5 Best Investments for Beginners

The adage goes something like ‘the best time to start investing is now.’ For some beginners, this can be painstaking, considering the volumes of information on the best investment with guaranteed returns. Other beginners will think this is an easy way to make a quick buck and plunge head first in the markets.

This post is for the amateur investor who is ready to make a strategic decision to safeguard their investment against exposure to unsustainable risk, but with enough latitude to pursue conservative opportunities that yield capital gains, and learn the ropes of the trade while at it.

Apart from the theoretical understanding of how the financial markets operate, it is imperative that a beginner gets a realistic feel of the different strategies investors employ in pursuit of opportunities in the markets.

The following is a detailed explanation of five best investment approaches suitable for beginners:

ETFs

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offer a less rigorous opportunity for participating in the stock exchange. As a beginner, investing in ETF is ideal because an ETF pools together several assets including particular stocks, commodities and bonds, and the performance tracked against an index. ETFs allows you as the investor to trade several assets commonly as if they were a single stock. The diversification of the ETF enables beginners to access a broad portfolio of stocks and bonds providing the convenience and reduced risk. Consequently, the flexible nature of ETFs allows an investor to trade flexibly, with the choice of buying and selling at any time during regular trading hours.

Mutual funds

Mutual funds are pooled investment vehicles ideal for beginners because of its two primary characteristics. First, a beginner is able to access the services of a professional trader in the name of fund manager despite the meek amount of capital, some as low as $25. Secondly, the investor is exposed to minimal risk because mutual funds, like ETFs, invest in a diverse asset class portfolio of stocks, commodities, and bonds across different markets and industries.

Individual stock

After a detailed analysis of the past performance of an individual stock and the prevailing facts, individual stocks can offer a stable investment opportunity suitable for beginners. Caution should, however, be placed to ensure that the investment into the particular stock does not upset the risk tolerance level of your portfolio in case of a negative turn of events. Markets is not always predictable.

Certificate of deposit

Depositing money in a bank over a specified term length with a fixed and guaranteed return of capital plus interest is a sound investment opportunity for a beginner. Certificate of deposits is insured and hence the capital plus interest are guaranteed to the investor at maturity. However, it is important to understand that access to this money is limited during the stipulated investment term length and may attract fees or loss of interest in case of withdrawal.

High Yield Savings Account

This investment also entails saving for the sole purposes of earning capital gains from interest over a specified term length. However, unlike the certificate of deposit, the interest is not fixed and hence interest is according to the prevailing market rates. Funds in this account are however more liquid hence easily accessible.

Chris Bouchard is a strategic consultant who works with non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs to apply concepts and techniques to identify complex strategic issues, find practical solutions, and devise strategies to create and win a unique strategic position. He also offers project development, proposal writing, and project evaluation services.

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AIG, Private Equity and Venture Capital

AIG: Maurice Greenberg’s piece in today’s Wall Street Journal nearly provoked an attack of apoplexy. I’m not sure if I’ve read such a slanted, self-serving editorial in a long, long time. I’m pretty shocked that the WSJ would publish such pandering drivel. Be that as it may, we all know that the Big Mo controls gobs of AIG shares both directly and through his management of CV Starr, so let’s just say that we know where he is coming from. When he starts out with the bailout-inconsistency argument, he kind of had my ear. But when he went on to praise the Citigroup package while chastizing the AIG deal, I couldn’t help but call bull$hit.

To date, the government has shown everything but a consistent approach. It didn’t give assistance to Lehman Brothers. But it did push for a much-publicized and now abandoned plan to purchase troubled assets. The government also pushed for a punitive program for American International Group (AIG) that benefits only the company’s credit default swap counterparties. And it is now purchasing redeemable, nonvoting preferred stock in some of the nation’s largest banks.

