New Book Offers Practical Tips for Achieving Financial Security

In Your Money and You: How to Increase Your Chances of Achieving Financial Security, Deborah Ellis, a longtime Certified Financial Planner (CFP), offers readers a plethora of information about stocks, bonds, saving, investing, allocating your investments, and even individual advice for people in different industries. While the book is full of information, it’s also written in a highly accessible manner. Ellis shares her personal stories of how she began saving money as a child and young woman, how her aunt taught her how to invest and buy stocks, and how things have changed in the decades since she began saving. Her personal experiences then branch into her professional experiences with clients and with years of investing in the market.

I know investing can be scary and confusing, but that’s usually due to a lack of information or the fear that we won’t understand the information. As Ellis shows us, investing is really not that difficult. In fact, anyone who passed middle school math classes can figure it out. What is harder is to learn to save and to break some negative beliefs we may have about money so that we can quit solely working for money and learn to make it work for us. The book opens with a quote from Napoleon Hill, author of the classic book Think and Grow Rich, that states, “If you let it, you will be surprised at how money attracts money.” Nothing could be truer, and Ellis shows us how it can be true for all of us. She states, “I believe that today the stock market is a gateway to opportunity in America. I believe it is a way for almost anyone from any walk of life to build wealth and partake in the American Dream.” Your Money and You shows you just how to pass through that gate.

The book’s opening chapters teach us how to take on a leadership role with our money. Ellis helps us learn how to plan for retirement and what to expect. She walks us through the elements of a financial plan. Then she has us take a financial inventory of where we currently are so we know what we have to work with and what is required to reach our goals. She teaches us how to develop a saving and a spending plan, and finally, how to assemble a team to help us, a team that may include an accountant, a financial advisor, maybe a lawyer, etc. We do not hand over our financial affairs to these people, but rather, we learn to lead them so they can help us achieve our goals. Ellis warns us “if one of your team members has different priorities, a bias, or wants you to go in a direction you don’t agree with, you need to find another team member!” That’s just one example of how Ellis tells it like it is. Another example I love and know is very true is that “If you want to charge something you cannot pay off in full, you cannot afford it.”

Next, Your Money and You gets into all the meat of investing. Ellis walks us through the power of compounded interest and how investing over time can benefit us. She explains to us the differences between stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. She clarifies just exactly what the stock exchange and market indices are, and she teaches us how to understand how different companies and their stocks are rated.

Once Ellis makes sure we understand the market, she gets into the more personal aspects of investing. She helps us understand our risk tolerance for investing, how to diversify our assets, and all the various scenarios we might encounter from inheriting money to winning the lottery and, ultimately, how to go about retiring.

The book closes with some chapters for people in special situations, including those in the military, those in industries like film and television where you may go from feast to famine at different times, and those who are self-employed. A bonus section includes several articles on how to achieve financial security.

Your Money and You is the perfect book to get you started with saving and investing your money. Don’t put off reading it; it’s time to invest in yourself. As Ellis warns us, “money is not static. If you nurture it, it will grow. If you neglect it, you will end up with very little. It is up to you.” Furthermore, Ellis tells us “Investing is not difficult. Developing an investing mindset might take a little more effort.” Your Money and You can help you develop that mindset, and once you do, your money will begin to work for you so that, ultimately, you will not have to work.

Tips for Avoiding Investment Fraud

Investors should always be on alert for investment scams. FINRA published an alert to warn investors about classic types of investment fraud and help them spot and avoid the persuasion tactics fraudster’s use. The following information is taken from that article:

Types of Investment Scams

Investment scams can take many forms, but the most common securities frauds tend to fall into the following general schemes:

