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How to Make Social Security Work: Finding Wealth in a Social Security Retirement

How to Make Social Security Work: Finding Wealth in a Social Security Retirement

Social Security can be taken at 62 or at 66, and making the decision as to when you begin receiving payments can be difficult. The decision affects your finances for the remainder of your life, so you want to be sure you’ve figured out all the repercussions and benefits of your decision.

Paying into social security is easy – each month a certain percentage of your salary is automatically deducted. But the other end is more complicated -what you are entitled to is variable. Speak with a financial planner to see if it’s in your best interest to begin receiving Social Security at 62 or later.

This has been made an even more essential step since a new law was passed securing your decision. In the past, you could stop payments if you realized you’d made a mistake and filed too early, but now that decision is cast in stone once it’s made.

If you don’t have a financial planner, finding one in your area is simple, and could save you a lot of worry as you make this important decision.

All that retirement planning you started in your 20s is about to show its true self: is your retirement investing enough to support your family, or will you rely on social security to make ends meet? Is your income such that you can leave money in the stock market, or will you need to immediately access that money for survival? A certified financial planner can help you to answer these questions and make the best decision for yourself and your family.

If you are able to wait on enrolling in benefits, do. Each year you hold off means an 8% increase in you wait until 70 to enroll in the program, you will get thousands of extra dollars annually.…

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Helpful Tips on Real Estate Investment

Helpful Tips on Real Estate Investment

Are you planning to invest your money into real estate properties? Do you have plans purchasing a real property? If so, consider the tips and suggestions mentioned below.

News abound anywhere and everywhere that real estate investment is one of the most profitable business in the market. Despite the onset of recession and economic crisis, real estate investment is still the most feasible form of investment other than stocks and savings account because its price is not easily affected by inflation and economic crisis. If the price of real properties declined in one state, it does not affect other the prices of real properties in other states.

With the growing real estate industry, developers built myriad properties to give you choices. However, with the numerous real estates around, for sure you are confused on what property to buy. Bear in mind that your purchase should not be influenced by any advertisement and promotions by owners, but you should you should find one that best suits your needs and requirements.

Before you invest your money, you should conduct research and choose the right property yourself. If you can afford, you can hire a financial adviser and ask advice on what steps to undertake. Whether you purchase a property for your own use or for commercial purposes, there are several factors you need to consider before you make a purchase.

Factors that you should consider before you make a purchase:

Affordability – Before you source out and hunt for houses or commercial properties, you should first assess your finances. You should consider how much you can afford. To manage your finances effectively, you should make it a priority to plan your finances first. Make it a point to list down your income and your expenses. You should be realistic on your budget estimation. When I say realistic, it means you should not forget your basic necessities. The result of this move will show you how much money you can afford to spend for your purchase or to pay for your loan every month. You should also consider the amount you deposit in your savings account. Never forget to have savings because you will need it to pay for emergencies and extraordinary expenses, like hospitalization, accidents and property maintenance.

Location – Before you buy a property, consider the location and the purpose of having them. If you want to convert the property into a commercial space, then look for those found in areas with high foot traffic. Avoid selecting areas which are prone to floods. Check the drainage system of the property.

Logistics — Another factor you should consider is logistics. Choose a property which is near to your office and your children’s school. It should at least take you one hour or two hours to commute from these areas.

Amenities/Types of property – Assess what type of property you intend to purchase. If you want to buy an apartment or a condominium, be sure to consider safety issues. Does it have security personnel to guard your properties while you are not around? Does it have a fire exit area? Check if it has an existing electricity, water and Internet connection.

By considering the factors mentioned above, you can choose a feasible property that meets your needs and requirements.…

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Who Buys Commercial Investment Property Low and Sells for Less Than High?

Who Buys Commercial Investment Property Low and Sells for Less Than High?

Two weeks ago, I met with a couple to discuss the market value of their commercial investment property that they had owned for 60 years. When they heard that their property value was off 25% from 3 years ago, they almost kicked me out of their office. In 2007, they had refused 3 cash offers for 25% more than the number they were hearing today.

Instead of looking at their gains over the past 60 years, they couldn’t see beyond the 25% correction over the past 3.

If the Zell maxim is true, “If you’re not selling, you’re buying,” they bought their commercial investment property back for 25% more in 2007 than they would get today. They believe that selling property for 75% of their 2007 value would result in a loss for the following reasons:

1. They refused higher offers. Therefore the commercial investment property’s market value has been proven to be higher than today’s number.

