Monthly Archives: February 2013

Investing in Stocks Can Be Tricky

There is a bright future that awaits you in stock investing. Most people would love to invest in stocks because the return on investment is huge. But the question is, do you still have plans to invest in stocks even after your retirement? Stock markets unlike real property, continues to increase. But when investing in stocks, it is important to remember that they fluctuate and sometimes, investors are at a losing end if they happen to buy shares when the dollar becomes weak or a company loses assets or value. Some are unlucky and buy into the market at the wrong time and end up losing thousands, if not millions of dollars investing, others however can make healthy profits with the right moves.

investing in stocks

The best thing that you can do when you are getting older is to limit investing in stocks because any major losses may make retirement a difficult time for you. The market trend, inflation rate and the price of gold can affect the overall condition of the stock market. If you are new to stocks, you should be aware that you have to endure a lot of stress while you are investing. A financial adviser can help you on how to invest your money. Investing in the stock market is almost similar to gambling only the difference is you did not bet your money. Instead you let your financial adviser provide you with advance and manage investments for you.

There are many stocks and assets that are used in the stock market that play a pivotal role in your investment. Gold and physical assets like oil are used in investing because these are fairly stable and continue to rise over time. The lure of investing is tempting; just imagine you are promised by your financial adviser to invest your money with a promise of 30 to 40 percent revenue back. Because of the tempting offers for stock investing, there are some fraudulent companies who promise you good future in the stocks. These fraudulent firms generally disguise themselves as a call center, calls expatriates working in multinational companies to set an appointment for a call from the financial adviser who will do business with them within 2 to 3 business days.

The financial adviser will call the expat within three days and would tell the victim to invest his money through shares of stocks, gold, or annuity. Whatever has transpired during the cold calling, the victim ends up penniless. This is not to discourage potential stock investors but the bottom line is never trust your money to a person whom you have not even seen in person, or a non-reputable trading platform. It is very important to do your homework when selecting an investment professional or trading platform. If you do care about your hard-earned money and retirement money, think twice before investing in stocks. Stock investing can be your good option to save for retirement but you have to choose the right people to act on your behalf and be sure they have your best interests in mind.

Investing in Silver an Alternative to Gold Investing

Silver like gold is a chemical element that commands a high price.  Silver is used in the making of jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, earrings and tiaras.  Since the discovery of silver thousands of years ago, it has been widely-used as a form of legal tender in many countries in the world. But when silver has lost its value its use as a legal tender or money has since stopped.  Silver is used widely in manufacturing and industrial purposes and also used for bullion coins for the purpose of investment.  It is amazing to note that the reserves for silver worldwide had reached over 530,000 tons three years ago.

silver investing

Silver plays a major role in the American and Canadian coins which are heavily valued by collectors for their value and uniqueness. There are millions of  silver leaf coins in Canada and silver eagle coins in the U.S. that are most sought-after by hobbyist and traders.  The Canadian silver maple leaf, which is their country’s national emblem, is used as legal tender at 5 dollars per ounce while other coins of this element can reach up to 20 dollars per coin. Investing in silver is a good option for those who want to manage their hard-earned money using physical assets.

However, the price of silver sometimes fluctuates because it depends on the law of supply and demand.  Silver is very much different with gold because it is volatile, like gas, there are times the price increases and other times it decreases. While it is true that silver investing is good, it is important to watch the market. Without watching the market, what you might have invested on it could end up giving you a low return on investment if sold at the wrong time.  The reason for this is the so-called liquidity in the market and the fluctuation occurrence that can happen because of the trend in prices of other commodities as well as the value of the dollar. The price of silver is estimated by buyers, sellers and investors.

When you are planning in investing in silver, think about the consequence if the value of silver continues to decrease. Always keep an eye on the market trend by checking it each day when the market ends, if the value of silver has been stable this is the time that you decide in investing. In the United States, there is no need for investors to hold the silver bullion, instead as proof of silver investing; an investor is awarded a silver certificate that bears their name as the owner.  In the past, some country’s forms of currency were issued as silver certificates.  The denomination bearing a silver certificate was 10 dollars, 5 dollars, and 1 dollar. This is no longer the case with the fluctuations in the value of silver.

Investing is a good way to prepare for retirement as well as provide you with some security.  Silver investing needs to be planned and not done drastically because you might end up losing money. Track investments or the money you put in investing in silver may disappear due to the volatility of silver prices across the market.

TurboTax Review

With tax season upon us confusion and questions reign about what to do and how to do it. What does e-filing mean? What is a W4? When do I need to do this by and when is my refund showing up? As well if you are like me it is time to stop asking dad or the family accountant to do it for you. It really is that sad last stage of knowing you are a grown up. But it doesn’t really have to be sad since with taxes come tax refunds and you may be owed back a substantial chunk of change. The question becomes which tax software or tool is best for me. The most popular and used choice is TurboTax, with its easy to use interface and low price point it is an obvious choice for many people.

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To use TurboTax simply go to Turbotax.com. TurboTax is made by Intuit the same company which also owns Mint.com so they are known for easy to ease and solid finance products.

You can start your tax return on TurboTax for free. But if you want added features and options it will cost you. Due to a glitch in their system there is no way to “downgrade from an option” once it has been selected so we recommend starting with the cheapest “Free Edition” to begin with. They also have a Deluxe edition for $29.99 a Premier edition for $49.99 and a Home & Business edition for $74.99.

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That one penny off really makes all of the options are bargain but we would say that the Deluxe option is really all that most of you will need.

