Investing

The Truth About Compound Interest

Saving money is one of the hardest things to get into the habit of doing. It is even harder to enjoy saving when interest rates are so low. However there is something to always check for when investing and saving, look out for compounding. Compound interest occurs when interest is added to the principle. This means that your initial principle grows and now this bigger amount earns interest. This is called compounding.

XKCD Investing Compound Interest

Compounding may seem small and futile like in the hilarious example above by XKCD but it can mean a noticeable difference in savings accounts where compounding occurs quarterly versus daily. Most common bank accounts will only offer quarterly or monthly compounding however some credit unions will offer daily compounding if offered a choice always chose the account with the most frequent compounding.

For example $100 earning 2% interest compounded Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly, and Daily will yield the following amounts after 10 years.

Yearly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $21.90
Total Value: $121.90

Quarterly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.09
Total Value: $122.09

Monthly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.12
Total Value: $122.12

Daily Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.14
Total Value: $122.14

As you can see after ten years had you gone with the daily compounding interest account you would have $.20 extra cents. With interest rates so low these days it is hard to see the value you in compound interest but if instead we took a $100 which earned 10% a year over the next 100 years we see quite a different story.

Yearly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $1,377,961.23
Total Value: $1,378,061.23

Quarterly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $1,947,708.05
Total Value: $1,947,808.05

Monthly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $2,113,141.46
Total Value: $2,113,241.46

Daily Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $2,199,531.87
Total Value: $2,199,631.87

As you can see the value of daily compounded interest is extremely important as time goes on. The difference between the $100 yearly compounded and daily compounded is $821,570.64. In closing always be looking at how often your investment compounds when you are saving for the long haul and daily is always the best.

Investing In Penny Stocks

Penny stocks, also known as cent stocks in some countries are stocks of small public companies that trade at low prices per share. These are usually below $5 per share.

investing in penny stocks

Investing in penny stocks is easy, as long as the investor understands what they are doing and the fundamental market drivers to look out for.

Getting the Right Stock Broker

Before beginning, it is important to choose the right stock broker. Investors choose stock brokers who charge low commissions, provide platforms that are easy to use and provide other investment options such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Opening an account with a stock broker includes depositing money into an account that allows you to start trading. The platform an investor chooses should also provide financial news and information in real time.

Use a Virtual Money Account

Based on the broker an investor chooses, access to an online virtual account can provide the needed training ground before investing in real money. This allows investors to understand how the platform works and how to trade in the penny stocks market. Only after trading in a virtual environment should investors put in real money? Investors should take their time to get a feel of the market conditions and learn the needed disciplines of money management and risk mitigation.

Start Small

The trick behind trading penny stocks in to understand how to manage and grow a small portfolio. If a trade can successfully grow their account and to their principal. Additionally, newbies are usually advised to only trade money that they are comfortable losing in case anything goes wrong with their trading strategy. In case you lose money on your first trades, it is not advisable to keep increasing money into your account. It may be advisable to go back to the virtual account until you are confident to trade profitable again.

Avoid emotional trading

Investors new to trading penny stocks should use the tips that they get from their analysts to dictate the way they trade rather than the emotions of greed and fear. Successful investors get past these emotions to make successful trading decisions.

Reinvest in Penny Stocks

To grow your portfolio and make even bigger margins, investors should put off taking out their profits and rather invest into the program. Having additional funds allows investors to diversify into new stocks over time.

How to Find the Value of a Savings Bond

Savings bonds were first created to finance World War 1. Originally called liberty bonds, they are now sold as series EE and Series I savings bonds. Financial institutions stopped selling paper based savings bonds on January 1st, 2012.

value of a savings bond

Series EE

Series EE bonds reach maturity after 20 years from the date of issue. They are usually liquidated at twice the face value and make for great investment vehicles. They can however continue to earn interest for a total of 30 years. The interest on Series EE bonds is calculated monthly and is paid when the holder cashes the bond. For bonds that were issued before May 2005, the rate of interest is usually computed after six months and is calculated at 90% of the average 5 year treasury yield set from the preceding six months.

