The stock market doesn’t know you’re a woman



Do you consider yourself an investor? If you’re a woman, the answer is probably “no.”

Even women who easily manage their budget often are reluctant to embrace the idea of investing in the financial markets. But it’s probably even more important for women than men that they harness their money to the power of those markets.

Here’s why: A confluence of factors is leading to a chasm in the amount of retirement income women have compared with men. Thanks in part to the gender wage gap and lower average Social Security benefits, plus smaller retirement-account balances, the median annual income of women 65 and older is 42% lower than men’s, according to a study by financial-services firm Prudential Financial Inc. The study is based on several data sources, including the U.S. Census and the Social Security Administration.

The retirement-income gap is compounded, at least partly, because women often hesitate to embrace investing. And one reason for that is generally women want to feel completely knowledgeable before deciding on anything, whereas men tend to feel more comfortable winging it, according to an analysis of over 30 studies, cited by Prudential.

Thus, for a lot of women, if they don’t feel they really know about investing, they’ll stay on the sidelines. Combine that desire for more knowledge with a lack of time—women spend an average of 28 hours a week on unpaid work, which is 65% higher than men’s average, according to Prudential— and the result is women failing to invest.

“When it comes to investing, women’s shortage of time, combined with their desire for more information in decision-making, may fuel procrastination, lower engagement, and reduced confidence,” according to the Prudential study.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that even though the vast majority of married couples surveyed said they share financial decision-making, fully half of those couples also said that investing is the husband’s province, according to a survey by financial-services firm UBS, cited by financial adviser Alice Finn in her new book, “Smart Women Love Money.” Finn is founder and chief executive of PowerHouse Assets, in Concord, Mass.

Yet there is no sexism or gender bias preventing women from investing, Finn notes.

“It might be a long time before we close the gender wage gap or pass legislation to guarantee paid maternity leave,” Finn writes, “But you don’t need to wait for anyone else’s consent before you get more engaged in your financial future.”

Finn also cites a Stash Invest survey that found that 60% of millennial women don’t see themselves as investors. “In actuality, an investor is anyone who puts money to work hoping to get a financial return,” she writes.

Who among us doesn’t want our money to work for us? Too often I’ve heard women say that “personal finance is boring” or “investing is too complicated.” But having the money to reach our goals in life is not boring, and investing is definitely not complicated. So why not let the financial markets help us build our wealth, even as we spend most of our time enjoying our lives, careers, families, and adventures?

Whether you’re trying to save through a 401(k) or other retirement plan at work, have a lump sum that you want to invest for the long-term, or are thinking that you’ve got $100 you could spare every month to invest for retirement, now’s the time to embrace the power of investing.

Below is a brief rundown of how to start investing, culled from Finn’s book as well as a free investing guide produced by Ellevest, an online financial adviser (look for the guide on Ellevest’s website, under the Resources tab).

1. Start now

What are you waiting for? “The sooner you get your money into the stock market, the sooner it can start working for you, year after year after year,” Finn writes.

Finn is referring to the magic of compounding, which you should take advantage of immediately. Say you invest $10,000 and earn 10% on it in the first year. That gives you an extra $1,000. If you repeat that process the next year, you’ll earn another $1,000—plus $100 on the $1,000 you earned in the first year. That extra $100: that’s the magic. Your money builds on itself, and all you have to do is stay invested.

If you have a retirement account at work, start diverting money from your paycheck. If not, go to a low-cost brokerage such as the Vanguard Group and open an account. Then put regular contributions on autopilot. If you qualify, you can open an IRA or Roth IRA to save for retirement, or you can open a regular (read: taxable) brokerage account. Or check out one of the so-called robo advisers: online advisers such as Ellevest (which has no minimum account balance and charges 0.5% of the money you invest, as a management fee).

