Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hedge Funds – Mistakes by Investors

Over the past few decades, myriads of investors have turned to hedge funds in an attempt to spruce up their investment strategy. Sadly, though, the vast majority of customers have found the results to be distressing.

In particular, even the top tier of hedge funds paid out less to the patrons than the returns on the market benchmarks. Meanwhile the outcome for the majority of clients was far bleaker.

During benign periods in the stock market, the leading group of hedge funds can pretty much keep up with the marketplace in terms of the gross returns on investment. An example of a sunny stretch lay in the last couple of decades of the 20th century.

On the other hand, the fact that the high flyers can roughly match the market averages does not mean that their clients do likewise. One big stumper is that the operators take a cut, usually amounting to 20 to 50 percent of the earnings, whenever the funds happen to turn in any profits. After the haircut, the investors end up trailing behind the market benchmarks.

But that is only part of the story. The outturn is much worse when the market at large breaks down.

A stark example was the wholesale rubout of hedge funds during the financial crisis of 2008. Amid the mayhem, the investors ended up losing their shirts.

Given this backdrop, why do so many investors clamor for hedge funds? One reason lies in the desire to spread out the risk across different types of assets in a personal portfolio.

What some folks seem to forget, though, is that the precept of diversity is grounded on the premise that each of the assets happens to be sound. Put another way, does not make sense to diversify into a losing proposition.

More on Hedge Funds – Mistakes by Investors.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Strategic Planning in the Millennium

Top 10 Guidelines and Videos for Strategic Planning

Amid the breakouts in technology and the ferment of culture around the globe, strategic planning becomes a greater challenge with each passing year. Yet the groundswell of change is a reason for devoting more time and effort, rather than less, to the vital task of preparing for the future. The need for a coherent approach applies to every mindful person, whether in terms of personal planning or business strategy, government policy or global collaboration.

To this end, the current article presents a distillation of top pointers for long-range planning in the 21st century. The guidelines are complemented by a gallery of engaging videos that serve to highlight the key issues.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

How to Invest in the Silver Market: Guide to Investment Planning

In the years to come, the silver market will play a growing role in investment planning for individuals as well as organizations. If history is any guide, though, myriads of heedless investors will fail to profit from the tidal waves in the global marketplace.

As an example, the majority of players will come late to each groundswell in the silver market. In fact, hordes of wild-eyed plungers will leap into the arena just as the ferment turns into a frenzy followed by an outright bubble.

The mania is sure to be followed by a blowup that wipes out the fleeting profits of the latecomers. Worse yet, the bulk of their original stake is apt to go up in flames as well.

On a positive note, though, a cadre of vanguard investors are preparing in advance for the tsunami that is still in its prime. The players will also plan to exit the carnival of the silver market well before the hullabaloo builds to a climax followed by a blowout.

To this end, the goal of this article is to set the stage for an orderly foray into the field. In addition to a telling set of guidelines, a lineup of references serves as a springboard to additional sources of information.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How to Beat the Investment Funds: Outshine Most Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds plus Earn a Bonus

If you’re like many investors, you must think that the title of this article is just a joke, and there’s no way for you to beat the full-time pros that run mutual funds and hedge funds. Or you might expect to read here that you should go back to school and earn a graduate degree in investment finance. Or maybe you ought to go out into the financial forum and spend a couple of decades learning the trade at the feet of renowned wizards of the marketplace.

If your thoughts ran along these lines, then you were mistaken. In reality, the title shown above is dead serious. Really it is.

There is actually a simple way to outshine the mass of mutual funds and hedge funds as well as private investors. The reason is that the objective is not daunting or even demanding.

Before we get down to brass tacks, though, we ought to spell out exactly what the goal is. Also, it’s helpful to get a good grasp of the nature of the competition. That way you’ll have a better appreciation for the what, why and how of the gambit for trumping the mass of players in the arena.

Getting a Fix on Mutual Funds

A raft of studies over the decades has shown that mutual funds as a group trail behind the stock market at large. Although the specific numbers may vary somewhat from one probe to another, a representative result is that the annual return from mutual funds is on average half percent lower than the benchmarks of the bourse.

One reason is that mutual funds have a habit of charging a maintenance fee based on the total value of the assets under management. In the past, the fee has ranged anywhere up to a couple of percent – or even higher – of the average value of the portfolio over the course of the year. In a hypothetical world, if the administrative load were waived, then the average fund might for the most part keep up with the market averages.

What can we infer from these observations? Based on the data, the pack of mutual funds as a whole adds no value to the task of picking stocks for investment. In spite of all their efforts to the contrary, professional managers as a group make moves that are equivalent to picking stocks at random.

