Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guest Post : Professional debt help in Colorado Springs


One of the major problems that most American citizens are facing is related to debt. If you are residing in Colorado Springs then debt consolidation Colorado Springs can help you out. With the spreading of credit card companies around the nation like a plague and they granting credit cards with very minimal requirements have made it very easy for most people to get access to credit. This however is not having a very good impact on people. Most of the people who own multiple credit cards tend to misuse them or don’t know where to draw a line. They become so busy buying things to their heart’s content that they end up losing all self control and spending much beyond their means. If you are amongst such people then invariably you are facing debt problems which are making you face quite an amount of stress.


It is pretty natural that people don’t understand what calamity debt brings, unless they have been submerged into it enough to make them feel choked. If you are in such a condition, you can take help of debt consolidation Colorado Springs being a resident of Colorado, in order to make the process of paying back your debts easier. There are many debt consolidation companies in Colorado that can help you out with consolidating your debts. If you don’t want to consolidate your debts through a debt consolidation Colorado Springs company, then you can do it on your own too.

How to consolidate your debts through professional help?


If you approach a debt consolidation Colorado Springs company for helping you out with your debts they will first ask you to enroll in a debt consolidation program. As a part of this program, you will be given a free credit counseling session and appointed a negotiator who will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to reduce the interest rate on your outstanding debts. Thus you will be able to make a lower monthly payment in order to get out of your debts. Also you can give all your debt payments at the beginning of each month to the negotiator who will then distribute the amount amongst your various creditors. Thus you don’t have to take the headache of monthly payments also. Thus with the help of a debt consolidation Colorado springs company, you are not only able to get lower interest rate on your debt which helps you save a lot of money in the long run, but also get to make just one monthly payments for paying back all your creditors.

Thus you can see if you take professional help to consolidate your debts you gain a lot of benefits and become hassle free. However, if you want to consolidate your debts on your own, you can take out a debt consolidation loan and do it also.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Be Prepared for a Financial Hardship

Times are getting harder. The recent global financial crisis has made many people realise the importance of getting financially prepared for possible job losses, reduced income, or higher costs of living. Financial hardship is something nobody looks forward to but it could be unavoidable. There would always be economic factors in the country and around the world that could bring about that hardship.
The best way to deal with and overcome any financial hardship is to be ready for it. As the cliché goes, it is best to always save for the rainy days. How could anyone prepare for it? Here are several ways you could do it.

First, live in frugality. It is ideal to be always practical. You may not be aware but you could actually lower your daily costs. You may incur lower electricity bills for instance by getting more conscious about how your household uses appliances and lighting fixtures. To lower your water bills, install faucets that do not leak. As for your grocery, buy only necessary items and avoid the luxuries. There are many logical ways to be practical.


Second, boost your savings. Whatever cost savings you could generate from being frugal should be added to your bank accounts or savings. Allot a significant portion of your regular monthly income for your savings. That money, over time, could be very significant. Consider investing a portion of the total amount so it could grow exponentially. Leaving your savings in the bank is not ideal enough as banks often impose very minimal annual interests on deposits. Try to look at the stock market or at small businesses.

Allocate a personal emergency fund. This should be separate from your savings. This personal fund should cover unplanned and immediate expenses like when your tires get flat, your house requires immediate minor repair, or you get sick. During such urgencies, it would be best not to touch your savings.


Bid goodbye to an extravagant lifestyle. Living in simplicity could be a virtue. It would also help make sure you would be in good financial shape in the long run. It is much better to shift your lifestyle to being simple from extravagant while you are still in a good financial condition than when you have to do so because you have no other option when you get into a financial hardship. It makes sense, doesn’t it?


Lastly, consider getting a line of credit. This would be in case you would need very significant amount of money in the future. The good thing about this product is that you get approval for a loan and get an amount ready for your taking. You would not be charged until you withdraw money from that credit line. Thus, it could be considered a stand-by facility. Intend not to touch it unless there really is a compelling need for you to do so. At least you could rest assured that if you would need cash, you could easily have it no matter what happens.