The Citi deal makes sense in many respects. The government will inject $20 billion into the company and act as a guarantor of 90% of losses stemming from $306 billion in toxic assets. In return, the government will receive $27 billion of preferred shares paying an 8% dividend and warrants, giving the government a potential equity interest in Citi of up to about 8%. The Citi board should be congratulated for insisting on a deal that both preserves jobs and benefits taxpayers.

But the government’s strategy for Citi differs markedly from its initial response to the first companies to experience liquidity crises. One of those companies was AIG, the company I led for many years.

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The maintenance of the status quo will result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, lock in billions of dollars of losses for pension funds that are significant AIG shareholders, and wipe out the savings of retirees and millions of other ordinary Americans. This is not what the broader economy needs. It is a lose-lose proposition for everyone but AIG’s credit default swap counterparties, who will be made whole under the new deal.
The government should instead apply the same principles it is applying to Citigroup to create a win-win situation for AIG and its stakeholders. First and foremost, the government should provide a federal guaranty to meet AIG’s counterparty collateral requirements, which have consumed the vast majority of the government-provided funding to date.

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The purpose of any federal assistance should be to preserve jobs and allow private capital to take the place of government once private capital becomes available. The structure of the current AIG-government deal makes that impossible.

The role of government should not be to force a company out of business, but rather to help it stay in business so that it can continue to be a taxpayer and an employer. This requires revisiting the terms of the federal government’s assistance to AIG to avoid that company’s breakup and the devastating consequences that would follow.
Hank, you’ve got to be kidding me. The U.S. taxpayers saved Citigroup’s life, and for that we may get up to 8% of the company. THAT is called a “punitive program” in Hank’s parlance for the U.S. taxpayer. In my world when you save a company you own ALL the equity, not 1/12th of the equity. The fact that the taxpayer gets up to 80% of AIG – now that starts to make sense. I agree with the Big Mo’s contention that “The purpose of any federal assistance should be to preserve jobs and allow private capital to take the place of government once private capital becomes available.” But that has nothing to do with post-restructuring equity ownership. He then pulls on the heartstrings by saying “The maintenance of the status quo will result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, lock in billions of dollars of losses for pension funds that are significant AIG shareholders, and wipe out the savings of retirees and millions of other ordinary Americans.” Well, Hank, that is 100% on you. YOU should have thought things through before building a company and a culture that gambled it all – and lost. You tell that retiree, that pensioner how you screwed them. That’s called integrity. This thinly-veiled call for personally getting bailed out is both insulting and offensive. And I’m not buying it. I’m sure that my fellow U.S. taxpayers aren’t, either.

Private Equity: The daisy chain of secondary sales of PE L.P. interests will almost certainly accelerate. It is one of those slow-motion train wrecks that is painful to watch. The calculus is easy to understand: public equity values plummet, PE values are stickier and fall more slowly, PE as a percentage of overall assets rises to unacceptable levels, precipitating a wave of sales of PE L.P. interests. An interesting feature of this dynamic is autocorrelation, where PE values are slow to adjust notwithstanding the public market comparables that are available. If industrials are down 40%, then don’t you think a portfolio of PE holdings in the industrials sector should trade well beyond 40% down due to illiquidity? This isn’t the way many PE funds choose to see the world, however. Regardless, the secondary market is just that – a market – and the discounts being placed on marquee funds like KKR and Terra Firma reflect this reality. Pensions and endowments have to dump stuff, and are trying to do so at a fraction of their basis. But even at fire-sale prices it is hard to move the merchandise. In the next few months we’ll see just how desperate these investors are. Might we see KKR trade at 30 cents on the dollar? It’s possible. And frightening.

Venture Capital: I attended an interesting brownbag today with my pals at betaworks. A big part of the discussion was around funding in today’s hostile environment. Here are a few of the tidbits that came out of the dialogue:

Be prepared to live with your current investment syndicate.
If possible, have a deep pocketed investor as part of your syndicate.
Raise 18-24 months of capital, no less. This can be done through a combination of capital raised plus a reduction of operating burn.
Restructurings are getting ugly. Investors, whether inside or outside, are demanding both haircuts from the last round plus and a priority return of capital such that they are fully repaid before anyone else gets anything. Looks, smells and feels like a cram down. This is why having 24 months of capital in the bank upfront is so important.
In these down times coalitions get formed between Management and New investors vs. Old investors. This mis-alignment of interests can lead to gridlock and push a company to the brink.

