Category Archives: Invest

Forex Technical Analysis

When discussing Forex, technical analysis is the term for the use of indicators resulting from past price movements in forecasting future price movements. There are many financial indicators to choose from when conducting Forex technical analysis. Each indicator has its own strong points and a Forex trader can decide to use only one or several at the same time in order to help him reach a profitable judgment regarding the trade he is interested in placing.

Momentum indicators are one instrument employed consistently in Forex Technical analysis and they are very useful tools. Moving averages, or MA’s, can be adapted to be momentum indicators as well as Support/Resistance markers. With Forex technical analysis, we can plot multiple moving averages of different time spans on our charts and thus create a useful momentum indicator referred to as the moving average crossover.

Forex Technical Analysis

There are two types of moving average crossovers used in Forex technical analysis. The first type involves a given price which crosses over or under a given moving average.

The second type of moving average crossover is the shorter-duration moving average which cross over or under longer, slower moving averages.

Using Forex technical analysis, we can understand under what conditions a moving average crossover signals a possible momentum and trend change and how to identify a ‘signal’ from a trader’s ‘secret proprietary system.’

Other Indicators

There are several other popular technical indicators used in Forex trading. To the ear of the novice Forex trader, the names of these indicators may sound strange indeed. Trend lines, Bollinger Bands, Fibonacci Retracements, Stochastic Oscillators. But as intimidating as these names are, they are really quite easy to apply and it is possible for traders with any level of experience to incorporate these indicators into their daily trade-decision process. In fact, with the latest generation of trading platforms fully capable of performing the necessary calculations for you, you certainly don’t have to be a mathematician in order to generate accurate market charts.

Forex technical analysis can be uniquely applied for different traders. Traders have their own interpretation of where they see trends and support and they also have their own ideas about setting up their indicators. These differences are collectively applies as a trading system that is custom made to your specific requirements. You can ask ten different traders what their strategy is and there is no doubt whatsoever that you will hear about ten dissimilar systems utilizing totally diverse signals. This diversification is what creates a market and allows it to continue.

Technical analysis is very useful in Forex trading but it is important to note that this tool makes up only one portion of what you need to know when trading Forex. Understanding technical analysis will give the charts some meaning when you look at them and help you understand why certain price movements occurred. But there is more to know if you want to come out a winner in Forex. In depth knowledge of Forex markets and what makes Forex work coupled with considerable practice are needed before you can hope for a profitable outcome.

TD-forest-tree

TD protecting 1,420 football fields of urban forest and green spaces

Over the last decade Canada has been losing massive amounts of urban forest due to urban development. This means we are loosing valuable environmental and community benefits that go along with them. Development is good but too much that bites into our ecosystem is not.  We want to grow or cities but we still want to maintain the green spaces in our community. TD-forest-tree   So what are we doing about it? TD has joined with the nature Conservancy of Canada and The Nature Conservancy in the U.S in protecting various areas in North America where critical forest currently exist. You can find out which parts of your community TD is working in to protect the green spaces near you.

Pleasantly surprised there is an area not far from my own place in Victoria, BC. If fact as of July this year (2013) TD has protected areas that equal 1,430 football fields which is approximately 1,846 acres. That is a huge amount of protected areas. Thanks TD! TD-forests-map Urban forests and green spaces form the backdrop of healthy and sustainable cities and towns and if you want to participate in the TD Tree Days and TD Green Streets by planting trees in your community. Their goals is to plan 45,000 trees for July 2013.

You are probably thinking yes, so we want green spaces and urban forest in our communities but what does it have to do with Canadian Personal Finance?

Well, like all financial institutes that support a charitable causes,  TD supports urban forest and green spaces. This is one cause that hits home with me. Being surrounded by trees in BC it’s certainly nice to know that TD Tree Days is also helping our community. We all want to make money from our stocks however it’s cream on the cake knowing that your investment supports charitable causes that resonate with you. Do you know which charitable cause your invested stock picks support?

moving

10 Things to Consider Before Migrating

There are people, especially those who can afford to travel from country to country in search of one where they can settle and call it as their “home”, their personal sanctuary. Deciding to move to a new country, whether it is for retirement, work or lifestyle, is often the result of having had several vacations in the area or is based on a good review in a travel magazine or on T.V.

moving

However, travelling and deciding to permanently move into a country, regardless of how long you’ve spent your time there, are two different things as actually living there can often be based on an idealized vision that can’t be always true.

