Tagged: investing basics

How to Buy Gold: A Beginner’s Guide

There has been a lot of discussion about buying gold in the media over the past several years.  You may have wondered how exactly do you go about making such a purchase.  Mark Griffith, a former floor trader with the London International Financial Futures Exchange, gives a concise introduction in this topic. In this EHow video, Mark outlines the options available in purchasing gold in the marketplace.

Further aspects of using precious metals for achieving financial freedom will be presented in future editions of FFN.  FFN Editors

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above video are strictly those of the presenter.  They do not necessarily represent those of FFN.  Please use due diligence prior to applying the concepts, recommendations and/or in purchasing any products or services from the presenter). FFN Editors

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10 Financial Freedom Lessons You Can Start Applying Today

Given the challenges in achieving financial freedom, here are 10 lessons from Street Smart Finance that can help keep you on track.  These are seminal recommendations taken from 10 different financial management thinkers.  They represent the best thoughts on the financial independence process and broaden the range of expert knowledge available to us. 

Let us know your thoughts in the Comment Section below.  Also, please “Like” and “Share” this information with others interested in achieving financial freedom.  FFN Editors

Achieve Financial Freedom: Awesome Lessons to Spruce up Your Finances
Posted by Shilpan for Street Smart Finance (www.streetsmartfinance.org)

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”. — Ben Franklin

Achieving financial freedom is no small feat to undertake. Bogeyman is around the corner to snatch up your money before you even know. Even brightest among us face peril of losing wealth, if few major bumps come along the way.

How can you achieve financial freedom amid the ocean of financial information to explore? If you’ve felt hapless finding your safe harbor of financial freedom, you’re not alone!

Isn’t it a fabulous idea if you can get valuable advice to achieve financial freedom from 10 brilliant articles of financial wisdom on the blogoshpere? Of course, it is.

1. Saving money is the key to achieve financial freedom

The first step is to save aggressively. I’ve been saving 50%-75% of my after tax income every year for the past 13 years. I try not to be a miser and have done my best to try to spend money on things I enjoy e.g. vacations, food, a home, and tennis. Where I did “sacrifice” was not buying higher-end new cars (all but one were second-hand and under $20K) and going on less exotic vacations. Amanpulo I’m coming for you eventually!                     www.FinancialSamurai.com

2. Live Modestly

A lot of rich people constantly stress about their financial situation, all the while spending like there’s no tomorrow. If you’re making $500,000 this year and spend $400,000, you’d better hope that the economy doesn’t crash because once you’re out of a job, good luck funding that $400,00 a year hole in your pocket. By living modestly, you can relieve your stress and sleep well at night. Ostentatious living creates stress over your bills. – www.ModestMoney.com

3. Become a Renaissance man

What does becoming a Renaissance man mean? Think of a man like Leonardo da Vinci. Not only is the man famous for his inventions and scientific studies, but he is also one of the most famous painters of his time. His talents and interests were broad and deep, and there was no shortage of things to work on and explore. – www.InvestItWisely.com

4. You can’t go wrong with an Index fund

A portfolio of 100% stocks, which is what VTSAX(Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund) gives you, in study after study provides the greatest return over time. The only downside, and I mean only, is that the ride will be very rough at times. Admittedly, it’s a big one. If you are not tough enough to stay the course, if you get scared and bail when the storms are raging you are going to drown. But that’s a failure in you, not a downside of this asset class. – www.jlcollinsnh.com

5. You are responsible for your financial destiny; choose well

It is widely believed that small changes, practiced regularly, lead to out-sized results. Many great accomplishments began with tiny actions, implemented again and again. There’s research supporting the financial and personal benefits of quite a few of these habits. – www.barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com

6. Ordinary people can do great things too

I used to think that only geniuses and superheroes could achieve fantastic things in life. Or, at the very least, I felt that to have any success you had to be a totally go-getting, risk-taking, all out entrepreneurial maverick. At heart, I’m a cautious, down-to-earth kinda guy. My personal experiences, though, have shown me the potential that comes when you take positive action – even if it is only one step in the right direction. Extraordinary things are happening around us every day … all achieved by ordinary folk like you and me. — www.Vividways.com