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Considerations When Choosing a Bank

You need to consider many alternatives before settling on the most appropriate bank. If you are always on the move because of leisure or job related activities, it’s a wise idea to have an account with huge banks located around the United States. Doing this can enable you to substantially cut down on ATM fees. If you don’t plan on moving around, a smaller bank could be a better fit as there is also a wide variety of products and services perhaps less expensive.

If you qualify for a credit union, you need to maximize that opportunity. Credit unions provide higher interest rates on savings accounts and reduced rates on their loan interest. The various user fees are often much more reduced at credit unions as well.

Choosing the Most Suited Account

There is a lot of information on the Internet where you can check minimum requirements and fee provisions for several accounts given through different banks. You should find out how much of a minimum balance is needed and make a decision on how much you want to put down and maintain as your deposit. There are several advantages associated with keeping a higher minimum balance. However, you may be able to get away with a lower monthly minimum banking requirement, get higher interest rates and avoid fees associated with money orders and travelers’ checks because of local competition among the banks. Just remember too in case you select a monthly minimum amount which is too high for your budget, you will be slapped with fees every time you dip below that established limit.

Take the Time to Read the Fine Print

It is important to read and understand the terms and conditions that will apply to your account. If you have several accounts, there is a limit to the number of debit transactions or checks you can issue out. You should know that there are some fees which are usually associated with online banking. You should have a good background of the associated fees before you open the account. Some people usually prefer to keep their finances in separate bank accounts in order to qualify for loans at various banks. Proper care however needs to be taken to avoid over-drawing any account.

Understand Repercussions of Mistakes

Keep in mind your over-draft options. You should always note the running total of your account in order to avoid instances of over-drawing. However, mistakes do happen and it is important to know what happens in case of an over withdrawal. Several banks allow their customers to enjoy automatic transfers from a savings account to a checking account in case you over-draw. Others allow their customers to have an overdraft line of credit accompanied with a transfer fee. You are then required to pay an interest of the transfer amount. Other banks may permit you to go into the negative but will charge a fee for every item that has been paid for as a result of your over-draft.

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What Going Green Means for Your Wallet

What does it mean to “go green”? To many, it generally means making a commitment to be a good steward of the earth’s resources on a daily basis. Going green will likely have an impact on your lifestyle and your finances. Those who choose to be green should be ready to:

Be savvy consumers. Plan to spend more time researching your purchases – paying attention to how products are made, what they contain, how they are transported and packaged, as well as what type of waste they generate. When you know what makes a product truly green, you can be more confident in your choices.

Pay more for goods and services. Green products are typically more expensive to make than mainstream merchandise. This is because many green companies commit to using higher quality ingredients or sustainable production methods. In other cases, green products are made by small or local businesses, which may drive up the cost. Before making a purchase, ask questions to understand the item’s price. Keep in mind that as more green products emerge and manufacturers figure out how to scale production without compromising green principles, prices are likely to fall.

Modify your household. Each room in your home provides an opportunity for you to conserve energy or water. Whether it’s a “smart” appliance in your kitchen, sun shades that work along with your thermostat in your living room or a low-flow showerhead in your master bath, you can incorporate your green lifestyle into your home. While green upgrades may reduce your carbon footprint or reduce your utility bills over time, these improvements will likely cost you more up front. Coordinate your hardware store list with your budget for best success.

Invest in the future. If the future of the earth is one of your values, you may want to consider incorporating this value into your investing strategy. This approach, called sustainable investing, may offer a potential return on investment that may help you reach your goals while benefiting the causes you care about. Investors who engage in sustainable investing make investment decisions based on a mix of traditional performance factors and their own personal values. Talk to a financial professional who can help you navigate the pros and cons of altering your strategy.

