Embracing Uncertainty

If you ask investors, they will tell you one thing that they dislike. It is inexainty. Investors always fear uncertainty. In fact, they hate uncertainty. If you ask further, everyone will give different answers but the main reason why they hate uncertainty is that they do not like losing money.

That is right. Losing money is what we as investors want to avoid. However, avoiding uncertainty is not the answer. You see, life is always full of uncertainty. Therefore, taking risks is necessary in investing no matter what your background is. Tell me what kind of assets with no uncertainty at all. One common answer is placing your money in Certificate of Deposit. (CD). The proponent of this investment claims that your money will always accrue interest no matter what happens to the economy, oil price and other things affecting stock investment. But is that so?

Let me answer your question with another question. Why do different banks give you different interest rate for your CD? Sure, it is affected partly by their money supply and demand. If a bank can take in more money than it can loan, it will generally give lower interest rate. However, do you notice that larger established banks generally give lower interest rate than say, an internet CD from e-trade? The answer is uncertainty. Big banks are less likely to fall and therefore, investors are willing to accept lower return investing in their CD. On the other hand, internet banks are more uncertain to survive ten years from now. Thus, the higher interest rate. You see, when you embrace uncertainty, you will earn a higher return on your investment. How about risk? The risk here is that when you invest in small unestablished banks, it may go bankrupt and bring your money down with it. Sure, in theory, your money is protected up to $ 100,000 from FDIC. If you loan your money to a friend, he or she will always say that they will pay your money back, no matter what. But banks are not your friend. In fact, you friends who borrow money from you, can default on their payments.

That is the risk of investing in CD. While, the risk seems remote, it always exists. On the opposite side, investors who fear accidently will probably stuff their money in the mattress, approaching little or no money. This is an extreme example but as you see, getting rid of uncertainty does not look that good here.

Embrace accidently does not mean investing your money blindly. To get a higher return, you need to embrace uncertainty and be educated to minimize your risk. In our CD investment case, what should investors do? Well, for example, you can research the trustworthiness of your bank to sites such as bankrate.com. Once you are comfortable about the status of your bank, you can then invest in CD which offers higher interest rate. A little bit of your time will earn you quite a bit. This is what I called embracing uncertainty. You accept that uncertainty is part of investing but you need to be aware of the risks that you take in any kind of investment. From there, you can weigh your risk and reward and decide which the additional risk is worth investing or not.

Similar case can be applied to stock investing. It is full of uncertainty and there is no way around it. However, by being educated in the stock market, you can minimize your risk and can earn additional return in the process.

Turnaround investing validates this concept. You can choose to invest in a well-run companies with seemingly no trouble in the horizon. Or … you can choose to invest in companies with short-term trouble and wait for them to turnaround. In these two cases, investing in turnaround companies will give you greater return. This is due to the uncertainty of investing in companies with short-term trouble. As always, you have a decision to make. Life is full of choice. Would you rather invest in CD and avoid uncertainty even? Or embracing uncertainty and reap a higher return on your investment?

Successful Investing – Helping Investors Avoid Common Investment Mistakes

The Top Mistakes made by Investors

In my dozen plus years of advising individuals and businesses I have found a number of common mistakes that have derailed even the best laid financial plans. I thought by sharing them I might be able to help others sidestep the pitfalls and the negative impact they can have on your portfolio and long-term financial plans.

1. Failing to establish a time horizon and investing accordingly -

If you have expenses that need to be funded in 3 years or less, you should not be investing the cash for them in the stock market or other risky investments. These monies should be carved out of your investment portfolio (the money earmarked for long-term investing) and invested appropriately in liquid assets such as money market funds or term-certain fixed income offerings. If the money is not going to be needed for 3 years or more, an investment plan should be established based upon specific a time horizon and risk tolerance for these funds.

2. Failing to thoroughly diversify your portfolio -

Many investors know about the concept of diversification and think that by owning different investments, they are diversified. Diversification of an investment portfolio makes good sense on an intuitive level. However, it wasn’t until Harry Markowitz published his model of portfolio selection that this concept became a formalized part of sound investment practice and formed the basis of today’s Modern Portfolio Theory. Beyond this basic concept of diversification, the key to Markowitz’s premise is the revelation that the risk of any investment can be reduced and/or performance increased by forming a portfolio of diverse and non-correlated assets. That is, it is important not just to seek a diversity of asset types, but also to seek assets that have low or near-zero correlations to one another. It’s not about owning different investments; it’s about owning different, non-correlated investments.

3. Letting potential tax implications rule your investment decisions –

Many investors delay selling an investment that has done well regardless of how good or bad the future looks for the holding. Their response is, “I will have to pay taxes if I sell.” By not selling, they set themselves up for not having to pay taxes at all – usually because the investment starts on a decline and their concern switches from “having to pay taxes” to one of “hoping for a turnaround.” Don’t be afraid to take some profits off the table. While taxes are an unpleasant result of investing, I prefer to look at them as a positive sign as it indicates you are making money and your investment plan is working.

