Reasons Why ID Theft Protection Is Important

Reasons Why ID Theft Protection Is Important

Credit is important. For many Americans, it is the primary means to acquire products and services. It's indispensable and convenient, and it's for this reason that it is equally valuable to identity thieves.

It's no secret that identity fraud affect any consumer age group these days. Young or old, people get victimized in every imaginable way. It is gravely causing a lot of damage offline or online. Because of this, the need for identity theft protection is becoming a lot stronger by the minute.

The extensive fight against id theft is an ongoing and serious effort. Consumers should participate in the battle against id fraud. An initial step that they can make is to know what it is and how it can be prevented. If basic information is disseminated, then initiatives can be taken.

One of the most common bridges to id theft is credit card fraud. This kind of theft can happen anywhere at any given time. To enhance the personal credit monitoring done at home, credit protection services should be acquired. Personal monitoring and credit monitoring are common ways of keeping identity theft at bay. When these are done effectively, financial credibility is secured.

Why You Need Identity Theft Protection

Identity theft is very dangerous, especially for those who are responsible for securing other people's sensitive information. If this type of information is stolen, several lives could be greatly affected by identity theft. This is especially true of children, since child identity theft occurs frequently. It is a crime committed by unknown thieves, relatives, friends, or even by a child's own parents.

Children are especially vulnerable to identity theft because they don't have credit histories at all. Creditors prefer a person without any credit history than deal with a person that has bad credit history. Their identities are targeted because thieves could use their identities a few days after their birth until they reach 18 years old.

The elderly are also exposed to identity theft. Their loved ones or primary caregivers may be the ones to steal their identities for financial gain. Old people don't report such things because they're afraid that their families will commit them in an institution.

Protection against identity theft is essential

It is necessary to protect young children as well as the elderly from identity scam, because of the following reasons:

1. You could immediately prevent from financial losses

Being able to protect your identity will keep you from losing your good credit line or your bank account. You can do this by acquiring a credit protection service. This service will send you alerts if there are sudden changes in your credit card account. The prompt alerts will enable you to place a security freeze in your credit files so that they could not be tampered with again. A fraud alert could also be activated so that new credit applications in your name may be slowed down. The alerts that you receive from your credit protection provider will help you stop the identity thief from stealing more from you.

2. Your child will not have financial credibility issues during college

If you have effectively protected your child's identity early on, then there won't be any problems for them during the college years. He would immediately be approved for student loans and student credit cards.

3. You won't have any problems with your medical insurance

There will always be emergencies when you have a medical condition. When protection against identity theft is performed efficiently, you won't have to worry about not being covered for your medical needs.

Protection from identity fraud will surely help you maintain financial credibility. It's an ongoing war against id fraud and you need to make sure that you and your family are on the winning side.

Financial Advising Services Help Save Money

Financial Advising Services Help Save Money

In today's constantly changing world, it can be hard to keep up with everything that needs to be done for sound financial planning. Luckily, with sound financial advising services, you can rest easy knowing that you have an experienced team on your side that is dedicated to saving you or your company money. Getting advice on financial matters is one of the greatest tools available to help you focus on what matters most.

In the world today, everything is becoming increasingly specialized. Though this in many ways helps us to increase productivity and enjoy more time doing the things we love, it also means that certain aspects in our life, such as finances, become increasingly more difficult to do on our own. When you consult with professional financial planning services, you will have a dedicated team of accountants, business graduates, and other professionals working with you. One of the greatest benefits of getting advice on financial issues is that it saves you money. These professionals will work with you and treat your finances on an individual basis, meaning that you will receive customized services that will best fit your unique situation.

A professional team of financial advisers can help you in many different areas of finance. One of the most important areas of expertise is financial planning. The opportunity to sit with experts and plan your financial future will not only save you money, but will also give you the peace of mind knowing that the future is secure. Financial planning services can also help you understand your tax responsibilities and ways to save money through deductions and other aspects of the tax code. Understanding tax law by yourself is not only frustrating, but also time consuming. It is extremely helpful to consult someone who has the experience and education needed to maximize your savings.

Services for financial advising can be essential for individuals regardless of their annual income. Likewise, a team of financial advising professionals can help small and large businesses plan for the future and manage the money that they already have. Many times, teams that offer financial advising services also provide many other services that are helpful to businesses, such as litigation support and forensic accounting, payroll services, and budget analysis.

Understanding how to best manage your finances can be difficult. Even if you think you have it all under control, you would be surprised to see how much a financial advising team can augment your savings and solidify your plans for the future. Consider financial advice and planning services today to see how much you can save.

SEPA Migration: An Essential Feature of Money Transaction Mode In The EU

SEPA Migration: An Essential Feature of Money Transaction Mode In The EU

SEPA that is Single Euro Payments Area is one of the most important and largest money transaction schemes that is been implemented in the countries of the European Union and the other four countries outside the Union. SEPA has been in vogue from January 2008 and it started with SEPA Credit transfer. Gradually in the years that followed, SEPA direct Debit and SEPA credit cards were launched. The two chief heads organizations that monitor the infrastructural levels of SEPA are the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Payments Council (EPC). The second biggest milestone in SEPA schemes is the SEPA Migration rule, the report of which has been released on 21st March, 2013 very recently.

Features of SEPA Migration

To centralise the national markets of the member states of the European Union and decrease disparity in the nationilsed banks, the SEPA migration End-Date Regulation have been launched. It is a series of guidelines for users and other beneficiaries of this scheme so that the entire transaction pattern should be standardised. According to this report, for European area migration to SEPA Direct Debits and SEPA Credit Transfer 1st February, 2014 has been set as the last date of submission. All kind of users Under SEPA are now left with 11 months to file their payment orders whether be individual users or for smale and large scale businesses. The payment service providers can refuse payments after the deadline is missed.

Late SEPA migration services not only put the users at stake but also the service providers under SEPA. The service providers need to arrange the payment orders in an organised pattern as early as possible so that they can avoid any chance of disruption. Hence rather than the beneficiaries the stake holders under SEPA are in more pressure as this arrangement is suggested to be finished by the later half of this year. The risk lies with the stakeholders more than of the beneficiaries due to which the migration rule may come under high risk. Hence the report suggested that there is end-service providers should include more technologies and customer relations chanelling so that this organization of payment transaction could be solved as early as possible.

Some Pros and Cons Regarding the Migration Rule

It has been found through a study that most of the corporations and stake holders at the end note are already done with their planning of organization. The practicality and implementing strategies of SEPA across 32 countries where it has been implemented has been well realised by the companies who are working for better service and infrastructural development. But at the same time there are a lot of companies whose awareness and understanding of SEPA migration services is quite shallow specially small and local enterprises. This affects the entire system because every stake holder when it comes to Migration rule should work together so the entire system works smoothly.

Over 8000 banks and corporations are involved in SEPA schemes and it is the smooth execution of work of all the stake holders that brings the SEPA scheme to a successful state.

