July 15, 2020, 7:01 am

How to put £10,000 in virtual funds to work in a forex demo account

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investing Ideas

Trading forex isn’t a game, but it’s surprising how much you can learn about currency markets using monopoly money. 

Signing up for a demo account with a leading forex broker allows you to do just that.  You can pass go and try trading in a live environment straightaway using £10,000 in virtual funds. This key feature of forex brokerage trading services lets novice traders get a feel for what they can expect when real money is on the line. 

What’s great about this option is the freedom to gamble with virtual cash in order to refine your trading skills and prepare for the day when you put your own capital at risk. 

Starting out with £10k will give you enough funds to sustain a valuable trial period. If you’re new to the game and don’t have much prior experience, you can learn the ropes by test driving the demo accounts services and capabilities, most of which reflect what you’ll have access to later when you go live.

Forex demo accounts use actual market data to reflect what happens on a real trading account.  Forex brokerages offer them as a way to attract prospective new customers, by helping them understand how currency markets work.  Potential customers also get to see how the broker’s platform performs, and the range of services available.

Having spent some time making virtual trades on the demo account, you can start to adopt specific trading approaches like day trading and see how they do.  You can also begin to build a trading strategy that reflects your goals. 

The key to making that virtual £10,000 investment payoff is to trade as though the money was real, responding to the actual market conditions and adopting a trader mind-set.

To open a forex demo account and set the £10,000 funding amount, follow these steps:

1- Make a shortlist of forex brokers to try. There’s no shortage of forex brokers to choose from, and any Google search will give you pages of options.  Do some research to work out which ones have the highest satisfaction ratings. Select one or two to try out first.  

2- Use the tutorials and other educational tools. The internet is chock a block with introductory forex courses and DIY guides. The information a demo account broker provides tends to be of high quality and will be geared to their platform’s features and benefits, and they’re free – so it makes sense to take advantage of them. 

3- Configure your account settings. You’ll want to configure your demo account just as you would do with a live account. To keep it real and trade as though actual cash were on the line, restricting yourself to specific pairs, and ensuring each position has stops and other risk management tools turned on.  

Eventually, you’ll be ready to make the leap to live trading and test your skills against the market. To help mark when that day should be, it’s a good idea to set benchmarks. That might mean completing your first 50 trades, reaching 15 per cent of the demo account virtual funds balance, or hitting a full month of profitable trading. 

Maximising the virtual funds in your demo account will make the transition to live that much easier.

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July 10, 2020, 11:39 am

Three Crypto-Market Trading Strategies

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

When we think about the most well-known use-case for the cryptocurrency and blockchain space we tend to think about things such as cross-border international payments. However, by far the largest use-case for the cryptocurrency space right now is: trading. We all remember Bitcoin’s monumental rise to the $20,000 mark, and this was fuelled by the increasing numbers of traders and volume sizes. Bitcoin’s volatility is great for traders, because it creates trading opportunities that can result in big returns. Navigating the cryptocurrency market first begins with have a solid strategy in place. Here are a few trading strategies that you could be using to gain an edge in the market.

1. Fundamental Analysis

The first trading strategy on this list is fundamental analysis. This strategy is used very often in traditional markets such as stocks and bonds. The idea behind fundamental analysis is to find companies/assets that are undervalued by the market. This is often reflected in the price of the asset with it trading at a lower price point compared to other companies/assets. A trader using fundamental analysis would look to take a long position when an asset is undervalued and then make gains on price appreciation as the market recognises the value of the asset.

Traders will use a number of metrics to help them determine the underlying value of an asset. For example, when finding the underlying value of a company’s stock, the following metrics are often used:

Fundamental analysis and metrics cannot be used in the context of cryptocurrency given the fact that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are a fundamentally different asset class. For example, Bitcoin and Ethereum are not companies that generate cashflow. Despite this however, there are metrics that are being used in the space to help in determining the value of various cryptocurrencies. For example, the following metrics can be used:

2. Swing Trading

The swing trading strategy is well-known and has its origins from the traditional markets of stocks and commodities trading. Swing trading looks to generate returns off the upward or downward price swings of an asset. This strategy is particularly great for the crypto market given its volatility. It’s not unusual to see the price of Bitcoin swing upward or downward by over 20% in the space of a few hours. To use this strategy properly, a trader will need to be able to accurately call when an upward or downward swing is in play, which can be tricky. Swing trading is best executed using an automated set-up. Crypto bots and signal groups (e.g. Binance signals) are good starting points in better executing the swing trading strategy.

