Thursday, November 17, 2005

Forex - The Largest Investment Market In the World


Easy-Forex provides online foreign exchange trading system which includes live forex quotes, charts, analysis, forecasts, and learning center. Commission free forex trades with low spreads. Start with as little as $25.00. Credit card use for instant deposit. No download of software required. .

The foreign exchange market, or forex, has notoriously been the domain of government central banks and commercial and investment banks. But now more than ever individuals are tackling the forex market as it offers trading opportunities 24-hours a day, five days a week, and the daily dollar volume of currencies traded in the currency market exceeds $1.9 trillion daily, making it the largest and most liquid market in the world. The major global currencies traded are the US Dollar, British Pound, Euro Dollar, Japanese Yen, and Swiss Franc. In this area Invest2Success focuses on everything to do with forex, from beginner to some of the most advanced strategies out there.

Trading the forex market is a very simple market to trade. Either buy long or sell short. Profit from trading the ups and downs of global currencies in both directions. Use low capital to make big capital by properly using equity leverage with market movements. Return on investment can be anywhere of 1% to 5% or more per month depending upon how equity, take profit, and stop-loss target points are managed. Profits can be large as well as losses. Reward risk management aims to keep losers small and winners big. The trend is your friend as traders say. With the commission free trades, and low spreads, individuals as well as the big banks can profit from this highly liquid market. Gain time freedom with forex. Trade online from anywhere in the world. Compared to a traditional business, forex trading requires no office, employees, no inventory, no customers, and basically no headaches.

Learning about the Forex market can profit traders greatly. Smart money seeks knowledge of the market and profits from it. Gaining knowledge of the business, setting investment goals, using tradeplans, taking currency positions, can result in large returns on equity. There's more safety in risk once the basic knowledge is learned, and then taking action with the trading systems. With the right knowledge, investment goals, trade plans, and action, anyone can successfully profit from the largest global financial market.

Forex brokers offer both manage accounts which are managed by the broker for the account holder, and self-managed accounts which are managed by the individual account holder. The online forex brokers offer accounts with free forex management platforms consisting of real-time charts, quotes, indicators, news, trading strategies, forums, chat, and account reports.

Setting up a forex trading account requires simple registration, and making deposit payments via bank wire transfer, check, and credit card. Instand withdrawls are done the same way. With the unlimited trade opportunities present daily in the forex market, don't miss the chance to profit like the banks, investment institutions, and pro-traders have been doing for years.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Currency Forex Trading Foreign Exchange

Peter Bain Forex Trading Video Course

Forex Currency Trading Course

Learn to trade foreign currencies like the professionals with Peter Bains Video ForEx Trading Program

What is Foreign Exchange / Forex / FX?
Foreign exchange is the simultaneous purchase of one currency and sale of another – currencies are always traded in pairs. International currencies are traded on floating exchange rates. There is a daily average turnover of about US$1.5 trillion in the foreign exchange markets. The foreign exchange market is known as the "Forex," or "FX" market. It is the largest financial market in the world.

Is there a central location for the Forex Market?
Forex trading is not managed through an exchange. Since transactions are conducted between two counterparts, the FX market is an “inter-bank,” or over the counter (OTC) market.

Who participates in the FX market?
Central, commercial and investment banks have traditionally dominated the Forex market. Other market participation is rapidly increasing, and now includes international money managers and brokers, multinational corporations, registered dealers, options and futures traders, and private investors.

When is the FX market open for trading?
Forex is a true global 24-hour marketplace. The trading day begins in Sydney, and moves around the globe as each financial center comes to life. Tokyo follows, then London, and finally New York. Investors can respond in real time to any fluctuations caused by current economic, social and political events.

What are the most common currencies in the Forex markets?
The most “liquid” currencies in the Forex market are those of countries with low inflation, stable governments, and respected central banks. Nearly 85% of daily transactions involve the major currencies, including the U.S. Dollar, Japanese Yen, the European Union Euro, British Pound, Swiss Franc, and the Canadian and Australian Dollars.

Is is capital intensive to trade forex?
Forex Capital Management requires a minimum deposit of $300 to open a Mini Account and $2000 for a regular account. Your relationship with Forex Capital Management enables you to conduct highly leveraged trades (as much as a 200 to 1 leverage ration in the Mini Account.) You set the degree of leverage that you wish to deploy. Unless otherwise specified, your leverage level is set at the most lenient level required by your account size. Please remember that while this degree of leverage enables you to maximize your profit potential, there is an equally great potential for loss.

What is Margin?
Margin is a performance bond that insures against trading losses. Margin requirements in the FX marketplace allow you to hold positions much larger than the asset value of your account. Trading with Forex Capital Management includes a pre-trade check for margin availability, the trade is executed only if there are sufficient margin funds in your account. The Forex Capital Management trading system calculates cash on hand necessary to cover current positions, and provides this information to you in real time. If funds in your account fall below margin requirements, the system will close all open positions. This prevents your account from falling below your available equity, which is a key protection in this volatile, fast moving marketplace.

What are “short” and “long” positions?
Short positions are taken when a trader sells currency in anticipation of a downturn in price. Making this move allows the investor to benefit from a decline. Long positions are taken when a trader buys a currency at a low price in anticipation of selling it later for more. Making these moves allows the investor to benefit from changing market prices. Remember! Since currencies are traded in pairs, every forex position inevitably requires the investor to go short in one currency and long in the other.

What is the difference between an "intraday" and "overnight position"?
Intraday positions are all positions opened anytime during the 24 hour period AFTER the close of Forex Capital’s normal trading hours at 5:00pm EST. Overnight positions are positions that are still on at the end of normal trading hours (5:00pm EST), which are automatically rolled by Forex Capital Management.

How is pricing determined for certain currencies?
The full range of economic and political conditions impact currency pricing. It is generally held that interest rates, inflation rates and political stability are top among important factors. At times, governments participate in the forex market in order to influence the traded value of their currencies. These and other market factors such as very large orders can cause extreme relative volatility in currency prices. The sheer size of the forex market prevents any single factor from dominating the market for any length of time.

How can I manage risk?
The most common risk management tools in Forex trading are the stop-loss order and the limit order. The stop-loss order directs that a position be automatically liquidated at a certain price in order to guard against dramatic changes against the position. A limit order sets the maximum price that the investor is willing to pay in a transaction, as well as a minimum price to be received in exchange. The foreign exchange marketplace is so liquid that it is easy to execute stop-loss and limit orders. Forex Capital Management guarantees execution of stop-loss and limit orders at the specified price on orders up to US$1 million.