7. Learn to invest in dividend growth stocks

The goal of Dividend Growth investing once retired is to maintain and grow your income from the dividends your portfolio produces. You maintain steady uninterrupted monthly retirement income as long as collectively your stocks will continue to produce 4% or more income annually and the dividend is not cut. – www.SeekingAplha.com

8. Think like a hamster, live like a hamster

Think less about money, more about time. Stop thinking of physical possessions in terms of money and start thinking of them in terms of time. Mentally convert money into minutes and you’ll achieve financial freedom faster. – www.FreeMoneyFinance.com

9. Save as if you were a 60 years old

Three things saved us: 1. Our unwavering 50% savings rate. 2. Avoiding debt. I’ve never even had a car payment. 3. Finally embracing the indexing lessons Jack Bogle perfected 40 years ago. – www.Mr.MoneyMustache.com

10. Learn from the Greatest Investor

Making money isn’t the backbone of our guiding purpose; making money is the by-product of our guiding purpose.” If you’re doing something you love, you’re more likely to put your all into it, and that generally equates to making money. – www.WarrenBuffett.com

Achieving financial freedom is all about developing mind-set to develop laser sharp focus on every aspect of your financial health. If you follow these articles of financial brilliance, you will be well on your way to the road of prosperity and happiness.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above article are strictly those of the author.  They do not necessarily represent those of FFN.  Please use due diligence in applying any concepts, recommendations and/or in the purchase of products or services from the author). FFN Editors

Get Your Retirement Plan Back on Track

Does your goal of retiring seem farther away than ever.  Well, you aren’t alone. The reality for many is that normal retirement at age 65 is being postponed to some later date.  As a result of the financial crisis of 2007/2008 and the widespread lack of retirement preparation, many have to work longer to reach the  financial level necessary to retire. 

Putting a retirement plan into effect is a critical step in making retirement a reality.  Trent Hamm writing in The Simple Dollar outlines several  steps that can get your plan underway. And, perhaps close to where it should be if it has been side-tracked.

Let us know your thoughts about this information in the Comments section at the end of this page.  Also, please “Like” and “Share” this information with others you may be interested in achieving financial freedom. FFN Editors

How to Approach Retirement Catch-Up
By Trent Hamm for The Simple Dollar

December 10, 2013

It’s well established that if you start saving about 10 percent of your income for retirement starting at age 25, you’re going to be in excellent shape for retirement when you hit age 65. This fact should be emblazoned on every single college and trade school diploma issued in the United States today: start saving for retirement now, not later.

Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t represent reality. Quite a few of us didn’t save at all during our 20s, and some of us didn’t save during our 30s, either. All the time, I hear from readers in their late 30s or early 40s (or even later) who are just now realizing that they need to start saving for retirement or they’re going to work forever.

If this describes you, the obvious answer is to start saving immediately. Right now. If you’re reading this article and you’re a professional adult without any retirement plan in place, you need to start a retirement plan.

If your employer offers a 401(k) program with matching contributions, run (don’t walk) to the HR office and sign up for that plan. Contribute enough to get every dime of that matching money because it’s essentially free retirement savings for you. If your employer doesn’t offer matching in their 401(k) program, look into opening an individual retirement account. I recommend contributing 10 percent of your income to that IRA, for starters.

So, you’re saving. Now what? The first thing to think about is time. If you’re only contributing 10 percent of your income per year to a typical retirement fund, it’s going to take about 40 years of saving before you can safely retire. Like it or not, that’s the reality of it.

If you’re 30 when you start, that means you’re looking at retiring when you’re 70. If you’re 40 when you start, that means you’re looking at retiring when you’re 80.

