Investors Benefit By Finding The Most Up To Date Information

Finding ways to deal with market volatility and minimizing the risks associated with financial transactions can be of paramount importance. Investors who have access to the most complete and up to date financial news are far more likely to make effective and successful decisions. Educational resources, news sources and other assets can play a major role in ensuring investors are met with greater success.

Investing in stocks, bonds and other financial assets can be very profitable. Creating and maintaining an investment portfolio able to provide superior returns often requires a great deal of insight and information. Knowing where to find the latest news detailing the trends and developments shaping financial markets is often the first step in creating a more effective investing strategy.

Novice investors who lack experience in dealing with various markets often require the guidance and assistance that only a professional may be able to bring to the table. Seeking out a brokerage, financial advisor or other industry professional is often a smart move. A little assistance can go a very long way for those who are just beginning to explore the world of finance.

Making frequent trades and investment strategies that require a more active approach may be of tremendous benefit. Lacking insight into financial markets can make it far more difficult to determine the appropriate time to buy or sell stocks and other assets. Investors who have access to the best news and information are far more likely to make the right investment decisions.

Financial journals and other major publications often contain a great deal of useful insight and detailed information regarding major market trends and forecasts. Keeping track of the big picture is always a good idea, even for investors who plan on making multiple trades during a relatively short period of time. Reading up on the latest market news can help ensure that investors are able to make smarter decisions.

Software, applications and other financial services that allow trades to be made more quickly, easily and with less overall cost can also be an important asset. Dealing with a brokerage that takes too long to process a transaction can be a major liability. Investors who plan on adopting a faster paced investment strategy would be wise to ensure they have access to the right resources.

Performing a little research in order to craft the right investment strategy can make a real difference. Making investment decisions without a proper understanding of the market, financial forecast and circumstances may be nothing short of a disaster. Investors who make an effort to prepare themselves in advance are more likely to find success with their efforts.

Access to up-to-date financial news will ensure that investors are able to benefit from a better understanding of their circumstances, options and opportunities. News sites, publications and other resources that allow investors to trade stocks, bonds and other financial assets with greater ease and success can be a crucial asset. Day trading without the right information can lead to increased risks which may result in diminished returns and financial losses.

Five Crops That Can Turn Nigeria’s Economy Around

In July 2016, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun announced that Nigeria’s economy was technically in a recession. Nigeria’s GDP contracted by 0.36% which was the first negative figure in many years. As if that was not enough on August 10, 2016 a report by Bloomberg and the IMF confirmed that Nigeria had lost the position of Africa’s largest economy to South Africa. This is a position it had held for two consecutive years.

Where are the groundnut pyramids? Where are the palm oil exports from the east? Where are the cocoa exports? After all, infrastructures pre-independence were constructed with revenue gained from agricultural exports amongst others. This was an era when oil was not yet discovered. After oil was discovered in Oloibiri, Bayelsa state in 1956, agriculture has been largely neglected in Nigeria.

Oil price fell to $27.67 a barrel, its lowest since 2003. And to make matters worse, the Niger Delta Avengers have reduced Nigerian oil production capacity to its worst in 20 years.

Oil should not be the only determinant of our economy. We should start looking towards agriculture as we did in the old days. Nigeria has about 71.2 million hectares of available agricultural land and only about half of that is utilized. The lands utilized currently are not even utilized to their highest production capacity.

Here are 5 crops that may turn Nigeria’s economy around.

1. Cocoa: Nigeria was the fourth largest exporter of cocoa in 1990/1991 with sales of 135,000 tons which is about 7.1% of world trade as at then. Our exports reduced a lot due to black pod disease, labour shortages, aging trees etc. If we’re serious we can retake our position as a leading exporter of cocoa beans in the world.

2. Palm Oil: Nigeria was the leading exporter of palm oil in the world until we were overtaken by Malaysia in 1971. Nigeria’s palm oil export was about 43% of the world production at a time. Now it is less than 7%.

3. Rubber: Nigeria was once the largest exporter of rubber in Africa. But this is no longer the case. We currently export about 60,000 tons. In 1990, we were exporting 147,000 tons. According to the International Rubber Study group, the global demand for natural rubber may reach 14.2 million tons by 2020 while global production would be 13.6 million tons/ year in 2020. As you can see the production would not be able to meet up with the demand. Rubber could turn Nigeria’s economy around.

4. Rice: More than 90% of rice consumed in Nigeria is imported. An economy that focuses on importation would not be strong. We need to consume more of our local rice. We now have Dangote, Kebbi, Anambra and Kano rice. As at 10th of August 2016, a bag of Thailand parboiled rice was N16,000 in the local markets. Some of these our local rice now sell for as low as N8000 per bag. The more local rice we consume, the less rice we import. The less rice we import, the lower the demand for dollar and foreign currency used in importation. This would boost our currency and stop the catastrophic fall of the naira in relation to the dollar.

