Monthly Archives: December 2012

Tips for Understanding Commodities Spreads

Let’s face it, the term commodities spread betting is enough to make most people’s eyes glaze over. But if you’re thinking about getting involved in commodities trading, it makes sense to find out everything you can about spread betting. If you don’t you could end up with a major loss on your hands. And since you’re understandably looking to make some cash from this form of investing, I’m guessing that wouldn’t be very good news.

The good news

Spread betting on commodities can be done tax free. So there is your first indication that this is worth a closer look.

The bad news

Well not so much the bad news but the realistic news – spread betting is a risky proposition. It’s a bit like penny stocks – they’re cheap and attractive and you can make a lot of money on them if you pick the right ones. But if you get it wrong (as many people do) you could lose a lot of cash. Spread betting is much the same.

So what is spread betting?

Well it is a form of betting, let’s get that clear. You are betting on whether a particular commodity is going to go up or down in value. For example you might think grain is woefully underpriced at the moment and is ripe to rise in value. So you put a spread bet on that fact and hope you’re right. If you are right you’ll make money on your bet. If you’re wrong you’ll lose the money.

Some people compare spread betting to wagering cash on a horse race. You can look at form and history and use those as a guide to what could happen in the future. But of course anything could happen in the actual event, and that is what makes spread betting so risky.

A key tip for improving the odds

One thing you can do is to become educated in the commodities you want to put spread bets on. For example you can learn more about house prices and where they currently stand if you are interested in putting spread bets on them. Or you can look into any other commodities to see how they work and where the prices currently stand.

Another good tip is to practice and follow spread betting and examples of betting to see whether you have got things right. Think of it as using play money to see whether you would have made a profit on your chosen bet. This is a good way to play realistically and to set aside those romantic notions that you’ll always be in with a successful result.

Incoming search terms:

Tips for Choosing High Yield Mutual Funds

If you are considering investing some cash in mutual funds, it makes sense that you’d want to invest in the best ones you can find. So called high yield funds are the best ones to look for, since they provide you with the opportunity to enjoy the highest possible yield you can.

So with that in mind, here are some tips on choosing the best high yield mutual funds on the market today.

Do your homework

It should go without saying, but it is surprising how many people are so eager to invest in these funds they’ll slap their money down on anything that looks good. They do this without researching it properly first, so it makes sense to ensure you don’t fall into this group.

Start looking online to see how many mutual funds are out there that fall into this type. Of course you shouldn’t just trust everything you read. Everyone is keen to stress the positives without focusing too much on the negatives. This means it’s your job to do both.

There are plenty of well known and reliable websites that are long established online that can be relied upon to give out good information. If you search for the phrase ‘high yield mutual funds’ you will find lots of these sites popping up on the first page of Google. Use these results to help you find the companies you need to look at more closely.

Choose a fund that fits in with your investment plans

It goes without saying that most mutual funds will perform better over the long term as opposed to the shorter term. But there can be a difference between investing for five years and fifteen years. Think about the goal you have in mind and how long you want to save for, and consider which funds most closely match your ideal.

You may find some perform better over the period of time you want to save for, in which case you should add these to your shortlist. Now it is time to delve into each individual fund more closely. Find out everything you can about each one – get the literature and speak to those managing the funds if you can.

You should also bear in mind that while looking at the most successful mutual funds for this year will help in some ways, it doesn’t necessarily mean those same funds will perform just as well next year. Be sure to look back over a longer period, say five years or more, to get a more accurate pattern.

As you can see, it is wise to focus on the details of all the high yield mutual funds you have come across that you are thinking about sinking money into. Choose the one that appeals to you the most. While you cannot get rid of the risks inherent in investing in this type of fund, you can vastly reduce them and hopefully get the highest yields in the process.

Incoming search terms:

How Did the Commodities Market Begin?

If you are considering making an investment in the commodities market it makes sense to find out as much as you can about it first. This can lead you to make a better investment than you would otherwise. In addition to this there is the opportunity to learn how the market began – and it might actually go back a lot further than you think.

Before the days of money

While we are used to using coins and banknotes by way of making payment nowadays, there was a time when money didn’t exist. Ancient times saw people using commodities to make deals with each other. Sometimes a token would be made in clay that would feature the number of animals a person would agree to trade with another. While this is far removed from the way the commodities markets are run today, the principle is very much the same. Many people would be surprised to see how many hundreds of years’ back the history goes.