What trading strategy should I use?
Both economic fundamentals and technical factors influence the decisions of currency traders. Those who follow economic fundamentals use government issued reports, current news, and broad economic trends to anticipate movements in price. Technical traders rely on trend lines, support and resistance levels, and a variety of charts and mathematical analysis to identify trading opportunities. Over time, the most significant price movements occur in close association with unexpected events. Perhaps the central bank changes rates without warning, or an election puts an unexpected candidate in power. News from conflicts certainly impacts currency pricing. More often than not, it is the expectation of a certain event rather than the actual event that drives price pressures.

How often can trades be made?
As one might expect, trading activity on any particular day is dictated by current market conditions. Some small to medium size traders might make as many as 10 transactions in a day. By not charging commission and offering tight spreads, Forex Capital Management investors can take positions as often as is necessary without concern for excessive transaction costs.

How long should a position be maintained?
Forex traders generally hold positions until one of three criteria is met:
A sufficient profit has been realized from the position.
A pre-set stop-loss order is triggered.
A better potential position emerges and the trader needs to liquidate funds to take advantage of it.

How do margin calls work?
A margin call is generated when the equity balance in an account drops below the margin requirement for that size account. If the maximum allowable leverage has been exceeded, any open positions are immediately liquidated, regardless of the nature or size of the positions.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Stock Market Buy & Sell Basics

Rich Dad's CASHFLOW 101 Board Game

CASHFLOW 101 is an investment educational program that
teaches accounting, finance, investing success
and at the same time and makes learning fun.

A major key to being a successful investor is knowing how to manage your portfolio. As investors we are going to make mistakes when buying or selling stocks. The key is to take profits when you have them and keep your losses at a minimum. To help you with your money management skills we have a list of penny stocks and can provide you with a stock market quote.

From my experience here are a few good points to remember when buying or selling stocks:

If you buy a stock and it drops 5% to 8% below your purchase price consider selling it and take your loss along with swallowing your pride (no one is going to be right all of the time). Yes the stock price may reverse on you and go the other way but it also may drop another 10%, 30%, 50% or even more. I would have been much better off in my early days of investing if I would have adhered to this rule.

Buy a stock when the price breaks out of a consolidation period such as the Flat Base or Cup with a Handle pattern especially if it's accompanied by increased volume.

Watch out for the Climax Top out of a Parabolic Move and the Double Top patterns as well. Remember these patterns indicate a stock may have peaked and could be in for a dramatic sell-off. Don't get greedy as an investor, if you buy a stock and it quickly doubles or triples in two weeks or less consider selling it as the stock may drop even faster on its way back down.

Also pay attention to the Moving Averages especially if a stock breaks below its 50 day moving average. This could lead to a test of its 200 day moving average if further selling continues.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Personal Finance 101

Rich Dad's CASHFLOW 101 Board Game

CASHFLOW 101 is an investment educational program that
teaches accounting, finance, investing success
and at the same time and makes learning fun.

The subject of personal finance is very broad, but as a beginning, I would like to discuss what I consider the foundations of personal finance: Security, Stability, Growth and Protection & Management.

Security to me means that I am prepared for the "hit by a bus" scenario. I have life insurance to provide for my wife and children. Health, disability, auto and home insurance policies also provide me additional protection in their respective areas. I also have a list of where these policies are, who my agents are, phone numbers and basic policy information (#s, amounts, costs, etc.) I keep this information both in a file at my house and in a safety deposit box at the bank (a friends home will also work - think: "house burns down" scenario). Also my wife and my brother and sister-in-law who live nearby also know where these things are.

I also try to maintain an emergency fund of cash in a bank account or money market account (with checks) so that I am prepared for a financial disaster, layoff, or natural disaster. It took several years to build up this cash fund. I started with a goal to have enough cash for 6 months of my normal financial needs (mortgage, food, insurance, transportation, etc.). Now I am trying for 12 months' worth. I do this by saving a little each month, and "investing" a portion of all "found" money (gifts, inheritances, tax returns, anything unexpected). I have a will and update it each year around New Year's to reflect any changes in my life during the past year (new children, new home or business, etc.). Most people don't need an extensive will, the forms you buy at your office supply store will do. But in some states if you die without one, watch out. What happens to your money and even your children could be entirely up to some state or court appointed official.

The next level of personal finance is stability. Stability to me means that first of all I live within my means. I don't spend more than I earn. Otherwise I am spending my savings, investments, emergency money, or getting into debt. I have a lot of debt, but most of it is real estate which is producing some income. I try to avoid credit card debt and purchase everything with money I already have. I don't buy things expecting that next month I will have more money or I will get a big raise or promotion. You can't sell me a car based on a monthly payment amount; I want to know the final price! In order to make sure that I am living within my means, I created a simple budget and I track my expenses using Simple Joe's Expense Tracker. I can tell how much I have spent in each budget category and I know when to keep a closer eye on certain types of expenses, or when and where I can cut expenses and what I can live without in order to stay within my budget. Counting pennies is pretty tedious, but tracking where the dollars go can be eye-opening.

Another aspect of stability is avoiding or eliminating debt. Debt in itself is a form of stability; you always have to make those payments until it is all paid off. Some recent reports show that the average American is $7,000 - $20,000 in debt. Most of it is consumer debt: credit cards, store accounts, rent-to-own, auto loans, etc. And those types of consumer debt usually charge a higher interest rate than any savings account, CD, or money market account; even more than most high-flying risky investments. This means that $1,000 in debt at 18% is costing you 9 times what your $1,000 savings account at 2% is producing. Consumer debt is a dangerous spiral that is very hard to get out of.

The first problem is, as mentioned before, living within your means. Don't get further into debt to support an extravagant lifestyle. Or even if you are frugal, if you are using credit cards and debt to finance your purchases, you either need to stop purchasing luxury items or find a way to increase your income to support these purchases/payments. You may even have to lower your standard-of-living because you have racked up considerable debt and need to free up some money to pay it down. But don't wait to start. Those minimum payments are often designed to keep you paying 18% interest for 40 years! That's longer than most home loans. You could even end up paying more than 10 times the original cost of the item just in interest payments. Is that new stereo really worth that much? To help people get themselves out of debt we created the "Pay Off My Debts" tool in Simple Joe's Money Tools. It is also available as a stand-alone product called Simple Joe's Debt Eraser. These tools help you create a Rapid Debt Reduction Plan which shows you how much to pay on each debt each month in order to save as much on interest charges as possible and pay off your debts as soon as possible.