3. Arbitrage

Another feature in the cryptocurrency market is the fact that there is often differences in the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin across cryptocurrency exchanges in the market. For example, the price of Bitcoin might be trading at $10,000 on Binance and $10,100 on BitMEX. The idea behind arbitrage trading is to profit off the price differentials that exist between various cryptocurrency exchanges. You will need to be fast in order to execute this strategy effectively, so an automated set-up might be useful when using this strategy.

Conclusion

Being a trader in the crypto market is exciting, given the huge number of opportunities that exist for traders. Having a solid trading strategy will set you on the right path to consistently and reliably generate returns when trading. These strategies are just a few that you can get started with, but it’s important to find a strategy that works well for your own trading style.

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June 17, 2020, 8:02 am

Dealing with unexpected bills

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

No matter how diligent you might be when it comes to your finances, the risk of an unexpected bill is ever-present in the background. Perhaps you moved home many years ago and there was an error when settling a cable account but you’ve not received the correspondence. Or maybe you’ve been hit by an unexpected need to replace an essential item, such as a phone or a laptop, following accidental damage that cannot be repaired.

Whatever the root cause of your new-found unexpected bill, it’s vital that you respond to it and make sure it doesn’t morph into a more pressing concern. But how can you do that if you haven’t planned for the expense? This article will share some top tips on how to help tackle a financial curveball as it comes your way.

Reduce your outgoings

The simplest way to open up more cash is to reduce the amount that you’re currently spending. In some cases, this might be simple yet painful. If you now spend a significant amount of cash on eating out or picking up lunch while on the go, for example, you could consider cutting out this luxury and replacing it by taking a meal from home. You could then put the cash you will save towards paying off an unexpected bill.

Depending on your circumstances, however, this could require a more creative approach. If you are already in a situation where your outgoings are extensive, but your income is tight, it may feel like there is no room to deal with an unexpected bill. If you can, it may be worth considering some frugality tips – such as batch cooking meals, splitting dishwasher tablets into two or three to make them last longer, or turning off the heating during colder spells and wearing more clothes instead. Measures like that can seem extreme at first, but often they are what is needed to help tide you over when an unexpected expense occurs.

More time on offer?

Depending on the nature of the bill, it may well be that you can get extra time to pay it off. It’s certainly worth calling up the institution in question if you can and asking them to consider giving you a payment holiday or at least developing a payment plan that can help both parties. After all: it’s in their interests to ensure that customers pay up eventually, and if they have room in their cash flow to allow for this, then they might well permit it. There are no guarantees, but it’s worth trying just in case.

Ask for a raise

In some cases, it makes more sense to look for the money you need to save by working with what you’ve got. And that’s especially true if you’re currently in work and have a paycheck landing in your bank account every week, fortnight or month. Depending on where you work, there might be no obligation for your employer to provide you with a pay rise. But there’s rarely anything to lose by occasionally and politely asking for a raise – and if they say yes, it could well solve your worries about the unexpected new outgoing.

Making money online

Some people also look into making money online, too. It can be a helpful way of raising income if your usual job does not offer much in the way of salary progression, and it can be done flexibly around childcare and other commitments. If you have skills in finance, say, you could look into online trading – although be sure to learn from experienced traders by taking some courses. Alternatively, those with marketing skills could look into flexible work like content creation or copywriting. Whatever you can do, there is likely to be some flexible work that suits you available online – and as a temporary stopgap to deal with that pesky new outgoing, it could make all the difference between financially surviving or going under.

Overall, there are many different options available for somebody who needs to contend with a bill they did not expect. As well as asking your creditor to extend your repayment terms, it’s also possible to focus either on cutting your current spending or increasing your current income. Not all methods work for all people, though – so it’s important to carefully assess your options and ensure that you choose a mode of money management that works for you and for the nature of the unexpected bill you have to pay. 

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June 5, 2020, 6:51 am

What To Do When You’ve Paid Off Your Mortgage

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Pay off your Debts,Personal Finance

People work for decades to pay off their mortgages, so it’s no wonder that when people finally reach that milestone last payment, they ask “what next?”

So, what do you do when you’ve paid off your mortgage and suddenly you have extra disposable income? Well, it’s a nice situation to be in, and here are some options you might want to consider.

Image by Vinzent Weinbeer from Pixabay

Treat Yourself

When you take out a mortgage, the end goal is to pay it off and end up owning your own home outright. After you’ve made your last payment you’ve achieved this goal, and you deserve to celebrate.

Each month you’ll have an extra chunk of cash staying in your bank account, so use it to do the activities that you enjoy. Take the odd holiday, visit friends and family, hit the golf course, whatever it is you love, take the time to enjoy it.

We work extremely hard for large chunks of our lives, and one of the bills that’s always there is our mortgage, so when you finally pay that off, it’s a cause for celebration.