The modern commodities market

Of course the commodities market in the present day is a totally different thing. Nowadays it must be properly regulated to ensure the deals are fair for everyone. Indeed this was one of the reasons why the first proper commodities market was created in 1849.

You may recognize the name of this market, since it is the Chicago Board of Trade. This was not only the first market of its kind it is also one of the most successful of its kind today. Nowadays it is part of the CME Group, which is comprised of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

How the commodities market has changed over the years

There is no doubt the creation of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1949 made a big difference to things. More regulations have been put in place since that time to make sure the market is protected and that trades can only be made in a certain way.

Typical examples include The Commodities Exchange Act, which came into being in 1936, and the Futures Trading Act, which came into force several decades later in 1982. The good news is that all these acts and rules mean it is easier to know what to expect when you delve into the commodities market.

In a similar fashion we can no doubt expect this marketplace to change even more in the future. Nothing ever stays the same for too long in this sense, and this goes for commodities too. We will always need commodities and lots of people like to invest in them because they can provide a more consistent profit than you might get in regular stocks and shares.

But regardless of whether you decide to invest in them or not, you will see how fascinating it is to look back into history and explore what commodities meant in the past. Things may have changed in many ways, but the principle is still there.

Incoming search terms:

Why the Purchase of a Structured Settlement or Annuity Is a Good Investment

Learn why purchasing a structured settlement may be a good financial investment.

The purchaser of a structured settlement payment plan is an investor that uses the opportunity as a lucrative deal for making profits. The traditional chain of the sale starts when a seller is willing to offer their annuity or structured settlement at a favorable price. Every party involved has the same objective to increase the return of profit on their assets, which will help in the willingness of both the seller and the buyer to make the deal. Many times, the recipients who own the structured settlement are eager to obtain as much cash and benefits as quickly as possible. However, to obtain a quick sale it must also be to the great benefit of the buyer.

Satisfying All of the Parties

Before the seller can feel confident in receiving his or her compensation, they need to understand the historical financial stability of the company or individual that will be providing the lump sum of cash. Likewise, the buyer wants to understand that the history of the annuity or structured settlement plan has been well seasoned, with a history of timely payments being made for months, or years. Only when both parties are satisfied will they be ready to proceed with the conversion of the settlement into cash.

Competitive Purchasing Price and Returns

Large companies that specialize in purchasing annuities and structured settlement plans are usually in the business to generate profits for themselves and their investors. Through the process of purchasing well-seasoned annuities and structured settlement plans, they can ensure that their investors will be greatly benefited by the profits that are generated. Likewise, they can ensure to the seller that a lump sum will be at a competitive price and handled professionally to the court system.

Reasons for Selling

Usually, the buyer wants to know the reasons that the seller is interested in converting their settlement or annuity into cash. Additionally, the court system will have to know this information too. Only if the seller has passed the predetermined threshold set by the courts, will the judge approve the transfer.

Other reasons the seller is interested in converting their annuity to cash is to pay off medical debts, purchase a new car, pay off a mortgage, invest in a college education or a host of other reasons.

Reasons for Buying

As the overall interest rates across the country continue to remain low, many older investors now struggle to find the yields they need to generate the payments they require. As a way to guarantee high yields, many individuals are turning to annuities and structural settlement investing to gain the higher returns on instruments that have low risk. The appealing returns received every month offer greater profits without involving traditional risk. Additionally, the purchase of a structured settlement annuity that has a great payment history offers an almost sure high yield return on the deal.

Why the Rate of Returns Are High

Unlike other investments in the industry, the rate of returns are high on the purchase of structured settlements and annuities because they are backed by high rated insurance companies that are paying off the annuity or settlement. Typically, these companies are not anticipated to have any type of risk. What makes the investment stronger is that the entire process of paying the annuity or settlement through the court system is that it was originally approved by a judge. The payments are typically guaranteed and have been scheduled to fix dates. These kinds of structured settlements are not typically “life contingent”, meaning the original amount will be settled until it is fully paid off.

For any financial planner interested in gaining a high rate of return, structured settlement payments are extremely appealing, especially in today’s economic marketplace.

Incoming search terms:

What are the Best Oil Mutual Funds?

