Stock Investing Don’ts: learning from others’ mistakes

Stock investing is a good thing: you get a say in a company you believe is bound to success. You earn dividends from the company’s earnings. You sell a part of your share when the price goes high, and so on and so forth. So, you could assume it’s a pretty advantageous way to invest your money with the expectation to get profitable returns. But if you are a rookie in this just wanting to start out, there are a few things to should keep an eye on. Stock investing is an interesting sphere. You have to have, what’s best called, a special sense of feeling when to make certain actions. If the prices go up, down, or somewhere unknown, or if you are hyped about investing all of your money in one place, there are a few DON’Ts you will have to know about in order to eliminate risks and invest smart.

DON’T N1: Do not make emotional investments

Emotions are not acceptable in this tricky world of stock investments. I mean, if you love investing, that’s a good thing, means you are enjoying the process. But, do not let your emotions have control over your investment decisions. Under all circumstances you have to remember to take a “sober look” at the situation and remain rational. Do not panic and withdraw your money right away when you see the stock market going down the road, like many people did during the Great Recession back in 2008. Do not give in to emotional outburst of anger or fear to keep you from taking a step up into a bigger opportunity. In a similar manner, do not get too attached to the ownership of a share to the point of not willing to sell it when it needs to be sold. The examples are numerous, the moral is one: stock market is a place where emotions should not be allowed. All of your actions and decisions should be made solely based on research, data and your senses, which are way rational than your emotional feelings towards a certain asset or share.

DON’T N2: Do not overinvest. Just. Don’t.

Investing in stock market is a good place to put your money in. However, you should do it wisely, because too much of everything can harm. Investing all your money once and for all is not the smartest decision ever. You should be able to invest some at a time. Everyone knows that in stock market you should buy shares when they cost low and sell them when they reach their peak. Investing all of your hard-earned money at once will defeat the purpose of investing and trading wisely. So, make sure you make the investments periodically in order to make the most profit out of it. If you are struggling with how to start investing in stocks, investment newsletters are a great place to start with. They will guide you through your first steps into a successful investing pro who reaps returns like no other.

DON’T N3: Do not try to put the stock market into time frames, you’ll fail

Don’t get me wrong, you can, in fact, make good assumptions and predictions about when the market is more likely to hit the downroad or the opposite. But do not try to underestimate the abilities of the market to surprise you and hit you right back. Putting time limits and frames on how the market will perform in a month can be done only based on years’ of experience topping with good research, valid data and understanding of the spectrum in the first place. But other than that, you shouldn’t be timing the stock market, it will find a way to make you pay for it, literally.

DON’T N4: Conformity is not a smart thing in stock investing

You know there are people with no guts of their own, willing to make money  through stock investing without actually having their own ideas, motives, understanding and readiness to, actually, invest. Believe it or not, but people do lose their “individuality”, as investors, while trying to follow the crowd when the market is at its worst or the opposite. 2008 is a great evidence to that. Funny thing is, no one knows how and when the market will perform as expected, so conforming to the decisions of a few investors is not a good idea. Investing in the stock market is an individual thing as well. One might get away with investing all of his money into one company, whereas you might lose a big portion of yours if you went with the ‘all or nothing’ motto. Do your own research and study, collect your own data and, most importantly, make your own decisions while investing.
Do not rush the stock market and do not expect it to fulfill your expectations, because it won’t, and that is, frankly, the intriguing character of stock investing.

Here’s why it is important to document your finances for your family

Life is unpredictable and being healthy today does not guarantee you the same tomorrow. Death and incapacitation are common occurrences that take place on a daily basis and thus one needs to have a plan. Documenting your finances does not mean that you are predicting own death as many people tend to think. It just shows that you are smart and responsible enough to direct others how to use your estates when you are gone. The following are reasons why you should document your finances.

  1. Appoint your beneficiaries

The government shares property among the immediate family members according to the laws and regulations regarding inheritance if there is no valid will. Such property is not given to charity or friends unless there is a will that directs so. You can distribute your finances among family, friends and other noble courses through writing.