Not Your Father's Money Market Anymore

Not Your Father's Money Market Anymore

When I entered the Investment business about 32 years ago, the big story of the day was how Merrill Lynch had invented a new type of product called the Cash Management Account or CMA. This account was a marriage of a new instrument called a money market with the old fashion idea of a checking account. Now, one could earn the high rates of a money market account and write checks at the same time.

Back then, even though interest rates were at their highest levels in history----13, 14, 15, and in some cases 20%, banks were limited in the amount of interest they were allowed to pay on their checking and savings accounts. Merrill Lynch took full competitive advantage of this and created the account I just described. What transpired was a revolution in the way people used their brokerage accounts and the way brokerage firms were perceived.

Money Market Funds were relatively unknown to the general public at that time and as the story goes, people lined up around the block at Merrill Lynch to open up new accounts and earn these incredibly high interest rates.

The most important aspect of these new money market funds which by the way, are really mutual funds that invest in very short term bonds issued by very high-rated corporations, was the simple fact that one could buy shares priced at $1.00 and redeem those shares at any time for $1.00 per share. Any change to the value of fund was made by adjusting the interest rate paid, not the price. Investors therefore, could feel certain they would get the return of their principal on-demand just like a checking or savings account. This was a very attractive proposition: earn a very high interest rate with no risk to principal. What could be better?

This has been the arrangement until now, and the reason I am writing about it today. There is a big change coming that is going to alter the money market industry and I want you to know about it.

It has been announced by the large brokerage firm, Charles Schwab, that the share price of their money market will now float based on the value of the underlying securities. No longer will the share value continue to artificially stay at $1.00 when the values of the underlying securities are worth less.

Why this new change? The move to change came during the financial crisis of 2008. Surprised investors had to hurry to pull cash out of a well know small money market fund called the Reserve Primary Money Market Fund after it was disclosed that the fund owned a lot of Lehman Brothers paper. The fund, being relatively small in size had to adjust the price per share of its money market which, in the industry is known as "breaking the buck". Breaking the buck was something a money fund was just NOT supposed to do. Doing so would undermine the whole idea of safety with high yield.

Interestingly, it was later uncovered that 21 money market funds were in a similar situation. Yet, nothing happened because fund sponsors supported the value of the fund with their own money. This led Mary Shapiro, chairman of the SEC to push for reform to make the industry more transparent and more liquid. One feature she wanted changed was to demand that money market funds begin to "float" their share price in order to fully reflect the underlying value of the securities held. A good idea, but one that generated a lot of backlash by the fund industry. The industry feared that large and small investors would turn away from money market funds causing a massive outflow of capital. This could lead to a serious disruption of this multi $trillion industry, affecting not only the funds themselves but the corporations relying on these funds to raise money.

It is feared that "reverse-disintermediation" would take place. Reverse disintermediation is the act of putting money back into bank savings and checking accounts and pulling them out of your brokerage account money market, the exact opposite of what happened in the 1980s when money came out of the banking system and swept into the brokerage world.

In spite of all this, it seems as if money market sponsors are changing their minds.

It was announced recently that Charles Schwab Corp and other large fund sponsors are submitting proposals to let the share price of their money market funds to float, These other funds are run by Fidelity, JP Morgan Chase and Co and Federated Investors Inc. and others. Reuters has reported a plan by Schwab to provide "daily disclosures of their net asset values (another name for share price)".

So far, share prices have not changed from $1.00. Since money markets funds invest in very short term corporate bonds, treasuries or tax exempt municipal bonds, bond price changes are negligible. It is only in times of great crisis like 2008 that share prices could be affected.

What You Should know and What You Should Do.

You should know your money market share value has been fluctuating all along, but firms have been keeping the share price artificially set at $1.00. Now, this ruse is over and you may begin to see your share price fluctuate to reflect its true value. Start watching your money market and discuss this with your financial advisor or your brokerage firm representative to get a clear picture of what it means to you.

Fundamentally it is my belief that money market funds are very safe and I would not expect the share value to fluctuate very much- if at all. However, during times of stress this could change so consider changing your money market fund to one which invests in US treasury securities or tax exempt bonds. With interest rates so low, you will not lose any interest because, frankly, you're not earning any interest anyway.

Remember, transparency is a good thing, and while it adds one more item to your checklist, it could give you enough information to make the best decision for your future. Knowledge is power but you need to exercise your power in order for it to change your life.

Steve Pomeranz is a Managing Director for United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC, "United Capital", and owner of On The Money. On The Money is not affiliated with United Capital.

Banking and Financial Services for Radical Change

Banking and Financial Services for Radical Change

Many countries are facing troubling economic conditions and slowing growth rates, this is the reason banks and financial institutions are coming forward with more innovative products and flexible approaches. They are trying everything to solve such deep problems that are continuously digging gaps. They are revolutionizing in order to fix social and economic problems. Their steps are customer-centric and are addressing key economic issues. They are mainly focusing entrepreneurs to empower them so that they can sustain growth. It will help to improve societies through growth, innovation as well as transformation. The banking and finance sector revolution will bring major change and will eliminate conventional form of banking as well as mindsets.

Today, economies are greatly looking at entrepreneurs to help elevate their conditions. Banks are supplying verve's to the entrepreneurs through their unmatched services and products. This will solve problem and empower them with powerful and reliable change agents. They are incorporating more and more approaches to reach customers and making their services available to everyone. They are not only creating a paradigm for businesses, but also handling them power to enter into ventures that can handle economic steering. They have understood that proper banking awareness and education is very important to raise public consciousness.

Today, societies are demanding more efficient and integral banking services in order to fulfill the necessities. To make all this happen, entrepreneurs should also understand that through new ventures they will help building prosperous nation. In the same scenario, banks have started evolving themselves for the business's long-term sustainability. Because without the help of banking technology, financial products and integral services enterprises fail to stand competitively.

They are providing innovative their products and have successful introduced personal, corporate and privilege banking for sector wise development. They are offering NRI banking, internet banking (funds transfer, money management), mobile banking, loans, and different types of cards, project finance, insurance plans (home, travel, and health, motor) as well as investment plans for enterprises and common people.

In fact, they are indulged in wealth management and asset management services so that they can empower nations and pour strength in its roots. Unquestionably, through all these integral features that have dissolved convenience to lives. They are offering different techniques to safely manage finances. In short, banks are working at the highest level of efficiencies for fast economic growth and propelling their strategic, innovative and creative plans for radical change and differentiation. They are discussing their future plan of actions in banking and financial services conferences.