Another problem is that simply doubling the contribution doesn’t mean that you can halve the time. You can’t expect to contribute 20 percent for 20 years and match what you would get out of 10 percent over 40 years. That would only work if you were getting no return on your money – in other words, if your retirement plan involves stuffing cash into a mattress.

Saving for retirement once you’re behind the curve looks quite scary. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help improve your situation.

1. Get a Social Security estimate. The average American earns 40 percent of his or her retirement income from Social Security benefits, so knowing what you have coming to you can go a long way toward soothing retirement fears. The Social Security Administration offers a calculator to help you figure out how much you’re going to receive in benefits. It’s a good idea to wait until you’re as old as possible to start collecting benefits so you can maximize the income.

2. Look for ways to boost your income. Many mid-career folks find opportunities for freelance work and side businesses that can supplement their current income. Instead of simply spending that money, however, channel all of it into retirement savings (or into a mix of retirement savings and debt repayment). If you’re unsure where to start, visit your local library for information on side businesses and freelance opportunities related to your career path.

3. Hike up your savings. If you wish to retire earlier than 40 years from now, you’re going to have to save more. That means stowing away a higher percentage of your income. A good quick rule to use is that for every 10 years you want to shave off your goal, you need to double how much you’re saving. If you want to make it in 30 years, shoot for 20 percent per year. Twenty years? You should be saving 40 percent of your income per year. You need that boost to make up for the time you lost.

4. Cut out unnecessary expenses. Finally – and this is the tough part – you may have to consider some cutbacks. If you’re living a lifestyle that makes saving for retirement inconceivable, then you’re simply living beyond your means. You can’t assume that your ship will come in someday and everything will be OK. Everyone has expenses that they can cut from their life.

The road to retirement is a challenging road – but it’s not an impossible one.

Trent Hamm is the founder of the personal finance website TheSimpleDollar.com, which provides consumers with resources and tools to make informed financial decisions

(Disclaimer:  The views expressed in the above article are strictly those of the author.  They do not necessarily represent those of FFN.  Please use due diligence prior to applying the concepts, recommendations and/or in purchasing any products or services offered by the author)  FFN Editors

Key Investment Steps to Take Before Making Any Investing Decisions

Whether you are an active or passive investor, here are a set of critical decision steps to take prior to putting your hard-earned cash into the financial markets.  Offered by the Sorted Financial Money Guide, these are fundamental considerations that should be clearly determined by any prudent investor. 

Let us know your thoughts about this information in the Comments section below.   FFN Editors

“Top tips for investing”

Source: SORTED…Your Independent Money Guide (www.sorted.org.nz)

Before you leap into any investment decision, there are some important rules you should follow:

Set your goals: Decide what it is that you are trying to achieve. Where do want to be at some point in the future? What is the final outcome that you want from your investments and what is your timeframe? Think about debt – is investing the right option for you right now? Would you be better off using your money to pay off high-interest debt (e.g. credit card, hire purchase), or to reduce your mortgage?

Know your risk profile: You need to know what type of investor you are – essentially, how much money are you willing to lose? How much volatility (ups and downs) can you tolerate? To work out your investor type, use our investment planner.

Know how you want to invest your money: What mix of investments suits your investor type? Bonds, shares, property, bank deposits? Will you invest directly yourself or use managed funds? Our investment planner can help here too.

Do your homework: Research, compare and contrast everything – or get someone to do that for you. Read the business sections of the newspaper, go online, talk to your adviser, bank manager, or accountant. We suggest you also read any documents, such as the investment statement and/or prospectus, relating to the investment you are considering.

Research different companies’ investment options: If you are going to invest directly in a company, find out which companies suit your type. Do they offer the kind of investments you are after? What are the rates of return for each investment? What is the level of risk associated with the return?

Research the companies themselves: What does the company do? What markets is the company in? Who is running the company? Have they ever been declared bankrupt? How is the company run? Does the board have independent directors? How has the company performed in recent years – is there a steady performance over time?