4. Buying a stock based upon a “hot tip” -

Too many investors listen to a friend’s advice because he or she always seems to have the next “great” money making idea. They don’t take the time to assess the idea personally and jump in because it’s only a few thousand dollars they are investing. Unfortunately this is not investing – it’s gambling. If you want to gamble, go to Vegas and at least get free drinks, dinner, a show and a room for the risks you are taking. Any investment that is being considered for your portfolio should be thoroughly researched and have passed a comprehensive financial screening scrutiny.

5. Attempting to time the market -

Waiting an extra day, week, or month to try and buy in at the “right price” just doesn’t work. No one can predict the future. If they could they most likely wouldn’t be sharing this knowledge with you for free. Successful investors use time, patience and a disciplined approach to increase the likelihood of maximizing their investment returns – not trying to time the market. If you have done the research and the investment is sound and meets your criteria then buy it, regardless of timing.

6. Failing to regularly reevaluate your investments -

Over time all investment styles, strategies and types fall out of favor. So, like timing the market, it becomes virtually impossible to know what is going to be “hot” in the next bull market and what isn’t. For this reason it is always prudent to stay up-to-date on your investments to insure they are still the same investment that you originally purchased (segment drift and manager changes can be one reason they may have changed). If your investments consist solely of mutual funds then an annual review is a good place to start.

7. Basing investment decisions on emotion -

Maybe the stock market is going through a bad time because of a short-term geo-political or economic event. Stay calm and make an educated, well thought out decisions about what, if anything, to do. Assess whether the event will affect the economy long-term or if it’s just a short-term blip. The best move is often no move at all. If it is a short term incident, many times the smart, prudent investor will make additional investments because the current decline provides them with an excellent buying opportunity. The key to successful investing is to have a disciplined strategy and to stick with it.

8. Cashing out gains and dividends rather than reinvesting -

Once you’ve realized gains or had distributions and dividends paid out, insure they are reinvested back into your portfolio. If you pull out your capital gains, dividends and interest, your money won’t compound as quickly, thereby leaving you with a smaller chunk of change down the line. Letting your investments compound is one of the major tenets of successful investing.

9. Owning too much employer stock -

Many people get over-weighted in employer stock because of options and stock purchase plans made available in today’s competitive compensation packages. While these are great supplements to their annual salary they can put an employee in a position of having too much money invested in their employer’s stock. Additionally, it is quite common for people to invest in “what they know” and what do you know better than the company you work for? To compound the problem many people will add more employer stock to their 401k holdings and individual brokerage accounts. Not only does this create a diversification problem in their portfolio but it also subjects them to excessive single stock risk. A good rule of thumb to follow is to insure that no more than 5-10% of your entire investment portfolio is in any one single stock. If you find yourself in this situation the importance of creating a well thought out reduction strategy cannot be overstated.

10. Following the herd -

The most successful of all investors are moving in the opposite direction of what everyone else is doing. They buy when most are selling and sell when everyone else is buying. By following this simple plan you can preserve your capital and potentially sidestep the next bubble (can anyone remember real estate, internet stocks, and technology growth funds?).

11. Not investing at all –

Somehow in today’s society that Mocha Cappuccino Latte seems to take precedence over saving for the long-term. We are a society who wishes to satisfy the “here and now” rather than the securing our future. The important fact here is that those two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, BALANCE is the key in any long-term endeavor, but by always keeping an eye on the end goal you can make sure it is not out of mind while satiating the here and now.

12. Investing without a plan -

Investing without a plan and lacking the discipline to follow it is a sure way to lower your chances of success. The chances of obtaining any long term goal can be greatly enhanced by creating a strategy, following it and regularly reviewing it frequently enough so it reflects any changes that have taken place since implementation. Many investors start off with a small amount of money and start putting it to work without a plan. As time progresses they find they have a mish-mash of investments in their portfolio with no clear strategy or direction. It’s never too early to invest but it’s even better to invest early with a plan.

13. Taking too little risk -

Some people don’t want to take any risk and cannot stand the volatility involved with risky investments. While it may seem like you are keeping your money safe and secure by not taking risk, it is more than likely you are not because of inflation. If your time horizon is greater than 5 years it is recommended that you have no less than 25-30% in growth investments (i.e. stocks) in your portfolio to ward off the effects of inflation. The actual percentage to own is dependent upon many factors including but not limited to age, time horizon before money is needed, current financial situation, etc. A good general rule of thumb to use as a starting point for the percentage of equity you may include in your portfolio is “120 – your age.”

Avail Digital Marketing Services To Transform Your Business

A strong marketing strategy is not a choice, but it has become a necessity for every business be it a startup, medium-sized company or large organization. Every business is struggling to keep up with promptly evolving customer behavior. A personalized marketing strategy can help a business to know what customers wish for.

