Thursday, March 20, 2014

How Crimea’s Referendum Vote Could Impact Gold Prices

The citizens of Crimea have spoken, and an overwhelming majority of voters (over 93%, as reported by Zerohedge.com) have voted to formally apply to join Russia. What’s more impressive is that nearly 80% of the citizens turned out to vote, which is a higher turnout than any U.S. presidential election since 1900. Despite the vote, Russian troops and tanks are preparing for possible conflict. Not surprisingly, the vote has been rejected by the US, EU and the UK as being illegitimate, which they claim is contrary to international law. Considering the controversial vote and the differing opinions on the Ukraine crisis, the financial markets and commodities markets are likely to be active over the coming week. Below are a few possible scenarios that we could see playing out over the next few days and weeks.

Crimea’s Referendum Vote

The precious metal markets have been one of the few beneficiaries of the Ukrainian crisis, with gold prices currently at levels not seen in over six months. There has been a substantial amount of rhetoric, positioning, and threats of economic and political sanctions. Vladimir Putin has largely rejected the threats from the other G8 nations and has continued to support Crimea’s separation from the Ukraine, claiming that he is willing to respect the decision made by the citizens of Crimea. However, he has also publicly stated that he is willing to use military force to protect the interests and safety of “Russian compatriots.” Furthermore, Russia has allegedly responded to possible economic sanctions by threatening to sell their holdings of U.S. Treasuries (totaling over $200 billion), which could potentially cause the U.S. financial markets to collapse.

Thus far it has been a political standoff between the members of NATO and Russia without bloodshed. However, if NATO forces move in and militarily support their position that the Crimea referendum is unconstitutional, we could potentially see a military conflict with Russia, which could cause gold prices to soar. We’ve discussed factors that affect the price of gold in a previous piece, but the threat of war is a factor that is oftentimes overlooked by precious metal investors. While the likelihood of World War III erupting from the Crimea referendum vote is highly unlikely, it’s possible that we could see military engagement in the region and a number of sanctions levied against Russia, which could impact global trade. Furthermore, retaliation from Russia is likely, and the possibility of the Russian government selling their Treasury holdings in an attempt to sink the U.S. economy is not out of the realm of possibility.

The above possible scenarios could spell trouble for the global economy; causing global stock markets to tank and Treasury rates soar, but precious metals, and in particular, gold, would likely benefit from any military involvement and/or economic sanctions, as it has historically been viewed as a safe haven investment. While Treasuries have also historically been viewed as a safe harbor during periods of economic crises or uncertainty, they may not be one of the favored investment classes if Russia sells their Treasuries, causing bond rates to spike. Furthermore, China, who is a close trading partner of Russia, and the second largest holder of U.S. treasuries in the world, could follow suit, further exacerbating a potential financial crisis.

In this writer’s opinion, Crimea’s vote on Sunday to join Russia will likely prolong potential military involvement and the threat of various sanctions, as Putin previously stated that he would abide by the wishes of the citizens of Crimea. This continued tension should help to support the current price of gold, and possibly cause it to move higher. While gold and silver have been two of the top performing asset classes this year, we could see both moving higher in the short term, possibly breaking the $1,400 and $22 an ounce levels, respectively, continuing the impressive rally that we’ve seen so far in 2014.

In summary, Crimea’s vote to join Russia is being rejected by major G8 nations, including the US, UK and most of Europe. If these nations continue to view Sunday’s vote as unconstitutional, we could potentially see military conflict in the region, sanctions imposed against Russia, and in turn retaliation from Russia. If tensions continue, we would expect for the price of gold and silver to be beneficiaries and approach or exceed key levels of $1,400 an ounce and $22 an ounce, respectively. Hopefully for everyone’s sake, the Ukrainian conflict will be resolved without bloodshed, but to protect yourself and your portfolio, a move into gold and silver at this time may be prudent.

This article was written by Tony Davis of Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers (http://www.atlantagoldandcoin.com)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Are The Forex Markets?

The foreign exchange market, also referred to as Forex, is an international market for the buying and selling of currencies. It is by far the largest and most liquid of all the major financial markets around the globe, with a daily turnover that exceeds $5 trillion dollars each day. This is actually more than 3 times the total combined value that is traded on the world's stock markets. For this reason it is a financial market that investors simply cannot ignore.

Forex Markets

What Is Traded On Forex?

Money to be precise. Forex trading is all about trading and exchanging currencies. International currencies are traded against each other with a view to finding value and therefore profit. Traders back those currencies which are expected to outperform and appreciate in value against their peers.

The value of a currency is reflected in a currency quote. Currency dealing takes place in pairs and therefore in each quote you will see two currencies listed. With each transaction you are effectively buying one currency and selling the other. The rate quoted reflects how much of the lead currency is needed to purchase the second currency in the quote.