Removing the Veil from Hedge Funds

In a raft of ways, the performance of hedge funds is even worse than that of mutual funds. According to impartial studies, the top tier of hedge funds ekes out a gross profit that is comparable to the average performance of mutual funds.

On the other hand, the net return to the investors is a lot less for a bunch of reasons. One big stumper lies in the practice of taking a big cut out of the profits.

The performance fee tends to range from 20 to 50 percent of the returns for any period in which the portfolio happens to turn in a profit. Due to the hefty bite, patrons end up with a significantly smaller piece of the pie.

On top of all this, the investors have to pay a fixed fee for administrative expenses regardless of performance. The usual charge comes out to a couple of percent each year of the total value of the assets under management.

Against this backdrop, the larger community of investors subscribes to a host of feckless practices. As an example, myriads of punters squander their money on mutual funds that levy a fixed fee of a couple of percent each year for holding onto their assets. The savers could easily secure better results through cost-effective pools that charge a pittance for their services.

A second curio lies in the fact that so many investors hanker after hedge funds when they could do much better on average with other vehicles including even mutual funds. Apparently the clients are unable or unwilling to ferret out the facts needed to make a cogent decision.

A third stunner involves the fact that the average investor earns even less than the average mutual fund. The crux of the problem springs from the custom of giving in to excess through alternating bouts of mania followed by panic.

During the extreme stages of the market cycle, the punters load up on stocks precisely when they ought to selling, then dump their holdings exactly when they should be buying. The upshot of the ditsy practice is to give up the profits and lock in the losses.

A fourth irony is that investors as a group spend so much time and effort trying to beat the market but end up lagging the benchmarks by a hefty margin. The results could be much better if the gamesters were to take a simpler tack then ignore the market completely. In that case, the demure investors could for the most part stay abreast of the market averages without wasting any time on trading or putting up with the headache of thrashing prices.

In fact, the players could beat the market over the course of a price cycle if they were to use a technique known as dollar cost averaging. To add icing on the cake, the scheme can be set up easily then left alone to run on autopilot.

At this juncture, however, we should note that the goal of beating the market averages is a topic best left to a separate article. Getting back on track, our purpose here is to trump the average pool in the marketplace, whether in the form of a mutual fund or a hedge fund.

Paying Yourself a Bonus for Beating Your Rivals

If you can keep up with the stock market at large, then you are outpacing the average pool managed by professional caretakers. That outcome will also ensure that you beat out the mass of individual investors by a comfortable margin..

In fact, you could pay yourself a management fee of nearly half a percent a year on the total value of your portfolio. In that case, you would of course trail behind the market benchmarks by a similar amount. Even so, you would still beat the bulk of the competition in the form of mutual funds, hedge funds, and lone investors.

So what’s the best way to achieve this exceptional feat? All you need to do is to take up the following procedure.

More on How to Beat the Investment Funds: Outshine Most Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds plus Earn a Bonus.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Future of the Currency Market

Top 10 Pointers and Videos for Investment Planning in the Currency Market

The currency market plays a basic role in investment planning in any field, whether the project deals with the financial arena or the real economy. As an example, a staid bond can crumple if its underlying currency is bashed by a spate of hyperinflation. In a similar way, an investment in a foreign venture can flounder if the target currency breaks down relative to that of the original funds.

Over the medium range, the vital forces in the marketplace are illustrated by the ascent of upstart currencies on the global stage. Meanwhile, an inevitable process over the long haul is the integration of national currencies into regional scrips. A few decades onward, the hybrid currencies will be duly followed by the emergence of a single brand of legal tender throughout the world.

As the millennium unfolds, the upheavals in the marketplace will be sweeping and momentous. A direct consequence is the crucial role of the currency market on the impact of an investment strategy in any domain.

Against this backdrop, the purpose of this article is to pinpoint the crucial issues and nascent trends in the currency market. The guidelines are accompanied by a series of videos that spotlight the viewpoints of the best minds at work in the realm of foreign exchange in particular and the financial markets in general.

More on Future of the Currency Market.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Future of the Silver Market

Top Guidelines and Insights on the Future of the Silver Market as a Foundation for Investment Planning

The upsurge of silver bodes well for the future of the metal as a keystone for investment planning. The resource is an unusual asset in that it plays a vital role as a precious metal as well as an industrial commodity.

On one hand, investors like to amass silver as a storehouse of wealth in times of inflation in the economy or turmoil in the society. On the other hand, silver also serves as a raw material in products ranging from trophies to microcircuits.

