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May 1, 2016

Making Money With Your Clothes

money making from clothesOne wouldn’t necessarily think of their clothes as a money maker, but what we wear vastly impacts our business success rate. Having a fine tuned business acumen includes knowing what to wear and when.

If you are heading to meet a new client, you want to dress to impress. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you show up to a meeting with a potential new client horribly dressed, they will have a terrible first impression of you. You want to leave clients with the impression that you are professional, successful, and above all else, confident you can do anything the client needs you to get done.

Dressing yourself in Macy’s is gong to convey all of the right messages. If you show up to a client meeting dressed in second-hand clothes or faded and stained suits, nothing you say will be able to convince a client that you can accomplish what they need from you. Dressing in Charles Tyrwhitt however, demonstrates that you have a history of success. Showing up to a client meeting wearing the finest of clothes demonstrates to your clients that you can succeed. When you demonstrate this, you earn their trust and their account.

It might seem odd to think that how you dress can impact your financial success, but our appearance plays a large role in how we interact with others. Dressing for success is critical in business. If you dress well, you will find your list of clients expanding and your income increasing. By contrast, neglecting your appearance will only bring you frustration and hard times financially.

Make sure to take care of your business by taking care of your appearance. You need to invest in quality wear above all else- get some shoes that shine, keep your slacks crisp, and make sure your tie is on straight. Never wear the same suit twice to a meeting with a client- so make sure you keep at least four to five different sets of suits in your closet. You’ll want to be prepared at all times to let your suit do the talking for you.

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April 30, 2016

Gold or Silver? How to Choose the Right Bullion To Invest In

investments in gold & silverSo, you’ve done your research. You know a well-balanced investment portfolio should ideally include exposure to bullion. But do you go with gold or silver? Truth be told, there’s no one correct answer to that question – at least not one that’s applicable to every investor. Learn the key differences between gold and silver and base your decision on factors including how long you plan to hold onto your investment, how much you are able to invest and what sort of risk profile you want to adopt. Remember, both metals offer inflationary protection and carry no credit risk, whilst each has taken its turn in the limelight as far as past price performance goes. The canniest of investors are likely to go for a long play investment in both metals. Read on, and find out more.

The Case for gold

Gold’s volatility factor is up to 70 percent lower than silver’s. Gold also carries more prestige. This is largely due to its rarity. The yellow metal is 18 times rarer than silver. And new discoveries are on the wane. Production has likewise fallen considerably over the last decade. Meanwhile, central banks are still buying up large quantities of the stuff, which is encouraging. Over the longer term, gold’s price has performed exceedingly well. Also in its favour is gold’s unrivalled status as the accepted alternative to currencies. The yellow metal has been used to store wealth for more than 3,000 years. You simply cannot say this of silver.

The case for silver

Silver has much going for it as a savvy investment choice, though its volatility means it is more speculative than gold. Notably, silver is more widely used in industrial applications. Whatsmore, the industries it’s used in – like, solar power and electronics – are growing. Silver’s price may be currently weak, yet it is this very weakness forcing producers to scale back operations. These aforementioned factors, at some point, are likely to affect silver’s supply and demand ratio to the point where its price will be pushed up. In addition, analysts concur silver may well offer investors better value than gold, as the gold/silver price ratio is currently further apart than it theoretically should be. Finally, even though VAT must be paid on silver purchases, it remains, of course, much cheaper per ounce than gold to buy. This offers those with even only US$1000 in capital to invest in bullion, an ‘in’ into the market.

To conclude

Silver or gold? Each is likely a good investment choice over the longer term. Yet as you’ve just read, they have their differences. Which is precisely why many advisors would suggest owning both. If you choose a total exposure to bullion amounting to 10 percent of your portfolio for instance, go ahead and split that 10 percent between silver and gold. How you weigh the split largely depends on your views on the health of the stock market and worldwide industrial growth.

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April 20, 2016

Health insurance through the ages 20 to 60

health insurance investmentsThe same health insurance policy can cost you differently at different life stages. We explain why this happens.

Taking life insurance in today’s times of uncertainty is de rigueur for any responsible person. While lifestyle diseases and serious illnesses like cancer are on the rise, the world is also witnessing unprecedented acts of terrorism and natural disasters. All in all, life is quite unsafe all over the world. But while we can exercise no control over how the world behaves and affects us, we can certainly safeguard ourselves and our families with life and health insurance policies.

However, the timing of purchase is crucial: any financial planner and insurance advisor will tell you that the younger you are when you buy life and health insurance plans in India, the lower your premium payments will be. There is a curious correlation between one’s age and how affordable or expensive the insurance plans become. This correlation changes with:

The 20s: A person has a job with a modest income, possibly a first job. The policy holder has relatively lesser family responsibilities and can easily pay the health insurance policy premiums. A person in their 20s is also healthier and fitter than his older counterparts, so the chance of disease is lower. Also, insurers estimate a larger life span for the policy holder, hence the sum assured will be higher while the premium payments will be lower.

The 30s: By this time, a person is married and has a family, while also having a stable job. His income is also higher than in the previous decade, while his health profile may not be as good as earlier. Insurers anticipate that certain lifestyle diseases like diabetes and cardiac problems take root in this decade. Also, your profession and lifestyle can have a bearing on the premiums of your health insurance policy. If you are employed in a line of work that puts you in danger (such as the police force, fire brigade, mining and construction, etc.) the insurer will insist on a higher premium payment for you.

The 40s and 50s: Premiums on health insurance plans will be much higher as compared to those a person in his 20s would pay. Insurers anticipate a lower life expectancy for the customer at this stage, along with many varied expenses at home (children’s higher education, medical treatment costs for self and parents, home mortgage payments, etc.) and so, the premiums will be larger. Insurers will also insist on a detailed health profile to eliminate the possibility of unknown diseases, critical illnesses, disorders arising out of smoking and substance abuse, etc.