When Insurance Meets Fraud

When Insurance Meets Fraud

Honestly speaking, from all points of view, being involved in insurance fraud is a bad idea. This is a get rich quick scheme that some individuals employ to take advantage of insurance companies and get them to pay out money in the form of claim for which they are not eligible to receive. Not only is it punishable by law (once discovered), it also costs taxpayers lots of money every year in the form of increased costs of service to mitigate the cost of these fraudulent payouts. The most common types of insurance fraud include:

Disability insurance fraud

Purporting to be ill so that your insurer may pay you money to cover your illness is a form of fraud. Many people take advantage of seemingly harmless accidents that occur in the workplace and pretending to be too ill to work so that the company may pay you money as you stay home and recover is fraudulent.

Some health facilities also commit this type of health insurance fraud by overinflating the services they charge you for so that your insurance may pay them more than what is owed is also very common. Another common fraudulent activity that health providers engage in is claiming they performed costly procedures on you that they never did and getting the money from your insurance on the same.

Property insurance fraud

You have probably come across cases where a business person suffered a fire on their premises that wiped out their entire business. Upon further investigation, authorities find that the business owner arranged for the place to be burned so that they may file an insurance claim and take the payout. Many people who are in over their heads in debt resort to arson as a way to make quick money. Insurance companies are well aware of this and have a team of investigators that check to make sure the premises were not set ablaze on purpose by accelerants. Only when the police investigation and the investigation by the claim adjusters are done and the fire is found to be accidental, does the payout come through.

Sometimes, a business or home owner may falsify a break in and claim that their valuables were either damaged or stolen in the event.

Auto insurance fraud

This typically involves trying to get more out of an accident than should be covered. For example, if you bumped your car against a mailbox months earlier and then are involved in an accident, you may try to pass of that initial damage from the mailbox as part of the damage caused by the automobile accident so that your insurance may pay for all of it.

Remember, no matter how carefully planned your fraudulent claim may be, there are investigators and law enforcement officers who are highly trained and deal with that sort of thing daily. They are more adept at finding out whether you are lying or telling the truth. Not only do you risk your reputation once your fraudulent scheme is discovered, but you may face jail term as well.

Telecommuting: A Win-Win

Telecommuting: A Win-Win

In today's job market companies need to be competitive with their total benefit package to attract and retain top talent. The days are gone where employers can offer a prospective candidate a competitive salary and expect to hire the best. For many job seekers accepting a new position comes down to the total benefit package and in many times, flexibility. What employers seem to be failing to recognize is a benefit that accomplishes providing flexibility while growing their bottom line and that benefit is telecommuting.

Telecommuting, or working from home, is an arrangement an employee and their employer can enter into where the employee does not commute and can fulfill their work obligations outside of the office. This arrangement can be flexible, one day a week, part-time, or full-time. With the majority of households having two working parents, flexibility could be an employer's greatest asset in recruiting candidates and offers numerous benefits. Even for the job seeker who may not be a parent the benefits are vast.

Telecommuting offers the employer a large return on a small investment. For many companies, the only cost of telecommuting lies in technology but where they spend on technology they'll also save on space, energy, and employee turnover. Employees will be more productive as they will not have to commute and studies do show that employees who work from home work longer hours during the work week. Many prospective employees will even accept a lower salary to obtain the benefit of flexibility and by doing so will lower the payroll expense for a company.

For an employee or candidate that may be a parent, telecommuting offers the priceless opportunity to put your children on the bus in the morning and be there when they get home in the afternoon. Regardless of home life situations, work life balance is a key benefit in retaining talent and keeps employees happy and motivated. Telecommuting allows employees to manage their time in accordance to their workload and can leave the employee feeling empowered. While working from home provides increased job satisfaction for many, it also decreases the costs and frustrations of commuting to work every day.

My recommendation is for companies to put the fear of losing control on your work force aside and empower your employees by embrace telecommuting. It is a win-win scenario employees will be happier, turnover will be lower, and the company will have higher productivity rates at no cost.

Don't Run Away From Credit Problems

Don't Run Away From Credit Problems

Let's consider for a moment a typical scary movie. In this scene, a few friends have entered a house that they have no business being in. They are walking through the various rooms, which are dark and full of cobwebs. As the creepy music comes in, a monster-like figure appears. Everyone gets scared and starts running in fear.

So, where did they run? Did they run out the front door and away from the house? No, of course not. They ran upstairs, and probably to the roof, where there is little chance of survival.

If we watch these types of movies, we often find ourselves yelling at the screen, telling the characters not to go upstairs. But, for some reason, they never listen.

Yet, it's interesting that we frequently do something very similar in our own lives when it comes to our finances.

The creditor monster

Many of us have had to face the creditor monster, whether it was for a credit card, a mortgage, a car loan, or any other type of financing. As soon as money gets tight, we run away from the problem. For some strange reason, we think that running will make it go away, but deep down, we know that's not true.

Some of us run upstairs, borrowing more money hoping to "solve" the problem. But, we are typically robbing Peter to pay Paul, and the debt load just gets deeper and deeper until we are stuck on the edge of the rooftop with nowhere to go - but down.

Why hide?

In Genesis 31:20, we see that Jacob didn't tell Laban he was running away. His deception could possibly be explained by fear. Jacob may have been afraid that Laban would not part on friendly terms. Unfortunately, that is something that we will never know.

We can, however, handle our problems differently. When money problems arise and we are unable to pay our creditors as we had originally agreed, we need to be strong enough to approach them. If they are not aware of our financial situation, we have no right to expect them to be reasonable or understanding.

Granted, there will be some creditors with hearts colder than Pharaoh's, but God is able to soften any heart He chooses.

God is on our side

Although God does not want us to live in debt, He also does not want us to be stressed and afraid. We have to remember that we were not given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of sound mind. We should focus not on the problem, but on possible solutions.

In Jacob's case, an angel of God came to him in a dream and told him that it was time to go. If God approved of his move, why was there a need to hide it from Laban? Jacob had God on his side!

Similarly, we should seek God and His counsel for direction in dealing with our creditors. We should ask Him for the words to say, the proposal to offer, and the action steps to make it happen. No matter how big the debt, nothing is too big for our God.

James 1:12 tells us, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (NIV)

If we cast our cares and fears on Him, then He will carry us through the storm. What a testimony we will have when we make it through!

Iraqi Oil and the Dinar's Imminent Revaluation

Iraqi Oil and the Dinar's Imminent Revaluation

The projected revaluation of the Iraqi dinar by November 2013 is three dinar per dollar. That's definitely a great improvement from 1176 dinars per dollar back in 2008. The value of the Iraqi dinar is expected to rise and this projection is backed by figures, not mere speculation.

Iraq was a founding member of the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and yet it only has around two thousand oil wells. The conservative estimate of the proved oil reserves of the Republic of Iraq is about 143.1 billion barrels. Only the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has more with 260 billion barrels or a fifth of the global reserves of petroleum.

As of December 2012, Iraq produces 3.4 million barrels a day compared to Saudi Arabia's daily production of 12 million barrels. The government is now initiating changes in various sectors in order to increase the production to five million barrels a day by next year. There are many agreements to be made and laws to be approved, but the first steps are being taken. In a few years, Iraq would be joining the list of the top five oil producing countries in the world which now includes Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, China, and Iran. The boost in the country's oil industry is expected to launch the dinar revaluation.