2. They were raised to buy low and sell high, not buy low and sell for less than high.

3. As long as they hold on, they may hit that peak again.

Unfortunately, they’re focused on the wrong priorities. Sure, 3 investors were willing to pay a higher price. But when they turned down the offers for their commercial investment property, they refused to accept the peak value and bought the property back at its highest value instead of seeing the big picture-“this is more than we ever paid and more than we think it’s worth.” They believe the value will return.

They belied the lessons their parents instilled in them. In 1950, they bought low. In 2010, they can sell high. True, the price has fluctuated over time and they missed peak property values in the market, but in the long-run they will sell for a profit and will enjoy a healthy gain.

As long as their equity remains in the commercial investment property, they will place their personal priorities on hold. They have plans for the cash that will enrich their personal lives. Those plans will wait. And they will miss the advantages of owning commercial investment property because they have no interest deduction, their equity is unleveraged, and the property is depreciated to a 0 basis, so they’re receiving no tax advantages.

Let’s face it, unrealized gains are unrealized gains. Let go of the past and move on.

If you’re holding out for another market peak, be prepared to wait. While it’s comforting to peer into the rear view mirror at what your commercial investment property was worth (N.B. there’s a reason why the mirror says “objects in mirror are closer than they appear”), take it all in and see your long term gains for what they are-profits.

And ask yourself, are you building wealth waiting on another hot market, or just missing opportunities because of your insistence on what could have been?…

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Stock Trading Advice on Risk

Stock Trading Advice on Risk

Here is some stock trading advice on risk. As a trader you need to understand that there are three general categories of risk: Market risk, investment risk, & trading risk.

Market Risk

Markets rise and fall and that is pretty much outside of the stock traders control. But you still need to understand how you can mange that risk as a trader.

Inflation risk is a risk that most traders don’t think of. Nonetheless it is worth stating. It is more a risk if you do nothing i.e. you do not invest or trade. Leaving money under the mattress will actually cost money, if not invested, as inflation eats away it’s value.

Liquidity risk relates to how marketable your investment is. If you are restricted from buying or selling a stock because it is quite scarce you run the risk of not being able to enter or exit trades at the prices you would wish. This mainly applies to small or microcap stocks.

Investment Risk

Opportunity cost risk means that whenever you invest in a particular stock you have tied up capital that you cannot therefore invest elsewhere. This may sound obvious but bear in mind that hanging on to an under performing stock may have the additional cost of missing a better opportunity.

Concentration risk is similar in that you may be tempted to invest everything into one or two stocks. Fine if they are winners, not so hot if things go wrong.

Trading Risks

There are risks associated with that act of stock trading itself.

Slippage risk is the often forgotten costs of the trades themselves in broker commissions, etc. Frequent day traders often find themselves in a losing position based purely on the amount of commissions paid to trade apparently successful positions.

Poor Fill risk can arise through many factors but simply means that your broker was either unable to fill your trade order at the price you wanted or unable to trade at all.

Be aware of these risks when stock trading. In some cases they are out of your hands but awareness and management of these risks will make you a more successful stock trader.…

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Tips For Understanding Home Improvement In Today’s World

Home improvement projects are considered interesting by many people. Everyone wants their home to look great; however, undertaking a large improvement project can be overwhelming. If you review the helpful advice offered below, you’ll be much more confident and better prepared for a smooth home improvement experience.

If you have the available funds you should choose real hard wood floors rather than laminate. Real wood can be refinished, but laminate cannot. Years from now, whoever owns the house will need a brand new floor.

When it’s finally crunch time and you need to replace the shingles, find a good, light color to prevent high levels of heat. Lighter colors reflect Home Repair the sun more efficiently, lessening the build up of heat in your attic. You will be able to reduce all of your monthly energy bills by doing this.

Without much decoration and personality, simple lamp shades are sometimes very boring. Get cheap stencils at the crafts store, an ink pad or acrylic paint, and try dabbing the designs around the shade. This will give your rooms some personality, taking away from the reality of how boring an ordinary lamp shade can be.

Give vinyl flooring a shot to get rid of any bubbles. Bubbles in vinyl floors are easy to slice open to get rid of the air. This can flatten that bubble at least on a temporary basis. In order to permanently repair this part of the floor though, you are going to need to put an amount of fresh glue in. Glue, prepackaged in syringes, is perfect for this job.

As you can now see, home improvement does not have to be a difficult task. Every project you tackle helps you improve your home, but it also helps you gain experience by learning something new. Just make sure that you follow the tips provided to you in the article above. They can make all the difference once you decide to start improving.…

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Should You Try Property Investment?