These tools can help you systematically eliminate your debts whether you owe $1,000 or $100,000. The key is to start living below your means and start focusing on paying off your debt. It doesn't make much sense to be worried about whether or not your 401k earns 8 or 9% this year, if you are paying 21% on your credit card debt. A third aspect that starts in the stability category and transcends to the next personal finance level, growth, is the concept of investing in yourself. By this I mean spending time to educate yourself in personal finance matters, as you are doing right now and spending time gaining more knowledge and improving your skills or even developing new ones.

As an employee, this can have a direct relation to who gets laid off during the next round of cutbacks. If you have some skills or have demonstrated some abilities that are not possessed by your co-workers and these skills make you a more valuable employee, you are less likely to get the pink-slip. Also while you are making yourself more valuable to your current employer, you are also making yourself worth more to future employers. It is much easier to land a job if you have some special skills that are in high demand or even if you bring some special knowledge or experience that you fellow job-seekers may have overlooked or failed to invest in.

Being in the computer industry, I have to spend hours each week reading trade magazines, exploring web sites, and reading emailed newsletters to keep abreast of what is new in my field. If I stopped learning just five years ago, I would have missed out on the Internet revolution, email, web sites and the majority of the income I now enjoy. Keeping myself informed and up to date takes time and resources, but it helps me protect my current income and expand my skills to help me earn income in other areas. This increases my stability by allowing me to not have to rely on one client, employer or source of income. A chair with four legs will always be more stable than a stool with only three.

The next level of personal finance, as I alluded to before, is growth. Once you are secure and stable, you can begin to think about building your wealth. Not that you have to figure out how to become the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. But you have to start building the "nest-egg" that you will rely on when you retire.

And don't think that Social Security has you covered, or that your 401k will grow back to what it was a couple years ago. Or that your current employer is going to re-institute the generous pension plans of yesteryear. 401ks are much cheaper to administer and you, the employee, take the hit when the market goes down, not the employer. My father is nearing retirement age and I think he has a good plan. He has done some research and estimated what his expenses are going to be when he is retired. He then took a look at his potential sources of income during his retirement. He figured that Social Security would cover about a third of what he wanted to live on. Only a third! And he has worked his entire life. Would you like to instantly have to live on only one third of what you currently make? Retirement is suppose to be the golden years, so where's the gold?

Luckily throughout his career, my father has worked for companies that have had pension plans and he had worked long enough at each company to be eligible for some pension money. This is rare these days because today the average worker will change jobs and companies at least five times during his/her career. Also, as I mentioned before, companies are switching to lower cost 401k plans that do not guarantee you any fixed payments. In my father's situation, his pension money would cover another third of the retirement income he wanted. So now he had to either figure out where the last third was going to come from, or start cutting out expenses during retirement, like not visiting his children so much. None of us liked the sound of that. So my father started learning about the stock market and investing in stocks and mutual funds. He made a plan for growing his wealth and then educated himself as to how he could accomplish his plan. I wish I could say that he is doing better than he is, but luckily he has some time still to put his plan into action and ride out any market downturns. (He can do this because he has the security of insurance and emergency money, and the stability of little debt and a strong set of skills.)

By learning about how stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, options, futures, commodities, real estate and other financial tools work you lay the foundation for growing your wealth. You may start with just $100 in a bank CD, but as you learn more and become more sophisticated, you can invest in more and more opportunities. You will learn about how risk and reward are related, that as the risk increases so does the size of the potential reward. Just like at the race track, you'll make more on the long shot, but the odds are against it. Also you can learn how to tilt the odds in your favor and protect yourself against risk. For those who are just starting out in the growth phase or who want to dabble a bit before completing the other levels of personal finance, my suggestion would be to look into index mutual funds. Especially no-load index funds (no initial/sales fee).

These funds are made up of the same stocks that make up the popular market indexes like the Dow Jones, S&P and NASDAQ100. The costs are low because management is simple and as a mutual fund you can invest a little at a time. Also they are easy to follow since you see them on all the news shows and in the newspaper.

Protection and Management
The final level of personal finance is the protection and management of your wealth. Most people never develop wealth enough to need this level. But some of the concepts can be applied to any amount of wealth you possess, $10,000 to $10,000,000. Part of the protection harks back to your will as we discussed on the first personal finance level: security.

With any significant wealth or valuable asset (your home, car, heirlooms, 401k, IRA, business, etc.) you will want some way of disposing of that asset upon your death. Whether it is go to go your family, favorite charity, or local church, if no one knows about it, "it ain't gonna happen". As you start to accumulate wealth in excess of $350,000, you may want to consult an attorney about creating a trust. A trust is an entity that can own property and pass that property to anyone you name in your will. Usually the trust is designed to provide income to children from the assets that are placed in the trust.

The trust can survive you so that your assets and income may be passed on to your children or next-of-kin without excessive taxation and legal entanglements. Some states will take up to 55% of your assets as taxes when you pass away. Protection also relates back to insurance. Now it may be time to look at a multi-million dollar umbrella policy that will protect you from lawsuits designed to part you and your wealth. You may now be a bigger target, so purchase a suit of armor.

The management aspect comes into play where you may start to concern yourself with taxation, ownership, distribution of income and possibly endowments to charities or other non-profit institutions. You may hire a person or company to manage your wealth, or you may choose to do it yourself. Most people who have earned their wealth through the "sweat of their brow" have already become adept at managing their assets. Some continue to personally manage their wealth because of the enjoyment or challenge it gives them.

Others are ready to turn it over to a trustworthy manager (who only gets paid a percentage of your increase) and travel the world, or sit on a beach and count the waves. Whatever your dreams for retirement (and why wait until you are 65), understanding the different levels of personal finance and spending the time and resources to educate yourself will pay off whether you live next to Bill Gates or Homer Simpson.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Building Your Financial Freedom

Rich Dad's CASHFLOW 101 Board Game. Rich Dad CASHFLOW 101 is an successful investment educational program that teaches accounting, finance, investing success and at the same time and makes learning about managing your time and money fun and exciting.

Does the idea of planning for your financial future seem too complex or confusing? Do you think you can't save money because you're barely making ends meet as it is? The sooner you start planning for the future, the sooner you'll reap the rewards. Use this guide to help you build your financial freedom.