Andrew has been working in the finance industry for several years and has help many people dealing with financial hardship. Andrew specialises in short term loan and debt consolidation .

Trendlines

Trendlines form the foundation of technical analysis.

They are constructed by connecting a series of peaks and troughs. While an uptrend is formed by joining successive peaks, a downtrend is formed by joining successive troughs. Trendlines may be horizontal if stock price is trading sideways.

For a beginner, try to use the "drawing tools" from the ChartNexus to practice on the trendlines, get yourself familiar with 'recognizing' the trend first, because later we need to use these lines to draw chart patterns such as triangles and rectangles.

How to tell whether it is a bull trend or a bear trend?

There are 2 ways: (1) Trendlines (2) Moving Averages

(1) Trendlines
  • Bull trend is when you see "higher high" of the peak. That is: you'll see the price forming a higher peak than the previous peak.
  • Bear trend is when you see "lower low" of the trough. That is: you'll see the price moving downwards, forming lower trough than before.

(2) Moving Averarages

Moving Averages is a technical indicator can be found easily in the charting software. The details I'll talk about it when I come to the Technical Indicator section. Here, I'll just talk about the application on trends first.

  • 20 day moving average - this indicates the short term trend (< 4 weeks). That is: when the price is above the 20 day moving average, its consider short term bullish; and when its below, indicates short term bearish.
  • 50 - 100 day moving average - this indicates the medium term trend (1 month - 9 months). When price is above the 50 - 100 day moving average, its consider medium term bullish; and when its below, it indicates medium term bearish.
  • 200 day moving avearge - this indicates the long term trend (>9 months). When price is above the 200 day moving average, its long term bullish; and when its below, its long term bearish.

Homework: Try running the various moving averages on our KLCI and see what's the current trend?


Happy learning,

Pauline Yong

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To Manage a College Budget, Perfect the Art of Genteel Poverty

College students who carefully manage their money actually live far better on far less than students who improvise from payday to payday.

Gabriel Adona, a popular professor at San Diego Mesa College, periodically reminds his students, “If you’re not suffering in college, you’re not having fun.” Adona numbers among the first, however, to agree that living frugally and suffering are by no means the same thing. Noting that students who receive financial aid generally receive more than enough money to pay their fees, buy their books, and meet their basic expenses, Adona laments that most families do not teach their children how to manage money as a crucial element in their preparation for college. “We test entering students for the English proficiency and math competence,” he says. “We ought to test them for their financial fluency, too.” Adona cites attrition statistics that indicate more than half of his students who drop-out before completing their degrees leave college “for financial reasons.” He insists, “That never should happen. Never. ”

Five fundamental rules of college budgeting




Adona and many of his colleagues advocate five unbreakable rules of college finance:

Realistically set and strictly follow a budget.— “Realistically” and “strictly” stand-out as the most important words here. No one will survive an entire semester without going to a movie, going on a date, buying a new outfit, or splurging on some gotta-have-it item. Similarly, no one should expect to go an entire semester without some kind of emergency. Therefore, a realistic budget allows for those inevitabilities. According to Gabriel Adona, “Setting the budget seems difficult, but following it, for some students, seems almost impossible.” He stresses that the budget, written down and placed in a prominent place, implies a contract between a student and his or her conscience. “No excuses. No explanations,” he says in his “teacher voice.”

Always spend less than you earn, and don’t spend money you don’t have.— “Of all the debt college students accrue, credit card debt is the worst,” Adona emphasizes. “The campus tries to restrict credit card companies’ access to heavy traffic areas, but that does not stop them from soliciting business from naïve freshmen and sophomores.” He has stories of students hitting their limits in just a few days and then living to pay them off for years. Because he believes in strict enforcement of the “don’t spend what you don’t have” clause, Adona says flatly, “Just do not get a credit card. Not any kind. Not for any reason.”


