January 31, 2018, 7:48 am

Play the Forex markets and win by following some basic rules

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investing Ideas

As little as ten years ago, if you had asked the average person on the street to describe a Forex trader, they would probably have envisaged someone along the lines of Jordan Belfort, the city slicker portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street. In the brave new world of 2018, however, things have changed.

A large part of that is through necessity – where it used to be enough to have some money tucked away in a savings account and a half decent pension plan, these things are simply not delivering any more. Interest rates are still rumbling along at low levels, pension funds are in crisis and there is a gloomy perspective that you would do as well to hide your money under the floorboards.

So the search for alternative investments is certainly a driver. The other is the technological age. The internet has taught us that plenty of things we though mysterious are actually quite simple if you only have the right app. While true to an extent, it is as easy to lose everything trading forex as it is to make some significant returns. Here are some rules every would-be forex trader needs to follow.

Rule No.1: Only fools dive in

 

If you think you can make a killing in forex trading without setting up the basics first, you would be better off heading to the track and putting your money on a horse.

Find yourself a trusted forex broker, set up your account and practice with it in demo mode before you go anywhere near your first real trade.

Rule No.2: Keep it simple, stupid

 

According to apocryphal legend, the phrase KISS strategy was originally coined by the US Navy 50 or more years ago. Whether true or false, it is the most important forex tip you will ever follow. There is a choice of hundreds of currencies that you can trade if you really want to, and hundreds more convoluted ways of doing so. But if successful and established traders find success by following the KISS strategy, there is definitely a lesson to be learned for beginners.

Rule No.3: Avoid day trading

 

This is a refinement on Rule No.2. The hurly burly of day trading, coupled with the chance to leap in, make a killing and leap out again might sound as exciting as a night at the casino, but it also has other similarities with the roulette wheel that make it a poor choice. The problem is, there is so little in the way of useful data to inform decisions over such a short period.

Rule No.4: Winners are always ready to lose

 

Some trades go well and others go wrong, that is the way it works in the currency markets. Naturally, you want more winners than losers, but an even more fundamental rule here is that whatever happens, if a trade goes as badly as it can possibly go, you need to be able to carry on to the next one. That means following the well-known two percent rule, and sticking to it no matter what.

 

 

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January 19, 2018, 4:27 pm

How To Secure Working Capital In A Tough 2018

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

There’s more uncertainty in the US economy than some would have you believe, and for the freight and trucking industry, any decline in economic growth could be disastrous. With uncertainty over NAFTA, freight and trucking could suffer a great deal in the years ahead. The US trades $577 billion with Canada and $532 billion with Mexico in imports and exports – the lifeblood of freight and trucking.

The US economy may not be as strong as some analysts predict. Despite modest job growth, consumer spending remains anemic. Some have called 2017 the “retail apocalypse.” In the month of August, consumer spending was only up 0.1%. With the US dollar down 8 percent in 2017, consumers are about to feel the pinch and that could jeopardize future growth. New US tax changes have also failed to inspire much growth and the future of NAFTA is up in the air. As NAFTA renegotiations hit the rocks, fleet owners need a growth plan that can handle an unpredictable future.

Any company that finds itself a link in any part of a supply chain can find itself tight on money when they’re waiting to collect invoices worth thousands of dollars. Sometimes trucking companies wait up to 90 days to collect, but even waiting a month can put the brakes on your cash flow.

Freight bill factoring is a growing alternative to banks for fleets struggling with cash flow. If you want to learn about the benefits of invoice factoring for truckers consider first and foremost that freight bill factoring is not a loan — trucking companies sell their invoices at a discount and factoring companies pay up front. Selling invoices is a quick and easy way to guarantee an influx of working capital. Instead of waiting two or three months to collect, factoring offers carriers immediate funding often on the same day they submit invoices.

By contrast, bank loans are difficult to secure. Banks have tough expectations for credit and sustainability for companies that take on bank debt, and trucking is usually considered a high-risk industry. Trucking companies can easily find themselves frozen out of bank loans, especially if they don’t have an impeccable credit history or major collateral. Trucking companies of all sizes struggle to meet banks’ requirements for a business loan.