Social Security
You’ve paid into it most of your life, so don’t forget to include it in your financial planning. The income you receive when you reach the eligibility age (e.g., 65) is based on the average of your 35 highest salary years. You also can collect 80% of your benefit at age 62. If you die, your spouse may be entitled to your benefits. The age at which you can collect full benefits is currently scheduled to increase gradually to 67. You can check the record of your earnings and get a statement of your anticipated benefits by calling Social Security at 800/772-1213.

Life Insurance
Life insurance can help to financially protect your loved ones in the event of your death. It’s important if you are married and even more important if you have dependent children. There are several types of life insurance:

Term life insurance pays a fixed amount of money to your beneficiary if you die during the term of the policy. The cost of premiums increases as you get older.
Whole life insurance is permanent insurance that provides a death benefit that is guaranteed for the insured's life as long as premiums are paid. Participating policies may pay dividends that can increase the policy's cash value, but they are not guaranteed.

Universal life insurance is considered a variation of whole life insurance with more flexibility. Within limits, the policy owner determines the amount and frequency of his or her premium payments and is permitted to adjust the policy face amount up or down to reflect changes in his or her needs. As premiums are paid and cash values accumulate, interest is credited to the policy's accumulation fund.

Variable Life Insurance is similar to universal life in that there is flexibility in connection with premium payments and death benefits. However, with variable life, premium payments are held in separate accounts, and the policy owner chooses how the cash value will be invested. Consequently, such a policy's cash value will fluctuate with the performance of the chosen investment portfolios.

Health Insurance
Health coverage protects you in case of sickness or injury. Without it you run the risk of being financially wiped out by just one serious illness or accident. Most people receive subsidized health benefits through their employer, but coverage can also be purchased as an individual.

Disability Insurance
This is probably one of the most overlooked forms of insurance for working-age people. Disability coverage replaces a portion of your income when you can't work because of illness or injury. Most policies replace 60% to 80% of your income. (You also may receive income from Social Security for certain disabilities, or from Workers Compensation if you are injured on the job.) If your employer provides a 60% disability policy, you might want to consider a supplemental policy covering 20% of your income.

Long Term Care Insurance
Long Term Care insurance is designed to help pay for nursing home care, assisted living care or home health care expenses. This fast growing type of insurance can protect you and your assets against the high cost of long-term care. Most policies pay benefits when long-term care is prescribed by a physician as medically necessary or when someone can no longer physically or mentally take care of basic needs.

Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners coverage protects your financial investment in your home. It provides compensation for damages to your home and its contents, and it may protect you from financial liability if someone is injured on your property. The extent and amount of coverage needed depends on your situation, but if you can afford it, it is wise to insure your home for 100% of its replacement cost.

Auto Insurance
Auto insurance is more than a matter of insuring your vehicle for loss or repairs after an accident. It is a financial safety net that can help you offset the cost of bodily injuries to yourself or others, lost wages due to injury, and lawsuits brought against you as the result of an accident. Most states require the purchase of basic coverage and then you determine the additional insurance you need.

Estate Planning
Another way to safeguard your family’s financial future is through estate planning. Generally, estate planning includes taking an inventory of your assets and making a will or establishing a trust, with an emphasis on minimizing taxes. Estate planning is very complex and subject to changing laws. You may want to seek professional advice.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Great Stock Market Secret

It's Great To Be Rich! Gain the Knowledge, Set Your Goals High, Have A Plan, Take Action, and Acheive Success!

When the stock market is going up and all your stocks and mutual funds are making money you feel like a genius. It is too bad that some folks don’t remember what happened in 2000. Of course, right now we are in one of those genius phases. Your broker and financial planner are encouraging you to buy, buy, buy. And I can’t fault that at this time. You remember back in 2000 how many times they told you to buy, buy, buy while the market was going down, down, down. Are we in another of those periods now that are leading up to a humongous crash? Hey, I don’t predict, but I do listen to the voice of the market.

The great Wall Street mantra is “buy a good stock and put it away”. Did you keep WorldCom and Global Crossing? Even if these were exceptions because of fraud a smart investor would not have lost any money. In fact he could have made a nice profit.But Al, they went under! Yes, I know, but the smart money still made out because they sold near the top.

As a former exchange member and floor trader I was not right every time I bought something and I especially did not like giving back nice profits that had accumulated. You don’t have to be psychic to know when to sell and don’t think you are going to be able to pick the top. A really smart trader waits for a stock or fund to start up and then jumps on it with both feet. When it starts down he jumps off looking for another equity that is going up. The wise trader knows he can’t buy the bottom and sell the top. What he wants is a big bite out of the middle.

When you make a sandwich most of the meat is in the center and a professional trader does the same with his trading. He wants to take a bite out of the middle of the move. You can do this too by looking for stocks, mutual funds or Exchange Traded Funds that have a nice upward pattern. As I said before buying is not the secret. Then what is?

You must learn to sell - for two reasons. First to protect your equity after your initial purchase and second to keep from giving back profits you have made as the equity advances. The great Wall Street secret is an exit strategy: knowing when to sell. Unless you learn to sell you will not be successful in the market. Brokerage companies do not want you to sell and rarely issue sell signals. You must decide how much you are willing to risk before you buy.

The simplest way is with a percentage stop loss order of 5%, 7%, 10%, 12%, whatever you can live with. Instruct your broker to place a trialing stop or you can change it yourself every week. Do not lower a stop.

Selling is the great secret you will never hear from your broker.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Google Stock Hits New High!

Invest With The Trend. GOOG Is Your Friend

Google's high-flying stock hit a new peak Wednesday, propelled by the widening belief that the online search engine leader can continue to grow as major advertisers shift more spending from traditional media to the Internet.

After underestimating Google's robust earnings growth in its latest quarter, industry analysts substantially raised their future estimates in enthusiastic reviews that underscored Wall Street's deepening adulation for the company, though some injected a note of caution.

Investors appeared to agree after digesting Tuesday's news that Google's fourth-quarter profit was seven times higher than the previous year.

Google's shares surged $14.06 Wednesday to $205.96. Earlier in the day, the shares traded at $216.80 -- the highest price since Google went public at $85 per share less than six months ago.

American Technology Research analyst Mark Mahaney likened Google to the Michael Jordan of the Internet in raising his price target for the company's stock to $275 per share. Caris analyst David Garrity was even more bullish, arguing Google's outlook makes $300 per share look reasonable.