For bonds that were issued after May 2005, pay a fixed interest rate of 0.20%, based on the life of the bond. At the rate of .20%, a bond that costs $100 at face value would be worth $105 just before 20 years and would be adjusted to $200 at exactly 20 years, giving it an effective rate of 3.5%. The bond would then continue to earn the fixed interest rate for another 10 years after maturity.

Within 10 years, the interest rate for new bonds in 2009 dropped by over 5% to settle at 0.7% for new bonds.

EE paper bonds were issued with a face value of double their purchase price. A $100 bond could be bought for $50 but would be worth $100 at maturity.

Series I Bonds

On the other hand, Series I binds have a variable interest rate that is based on the rate of inflation. Series I binds have a variable yield based on Inflation and is based on two components. The first is usually a fixed rate that remains constant during the lifetime of the bond. The second part of the bond is usually reset every six months through the lifetime of the bond to take into account the current inflation rate.

The new rates are usually published very 1st of May and 1st of November of every year. The fixed rate which is usually determined by the Treasury department remains at 0% from 1st of November 2012. The variable interest rate for the Series I bonds is usually calculated based on the consumer price index or CPU-I.

Where to Trade Stocks Online

Before jumping into stocks, it is important to figure out which platform offers the best solution for trading stocks online. There are some key things to consider.

trade stocks online

Traders new to stock trading online can be exciting, and can free the savvy trader to financial independence.

Commissions

Profitable trades get charged a certain margin by the broker as do the losses. This margin should be as slim as possible. Choose a platform that charges low commissions. As the trading volume increases, the cost of trading also increases and the best broker should lower their margins even further.

Financial Market News

The best online brokers in the business provide streaming news and real time price updates for stocks and options. As long as customers get the most up-to-date information on their platform, they can easily enter into profitable trades. Timely information can mean profitable trades consistently and platforms that offer information regularly should be preferred.

Stock Portfolio

It is important to have access to a large number of stocks and trading instruments so that you never miss the action in any part of the market. When choosing an online stock broking platform, check the number of financial instruments in terms of stocks and options that are available on the platform and other competing platforms. Investors can choose platforms based on the various online reviews available.

Various Accounts Available

Investors should check if the broker provides the type of accounts that you need in case you want specific accounts such as IRA. Some online stock brokers do not offer such options and it would be important to ask or check online before making a commitment.

Payment Method

Finally it is important to check whether you can deposit funds into your account using a visa check card or other card that you use.

Here are the top 5 trading platforms for 2013:

TD Ameritrade

Ranked the top stock trading platform online, the platform offers among other advantages, and easy to use platform loaded with great tools.

E*TRADE

E*TRADE is easy to use, offers various tools on its platform and is available in a mobile version. It also offers great investment advice.

TradeKing

Apart from the attractive low trading commissions, TradeKing is also a darling for the thousands of investors on it who provide trade ideas and research.

OptionsHouse

Options House also has low trade commissions from as low as $3.95 flat fees. Additionally traders get 150 free trades for every new account.

Retirement Investing

Most people do not think of their retirement for a long time. While you may not find it important enough when you are young, it is something to consider doing heavily. Once you have retired, you are going to need that money to live a happy and full life. Depending on the government is not stable nor is it enough, and working when you are elderly is not a great position to find yourself. Retirement investing gives you the chance to save for the rest of your life. As long as you do it properly, you will have enough money in the bank to last you for as long as you need it. This will allow you the opportunity to live comfortably and peacefully, not worrying about your financial status.

retirement investing

You need to start this investment early. This is not something to ignore for years until you are right at the age, not if you want it to work. Begin putting a small amount of money into an IRA or something similar regularly and early so that you can see the biggest result in the end. If you find it hard to do this when strapped for cash, just try to do it whenever you can. Spending wisely and making this investment is important if you want to avoid dangerous financial problems in the future.