Perfect the art of genteel poverty.— Adona admits this is a very polite way of saying, if a student qualifies for public assistance and special discount programs, he or she should use them. Most students live well below the federal standard for poverty, so that they qualify for food stamps, and they may qualify for federally subsidized housing. If they meet the poverty criteria, then they also qualify for reduced utility rates, and they can take advantage of community food banks. Naturally, they qualify for student discounts wherever they go, and they never should hesitate to ask if local merchants give student discounts. Adona, however, goes a step further, advocating, “Sell your car. You don’t need it.” And he stresses, “Live with roommates who are just as frugal as you are, so that you never feel tempted to splurge.”

Speed-up completion of your degree.— At public colleges and universities, the average time of completion for a Bachelor’s Degree hovers around 6.2 years. Some of the problem originates in serious state budget cuts, but most of it derives from students’ strict compliance with the old fashioned academic calendar. “Students easily can finish a four-year degree in three years when they take classes online and attend summer school and ‘winter session’,” Adona asserts. On average, an accelerated degree plan will save a state college student more than $20,000.

Skip spring break.— A trip to any popular spring break destination costs approximately $3000. For California and Arizona college students, those $3000 would almost cover two semesters’ instructional fees. For any college student, those $3000 would cover a whole lot of routine expenses. If a student stays home and works during spring break, even if he or she works for minimum wage, the net change comes to plus $3330.00.


The average 2012 college graduate will accept a diploma and begin a life devoted to retiring approximately $100,000 in student loans. Although graduates accept the debt load as the reasonable price of a prestigious degree, nearly 90% of them express regret they did not manage their money more skillfully. When you live frugally in college, you speed-up your prospects for owning a nice home with a luxury sedan on the driveway.

Peter Harrington is a career counselor and content contributor for Top Online Colleges, a great source for tons of information on expanding your education, from top business degrees to Nursing colleges.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Guest Post : High Interest Savings Accounts

In the current economic climate, savvy customers need to shop around to find the best high interest savings accounts. The lack of movement on the Bank of England’s base rate means that savers are continuing to see relatively low returns on their investments. The average interest rate on a typical easy access savings account is just over 1% and, given the dismal predictions for the future of the UK economy, this is unlikely to improve any time soon.

One option is to put your money in a Cash ISA. With an average interest rate of around 2.5% AER this is a good option for those who are not already using their tax-free allowance. You can save up to £5,340 per year tax-free. Online savings accounts also offer higher rates of interest, but withdrawals are often limited to three or four times a year. 


If you don’t mind locking away your money, fixed rate bonds are a good option for people looking for high interest savings accounts. The average rate is 3% on a £1,000 investment although you could attract a higher rate if you have more to invest, or are prepared to keep your money untouched for longer. You will lose some, or all, of the interest however if you withdraw your money early. 

Banks and building societies often offer introductory bonus rates to attract new customers. These can be a good option if you are looking for a high interest savingsaccount, but check the small print to see what happens when the bonus period ends. If the interest rate is not competitive, move your money to a different account at the end of the bonus period. 

With everyone suffering from the impact of high inflation and low interest rates, it pays to spend some time shopping around for a better deal.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Use Online Resources to Quickly Locate Bail Bond Services

Before the Internet, it was very difficult to find a bail bonds agency that would offer high quality services. People generally had to rely on the closest bail bonds office, which was not always the best option. The agents at the bail bonds company knew this, and they would take advantage of the fact that people were desperate to get their loved ones out of jail—quickly. However, with the help of the Internet, websites can help those who are seeking bail bond assistance to find a company that will work with their financial needs.



If you’re in need of a bail bonds agency, you know you need to move quickly so that your friend, spouse or other family member does not need to spend endless time in a jail cell. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Search online for an easily accessible network :

When seeking a bail bond company, begin your search online, and start seeking a bail bond company that has a network or database available for your use. Websites, such as Expertbail.com, are especially useful, as they have bail bond agents in nearly every part of the country available to help customers. In addition, the network will also allow for the customer to have access to invaluable information about the bail bond process, no matter where they are within the country. 