So before you sell your belongings, here are things to consider before deciding to migrate to a different country:

  1. Family and Friends

Keep in mind that when you move to another country, you would, in most cases, be far away from your family and friends, so think about how close you are to them and if you can really “leave” them behind in order to start a new life in a different country. This is one of the most, if not the most, important thing to consider since there will come a time that you may miss them.

On the plus side, it is always great to gain new friends and you won’t necessarily have to forget the old ones. It would just make your circle bigger and that would be just as exciting. Picture having your friends visit you at your new home and introducing them to your new friends—that could be something to look forward to. Also, the internet has given an opportunity to get in touch with people regardless of distance so you won’t really have to be “far away” from them.

  1. Language

Another important factor to consider is the language used. If the native language of the country you are considering is not English, determine how well you understand the language. Do you know the basics enough to cope with an emergency or could you make small talk at a party?

However, it is always fun to learn new languages although it would take time and a lot of getting used to, but it isn’t impossible. Also, English is a universal language, so for sure you are bound to find someone who can understand you even when you are in a country where English is not the native tongue.

  1. Culture

Keep in mind that every country has their own unique culture and their way of doing things that can be different from what you are used to.  The way people interact when shopping, working, doing business, in social settings, etc, can be different from country to country. Also, there would be traditions that, in most cases, you would have to follow as well; therefore, you have to consider if you can adapt to these new customs.

However, similar to languages, it is also exciting to learn new cultures from different countries although it would require a lot of time getting used to it. Most natives of different countries are helpful enough to teach foreigners so, even if it can be hard, it is still possible.

  1. Financial

It is important to know the cost of living in the country you are considering so you would have an idea how much budget you would need as you start off your new life so it is important to research on this first before moving. There are a lot of forums and other websites that have informative contents on cost of livings in countries so it is best to check that out first before moving.

  1. Employment

Do you have the skills, talents or legal abilities required to work in your designated country? There are issues in some countries where you are allowed to work or not which is why it is important to consider this. There are jobs that will require work visas or permanent resident statuses for the country so it is best to do proper research first.

Luckily, there are jobs that you can do from anywhere in the world where the internet can be accessed through online jobs such as web content writing, online marketing or web developing and designing. You can do this first while waiting to have a permanent resident status in the country in order to get an office-based job if you want to.

  1. Lodging

Have you already considered your lodging? Do you have an eye on a certain home or have you purchased one already? Or can you temporarily stay at a friend’s house? It is important to browse through homes before completely immigrating to another country—after all, you wouldn’t want to spend months in a hotel room as this would increase expenses.

Before moving out, make sure that you already have somewhere to go. Research on houses by typing in specific and clear keywords such as “homes for sale in Calgary” or “Calgary home listings”, for example, so you can easily find credible results.

  1. Lifestyle

Do you have a certain ritual or lifestyle that you do such as visiting museums, eating out, watching movies or television programs at home? It is important to know if the country you are considering can suffice the certain lifestyle that you are used to.

However, there are countries that could give you a different ritual and even better than what you do. In Calgary, at Alberta Canada, for example, there are tons of activities such as horseback riding that you can do. The hills there are perfect for hiking and biking any day you want so this can add to your lifestyle if you are willing.

  1. Shopping

It is important that you have access to shopping areas where you can buy all the necessities and more without having to travel too far. Also consider if the selection of goods and services that you have become familiar with are available or if they have some alternatives for them. Most countries do, so shopping may not be that much of a problem but this is still something to consider.

  1. Amenities and Facilities

Consider the amenities available in the country if you are used to a certain standard of living. Are roads well maintained and cleared after every snowfall? Is there a consistent supply of electricity? Are services completed at a reasonable time? These are things that you should consider if you are used to live in a certain way. Also make sure that you are close to important facilities such as medical clinics, shopping areas, schools and the likes.

  1. Emergency Return

There may come a time when you have to return to your native country such as a family emergency so it is important to consider if this would be stressful or a hassle to you as it would cost a lot of time and effort for you to do so.

Ultimately, immigration is an exciting endeavor as it would mean a new world and a new life to start. The bottom line is that you should be flexible in order to successfully do this and you should be willing to adapt with whatever will come your way if a situation demands it. If you can do this, it would be easier and enjoyable for you to live in another country.

