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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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