2. Embrace stocks for the long haul

Yes, the stock market is volatile and you may lose money on a short-term basis. That’s why you need to have a long-term outlook for any money you invest in the stock market. Staying in for the long haul lets you ride out the small bumps and even the larger market corrections. Consider that all the people who ran away from stocks during the most recent financial crisis: After the market hit bottom in March 2009, it then proceeded to boom. The S&P 500 SPX, +1.00% one measure of the stock market, is up about 258% since then. And what about the long-term outlook for the market overall? If you believe that companies in general will continue to innovate and grow, then you believe in the stock market’s ongoing success.

Women might have a slight edge on men when it comes to investing for the long haul. “It’s about putting the money away and letting it grow,” says Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and chief executive of Ellevest. “Women bring to the workplace and life in general certain characteristics that, on average, are different from men. One of them is they take a long-term perspective—and that is a real positive when it comes to investments.”

3. Make investing a habit

As noted in Ellevest’s “5 Rules to Invest By,” it’s a smart idea to invest a small amount out of every paycheck. Investing on a regular, periodic basis helps you avoid the problem of market timing—that is, trying to figure out the best time to buy and sell stocks. With a regular investing habit, you buy throughout all market environments, whether the market is up or down, and you don’t sell until you’re just a few years out from needing the money.

4. Ask about fees

When you invest, there’s more than one fee to watch for. First, if you hire an adviser, you’ll be paying that person in one form or another, so ask about management fees. Ellevest recommends not paying more than 1% of your total assets under management. Second, the investments you buy will charge a fee. Generally, mutual funds that track an index (both traditional mutual funds and exchange-traded funds) will be the cheapest way to invest. Third, ask about trading fees and any other charges. You want to shop around for low fees. Finn offers this example in her book: A $100,000 investment earning 6.5% a year over 30 years will become almost $500,000 if the investor pays a 1% annual fee. But if the fee is 2% a year, the end result is $375,000.

5. Diversify

Investing doesn’t have to be complicated, and one reason is that you can pick index mutual funds, rather than getting distracted by all the various individual stocks. “Should I buy Apple AAPL, +0.13%? Should I buy Google GOOG, +0.03%? You can spend your whole life trying to figure out which individual stocks to buy, but you’re missing the big picture,” Finn says. She recommends investing in a low-cost portfolio of index mutual funds.

Your next question is which mutual funds. “Asset allocation—how you divide up your assets—is your most important decision, not what individual stocks you’re going to buy,” Finn says. That is, what portions of your money will you put in stocks versus fixed-income assets such as bonds and cash. Within stocks alone, of course, there are many different categories, including mutual funds that focus on U.S. small-, mid- and large-capitalization stocks, international companies and many more.

You don’t need a dozen mutual funds to invest for your future. For some ideas on which mutual funds to use for your long-term investing goals, check out MarketWatch’s Lazy Portfolios. And Finn’s book has a detailed guide to how to think about asset allocation. Finn also offers insights into any of what she calls the five fundamentals of investing: 1) investing in stocks for the long haul, 2) allocating assets, 3) using index funds, 4) rebalancing regularly, and 5) keeping fees low.

tag : Devin Consultants Financial Management in Singapore and Tokyo

When a high debt can result to high returns

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You must have taken a peek at this year’s billionaires who made it to the top of the list of those who added fortunes to their wealth. How many billions did they gain over the previous year’s figures?

Most investors think that having a high debt is undesirable and must be avoided. Naturally, they tend to see it as adding more risks to a company’s present exposures. And once that company defaults on its debts because of underperformance, it could fold up.

Nevertheless, high debt can lead to positive consequences. It can bring in greater returns, even offsetting the greater risks involved in the process.

Enhancing yields

The major reason why debt can improve overall returns is because it costs much less than equity. A firm can raise capital either through equity or debt, with debt generally offering a less expensive option. Hence, maximizing a company’s debt levels in order to generate higher returns on equity is more logical. It can lead to greater profitability, stronger share-price performance and increased dividend growth.