Some people who want to invest in mutual funds are quite happy to invest in balanced funds that take in all manner of different companies. But others want to invest in specific funds with a theme, such as oil mutual funds for example. Oil mutual funds tend to be quite popular because their returns are generally rather good when compared to other funds.

If you are interested in this particular area, it is wise to do a spot of research to see what kinds of oil funds are out there to invest in. Obviously there are many of them and while we have provided a list of some of them below, this should not be treated as an exhaustive list. Indeed you should make your own decisions and look into each one carefully before investing. The same applies for looking at other oil mutual funds in case you prefer those you find elsewhere.

Vanguard Energy

If you want an average return of around 14% or more each year, this could be the ideal place to look. This is one oil fund that has weathered the storm of the recession rather well, even when other funds were struggling. This alone could give you serious reason to consider Vanguard.

Fidelity Select Energy Services

The idea with this fund is to get capital growth. If this is on the cards for you, explore it in more detail. It is a typical example of how an oil mutual fund has gone from strength to strength thanks to the increasing prices given to oil.

Invesco Energy

This is another oil mutual fund that has been progressing well. It didn’t do as well in 2011 as it has this year, but having said that it still outperformed many basic savings accounts, so you have to consider what to expect. It could be a good possibility for the year ahead.

ProFunds UltraSector Oil and Gas Investor

It may have a long title but the name of the game is to achieve a steady growth over time. And this particular mutual fund has managed to do just that, providing more than 9% in returns over the past decade.

Are you going to pick one or more mutual funds to invest in?

Of course the main idea is to spread your risk as much as possible. Thus you may wish to invest in more than one oil mutual fund if this is the area that concerns you. Consider how much you have to invest and what you expect to gain from that investment. This should help you work out whether you want to invest in more than one mutual fund and whether you want all of them to be involved in the oil industry.

Clearly many people pick oil mutual funds simply because they have the potential to deliver a reasonably reliable improvement each year. But regardless of your reasons to invest in them, the suggestions above should help you choose your ideal fund.

Incoming search terms:

Spread Betting Tips

Reading a newspaper has never been a better idea, as therein can be found spread betting tips. It is possible to make money from spread betting in all manner of ways in response to news.

The global recession has been good for spread betting, where it is possible to make a profit from falling prices using such companies as Cantor. When the recession began in 2008, The First Post and The Week both reported that British people were increasingly opting for spread betting rather than conventional share trading. Spread betting accounts grew from 1,000 in May 2007 to almost 3,000 in September 2008 at a time when disposable incomes were shrinking.

Gold is regarded as a safe haven, and hit remarkable highs at the onset of the recession. In addition to gold, the most popular markets were crude oil, vulnerable currencies and the Dow Jones and FTSE indices. Spread bettors placed wagers on which currency or bank would be next to fail. The largest bets were placed on Washington Mutual prior to its collapse on September 25, 2008, after which banking institutions suspended all short bets.

Some industries are relatively immune to recession. Pharmaceuticals continue to generate money whatever the economic climate, while debt assistance companies, liquidators and administrators positively thrive. You could always watch who is doing well in your high street, for instance jewellers buying gold from people seeking quick money.

In the United States, surprisingly poor non-farm payroll figures can set off a knee jerk bearish reaction evident in the Wall Street Index. Conversely, if the figures exceed market expectations, prices can rise. Weaker data, however, could foster optimism that the Fed will inject more stimulus funds, which might limit negative sentiment.

With spread betting, it is possible to profit from prices that fall as well as rise. The Eurozone debt crisis is a godsend for financial spread betters. The French CAC and German DAX both rose after the election of the New Democratic Party in Greece. In contrast to others, the party wished to remain in the Eurozone. Investors going short would have profited when Spanish 10-year bond yields rose higher than 7.51 percent, which was itself prompted by fears that Spain would require a bailout. Prices also fell when Murcia revealed that, like Valencia, it had asked for government support in the face of unsustainable debt.

Exchange rates are also heavily influenced by global economic and social events. When China announced that it would loosen its currency peg to the US dollar, world markets rose, as a cheaper renminbi would reduce Chinese exports and increase imports. Southeast Asian currencies rose markedly, and the yen and Australian dollar also benefited.

Current events provide a great opportunity to make money.