5. Cowpea: Nigeria is the largest cowpea producer in Africa. We could still increase our production further and boost our economy more. This crop has play a vital role in animal feed formulation.

10 Essential Investor Tips For Successful Investing

Trading and investing into the financial markets has never been more popular. More and more people are starting to see the benefits of taking a little time to, first invest in themselves through a trading and investing education, but also using that knowledge on the financial markets.

Whilst traders may take quicker positions and investor will most likely be holding positions for much longer, perhaps months or even years. So, if you fancy investing into the financial markets successfully, and profit from companies you already know about like Google, Facebook or Microsoft, then these are the ten essential things that an investor must do and know before they start. Let’s take a look…

1. What are your goals?

It sounds simple but many people start investing into a trillion dollar market without any type of plan which, let’s face it, is essentially a gamble. Whilst it can be very simple to invest profitably for the long-term you must define your goals as this will align your expectations correctly, so you don’t kick yourself in the teeth if you don’t hit a million dollars in one day. For example, knowing whether you are investing for the next five or twenty-five years can make a huge difference to how you decide to invest.

2. Start early for compound interest

The single biggest reason to the success of most billionaires is the power of ‘compound interest’. Even Albert Einstein regarded this as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. It basically means that your money makes you money as all the gains you make you put back into an investment so it compounds and builds over time. Sounds good right? It definitely is! The earlier you start the better but no matter how old you are it’s never too late to start but imperative that you do actually start!

3. Every little helps

No matter how little or how big you can invest, it is well worthwhile investing on a regular basis. It sounds so simple but most people don’t see the point in investing just $10 per month. However, if you look to the future by the time you’re very old that amounts to a lot especially if you parked it into some good investments over the years. Of course, most people have a ‘spend today and save tomorrow’ mentality and that’s the trap folks. Save and invest regularly to reap the rewards in the long run – you’ll be glad you did.

4. Diversify

It’s imperative to spread your capital across a wide range of investments to reduce your risk and increase potential returns over the long-term. Whilst some investments are doing poorly some others may be doing great, thereby balancing it out. However, if you’re fully invested into just one thing then it’s either 100% right or wrong. There are thousands of markets across currencies, stocks, commodities and indices so the opportunity is there.

5. Educate yourself

By far the most important tip. You must educate yourself and learn your craft. After all if you’re investing your hard-earned capital it makes sense to do your homework. Even if you read all the articles here and watched all the videos you’ll be doing far better than the majority of investing wannabes who simply give away their money to the markets.

6. Have practical expectations

Of course, we all want that million dollar investment and for many it will come at some point. But you can’t plan for that, if it happens great if not then you still need a plan to survive and to reach your goals as discussed in the first tip. Remember it’s the journey that’s the most beautiful part and what you do on a daily basis that makes the difference.

7. But don’t limit yourself

It’s important one must remain conservative in deciding which investment to take. However, that shouldn’t limit you to just what you know. Be creative and find opportunities no matter how uncomfortable they may be. After all if it was that comfortable everyone would be doing it. Be adventurous in finding opportunities but be conservative in deciding which ones to take.

8. Manage your risk

Successful investing is all about managing risk. If you have $1,000 to invest then there’s no point in putting all of that on just one investment. You’re basically saying it has a 100% success rate… which of course is highly unlikely. If you follow the steps above, like making sure you diversify, then you’ll be on the right path.

9. Review constantly

A very simple step to achieving more from what you are already doing is to review your investments constantly. However, this does not mean to look at your profit and loss of a five-year investment every single day – you’ll never make it to the fifth year as markets move up and down. But it’s important to review what investments have worked and have not worked. Concentrate on doing more of the stuff that has worked and find out where you’re going wrong with the stuff that hasn’t.

10. Have fun!

Sounds simple but most people forget that are best work comes from when we enjoy the process. Whilst investing is a serious process you are allowed to enjoy it too. In fact the buzz of finding an opportunity, researching it, investing into it and then seeing the result is exciting in itself.

There you have it ten essential tips for successful investing.

Stocks Are Up. How Do I Minimize Capital Gains Taxes?

The stock market has rallied tremendously over the past five years, leaving many investors with some very large capital gains and some large positions in a few stocks or funds. Some people are worried about losing these big gains, but wonder how they can sell without realizing significant taxes. The U.S. federal capital gains tax rate was increased by over 50% (from 15% to 23.8%) in 2013 for the highest income taxpayers. One good rule of thumb regarding tax planning is to defer paying taxes as long as you can. We believe one of the keys to building wealth over long periods of time is to minimize the “leakage” in your portfolio from investment costs and taxes. Many people realize it is smart to buy low and sell high, but selling what is up the most often involves paying the largest capital gains tax.