The proper circumstances

Admittedly, maxing out a company’s debt levels is not a wise move at all times. Businesses with highly seasonal performance and dependent upon the conditions of the general economic environment might encounter great difficulties if their balance sheets are heavily leveraged. During times of low returns, they may not be able to undertake debt-servicing steps, aggravating the company’s situation.

On the other hand, companies performing in sectors that offer strong, consistent and viable revenues should increase debt to comparatively higher levels to enhance the gains for their equity-holders. For instance, it is to the advantage of utility and tobacco firms to raise their debt levels because of their high level of earnings visibility and the relatively strong demand for their products.

Economic periods

During periods of low interest rates, it certainly makes sense for businesses to borrow as much as possible. The previous ten years provided such an opportune time to borrow, rather than to lend. Global interest rates have experienced such record lows, thus, leading many companies in various sectors to decrease their overall borrowing rates.

In the future, a higher rate of inflation is expected, portending higher interest rates. Although it could lead to increases in the cost of servicing debt, it should be compensated somehow by higher prices passed on to the end consumer. Moreover, a higher inflation rate will serve to diminish the real-terms value of debt. This can lead to increased levels of borrowing in the future.

Conclusion

Although increasing debt levels can also increase overall risk, it can be a viable step under the proper conditions. During periods of low interest rates, businesses with strong business models may enhance overall revenues by raising debt levels. And while higher interest rates may entail rising costs of servicing debt in the future, higher inflation may reduce the real-terms value of debts. Hence, investors can opt to buy stocks with a modest degree of debt exposure to optimize their overall gains over the long-term.

tag : Devin Consultants Financial Management in Singapore and Tokyo

Why value investing could be the riskiest investment strategy

Why value investing could be the riskiest investment strategy

For many years, value investing has grown to become a very popular and profitable investment strategy. Among those who consider value investing as a viable choice are Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett – two of the most successful value investors with spectacular gains over a long period of time.

The expected returns from value investing are comparatively high, although the risks are oftentimes much higher than most investors can handle. This is because value investing can result in an investor being subject to value traps, which occurs when a stock’s price is low for a very valid reason. What are value traps?

Value traps

Surprisingly, value traps are more common than most investors realize. In spite of global share prices having increased from the beginning of the year, many other shares will still actively trade at significantly low prices in comparison to the broader index.

Although some might catch up and recover, others will not. Nevertheless, low-priced shares commonly appeal to value investors since the capital gain potentials are attractive. In short, for a good number of conservative investors, value investing may provide a high-risk option which could bring a substantial loss.

Beyond prices

Value traps may indeed provide a trading risk for value investors who do not realize that “value” goes beyond merely having a low share price. According to Warren Buffett, “It is better to buy a great company at a fair price than to buy a fair company at a great price.” Ultimately, the viability of a company must be measured along with its share value.

Hence, if a firm’s shares are selling at a lower price than their net asset value, a potential risk in the future might keep them from recovering the valuation deficit. Likewise, a stock which is valued according to the wider index may in reality provide significant value for money if there is a positive expectation of a rapid increase in returns over a medium-range period. In short, value investing can be a great strategy when you consider certain essential factors, such as price, prior to acquiring the shares of a company.

Periodic changes

Obviously, with rising stock prices, value investing loses its appeal. As investors all over are buying, value investors are selling and choosing to invest in other assets, such as cash. Conversely, when market prices are down, value investors will be buying stocks instead of selling them, contrary to the overall market consensus.

Being a value investor then can be a challenging occupation; and, on the short-term basis, it is quite easy to suffer paper losses as past trends continue to prevail. However, on the long-term basis, it has proven to be a viable strategy for investors of a certain level of experience and capability. It is not totally risk-free. So, by not merely focusing on price, this approach can serve as a highly-dependable road to financial success in the long run.

tag : Devin Consultants Financial Management in Singapore and Tokyo

Building Wealth through Passive Income Ideas (Part 2)

Passive Income Sources that Require an Initial Time Investment

Most of these sources will involve setting up a personal website or blog; but that is not actually an expensive proposition. You may utilize the services of Bluehost for this purpose. They will provide a free domain name and will host your blog at an initial price of only $3.95 monthly, a really cheap outlay for the opportunity to create a passive income source.