There is a lot of criticism with regard to current evidence on the dinar revaluation. Many groups and individuals in the finance community question the basis for the projected increase in value of the currency of a country that is yet to make inroads. It is a known fact that Iraq is struggling to revive its economy after decades of war and conflict.

Iraq's oil is high quality fuel and it does not take much money and resources to get it out of the ground. The technology to process and refine is not difficult to come by. The oil is there, but the policies and infrastructure that will radically change the Iraqi economy for the better are just being laid down. When Iraq achieves its political and economic reform goals, then the value of the Iraqi dinar will soar beyond expectations. The dinar is now being promoted as a great investment opportunity.

There are many websites dedicated to providing information as well as dinar trade for interested investors. It is important that a potential investor exercise care and caution before eliciting the services of dealers who may not have a license to make transactions involving the Iraqi dinar.

My Old Notes on Trading II

My Old Notes on Trading II

  • After making a nice push in the morning do not be afraid to stop trading- and if you do decide to trade- pick your spots better and have a real plan instead of doing random trades

  • If you are going to trade a volatile stock like PD, do not protect your PL when you trade or else the risk your taking on is greater than your reward

  • Do not base your trades on news that you read. If the stock shows you otherwise then trade the stock accordingly instead of sticking with a bias. Use the news as a guide but do not base trades on it unless it is confirmed by the stock itself

  • Resist the urge to trade stocks that you have not been carefully watching

  • If you make a good trade in one direction and get out successfully, then try to get back in on the same side and it doesn't work- do not continue to do it- instead, wait for the stock to show you that the trend is continuing and then get involved

  • Use volume as an indicator of overall market activity

  • When volume is lower than usual it means that institutions are not active and stock moves will trend less and have little follow through

  • When volume is lower be quicker to scalp and do not get involved as much because although the futures may be swinging the stocks will not react and it will cause you to write tickets and lose money by paying the spread only causing frustration

  • Track the volume of the stocks you follow for periods of the day- such as how many shares until 11, until 12, etc.

  • On slow days, be quicker to switch to another stock/sector. Don't let pride hurt your trading

  • On slow days, if you get off to a bad start and then make half of it back- take that as a positive and stop trading... However, if the market is active and you get burned early, refocus and carry on trading normally

  • If you lose on your first few trades take a step back and understand what you are doing wrong instead of repeating the same thing over and over

  • Do not flip in between stocks- if you are trading poorly in one, then switch- if you succeed in the new stock do not go back to the other one unless you think you have reevaluated it enough to be able to trade it successfully

  • Do not make trades hoping for a miracle by getting into massive size for no reason

The Economics of Free Money

The Economics of Free Money

Free money generally isn't. Understand why and you might find something free that is worth more than you pay for it. Embrace too much positive thinking and prepare to get ripped off.

There are shady offers out there: short-term loans at astoundingly high interest rates, gambling sites, day trading systems of dubious merit, and more. Let us consider the trading systems. Do you really think it is easy to outwit the PhD mathematicians who do this for a living? Could there really be a system to do so available for a few hundred dollars? If such a system existed, the creator could make far more applying the system than selling the secret online.

Then there are the somewhat more legitimate offers. Yes, you can get paid to take surveys. But look at the payments. Is it really worth your while to answer 20 questions just to make 15 cents? This money is not free; it is tedious work for less than the minimum wage.

Your challenge extends beyond mere shady characters. Giving out free money is hard to do. Suppose a billionaire wanted to make his ten billion dollar fortune available. There are over 300 million people in the United States. That comes out to about $33 each if everyone participates. This is hardly significant, so philanthropists put conditions on the money they give out. That means applying for grants, which is not a trivial effort. Then you have to do whatever you propose to do in your grant application. The money is thus not free. (For comparison, note that McDonald's gives out grants to teenagers to flip hamburgers.)

The government can afford to be more generous with its largesse, but even with the government the money is not entirely free. Think back to the early attempts at welfare. The government gave out money to poor single mothers to help support their children. What could be wrong with that? For women who already were poor single mothers, these programs were wonderful help. Alas, with such enticing money available, others began to "work" for it. Teenage girls would choose to get pregnant in order to qualify for funds. Poor couples would opt not to get married in order to qualify. Even for the original poor single mothers, the money came with a price: get married and you lose the benefits. Welfare alleviated and extended poverty at the same time.

How about government programs to help you get ahead? Some of them are useful. If you are college material and are willing to study, government provided grants and loans are indeed to your benefit. Yet even there we some negative side effects. With more people able to afford a college education, a college degree is not worth as much as it used to be. Even a law degree is no longer the guaranteed path to prosperity it once was. Furthermore, with all this government money available, colleges have been ramping up tuition.

Free money from the government is close to being free under two circumstances. First, if the government benefit, grant, or tax credit is for something you are going to do anyway, such as go to college or install a geothermal heat pump, then the money is free save for the application headaches. Second, if the money is truly unconditional, if there is nothing you can do to affect whether you qualify, then the money is free.

Unlike our aforementioned philanthropist, the government has trillions of dollars to work with. Were it to replace the current maze of grants, benefits, loan guarantees, and tax breaks with unconditional money, every citizen could receive a nontrivial sum each month, with little paperwork required.

Diamond Buyers To The Rescue

Diamond Buyers To The Rescue

When it comes to the question of how to sell diamond, one might be stupefied. There are many gold exchanges that advertise their buying services online, some even state that they take up diamond jewelry. But do they really give the true value of such diamonds? If not, where should one go to sell engagement ring made of diamonds and get the optimal value for it? These questions can be answered when one approaches the different online diamond merchants who are eager to take up diamonds as loose stones or set as jewelry from people who are willing to sell them.

Lure Of Buyers Online

The lure of buyers who want to buy your diamond from you is irresistible. Not only do they advertise to specialize exclusively in buying diamond from clients, they state they will provide cash in a matter of hours. Many feel intrigued with such statements and testimonials that they provide. Usually people opt to sell diamond only when they are in dire need of cash. Since such jewelry is usually treasured, only when defects arise or the stones become loose, people toy with the idea of selling them in return for ready cash. And those who advertise their services as diamond buyer usually land in the eyesight of such people.

Ring Valuations

When one is about to sell engagement ring, then one usually seek buyers who have experts on board who can do ring valuations. Usually engagement rings are of different styles and come of differing price brackets. There are prong settings or band styles among engagement rings. Again, there are rings that have a larger diamond in the middle and smaller diamonds surrounding the larger diamond. The three stone diamond rings called the trilogy rings are also popular as are the diamond clusters on gold rings. Though selling of engagement rings is usually an emotionally difficult process, there are professional buyers who make it fast and objective, so that customers are happy with the valuation and they walk away satisfied.