Carlos Montes has been working in the real estate business for a decade and is helping people who are looking for Calgary real estate listings, condominium, townhouse, duplex, and rural properties.

Financial discrimination

What is financial discrimination?

Financial discrimination is the unethical or illegal practice of unevenly offering compensation, financial assistance, access to financing or financial services on the basis of non-relevant factors such as profit interest, illogical reasoning and religious orientation.

Financial discrimination

An example of financial discrimination is when a lender or servicer denies, adjusts or rejects a legitimate financial claim via an unfair qualification or indemnification process. Financial discrimination can occur across a range of industries and economic sectors such as insurance and municipal services.

Not offering equal pay

for equal work is a form of financial discrimination. The infamous

“glass ceiling” is a recognized inequality brought about by

gender perceptions. Possible indicators of gender based financial

discrimination are evident in data from government agencies such as

the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More specifically, according to

the BLS, the difference between income among male and female

caucasians in 2012 was $169 or 19.22 percent. Another form of income

discrimination is the legal mechanism of deeming work by contractors

unqualified for minimum wage.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB, denying credit, and even discouraging potential applicants from pursuing credit on the basis of race, gender and age is illegal credit discrimination. Many industries are vulnerable to this because illegitimate reasons are easily replaced by legitimate ones. For example, even if a home loan applicant pre-qualifies for a mortgage, they may not be pre-approved or discriminated against on the basis of a minor financial detail that does not substantially impact that applicants ability to qualify.

When lenders have the

ability to set their own lending policy within the law, the raising

of prices for one group of people while keeping prices lower for

another within the same marketplace is possible. This practice is

brought about by official or unofficial policy or underwriting

practices that selectively or falsely target financial criteria as

being a greater financial risk. Thus, if a loan applicant is seen as

a higher risk via a biased, but seemingly objective lending policy,

that borrower could technically be charged a higher rate of interest.

While laws such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act offer consumers protection against financial discrimination, enforcing laws designed to protect against financial discrimination is not always easy. To illustrate, auditing a multitude of corporations amid a nexus of almost endless and shapeless financial criteria is not only expensive, but an unrealistic undertaking. At some point, an element of trust and public faith is both necessary and reasonable despite those things being taken advantage of.

Any case of financial

discrimination outside of the sphere of legitimate free market

enterprise is a serious issue. However, investigating and evaluating

every suspected instance of financial discrimination is not

guaranteed to be feasible. This provides an opportunity to those who

seek to discriminate. Consumers can protect themselves from  financial

discrimination by becoming aware of what financial discrimination is,

and what laws, policies and organizations exist to prosecute or

mediate instances of such.

About the author:

A.W. Berry is the blog manager for Moneycationa website dedicated to building financial awareness and literacy. 

car-loan

Unlock the Cash Tied Up In Your Car

A car logbook is basically an ID book for your car, and it lists things such as the chassis and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) numbers, the registration number and the details of the registered owner.

car-loan

Many people are not aware that the logbook of the car can actually help them to get some much needed money in the form of a loan. Plus the best thing is that the owner is allowed to keep using the car during the loan repayment period. This type of loan, known as a logbook loan, should not be confused with a standard car finance loan as the two are very different. Car finance loans allow people to purchase their car in the first place, whereas a logbook loan allows you to borrow money to spend on whatever you want or need while using the car as security to minimize the lender’s risk.

There are a number of differences between a logbook loan and other forms of credit, and you need to be aware of these before you consider taking out a logbook loan. Firstly, the terms of the logbook loan will require you to surrender the logbook and the car in order to secure the loan, however, you will be allowed to keep using the car during the repayment period.

Secondly, there are no credit history checks at the time when you take out the logbook loan, so even if you have a less than sparkling credit history, you will be able to borrow money when you have been turned down elsewhere. However, the amount you can borrow will depend on the car you have and its age, condition etc.

The person applying for the loan will need to fulfill some basic conditions in order to successfully take out a logbook loan, and these are:

  • The car that the logbook is for should not be more than 8 years old and the car must be in a good state of repair.

  • There should be no outstanding finance or loans already taken out on the car. So if the car is being used as collateral for another loan, this must be paid off in full before a logbook loan can be granted.