Publish and Sell an eBook Online – Self Publishing has become a profitable source of income for many individuals. More often now, any eBook you buy from Amazon could be a self-published work. This is because self-publishing has become significantly easy; you should try it to find out how easy it really is. It simply involves writing and editing a book yourself, designing a nice cover for it and then submitting to a platform, such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Although there is no guaranteed success, that should not stop anyone from accomplishing one of the three proverbial things any person must do in life before passing on, besides having a child and planting a tree. And before that time does come, utilizing this passive income source requires plenty of marketing upfront before you can benefit from your investment.

Offer an Online Course on Udemy – Udemy provides an online platform for people to take video courses on various subjects. You can be a producer instead of being a consumer on Udemy by offering your self-made video course and selling it online. This passive income source is a great option for those who have the skills or talents in any particular artistic or academic field. Moreover, it multiplies your efforts several times over, compared to the conventional one-on-one or classroom tutoring mode – indeed a potentially lucrative passive income source!

Selling Your Photographs – Did you know that many websites, blogs and even magazines acquire their photos from websites featuring stock photos? So, if you are into photography, you can turn in your favorite shots to stock-photo sites and earn a fee each time someone buys one of your photos.

License Your Music – In the same way, you can have your music licensed to bring you a stream of income through royalties paid by those who use your music. The usual venue for licensing music is through YouTube Videos, through ads and other means.

Design an App – If you are a smartphone or tablet user, you are probably very familiar with apps downloaded into them. Perhaps, you yourself have a great idea for an app. In that case, get the help of a programmer to make that app for you. That should provide you some residual revenue.

Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing involves collaborating with a firm (becoming an affiliate) to receive a fee or commission on a product. This approach of creating income works well if you have a blog or a website. It might take a long period before you can build up the idea in order to gain passive income from it. Check out affiliate marketing programs available online to find out which suits your needs best.

Network Marketing – Network marketing, also referred to as multi-level marketing, has been drawing people for many decades now and providing many of them with above-average income. You have probably heard of such firms as Avon, Young Living Oils, Pampered Chef and AdvoCare -- all engaged in multi-level marketing. This can be a great source of passive income. You can build a team to work under your banner (what is called your down-line people) who will provide you commissions from the sales they make, even if you do not make any sales at all or just make a token sales output based on your required quota as one team.

Design and Produce T-Shirts – Cafe Press provides online users to make their own T-shirt designs or other items requiring some designing work. You can earn royalties from the designs you make, especially the ones that become hits.

Sell Digital Files on Etsy – You can also sell your own artwork through Etsy which provides digital files of artwork people can print out for decorating purposes. Other popular digital files on Etsy are available for download. Who knows? Your collection of graphic designs might provide you a steady stream of passive income if you join the site.

Ideas for Semi-Passive Small Business Ventures

Vending Machines – Vending machines can be a fantastic low-maintenance small-enterprise venture. Any individual can maintain several vending machines in a string of nearby towns. Every two weeks, you can collect and refill them, bringing revenue for your future retirement life.

Car Wash – There are still many places that do not have car washes. It is a good semi-passive income source. A weekly regular maintenance job can provide a very comfortable schedule for a business idea that you can either personally manage or hire out to someone else.

Storage Rentals – You can also rent out to customers storage space for a monthly income. The main job involved is when opening any of the storage units for new customers.

Laundry Services – This is a rather debatable option for a semi-passive income source since it can actually involve a lot of continuing maintenance work. You can decide whether it is worth all the expected work.

Easy Passive Income Sources

Finally, here are a couple of easy passive income sources which demand no cash and no initial work. Although the returns are very minimal, nothing beats getting easy passive earnings.

