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Archive for December, 2008

Guide to Getting Financial Advice

December 30th, 2008 at 03:52 pm

Once you decide you need a financial advisor, you then have the problem of locating one that is right for you and part of this is in the location. You need to be able to get to your financial advisor without too much hassle or a long trip, so choose one that is in a convenient location to you.

You could always ask your friends or family for their recommendations, but remember that their financial circumstances and goals may not be the same as yours, so their financial advisor may not suit your needs. Picking one at random from a phone book is your next option. You won’t always know if the one you pick will suit you, but you can go in for the first consultation and find out. At least you should know whether they are conveniently located by the address given.

Or you could go online and do some research. The Financial Planning Association (FPA) website makes it easier to wade through the array of financial advisors. You just need to type in your postcode to bring up all those that are close to your location. Seeking a financial advisor who is also a member of a financial organization such as the FPA will ensure that you get someone who must not only undertake extra development and training all the time, but is committed to a code of behaviour and ethics beyond that required by the law.

The financial advisor you choose can only work with what you tell him or her, therefore it is important that you are honest about all your financial dealings. Only then will they be able to produce a statement of financial advice that will be of use to you. And by the way, they are required by law to give you a written statement of advice, not just tell you verbally.

An important question to ask your financial advisor is whether another company owns their business. If it does, this might have some bearing on what products you will be offered, since they will always be interested is selling products from which their company will gain commission. Once you have your financial advice all sorted out, you’ll find that it gives you peace of mind to know that you are doing all you can do financially to get a better life. By following the advice of a professional financial advisor you will be making the best decisions possible.

Tailoring Your Investment Plan

December 23rd, 2008 at 05:11 am

Your investment planning strategy should be tailored to fit your own unique circumstances and position. Only you know what your interests are, how much you know about investing generally, your risk comfort level and how much you have to invest.

Age is one of the main factors in working out an investment plan to suit you. Since all investment carries a certain degree of risk, the younger you are when you start investing, the better. If you are young enough to factor in at least 25 years of investing before you need to touch your money, you are at the prime position for investing. You have time to lose and recover investments when you are young. This doesn’t mean you should choose high-risk investments for all of your spare cash. A good portion of your investments should still be in areas that are safe, such as superannuation or other retirement accounts.

No one should venture into the stock market without a modicum of knowledge - that would be foolish. Instead, set yourself to learn a little bit at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed and give up before you start. The less you know, the more your investing planning should rely on managed funds. There is a great deal to learn about investing and you won’t be able to learn it all in just twelve months. But once you start to learn, you may be comfortable keeping a percentage of your money out of managed funds and invest it using the knowledge you have gained.

Since personal investing takes time and effort, you need also to make sure you have the time to invest your money satisfactorily. Depending on your knowledge of stocks, you’ll need to commit at least five hours of your time per week to your investing. Of course this will depend on the ratio of individual stocks to managed funds that you have.

Investments need to be analysed to find out if they are a good risk. You can use expensive investment services or you can choose the free ones that are just as good. Many public websites have balance and cash flow statements, press releases and earnings reports. Choose a few reputable websites and stick to them, otherwise you’ll be inundated and confused with the amount of information you find.

Even when deciding on your own investment strategy, you can take advantage of a general market index. Keep a similar investment ratio across the sectors, otherwise you may find that you are dangerously over-allocated in one sector. Then if it begins to lose money, your diversification will not be wide enough to save you. Don’t let thoughts of losing money put you off investing though. It is by getting in and doing it that you learn best, and you stand to gain a great deal more by investing than by standing on the sidelines wondering if you should.

7 Ways to Build Wealth

December 23rd, 2008 at 04:43 am

Experts tell us that the only way to build wealth is to invest. While saving your money in a bank account is good, it is not investing. The interest rates offered by banks or other financial institutions are not enough to really build wealth. Here are seven other ways to build wealth.

1. Investing. While we know that there is risk in buying stocks and shares, traditionally they always go up over time. To avoid the worry of whether you’ve bought at the right time, put aside a small amount of money to buy shares every month or two (see comments below). This will even out the lows and highs.

2. Compounding interest is getting interest on your interest. It means that an investment will double in seven* years if you get 10% interest on it and keep on reinvesting it.

3. If you own a house and rent it out, you’ll get the benefit of your fortnightly rent as well as the capital appreciation over several years. But remember to invest the rent - and sell the property at the right time for capital gains. The maintenance you have on real estate makes it not the best investment ever.

4. There is good debt and bad debt. You can use debt for investment and the interest will be tax deductible as in leveraging. Stay away from credit card debt as that is a hazard to your wealth.

5. Saving will build wealth if you remember to do it before you pay the bills rather than after. If you find you have nothing left to save, it’s because you’ve spent it all first. Write down all your expenditure for one week and see how much you’ve just wasted.

6. To lessen tax, buy shares in a company that pays dividends. That money has been taxed before you get it, so you are given tax credits that you can apply to your other income.

7. Diversity is the keyword when investing. If someone drops that basket all your eggs are in, they’ll all get broken. But if you only had one egg out of twelve in it, then your other eleven eggs are safe. True diversity is hard for a novice to achieve investing, so use a managed fund.

Everyone can build wealth if they put their minds to it. Kids these days learn how to trade shares at school. They are the lucky ones if they put their knowledge to use. But you can still learn how to do it without that benefit. Many people have started out with nothing and built wealth up over the years. You just have to put your mind to it.

Investing to Build Wealth

December 8th, 2008 at 10:00 am

There are several ways in which you can invest to build wealth that takes care of your financial needs, and what you choose will need to suit your own personal goals and circumstances. Choosing the correct investment strategy will help you to build wealth in the safest and quickest way possible.

Depositing your money in a bank will keep it safe and help you build wealth, but how do you choose which type of account to put it in? If you have a lump sum that you won’t need to access, then a fixed term deposit may be the solution. The term you choose can be anything from a month to three years. When you deposit money into a fixed term account, you cannot access it until the term is up without forfeiting your good rate of interest. But at least you know that interest rate will stay the same until your term is up.

An electronic account is also an excellent choice for those who have Internet access. These types of accounts usually attract no fees, but you need to have another account linked to it so that you can access your money. Access need not be only via the Internet, but in most cases by phone as well. Electronic accounts offer an excellent rate of interest and allow you to take advantage of compound interest as it is calculated daily and added monthly.

Most banks offer the chance to invest in managed funds. Investing in a managed fund will help you to build wealth faster without the effort and time required to manage your investments yourself. You can depend on the bank’s professional fund managers to do the best investing for you that is possible in the current financial climate.

If you prefer to have more control over your investments, then you might choose a more direct option of investing, available through many banks. They still offer a range of tools that you can use, along with investment advice and research that you can choose to follow or not.

Building wealth is not that difficult - all it takes is the decision to start doing so, and the journey on from there can be one of fulfillment and satisfaction. Once you start building wealth, you’ll find that it becomes easier as your knowledge base increases and soon you’ll find that money worries are a thing of the past.