Get the right advice: Shop around for an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) who you have confidence in. Authorised Financial Advisers must tell you (in a written disclosure statement) how they are paid and the impact that can have on the advice they give you. Find out more about getting investment advice.

Spread your risk: As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your risk around different options and different companies. For example, if you are considering high-risk investments, you can balance your risk with other investments in lower risk areas, like bank deposits or cash and bonds.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above article are strictly those of the author.  They do not necessarily represent those of FFN.  Please use due diligence prior to applying the concepts, recommendations and/or in purchasing any products or services from the author).  FFN Editors

Warren Buffett’s Advice for Living a Successful Life

As we enter the new year, here are some life planning ideas from one of the best known successful people of our times. While Warren Buffett is often quoted regarding his investment philosophies and approaches, he often offers very sound ideas about living a well-rounded life.

In our  featured video clip from the “Warren Buffett Blog Channel”,  Mr. Buffett offers some important advice on where one can invest their time and energy to be a success in life.

Let us know your thoughts about this information in the Comments section below. And, please “Like” and “Share” this information with others who may be interested. FFN Editors

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are strictly those of the presenter.  They do not necessarily represent those of FFN.  Please use due diligence in prior to applying any concepts, recommendations and/or in purchasing products or services from the presenter).  FFN Editors

How to Trade the Forex Market for Financial Freedom

Tim Bennet with Market Week gives an excellent overview of the trading issues in the foreign exchange (forex) market.  As Tim point out, the Forex market is the largest market in the world for investors and traders. 

Knowing the investing terrain is in this market is critical.  It’s huge, fast-paced and filled with some of the best and brightest traders.  However, there is room for the smaller trader, as well.  Here is a primer on how to participate.

Let us know your thoughts about this information.  Also, please “Like” and “Share” this post with others interested in achieving financial freedom.

(Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this video are strictly those of the presenter.  They do not necessarily represent those of FFN.  Please use due diligence prior to applying the concepts, recommendations and/or in purchasing any products or services offered by the presenter).  FFN Editors

The Best Books for Investors to Read. Learn to Earn for Financial Freedom.

Tim du Toit, founder, analyst and writer for Eurosharelab, shares his top picks of the best investment books to read. If you are currently investing in the financial markets or have entertained a desire to invest, you are probably familiar with many of these titles. However, Tim has taken a lot of the guess work out of deciding which books are the best of breed. (See: Bio below)

So, while not comprehensive and strictly Tim’s view on the matter…the nine books he features are certainly worth the time and energy to peruse.

Let us know what you think of this article in the Comments section at the end of this page.  And, please “Like” and “Share” this with others you think may be interested in achieving financial freedom.

“Nine books every investor should read”

by Tim Du Toit, for Eurosharelab,

This article is a list, in no particular order, of the best investing books I have read and the ones I think you will find the most helpful.

Why nine books?

I looked at all the books on my book shelf and audio device and these were the ones I found the most valuable. I would have liked to make the list ten but could not find another that I thought would benefit you as much as the books I had already selected.

Besides, nine books to read does not sound as intimidating as ten.

For inclusion on the list a book must pass the “dog ear” test. When I find something worthwhile in a book I fold the page and mark the text with a pencil. Thus the more folded pages a book has the more valuable it is.

For the best prices look for the books used at Amazon or if you commute or drive a lot, buy them from Audible (www.audible.com) so you can listen to them on your mobile device.

A word of warning. Audible uses its own software that has to be installed on your mobile device, so before buying make sure your device is supported.

The Little Book that Still Beats the Market

by Joel Greenblatt

Hardcover: 183 pages

ISBN-10: 0471733067

ISBN-13: 978-0471733065

Don’t let the title of this book fool you. It’s written in an easy to understand way by an outstanding hedge fund manager, Joel Greenblatt, who is also an adjunct professor Columbia Business School.

You can easily finish it over a weekend and probably not think the same about investing thereafter.