Help Your Family Out

Now that you’ve got a little extra spare change it’s the perfect time to help your loved ones with their finances.

Paying off your mortgage gives you a lot of extra flexibility, and you can use it to enhance the lives of those around you. There are so many ways in which you can use your money, but few are as rewarding as helping the ones most dear to you.

Invest the Extra Money

Why not make the extra money you have at your disposal work harder for you by investing it?

There are lots of different ways in which to invest your money, so make sure you’re seeking the help of professionals and following a well-set-out strategy. Crypto is a very popular option these days, but like with any investment, there’s risk involved, so make sure you’re following the best bitmex signals.

Make Your Savings Work Harder

Not all savings options are the same. Interest rates are low at the moment, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t better options out there.

Make sure you shop around to find the savings account that offers you the convenience and interest rate you need. If you can get an interest rate over 1% rather than the average 0.06% it’s going to make a massive difference.

There are better options out there for your savings account, you’ve just got to look around and find them.

Embrace the Freedom

Paying off your mortgage gives you such economic freedom. One of, if not your biggest monthly expense has gone, and this gives you many options.

Embrace that freedom and design your life how you want it. If that means scaling back your work, then scale back your work; if that means working even harder to achieve your next goal, then do that.

No more mortgage payments means flexibility and freedom, so use it to achieve the next goals you have in your life.

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June 3, 2020, 6:54 am

What to consider before dipping into retirement: JP Maroney of Harbor City Capital Investment reviews

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

highway

In today’s uncertain financial times, many people are looking for ways to grow their money. There are numerous investment opportunities ranging from all types of stocks, bonds and mutual funds to unique and even obscure vehicles. It all depends on how much you want to invest, how comfortable you are with risk and what your anticipated outcomes are.

One of the surest bets to growing your money for the future is by investing in a retirement plan.  For example, a 401K plan allows you to defer money from your paycheck into a 401(k) account and invest it. The idea is that the value of the stocks and bonds you invest in will increase in value over the years you spend working.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in a 401K was common practice among many American employees, but now millions of American workers have had to file for unemployment benefits for various reasons.  Today, many people who have lost their jobs are finding themselves in desperate need of cash flow, and some are turning to their savings or 401K accounts just to stay financially afloat.

While it may be tempting to take money out of your retirement plan, you should probably think twice before accessing your funds, or you could trigger a host of unintended financial consequences.

Financial strategist J.P. Maroney, Founder and CEO of Harbor City Capital Corp., reviews that the current health crisis has actually made it easier to take out a 401K loan, with factors like the economic downturn and new government legislation in the CARES act all contributing to the ease of withdrawal.  Maroney’s company, Harbor City Capital, a global alternative investment group specializing in buying, building and monetizing digital assets, is always reviewing ways to help keep investors achieve safe, high yield returns in this and every other environment. 

JP Maroney urges people to consider these things before dipping into their retirement savings.

How much tax will you pay?

Although times are tough and some people don’t have a choice, Maroney says taking money out of their retirement savings should be a last resort.

“People have got to do whatever they have to be able to survive and I would look first to other things. Do you have anything that you could liquidate quickly? Maybe there’s a vehicle,” JP Maroney suggests.

One of the reasons it’s probably not a good idea to withdraw early from your 401K is because there is a hefty tax penalty if you take money out before the age of 59 ½.  In fact, you will need to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty, in addition to income tax, on the distribution.

If you have to dip into your retirement account, make sure you know how much and which bills you need to pay immediately. Don’t use the funds on discretionary spending.

Find other ways to access money

Even if you are going through a rough financial period, it is best to find other ways to access cash rather than withdraw from your 401K.  Perhaps you could look into refinancing your home mortgage, take out a loan or borrow money from family.  If these are not viable options, consider only taking out the exact amount you’ll need to cover expenses. 

If you must take money from your retirement plan, only cash out the amount you will need to cover the emergency and keep the rest invested.

Talk to an expert

Making a financial decision that can affect your future and is not always straightforward can be worrisome.  Review your options, first.  Compare the urgency of your current situation with the ability to achieve your long term savings goals.  You may want to seek the services of a financial advisor who can help you go over your available options, like boosting your income in other areas or taking on a side job to cover any immediate expenses.

Educate yourself

Whatever the reasons may be for wanting to withdraw from your 401K plan early, it pays to be prepared and educated yourself for the financial consequences that could result from your decision.

“Let’s say you’re a millennial so in the last few years to start up a 401k, it’s a different mindset isn’t it?  I would be less concerned about the immediacy of decisions right, but I think that everyone still needs to try to educate themselves,” says Maroney.

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