This primer presents a coherent picture of the driving forces and likely movements in the marketplace over the decades to come. The pointers are accompanied by the insights of some of the brightest minds in the financial arena. In addition, a roundup of online content serves as a launching pad for further exploration and evaluation of the silver market.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Invest in Gold: Top 3 Exchange Traded Funds

In recent years, investors around the globe have shown an increasing interest in exchange traded funds as a way to participate in the gold market. A vehicle of this sort is in fact a convenient and cost-efficient way to latch onto the ascent of the golden metal.

There are direct and indirect ways to approach the marketplace. This article talks about the benefits and drawbacks of each tack, along with the top candidate in each category.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trends in Oil: Guidelines and Top Videos for Investment Planning

The large-scale trends in the global economy will continue to drive the price of crude oil, along with the consequences for investment planning. On one hand, the upsurge of affluence in the emerging regions of the world – ranging from China and India to Turkey and Brazil – creates a groundswell of demand for fuel in order to drive factories, heat homes, and power cars.

At the opposite end of the pipeline, however, the producers of oil are finding it increasingly difficult to replenish the dwindling deposits. We have entered a phase where a surge in the price of oil no longer draws out a comparable expansion in the volume of production nor the stockpile of reserves.

These outcomes are the first signs of a sea change in the marketplace. On a positive note of sorts, the financial crisis of 2008 bashed the global economy and shoved it into the worst tailspin of a lifetime. The upshot was a respite of the oil market from its inexorable advance to dizzy heights.

On the other hand, we will not encounter a similar trip-up in the marketplace in the absence of another catastrophe in the financial forum or the real economy. For this reason, the demand for energy will only burgeon with the passage of time.

Jagged Path of Oil

Naturally, there will be temporary dips in price on occasion due to a recession or some other upset. Even so, only a catastrophe that crushes the global economy and throws the entire planet back to a pre-industrial era will “save” us from the specter of oil shortages standing in our path.

We have no reason to suppose that such an event will occur in the foreseeable future. And if we did, it would be a boon for the population in their role as consumers of oil; but the blowout would mark the end of modern society. For this reason, we would have to make every attempt to prevent such a calamity, or to recover from the crackup if it were to occur.

As things stand, however, we have enough stumpers on our plate. The challenge of meeting our energy needs is by itself a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. In fact, there is no way that the current trends can continue into the indefinite future.

On the contrary, we will run into a catastrophe of our own making if we let matters slide as we have been doing for so long. In spite of the specter that threatens life as we know it, the end of the age of oil is not the thrust of this article.

Rather, the primer at hand deals mainly with the outlook for oil as a backdrop for investment planning. Granted, the financial forum at times goes off into extremes of passion in the midst of a bubble or panic, pushing prices to extremes that have scant basis in reality.

The bulk of the time, however, the marketplace does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, the action in the forum is tied, however, tenuously, to the condition of the environment.

For this reason, the canny investor takes a sober look at the external environment as the groundwork for thrashing out a trenchant strategy. To this end, the article at hand is designed to serve as a launching pad for a deft sally into the market for the long haul.

More on Trends in Oil: Guidelines and Top Videos for Investment Planning.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Gauge a Web Hosting Review: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid

If you plan to start up an online venture, a big item on your agenda is to peruse one Web hosting review after another in order to pick out the best platform for your business. The good news is that the Internet is chock-full of commentary on hosting services from all sorts of people.

The bad news is that a lot of the write-ups are beset by defects of one kind or another. To compound the problem, the commentator often has little or no interest in providing any sort of trenchant tips for the reader.

On one hand, a blurb is often nothing more than a promotional mouthpiece that extols the virtues of a mediocre product while paying no mind to a plethora of serious flaws. At the other end of the scale, a write-up could be a rabid outburst that rails against a decent platform while giving little or no credit to a raft of positive features.

Another common shortcoming stems from the fact that the blurbs usually come with no indication – whether in the commentary itself or at a nearby resource – that the author has a solid grounding in the area. On the contrary, the signs often point in the opposite direction: the writer has a patchy and superficial grasp of the domain. If the rater has a meager knowledge of competing platforms, for instance, then they are hardly in a position to assess the merits any product in relation to the field as a whole.

To guard against the slew of pitfalls lying in wait, you ought to approach any review that you come across with a healthy dose of skepticism. In this light, you should gauge the soundness of any write-up that calls itself a Web site hosting review.

There are three main criteria for evaluating a hosting review: thoroughness of the assay, the degree of objectivity, and the level of expertise. These factors may be assessed in the following ways.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Trends in Gold: Guidelines and Top Videos for Investment Planning

At the dawn of the millennium, the gold market has come to play a dominant role in investment planning. The large-scale trend is slated to continue over the first half of the 21st century.