Incoming search terms:

Entering The Commercial Real Estate Game

Selling commercial real estate can be a very lucrative career. However, it’s not as easy as just putting up a sign, printing a few business cards and selling property. Depending on the state you wish to sell real estate in, you may need to obtain a license to do so. The requirements for a commercial real estate license will vary from a simple licensure exam to a more specific test for commercial real estate.

You may need to take a class, usually ranging from 40 to 80 hours, depending on the state, before you can take the exam. Once you’ve passed the state licensure exam, an apprenticeship is usually necessary to obtain full credentials in the commercial real estate industry. In some states, the requirements vary a little depending on whether you want to be licensed as an agent or a broker.

Obtaining Full Credentials

After passing the basic testing and finding work in the industry, it’s necessary to develop skills putting you at the top of your game. This is done through experience, continuing education classes and gaining a full understanding of the commercial real estate industry. Specializing in one area of the business will help develop a specific set of skills you can use to sell your services in that specific area.

Some of the areas of the commercial real estate industry include office space, apartment complexes, agricultural lands and industrial warehouse space. These areas are all very different and new agents should only start with one or two specific areas before trying to master all of them. It’s important to gain a full understanding of the different laws, financing, ownership, contracts, title transfers, commercial bonds, insurance and other parts of each type of real estate.

Becoming an expert in one specialized field can make a real estate agent or broker easier to market. This can make it easier to obtain clients and give them the advice they need in regards to their specific property type. In order to gain specialty credentials, however, you need more than just a string of letters after your name. You will need the proper knowledge and experience to help you become the top choice within your specific specialty.

The commercial real estate industry can be very competitive and an agent or broker wanting to succeed must gain a positive reputation. Many recommend those looking to sell commercial real estate to research the reputation and the track record of many different real estate agents before choosing. This is a bit like building a resume for a job interview. You want your credentials to get you the interview and your reputation to get your the job.

Building a Solid Reputation

Honesty and hard work will lead you to a great reputation within the industry. Avoid selling properties for less than they are worth just to make a commission and always put your clients’ needs ahead of your own. You want to represent the needs of your clients in a fair and assertive manner. This will help you gain more clients and the word of mouth advertising about you will always remain positive.

With the proper licensing and a great reputation, the commercial real estate industry can be very lucrative. It may require long hours and hard work, at first, but as you gain experience and build your reputation, the work will come to you much easier.

Low Minimum Mutual Funds to Consider Investing In

Are you looking to invest in some mutual funds for the future? Many people are, and yet the toughest problem of all is finding ones that are affordable. Even a cursory look will reveal plenty of mutual funds that require $1,000 and up to invest in.

If you need a much lower minimum fund to consider, perhaps these will be of use to you. Remember though that it is a good idea to look into all these funds in more detail before considering whether you should invest in them or not. Remember too that it’s not just a question of whether you are able to afford to invest in a particular fund – it’s a question of whether the fund is set out as you would like it to be.

American Funds American Mutual Fund Class A

This is a mutual fund with a very affordable $250 as the minimum investment you need to get through the door. It has performed well over the past year and is a large cap investment fund, so it might be worth a closer look if you want a super low investment amount to work with.

American Funds AMCAP Fund Class A

Here we have another fund that only requires a $250 minimum to get in. In common with the above fund it has done well during the last year, so it could be a good one to consider. This is a growth fund, whereas the one mentioned above is a value fund.

FAM Value Inv (Fenimore Asset Management)

Do you want the maximum number of $500 options to consider? Here is another one to add to your list. It is a blended fund and has risen by more than 12% in the past year.

American Funds EuroPacific Class A

If you feel that even $500 is a little too much to stretch to at the moment, you will be pleased to know you can invest in mutual funds for even less than this. How about trying $250 for example? In this case the fund has performed exceptionally well once again over the space of the last year, giving you more to think about if you want to keep your initial investment as low as possible.

American Funds New World Class A

One final suggestion for you here – and it also requires a minimum of just $250 to get started. As the name would suggest it points to a selection of new markets to invest in, and has performed well over the past year. Remember though that the long term is the idea for this fund, rather than a quick investment for quick profits.

So there you have it – a few suggestions worth exploring in more detail if you only want to sink a few hundred dollars into your first mutual fund. The more you learn and the more you know, the easier it will be to figure out which mutual fund will be the best one for you.

Incoming search terms: