Monthly Archives: September 2012

Investing in Egypt’s future

With Europe and the USA facing huge economic challenges and barely registering any meaningful growth, investors around the world are looking more and more at alternative markets in which to place their capital. There are many good reasons for choosing Egypt, which has weathered the economic downturn better than many Western countries.
Although Egypt’s GDP fell at the beginning of the downturn, a scenario repeated in many other countries, total output quickly recovered within a year and now the economy is expected to grow by an impressive 6.5% by 2015.

Investors, wary in recent years because of political turmoil in the country, are beginning to look afresh at Egypt where growing sectors include the construction industry, communication and information technology, tourism, manufacturing and transport.

According to news agency Reuters, the Egyptian government is putting its full weight behind a string of infrastructure projects totalling some $8 billion.

The projects, a mix of government and public-private partnerships include the building of a new tunnel under the Suez Canal, and a major Mediterranean port to spread Egypt’s population more evenly away from the crowded Nile Valley and Delta region, where the vast majority of the nation’s 83 million people live.

Deputy Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian said that half of the 14 projects were ready for investment while the other seven would be launched in the next 18 to 24 months.
He said the projects covered solid waste management, drinking water, health, telecommunications and roads.

This latest news follows an announcement by Qatar that it will make critical investments in a $3.7 billion oil refinery project in Egypt. The exact amount of the investment is not known although some observers think it will probably be in the region of $400 million.

Governments and major institutions are usually at the centre of such large-scale investment projects. But for the rest of us wanting a little piece of the action, and who are simply looking to grow hard-earned savings with minimal risk, the banks in Egypt are probably where we should be heading. And you won’t need to know much about the intricacies of modern-day finance either because when it comes to managing personal wealth, banking services these days tend to have it all covered.

Banks  offer customers access to in-depth financial planning and wealth management which is backed by sound, objective, and professional advice. Whether you are a cautious investor or a more adventurous one, they’ll help you decide what’s best for you with a wide range of investments to choose from.

In fact the biggest problem you’ll likely face is not how to grow your money but which bank to go for. There are so many good banks in Egypt, many of them major multinationals with names that are instantly recognizable.

Major reforms from the 1990s onwards mean today’s consumers enjoy a liberalized and modernized system which is supervised and regulated according to internationally accepted standards. The banking sector has certainly come a long way in a very short time which is why it is now highly regarded across the world.

What is Peer to Peer Lending?

If you spend a lot of time on the internet, especially researching various financial investments, you’ve probably come across the term peer to peer lending. You may also have seen it referred to as P2P lending. Furthermore the phrase ‘peer to peer’ can often be changed to ‘person to person’. This is because money is lent from one person to another.

Does peer to peer lending have advantages over other forms of lending?

Yes it does, and this applies to both the lender and the borrower. If you need to borrow some cash and you have been turned down by your bank, peer to peer lending offers another alternative that completely cuts out the banking system.

In terms of the borrower, there is an opportunity to lend money in favor of specific loans. The benefits here are that you have the chance to earn a far higher rate of interest than you’d get if you were to invest your money in the average bank account.

Surely there are risks?

There are risks, just as there are with most other forms of investments. It’s worth remembering that owing to the increased degree of rewards typically involved, there is also an increased degree of risk.

However this risk can be mitigated in some ways. For instance let’s suppose you have a conservative $200 to invest. Instead of piling it all into one loan, you could split it into eight different $25 loans. If you were to earn, say, an 8% return on seven of the eight loans while losing out on the remaining one, you would do better than you would if you had invested all $200 in one loan that didn’t pay back.

What are the main peer to peer lenders in the US today?

There are two major players worth investigating more closely. The first is called Prosper, which states that it provides seasoned returns of approximately 10.02%. The second is Lending Club, which boasts “twenty consecutive quarters of positive returns”, according to its website. We’ve written an in depth review of Lending Club at http://everythingfinanceblog.com/lending-club-a-review.html.

Investigate fully and understand what you are investing in

As with all types of investments, it is important to make sure you understand exactly what you are getting into before you invest anything in a peer to peer lending situation. You should be well aware of the inherent risks and make sure you have a balanced portfolio to mitigate the risks, as mentioned above.