Realign spending habits. Green consciousness has a way of altering your approach to everyday tasks, which may impact your finances. As you make more green choices, watch your budget to make sure the two are in alignment.

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Benefits of Credit Card Machines for Business

Other than credit card machines, technology has produced many notable effects, including the credit card machine. In the 21st century, people open themselves up to technology from the very center of their being. It has the added benefit of leading to an increase in the use of credit and debit cards. Additionally, the coronavirus’ arrival has also contributed to the increased use of contactless transactions. EMV cards are replacing magistrate premium cards. EMV chip cards give you the ability to make contactless payments. The merchants must have advanced payment terminals to accept such payments.

Credit and debit cards are used almost exclusively in today’s business world. To take your business to the next level, you must associate it with a credit card machine. The processing and payment services you need for online sales include a merchant processor that provides you with an online payment gateway. There will always be online modes that people will prefer to use, regardless of the volume of transactions. As a result, you have to use an advanced piece of equipment, such as a credit card machine, in tandem with your business.

Advantages:

Just because we’re living in the 21st century, it’s impossible to conceive of life without modern technology. A large number of businessmen prefer to stick to established business models. However, sometimes you have to alter your plans according to the current situation. This means that you need to be one step ahead of everyone else in the business. You will lose customers otherwise. An establishment that gets access to a credit card machine will enjoy countless benefits. Listed the benefits; so, don’t miss the following:

Obtain Legal Recognition for Your Company:

Accepting card payments using digital payment terminals is a legitimate business practice, so it should help your company a lot. The card brand name will be printed on the POS, and thus the customers will have no problem noticing it. This logo will be featured on the same online marketplace as well. The greater the number of customers from outside the country, the more money you’ll make.

Increase Your Profitability:

To accept various forms of payment, like credit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and more, use a credit card machine at your business. Creating a positive impression on your customers is quite simple, but it also keeps your customers loyal. A credit card machine, thus granting flexibility in the ecosystem of online payment, provides customers with many payment options, thus allowing them to pay bills in various ways.

How to stay ahead of the competition:

Many businessmen have not yet fully embraced digital equipment, making small-business models in the early stages of transition. To accept online payments, your business equipment must be upgraded. If customers are no longer carrying cash, you can outpace your competitors. Research has shown that when customers use their cards to make a purchase, they spend more. Additionally, because you will make a substantial profit from accepting card payments, it’s highly recommended that you do so.

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Super Visa Insurance Monthly Pay North York

Note: SV is Super Visa

What is a Canadian Super Visa?

It is a Visa for parents or grandparents. It is a temporary resident permit that allows parents and grandparents to stay for up to 2 years in Canada per visit. Issued for parents and grandparents of citizens or permanent residents in Canada. It has validity for up to 10 years. A regular multiple-entry visa is also valid for up to 10 years, but only allows stays of up to 6 months per visit.

What is the processing time of a Super Visa?

The approximate processing time of a SV is short and takes almost 8 weeks. There are also specific requirements that one must meet before applying for a SV.

What Are The Mandatory Requirements To Apply for This Visa?

The govt of Canada has laid down some mandatory rules for parents and grandparents to apply for a SV. Those rules are,
1) Proof of their relationship with the child or grandchild who must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
2) A copy of the child’s or grandchild’s birth certificate.
3) A proof of medical examination document.
4) An official document naming the applicant as the parent.
5) A satisfactory evidence of a private medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company valid for one year from the date of entry.

Can The Parents Or Grandparents Work With A Super Visa?

No, the parents or grandparents are not permitted to work as their visa has the same restrictions as a visit visa holder.

What is a SV Insurance?

With the above information provided, now we know to whom a SV is issued and who apply for a SV. Not only the parents and grandparents require a SV, but also a medical insurance before entering Canada. The medical insurance should be no less than CAD $100,000 in coverage for health care, hospitalization and repatriation. This step is mandatory for the SV applicants.