Should You Try Property Investment?

In terms of property investments, there are plenty of ways to put your money into bricks and mortar. How effective are those ways, though? Are the usual approaches to this sort of speculation badly designed, and unlikely to net you a meaningful profit? Certainly, problems exist with this model of investment. For example:

1. Buying a house has extra costs. The price of the apartment block, house or other property might seem reasonable, but have you factored in stamp duty? The cost of agents and solicitors? The price of searches and surveys? Even though many of the results are meaningless to you, every cost of buying a house to live in still applies when you are buying to sell on or let.

2. Renting has extra costs. It isn’t as simple as sitting back and letting a rental income flow in. You’re a landlord now, and that means you have both responsibilities and costs. You’ll need to pay the utility bills, as well as the cost of any repairs or renovations. You’ll need to pay a management company to collect the rent. You might even have legal fees to deal with in the event of problems with a tenant.

3. It takes effort. If all of that sounds like a great deal of trouble to go to, consider what you might need to do if you’re buying somewhere to refurbish and sell on. You’ll need to find building contractors, supervise the work, pay for materials, deal with delays and cost overruns, ensure that everything is completed to the correct standard… and that’s before you even start thinking about selling.

4. Once you do, yet another set of fees from agents and solicitors hits you. Plus, there is the time and effort involved in finding a buyer, which may involve having to reduce the price you are asking for the property several times.

5. Overall, therefore, there is the potential for things to go bad very quickly. The worst part is that schemes designed to protect you from problems, such as negative gearing ones, often don’t work quite as well as they seem to. Negative gearing, in particular, only works while the market is rising, and can actually end up costing you more when conditions are poor.

All of that probably sounds like an attempt to put you off speculating in property for good. It isn’t. What it is, is a warning against putting your money into more traditional approaches without the proper thought. You are committing a great deal of money, and potentially exposing yourself to dangerous losses, so you need to be sure of what you are getting into, and whether it is the best option for you.

Other options do exist beside traditional property investment. NSW offers several opportunities to put up money in a much less active way, acting simply as the provider of finance rather than as an involved property manager. If the hidden costs and effort of other methods don’t appeal to you, you might find that to be a better option for your needs.…

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The Ostrich Error

The Ostrich Error

Have you ever avoided addressing a topic because you were afraid of finding out the real answer? Use the example of getting an annual physical – some avoid taking the time to visit their doctor and have diagnostic tests run because they don’t want to face the fact they’re overweight or haven’t kicked a bad habit. But as your doctor would probably tell you, the longer the problem continues, the harder it is to fix. Worse yet, you think you’re fine but have not given yourself the opportunity to address obvious warning signs. Rather, you use the defense mechanism of an ostrich and “stick your head in the sand.”

Take a peek, you may be better off than you expect

In financial management, acting like an ostrich is rarely the way to achieve financial success. Most importantly, it’s not a wise strategy since your lifestyle and future happiness are at stake. Rather than hiding from your financial situation, if you pick your head up and out of the sand and look your finances right in the eye, you’ll probably discover one of three things:

I am okay and should keep doing what I’m doing.

I’m not okay, but if I change certain things, I’ll be okay.

I’m better off than I thought I was, and I have more options and flexibility with what to do with my life and my money!

Just as with your personal health, if you have a financial problem (not saving enough, spending too much on real estate, etc.), there will be warning signs that a wealth advisor can uncover and help you reset the course. Having a financial plan can help determine where you stand today, if you’re on track to achieve your future financial goals and what actions you need to take to stay on track. For example, what if one of your goals is to retire in 10 years, at age 65? If the results of the analysis come back to show you could have retired two years ago, wouldn’t you rather know that now than spend another 10 years attached to your Blackberry?

Making financial decisions with an extra pair of eyes

If one of your goals is to sell your business to create liquidity for retirement, probability analysis can model the impact of selling at a certain price and whether that would leave you enough to live comfortably for the next 30 years. Knowing these types of answers can help you more confidently make wise financial decisions, especially those that are major, life-impacting ones.

Uncovering what the answer is today is not enough. Life changes, personal and economic circumstances change, and opportunities will continue to present themselves. Adjusting your financial roadmap along the way is necessary, and partnering with professionals who can help guide you can make your experience with financial decisions less overwhelming. After a while, your financial strategy may become less about having enough for yourselves and more about understanding how much you can pass along to the next generation or your community, both now and projected into the future.