Cashback Rewards Cards – Using a credit card to pay bills can provide you cash-back rewards. Allowing your rewards to accumulate for a certain period and later putting the easy money you saved into a passive income venture will do the trick for you. (Check if the card you use does not charge a yearly fee; or else you end up with zero revenue in the end.)

Cashback Sites – Similar to the previous one, you can choose to use a cashback site when shopping online. Why should you not get a hold of that free money for so little or for no work at all? You may decide between eBates and TopCashBack, the two most popular sites available.

Get Started Now

The best strategy for a beginner is to have only one passive income source instead of having 4 or 5 right away. This allows you to learn slowly the ropes first and to focus on building a passive income venture. Once you have mastered one, add another until you are fully content with the income stream you have built up.

At the start, a significant amount of money and time will be involved; however, in time you will realize that earning passive income is a cinch! Choose the most suitable idea, plan your venture and commit yourself to that income source until you start benefitting from it.

tag : Devin Consultants Financial Management in Singapore and Tokyo

Building Wealth through Passive Income Ideas (Part 1)



Do you want to earn some passive income? We give you twenty practical ideas to help you enhance your financial situation. You may need to invest some money or time to pursue your goals. Before you do choose which one will suit your needs and situation, take time to appreciate the meaning and value of passive income.

Proceeds from passive income streams demand an initial investment and plenty of careful attention at the start. But once you put in the time and the diligent work, the payoff starts to grow and can sustain themselves, providing regular monetary rewards with much-reduced effort in managing the investment.

From the actual personal experience of many people, augmenting to your portfolio the income from passive income sources can serve to enhance your earnings and fast-track your financial objectives in remarkable ways.

And so, if you want to begin cashing in on passive income ideas, arm yourself with these fundamental principles:

What Passive Income Requires

Firstly, let us do away with some misconceptions about passive income. The word “passive” does not mean you merely wait, doing nothing for the income to come. Every passive income source demands at least one of these two requirements:

1) An initial monetary investment, or

2) An initial time investment

Without at least one of these two, you cannot hope to acquire residual income. There are numerous passive income ideas you can apply no matter what your area of interest or involvement may be.

Passive Income Sources that Require an Initial Monetary Investment

Dividend Stocks – These are proven and reliable sources of passive income. Nevertheless, you need to do a lot of study to determine which stocks are worth investing a substantial amount of money into in order to obtain sizeable dividend returns. Investing consistently into dividend stocks can help you accumulate a significantly large residual income in the long-term.

Investing into the following investment ventures requires opening an account at the most reputable online brokerage in order to reap the rewards you expect:

Peer-to-Peer Lending – P2P lending involves providing loan money to borrowers who normally do not qualify for conventional loans. You, as the lender, have the power to select the borrowers and can also spread your financial exposure to minimize your risk. Two of the most common peer-to-peer lending platforms are Prosper and Lending Club.

Properties for Lease – A great way of gaining monthly income is through leasing out property. To maximize your income potential, outsource the handling of the properties to a competent management firm.

Crowd-funding has become a common way of starting out in rental properties. You can begin investing in real estate for as low as $5,000.

The advantage of utilizing a platform over a DIY approach is that you spend less time and effort in managing the investment.

Money Market Funds or CD Ladders – Creating a CD Ladder demands acquiring CDs (certificates of deposits) from banks in particular increments in order to earn bigger revenue on your money. Banks offer CDs as a low-risk investment but with also a low yield, providing an alternative investment choice for people who avoid high risk levels.

You may consider these popular market funds to gain high yield returns:

Annuities – As a form of insurance product, annuities can offer monthly passive income payments for life. However, before buying an annuity, consult a dependable financial counselor regarding the terms involved, since annuities may vary and do not always provide good returns.

tag : Devin Consultants Financial Management in Singapore and Tokyo

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Pearlene L. Carey

Author:Pearlene L. Carey
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