SV applicants have to submit a proof of purchasing a medical insurance from a private insurance company.

There are a lot of medical insurance companies in Canada and North York has also got the best ones. People can go for SV insurance monthly pay North York. This facility of monthly pay gives a convenience of paying insurance charges monthly. This facility of monthly pay gives a convenience of paying insurance charges monthly.

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Setrega – A Global Analytical Regulatory Platform

Setrega is the Global Regulatory Analytical Platform which provides a comprehensive solution to the financial institutions for complying with one or more Regulatory Authorities. Through highly customizable and end-to-end automation, Setrega helps clients to configure Reporting Data, Reporting API, Connecting/Integrating Settings, Report Generation Requirements, Report Validation Requirements, Report Submission Mode and Feedback Management. As a Global Regulatory Analytical Platform, Setrega is designed to integrate with any financial services firms to receive regulatory data and process them to regulatory reports in specific formats with minimum customization effort.

Currently, all financial institutions are facing problems with dynamic changes in regulatory requirements, implementation risks associated with regulatory reporting and managing regulatory report error handling. All financial institutions are forced to adapt to these challenges and continuously seek for solutions which are cost-effective and accurate, with real-time feedback management. Sensiple’s Setrega fits into this emerging environment by supporting multiple Regulatory Authorities with an end-to-end automated solution.

Regulation Complied Preconfigured – ESMA – MIFIR/MiFID II, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC) etc.,
Significant benefits of the Global Regulatory Analytical Platform are,

Automation Capability

Financial Institutions gets the advantage of preparing and submitting regulatory reports without manual effort.

Comply with new Regulations without risk

Setrega provides flexible data source configuration, API mapping and reporting format changes with minimum customization in product level which ensures relief from regulatory and compliance risks for the financial institutions working in various regions.

Scalability

Depending on the Institutions type like Buy Side/ Sell Side/venues, Setrega is scalable in terms of increasing number of connections, the humongous volume of data, more number of reports and formats, increased number of submission modes and regulatory authorities.

Transparency

Handling a large volume of data gives challenges in managing data to auditing; Setrega makes it more accessible by allowing the clients to have full control over data by powerful data transparency method.

Dashboard

Setrega act as a one-stop shop for all regulatory reporting for financial institutions. A vastly informative dashboard in Setrega provides all historical, current and scheduled regulatory reports and its internal & external statuses in graphical and tabular representations.

Regional Coverage

Financial firms who run their business across the globe get benefited from Setrega as one solution solves all the regulatory and compliance needs. It is successfully verified with major regulatory frameworks like MiFID II and NFA (National Futures Association) and regulatory authorities like SEC and SFC.

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Handle Your Finances With Care

It takes years to gather a handsome amount of money, and if it is not handled properly, your most prized possession would soon escape from your hands like sand. This is the reason why people go for financial planning. It gives you a great sense of satisfaction when you know that your money is in safe hands and is being handled with utmost care.

However, not many people are aware of the process involved in financial planning. Based on your financial position, it is very important to go ahead with personal planning because if you don’t start planning well in advance, then you might face several challenges in the future.

Financial advisors suggest all individuals follow these six basic key principles for financial planning.

• Analyse your current financial status: To be able to plan for future you should first be very confident about your current financial position. Make a checklist of all the assets and liabilities and your income and expenditure. Having this information at hand, you would be in a clear position to understand how you can achieve your financial goals. Your total financial worth would help you to determine the ways to accomplish your set goals, which include paying for your children’s education, buying a new property or being ready for any financial emergency like the loss of a job.

• Chalk out your financial goals: In order to accumulate wealth, a lot of planning has to be done in order to achieve the desired goals. Setting goals would give you an urge to go ahead to achieve it. Your list of financial goals should be very specific, which would show that they are crystal clear in your mind.