  • Before applying for a logbook loan, the car that is being put up as collateral has to be properly insured and taxed in line with local laws, with no missing payments. Any outstanding money owed to the tax office or the insurer must be paid off in full before applying for a logbook loan.

  • The person applying for the loan needs to prove that they have a regular income and can meet the payment requirements.

  • The person applying for the logbook loan must have their name on the logbook.

Like any other type of loan that has collateral secured on to it, the logbook loan repayments must be paid on time, otherwise the company who issued the loan has every right to take possession of the vehicle should the owner default.

Logbook loans are usually taken out over a short term in much the same way as a payday loan. However, they are often a preferable option as they can offer larger loans over a longer period of time, thus allowing for lower repayments. Since the car acts as collateral these loans can be obtained even if the borrower does not have good credit.

Hopefully, this article has given you a broader understanding on what logbook loans are and how they work. There is no doubt that they can be of great use to those people who are looking to secure some much needed money when they have been turned down elsewhere.

Hugh Tyzack is the managing director and founder of loansforbad-credit.co.uk – a company specializing in providing loans to those with bad credit ratings. You can find out more information about the loan solutions on offer, including logbook loans, by visit his website. Alternatively you can follow Hugh on Twitter @badcreditloans8 and also on Google+.

house 45

Why Canadians should not pay down their mortgage!

I am a big saver – I love to pay down debt but fortunately, I only have one major debt (no student, car or other loans), just my mortgage that I am not going to pay more than the minimum payment.

house 45

Here are four good reasons not to pay down your mortgage in Canada:

Reason #1: Cheap interest rates.

With the current interest rate environment, savers are being punished. Why pay down my mortgage at a variable 2.3% when I can invest it in an RRSP or TFSA and make 8-10% on my money? 

When you look at inflation, the

Reason #2: Current housing bear market.

I am not sure what is happening in your neck of the woods but the housing prices are not going up like the years 2000-2009.  The major increases in your house has been factored in so why pay down debt when if you sell this asset you will not pay tax on the gain.

If your house is worth $500,000 (reasonable in Victoria, BC), and only goes up another $50,000 in the next five years, why spend $25,000 extra paying down the mortgage (if you had this money)? The $25,000 will just evaporate while if you invested in a TFSA you could have a nice diversified investment with interest.

Reason #3: Other investments

With my daughter being born last year, we are starting an RESP and instead of paying down the mortgage we are putting some money aside for her education. Why would you turn down a 20% return on your investment!

Reason #4: Higher financial priorities

I strongly believe in education and opportunities.

I am planning on using some of my savings to take some exams that will further my payscale and career.

[quote]So I can earn more money and pay more taxes![/quote]

Canada is an amazing country but our housing market encourages risk. You could take all the equity out of an existing property and leave 20% to avoid CHMC fees and use the remainder as a down payment for an investment property using leverage and the bank’s cash.

All I am saying in this post, is to look at your options, you do not want to look back and not take advantage of any opportunities that came your way.

 

Bitcoin

Bitcoins: Will They Make a Viable Currency?

The recent hype in the bitcoin market has drawn a lot of attention to this digital currency.

Bitcoin

The question in many people’s minds is whether or not these can make a viable currency. The recent trade results had just slashed the value of bitcoin by half in just a few hours. The value has just rebounded half-way in also a matter of hours. It leads many to question the feasibility of bitcoins to stand the challenges it is currently facing. Read on to learn about bitcoin’s viability as a mode of monetary exchange.

The Depth of the Bitcoin Market

Just how big the bitcoin market is can provide an idea of its feasibility as a currency. Mt. Gox, which is responsible for two-thirds of bitcoin exchange trade, is said to have 270,000 accounts and counting. But because there can be multiple exchanges and the possibility that some account are abandoned, the total number of bitcoiners is estimated to be around 295,000. In terms of the number of downloads the bitcoin client software have had, the number is placed at 2 million since the beginning of bitcoin era (August 2008). During the first three months of the current year, there were around 180,000 downloads alone.

Meanwhile, Coinbase says that it has 104,000 users with the number of transactions reaching 103,000 per month. The site provides that the bitcoin currency has a total market capitalization of around a billion US dollars. Coinbase is a platform where transactions between merchants and consumers take place. These pieces of information have been retrieved on April 20, 2013.