Peer to peer lending may not suit everyone, but there is certainly a market for it. If you are looking for a different way to invest that puts you in control of the specific opportunities you are investing in, this could be worth a closer look. Furthermore it gives you the opportunity to help individual people find the funds they are looking for. So it might just be the 21st century way of investing, with a bright future attached to it. We will be watching closely.

What Kind of Average Returns Can You Expect on Mutual Funds?

If you’re thinking about investing in mutual funds it makes sense you’d want to look into the potential returns you could expect first. Diving in with no knowledge of what to expect is a great route to disaster.

So what can you expect? Here are some points to remember.

Remember the word ‘average’ means just that

You must understand this. An average mutual fund return is gauged over a period of time. This means one year might bring a return of 10% (this is over the entire mutual fund market, rather than one in particular). It also means another year might bring an average return of just 2% or even less. It all depends on the market conditions and how well or badly the stock market is doing.

The word ‘average’ covers the entire market. So while one mutual fund might be doing really well and achieving, say, 20% compared to that 10% average example above, another mutual fund might only clear 5%.

So do average returns really mean anything at all?

They do – but you have to know in what context they are applied to. You could be looking at the market as a whole or the mutual funds created by a particular company, like Standard and Poor for example. The trick is always to set your boundaries before you start looking into averages. They are only useful up to a certain point.

What factors can affect the average returns achievable?

This is a good question to ask. Clearly a company that is good at managing its mutual funds will produce a better than average return than a company that isn’t historically as good at managing theirs. This is despite the fact they are both trading in exactly the same marketplace at exactly the same period in time.

Another factor to consider is the fees you will be charged annually to be part of a particular fund. There could be two funds with the same average return when compared to the market as a whole, but if one company has higher fees than the other, the lower fee mutual fund will perform better overall.

Does it help to gauge average returns?

Providing you know what you are looking for and you ensure two or more funds are compared on a level playing field, averages can indeed be useful. You obviously want to earn as good a return as you can from your chosen fund. A spot of research can go a long way towards helping you do this.

The more specific you can be the better. History can only show you how the market has performed over a specific period of time. Don’t just look at the past year or two for a particular fund – go back further to get a better average.

Holding mutual funds for a longer period of time is the best way to ensure you can get the best average return available, no matter which fund you invest in.

Increase Your Productivity in Just 10 Minutes

What Can be Done in 10 Minutes – An infographic by QuickQuid

If you are looking for various ways to increase productivity, try these ideas:

1) Fix Minimum Time Spent on a Task
There is no point in trying to complete a whole military resume in ten minutes — that’s barely enough time to decide on the formatting! When you try to get something done in less time than is necessary, you’ll just leave frustrated and lacking even more motivation than before.

In order to know how best to use your downtime, you need to know what tasks you can accomplish and how much time they take.

Here are a few of your typical chores and how long they normally take:

5 – 10 minutes:

  • Load or unload the dishwasher
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Send an email
  • Clear a surface

10 – 20 minutes:

  • Fill garbage bags
  • Fold clean laundry
  • Research job opportunities
  • Plan an involved task

30 – 60 minutes

  • Revise your resume
  • Fill in a job application
  • Go for a jog

2) Keep an Eye on the Clock
All too often, we are simply unaware of the fact we are wasting time until it’s too late. Try to identify the ways in which you waste time, and take steps to remind yourself that you could be doing something else.

There are a number of different ways to do this, such as:

  • Set a timer when you begin an engrossing activity so you are aware of time passing.
  • Get into the habit of doing something productive before you begin your activity — your five-minute list will be helpful here!
  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. If you catch yourself thinking “I really should do that,” then get up and get started right away!

The hardest part for many people is simply getting started, so it is important to get into the habit of dealing with issues as soon as you think of them. Once you have finished, you will likely realize that it was much easier than you thought!

3) Track Your Accomplishments
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are not getting things done, which can leave you unmotivated to continue. Remind yourself of what you have achieved so far to give yourself a boost.