• Plan for alternatives: You cannot expect your planning to go as per your wish, so you should always have a plan B at hand. After listing down your goals you plan for alternatives as well.

• Analyse the alternative options: You should ponder upon the feasibility of the alternative ways taking into account your social, personal and economic condition at present. The liquidity of your assets also matters in this regard.

• Creation and execution of your financial plan of action: Once you have planned about your alternative options and have analysed its feasibility, it is time for you to put these plans into action.

• Review your plan: Since financial planning is very dynamic process it is subject to change at any moment. So, it is always advisable to keep reviewing your plans every now and then.

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The Security Intelligence in The Financial Services

Security intelligence is the data related to safeguarding an organization from any outside and inside threats along with the processes, and policies developed to accumulate and evaluate the information.

It can also be referred to as the actual collection, standardization, and analysis of the data created by users, applications, and structures that influence the IT security and risk position of a business.

On a daily basis, information flows in organizations for the senior management to make smart decisions. The various stakeholders (employees, customers, contractors) are interfaced through various technologies.

However, the technological infrastructure can also result in serious security issues. The probable areas of intrusion are unlimited. Security experts and business leaders are trying to find an answer to the question – Is it feasible to have a robust security in an increasingly interfaced environment?

Though the answer is yes, it needs a radical transformation in processes and practices encompassing the financial services sector. The focus is not only on IT. Robust security facilitates a positive customer experience.

Cybercrime and Profitability

Financial institutions are at great risk since they are perceived to be an easy target for cybercriminals. According to a survey by IBM, “Financial markets, insurance, computer and professional services together account for over 40% of all security incidents worldwide.”

The losses, pertaining to cybercrime in other sectors could be due to industrial intelligence and fraud related to intellectual property, but in banking, online fraud is a possibility.

Any fraud related to the intellectual property and industrial intelligence could lead to reduced shareholder value, shut down of the business and net financial losses. These are the issues impacting the global financial sector, not only because the main reasons are not identified or the disruption to the customer is immediate, but also because they can result in a significant loss of money.

As per Andrew Haldane, Financial Stability Director at the Bank of England, “Cyber-risk has become a more pressing concern than economic depression and the Eurozone crisis, as it is a rapidly rising area of risk with potentially systemic implications”.

Comprehending the seriousness of the security risk is only a beginning. Financial institutions must establish an in-depth security intelligence strategy that would enable the financial institutions to have an insight into the perceived threats.

Financial institutions leverage top-notch analytics to get an understanding of:

The types of attacks that are occurring.
The probable source of the attacks.
The technology used by the cyber criminals.
Weak spots that could be exploited in the future.

Michael Davison, Banking and Financial Markets, IBM, stated,” There’s not another single issue that unites the interests of so many people at senior levels of banks. It unites technology, the CFO, security and compliance functions. But cybersecurity is also mission critical for people running lines of business and who are running P&Ls. So quite rightly it sits on the Board agenda. But there’s still work to do to educate Boards about the urgency of an effective response to the rapidly changing environment.”

Financial institutions must implement the following practices to get the balance between the required innovation and the related risk:

Establish a risk-conscious culture

An organizational transformation with an emphasis on zero tolerance towards a security failure must be established.
An initiative encompassing the organizational hierarchy to execute smart analytics and automated response competencies is needed to identify and resolve issues.

Safeguard the Working Environment

The functions in distinct devices must be examined by a centralized authority and the wide array of information in an institution must be categorized, tagged with its risk profile and circulated to the concerned personnel.

Security Design

The greatest problem with the IT systems and the unnecessary costs is from executing services initially and looking at security afterwards. Security has to be a part of the application from the first phase of design.

Ensure A Safe Environment

If the system is secure, security personnel can monitor every program that’s functioning; ensure it is ongoing and operating at optimal level.

Manage the Network

Organizations that route approved data through controlled entry points will be in a better position to identify and separate the malware.

Cloud Based Security

To prosper in a cloud scenario, organizations should possess the technology to operate in a secluded environment and track probable issues.