2. Locate a company with positive customer feedback/reviews : 

Find a company that has several former customers that rave about their professionalism and efficiency. Many companies try to show that they are trustworthy online, but they have customers that are not happy with the results of having used them. There is no better way to be sure of your bail bond agent than listening to a list of past clients. 


3. Find a licensed agency that will clearly explain your conditions : 

Make sure that the company has a bail bond license, which should be easily found by contacting the Department of Insurance for whatever state you are in.By doing so, you will know that you have skilled, professional agents that will be able to adequately explain to you what conditions have been set by the court for your bail, or find out how to begin the process for finding an attorney, if necessary. 
With the help of a quality bail bond agency, before you know it, you should have your loved one back at home as soon as possible. 



One of Mary's favorite things to write about is the law. For more information regarding Expertbail.com, please visit http://www.expertbail.com/

Getting Real: Opportunities for 2012

Let's get real. As we turn the corner and head toward an uncertain 2012, where are the real opportunities for MBA finance professionals?

What's the real scoop? In an environment where some tip-toe when they project better scenarios next year, but where every other day large banks announce lay-offs by the thousands, what's the real story?

Who's  hiring? Who's promoting solid performers? Who's luring those interested in finance and promising long-term career paths? Where are the sectors or institutions that will harbor finance pros and allow them to grow, contribute and thrive over the the next few years?

Let's take a glance and gauge vibes and signals across the sectors.

1.  Investment banking, corporate finance.  From now until about mid-2012, you know banks won't commit. Uncertainty forces them to be hesitant. They'll want to see sustained trends in an economic recovery. Until then, banks will resort to old-time habits of firing rashly and excessively, but hiring too aggressively when signs point to more deal flow. Some banking sectors (Asia, financial institutions, e.g.) are thriving more than others. But even those change from quarter to quarter.

But old habits mean when the tide picks up (or when deals rush through the door), the doors of banks open, and they welcome new contributors at all levels. 

2.  Investment banking: equities, fixed-income. Who knows?  Groupon, Facebook, Zynga, and Linkedin IPOs or projected IPOs were supposed to kick-start the equities sector. Low interest rates were supposed to encourage companies to refinance and get comfortable with debt levels.  But regulation (especially from the new Dodd Frank rules) is forcing banks to restructure their trading desks and the complementary role investment banking plays.

Some analysts project fixed-income sectors will diminish in importance because of the lingering damage from the mortgage castastrophe and banks not being able to offset declines in fixed-income revenues with fixed-income banking fees. Some project equities units will soar and thrive, when markets improve, because of higher fees from deals.

2.  Investment banking, mergers & acquisitions.  Read between the lines or current deals. All depends on the industry sector. Many industries wait for entrenched signs of growth before they acquire companies or merge with a peer. Other industries, because of business conditions, must consolidate, restructure, or sell off divisions to survive. M&A groups stand ready to advise on any kind of corporate reorganization that exists.

New regulation won't tarnish this business too much, since it's fee-based and doesn't often require banks to use too much of their balance sheets. Opportunities for M&A pros in selected areas will always exist, as long as they're comfortable with a lifestyle of few holidays and weekends and arduous travel.

3.  Bank sales & trading.  Expect few opportunities. Profit opportunities are disappearing. Regulation, compliance, and market volatility have combined to become an avalanche. And banks, after careful analysis, are choosing to get out of the way. Expect gradual reductions in staff across the board. Some are deciding that trading requires too much effort, pain and compliance just to squeak out a few basis points of revenues or tiny profit margins.

Banks are restructuring their trading desks, because they must. Some will depart from all trading activity, except from bare-bones customer-flow transactions. Many (J.P. Morgan, e.g.) have already reduced staff in commodities substantially. The new Volcker Rules will change the game, guidelines and profit dynamics.  Some will rationalize maintaining a presence in certain trading areas if they can offset declines with gains in business elsewhere, if that's possible.

They know their best traders will flee for hedge funds and take entire desks with them, and there's not much they can do about it.