Large Variety Of Rings Accepted By Buyers

It is useful to choose a buyer who is open to taking up different styles of engagement rings. Some may decline to take up rings made of diamond clusters or solitaires. However there are registered diamond merchants who will accept any form of diamond ring or loose stones and provide the right evaluation service for any of them. Such buyers are blessing for the customers.

Know The Value Of Your Diamond

At the time of selling diamonds, one may have lost all certification or details that one has about the stone or the jewelry that stated its value. When it comes to diamonds, knowledge of the 4cs is important. The cut, clarity, color and carat needs to be known about any diamond that one possesses. Even if one does not have the original certification, one can seek the certification of a laboratory for the diamonds that one possesses. Such details come of use when one is aiming to sell diamond jewelry online.

How to Find the Right Investment Advisor

How to Find the Right Investment Advisor

Money isn't easy to come by and you want to make sure that anything you invest will be there when you need it. Since investing your savings can be complicated and time consuming, most people decide the best course of action is hiring an investment advisor.

What is An Investment Advisor?

When you meet with an investment advisor you are meeting with a person who takes a look at the market, listens to your long term financial goals, and considers the amount of money you can afford to invest. They use all this information and provide you with advice about investments that should help you make the maximum return on your money.

Questions You Need to Ask

When you decide it's in your best interest to use a professional to help you save for your future, you want to make sure you're using the best. Approach the initial meeting with the advisor with the same kind of attitude you would have if you were an employer conducting a job interview. Have a list of questions ready to go.

Be very blunt and ask exactly who will be overseeing your account. There have been stories of people who assumed one person was going to be handling things only to find out much later that the account was actually being handled by several different people. Make it very clear that you want to be able to communicated directly with anyone who has access to your account and is making investment decisions,

Find out how often the investment advisor in charge of your account will take the time to review your current portfolio. This should be something they plan on doing with a great deal of regularity. In addition to checking the portfolio and gauging the status of current investments, they should also get in touch with you each time to discuss any changes that have come up. A good investment firm will be diligent about communication and want to make sure you're up to date on how your investments have performed.

Make sure you ask exactly what the advisor feels their responsibilities will be. This is a very important question. Even firm has it's own policies regarding how hands on their advisors are. You need to know if the person you're considering working with will be making changes to your portfolio and overseeing all of the investments, or if they're acting in a purely advisory role. Once this question has been answered, you need to ask yourself if you're comfortable with the amount of involvement the advisor will have.

At some point you are going to have to find out how much the investment advisor's services will cost. This is another thing that tends to vary from one professional to another. It's up to you to decide if the fees seem reasonable and if you can afford them. The better the advisor's reputation is, the more they're going to charge.

The nice thing about asking about how much the investment advisor's fees will be is that it creates a nice segue into asking about fudicary responsibility.

If you're not happy with the answers you get to your questions, the best thing you can do is say a polite good-bye and look for a different investment advisor.

Good luck in your search for the best investment advisor!

Six Things You Must Consider When Preparing Your Will

Six Things You Must Consider When Preparing Your Will

Preparing a will to protect your assets and your heirs is always an excellent idea, but many people try to do this themselves and end up leaving out critical information. If the document doesn't have all of the elements required by law, it could be declared invalid after your death, putting your estate at risk and causing unpleasant strife between your potential beneficiaries. To minimize that risk, be sure that all of the features outlined below are included.

A Clearly Designated Executor -- Consider A Will Attorney

You should appoint someone you know and trust as the executor. Although many people choose a family member, you could also appoint a will attorney, as he or she would be completely impartial. Be sure that whomever you appoint is willing and able to take on the responsibility. Taking things through probate and distribution can be a lengthy, complex process. If you don't choose someone, the courts can appoint an executor for you, and it may not be the person you would have chosen.

Clear Division Of Assets

It's easy to write a will that says you want each of your children to select a few items that have sentimental value from your home, but this often leads to family feuds over valuable assets. Clearly outline who gets what to avoid this kind of trouble. If you want to divide your assets equally between several people, talk to a will attorney about getting your real estate and personal property appraised before writing estate plan. This makes it easier to divide your assets equitably.

Funeral Instructions

Many people assume that their descendants can choose the funeral arrangements, but this is a burden that your children would probably rather avoid. It's difficult for surviving family members to cope after a loved one passes away, and adding to that burden can cause a great deal of pain. Outlining where and how you want your funeral to be handled, including how much it should cost, means one less worry for your loved ones.

Guardianship Of Minors

Regardless of whether your child is six or sixteen, a will attorney can advise you on how to appoint a guardian for your child or children. This is the person making day-to-day decisions for the child and ensuring that he or she is properly cared for. You should choose a guardian who can raise your child in a manner similar to how you are raising your child to minimize confusion.

Instructions About Pets

Pets aren't recognized as people by the courts, so you cannot leave money directly to your dog or cat, although many people have tried. Pets are considered personal property, and as such must be left to a specific person. Choose someone who can love and cherish your pet as much as you do. If you want to leave that person some funds to help with your dog or cat's expenses, consult with a will attorney who can advise you on setting up a specific fund for that purpose.

Discharging Debts And Obligations

When someone passes away, it's inevitable that there are some outstanding debts and obligations that have to be paid by the estate. If you include clear instructions and account for these duties in your will, that's one less burden for your children.

If all of this leaves you confused, you aren't alone. Most people who try to prepare their own wills quickly realize that consulting with an attorney is the best way to ensure that their heirs are protected and that their wishes are carried out properly. If you have any questions about how to structure your estate, contacting a will attorney should be your first step.

Leaping Into the 6th Technology Revolution

Leaping Into the 6th Technology Revolution

We're at risk of missing out on some of the most profound opportunities offered by the technology revolution that has just begun.

Yet many are oblivious to the signs and are in danger of watching this become a period of noisy turmoil rather than the full-blown insurrection needed to launch us into a green economy. What we require is not a new spinning wheel, but fabrics woven with nanofibers that generate solar power. To make that happen, we need a radically reformulated way of understanding markets, technology, financing, and the role of government in accelerating change. But will we understand the opportunities before they disappear?

Seeing the Sixth Revolution for What It Is

We are seven years into the beginning of what analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research call the Sixth Revolution. A table by Carlotta Perez, which was presented during a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research luncheon hosted by Robert Preston and Steven Milunovich, outlines the revolutions that are unexpected in their own time that lead to the one in which we find ourselves.

  • 1771: Mechanization and improved water wheels
  • 1829: Development of steam for industry and railways
  • 1875: Cheap steel, availability of electricity, and the use of city gas
  • 1908: Inexpensive oil, mass-produced internal combustion engine vehicles, and universal electricity
  • 1971: Expansion of information and tele-communications
  • 2003: Cleantech and biotech

The Vantage of Hindsight

Looking back at 1971, we know that Intel's introduction of the microprocessor marked the beginning of a new era. But in that year, this meant little to people watching Mary Tyler Moore and The Partridge Family, or listening to Tony Orlando & Dawn and Janis Joplin. People would remember humanity's first steps on the Moon, opening relations between US and China, perhaps the successful completion of the Human Genome Project to 99.99% accuracy, and possibly the birth of Prometea, the first horse cloned by Italian scientists.