The feverish run-up in Google's market value -- now standing at $59 billion -- is reminiscent of the dot-com heyday of the late 1990s and early 2000 when investors bid up the prices of young Internet companies on the premise that they were about to change the world.

The biggest difference between now and then is that Google is generating genuine profits, which are multiplying at a dazzling rate. With few exceptions, the prized Internet stocks of yesteryear belonged to companies that weren't making money.

"In some respects, Google's [stock] price is out of control, but the business definitely isn't out of control," said Barry Randall, a portfolio manager for U.S. Bancorp's First American Technology Fund.

The advertising formula that Google has built around its popular search engine is the main reason investors are betting the company will continue to thrive. Google delivers advertising links tied to the requests entered into the main search box -- a system that businesses like because they pay only when a prospective customer clicks on the link.

Although Google has been selling the ads for several years, many of the elite companies in the Fortune 500 just recently began to buy into the concept. Analysts think that a steady stream of new advertising dollars will pour into the Internet during the next five years and that Google will be one of the biggest beneficiaries, along with Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN.

The biggest threat facing Google probably is the increasing competition from the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as a cadre of other ambitious startups.

"Technology can change very rapidly on the Internet," said Argus Research analyst Robert Becker. "Google has a terrific brand presence, but that doesn't mean some other group of engineers can't come up with some way to improve the search business that Google hasn't thought of yet."

Excluding charges unrelated to its usual business, Google earned nearly $800 million on revenue of $3.2 billion and investors appear confident that even bigger things are on the horizon. Some analysts are now projecting Google's earnings will increase by more than 60 percent this year, excluding accounting charges for items such as employee stock compensation.

Google management refuses to forecast its future earnings, but the company can't afford a misstep now or its stock may plummet.

"There is virtually no margin for error," said Janco Partners analyst Martin Pyykkonen.

Any sell-off of Google's stock could have a painful ripple effect because the company is starting to establish itself as a market mover.

"The longer this excitement goes on, the more influence the company is going to have in the overall stock market, not just tech companies," Randall said.

Despite the company's widespread appeal, Google's stock so far hasn't been included in Wall Street's bellwether indices.

It might be at least a few months more before Google is considered for inclusion in the Standard & Poor's 500, which is the index most money managers use as a performance comparison. The S&P 500's guidelines call for a company to be "seasoned" for six to 12 months after an initial public offering of stock. The one-year anniversary of Google's IPO is in mid-August.All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Types of Investments

Learn How Different Types of Investments Can Give You More Money and the Time To Spend It As You Wish!

Here's a quick guide to some of the investment options available to you:

Savings Accounts
Such accounts are a good place to store your emergency funds. They are generally insured by the FDIC up to $100,000 for all deposits at one institution and provide easy access to your money. The chief drawback is that interest rates tend to be low.

Money Market Deposit Accounts
These accounts usually earn slightly higher interest than a savings account but still allow easy access to your money. Some banks and financial institutions require an initial deposit of $1,000 or more and limit the number of withdrawals or transfers you can make during a given period of time.

CDs (Certificates of Deposit)
CDs usually earn more interest than a savings account and are a very low-risk financial vehicle. They are generally insured up to $100,000 by the FDIC for all deposits at one institution. You agree to keep your money on deposit for a fixed period of time. Usually, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate. There may be penalties for early withdrawal.

When you buy stocks, you acquire shares of a company’s assets. If the company does well, you may receive periodic dividends and/or be able to sell your stock at a profit. If the company does poorly, the stock price may fall and you could lose some or all of the money you invested.

When you purchase a bond, you are essentially loaning money to a corporation, the U.S. government or a local government for a certain period of time, called a term. The bond certificate promises that the issuing entity will repay you on a specified date with a fixed rate of interest. Bond terms can range from a few months to 30 years. Bonds are generally considered a safer investment than stocks because bondholders are paid before stockholders if a company becomes insolvent. Independent bond-rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rate the likelihood that any given bond will default. You can find bond ratings in each agency’s publications at your local library. Although there are no penalties for selling a bond before the end of its term, the value of the bond is subject to interest rate fluctuations. If interest rates have risen since you bought your bond, you may have to sell it at less than face value. It is also possible that the bond’s yield will turn out to be less than the rate of inflation. Some of the bonds available include: Savings bonds, Treasury bills (commonly called T-bills) and other securities issued by the U.S. government.

Zero coupon bonds, which are similar to savings bonds. No periodic payments of interest are made. The bonds are bought at a discount and are worth their face value upon maturity.
Municipal bonds (munis), which are sold by states, cities and other local governments. They are often tax exempt, which means you will pay no taxes on the interest earned.
Insured bonds, which are less risky but generally pay lower interest rates because of the protection.
Convertible bonds, which can be converted into stock.
High-yield bonds, commonly referred to as junk bonds, which are issued by corporations or governments with low ratings. They are very risky.

Mutual Funds
A mutual fund is generally a professionally managed pool of money from a group of investors. A mutual fund manager invests your funds in securities, including stocks and bonds, money market instruments or some combination and decides the best time to buy and sell. By pooling your resources with other investors in a mutual fund, you can diversify even a small investment over a wide spectrum, which should reduce risk. There are many types of mutual funds with varying degrees of risk. Most mutual funds charge fees, and you often pay income tax on your profits. Tax rules can be complicated, requiring professional advice.

Annuities may be deferred or immediate. Both are financial contracts you make with an insurance company. However, a deferred annuity helps you accumulate money for retirement, while an immediate annuity provides you with a steady stream of retirement income in return for your money. With a deferred annuity you put money in, and over time it accrues income and interest. The payout occurs at some later date, when you receive a steady stream of payments to supplement your other income. The contributions you make to a non-qualified annuity are not tax-deductible. Contributions to a qualified annuity that is funding an IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or other qualified plan may be before tax or tax deductible. However, taxes on the earnings in the annuity are deferred until you begin receiving payments. Because annuities are generally administered by insurance companies, they can be set up to include life insurance benefits, such as a death benefit to a surviving spouse.

Immediate annuities are usually purchased with one lump sum payment and then begin an immediate payout. You receive payment on a monthly or other regular basis, giving you needed income. You can generally choose to have the payouts guaranteed by the issuer for as long as you live or choose from a number of other payment options. Both deferred and immediate annuities can be either fixed or variable. The issuer of a fixed annuity guarantees a fixed rate of interest (deferred) or a fixed payment (immediate). Although you are protected from any downturn in the market, you won’t benefit from any upswings. A variable annuity can earn a flexible rate (deferred) or pay a variable payment (immediate) depending on the performance of the underlying investment options you choose. Variable annuities are designed to accumulate money or provide an income stream that hopefully will rise over time to keep pace with inflation. However, there is some risk involved if the market does poorly during the time your money is invested. Annuities can be a complicated investment, so discuss them with a qualified financial advisor to make sure you understand all the options and make the smartest decisions for your financial needs.