  • Pyramid Schemes: Where fraudsters claim that they can turn a small investment into large profits within a short period of time, but in reality, participants make money solely by recruiting new participants into the program. Pyramid schemes eventually fall apart when it becomes impossible to recruit new participants.
  • Ponzi Schemes: Where a central fraudster collects money from new investors and uses it to pay purported returns to earlier-stage investors rather than investing the money as promised. Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when the fraudster can no longer attract new investors or when too many investors attempt to get their money out.
  • Pump-and-Dump: Where a fraudster deliberately buys shares of a very low-priced stock of a small, thinly traded company and then spreads false information to drum up interest in the stock and increase its share price. The fraudster then dumps his shares at the high price and vanishes, leaving many people with worthless shares of stock.
  • Advance Fee Fraud: These scams generally begin with an offer to pay you an enticingly high price for worthless stock in your portfolio. To take the deal, you must send a fee in advance to pay for the service, but then you never see your money again.
  • Offshore Scams: These scams originate in another country and target U.S. investors. Offshore scams can take a variety of forms, including those listed above. Unfortunately, whatever form an offshore scam takes, it can be difficult for U.S. law enforcement agencies to investigate fraud or rectify harm to investors when the fraudster acted from outside the country.

Red Flags of Fraud

To avoid being drawn into a scam, look for these warning signs:

  • Guarantees: Be suspect of anyone who guarantees that an investment will perform a certain way.
  • Unregistered products: Many investment scams involve unlicensed individuals selling unregistered securities.
  • Overly consistent returns: Any investment that consistently goes up month after month, or that provides remarkably steady returns regardless of market conditions, should raise suspicions. Even the most stable investments have hiccups once in a while.
  • Complex strategies: Legitimate professionals should be able to clearly explain what they are doing. It’s critical that you understand any investment you’re considering.
  • Missing documentation: If someone tries to sell you a security with no documentation, he or she may be selling unregistered securities.
  • Account discrepancies: Keep an eye on your account statements to make sure account activity is consistent with your instructions and be sure you know who holds your assets. Fraud can more easily occur if the advisor is the custodian of the assets and keeper of the accounts.
  • A pushy salesperson: No reputable investment professional should push you to make an immediate decision about an investment, or tell you that you’ve got to “act now.”

If you’re able to identify red flags of investment frauds and you know some of the most common types, you’ll be better equipped to avoid these types of scams and protect your financial future.

Five Basic Tips for Investing in Real Estate

There are a lot of things to learn in Real Estate before you start investing. In fact, investing in Real Estate is much more complicated than the stocks investing. That is why Real Estate has become the common investing area for many people and thus have become more popular over the years. One needs to have financial and legal knowledge before investing in the Real Estate.

So, here we are providing you five basic tips which helps you to familiarize yourself with the basic concept of Real Estate.

1. Location:

Location Matters which is an old age saying perfectly suits when we think of the investing in Real Estate. The first thing you should make sure while investing in a property or proceeding forward is whether it is located in a good place or not.

If it is the best location, it can be the worst house there, but that doesn’t matter as you can just fix the issues or resell it to someone who wants a house in the best location. This is called as the Fixing and Flipping formulae by the professional Real Estate investors.

2. Wholesale properties:

Being wise is also very much important while investing. You need to follow the Warren Buffet formulae from the stock market investing which says “You need to be greedy, while everyone else is feeling fearful.” You need to look out for the wholesale properties that are being offered at great discounts and thus avoid paying full prices.

Using this technique, you can buy the property at low price and keep the selling price twice the buying price which helps you in maximizing your investment return.

3. Connect with local investors:

Hanging out with the local investors and talking with them about the local Real Estate market will help you in knowing the things better. Ask them to show their properties and take in every single bit of information they give you.

4. Reading helps a lot:

There is a tremendous amount of information available online these days. You can also gain information that you may need regarding the Property field and investing as well. Buy and read books that give you practical knowledge about buying, flipping, renting and selling the properties.

5. Find a good Realtor:

This is the best part. When you are all set and finally ready to invest in some property, then a Realtor is the person who helps you with it. And a good Realtor who understands the concept of investing returns and also have sold a number of properties can be the best choice.

Property investment can offer fabulous returns, but there are also people who are bankrupted after investing in Real Estate. It is all in your hands, so be sure and know everything involved before you invest.

What Are the Tips for Investing in The App Market?

The market on apps is usually ruled by the smartphones. We see the advent of thousands of apps that are invading the market, which are vying for a place among the competition. So, no one knows, when the apps will be viral and which are the types of apps resulting in the successful downloads. This year, we have seen the gaming apps dominating the market, like the formidable Pokemon Go and the latest Super Mario Run. The investors in this market are always keen to look for the next big thing to happen to the market.