According to Ben Weinberg, Partner, Element Partners, "Every day, we see American companies with promising technologies that are unable to deploy their products because of a lack of debt financing. By filling this gap, the government will ignite the mass deployment of innovative technologies, allowing technologies ranging from industrial waste heat to pole-mounted solar PV to prove their economics and gain credibility in the debt markets."

Flying beneath our collective radar was the first floppy disk drive by IBM, the world's first e-mail sent by Ray Tomlinson, the launch of the first laser printer by Xerox PARC and the Cream Soda Computer by Bill Fernandez and Steve Wozniak (who would found the Apple Computer company with Steve Jobs a few years later).

Times have not changed that much. It's 2011 and many of us face a similar disconnect with the events occurring around us. We are at the equivalent of 1986, a year on the cusp of the personal computer and the Internet fundamentally changing our world. 1986 was also the year that marked the beginning of a major financial shift into new markets. Venture Capital (VC) experienced its most substantial finance-raising season, with approximately $750 million, and the NASDAQ was established to help create a market for these companies.

Leading this charge was Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Beyers (KPCB), a firm that turned technical expertise into possibly the most successful IT venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. The IT model looked for a percentage of big successes to offset losses: an investment like the $8 million in Cerent, which was sold to Cisco Systems for $6.9 billion, could make up for a lot of great ideas that didn't quite make it.

Changing Financial Models

But the VC model that worked so well for information and telecommunications doesn't work in the new revolution. Not only is the financing scale of the cleantech revolution orders of magnitude larger than the last, this early in the game even analysts are struggling to see the future.

Steven Milunovich, who hosted the BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research lunch, remarked that each revolution has an innovation phase which may last for as long as 25 years, followed by an implementation phase of another 25. Most money is made in the first 20 years, so real players want to get in early. But the question is: Get in where, for how much and with whom?

There is still market scepticism and uncertainty about the staying power of the clean energy revolution. Milunovich estimates that many institutional investors don't believe in global warming, and adopt a "wait and see" attitude complicated by government impasse on energy security legislation. For those who are looking at these markets, their motivation ranges from concerns about oil scarcity, supremacy in the "new Sputnik" race, the shoring up of homeland security and - for some - a concern about the effects of climate change. Many look askance at those who see that we are in the midst of a fundamental change in how we produce and use energy. Milunovich, for all these reasons, is "cautious in the short term, bullish on the long."

The Valley of Death

Every new technology brings with it needs for new financing. In the sixth revolution, with budget needs 10 times those of IT, the challenge is moving from idea to prototype to commercialization. The Valley of Death, as a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance whitepaper, Crossing the Valley of Death pointed out, is the gap between technology creation and commercial maturity.

But some investors and policy makers continue to hope that private capital will fuel this gap, much as it did the last. They express concern over the debt from government programs like the stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) which have invested millions in new technologies in the clean energy sector, as well as helping states with rebuilding infrastructure and other projects. They question why the traditional financing models, which made the United States the world leader in information technology and telecommunications, can't be made to work today, if the Government would just get out of the way.

But analysts from many sides of financing believe that government support, of some kind, is essential to move projects forward, because cleantech and biotech projects require a much larger input of capital in order to get to commercialization. This gap not only affects commercialization, but is also affecting investments in new technologies, because financial interests are concerned that their investment might not see fruition - get to commercial scale.

How new technologies are radically different from the computer revolution.

Infrastructure complexity

This revolution is highly dependent on an existing - but aging - energy infrastructure. Almost 40 years after the start of the telecommunications revolution, we are still struggling with a communications infrastructure that is fragmented, redundant, and inefficient. Integrating new sources of energy, and making better use of what we have, is an even more complex - and more vital - task.

According to "Crossing the Valley of Death," the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Whitepaper,

"The events of the past few years confirm that it is only with the public sector's help that the Commercialization Valley of Death can be addressed, both in the short and the long term. Only public institutions have 'public benefits' obligations and the associated mandated risk-tolerance for such classes of investments, along with the capital available to make a difference at scale. Project financiers have shown they are willing to pick up the ball and finance the third, 23rd, and 300th project that uses that new technology. It is the initial technology risk that credit committees and investment managers will not tolerate."

Everything runs on fuel and energy, from our homes to our cars to our industries, schools, and hospitals. Most of us have experienced the disconnect we feel when caught in a blackout: "The air-conditioner won't work so I guess I'll turn on a fan," only to realize we can't do either. Because energy is so vital to every aspect of our economy, federal, state and local entities regulate almost every aspect of how energy is developed, deployed, and monetized. Wind farm developers face a patchwork quilt of municipal, county, state and federal regulations in getting projects to scale.

Incentives from government sources, as well as utilities, pose both an opportunity and a threat: the market rises and falls in direct proportion to funding and incentives. Navigating these challenges takes time and legal expertise: neither of which are in abundant supply to entrepreneurs.

Development costs

Though microchips are creating ever-smaller electronics, cleantech components - such as wind turbines and photovoltaics - are huge. They can't be developed in a garage, like Hewlett and Packard's first oscilloscope. A new generation of biofuels that utilizes nanotechnology isn't likely to take place out of a dorm room, as did Michael Dell's initial business selling customized computers. What this means for sixth revolution projects is that they have much larger funding needs, at much earlier stages.

Stepping up and supporting innovation, universities - and increasingly corporations - are partnering with early stage entrepreneurs. They are providing technology resources, such as laboratories and technical support, as well as management expertise in marketing, product development, government processes, and financing. Universities get funds from technology transfer arrangements, while corporations invest in a new technologies, expanding their product base, opening new businesses, or providing cost-benefit and risk-analysis of various approaches.

But even with such help, venture capital and other private investors are needed to augment costs that cannot be born alone. These investors look to some assurance that projects will produce revenue in order to return the original investment. So concerns over the Valley of Death affects even early stage funding.

Time line to completion

So many of us balk at two year contracts for our cell phones that there is talk of making such requirements illegal. But energy projects, by their size and complexity, look out over years, if not decades. Commercial and industrial customers look to spread their costs over ten to twenty years, and contracts cover contingencies like future business failure, the sale of properties, or the prospect of renovations that may affect the long term viability of the original project.

Kevin Walsh, managing director and head of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services states, "GE Energy Financial Services supports the creation of CEDA or a similar institution because it would expand the availability of low-cost capital to the projects and companies in which we invest, and it would help expand the market for technology supplied by other GE businesses."