Your Home
Your home may be the largest investment you will make during your lifetime. The market value of your home is determined by such things as its condition, the neighborhood, school districts, square footage of the house and house style.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Remedial Course in Investing Money Wealth Investing Knowledge Goals Plan Action Success Cashflow101

(ARA) - Was it really just a year ago that we were all running around trying to prevent computers from coming to a grinding halt on the first of January, and speculating about civil unrest and traffic jams around the globe? Time flies, even if the ensuing year hasn't been much fun for investors. In hindsight, I'd say the real Year 2000 Bug was the gut-wrenching flu that struck the stock market, bringing a big dose of reality back into the picture. For those of us who have participated in the investment arena for more than just the past couple of years, 2000 will likely go down as "not unprecedented and long overdue." For the investors who have come to the party more recently, it was a brutal, eye-opening, and sobering experience. Buying every dip didn't work. Dot-com IPOs didn't work. This year was truly a coming-of-age experience for millions of "adolescent" investors. Those willing to stay the course benefited from a number of important lessons. In the style of that famous late-night talk-show host, here are the "Top 10 Things We Learned about Investing during the Year 2000."

Lesson Number 10: Yes, Virginia, There is a Wealth Effect
I get frustrated when strategists point out that there's little correlation between what the stock market does and how optimistic consumers feel. Virtually everyone is involved in the market -- at least tangentially. And it's only natural to think twice about every purchase you make when the value of your investment portfolio is declining by double-digit amounts. Just ask the folks whose loans are tied to severely under-water stock options: Negative debt positions have a funny way of curbing spending.

Lesson Number 9: Rapidly Rising Markets Make Questionable Stocks Look Like Good Investments
This is similar to the fact that floodwaters make a lot of things float that aren't actually boats. In a heady environment, the quest for the quick buck rapidly overtakes common sense, and companies with questionable business plans get funding (from venture capitalists) and attention (from analysts hoping for investment-banking business). Just because someone is willing to fund it or follow it doesn't make it a legitimate business plan or a viable long-term investment.

Lesson Number 8: Dot-Coms as an Asset Class Crashed; Dot-Coms as Businesses Didn't
By some estimates, 95 percent of the pure Internet companies that went public in the past couple of years eventually will fail. Many already have done so -- with a lot less fanfare than when they were offered. Nonetheless, their very existence scared the daylights out of many "old-line" businesses, which quickly responded with their wherewithal, existing infrastructure, and newly energized management. These "new Old Economy" players are now wiser, stronger, and more nimble thanks to the brief threat from on-line competitors. I'm sure it's sweet justice for them to have the employees who jumped shop for greener pastures come running back -- even as the stocks of dot-com competitors fade faster than Fourth of July fireworks.

Lesson Number 7: Investing isn't for Wimps
Gambling (read "day trading, IPO flipping, buying on hot tips, et cetera") is best done in casinos. Even though the economy, technology, and the world political scene all change, certain basic rules don't. To be a lasting entity, a company has to make a profit at some point. Another way to look at it is that in an economy growing at 3 percent or even 7 percent, most companies can't grow at 30 percent or more for an extended period of time. Investing requires thought, not hot tips. It requires thorough research, not direct-from-the-management PR.

Lesson Number 6: Leverage and Volatility are a lot More Fun on the Upside
For five years prior to 2000, both the stock and bond markets basically went up, as the best of investment environments -- improving productivity, declining interest rates, stable political environment -- kept getting better. "Volatility" was great, because it really only went up. While a lot of folks suspected things were going too far in one direction, it was too exhilarating a ride to disembark. The flip side of volatility became painfully obvious as 2000 dragged on, however, and many high fliers plummeted from triple digits to double digits. . . and then on into single digits.

Lesson Number 5: "Asset Allocation" isn't such a Nasty Phrase After All
Our reacquaintance with the dark side of volatility and leverage introduced many all-equity cowboys and cowgirls to the concept that owning a few bonds, some real estate, or (shock of all shocks) a higher cash position might not be such a bad idea after all. A little stability in one's portfolio might, in fact, allow a day or two of rest for the Tums bottle.

Lesson Number 4: Even if Your Statement Shows a Gain, the Money isn't Yours to Keep
This was perhaps one of the toughest lessons to learn, as we all became mesmerized by our steadily rising brokerage account balances. Yet the reality of investing is that until you convert some of the asset to cash, the gain is not truly yours to keep. (And even the process of conversion means giving up some of your gain to the IRS and inflation.) The bottom line is that whether you convert assets or let them ride, the stock market doesn't "owe" you the 20 percent or 30 percent annual gains to which many of us became accustomed. The long-term average is still closer to 8 percent or 10 percent.

Lesson Number 3: Time and Rest are the Best Cures for the Flu
As painful as it was, we hope last year will prove to have been a beneficial rest period in an overall upwardly biased market. It has been useful for wringing out some of the speculative excesses spawned by hedge funds, venture capitalists, day traders, newcomers, and leveraged participants. Last year forced all players to re-examine their strategies and focus on thorough analysis. In the meantime, the economy has been healthy. Corporate America has become even stronger and more competitive. And valuations have retreated to more comfortable levels -- all of which leaves stocks well-positioned for the coming years.

Lesson Number 2: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Stay Put
Despite the frustrating nature of 2000, it still wasn't worthwhile to jump in and out of the market. Many studies (and even more war stories from market vets) will attest to the fact that no one can successfully pick tops and bottoms. If you want to fully participate when the market starts to move, you have to be in place already. If your analysis has been patient and thorough, you will be positioned in the companies that are likely to lift off first.

Lesson Number 1: Fear and Greed Still Rule the Roost
Since the earliest days of American trading under the old buttonwood tree, these two emotions have ruled investors' actions. That's true despite the attempts of business-school professors to prove that some scientific system guide investors' choices. It's been a long time since we've seen widespread fear, but it's somewhat reassuring to know that the more things change, the more the basics of investing stay the same.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Day Trading – The Ultimate Work-From-Home Job?