When implemented in a right manner, a marketing strategy can show noticeable results in the context of ROI, traffic and online visibility. However, achieving desired results is not so easy. In order to get the most out of it, the marketers should go on board on a range of digital marketing services to transform the way they promote their businesses.

A successful digital marketing campaign includes professional strategies, structures, and top-notch technologies, along with professional experience. The experts utilize cutting-edge digital marketing techniques to drive bottom-line development of a business. If you run an online business and would like to grow by leaps and bounds, it is the time to hire a digital marketing expert. If you are still confused, here are some reasons why you need an effective digital marketing strategy for your business -

Get a direction

Many businesses don’t have a clear motto and aim. They don’t know what they want to achieve exactly. The experts set the goals keeping in your mind your expectations and utilize the best methods to achieve them for you. The marketers start the work by outlining the business goals. Planning, execution and management, etc. all the responsibilities are carried out by the professionals.

Know your market share

In order to satisfy demands of the customers, it is essential that you know your market share. The experts analyze customer’s behavior, buying tendencies, competitors and many more things to let you know where you exists the market. Social media marketing is one of the advanced and useful digital marketing techniques that allow a business to know the customers. The experts increase engagement with customers by making a strong and dynamic presence of clients over social media.

To be in competition

Online marketing is not a one time job, it is an ongoing process. If you are not utilizing avant-garde digital services, your competitors will move ahead to you. Every day, many companies are launched over the internet with a common goal to achieve success and increase profit. Without proficient marketing plans, it is not possible to survive in the competition. Having a professional digital marketing partner may enable you to lead the battle. Don’t give up if a marketing plan is not offering quick results, be patience and wait for productive results.

To build loyalty online

Gaining confidence of your clients is not an easy thing to do, it requires constant efforts. By utilizing right kinds of marketing services, you can build and maintain trust and loyalty among clients about your brand. The marketers know how to make the clients remember you with online reputation management and branding. Blogging, content marketing and social media activities, etc. can help you to build loyalty among target audiences.

Know your customers

A successful marketer always understands the mind-set, needs and expectations of the clients. If you don’t how what your clients very well, it is time to invest in an effective marketing campaign. The experts evaluate the clients, identify weakness and address them to nurture your business.

Go beyond the boundaries

With traditional marketing techniques, you can grow, but can’t reach the edge. Digital marketing services allow you to go beyond all the boundaries. By investing in SEO, social media marketing and PPC, etc. you can enlarge your reach to your potential customers.

Encourage customer engagement

Professional digital marketers understand the worth of customer engagement for the growth and popularity of your business and they encourage it using various tactics. They segment the customers according to your interest and allow you to interact with them.

In order to accomplish your goal, opt for a right digital marketing company that can carry out the jobs in an efficient manner keeping in mind your business nature, target audiences and specific objectives. Choose a reliable company that is engaged in offering top-notch digital marketing services according to the latest trends.

What Is Digital Marketing?

In the last decade, the reliance on the Internet has certainly changed the way in which business is connected. It is clear to most business owners that without an online presence, your business is really missing out on a major of marketing, advertising, and success. Nowadays, anyone who is anyone keeps their own blog, social media platform, and of course a website. If you are a business owner and you do not have a website, you are neglecting to market yourself in the most effective way. That is why it is critical for every business to not only build a site for themselves, but also reinforce its presence through digital marketing.

What is digital marketing? And, how / why is this kind of advertising so important to a business? Let's consider these important elements of online strategizing:

What is digital marketing?

In its very essence, this kind of advertising conjoins the promotion and advertising in an online platform. The basic principles, values, ad tactics of traditional marketing are still at the core of this innovative phase, there is a seemingly more insightful guise into the consumer behavior and target demographic. This digital promotion possesses all kinds of internet marketing, however it focuses on digital media. SEO is only one kind of digital marketing tactic.

The way in which digital promotion is enforced is another interesting property. Various sources can be utilized to promote products and services of a business, including websites, mobile devices, instant messages, and SMS among many others. In addition, the digital nature of this kind of marketing is considered as one of the most cost effective means of advertising.

Two kinds:

Push digital marketing: Just as the name suggests, push marketing is directed to push the advertising information directly towards the target clientele. Often times, marketers will initiate the push marketing through email, RSS, or SMS, really targeting the receiver or clientele with a personalized message. This means is also powerful in that it is easy to track, monitor, and measure the relative efficiency of the marketing.

Pull digital marketing: The pull method of marketing is aimed at garnering customers to come to you. The marketing for this means will be communicated to compel the individual to make a call to action or come visit your business. The most obvious or pervasive example is a web page, website, or any other Internet based medium. While this means of digital advertising is not as easy to personalize or track, it is still effective and powerful nonetheless.