4.  Risk management. Right after the financial crisis, this was the "growth area" in most financial institutions. Banks, firms, and funds hurried to ensure they had experienced, wise risk managers in place. They reviewed governance policies and rewrote them to give risk managers sufficient authority to confront the next crisis.

They even re-branded risk units to attract and keep talent. Risk management would be a destination unit, not a temporary stop-off between corporate finance assignments. Since then, the rush to reorganize and re-emphasize risk management has slowed down, but few institutions will want to be seen as reducing risk staff or risk support during challenging times.

At many firms, you seldom hear about drastic cuts in risk staff. Risk management, you can argue, is the glue that keeps Goldman Sachs in order. The lack of a strong risk organization, some argue, is why MF Global failed.

5.  Corporate banking.  Corporate banking, or old-fashioned relationship banking and corporate lending, regained prominence in recent years. Big banks, fatigue from the ups and downs of investment banking, rediscovered the benefits of corporate banking:  a stable revenue base from lower-risk products and a loyal, committed client base that rewards banks for service, not for dramatic board-room pitches.

 Many banks continue their renewed emphasis on corporate banking and project hiring experienced bankers. They are also designing new paths for new MBAs, especially for those who never contemplated such a career while in business school. 

6.  Bank treasury services, funds transfer, custody and cash management.  The other half of nuts, bolts, blocking and tackling of service banking. Big firms re-emphasizing corporate banking must also have superior service products, too.  Banks in the past were often careless in their efforts to attract strong product managers or marketing experts from the outside or from within.

Lately, however, some (J.P. Morgan, e.g.) have successfully convinced former investment bankers to transfer into these areas to energize mature (and sometimes moribund) business units.  Banks, nonetheless, haven't yet rationalized a comparable compensation program for those ex-investment bankers and may not be able to.

7.  Corporate treasury, financial management, financial analysis.  Ah, breaths of fresh air. Amid all the market turmoil and difficulties at financial institutions, blue-chip companies are quietly reporting strong earnings, investing in new markets, and projecting reasonable growth. The finance units in these companies continue to recruit aggressively at business schools; some have convinced top graduates to by-pass Wall Street.

They promise more stability, opportunities to work in foreign countries, and worthwhile management experience. A financial analyst job at Ford or General Motors (popular destinations for many Consortium graduates) might have become fashionable again.  Or a position in corporate strategy at Eli Lily or Pepsico is a desirable first job.

8.  Private wealth management. Almost every bank in the country has decided to devote capital and attention to this sector.  Almost every bank is attracted to a business model of aggressive accumulation and gathering of client assets, which lead to stable revenues, steady growth, and fewer headaches from market risks, regulatory threats, and an uncertain corporate clientele.

At least for now, before too many banks chase too few clients or too little in assets (or clients get too frustrated with market performance), everybody agrees this is the hot hiring growth spot in the year or two to come.

9.  Community banking and development, retail banking. Some institutions see long-term growth in brick-and-mortar banking. Some don't.  J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America have seen it. Citi sees it overseas. HSBC or BNY Mellon didn't see it.

Those that do will continue to acquire branches, hire more managers and staff, and provide more face-to-face banking services, even if it's not always easy to justify the efficiencies of such expansion.  As long as they attract more and more customers (especially those who prefer a personal touch) and as long as those customers bring their deposits and their ongoing personal needs (mortgages, car loans, credit cards, e.g.), they can justify it.

Not many MBAs from top schools (including many from Consortium schools) have conventionally expressed interest in retail or community banking, but many with experience have eventually turned toward these sectors when opportunities arise.

10.  Hedge funds. Hedge funds stumbled through a tough 2011. They have admitted to their investors they were caught off guard with troubles in Europe and U.S. budget-deficit fuss. But funds tend to forget the past. Or at least they try to.