Freight bill factoring rates, on the other hand, are very affordable and designed to meet industry needs. This is what the freight bill factoring process looks like:

  • Once the trucking company completes a delivery, it sends an invoice to the client and a copy to the factoring company, plus proof of delivery
  • Factors such as Accutrac Capital send the trucking company a cash advance that’s as high as 97% of the invoice within 24 hours (minus a nominal factoring fee)
  • When the customer pays its invoice, Accutrac Capital reimburses the balance of the cash advance (i.e., 3%)

Any trucking company struggling with cash flow can take advantage of a third-party factor. Factoring means you don’t have to wait 90 days for payment so that you have the liquidity you need to meet your expenses and grow your company. Stabilize your cash flow with a third-party factoring partner.

 

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January 17, 2018, 4:54 pm

What Is Ripple?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

In 2017, the prices of most cryptocurrencies have grown exponentially, as more of us discover this relatively new way to make money through online trading. Most people these days have heard of Bitcoin and the majority of traders are familiar with Ethereum, but the cryptocurrency universe is home to more than 1,300 other altcoins, including the rising star known as Ripple (XRP).

Ripple is the “world’s only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments”

Ripple was launched back in 2012 with the aim of improving the worldwide payment structure by offering faster and more secure global payment configurations. Ripple (XRP) is also the name of the system’s digital currency which enables real-time payments with lower foreign exchange costs and other fees, plus faster execution times.

For instance, XRP payments are settled in only 4 seconds, compared to about 2 minutes for Ether transactions and about 1 hour for Bitcoin, whereas traditional financial systems usually require 3 to 5 days to settle payments. The Ripple blockchain is also able to deal with a huge number of transactions per second – about 1,500 – while Ethereum can only handle about 15, and Bitcoin can deal with only 3 to 6.

There are currently more than 38 billion Ripple tokens in circulation out of the 100 billion already created. The other coins are held by Ripple Labs. For this reason, it is often said that Ripple is a centralised digital currency – more so than the other leading cryptocurrencies. However, the company is now working on a decentralisation strategy to diversify the number of “validator nodes” on the Ripple ledger.

Ripple is the third most important digital currency by market capitalisation

Ripple is now recognised as the third most significant cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation after Bitcoin and Ethereum. Patrick Griffin, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Ripple, described it as “the fastest, most scalable digital asset for global payments that can also provide liquidity to financial institutions”, which will help XRP to become more widely available around the world.

Currently, Ripple has more than 100 corporate clients, including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Santander, Standard Chartered, Westpac, UBS, Crédit Agricole, American Express, Unicredit, and BBVA.

Scalability, reliability, and speed are among the most important factors for Ripple’s future growth

Investors have taken note of Ripple’s reliability and speed – as of December 21st, it was available on 50 exchanges. The digital currencies trading sector has heated up rapidly in 2017 – Ripple could be traded on just 6 exchanges at the beginning of the year. Cryptocurrencies trading broker UFX offers an advanced, professional trading platform and cutting-edge tools that allow any trader to take advantage of the continuing rise of the digital currency asset class.

 

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December 21, 2017, 5:23 pm

Silver Is The New Gold When It Comes To Investing in Precious Metals

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investing Ideas

Silver is definitely the new gold when it comes to investing in precious metals. For much of human history, silver and gold have alternated as the currencies of choice. Gold has always been the more expensive older brother to silver while silver has been the precious metal of the common man. Silver is uniquely positioned to increase its value in the future at higher rates than gold.

Gold Isn’t the Safe Haven Anymore

Gold has traditionally been the safe haven currency. When times are bad, people would invest in gold to protect themselves from uncertainty. Like clockwork, gold prices would go up in times of crisis and go back down when things would return to normal. People knew that gold would keep its value. In fact, a common claim is that 1 ounce of gold will buy a decent men’s suit and has at any time in the last 200 years.
Things are changing. Gold is no longer the only safe haven currency. In many ways, this status is being supplanted by Bitcoin. China, a traditional devourer of gold, has embraced Bitcoin. The people have embraced it for all of what it offers and more. The additional benefits of anonymity and the ability to easily transfer it has made it quite popular. The Chinese government is not altogether happy about the rise of Bitcoin, but it is what it is.
It’s really difficult to foresee what will happen in the next economic crisis. We do know that more people will seek out car title loans completely online. We do know that more people will apply for public assistance. We do know that gold and silver will hold their value, but it’s not clear if gold will increase its value in response to the crisis.

Silver Is More Accessible

While gold is having its status as a safe haven supplanted, silver is also replacing it as a better precious metal investment vehicle. Gold is trading at very high prices. These prices have been stagnant for several years at a relatively high level. These high and stagnant prices mean that gold is not very accessible.