On the other hand, the path of the gold market will not be smooth or straight. Rather, the metal will behave like other types of assets in the financial forum by following a winding and confounding route.

The financial crisis of 2008, along with the global recession in its wake, shoved the gold mining industry over a cliff. Even so, the companies in the field are regaining their strength thanks to the pickup in demand for natural resources of all kinds as the global recovers its footing.

If history is any guide, the stocks of the large producers of gold - also known in the industry as the majors - will lead the ascent to newfound heights of prosperity. The spearheads will duly be followed by the small fry, otherwise called the minors.

On the whole, the equities of bantam firms will lag those of the heavyweights in the arena. Yet many of the midgets will soar much faster and higher when the time comes for them to flourish.

By the same token, the minors will fall much faster and further each time the upsurge comes to an end. In fact, the majority of the minors - consisting of the current players in the field as well as the hordes yet to be born - will end up going bust.

As a result, legions of heedless investors who plow untold sums of money into the juniors will end up with a drubbing. The bulk of the punters will have little or nothing to show for all their frenzied hustling and wispy dreams of wealth.

More on Trends in Gold: Guidelines and Top Videos for Investment Planning.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Fathom Global Trends in Real Estate: Top 7 Waves of Prosperity

In spite of all the troubles in the world, the press of globalization is creating a groundswell of prosperity that affects the prospects for investment strategy in real estate. The large-scale trends in technical progress as well as economic growth will continue to have a profound impact on the patterns of life at work and play. One of the consequences is an upsurge in certain types of properties in the commercial sector as well as the residential market.

This article presents a coherent approach to keeping track of the jumbo waves in real estate driven by the upswell of affluence. The trends at hand affect the outlook for investments whether the planner is a private individual or a commercial enterprise. An example of the former is a retiree looking for a vacation home or a participant in a property syndicate. An instance of the latter is an investment fund dealing with real estate or a property developer eyeing a novel project.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Investment Strategy for the Gold Market

A Guide to Crafting an Investment Strategy for the Gold Market

Over the years to come, the gold market will continue to play a growing role as a cornerstone of investment strategy for individuals and organizations as well as governments around the globe. Yet, it seems safe to say that not everyone will benefit to the same degree from the ascent of the golden metal. This article is addressed to the investor who intends to be part of the leading edge in the marketplace. In particular, the objective is to set the stage for an orderly foray into the field. The roundup of guidelines is accompanied by a medley of references to additional resources on the Web.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top Sites for Web Hosting Services: Free Platforms and Fee-Based Products

In order to set up an online business, one of the first tasks of an entrepreneur is to peruse a raft of Web hosting services. On the upside, there are myriads of service providers to choose from.

On the downside, though, the choice of platform for a particular user is seldom simple or straightforward. On the contrary, a great deal of exploration is required in order to find the best candidate for a particular application.

A simple way to classify hosting platforms is to split them up into two broad groups: free platforms and fee-based setups. Within each category, there are further subtypes to consider.

The best choice of hosting platforms depends on the particular project that a user has in mind. As an example, a free site at a social network might be sufficient for a personal Web site whose function is to show off a medley of photos to a bunch of friends and family. By contrast, an online business with a slew of products may have to rely on a pricey platform that offers a lot of flexibility in designing and operating the site.

Given the profusion of Web hosting services, even a cursory survey will uncover hordes of candidates in each category. For this reason, an enormous amount of time and effort may be needed to perform a thorough survey in order to find the best platform for a particular project.

An alternative course is to make use of previous forays in the field. In this light, an expansive survey of the terrain has in fact come up with a roster of top candidates for a variety of applications.

The winning entries in the beauty pageant are presented in the sections to come. The first segment below deals with free sites while the second focuses on for-fee platforms. A paid service is the standard approach for hosting a commercial hub.

In the case of a Web business, the entrepreneur will most likely want to procure a domain name as well. For this reason, the best choice of domain registrar is also identified below.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

How to Gauge a Hedge Fund: A Guide for Investment Planning

In approaching the task of investment planning, a lot of investors get the impression that a hedge fund will outperform the benchmarks of the marketplace as well as other types of investment funds. Sadly, though, the usual outcome turns out to be exactly the opposite of what had been envisioned.

Instead of beating the overall market, the majority of investors find to their chagrin that their chosen vehicles come to trail behind the yardsticks of the forum by a wide margin. Worse than that, many of the patrons end up losing most or all of their original stakes when the vehicles break down and go bankrupt.