When you do begin to invest, you might look into multiple accounts. It is normal to do this, but you might also want to rollover one account into another. Doing this is not too difficult, but you need to familiarize yourself with the rules. You cannot do this often and you have a certain period to do it once you withdraw money, along with several other rules. Looking into all of them so that you know what is current and what is important. This will help you to avoid costly mistakes that lose you a lot of money. You should also make sure that you avoid common mistakes that people make so that you do not end up losing money.

Pay attention to your account and all activity, including mail you may receive about it. If something is not right, look into it immediately. Sometimes, problems occur and people make mistakes. In these situations, it is vital that you take action as soon as possible lest you pay more than you should. With a retirement savings, you cannot let problems occur at all. This will put your financial future in jeopardy, causing you to face possible troubles when you retire.

If you go about this properly and familiarize yourself with everything, it is easier to make the most out of your investment. With how important investing is, you cannot put anything less than your best into this. If you want to be sure that you are financially secure from the moment that you retire and that your money is safely tucked away, know the rules, possible mistakes to avoid, and all activity on your account or accounts. When you take the necessary steps and approach this informed, you can make the most out of every cent.

Emerging Trends in Socially Responsible Investing

Common terms for socially responsible investing include green or sustainable investing. Such investments consider both the financial and social good when preparing the investment strategies to implement.

investing

Already, socially responsible investors encourage corporate practices that ensure environmentally friendly products or services are provided, green technologies are used in the production process, consumers are protected, human rights and diversity inclusion is reflected in organizational practice and businesses involved in vice such as tobacco, alcohol, and gambling are avoided.

There are various approaches that are now used to determine which people or organizations are practicing socially responsive investing including:

Shareholders Advocacy

Investors who take a leading role in tackling issues of social, environmental and governance concerns, by talking to companies and filling shareholder resolutions creates investor pressure on company management, attracts media attention, educates the public on social, environmental and labor issues and gets something done.

Shareholders fill shareholder resolutions on various topics not limited to gender or racial discrimination, pollution, labor practices, climate change, political contributions and other issues. These resolution are then presented for a vote by owners of a corporation.

Community Investing

Socially responsible investors can direct capital to communities that remain underserved by traditional financial services institutions. Community investing can provides much needed access to credit, equity and other basic banking services to low income individuals. In addition, some common trends include extending capital supply for small business financing or to provide important community services such as affordable housing and child care.

According to the US SIF Foundation (ussif.org) sustainable and responsible investments continue to grow with more than one out of every nine dollars under professional management invested according to social responsible investing strategies.

Additionally, companies are now cautious about investing in repressive regimes with both institutional asset owners and money managers becoming increasingly critical of governance issues such as political contributions, executive pay, with direct impact on investment.

Additional community related criteria emerging in social responsible investment practices that money managers are now also looking at when considering investments included affordable housing, microenterprise and fair consumer lending, focus on carbon emissions, pollution and toxic handling and sustainable use of natural resources.

As a new emerging trend in the financial sector is the rise of community development credit unions. These are targeted at encouraging investors to move money from financial institutions tarnished in the 2008/9 financial crisis via ‘move your money’ campaigns.

There is a Better Future for Real Estate Investing

Investing in real estate is a good option for anyone who is not sure of their finances in the future. If you have saved a lot of money for the past decades, it is a good decision to put your money in buying real properties. The price of land whether agricultural or commercial continues to increase and with proper management of your money you can always assure of a good future. As the saying goes, “do not put your eggs in one basket”, investing in real estate is a great way to diversify your investment portfolio so that you can have a better chance at a good return on investment. But how much do you know about investing in real estate?

investing in real estate

Investing is a broad subject because it deals with the ownership, purchase, sale and rental of an estate. Whether these are commercial, residential, industrial, or agricultural; they are all covered under estate property. Owning a piece of jewelry or an electronic gadget is not covered by this type of investment. Real estate development is a sub-specialty of estate investment which covers developing land for commercial buildings, subdivisions, condominium buildings, hospitals, cemeteries, housing projects and industrial buildings. The assets that result from this type of investment are generally just called real estate.