Involve Vendors

An organization’s security strategy must also involve its vendors and efforts must be made to establish the best practices among the vendors.

Financial firms have been a major target for malware attacks. Several aspects are impacting the financial sector. The direct connection between the breach of several personally identifiable information (PII) to the profitability has not been lost on the global financial stakeholders. This has led to the implementation of several global security projects.

A hazardous type of malware for online financial transactions is “Man-in-the-Browser” intrusions. It happens when a malicious program affects an internet browser. The program adjusts activities conducted by the user and in some instances, can initiate actions independently. It could lead to online stealing.

Financial institutions that can transform radically at a fundamental level, the way they function would be safeguarded.

The aim of enterprise security could initially emphasis on IT structures, it must be extended from the technology personnel & their systems to each individual within the organization, and all the stakeholders conducting business with it.

Financial firms must comprehend the data that they have, which must be made available to the system, where they can compare and develop a real understanding of the actual threats and contingencies that may compromise the business.

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Tips On How To Spend Your Windfall Income

As individuals, especially workers we sometimes get windfall incomes in forms of bonuses, profit shares, etc. However, a lot of the time the temptation is to spend the money on acquiring a new car, new clothes, shoes, new phones, among other things. While acquiring these things in themselves is not a bad idea, it is wiser to use windfall incomes for things that will have long term positive impart on our lives especially because we do not have a full grabs of what tomorrow will bring.

For workers just starting off or in mid level careers, it is really important not to squander windfall incomes on non-essentials.

Many years ago during the mid 2000s, when the banking and telecommunication really became big industries, many banks and telecommunication companies paid bonuses and profit shares to their staff on a yearly basis. Most new staff and mid level staff squandered their money on buying cars, renting new apartments in high brow areas and changing their wardrobes almost every 3 months. Nite clubs were packed every Friday night with each person almost trying to out do the other in terms money spent.

Today, the story is different. The global economy is almost comatose. Banks are no longer giving huge bonuses, neither are telecommunication companies doing any better. The oil industry is in shambles. Every industry is operating lean.

Windfall incomes will not come all the time as the economic realities have now shown us. So if you are fortunate to get a bonus or profit share that amounts to something reasonable, here are a few tips on how to spend wisely:

1) Invest in real estate: As much as this sounds like really over flogged, it is a wise counsel. A businessman once said, “the only Estate that is Real is Real Estate”. Real estate is big business. There is a huge demand for rental apartments especially mini flats and 2 bedroom flats. There are several real estate companies offering instalments payment options for those interested in buying land. You can invest your windfall income in buying a half plot or full plot of land. I will advice you buy from a real estate company rather than directly from the community especially if you do not have funds for immediate development.

The simple reason is that the real estate company usually would have sorted out community settlement issues with the land owners and so you can be rest assured that you land is at least secure from land grabbers. Also, by buying from a real estate company, you will benefit from quick capital appreciation of your investment and rapid development of the locations since there will be several people also buying and developing their property in that location. Another advantage of investing in real estate is that after developing the property, you can put it up for rent if you do not wish to reside in that location and use the rental income to pay for your rent in your desired location.

2) Invest in a part-time business: If you already have a business that you can run part- time alongside your full-time job, you should invest your windfall income in that business. You can buy the needed equipments or register for a training programme that will increase your expertise in that business area. If you do not already have business idea, you may want to consider doing some research to see what part-time business to invest in.

3) Invest in education: You can invest your windfall income in further education that will boost your profile and give you a better chance at a higher paying role in your industry or another industry entirely. You an also invest in the education of your loved ones like your spouse, children or siblings (if you have this responsibility thrust on you)

4) Invest in Marriage: Yes! you read me right.

This is for those who believe in marriage. If you have a partner and your really desire to spend the rest of your life with the person, then invest your windfall income towards settling down. You can start making down payments for some critical items on your list. Marriage is an investment in your lifetime happiness.

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