Michael Holman, analyst for Lux Research, noted that a $25 million investment in Google morphed into $1.7 billion 5 years later. In contrast, a leading energy storage company started with a $300 million investment, and 9 years later valuation remains uncertain. These are the kinds of barriers that can stall the drive we need for 21st century technologies.

Looking to help bridge the gap in new cleantech and biotech projects, is a proposed government-based solution called the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA). There is a house and senate version, as well as a house Green Bank bill to provide gap financing. Recently, over 42 companies, representing many industries and organizations, signed a letter to President Obama, supporting the Senate version, the "21st Century Energy Technology Deployment Act."

Both the house and senate bills propose to create, as an office within the US Department of Energy (DOE), an administration which would be tasked with lending to risky cleantech projects for the purpose of bringing new technologies to market. CEDA would be the bridge needed to ensure the successful establishment of the green economy, by partnering with private investment to bring the funding needed to get these technologies to scale. Both versions capitalize the agency with $10 Billion (Senate) and $7.5 Billion (House), with an expected 10% loss reserve long term.

By helping a new technology move more effectively through the pipeline from idea to deployment, CEDA can substantially increase private sector investment in energy technology development and deployment. It can create a more successful US clean energy industry, with all the attendant economic and job creation benefits.

Who Benefits?

CEDA funding could be seen as beneficial for even the most unlikely corporations. Ted Horan is the Marketing and Business Development Manager for Hycrete, a company that sells a waterproof concrete. Hardly a company that springs to mind when we think about clean technologies, he recently commented on why Hycrete CEO, Richard Guinn, is a signatory on the letter to Obama:

"The allocation of funding for emerging clean energy technologies through CEDA is an important step in solving our energy and climate challenges. Companies on the cusp of large-scale commercial deployment will benefit greatly and help accelerate the adoption of clean energy practices throughout our economy."

In his opinion, the manufacturing and construction that is needed to push us out of a stagnating economy will be supported by innovation coming from the cleantech and biotech sectors.

Google's Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, has been a supporter from the inception of CEDA. He has testified before both houses of Congress, and was a signatory on the letter to President Obama. Google's interest in clean and renewable energies dates back several years. The company is actively involved in projects to cut costs of solar thermal and expand the use of plug-in vehicles, and has developed the Power Meter, a product which brings home energy management to anyone's desktop-for free.

Financial support includes corporations like GE Energy Financial Services, Silicon Valley Venture Capital such as Kleiner, Perkins Caulfiled and Byers, and Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Energy Capital including Hudson Clean Energy and Element Partners.Can something like the senate version of CEDA leap the Valley of Death?

As Will Coleman from Mohr Davidow Ventures, said, "The Devil's in the details." The Senate version has two significant changes from previous proposals: an emphasis on breakthrough as opposed to conventional technologies, and political independence.

Neil Auerbach, Managing Partner, Hudson Clean Energy

The clean energy sector can be a dynamic growth engine for the US economy, but not without thoughtful government support for private capital formation. **[Government policy] promises to serve as a valuable bridging tool to accelerate private capital formation around companies facing the challenge, and can help ensure that the US remains at the forefront of the race for dominance in new energy technologies.

Breakthrough Technologies

Coleman said that "breakthrough" includes the first or second deployment of a new approach, not just the game changing science-fiction solution that finally brings us limitless energy at no cost. The Bloomberg New Energy white paper uses the term "First of Class." Bringing solar efficiency up from 10% to 20%, or bringing manufacturing costs down by 50%, would be a breakthrough that would help us begin to compete with threats from China and India. Conventional technologies, those that are competing with existing commercialized projects, would get less emphasis.

Political Independence

Political independence is top of mind for many who spoke or provided an analysis of the bill. Michael Holman, analyst at Lux Research, expressed the strongest concerns that CEDA doesn't focus enough on incentives to bring together innovative start-ups with larger established firms.

"The government itself taking on the responsibility of deciding what technologies to back isn't likely to work-it's an approach with a dreadful track record. That said, it is important for the federal government to lead - the current financing model for bringing new energy technologies to market is broken, and new approaches are badly needed."

For many, the senate bill has many advantages over the house bill, in providing for a decision making process that includes technologists and private sector experts.

"I think both sides [of the aisle] understand this is an important program, and must enable the government to be flexible and employ a number of different approaches. The Senate version empowers CEDA to take a portfolio approach and manage risk over time, which I think is good. In the House bill, CEDA has to undergo the annual appropriation process, which runs the risk of politicizing every investment decision in isolation and before we have a chance to see the portfolio mature." - Will Coleman, Mohr Davidow.

Michael DeRosa, Managing Director of Element Partners added,

"The framework must ensure the selection of practical technologies, optimization of risk/return for taxpayer dollars, and appropriate oversight for project selection and spending. **Above all, these policies must be designed with free markets principles in mind and not be subject to political process."

If history is any indication, rarely are those in the middle of game-changing events aware of their role in what will one day be well-known for their sweeping influence. But what we can see clearly now is the gap between idea and commercial maturity. CEDA certainly offers some hope that we may yet see the cleantech age grow up into adulthood. But will we act quickly enough before all of the momentum and hard work that has brought us this far falls flat as other countries take leadership roles, leaving us in the dust?

Gold Standard, 'ey? So, What's in It for ME?

Gold Standard, 'ey? So, What's in It for ME?

Really, I'm serious. I have published a lot of heavy articles dealing with important issues regarding Gold and the Unadulterated Gold Standard; articles about the big picture, about the mechanisms of the Gold Standard, about the history of Gold, about the economic impact of Gold circulation, etc. etc... but no articles about the effects of an actual Gold Standard on an actual, average person.

Well, this series of articles tackles this very issue. Why indeed should the average Joe or Jane, someone in the middle of the earnings range; the wage earner, the retiree, the new graduate starting their economic life... why should they be interested in Gold or a Gold Standard?

After all, Gold is for the rich, right? And isn't Gold in the Central Banker's vaults just a 'tradition'? Isn't Gold a 'Barbarous Relic'? And surely, there is not nearly enough Gold in the world to replace the trillions of Fiat paper currency in circulation? And, if there was a Gold Standard, how would that affect 'ME'... ? The average 'ME' in the world has very little if any Gold... so introducing a Gold standard would not be fair to 'ME'... would it?

Any time I start musing about the Gold Standard, I see a powerful, emotionally charged (for me) image. It is an image of my long departed father. Whenever my father recalled his youth, telling me about his adventures... and misadventures... as a young man in Hungary, he would inevitably end up reminiscing about the 'peaceable days'... and every time he did, his eyes would take on a soft, far away glow; his features would become gentle, relaxed, indeed he looked like he was reminiscing about the Garden of Eden.

Well, as a young boy I was not sure what he meant, but the emotional impact stayed with me... understand that my father was not generally 'soft' or 'relaxed'. Even so, I eventually came to understand that by 'peaceable times' he meant the times before the madness of 'The Great War', WWI.