  1. Avoid conflicts among family members

Family feuds and fights over property often happen due to lack of documentation. The government in such a case appoints a lawyer to handle the sharing. Inheritance disagreements can lead to enmity and mistrust among family members. The only way to ensure that family members protect and respect your decisions is putting it in writing.

  1. To cater for emergencies

Accidents are inevitable, and you can become ill or incapacitated such that you cannot make logical decisions. You can designate someone to handle your finances in such instances for smooth running. You can draft a Power Of Attorney to deal with all your legal and financial matters. You can also prepare a living will that dictates how to handle your medical health when you cannot speak for yourself.

  1. Avoid losing property to the government

The crown takes all the assets when someone dies with no valid will or family. The process of inheriting unclaimed assets is tedious because one has to prove that he/she is an entitled relative. Friends can also fraud your loved ones after your demise.

  1. Plan ahead for a decent send-off

You can direct the family members on how to conduct your funeral service, particularly if you want specific things to happen. The last thing you want is to lumber your family with debt. Paying into a plan will stop that problem from happening.

A proper documentation gives your inheritors an easy time when managing your estates. It is only through writing that you can direct your loved ones on how to use the property.

Yes, You Can: Actually Save Money Using Your Credit Card

If you believe using a credit card is nothing more than an expensive exercise, it is probably time for a rethink, as there are a number of ways you can come out on top when you use your card instead of cash.

Not convinced?

Here is a look at the positives attached to using a credit card you might not have even thought about, as well as the extent of some of the credit card benefits you may not have realized you could get.

No Scissors and Coupons Required: You Can Save Cash with Cards

There is a fair chance that you are one of those people who quite happily cuts out a coupon to use at your local store or restaurant, as it seems that well over 80 percent of us are noted to be occasional to regular coupon users.

That stands to reason, as most of us are not likely to turn down the chance to get some money off, or maybe even a free gift. The same mentality can also be applied to using your credit card, as there are literally hundreds of card-linked offers out there that you can take advantage of nowadays.

Reward schemes like cash back, unlimited purchase discounts and cash back rewards are the kind of deals that card issuers are offering. Other cards offer discounts at certain participating restaurants and gas stations, while others offer free flights or hotels.

If you use coupons to get money off, or like getting something for nothing or for little effort, it makes sense to use your credit card to unlock some of these rewards, unless you are happy missing out.

It is also worth pointing out that it is a lot less hassle to get your hands on credit card rewards, as you don’t have to cut any coupons out, and there are no codes to scan. Once you have signed up for a rewards scheme, just pay with your card and the rest will happen automatically.

Even More Savings: You Can Get Some of Your Money Back

Cash back deals are always worth looking out for and this is a prime example of how using your credit card could actually save you money.

If you see a cash back program being offered with your credit card, it is always worth signing up for the program, as you could get some of your hard-earned cash back to spend again in another way. You get rewarded just for using your credit card when you pay for your groceries or almost anything else you use your card for on a regular basis.

Although many of these schemes offer you cash back, as the description implies, this can also be offered to you as discounts, travel vouchers, hotel and travel rewards, and plenty of other ways to spend what is effectively “free” money from the card company.

Getting a percentage of the cash back that you had to spend anyway is a real no-brainer and a persuasive reason to use your credit card, so that you get the maximum benefit from your cash spending.

Retail Reality Check: You Get Easier Returns

There is almost nothing more frustrating than purchasing an item that doesn’t turn out to be right for you or just not what you expected it to be. In reality, there is one thing more frustrating than that: when you discover the retailer is not playing ball and won’t accept a return for whatever reason.

If you can’t get your money back, or only get offered a store credit, which you probably don’t want, that can turn out to be a costly experience. If you paid for the item using your credit card; however, it makes it easier for you to get your money back and cancel the transaction.