The bitcoin can be used to buy real-world commodities and services. One of the important things that one can consider as a measure of its viability is its acceptance by merchandisers like stores, and restaurants. A website called spendbitcoins.com claims that there are 472 sites that accept bitcoins directly based on information retrieved on April 20, 2013.

OKCupid, a popular dating website that has around 4 million active participants, just recently announced that it will accept bitcoins from its users. It will become the largest online site to accept the digital currency although the site’s co-founder Sam Yagan expressed that it will not hold bitcoins but rather it prefers to have it exchanged to US dollars through Coinbase. Namecheap, one of the biggest domain registars also announced that they are also accepting bitcoins as a form of payment. The adoption of major tech company is an indication of the increasing popularity and acceptance of bitcoin as a mode of exchange.

The Merits and Lure of Bitcoins

The lure of bitcoin is in its decentralization and anonymity. Transactions via bitcoins do not go through the scrutiny of any central authority, clearing house, or any financial intermediary entity, therefore leaving no trace of the transaction. In short, the payment is made person to person with no intermediary. With this kind of transaction, the fees are much lower, which is very attractive and exciting, not to mention profitable.

It’s a very efficient way to transfer money because there are no prerequisites. Imagine getting an account instantly without the verification process that is normally required for banks and other financial intermediaries. You don’t need to sign up, agree to the terms and conditions, or provide an email address for confirmation of your account. Sending and receiving bitcoins are indeed very simple. In addition, a huge advantage is that there are no random limits to the transactions. You can send as many bitcoins as you can.

Bitcoins are not only extremely appealing to those who are fascinated with the mathematical beauty of mining bitcoin blocks, but also to those who simply cannot stand the hassles of tedious banking processes that they need to go through. They say that bitcoin is the currency of the distrustful because the people participating do not need to trust anyone but on the network as well as on the algorithm that makes mining bitcoins possible. Despite the rise and fall of late, it remains to be increasingly adopted into mainstream e-commerce.

Its More Indispensable Potential – Inflation Control

Perhaps one of the most notable merits of bitcoin is its potential to control inflation. In fact, the plausibility of such a scenario that this currency can provide has been famously called for by the great economist Milton Friedman. Friedman wanted to have the Federal Reserve abolished and be replaced by a system that is likened to the bitcoin system where the supply of money can be increased at a known rate.

Such system will have a command on inflation unlike traditional money markets where a government can mint paper money if it deems necessary but which has inflationary risks associated with it. If not done properly, printing money and increasing the money supply can cause serious disaster to the economy. On the contrary, because bitcoin’s rate of increase has been programmed by an algorithm protected by an extensive computing power, inflationary tendencies are eased.

Will It Last?

In the past, many have actually predicted that this virtual currency is not likely to last, yet bitcoins survived through much doubt. It is a proof that it is something more than just meaningless outputs of some computer networks. But whether it can last amidst all the criticisms and doubts that people have on their minds about it is something that is yet to be proven. The currency is young; if it will ever evolve to become a mainstream currency remains a question yet to be answered. But in order to help it become primary form of payment for merchants and consumers, the currency will have to evolve a bit more and prove to people that it is a secure form of financial transacting.

If bitcoin is to survive even as a small niche currency, it will be because there are individuals and groups who would prefer to transact anonymously without nosy authorities. These people are willing to forego the comforts brought by the banking system or any intermediary body for the ease of getting deals done. It has established a following among these people. As long as there are people who like to do away with the traditional banking system, bitcoins will remain a great alternative.

Sources:

https://www.weusecoins.com/en/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505144_162-57580115/in-bitcoin-we-cannot-trust/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22105322

http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/04/okcupid-says-it-will-accept-bitcoin-as-currency-falls-to-recent-low/

http://thegenerallifeblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-popular-is-bitcoin.html

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-28/bitcoin-may-be-the-global-economys-last-safe-haven#p2

About the Author

Trent is a recent college graduate who graduated with an Economics degree. He now owns a personal finance blog called Finance&Career.

 

Golden nest egg representing retirement savings

Retirement Planning 101- What to do at 35 if you Haven’t Started Saving for Retirement

It is easy to go through your early adult years without concern for retirement. During those years, you are young and carefree, and you think you have plenty of time to plan for retirement later. Also, while trying to get yourself established, some feel there is no money left over to save for retirement. However, time has a way of creeping up on you, and before you know it, you are 35 and haven’t saved a dime for retirement.