One study after another has shown that roughly half of the heavyweights in the hedge fund game go out of business within five years of their debut in the public limelight. In spite of the appalling figures, though, the findings are in fact conservative estimates of the mortality rate for the entire population of hedge funds.

The reason is that the attrition rate does not take into account the slew of outfits that die a quick death. In that case, the duds never get a chance to enter the big leagues and come into view of the general public.

Many of the tales of woe in the arena could be avoided if the prospective investors were to do their homework in earnest. Even in the case of heavyweights in the arena, some outfits are more rickety than others.

To improve the chance of survival in a brush with hedge funds, the wily investor ought to approach the entire field as well as particular players in a sober fashion. The procedure described below presents a cogent approach to investment planning prior to a foray into the murky realm of hedge funds.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Tap Your Government for Free Resources: 6 Ways to Build a Small Business

Whether you run a small business or plan to start one, you might think of the government for the most part as a surly creature that has to be appeased from time to time. For instance, you need to deal with the bureaucracy in order to register a business, get a permit, or pay a tax.

The dour image of the government could be valid in many cases. On the other hand, a growing number of public agencies are genuinely interested in working closely with local citizens in order to pursue their respective goals. The desire to be of service is especially notable when it comes to promoting innovation and enterprise throughout the community.

Looking back on your experience as an employee, your main interaction was to give up a good chunk of your earnings in the form of taxes to the government. However, things are different when you strike out on your own. As an entrepreneur, you have lots of opportunities to get your money back and then some.

In recent decades, small and midsize firms have accounted for a growing share of product innovation as well as job growth in the economy. Against this backdrop, any government that is not totally incompetent is eager to support the creation and buildup of bantam businesses.

In this article, we’ll look at a number of ways for dealing with public agencies in order to get free help for your business. The final goal of any interaction is a win-win payoff for yourself as well as the government whose role is to serve the community at large.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Get Free Sponsorship from Your Customers: 5 Ways to Grow a Small Business

A common affliction of a small business is a shortage of funds. As a rule, the handicap is cumbersome or even crippling in the case of a newborn venture or a fast-growing concern.

If you own a business or plan to start one, then the scarcity of financing is likely to be a constant companion. In that case, juggling the budget and scaring up cash will be issues that never stray far from your thoughts.

Many sources of funding require you to jump through hoops before you even get to talk to a decision maker in a serious way about your financial situation. It doesn’t matter whether the funder is a lender like a commercial bank or an investor like a venture capitalist. If you happen to pass the initial screening process, then you get to put in oodles of time – which may be as scarce to you as the money that’s in short supply – in one meeting after another before you get an answer.

If and when a funder agrees to cough up some dough, though, you can be sure that the deal is going to cost you a pretty penny. In the case of a loan, you’ll have to pay back the moolah with a weighty toll known as an interest payment. In the case of an investment, you’ll need to give up part of the equity in your company and maybe even a hefty share of control over the business.

In some cases, there may be no way for you to bypass these sources of funding if you want to keep your business alive. On the other hand, there are other sources of support that can be a lot more appealing. These resources ought to be your first port of call.

Entrepreneurs often find that the heroes who rush to their aid include their own customers. The best part about working with the patrons is that they don’t expect you to give up an arm and a leg in return for their help. Another wonderful trait is that most of them won’t drag you through an interminable series of meetings, or force you to sign your life away in a mound of documents, before they release the resources.

This article talks about the best ways to obtain free help from stalwart customers. The benefactors of this stripe could take the form of existing clients or prospective patrons.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Market Cycles for Investment Planning

10 Guidelines plus Top Videos on Universal Patterns behind Market Cycles for Investment Planning

The rhythms of nature, such as the spin of the Earth and its twirl around the Sun, create a slew of patterns that show up as natural loops which in turn have a profound impact on market cycles. Given the recurrent motifs in the environment along with the marketplace, the enduring factors play a vital role in investment planning in domains ranging from financial assets to natural resources.

The persistence of cycles is contrary to the traditional models of financial economics. In a bland world, there would be scant reason for recurrent patterns of any sort to make an appearance. Despite the simplistic models of financial economics, though, circuits of varied stripes show up with remarkable frequency in the marketplace.

An exemplar is found in the usual swell of the stock market during the cold half of the year. More generally, the patterns at work span the spectrum of time scales, ranging from short blips within the span of a single month to long waves stretching across the course of decades.

The purpose of this primer is to showcase a number of trenchant motifs and to highlight the key ideas through a selection of telling videos. Moreover, a supplement of online resources serves as a springboard for further study in order to muster market cycles as a centerpiece of investment strategy.

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