The 60s: Most insurers do not give health insurance policies in India to people who have crossed the age of 60 years. People in this age group have retired from active duty, hence they do not have an income from which they can pay their health premiums. Secondly, it is costlier to insure a person past the age of 60 because of a high incidence of poor health and diseases. Instead of taking individual health plans in their 60s, people in this age group should look at getting included in the family health plans of their children.

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March 28, 2016

When is the correct time to begin investing in mutual funds?

mutual fund investmentsPicking mutual funds for investment is easier than picking the right time to invest in them. We give you five hints to help you choose.

Every investor knows that in order to make money, he must put the money he currently has to good use. Simply letting the money sit in the bank or investing it in such instruments as real estate and gold do not always yield the best results. Besides, if the investor has both short term and long term goals, he may need to look at mutual fund investment.

But despite wishing to invest in mutual funds in India, many factors can hold an investor back. In terms of mutual funds, ‘how’ is often not as important as ‘when’. Consider these five pointers to help yourself decide when to invest in mutual funds:

1 When you do your research.

You must be willing to put in hours of study on both the fund you are interested in and the fund house. Choosing the best mutual funds cannot be a snap decision, and it cannot be based on the current favourite in the market. The fund you purchase must offer the potential for growth that you seek to realise your short term and long term financial goals. Apart from the fund, you must select the right fund manager as well. Conducting due diligence is the crucial first step to investing in the best mutual funds in India.

2 Study the fund manager’s record over three years.

Investors are often tempted to see short term results of the fund manager they wish to work with. However, experts will tell you that any amount of time short of three years is too less to analyse the manager’s performance. Analyse his track record over three to five years and discuss the various strategies he has adopted over the years vis-à-vis market fluctuations and asset allocation.

3 Choose a manager with the same investment style as yours.

A fund manager is not a magician who can convert your mutual fund investment into piles of money. Nor is he a mathematician who follows provable theorems with predictable outcomes. A fund manager studies the markets and interprets them every day, and bases his decisions on his understanding and skill. The gains may be slow in coming in some cases, while another of his decisions can fetch a windfall. However, his investment style must align with yours, or there may be conflict in reaching your fiscal goals.

4 Pick the fund of the best available ones.

Studying market forces every day and picking the right mutual fund is important for the proper realisation of your financial goals. Most people tend to go with the popular choice, or expect a long term fund to generate constant growth in the short term. Discussing the fund’s growth with your manager regularly, reading reports by financial companies and looking up the workings of the best mutual funds relays valuable information.

5 Be certain that it is the best way to create wealth.

Investing in mutual funds is a matter of faith and being open to a little risk. Sometimes, all calculations can go awry and mutual funds may show extremely low returns. Hence, it is important to be convinced about the decision to invest in a mutual fund. Only when the investor is certain that they will give the best returns will the investor be confident about putting in his money in them.

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March 15, 2016

Why Women Need To Be Involved In Family Finances

financial planning for single motherIn 2005, I began working with a new client. She just got divorced after over 30 years of marriage. Like many women, she had been content to allow her husband to take care of their finances. However, circumstances changed. In her late 50s, this woman found herself in uncharted waters: managing significant financial matters with zero prior experience.

While insurance, investments and financial planning have traditionally been “a man’s game,” there are many statistics that predict a different story. Women are living significantly longer than men and are more likely to become widows. Like it or not, it’s imperative for women stay on top of all things financial, for themselves and their families.

There are many aspects to financial planning: savings, retirement, day-to-day expenses, student loans, college savings, estate management, building a comprehensive stock market portfolio, life insurance, and more! It can get overwhelming trying to keeping track of every aspect of your broad financial plan. Here are four tips to get started:

1) Make it fun. Financial planning is not something that brings an immediate smile to one’s face. Try to take the stress out of it by making your conversations fun. Plan a “date night” where you cook together and go over one aspect of the finances over dinner. Don’t try to go out: restaurants are wonderful for romance, but not great for private financial conversations. Whatever it is you enjoy, try to mix that in so you can associate something positive with this new learning adventure.

2) Don’t get defensive. Your goal is to become more educated and involved in your family’s finances. This doesn’t have to be a cause for alarm or fighting! Remind whoever is currently in charge that this is not a criticism of what they have been doing. You are not going to change things overnight or perhaps even at all, so do not start out on the defensive.

3) Start with cash flow. In terms of where to start, I recommend beginning with the basics: cash flow. Where are funds currently being spent and allocated? How are new expenses prioritized? This is a good time to analyze expenses both from a high level and then more detailed. We get busy with our daily lives and while a $100/year item may not be significant—how many of them are there? Those can really add up.

4) Meet and engage with your team. Do you personally know your CPA, attorney, and financial professionals? Start to build a relationship with them. Make sure you understand how they make decisions, how they bill, and how they can help you and your partner reach your goals.

Starting the process is half the battle,and there is no wrong answer when deciding which area to approach first. Remember that this is a team effort between you and your family, spouse, or partner, so don’t try to go it alone. By following these steps,I believe you will become more empowered to make smart financial decisions in good times and in bad.

Meghann McKenna is Owner & Financial Adviser at McKenna Financial in Bozeman MT, a family owned financial firm serving clients since 1949. She also is a Registered Representative offering securities through NYLIFE Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC a Licensed Insurance Agency, and a Financial Adviser offering investment advisory services through Eagle Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. McKenna Financial is not owned or operated by Eagle Strategies LLC or its affiliates. This article is offered for general information purposes only. It does not set forth solutions to individual situations. Consult your professional advisor(s) before implementing any planning strategies. SMRU 1683868 (exp. 2.18.2018)

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