The app market space is dominated by the Venture Capitalists(VCs). Most of the users are either searching, for an information or obtaining some information. It is best to compare the experience as that of a movie, either you watch it or you simply do not. It is always a better investment for a bigger company, who has already made some achievements in the mobile app space.

Investing in an app is about cultivating relationship, thereby establishing a complete inside track with the founder. No apps are perfect, as they might be the first attempts and most of them are still evolving.

However, before investing in the app market, certain factors are to be considered and these are:

Cross-pollination Apps

There are two hard parts about the app based market. First, is the downloading of the app and subsequently comes the harder part of letting the users open the apps for more than once. Multiple third-party apps are encouraged by many apps, instead of the single standalone apps.

Importance of Trends

The messaging apps are the most recent trends, as they allow the user to converse with each other, without even looking at each other. Snapchat and iMessenger are the types of Messenger apps, allowing collaboration between friends. In fact, Zappos from Amazon helps to shop with friends.

The safest bets are the food and drink apps. You get important information on recipe, nearest restaurants or the food that is eaten by you. We see that in the food and drink category, most of the apps are popular but those without human to human conversation are the apps which are doing well.

Investors are however unable to predict the outcome of app success, similar to what happened with Pokemon Go.

Thought on Diversifying

The risk on individual companies are reduced by the diversification on multiple app companies. The companies are trying to improve in the market for apps. The limitation of number of apps to be stored are based on the phone memory. So, more are the number of apps downloaded, better are the chances of putting other apps into oblivion.

Consideration of ETFs

The investors are also interested in the Emerging-growth technologies (ETFs). The portfolio is based on apps, chosen at discretion that you are comfortable losing.

It is not always true that the coolest of the apps succeed. The trained investors will always be equipped with tools on probabilities, but then human nature is quite unpredictable. So, whether the user will really like the app idea as extremely appealing or just refuse to accept the idea as something worthwhile for downloading, is only a matter of chance. Your decision on the app becomes wiser, when you have better knowledge of the existing trends. Many companies in the app market are privately held ones, the investors must keep an watch on when they turn into a publicly held firm, based on strong invest-able qualities.

5 Smart Investment Tips to Help You Make Better Decisions With Your Money

There is so much information on the internet these days about investing for beginners and experts alike that it can be hard to sort through it all.

No matter what kinds of markets and industries you are interested in, or your level of expertise, here are a few smart investment tips that anyone can follow:

1. Only invest in things that you understand. Don’t just put your money wherever your broker (if you have one) tells you to, without first learning WHY you should put your money there. For instance, we all know that technology is the future, but that doesn’t mean everything involving technology will make a good investment.

2. Don’t just assume that investing in multiple mutual funds will automatically “diversify” your portfolio. Always look beneath the surface of each fund to see what all is there. It’s not uncommon for a lot of mutual funds to actually own a lot of the same stocks.

3. If you want to put your money in a bank to earn interest, whether it’s through CDs, money market accounts, or savings account, go with an online bank that has a lot of positive views. Online banks are better able to provide higher yields than traditional banks.

More Smart Investment Tips

4. One of the most important “smart investment tips” is to NEVER allow your emotions to get in the way. The stock industry has no place for emotions. No matter how wonderful you feel about a particular opportunity, it might not really be the best. Always take a bit of time to do research first. It’s the same when it comes to selling stock. Don’t think that just because you’re having a good day that it’ll be a good time to sell. Always be calm – never allow yourself to feel panic. Try to be as objective as possible when looking over the larger picture.

5. Everybody has a “risk tolerance level” and it’s important that you learn yours as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so. Even if all of the indicators are pointing towards you getting a huge, don’t invest any more money than you can afford to lose. What if the unexpected happens and you wind up losing money anyway? Will you be able to handle the loss?

You can get many, many more smart investment tips from some of the best experts at Motley Fool. It’s the best place to learn about all aspects of investing. Regardless of your level of knowledge and experience, Motley Fool offers everything you need for conducting research.