Every year thousands of acres of land are developed across the globe as sites for commercial buildings and housing projects with large capital invested by the land owner and estate developer. Millions of dollars have been spent for this investment which is expected to give multiple incomes when the construction is completed or make the land ready for sale or rental. When the buyers and renters are attracted to the property, the estate developer/owner can start reaping the fruit of their labor. More cash inflow is expected to come in as the price of rental for a condominium unit continues to rise with demand, the same goes for apartments and commercial buildings and store areas.

Brokers and agents will benefit from the proceeds of the sale or rental because they are entitled to a commission that would be negotiated before the deal is made. Most the commissions are usually anywhere from 5 to 10 percent. But 10 percent is too high. In fact in some parts of Asia, usually the commission is anywhere from 3 to 5 percent, a heavy cost savings. Although it sounds small, this can add up on a property being sold in millions. 5 percent is certainly enough to cover a broker’s bills and other expenses.

If you know how to deal with clients, dealing with investment can be a lucrative job for you. It is beneficial if you can become a licensed broker so you are guaranteed commissions on deals as well as having the ability to complete real estate sales yourself. Investing in real estate is a good sideline for people who have day job. As such, they can earn great money on top of their existing salary. For as long as your have persuasive skills and the ability to entice your buyer, you are guaranteed to have a good return on your money with real estate investing.

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.

How Much do I Need to Save for Retirement?

A 45 year old man working a typical 9-5 job might be thinking more intensely about saving for retirement than a 21 year old that just landed his first full time job with benefits. At the age of 21, he might start contributing 4% of his income to his 401k with a more aggressive market approach. His 45 year old neighbor is struggling tirelessly to contribute 10% of his pay with a much more conservative approach. They both share one common interest: saving for retirement.
retirment saving
How much should an individual really save for retirement, and what is the ideal contribution to a company match plan? Many people have relied on and researched retirement planning calculators on the internet for years. The majority of these will calculate a percentage of income that one should be saving and deliver a figure that will support his/her lifestyle in 40 years. The calculator doesn’t take into consideration what everyone’s standard of living will amount to then. The sum of money that an individual should save for retirement doesn’t rely on income; it relies on money spent. A man could make $60,000 a year, but his current lifestyle requires an annual spending figure of $80,000. Another might bring home $80,000 a year, and his current lifestyle requires only $40,000. Should they both contribute the same amount to their 401k? Not likely.

Calculating a substantial amount of savings for retirement relies on evaluating an individual’s current spending and determining the standard of living he/she wishes to uphold at retirement. The retirement calculators that are based on income are not completely worthless. They provide a valuable resource for determining a figure of funds that will be saved after a number of years. Before utilizing these calculators, the individual must determine the ideal amount to save. This number will be derived from deciding how much to spend at retirement. Will they live lavishly, or will they live comfortably? Once a decision has been made on how much they want to spend in 40 years, then they can decide what to save. If the current budget does not allow for that level of spending, then they must discover other ways to save.

Here are a few frugal tips on saving money now for the future:

Stay healthy. One of the leading money guzzlers in retirement are health expenses. Prescription medications, knee replacements, high cholesterol, and cancer all come with a hefty bill. Regular physical activity and proactive health precautions may reduce these expenses.

Make friends with the neighbors. Retirees benefit from friends and family. Several people are willing to lend a helping hand to a senior citizen; a solid relationship will open this door.

Weatherproof the home. Energy costs are rising every year, and they might only increase in 20-40 years. Visit a local home improvement shop to find sealant for windows to prevent cold winter drafts. Ask about clearance items during the contrary weather season.

Being frugal will allow the individual to contribute much more to their company match plan for retirement.