Here is an example. If you buy the EUR/USD currency pair, then you are exchanging one EURO for a one unit of the US Dollar rate that is specified in the quote.

It is important to recognize that the quotes used in currency trader are constantly changing. This fluctuations reflects the underlying deals that are being executed on the market.

Which Currency Pairs Are Traded?

All of the major currencies of the worlds are traded on Forex. However most of the dealing is carried on what are known as the currency 'Majors'. These represent the most important currencies on the markets from an investment perspective.

The most traded pairs containing these currencies are - EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD and USD/CHF.

The next most traded currency pairs are the USD/CAD, EUR/GPB, AUD/USD and NZD/USD. Other more exotic currencies are traded. However their high costs for transactions and lower trading volumes make them less attractive from a trading and investment perspective.

Who Trades Forex?

Dealing in currencies for trade and investment is not know. It is long been practiced in ancient civilizations  In these times it was mainly used to help with trade agreements between different regions and to support movement to between different areas of the globe.

These reasons still make up a large portion of the deals that are made on this market. However increasingly Forex has become the focus for day traders and investors. Banks and financial companies as well as individuals deal on this market in the hope to profit from the constant fluctuations of rates. In many instances huge sums of money are used to make high profits on both short and long term price movements in this market.

The retail part of the Forex market is now one of the fastest growing areas of financial investment. Low barriers to entry and an increasingly discerning investor have made it a popular destination for speculators. It is not common for currencies to make up a proportion of the portfolio of many seasoned investors.

Is it easy to start with Forex?

Getting started with trading on Forex has never been easier. All that is needed is access to a computer and a small amount of money deposited with a broker with which you can start trading.

You carry out transactions through an online broker who will provide you with the necessary tools such as a trading platform to carry out live dealing in the Forex markets. Many also will provide introductory information and guides to help get you started.

About The Author

Phil Moore is a blogger for BinaryOptionsInvestor, an independent financial trading site for Forex and Stock traders. To find out more information about how to trade Forex with Binary Options pay it a visit now.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How to Make Sure Corporate Secretarial Services Can Help your Business

Over the years Singapore has grown to become a major business hub. Most of the businesses that have been springing up, are small start-up companies. Due to the cost that comes with setting up a new business, most of these companies do not have any sort of secretarial services. However, many people are now realizing the importance of having a secretary on staff. That is why there are growing number of corporate secretarial services who focus on providing secretarial services at prices that even small businesses can afford. 

Corporate Secretarial Service

There are many benefits of hiring Singapore company secretarial services. These companies can be able to deliver fast and efficient incorporation services, especially to new companies.

Look at what they can offer your business

The corporate secretarial service company you hire should be able to help your business with its administrative functions. If yours is a start-up company, then you can leave your company registration duties in the hands of a secretarial service company. These companies are usually more knowledgeable of the right and best channels to take so as to help a new or young business with its registration and business renewal tasks. 

If you are considering expansion into a different country or state and don't know how to go through the cumbersome activity, the secretaries can assist with the assembly and lodging of all relevant documents with the respective offices.

Focus on projecting a professional appearance

When clients walk into a company where there is a secretary, they instantly get a feeling of professionalism. A secretary shows that the company is organized and that they can delegate tasks with efficiency. A secretary can help make your business look more credible and hence increase your authority in the industry. 

Appearances are important to a business, when a client walks in to an office and is greeted by a well-dressed and courteous secretary, this improves the credibility of the business. Clients are skeptical about offices that have no one to direct them when they call or visit.

Focus on Efficiency

For your business to succeed you must have sufficient time to focus on the core aspects of your business. Singapore company secretarial services should be able to ensure your business runs efficiently. A professional corporate secretary will be able to coordinate different aspects of your business. For instance, you may not have time to prepare and distribute materials for a meeting or lead and take the minutes in a meeting, a secretary will be able to do it. 

The secretary maintains a relationship with the different aspects that affect your business. They work closely with various corporate board members so as to ensure different department run smoothly.

Look into trustworthiness

Secretaries during their daily activities come into contact with a lot of confidential information. Most of the financial prospects and confidential business plan of a company pass through a secretary’s hands. This is one of the reasons why not just anyone can fill in this position. It is therefore wise to choose a professional and ethical secretary so as to ensure your business’s success. 

Some of the sensitive tasks include handling taxation and accounting issues among others. These secretarial companies can help your business with tasks such as filling of taxation documents and file number registration.