Silver is just more price accessible. People can make a small investment in silver at its current price level and still see a good return on their investment. On the other hand, that same small investment in gold would yield them a few grams of gold that is bought at a premium and sold at an inferior price. This results in a much lower potential return.

Silver Has Upside

Price accessibility shouldn’t be the only reason to make an investment. It just makes it easier. The real reason to invest in silver is that it has upside. There are three major factors behind this upside.

  1. It’s an industrial metal. It’s widely used in industry for a myriad of different processes and products. This creates a steady demand for the metal and a pricing support level. As supply decreases, the prices will rise due to its industrial demand.
  2. Silver is a jewelry metal. It has very nice aesthetic qualities. It’s beautiful and can be fashioned into a variety of jewelry.
  3. It’s a traditional currency. It’s been used as a coin for centuries all over the world. It has recognized value. Its coins have stood the test of time. People understand that silver represents money and there is a continual demand for silver coins.

It’s clear that silver should be the go-to precious metal for anyone looking to invest in precious metals going forward. Silver has the upside and the price accessibility to make it a champion.

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December 19, 2017, 10:56 am

Average Cost of a Funeral in the U.S.

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

We budget for a lot of things in life – kids, a home, college, retirement. There’s so much going on in the near future it’s easy to forget about events long, long down the road. Plus, most of those things aren’t the nicest to think about.

Sure, no one wants to think about funeral expenses, but that’s what we’re hinting at. Once we’re gone we don’t have to worry about the cost, but our family members will. Want to know how much they’ll have to spend to pay their final respects?

Let’s take a look at today’s funeral expenses.

Funeral Expenses

Like everything else in our global economy, funeral expenses keep steadily increasing. The overall expense if going to vary by location, but the average funeral costs is around $11,000 according to SavvySenior.org.

If you don’t have insurance for final expenses these are the funeral costs your family will have to cover.

Traditional Burial: Basic Services

  • Funeral planning
  • Notice preparation
  • Sheltering the remains
  • Cemetery arrangements
  • Permits and death certification preparation

Traditional Burial: Additional Services

  • Transportation
  • Embalming
  • Viewing fees
  • Ceremony/Memorial services
  • Casket
  • Graveside services
  • Grave liner

Cremation

More people are choosing to be cremated, partly because it’s about half the cost of a traditional funeral. However, a number of the basic funeral services/costs above will apply with a cremation. There will so be additional fees for the crematory services. Instead of a casket, family will have to purchase a vessel or container for the ashes.

Third Party Vendors

A funeral is a huge undertaking in a very short amount of time. Getting everything lined up requires the assistance of numerous professionals even for an intimate event with close family and friends. The funeral home coordinators will work with a number of third party vendor to get everything ready in a matter of days.

These third party vendors charge for their own services on top of the basic funeral expenses. They’ll either charge your family directly or charge the funeral director who will then add the expense to the funeral preparation fees.

Some of the most common third party funeral expenses include:

Floral arrangements – Traditional funerals feature numerous floral arrangements that are used during the memorial service and placed at the gravesite.

Casket – A traditional funeral with burial will require a casket. At an average cost of over $2,000, the casket is typically the single most expensive item. If you plan to do a cremation, you may need to rent a casket for the funeral services.

Obituary – If your family plans to put an obituary notice in the newspaper there will be a fee.

Officiating Clergy – Whoever presides over the funeral service will typically ask that a donation be made.

All funeral homes are required to provide an itemized expense statement that includes good faith estimates of third party fees. When you begin budgeting for funeral expenses use the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Costs and Pricing Checklist. It’s a great resource with information on average prices.

The Funeral Rule

As with many things in life, there are laws governing funerals. The FTC Funeral Rule provides guidelines that protect consumers and make funeral expenses more transparent.

The Funeral Rule was put into place to ensure that consumers are protected when they’re most vulnerable. The primary goal is to allow consumers to select the funeral services they want without overpaying for additional fees. As noted above, the Rule requires funeral homes provide itemized statements that make the expenses known. This helps you compare prices and decide which services you can do without.

Another regulation is that all service fees charged by funeral coordinators for third party services must be disclosed in writing. If the funeral director received discounts, rebates or refunds that must be disclosed too.

Keep in mind the Funeral Rule only applies to funeral homes. Cemeteries without an onsite funeral home and third party vendors do not have to adhere to the regulations.

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