Ever dreamt of giving up the daily grind? Want to strike out on your own and work from home, but don’t know what you could possibly do to make a living? Full time Nasdaq trader Harvey Walsh wondered just that, and now he asks "Is day trading the ultimate work from home job?"

We’ve probably all had the same thought at some time or another, as we trudge off towards another day at work – the same work we’ve been doing day in day out for years – “surely there has to be a better way?” Slaving away to make somebody else rich just doesn’t seem right somehow, but what alternative? Setting up a new business, or buying an established one, are both expensive and risky prospects. So how can the disenchanted employee ever hope to make the switch from wage-slave to total independence?

Those are thoughts I had almost every day, before I quit the safety of full time employment and decided to strike out on my own. I asked myself the same question day in and day out; surely there has to be a better way. What about the internet, I wondered, isn’t that supposed to be bringing new and exciting opportunities to all? I researched a lot of so-called work-from-home opportunities that promised untold riches, apparently mine for the taking just by sitting in front of my PC. Needless to say, in reality those schemes turned out to be about as fulfilling as, well, filling envelopes for a living. No, I knew there had to be another way – something real – something where I could be in control of my own destiny.

And then one morning on the train to work, I read about a couple of Wall Street boys who had struck it rich thanks to some huge bonuses, and were now going it alone setting up their own day trading shop. That was when I discovered day trading, and I realised that this was exactly the opportunity I had been searching for. I decided there and then that I was going to make a full time living from the stock markets, whatever it took to succeed.

The advantages of day trading as a job are numerous to say the least; there is no boss to answer to, no customers to satisfy, no suppliers to let you down, no waiting for invoices to be paid, I could go on. In fact, I will: trading is a location-independent activity – I can work from anywhere with an internet connection, which effectively means anywhere in the world with a telephone line. I regularly trade from my laptop whilst travelling. I can trade when I feel like it, and take time off when I like, which means I can spend quality time with my family.

Now let’s get this straight, trading can be a risky activity, there is no doubt about that. So is driving a car to work, but the risks of getting from A to B on four wheels are well understood and are managed accordingly, to the point where we don’t think twice about getting behind the wheel. And in the same way, provided a trader is disciplined in their approach to the job at hand, and understands the associated risks of the work, so those risks can be managed.

On the subject of risk, day trading is almost unique in that it can be learnt and practised with absolutely no financial risk at all, by means of paper-trading – that is - trading using freely available simulation software. Thus in the same way a trainee airline pilot won’t be let loose into the skies without having learnt and rehearsed their skills in a simulator, so a new trader can employ the same technique before they start trading real money. I “sim-traded” before I gave up the day-job; it made it easy to leave the safety-net of a monthly pay check knowing from my simulated trading sessions that I could already make money in the markets.

And that brings me to the most satisfying aspect of trading for a living; money. On an average day trading the Nasdaq, it is not unusual to make more money in a couple of hours than I used to make in a whole month working full time as a wage-slave. There are bad days of course, days where things just don’t work out, but they pale into insignificance over the course of a week or a month. It certainly took some intensive studying and a lot of practise before becoming a consistently profitable trader. But the end result of that hard work is an immensely valuable life skill that nobody can take away, and which allows for incredible freedom.

Since I first started trading, the learning curve has become even easier for the aspiring day trader, with a multitude of new websites, training courses, and books all covering the subject. I envy anyone starting out in this business today – they certainly have many more learning aids available to them than I had at the same point in my own career.

So is day trading the ultimate work-from-home job? No. I firmly believe it’s the ultimate work-from ANYWHERE job!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

CAN SLIM Investment Stock Selection Method

What is CAN SLIM™?

CAN SLIM is IBD's acronym for the seven common characteristics all great performing stocks have before they make their biggest gains. You can significantly reduce your risk and increase returns by using the CAN SLIM Investment Research Tool as a fact-based performance checklist to evaluate a stock before you buy.

C = Current earnings per share should be up 25% or more and in many cases accelerating in recent quarters. Quarterly sales should also be up 25% or more or accelerating over prior quarters. Learn more...

A = Annual earnings should be up 25% or more in each of the last three years. Annual return on equity should be 17% or more. Learn more...

N = A company should have a new product or service that's fueling earnings growth. The stock should be emerging from a proper chart pattern and about to make a new high in price. Learn more...

S = Supply and demand. Shares outstanding can be large or small, but trading volume should be big as the stock price increases. Learn more...

L = Leader or laggard? Buy the leading stock in a leading industry. A stock's Relative Price Strength Rating should be 80 or higher. Learn more...

I = Institutional sponsorship should be increasing. Invest in stocks showing increasing ownership by mutual funds in recent quarters. IBD's Accumulation/Distribution Rating gauges mutual fund activity in a stock. Learn more...

M = The market indexes, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq, should be in a confirmed up trend since three out of four stocks follow the market's overall trend.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Aggressive Wealth Building Strategies

Starting with nothing, can you really become a millionaire over the next 15 years through an aggressive alternative investment strategy? The compound calculator says yes, but what are your chances of actually being able to realize the returns needed to achieve those final results? The answer depends on your current financial situation, your willingness and ability to stick with an aggressive investment plan, and the quality of the alternative investment vehicles that you choose.

For example, if you start investing $300 every month today into certain aggressive alternative investments that return an average of 60% annually, you will have accumulated well over $2 million in 10 years time. Yet, this is a poor financial plan which is unrealistic for several reasons - not the least of which is that you will be taking too high of a risk with too much money in the later years in order to generate that kind of overall return. However, this is a great way to start, and if you are careful about the investment vehicles you choose you can certainly obtain that return within an acceptable risk profile. My suggestion is to go three years at this "level" in your plan, at which point you'll have accumulated about $30,000.

Now that you are ready for the next level, you are going to want to reduce your risk profile and put that $30K into better quality vehicles ~ which invariably means lower returns. Continue to make that $300 monthly spend to your portfolio. With a 30% average annual return, you'll have amassed over $1,450,000 in an additional 12 years time, or 15 years total. Of course, this figure assumes that you didn't have to remove any funds to pay taxes with ~ and that's a big assumption! For that reason, you should structure as much of your portfolio in non-taxable growth entities as possible, including: IRA's, IRA rollovers, certain variable annuities, or properly structured offshore accounts. (A good example is the American Skandia variable annuity which allows swing-trading the Profunds mutual funds within the account).