Much later, after I studied Austrian economics and met Professor Fekete and attended his Gold Standard University Live, I came to understand even more; namely WHY pre WWI days were of such a magical quality, a magical quality never to be seen again... I learned that it was because before WWI the world economy ran on the Classical Gold Standard.

Imagine a world where your wages are paid in real, actual Gold and Silver coins... not scraps of paper subject to bankster and G'man whims ( G'man is American slang for all government... including corrupt, power seeking politicos, entrenched, uncaring bureaucrats, torturing secret service apparatchik... all of them ); but solid, real stuff that cannot be 'printed' at some crooked politician's whim, real stuff that actually gains purchasing power over the years. Imagine that if you simply stash some of your wages in a pillow, and do nothing else... you will become richer every year.

Because that is what happens under a system of honest money; as the economy grows, as more productive technologies are created, the cost of producing, transporting, and retailing falls... so the price of everything slowly, gradually falls as well... and your wages and savings are worth more every year... without the need for a raise or a promotion... and without the need for some risky 'investment'.

Imagine a world where you get to actually keep your hard earned money... instead of having it confiscated by G'man, by bankster interest charges, and most insidiously by so called 'inflation'... more precisely, by 'monetary debasement'.

Because that is our world under Fiat paper; prices of everything rise instead of falling, wages never keep up with price increases, and any savings you may be able to scrape up will be destroyed by the evil of 'inflation'... but Mr. Bankster says 'some inflation is good for us'... yeah, good for him and his bankster buddies... certainly not for the rest of us. He has a printing press... we don't.

Imagine a world where war is very rare, because no G'man can afford a major war under Gold. Indeed, as the war clouds gathered before WWI, the pundits predicted that no major war could last more than a few months, because the combatants would run out of money... run out of Gold, that is. War is extremely expensive, both in wealth and in blood. The Gold Standard was sabotaged so the G'man could print endless paper currency to pay for the evil slaughter of WWI.

Because that is our world under Fiat paper; the G'man can afford war... so he thinks... because their bedfellows the banksters will simply 'print up' some more paper currency and lend it to the G'man... and of course hit 'ME' and you for the interest payments.

Indeed, if you look around, you see insane spending on the military, and wars on everything, everywhere. Our world is about as far from 'peaceable times' as you can possibly get. Destruction of humanity is but a button push away... and a psychopath has his finger on the button.

So, dear 'ME'... would you prefer a world where you can accumulate real wealth just by earning regular wages, and saving some... or this Fiat world where you must run ever faster, work ever harder, ever longer just to 'keep up'? Would you prefer a world where one wage earner can keep his family well fed, housed, clothed... or this Fiat world, where both man and wife must work ever harder just to 'keep up'... while the children get indoctrinated in G'man youth gulag... er public school?

Would you prefer to live at peace with your neighbors, 'live and let live', while trading with them for mutual benefit; 'let's make a deal'... or would you prefer to keep our Fiat world, a world full of war, terrorism, tyranny, neighbor killing neighbor... a world where you should 'kill your neighbor because if you don't they may kill you first'? And vice versa?

If any of this gets your attention, I am glad. People must wake up, must see the truth instead of believing all the Big Lies they are told... and bring change to the world by living the change themselves.

In the next few articles, we will look more closely at some of the Big Lies that have been spread about Gold. We will address the concerns you may have about how a Gold Standard would affect you... and 'ME'.

Top 8 Money Tips for NRIs

Top 8 Money Tips for NRIs

NRIs, have you been toiling hard to rake in that extra bit but unable to fathom where all your money disappears by the end of the month? Chances are there's a money leak. Fix it right away with a financial budget says Geeta Nair before your expenses balloon to unimaginable proportions leading you to a debt trap.

A financial budget can help you set your finances in order. It's all about personal finance. And it'll help you allocate your income appropriately among your needs, wants and desires enabling you to meet your financial goals easily.

1. Here's how NRIs can go about managing their finances:
Ascertain your total income: Jot down all your sources of income. Apart from your regular employment, your part time jobs, dividends, interest income from investments are all sources of income. Total them all.

2. Save at least 20% to 30% of your gross income:
Says Kairav Shah, Vice President, Personal Finance,, "Make it a point to set aside 20% to 30% of your total monthly income towards savings always. Leave this money untouched. And depending on your age, goals and risk profile invest this amount in mutual funds, equities, fixed income among others."

But then do you have a good support system in place?
For instance if you're living in places like Australia wherein children's education, retirement, health are supported by the government there's not much to worry. States Shah, "If you're covered under a social security in whichever country you reside, you may reduce the said percent by about 5%."

3. Buy property at the earliest:
NRIs, buy a home at the earliest wherever you stay outside India. Opines Shah, "Most NRIs make the biggest mistake of not buying a home in the foreign country they stay and continue to live in rented apartments for long periods. You must consider buying a home at the earliest. This is because over a period of time property gets expensive, and if you continue to wait, back home too you'll not be in a position to buy on your return after several years since by then the same may get unaffordable. You'd lose out both ways." Besides real estate investment in India is important too.

4. Are you spending on a need or a want?
Paying up your monthly rent, electricity and grocery bills are all needs you can't do without. But you can surely cut down on your several outings at expensive restaurants and shopping sprees that burn a deep hole in your pocket.

With several malls around convenience is in, no doubt. But think. Are you buying goods that you really need or are you following herd mentality? Have you used that food processor you bought last Christmas or is it still lying in a sealed pack in the corner of your kitchen unused? Analyse your past purchases and you'll know your spending habits.

5. Put off impulse purchases:
Do you go berserk when you hear of heavy discount offers, free gifts and cashback schemes. Stop! Simply put off impulse buying. That buy-one get-one free offer may not be as good as it seems. Besides, give a thought - do you really Need that shirt now or do you Want it because it simply appears to be a good offer?

6. Follow the 60:30:10 ratio:
Try maintaining a ratio of 60:30:10 between your needs, wants and desires. Maintain a list of each of your expenses howsoever insignificant they may seem. And you'll know how much you've ended up spending on items you don't really need. Segregate the fixed and variable expenditure. While there's not much you can do with the former, you can easily fine-tune your variable expenditure.

7. Contingency fund is a must:
Financial emergencies such as loss of employment, illness in the family, accidents etc can spring up unpleasant surprises just anytime. You need a contingency fund that can take care of sudden financial needs. Opines Shah, "Keep aside three to six months of your income for emergencies. And you won't have to dip into your savings in case of a financial crisis."

8. Stick to your budget, review regularly:
Creating a budget is easy but its hard to stick to it. Ascertain each time how closer you have been to your laid out plan. Make necessary changes wherever needed, fine tune and stick to your budget always come what may. Do a review to find out how far you're on track and whether there is a diversion at all. If yes, make up for the same in the next month and soon you'll be on the right track to achieving your goals.

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