These are still answers you need to uncover so that you can make solid estate and charitable planning decisions – especially if you want to be sure you’re using your wealth effectively.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, but taking the ostrich by the neck will likely allow you to make well-informed decisions with your money, sleep better at night and hopefully enjoy your life more as the fear of the financial unknown is gone.…

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Whatever They Say, Gold Is an Investment

Whatever They Say, Gold Is an Investment

You may be tired of seeing these one-track-mind investment ‘gurus’ lecturing you that gold is not an investment because its money, just as they are always spouting off about your house not being an investment because its your home. What utter nonsense. money can be an investment, and as you know, many property owners were fortunate enough to sell their houses in the boom and downsize or move to a less expensive area. If that was not an investment, I don’t know what was.

The rationale for saying gold is not an investment is the claim that gold is money. Yes, I won’t disagree with that….. but if you’re holding a piece of ‘money’ which has purchasing power increasing over time, that just has to be a good investment. You can look at it another way as well. The cash in your pocket or bank account is losing its purchasing power, while gold and silver are increasing theirs and buying you more goods. If gold is money, this money is increasing in value.

Even money can be viewed as an investment. Take the last 10 years in the Japanese economy. People in such a deflationary environment tend to save just when the economy needs them to spend. And the reason they save is because their money is increasing its purchasing power when deflation reigns. They believe holding on to their money gives them more purchasing power when they need it.

To be honest I’m not going to get pedantic about whether the gold we hold is money or an investment. For the past 10 years gold has increased in value against all currencies. Perhaps we could call it a liquid investment

The other determinant of whether gold is money or an investment, is how you, the owner of the gold, looks at it. Do you keep that gold bar under your bed or in the bank vault with a view to selling it when the price of gold doubles, or have you bought it as insurance to keep you alive when the currencies collapse and there are riots in the streets? How you view your gold holding determines what it is to you.

Just to carry the analysis a bit further. You may hold 2 bars of gold, one to sell when the price shoots up, and one to keep in case of emergencies. This would mean you were holding an investment and an insurance policy.

However you view your gold, it looks as if we are approaching another buying opportunity in gold and silver. Right now the gold price is just a fraction below the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement line. If gold continues to fall on Monday it could end up at $1230 or if it retraces down to the 50% level could end up around $1270 before reversing the short-term downward trend. Either of these levels are good points to start accumulating your gold holding/investment! Gold Report…

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Sheen of the Yellow Metal

Sheen of the Yellow Metal

Gold needs no introduction – a cherished commodity and preferred investment, especially in turbulent times. It is more of a long term value proposition, rather than a short term profit making tool. Since, the global economy hit a roadblock in late 2007, gold has seen a surge in demand as an alternative investment channel. Over a decade spanning from 1999 to 2008, gold yielded approximately 235% – 240% of returns! However, the shorter term stocks markets may appear glossier, yielding quick returns on the back of frenzied activities and economic boom. The same markets are most volatile and often ‘sentimental.’ Fairly matured stock markets readily mirror fundamental strength of the economy, yet react to news and often, half-baked information, at the blink of the eye. Gold, however, is more stable in terms of returns, more so because its demand does not nosedive to naught, at any point of time. It is not only an investment, rather a traditional precious metal for various cultures across the globe.

For instance, Middle Eastern Countries, Indian Subcontinent, and Eastern Asia seek gold for its religious value, more than its investment value. Overall, Middle East is the biggest consumer of gold, followed by Asia. Indeed, gold prices fluctuate like any other commodity – sometimes skyrocketing and sometimes supporting at moderate levels, yet, it ensures much better returns in the turbulent times. In fact, in a shaky economy, where stocks slide, currency looses value, and businesses shy away from expansion, gold prices run high as it provides a safer haven to the hard earned money of investors.

Determinants of Gold Price

* Demand

The demand for gold has seasonality because it finds traditional and religious use, apart from investments. Predictably, the demand is higher during festival seasons, including marriage seasons. According, to the World Gold Council, the demand for gold is highest in the last quarter of the year, due to the simultaneous peak season in various regions.

* Rate of the US Dollar

The benchmark gold price is denominated in terms of US Dollars and therefore, is inversely proportional to the prevailing Dollar rate.

* Government Transactions

According to an estimate, the Central Banks world over, have almost 20% of the mined gold in their reserves. These banks adopt measures for regulating gold prices, similar to those used for inflation control. This affects domestic prices.

* Alternative Investment

Gold has ever been an effective alternative investment and protection against a bumpy economy, due to the stability of its returns. Therefore, it gains momentum in recessionary times.…