After you hit start the interface is very straightforward simply copy over the information from your prior received W4’s and 1099’s and you are good to go. The software as you go pretends to do some voodoo and magically eek you out the biggest return possible but it is all rather normal math functions to determine your actual return. Heck if you wanted to you could do this all yourself just the e-filing features that TurboTax offer allows for it to really save you time and convenience.

We were honestly curious if the return was different between the same person filing with the Basic Free version and the Deluxe edition. We actually had mixed results. On one of our tests the results were the same but on the case where the individual had moved to NYC and had only lived there for half the year the Deluxe option actually gave them a giant return.

In the case above the Basic edition had pegged the individual for owing an additional $500 in city taxes but in reality the user hadn’t lived in the city for the full year so they were actually owed a $500 a refund. This led to a NET $1,000 difference in tax outcome for this user when testing out the two products. The Deluxe version with it’s more thorough questioning was able to pick up on this while the basic version had overlooked it. For this reason we do recommend the Deluxe edition.

After completing all the form inputting it should only take about 10 minutes. The software does one last check and you are ready to e-file. You will most likely be charged a fee for filing your state return some where in the $20 to $30 range, but your federal taxes will be filed for free. The total cost for you will be in the realm of $50 and total time from start to finish should only be about 30 minutes, you can even finish it in 10 minutes or less. Doing your taxes has never been easier. Also be sure to save your TurboTax account so you can just use it again for next year and save even more time.

Should I Use a High Deductible Health Care Plan?

Expenses for medical services can be very costly these days. For a person to go without health insurance is a dangerous financial risk. If a major illness or accident occurs a family can find themselves facing enormous medical bills. Medical expenses quickly add up and the inability to pay them can wipe out someone’s finances entirely. Many hospitals refuse to see patients who are uninsured unless it is a dire emergency.

At this point the patient is usually just stabilized for transport to another hospital that accepts the uninsured. Often people choose to take the risk of going without insurance because they think that they will not be able to afford the insurance premiums. Or they simply choose to take the gamble of going without health insurance because they are normally healthy and seldom need to seek medical care. Most health insurance policies offer many different packages to fit a variety of budgets. Health insurance deductibles affect the amount required for the premium, choosing a higher deductible will result in a lower premium.

This option is better than having no insurance at all. With a higher deductible a person has more out of pocket expenditure initially; however once that deductible is met the insurance will then cover whatever portion of the expenses they are required to pay. The insurance policy will specify the exact amounts of the deductible, what procedures are covered by the insurance, and what portion the insurance will pay. Most people are surprised to find out how quickly they can meet their deductible within a few physician office visits. If a major illness strikes and hospitalization is required that deductible could be met in as little as one day. A bill for the deductible amount is going to always be a better option than having to pay the entire bill for a hospital stay out of pocket.

One benefit to having a deductible is that a person knows exactly what amount they will be responsible for paying. There will not be any big surprises because they know what to expect. For people living paycheck to paycheck surprise bills can really throw off their budget. By knowing the exact amount required to meet the insurance deductible they can plan accordingly. High deductible plans are a great option for those looking to save money on insurance premiums and most people are in a safe position to take advantage of these savings.

People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes might find it more beneficial to go with a lower deductible, however for those who are generally healthy there is no need to pay a high premium for insurance that they may not even use.

Another benefit to having a high deductible is being a healthier person. Knowing that they have a high deductible often encourages people to take better care of themselves to avoid getting sick in the first place. This is a win-win situation, they are saving money on their health insurance premiums while getting healthier in the process.

The Pros and Cons of Taking an Unpaid Internship

As you progress through college, you will begin to notice more and more of your classmates pursuing internships in cities all over the United States and even the world. While this sounds like a luxurious experience, it can often be anything but. Companies world-wide are aware that they can hire college students as unpaid interns. Instead of being paid monetarily, these students are “paid” with the knowledge they gain through their experience, and must receive college credit to make the free labor legal. Interns usually must put in more hours than other paid employees, and do work that is far less rewarding.

Unpaid Internship

While most people would question why anyone would sign up to work in this kind of environment for no pay, internships have become an essential stepping stone for anyone trying to enter a professional field after college. Not only are they expected, but oftentimes they are required. It’s not all torture, though, when pursuing this type of job. There are a ton of positive aspects of these internships as well. The connections made can be invaluable, but it depends on the effort you put forth in your work. It is easy as an intern to be a small fish in a big pond, but if you make yourself heard, you can meet and impress some of the most important people in your industry. Once you have garnered these contacts, it is vital to keep in touch with them as you approach graduation. In such a competitive job market, if a position is available and it comes down to you versus an opponent who did not intern for the company, it is likely you would be the favorable candidate.

In addition to meeting some fantastic people in your industry, internships can often be parlayed into other opportunities. If you have multiple impressive internships on your resume, an employer will be more likely to hire you over someone who has little to no experience whatsoever. Taking an unpaid internship shows you are willing to sacrifice compensation to pursue something you are truly passionate about, and that you care about excelling in your field. Also, employers will often be sympathetic to financial needs. Many will allow interns to work three or four days a week, which would allow for a second job that pays. Though you will be busy, you will also be building out your resume even further.

In the end, choosing to pursue an unpaid internship is a decision you have to make based on your wants, needs, and abilities. If not, there are other ways to prove yourself. You can get involved on campus in various organizations pertaining to your interests, and pursue leadership roles that will impress employers. Unfortunately, though, because internships have become such an integral part of college education, many employers will expect to see at least one on your resume; so, if there is a way to pursue one, it will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.