Whether you decide to use a calendar with stickers for every day you work on a project, to keep a list that you tick off, or to use some other way of recording your progress, it is important to recognize what you have already achieved.

QuickQuid.co.uk is the premier online provider of short-term loans in the United Kingdom. Its quick, convenient services have helped over half a million Britons bridge the gap between paydays from the comfort and privacy of home.

What are Fidelity Mutual Funds?

Most Americans are familiar with the name Fidelity. It is the name of a private corporation offering a range of financial services. More than sixty years old, the corporation is known for providing North Americans with a huge range of products of all kinds, particularly mutual funds.

Fidelity mutual funds are investments offered specifically by this corporation. Since Fidelity is one of the biggest organizations of its kind in the world, it should not come as a surprise to learn it offers a wide selection of mutual funds. Indeed there are several hundred of them: each designed to appeal to a particular type of investor.

How can you find out more about Fidelity mutual funds?

The best place to go is their website. They have a dedicated section on mutual funds that provides you with all the information you will need. This includes funds that have four and five stars, as well as news and analysis on all the latest developments in their funds market.

The best word of advice to give here is to take your time exploring the website and finding out more about Fidelity as well. This will provide you with a good background to the corporation so you are able to find out as much as you can in advance of investing any money in a mutual fund.

How can you choose the best fund for your own needs from Fidelity?

Once you are on the main page for the mutual fund section of their website, you’ll see a link for Fidelity mutual funds. When you click on this the section will expand to provide you with several options. One of these is to browse their funds, and you can do this in a number of different ways.

For example you can look through the range of funds that are available. These include stock funds, bond funds, international funds and money market funds. You’ll find the majority – nearly half – are tied up with the stock market, while a quarter are bond funds.

You can also use a sliding scale that lets you gauge the balance you want to achieve, i.e. conservative growth or aggressive growth, plus other options in between. Alternatively simply search the portfolio from Fidelity by name. This is ideal if you have heard of a particular fund and you want to find it more quickly.

Is Fidelity the best place to go to when searching for a mutual fund to invest in?

There are other mutual fund providers you could go to, of course. Furthermore it is always advisable to research the market so you can find the best possible range of mutual funds on the market today.

What Kinds of Mutual Funds Can You Get?

Many people have heard of mutual funds. But even though they are often talked about as if they are all alike, nothing could be further from the truth. Mutual funds can be classified in all kinds of different ways, although there are several main kinds that can be noted to exist if you are a beginner. Here we will go through these types so you can delve into each of them in more detail.

Stock funds

If you are considering getting involved with stock funds you must remember they are better focused on for the long term. It would be unwise to assume you could get a good return over the course of a few months. We are all aware of stock market crashes that have occurred in the past. However, even with these crashes in mind, the overall trend for the value of stocks has still been on the rise.

One other point to remember is that this category of mutual funds is generally best if you are happy to take on a little more risk in the hope of gaining a bigger reward.

Bond funds

Those who feel more secure knowing they have a more reliable source of income will likely feel more confident investing in bond funds. Of course they come with risks, much like any other mutual fund, but they are greatly reduced when compared to the other types. One of the key risks is a potential rise in interest rates. This has the effect of reducing the value of the bonds, thus making them less successful.

Balanced funds

As the name would suggest, these are normally a balanced mix of both stocks and bonds. This might be suitable for you if you want to invest in both types but you want to keep them together in one mutual fund. Obviously it makes sense to identify exactly which types of stocks and bonds go to make up any specific mutual fund before you invest. And remember, there will be a degree of risk involved so bear this in mind as well.

Money market funds

This type of mutual fund traditionally carries a far lower risk of loss than the kinds of funds mentioned above. However this is tempered by the fact that the returns are usually lower than the others as well. It is the classic case of less risk, less reward. The other kinds of mutual funds offer a higher degree of risk, but if that risk pays off you can expect a higher return as well.

Understanding the differences – and choosing the best mutual funds for you

Everyone will have their own ideas as to which type of mutual fund will be best for their financial needs. Risk appetite, expectations and finances will all play a part, but it is wise to understand what options there are and which type of mutual fund will be the best choice. Once you know the options you can make an informed choice.

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