If something is faulty, not as described, or there are other viable reasons you don’t want to keep what you’ve purchased, the extra layer of consumer protection you get when you pay by credit card gives you more options than if you paid by cash or debit card.

There are certain rules and limits relating to cancelling a card transaction, but they are normally far more generous than other methods of payments. Using your credit card could save you money in this scenario, as you are less likely to get stuck with something you don’t want or are unhappy with in the end.

It is fair to say that saving money isn’t the first feature that springs to most people’s minds when talking about credit cards, but when you look into what they offer, there is actually a good chance your card could do just that. Start by finding out what your credit card provider offers, so you can take advantage of the benefits using your card could bring.

About Erin Bradshaw

Erin Bradshaw knows from experience how credit cards can be the root of all evil, but now almost debt free she can also see their positive sides. She writes about a range of personal finance matters in her online articles as she shares her own views, experiences and tips for managing your money better.

How To Plan For Your Financial Life And The Stages That Follow


Once you recognise the ever changing reality of your financial circumstances you will begin to see the need for effective planning and strategy. We are directly affected by fluctuations in the economy as well as financial markets. In a similar manner, your own personal financial needs never remain constant. They are also prone to change many times throughout the stages of adulthood. The good news is that it is probably simpler to determine how your financial needs will change than it is to predict the future of financial markets.

”Having a financial game plan makes you focus on the way you use your money and helps lay the groundwork for a bright future. This might seem daunting at first, but if you manage to work your plan, the rewards far out way the effort.

Your financial life as an adult typically comprises three distinct stages. And with these come changes in the levels of personal income you are able to enjoy, and the added responsibilities that life will throw at you. You will no doubt have increased financial concerns as you age from taking care of a family to eventually worrying about retirement. Fortunately, the patterns are fairly consistent and these are stages we all have to go through.

The first stage is when you are a young adult entering the working world for the first time. Depending on your earnings you need to establish good habits with regards to spending and saving. Decide early on to be a wise spender. Start a monthly budget so you can learn to control your money. If you have to borrow money always give preference to purchases which have long term value instead of just short term enjoyment.

Saving should begin as soon as you earn your first pay cheque and then continue for the rest of your life. Usually, the tendency is to celebrate your earnings by spending on entertainment and luxuries. Sadly in South Africa, even employees at advanced stages of their lives struggle to keep aside money on a monthly basis. If you’re just starting out now is the best time to commit to healthy financial habits.

The second phase of your financial life is known as your prime earning years. This is when you find that your career starts to grow and your earnings increase correspondingly. But at the same time, you have increased expenses. You are also probably looking at owning a decent house and car, or settling down to marry. All of these things have direct financial implications. During this stage, your need to save money goes even higher because you have to consider your family in addition to yourself.

You will probably have to save money for your child’s education while your personal retirement planning should be well underway. This is also the stage where you should seriously consider investing portions of your savings so you can build assets for the future. The need for protection for you and your family also increases so be sure to have insurance products that meet your requirements.

The third stage actually begins shortly before you are near retirement. Your needs for healthcare are likely to go up and this is easily taken care of if you had implemented a medical aid or insurance plan in earlier years. The cost of healthcare is always on the rise so make sure you are covered during the time you will need it most.

Though you are free from the working world you will still have investments to look after. This is the time when you get to reap the benefits of passive and residual income especially if you started investing as early as possible. Your retirement should be a time when you can finally kick back, relax, and enjoy well deserve special times with your growing family.

Making quick bucks with binary options trading

Binary options are becoming lucrative trading options for a lot of traders these days. If you too are looking for some quick, yet effective ways to make profits from your trading opportunities, then here is a guide which will come across as effective for you.

