questions frequently drive S.A.F.E. Insights and this week's is no different. With the market at all-time highs, but the underlying economy still in question, many people are wondering if they can protect their positions that have in many cases restored their wealth. The answer is yes, you can insure your positions and it is not that difficult.

The free-markets have existed for many centuries and over that expansive history, investors, bankers & brokers have devised an endless stream of investment possibilities. From the earliest days under the Buttonwood Tree (that's a tree in New York where the Exchange started) investors buying public stocks looked for ways to guarantee their stocks future price, even if the future price dropped. Agricultural people have been doing this for a very long time. Farmers can lock in prices on their crops long before they harvest them and sell them by using the futures market. Well stock investors can do the same thing.

Let's think about the nature of insurance. You cover your life's various risks by buying an insurance contract in which you pay a premium to someone who guarantees you that in the future, if things go against you, a flood, a tornado, an earthquake, etc., that insurer will make you whole and restore your value to the current level. In most instances, the seller of the insurance (or writer) doesn't have to pay. If I buy earthquake insurance and there's no earthquake, the writer of the insurance keeps my premium; but if an earthquake hits, the writer of my insurance is required to pay me whatever value the contract calls for. Virtually all of us have insurance of one sort or another; auto, health, life disability, etc., but most professional investors have insurance on their stocks when things look volatile.

So let's translate that to stocks. For example, I own ABC Stock that presently is priced at $50.00 per share. I'm quite nervous about that price because it's only recently that it came back from its' low price of $25.00 and now that I'm whole, I don't want to lose it again. But, I don't want to sell it because I think it can go higher. This is where insurance comes in. The United States has the most developed and liquid markets in the whole world. One of the many advantages of that is that our markets offer very liquid insurance in the form of a "put." A "put" is a contract between you (the buyer) and the writer (seller) of the put. You want your $50.00 price assured but you think it could go higher. In such a liquid market as ours, there are always different opinions, so you find a person who thinks the $50.00 stock may go down. Because they think it will go down, they are willing to risk a price drop from $50.00. So you buy from this person a put contract that says you can "put" or sell your stock to that person for $50.00 at some point in the future. So you can now rest easy knowing that you've bought insurance on that stock; that if it drops to say $45.00 you can still put it to this person at $50.00. If the stock goes up, you keep your gains because you still own the stock. Pretty neat huh.

There is a downside though, while there is absolutely NO stock risk to buying a put like this, you do risk in a sense, 100% of your premium. It's like auto insurance, if you never have a crash you've "wasted" the premium. Same here, if the stock doesn't drop, you've "wasted" the cost of the put. Puts can be bought in various time segments, there are three, six, and even 12 month or longer contracts. The thing you have to understand is that the cost of these options is fairly priced generally speaking because there are lots and lots of options buyers & sellers and the market is relatively efficient. So you're not getting a "free lunch" here, but you are protecting your value.

When you become comfortable with buying puts, there is always the other side, selling calls. We'll write about how that can increase your income another time.

Why Security of Payment Is Important

Why Security of Payment Is Important

There are payment disputes in every field however the building and construction industry sees the most as it's one of the largest industries that have plenty of different parties working together to accomplish a single final goal.

Since there are plenty of disputes regarding payments there are also acts to prevent such malpractices and make sure that there are legal solutions to all such problems. Security of payment was recently introduced in order to provide quick financial help to people as well as large companies that were facing payment disputes of any kind.

In the earlier days such disputes took up a lot of time and you had to work really hard in order to win an argument in court, let alone the prices that you had to pay in order to take the particular case to court.

Therefore, with the use of such security of payment procedures you would be able to get rid of any kind of issue and come to a settlement through adjudication.

Therefore, no matter what you work as and where you work you're going to need to have information about these acts as you'd never know when you may need them for your own purpose.

Claiming the cash

Before you can even think of beginning the process of adjudication you would need to file a payment sheet. The two parties are going to be the claimants and respondents. The respondents would have to defend themselves against the claim set forth by the claimant party.

However, in order for any such claim to be taken into consideration it would need to be filed within a stipulated time frame. The time frame needs to be decided between both the parties and this can be a whole different issue in most cases.

Contents of your claim

As already mentioned, the adjudication process can only begin once you've filed your claim and this will pave the way for the rest of the process. What you write in your claim needs to be specific and to the point detailing every aspect of the deal and the problem between the two parties involved.

This process can be really complex and you may need the services of an attorney who specializes in such a field. There are plenty of lawyers who would be able to help you out, but when looking make sure that you pick someone who is good at security of payment claims.

Don't Make These 6 Mistakes When Hiring a New Employee

Don't Make These 6 Mistakes When Hiring a New Employee

It can be very difficult to find good employees when you really need them. Many employers who are in a rush to find someone to fill a position often make mistakes that end up being costly later on. There are ways to avoid these common mistakes if you take the time to remind yourself of them.

Don't ignore your instincts. Sometimes your gut just knows that hiring a certain person is a bad idea. Trust your instincts. From years of experience, your brain knows what to look for in an employee, and apparently this person just does not have what it takes. Your body most likely knows it before you are even aware of it. Trust your feelings, or set up a second interview to see if you still feel the same in a few days.

Don't rely on someone else's judgment. Many applicants are referred to employers through people who have connections to you or your business. Just because they were referred to you through a trusted friend or employee doesn't mean that they are right for your business. You must take the time to get to know the applicant just as you would do for any other applicant.

This job seeker may not be all that was told to you. You should not feel bad about not hiring someone's brother or down-on-his-luck nephew. Business is not personal, and you should not hire someone who is beneath your standards. Do what is best for your business and not what is best for your friends.

Don't rely on the applicant's references. You may think that contacting the applicant's references is a sure way to know whether the person is responsible, reliable, and trustworthy. However, anyone could be listed as a reference. Do you really know that you are talking to someone who is an adequate judge of character? Are you really speaking to the person listed on the application?

Don't forget to ask for a signature for an employment background check. Asking a potential employee to consent to a screening will truly allow you to know who this person is. You will be able to find out how long they have been at a particular job, whether or not they have any related work experience, and much more. You may also request consent for criminal background and credit checks.

Applicants who do not want the truth to be known will often steer clear of these requests. It is a great deterrent for applicants who are less than trustworthy or responsible. You will be protecting your business and your employees with these types of checks.

Remember to hold out for the right employee to come along. It can be very tempting to want to hire the first person that comes along for a position, especially when you may not have had a lot of applicants for the position. You still need to make an informed decision before hiring anyone, even if you are in desperate need of a new employee.

Always start a trial employment first. Trial employment can give you time to really assess an employee to make sure that he or she is the right fit for the job. Be clear about the temporary position, when the trial period is over, and what to expect during this trial period.

You will feel much more empowered and informed when following these practices regarding the hiring of new employees. You are liable for every employee that you hire, so you need to know who you are hiring and what you can expect from them. In return, they also need to know what to expect from you. Be clear about your intentions to get to know them and then follow through with your actions.

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