I would classify this as one of my must read value investing books

What you will get from this book:

•It will teach you a statistically tested investment strategy with an excellent track record

•It will explain it in easy to understand way

•It will show you how to implement it in easy to understand steps

•It even had a website where you can easily find the companies to invest in (unfortunately in the USA only)

You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits

by Joel Greenblatt

Paperback: 304 pages

ISBN-10: 0684840073

ISBN-13: 978-0684840079

This is the first book by Joel Greenblatt.

Do not let the unusual title of the book fool you, it has a lot to offer.

It extensively covers often overlooked areas of the stock market where profitable investment opportunities can be found.

It is not such an easy read as The Little Book that Still Beats the Market but a worthwhile book for more advanced investors.

What you will get from this book:

•You will be introduced to profitable investment areas such as, spin-offs, mergers, risk arbitrage, restructurings, rights offerings, bankruptcies, liquidations, and asset sales, which are not usually considered by the average investor
•It will give you the best places to look for these ideas and also where you can find good ideas you can copy, but you still need to do your own homework

The Little Book of Value Investing

by Christopher H. Browne

Hardcover: 208 pages

ISBN-10: 0470055898

ISBN-13: 978-0470055892

This book also has a title that may let you overlook it, but don’t.

It is written by the partner of probably the best value investment fund managers in the world Tweedy Browne (www.tweedy.com).

It’s also a book that you can finish over a weekend. It will teach you the ins and outs of value investing in an entertaining and easy to follow way.

What you will get from this book:

•The book is the distilled wisdom of a successful investor
•It will explain value investing, a method of buying undervalued stocks, in an easy to understand way.
•The book is written in an easy to understand way making it suitable for beginners and advanced investors
•It is an easy read that can be finished over a weekend. Implementing the principles will take a lifetime
•Ample use of examples and historical case studies is used to illustrate points

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel

by Benjamin Graham

Paperback: 640 pages

ISBN-10: 0060555661

ISBN-13: 978-0060555665

Since it was first published in 1949, this book by Benjamin Graham the father of value investing, has sold over a million copies.

Warren E. Buffett called it “the best book on investing ever written.”

Look for the Revised Addition with commentary on each chapter and extensive footnotes prepared by senior Money editor, Jason Zweig which has updated the book to fit with the current markets.

This is a value investing classic and another one of my must read value investing books.

What you will get from this book:

•Value investing explained in its purest sense
•Explains how to make unpopular but profitable investments
•Explains the psychology of investing
•Clearly explains how Wall Street works and refutes investment falsehoods
•Gives you a clear check-list to follow when making investments

Contrarian Investment Strategies – The Next Generation

by David Dreman

Hardcover: 464 pages

ISBN-10: 0684813505

ISBN-13: 978-0684813509

David Dreman is a long-time fund manager and columnist for Forbes magazine.

He is one of Wall Streets best-known and most articulate contrarian (going against the crowd) investors. This book is an updated version of his 1982 book and includes recent research on investor psychology.

What you will get from this book:

•Investment research explained and combined with how to practically pick winning investments
•You will be shown how going against the crowd adds to your investment returns
•In clear how-to terms be shown how to apply the ideas in the book
•Scientific proof why all forecasting is a waste of time
•Learn how to override your natural tendency to under-perform the market

The Dhandho Investor: The Low – Risk Value Method to High Returns

by Mohnish Pabrai

Hardcover: 208 pages

ISBN-10: 047004389X

ISBN-13: 978-0470043899

Mohnish Pabrai is a disciple of Warren Buffett having directly copied his investment partnership structure and investment method.

This book is a worthwhile read giving the reader good insights into value investing principles and the idea of heads I win, tails I do not lose much.

The book is filled with easy to understand examples and written in an easy to understand way.

What you will get from this book:

•Learn how to invest in companies with little downside and lots of upside
•Gives you a keep it simple framework for investing
•Learn how to stack the odds in your favour when investing
•Gives you a plan on when to sell

One Up on Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know To Make Money in the Market

by Peter/ Rothchild, John Lynch

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 3, 2000)

ASIN: B001I7L8BE

Until retiring in 1990, Peter Lynch was manager of the very successful Fidelity Magellan Fund, America’s biggest mutual fund.