Golden nest egg representing retirement savings

It is easy to stress out when your friends are talking about how their retirement funds are allocated, and you don’t have any funds to allocate. At 35, you may be getting a later start than some, but you still have three decades to save. With the right retirement plan in place, you can still have a wonderful retirement without financial worry.

Develop a Plan

Before you start throwing money haphazardly around, it is best to develop a sound retirement plan. You can read a dozen different experts’ advice regarding their idea of what the best retirement plan is, and it actually may benefit you to read the logic behind each one. However, each person is unique and will have individual goals and objectives. After reading the logic behind different retirement planning strategies, develop your own investment plan. Establish a target goal and estimated year of retirement. Then, determine what it will take for you to reach your goal.

Improve Your Financial Situation

One aspect of developing your retirement plan involves preparing an estimated budget for yourself three decades from now. That can be difficult because you may not know exactly what your housing situation will be like or even how much a loaf of bread will cost. The best you can do is estimate and make adjustments for inflation. However, one firm step that you can take is to improve your financial situation. Adjust your current budget and spending habits to allow for greater savings and retirement contributions. Plan for more modest and affordable vacations so that you can pay off some debts. When you retire debt-free, you need much less cash to live on.

Max Out Your Registered Retirement Saving Plan

If you are one of the many millions of adults who work for an employer with an employer-matching RRSP program, RUN, do not walk to your HR department today and take advantage of that program. Whether your employer matches 50 cents on the dollar, dollar for dollar up to three percent of your income or something else, this is essentially free retirement money, so don’t leave it on the table!

Explore Other Avenues for Savings

Once you have fully taken advantage of the employer-matching RRSP program available to you, consider investing any additional money you have left over for retirement in a TFSA. Even if you can only save $500 per year into this account right now, every little bit helps. The benefit of compounding interest over time will grow your money over the next few decades. If you have maxed out your TFSA, you can consider investing money into a non-retirement stock account, in real estate or in another investment vehicle.

Invest Aggressively

Many adults are confused about whether to invest aggressively in their thirties. Many experts recommend that you allocate up to 80 or 90 percent of your retirement funds into aggressive stocks. Your comfort level will dictate your exact allocation. However, with approximately three decades until retirement, an aggressive growth plan is ideal for most.

Use Raises Wisely

Once you have developed and established a retirement plan, you can sit back and let automatic bank drafts, dividend reinvestment programs and other automated investment features do their work. However, looking forward, you do want to take steps to increase savings and retirement contributions over time. When you pay debts off, use the additional money as retirement contributions. When you get raises, bump up your retirement savings rather than adjust your lifestyle. If you can live on a paycheck of your current size comfortably now, you can continue to do so for the next few years while you use your raises to supplement your retirement efforts.

It can be unnerving to come to the realization that you are 35 years old and have not yet started saving for retirement. However, you can quickly change that by following these tips. By getting started today, you will be well on your way to funding a great retirement portfolio. Compound interest is key to your success, so start today. Every dollar you put away now will be worth substantially more than a dollar saved 30 years from now due to compound interest.

John G. Robinson found himself behind with retirement planning during the difficult economy. He has done a lot of self-guided research on how to catch up and wrote this article for his peers to learn from his experiences. John wrote this article on behalf of The Hamptons, a retirement community in East Texas, USA which is a place he’d love to live someday and a goal to work towards.

7027607705_c110d70b2f

Manufacturing Stocks: How Are They Faring?

China continues to dominate the manufacturing sector with its big talent pool at affordable rates and low cost of supplies. The sudden expansion in the December of 2012 of China’s manufacturing sector boosted optimism in the world’s 2nd biggest economy. The recent upsurge in the performance of the Dow Jones is bringing euphoria to the economy. The US is poised to take advantage of the housing sector recovery.

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Manufacturing accounts for 12% of the US economy and led the recovery that began in June 2009.

The US is the 2nd largest manufacturer of cars and vehicles in 2011. This sector continues to be one source of growth.

The US also has the 6th largest natural gas reserves. This is a big boost to the manufacturing sector.