Others close up shop and reopen in a different incarnation. They move on and start anew.  They know, too, they'll benefit from banks being forced to downsize proprietary trading.  There will be opportunities, but the industry, as always, will still be difficult to break into. Hedge-fund managers hire cronies, classmates, former colleagues from other trading experiences, graduates from the schools they attended, and sons and daughters of  classmates.

11.  Venture capital and private equity (financial sponsors). This is the industry of home-runs and American-dream stories of earning millions inside the proverbial five-year window. Opportunities for firms and funds to make money exist in good times (new markets and mature markets) and in bad times (distressed assets, bargain-basement prices, and restructurings). There are some (KKR, e.g.) who have even discovered ways to make investments in battered Europe. But the doors to get inside this industry are difficult to penetrate. Now, next year, and for years to come.

Some (Blackstone comes to mind) have tried to be open-minded about opening their doors to a wider array of talent and backgrounds, partly because a few have become public institutions or have been contemplating going public. 

12.  Asia, Europe, South America, China.  Of course, Europe is in turmoil, and experts project the likelihood of continued problems. Banks there are besieged with issues and capital challenges. Few European institutions (UBS, RBS, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, e.g.) are heralding opportunities while the continent tries to right itself.

Meanwhile, financial institutions everywhere continue to have expansion eyes on parts of Asia, South America (especially Brazil), and China.


13.  Diversity initiatives. When institutions struggled to remain alive after the Lehman collapse, many initiatives and much enthusiasm for diversity slipped. You could hardly get a CEO or sector head to discuss the topic, much less attend a meeting or conference call on the topic.

Some enthusiasm has revived since then, partly because some institutions see the long-term benefits and genuinely believe it's a way to hire top talent.

We've reached the corner and are headed toward the new year. Uncertainty prevails, but the mood isn't one of hopelessness or disenchantment.  It's about caution and picking the right spots, the right places, and the most optimistic and resourceful institutions.

Tracy Williams

What is Technical Analysis?

Starting from this week, I'll post some educational articles on Technical Analysis, so that we can learn together and use the knowledge for 2012!

What is Technical Analysis?

Technical analysis is the study of charts whereby we can make investment decisions based on the following assumptions:

(1) History repeats itself, consequently, past trends predict future ones.

(2) The price pattern is the sum of all the behaviours of the market crowd. Therefore, technical analysis tracks the psychology of the market.

While fundamental analysis helps us to study the financial health of a company, technical analysis gives us an idea as to the direction of the stock price. Very often, a techincal analyst can identify trend changes at an early stage, and act on it.

First we need to know what a stock chart is.

Stock Chart

A stock chart is also known as a price chart. It has two parts to it: the upper portion depicts the price movement, and the bottom shows the volume traded.


Next, we need to understand Volume and Price relationship. There are 4 types of Price-Volume relationships:

1. Heavy Volume with Rising Price

This is a healthy sign in the market. It tells us that there are a lot of trading activities going on and buyers are outnumbering sellers. When volume is heavier than yesterday’s volume, and accompanied by a price increase of at least 1%, it may be signaling a trend reversal from bearish to bullish soon.

2. Heavy Volume with Falling Price

This is a troubling sign as it shows that the investors are bailing out. When volume is heavier than yesterday’s volume, accompanied by a price decline by at least 1%, it could mean warnings and a possible trend reversal from bullish to bearish.

3. Light Volume with Rising Price

Light volume with rising price may indicate that the price is losing steam. The price is going to drop soon, as investors are not willing to pay for the rising price.

4. Light Volume with Falling Price

On the other hand, light volume with falling prices may indicate the price is bottoming out. Investors are holding on to their stocks rather than selling for lower prices.

So, investors should pay attention to signs of heavy volume in the market. Observe the volume together with price trends and you will see important signals sending out to the market crowd.

In addition, when you see a price rise or fall on light volume, it indicates that heavyweight investors are staying on the side lines—thus, it is not as significant.

Try to download the free charting software from Chart Nexus

And practice the 4 types of Price volume analysis on the charts, you'll start to see some lights in technical analysis.

Happy investing,

Pauline Yong