  • Early Close Feature: Ideally, many traders contemplate whether to stick on till the end of the day to close the deal, or to withdraw early and close at a profit. Since there is always a risk of holding on to the investment for too long, chances are that it might end up in a loss. If you feel that the stakes are in your favor, you should fold and close the deal on a profit, by putting in the papers earlier than usual. Consult your broker and take a decision accordingly.
  • Choosing your trading strategy: If you are following in the footsteps of your mentor or simply using your own strategies, make sure that your strategies have a 70% winning ratio. If you are constantly changing your strategies, and investing big amounts, chances are, you are playing with fire. If you are using someone else’s existing strategies, analyze the ROI before jumping in with guns blazing. It is very important to follow efficient trading strategies in order to become a successful binary options trader.
  • Understand the trading signals: If you’re still relatively new on the trading scene, it’s imperative to understand how to read the signals. Don’t jump on the trading wagon, while basing your trading shots on sheer instincts. Wait for the prices to stabilize, before you start trading and putting your numbers in. Once the price has stabilized over a period of time, take it as your cue to start investing.
  • Trade investment limiting: A good trader never sets in all his money in his investments. It’s ideal to only invest 10% of your bank account balance in your investments, and take it on slowly from there. Reinvest the profits you make during your trading periods. The more you make, the more you invest. If you go beyond the 10% rule, you stand a higher risk of losing your money over a period of time.
  • Invest in companies which are constantly in the news: This is called trading on the news. Many big companies stocks and shares are often impacted by the trending news. Good examples are Apple, Samsung, Google, etc. Since these are some of the biggest product launchers these days, they are also the trend setters in the market. As soon as they launch a product in the market, say a new phone or a tablet, you should be on an alert to trade in their stocks and shares using binary options within the next 1-2 days post the product launch. With such positive upward trending, the stock prices usually escalate, landing you with a comfortable profit on your initial investment.

You have to play your cards right to be able to ensure you are making profits for yourself. Follow the steps mentioned above and see how you rise above the rest, when it comes to making money in binary options. The more experience you gather, the more you will become a pro at investing and understanding the signs of successful trading.

Putting Your Feet Up: How to Create the Ultimate Retirement Plan

It is an understandably typical life goal to be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement where you have the security of enough money behind you to put your feet up and relax, but there are plenty of us who fall short of our ambitions.


Don’t stop, keep going

One of the simplest but effective bits of advice you can take heed of, is to start saving as early as possible and keep going for as long as possible.

Even if you start saving small amounts of money when finances are tight and maybe you are trying to balance the books while raising a family, it can accumulate into a tidy sum of money faster than you might think.

An ideal scenario would be to try and put 10% of your monthly income away and once you are in the savings habit, don’t stop putting as much money away towards your retirement, even when you can see the finishing line in sight.

Keep on saving for as long as you can and as much as you can. It will make a big difference to your retirement plans.

Make the most of tax benefits

Everyone likes the concept of getting a bit of free money, and from your point of view, if you sign up to your employer’s retirement savings plan, it can boost your retirement pot with the tax savings available.

Ask about details of what retirement savings plans are available through your employer, such as a 401 (k) for example, as the compound interest and tax deferrals available through a scheme like this, can definitely make a worthwhile difference to the amount you have to retire with when the time comes.

You can’t rely on the state

A worrying amount of people are under the illusion that Social Security will as good as pick up the check for their retirement plans and give them the money that they need to survive in retirement.

The reality is very different to the perception and it needs to be firmly understood that the government does provide a financial safety net of sorts, but it is a very basic one, and if you don’t make any worthwhile provisions of your own and start saving for retirement, the stark reality for many, is that they are going to lead a pretty meager existence when they stop working.

It is never nice to hear bad news or to discover the truth is more unpalatable that you would like, but it is worth heeding the warning and ensuring that you have your own Plan A to work to, rather than the more unfavorable Plan B of relying on Social Security.

Crunching the numbers

Continuing on the theme of realism, you do need to crunch the numbers and work out exactly how much retirement income you will actually need in order to be able to do all the things that you have got planned.

Although your monthly expenses should be lower in retirement, once you have paid off the mortgage for example, but if you want to maintain the lifestyle you currently have, expect to need somewhere in the region of 80% of your pre-retirement income.