Improvement in the housing sector will benefit companies like General Electric (GE) and Illinois Tool Works Inc.(ITW)

Key Drivers of Competitiveness according to Delotte are:

• Talent driven innovation

• Economic, trade, financial and  tax systems

• Cost and availability of labor and materials

• Supplier network

• Legal and regulatory system

• Physical infrastructure

• Energy costs and policies

• Local market attractiveness

• Healthcare system

• Government investment in manufacturing and innovation

 

·

 

More consumer spending will benefit the manufacturing sector as a whole. Added to this is the research support in universities and national laboratories. More policy actions will also be crucial to the manufacturing sector.

Fisher Investments Ken Fisher is bullish on the big stocks. Size matters when it comes to his stock picks. His stock picks are very easy to recognize and even the most wary investor will take notice. These are his premium picks for 2013.

• Microsoft (MSFT)- the leader in operating systems

• Schlumberger (SLB)-world’s largest oilfield-services firm

• Royal Dutch Shell (RDS)- a big energy supplier

• Home Depot (HD)- a leader in household supplies

• Philip Morris International (PM) – the giant tobacco company

Of those mentioned by Fisher, Home Depot is riding the wave of the housing construction and improvements. Schlumberger and Royal Dutch Shell are providing the impetus for the manufacturing strength. Microsoft is relying on its pool of talents. Philip Morris is taking advantage of physical infrastructures and local market attractiveness. Another stock pick of his not mentioned in the article is Pfizer. This is because of the growing advantages in the healthcare system.

American manufacturers are optimistic about the spending and sales outlook for this year. Factories will expand and support the economic recovery. Expect higher sales growth and more jobs to be created in the coming months.This is good for the economy as a whole. Smaller manufacturing companies will also benefit from the trend. They have to keep in mind the key drivers of competitiveness.

Things to watch out for are uncertainties in policies and high cost of labor. It is going to be a bullish year for the manufacturing industry, given the recent trends that were mentioned.

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Secure Your Finance For Post Retirement: Know How

After dedicating your life to 35-40 years of grueling work schedules, strict deadlines, perhaps retirement is the time when you would want to make up for all the lost time for leisure. But make sure that the efforts which you have put in all your life to build on a relatively tension-free post retirement life are well planned and duly executed.

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In the wake of the global economic crisis today it has become a tad too difficult to strike a balance between your personal expenses and savings. But don’t worry! You do not really have to follow strict abstinence in order to save up sufficiently for the future. Plan it properly and see how your schemes come to fruition. Though the future is always uncertain, you cannot really afford to lead a completely unplanned life. Here are a few steps which you can take to avoid future worries:

Keep track of both your savings and expenses: As already mentioned earlier, you can afford to enjoy your life to the fullest while doing your savings as well. But planning the fun can be of help. Control your expenses duly. A perfectly planned expensive night out in a club or a resort with friends or for that matter a bit of self indulgence in the form of costly clothes and shoes can do wonders to your mundane work life. But make sure that these expenses do not convert in to a habit. Being frugal with your money, going overboard only once in a while will not really jeopardize your financial aspirations. However prolonged and unnecessary overspending can put you in a fix. Even if you overspend at times, it would be better if you note down the expenses as well. A bit of harmless self deprivation in the next month in a bid to make up for the expenses can also be practiced.

Take concrete steps: Barely saving money from the future from your present expenses will not do. The price of things will continue shooting up and you may end up discovering that all your hard etched out savings fall short of meeting you post retirement needs. Make sure your savings add up so that you can reap the dividends when you need them the most. How about a Relevant Life Policy? Ask your employer if you will be entitled to avail the benefits of a Relevant Life Cover that will ensure death in service benefits for you.

Try to have a firm grip over financial matters: Please be diligent enough to hone your financial knowhow like matters of tax advantages from your investments in insurances, mutual funds, ways to boost your savings etc. If you are interested in mutual funds take the help of the internet and financial journals to find out about their pros and cons. Please remember that it is not wise to carry out thoughtless financial practices. Relevant life insurance policies are generally considered to be safer investment options than mutual funds, shares and stocks. Thus be prudent enough and then invest.

Prioritize your goals: In this regard it must be mentioned that you should act more pragmatically towards your goals. Identify your immediate requirements and resolve on acting on them at first. For instance if you have got an education loan to pay off while you have landed up with your first job, your main aim should be to pay off that loan first. Your savings may suffer in that case, but once you are done with the loan, you can easily start investing in insurances, funds etc.