Buy and Hold
We believe that the best long-term investment strategy involves buying and holding quality investments. Deferring or avoiding capital gains taxes is one of the key benefits of using a buy and hold investment strategy. We believe that by minimizing trading activity ourselves, and by investing in funds that have low turnover, we can help clients avoid a significant amount of taxes over time. We try to maximize our client’s after-tax investment returns. We have developed a financial model that compares holding an investment with a large gain to selling it and paying the taxes, and reinvesting the proceeds into a different, “better” investment with hopefully higher expected future returns. If the new investment has the same future returns as the existing investment (assuming a 100% long-term gain and a 30% total capital gains tax rate), you are better off holding it rather than selling and paying the tax by 7% after 10 years, 12% after 20 years, and 18% if you hold the position until your death. The new “better” investment needs to have returns that are 0.9% per year better (over the next 10 years) than the existing investment in order to break even and recoup the money you lost by selling and paying capital gains taxes. The greater the existing capital gain percentage in your existing investment, the more it makes sense to hold onto the investment and avoid paying taxes on it.

Own High Quality Investments
One of the best ways to be confident in a buy and hold investment strategy, and avoid trading and capital gains taxes, is to invest only in high quality diversified investments that you can imagine yourself owning for 10 to 20 years or more. This way you will not feel the need to sell something just because it is up, looks overvalued, is losing its competitive edge, just reported horrible news, lost its hot streak, etc. It is likely difficult to imagine being confident in holding big positions in all of your individual risky stocks for 10 to 20+ years. We prefer investing in diversified low-cost index-based funds that own hundreds or thousands of individual securities. These are the type of funds we can imagine owning forever, allowing us to defer the taxes for a very long time. The best solution for avoiding capital gains taxes on positions with huge gains is to own them until your death, at which point the cost basis will be “stepped-up” to the value at your death, and you (and your family) will have completely avoided the taxes on the gains. The older you are, the more it makes sense to continue to hold on to investments that have huge gains.

Other Ways to Avoid Capital Gains Taxes
Gifting. Investors with big positions in stocks or funds with large gains can gift those investments directly to a charity, to a charitable trust, to a charitable donor-advised fund (DAF), or to your children or family members who have a lower tax rate than you do. Some smart people make a large charitable contribution to their donor-advised fund in the same year they experience a large taxable gain, to offset some or all of the taxes. You can front-load many years of your normal annual charitable contributions to your donor-advised fund in the same year you take the large gain, get the big tax deduction that year, and then make your charitable gifts from the donor-advised fund as usual over the next many years. Another strategy might be to sell three-fourths of the position with the big gain, and donate the other 25% to charity or to your donor-advised fund and use that charitable deduction to offset some of the capital gains tax.
Strategic Selling. Investors can use tax loss harvesting from other capital loss positions you own to offset the gains you realize by selling one with a big gain. You can also sell some of the position with a big gain in a tax year when your taxable income and tax rate take a significant drop. For many people, taxable income and tax rates drop significantly once they retire, making it less expensive from a tax point of view to sell some of their winners. This can be especially true if they move to a state with a much lower (or zero) capital gains tax rate such as Florida when you retire. It can also make sense to spread out the capital gain income (and taxes) by selling a portion of the big winning stock over several years, rather than selling it all in one year. If you are trying to reduce the overall risk or equity market exposure of your portfolio (to rebalance or reduce risk) after a big stock market increase, it may make sense to sell positions first in your tax-deferred IRA or 401K accounts, where there are no capital gains taxes created by selling your winners.
Other Strategies. Other ways to reduce, delay, or avoid capital gains taxes are using 529 college savings plans, Roth IRA’s, and 1031 exchanges (for real estate investors).

Just Sell and Pay the Tax?
Sometimes it is smart to just bite the bullet, sell some of the position with the big gains, and pay the capital gains taxes. Some investors end up with a big winner in an individual stock or fund that is now too large and risky as a percentage of their overall wealth. A concentrated position in an individual stock that is more than 10% of your portfolio is fairly risky. In this situation it may make sense to sell some of the individual stock position and pay the taxes, purely from a risk reduction point of view. When you sell one stock and pay taxes on the gain, you reinvest the proceeds into another investment that now has a higher tax cost basis (reducing your future tax exposure). Thus, in the long run you are not as far behind by selling and paying the capital gains tax as you might think. The objective of investing is to try to grow your wealth and hopefully end up with some big winners. Paying some capital gains taxes once in a while, out of your portfolio gains, is part of the game. We believe it is best to think of taxes as one of the important factors in making investment decisions, but it should not be the overriding factor. In situations where you have a big gain in an investment you are worried about, one which you can’t imaging owning for the next 10 years, which is now excessively large and risky for you, it can make sense to just sell some and pay the taxes.

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