A simple calculation would therefore be to take the amount you earn each year at the moment and work out what 80% of that figure is. That number you get is your target annual income figure, which is a good starting point for working out how much you need to save in the time that you have left, to be able to have enough to draw that amount of annual income.

Life expectancy

We don’t ever know exactly how long we have left on this planet, which can make retirement planning a bit tricky.

You obviously hope to live a long and happy life, so the best guess to work with if you take the national average, is that you will probably have about 20 years of retirement to enjoy, give or take.

While you might not want to contemplate your eventual demise, it does make planning for your retirement much clearer, if you work on the basis that you will need to accumulate about twenty years of annual income.

Once you have a set of goals and plans in your mind, you can then set about creating a financial plan that allows you to meet these targets and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Christopher Bryant is a personal finance consultant who works with a wide range of people, from millennials and newlyweds to those approaching retirement.

Six Ways Student Debt can Swallow up Your Budget

Chances are you won’t find a single postgraduate in the nation who doesn’t audibly groan and wince like they stepped on a Lego at the mention of “student debt”. The truth of the matter is that student debt actually has even more dire implications than people are aware of. Aside from simply needing to struggle with paying back their personal debt balance, student loan debt impacts your budget in ways that are far more expansive than you may know.

Less opportunity for independent proprietorship

Historically, people have been able to survive periods of economic destitution by starting small businesses to supplement their income. However, due to the costs for college skyrocketing in such a short period of time, the windows of opportunity for you to overcome a saturated job market by opening a small business are shrinking. Student debt isn’t just something that you need to pay back, but also an anchor on the amount of money that you can safely invest into improving your overall standard of living in general. The higher your debt grows, the less freedom you have to use innovative and independent methods for fighting it.

Inability to set aside money for a buying home

In the face of soaring student debt, you won’t have nearly as much of an ability to think about becoming a homeowner. Without being able to set aside as much money as you would if you were debt free, the costs of home ownership will likely be far higher than what’s reasonable. Without being able to escape loan debt, chances are that most postgraduates will have to resign to renting for the rest of their lives.

A much lower chance of getting any other kind of loan

Even if you sweep your student loan debt under the rug and refuse to think about it, student loan delinquency is never invisible. Your inability to pay back a loan will be recorded and have a direct effect on your credit score, which will essentially blacklist you from all credit unions that bring it up. Due to the difficulty of getting any loans, student debt can end up forcing you to pay for just about everything in cash.

Your retirement will be hindered

Obviously, when you’re so focused on keeping your head above water with your student loans, there are other responsibilities and needs that just go untouched. It’s not news that it’s becoming more and more difficult every year for Americans to make retirement their priority, but what is new is the amount of debt that young adults are having to take on to help pay for a degree

If there’s one piece of advice that young adults need to take is that if your employer has a 401K plan, and they have a matching program, you should probably take advantage of it. Retirement advisors agree that the optimal time for Americans to start saving is 24 or 25. Even if it’s only $50 a month. Save.

Budgeting for student debt

Despite the reality of how daunting student debt can be, it isn’t impossible to successfully fight against it with the right budgeting techniques. The first step of the process to to simply come up with a budget in the first place, which is many people may initially find too intimidating to even consider. Maintaining a student checking account can help you monitor spending habits and determine how much you can afford to spend each month on your loan.

Mark off a weekend that you can sit down and identify all of the specific ways that student debt could potentially interfere with your personal ambitions; there is generally a six-month grace period allowed after graduation. Even if six months have already passed, you can still benefit from working the budget out as soon as possible.

Determine a monthly payment amount, and make a commitment that you can reasonably maintain. Even if you can only pay back a small amount at a time, anything is better than nothing at all. Calculate any payments on private student loans that you may have as well, and be sure to consider talking to any private lenders who may be able to guide you in the right direction.

After you know how much you’re going to be spending on loan repayment on a daily basis, take a moment to see how you budget can be reconfigured to accommodate it.