So what types of investment vehicles am I talking about? Aggressive trading accounts (either managed accounts or self-traded using a good signal service), private equity arrangements in small businesses, pooled venture capital funds, and other interesting opportunities that come your way. Realize that your choices in the beginning, when you have only a few hundred dollars to start with, are going to be quite limited as compared to when you are ready to move to the next level. But you still need to insist on only top- quality opportunities. Playing pyramid games or being duped into a ponzi scheme will only make you have to start over again.

To be successful, you must avoid the pitfalls of the online investing community. Stay away from anonymous e-currency investments that you can't verify. Do not place money in too-good-too-be-true offers. Insist on knowing who your financial partners are and demand credentials along with a verifiable performance history of any trading account. Do not become the victim of con-artists or unskilled money managers/advisors. Avoid affiliate marketers, degenerate gamblers who want to gamble with your money, and anyone that you heard breached someone's trust in the past. Put the odds in your favor by only doing business with honest, reputable, real people whom have nothing to hide and whose operation makes sense. Make a plan that you can stick to. Stick to your plan. Choose your investment accounts wisely. Do these things and your aggressive wealth building strategy will have an excellent chance of success!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Five Ways to Use Money

If you think about it, there are really only five things you can do with money:

earn it
spend it
save it
invest it
give it

That may sound simple. But when it comes to actually doing it, all sorts of questions arise, such as:

“How much money do I need to earn?”
“How much should I save?”
“How much should I spend?”
“Where should I invest it?”
“How much should I give?”
The following Scriptures and advice will help you to begin thinking through these issues:

Most people have to earn an income some way or another. Some people do this by working at a job, others own their own business, and still others earn their living through more unconventional means, such as investing in real estate or the stock market. Whichever way you earn your money, a key decision in this area is determining how much money you actually need to survive.

Many people fall into the trap of working more than they need to, simply because they can’t say no to the extra money. They put in overtime at work, thus depriving themselves, their family, their friends, their church, and their community of time they could spend investing in other types of capital, such as social and spiritual capital. Other people don’t work enough, thus depriving their family of the things they need and enjoy and causing others to have to pick up the slack. The key is to find the balance so you are able to earn a comfortable living without falling prey to the pitfalls of either extreme. Ask God to guide you in this area.

The first rule of spending is to always spend less than you earn. The minute you start spending more than you’re taking in, you incur what is called negative margin or deficit. Deficit is different from a loan in that deficit adds continually to your debt and are unable to pay it back. As you keep overspending each month, your debt just keeps growing and growing. Before long, you and your entire family will become a slave to it
(Proverbs 22:7; 23:4-5).

The way to avoid debt and live within your means is to create a monthly budget with different categories for things like shelter, food, clothing, transportation, and so on. A financial planner can help you develop a budget that’s right for you. But simply creating a budget won’t solve your financial problems. You have to stick to it. Be disciplined. When the money is gone from a certain category, that’s it until next month. Don’t borrow against your future, because the future is always uncertain.

If you’re already in debt, you’ll have to take this into consideration when you create your budget. There are plenty of actions you can take to reduce your debt, such as using some of your margin to pay it off, paying off your high interest loans first, consolidating all of your loans into a single, low interest, monthly payment, cutting back to a single credit card and paying off the balance at the end of each month, and simply learning how to delay gratification so you don’t get into this mess again. Once again, a financial planner can help you work through these options.

It seems like incurring some debt is inevitable today, especially when it comes to purchasing costly items such as vehicles or a home. But it’s not always necessary, particularly for expendables, such as furniture, appliances, or electronic equipment. However, before you incur any debt of any size, spend time in prayer and evaluate the spiritual, economic, psychological and personal ramifications of that decision. If you stick to doing things on a cash-only basis, you may have to wait a little longer to purchase what you want, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run.

A final area of spending we should mention is taxes (cf. Luke 20:25; Romans 13:7). In this case, you need to strike a balance between your civic duty and paying more than you need to. Cheating on your tax return seems like a victimless crime, and it’s easy to let your ethics slide in this area. But honesty is crucial to everything you do—particularly in the little things. So be honest on your tax return, but don’t pay more than you have to. A good steward endeavours to reduce taxes as much as is legally possible. Studies have shown that a dollar in hand of an individual consumer is much more effective than it is in hands of government. So by reducing your taxes, you’re actually helping out the economy! Plus, you can use the money you receive from your tax return for other things, such as reducing your debt or adding to your giving or savings budgets.

The extra money you have left over (or should have left over) at the end of each month after paying your living expenses, taxes, debts, and meeting your giving budget is called savings or margin. Your savings should always be planned and regular. Determine what percentage of your income you can save each month, and then divide that amount into short-term and long-term savings. Use the short-term savings for things like family vacations and acquiring smaller items, such as a stereo or new appliances. Long-term savings should be set aside for a new vehicle or other expendables that require a significant amount of funds. You should also set aside a contingency fund, usually 3-6 months of income, in the event that you temporarily lose your ability to earn income.

While saving money is prudent and wise, there is a fine line between saving and hoarding. A good way to tell the difference is to ask yourself whether you’re putting your trust in your savings or in God. As your savings account grows, make sure your faith in God’s provision grows along with it!

Investing your money wisely is crucial to getting the most return on your time and effort. After all, you’ve worked hard for your money. Isn’t it time it did some work for you?

Investing is just like any other financial decision. First, you should pray and ask God how much he wants you to invest and where he wants you to put it. Any financial planner will tell you that your portfolio should contain a mix of low, medium, and high-risk investments. How much is allocated to each area depends on your risk tolerance and your financial goals. Areas to invest include government bonds, GICs, real estate, mutual funds, and individual stocks. We strongly urge you to consult with a financial planner prior to making any major decisions in this area. The last thing you want to do after earning your money is to watch it all drain away through a poor investment strategy.

As with saving, your giving should always be planned and regular. Choose your charities wisely, and make sure they’re putting as much of your money as possible into their primary work rather than miring it all in overhead. It’s also okay to keep some money aside in a contingency fund for those “spur of the moment” donations. However, regular giving allows you to budget from month to month. It also enables you to take full advantage of the tax credits available, thus increasing your margin. You can use this extra money for additional giving, to defray living expenses or to reduce your debt.

Although tithing or giving one-tenth of your income is a good place to start, it is by no means mandatory - and you definitely don’t have to limit yourself to this amount! Ask God where he would like you to direct your giving, and revisit the amount you give each year. Remember: All money is God’s money; you are the stewards so don’t hold on to it too tightly when he is trying to teach you to live generously. As the Bible says, those who sow generously will also reap generously.