David and Tom Gardner from Motley Fool (www.fool.com) called Peter Lynch the second greatest investor in the world after Warren Buffett.

In this book Peter Lynch explains in a straight forward way that investment opportunities abound for the layperson by simply observing business developments and taking notice of your immediate world, from shopping in the mall to the workplace.

The book has been a national best seller in the USA for good reason. It offers valuable insights in an easily understandable way.

What you will get from this book:

•It will tell you how to beat Wall Street by using information gained from everyday life
•Learn how you have the same opportunities as professional investors to make money in the stock market
•Learn what information you must focus on and how to apply it
•Learn why you really know more about investing than you think

The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Second Edition

by Warren E. Buffett (Author), Lawrence A. Cunningham

Paperback: 296 pages

ISBN-10: 0966446127

ISBN-13: 978-0966446128

Over the years I have read, listened to and looked at numerous books on Warren Buffett. This is the best one I have read and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

If you want to read only one book on Warren Buffett this is the one to get.

I have the first edition but suggest you buy the second edition with added material.

What you will get from this book:

•The summarised and categorised wisdom of Warren Buffett’s business and investing teachings
•Investment and business success explained in a straight forward manner everyone can understand
•The secrets to investing explained in an easy to understand way

Value Investing Made Easy: Benjamin Graham’s Classic Investment Strategy Explained for Everyone

by Janet Lowe

Paperback: 224 pages

ISBN-10: 0070388644

ISBN-13: 978-0070388642

This book is another excellent introduction to value investing.

It clearly sets out the main tenets of value investing with reference and quotes to Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett.

An excellent book for beginners with a summary of Benjamin Graham’s value investment and analysis principles as found in his book Security Analysis.

What you will get from this book:

•Value investing explained in an easy to understand way
•A step by step guide how to apply value investing when investing
•How to manage risk as well as do well irrespective of what the market does
•A practical how-to guide to value investing

More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places

by Michael J. Mauboussin

Hardcover: 320 pages

ISBN-10: 0231143729

ISBN-13: 978-0231143721

Michael Mauboussin is the chief strategist at Legg Mason a well regarded US based fund manager.

This book is a compilation of his strategy reports, most of which begin with diverse scientific findings, then show why and how you can apply it to your investment activities.

While not directly an investing book it is a book that will help you in your investment decision making.

What you will get from this book:

•The explanation of how scientific findings relate to investing
•Learn a multi-disciplinary approach to investing
•Why financial television should be watched for entertainment value only
•How you can simplify your investment approach while still maximizing your returns

Your reading analyst

Tim du Toit

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Meet the Expert
 Tim du Toit

Tim, the founder and editor of Eurosharelab, was born in South Africa in 1967.

After school he wanted to become an electrician. Well, he wasn’t sure of what he wanted to do and his dad said a friend had an electrical contracting business and was making a lot of money. He quickly changed his interest to investing after completing a stock market correspondence course that fascinated him. 

When Tim started investing in 1987 he made virtually every investment mistake you can think of until he realised that investing was not a recent human activity and that there must be some good research and books about what has worked in investing. Not in the short term but over long periods of time in up and down markets.

So for over the next 20 years he did exactly that. Reading and studying every article, research paper and book he could find to help him improve his investment performance. Something he still does.

In between his investment activities Tim completed a Bachelor of Commerce (cum laude) and Honours degree in financial management from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. And an MBA degree in finance and strategic management at Indiana University in the USA in 1995 where he graduated in the top 10% of his class.

Tim lives in Hamburg a city he says is the most beautiful (and unknown) city in Germany. 

(Disclaimer: The above views are strictly those of the author.  They do not necessarily represent those of FFN. Please use due diligence prior to applying the concepts, recommendations and/or in purchasing products or services from the author). FFN Editors