Author Bio: Chris Kam is the Director at Budget Accounts Pte. Ltd., Singapore. He provides expert advice in areas of corporate accounting, tax planning and cost savings. With his extensive experience in this field, he is successfully guiding clients in Corporate Secretarial Services in Singapore and helping investors to achieve their financial goals.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Divorce - 8 Financial Blunders to Refrain From

Divorce is a complicated process that not only weakens one emotionally, but also drains the pocket. A dollar here and there does not make a difference. But during such a complicated process like a divorce, one may be faced with many situations where choosing the wrong thing can heavily impact the wallet. Here is an article that lists some of the most common mistakes that people are known to make. Tips on avoiding these mistakes are also mentioned to make it easier for someone to contemplate the situation and make the right choice.

Financial Blunders

1. Underestimating the Expense

A common example that is often cited to explain the nature of financial burden – an individual knows exactly how much he / she earns each month. But ask them where all the money goes and there will be blank faces staring at you. This is what always happens. Note down where every cent goes to prepare your future. While making a plan for your future, consider the inflation. Otherwise, you will be grossly under estimating and hence compromising on your lifestyle.

2. Deciding on who Must Keep the Family Home

The family home undoubtedly holds an emotional relationship with the concerned people. It is no doubt a complex decision that must be taken during divorce. However, it is necessary to think logically about this aspect. Keeping the home avoids the hassle of moving out to a new and strange place. But it involves covering the mortgage, taxes and maintenance amounts in the future. If there are affordability issues, do not jump into it.

3. Equal Division is not Always Fair

Some properties like houses, plots or bonds can fetch rental value and their price increases over time. It is therefore fair to consider the future costs of such properties during the division to ensure that each partner does get equal value over time. Equal monetary value at the time of division does not mean equal monetary value a few years down the line. This must be taken into account before the papers are signed.

4. Look at the Comprehensive Picture

Many people look individually into separate sources of income and try to work the division right from the scratch. But this approach does not take into account the effect of taxes, inflation or other inadvertent transactions. Looking at the comprehensive picture enables one to look at how one decision will affect other decisions and its effect on the entire scenario. This approach helps greatly in determining how and when to divide the assets.

5. Insure the Alimony and Child Support Payments

The spouse’s ability of paying up is often times determined by the ability of the partner to effectively collect it. One can put forward a formal request to get the paying partner to insure his / her life and also make provisions for disability claims. This ensures that the payments keep coming in the unlikely event of his / her disability to pay or even death. It is also advisable to check whether the spouse has made the correct designations for the nomination purposes. In the event of the spouse voluntarily stopping payments, the partner is within the rights to go to court.

6. Understand the Liabilities or Debts

If any debt was incurred during the marriage, it is the shared responsibility of both the spouses to pay off the debts, regardless of who held or used the credit card. Regardless of the claims of the settlement, credit card companies are known to come after both people to ask for payment. Thus, it is best to pay off all debts before the divorce becomes final.

7. Have Realistic Expectations on Investments

It is better to have a professional look into your investments properly to ensure that you get what you are being promised. Some investments do not grow at all or even yield negative results and you may have to suffer losses. Avoid that scenario by consulting a professional.

8. Consider Long time financial Security

It is advisable to hire a financial planner to look into all theifs and buts relating to the future. Something that seems appropriate at the current time may be grossly insufficient after ten or twenty years. Inflation and all other factors must be taken into account.

These are the most common mistakes that people tend to make during a divorce process. Knowing about them is the best way to avoid them.

8 Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid for Newbies

Credit card mistakes can cost to you a lot of money. You'd think that with stories of credit card mishaps we hear so often, people would be more careful. The problem remains though that a lot of people still have the tendency to misuse their credit card, or don't know how to avoid some common credit card mistakes. You don't have to learn these lessons the hard way. Avoid the pitfalls such as:

Credit Card Mistakes

Maxing Out Your Credit Limit

The closer you get to reaching your credit card limit, the higher amount you would need for monthly payments and the longer it would take you to repay—sometimes, even years. You'd be charged for over-the-limit fees and penalty fees if you're unable to repay in time and in full. Maxing out your credit card can also come with grave consequences. It could hurt your credit score—about 30% of your score is based on the ratio of your  balances to your credit limit.

Late Payments

Late payments, especially ones that are more than 30 days overdue, can do a lot of damage to your credit score. According to CreditCards.com, late payments can cause your score to drop by 60-110 points. But the good thing about it is that it's a workable situation. If you tend to be forgetful of your due dates, or often don't have the time to make deposits, make it a point from now on to pay your bills on time, every time. Online payments are extremely convenient and can be automated. You can also consider consolidating all your bills in one due date or payment date by doing a balance transfer, if you're having a hard time keeping track of various payment schedules.

Unwise Balance Transfers

Find time to read the fine print when signing up for a deal to transfer your debts to another card or bank. Don't be so easy to give in to one-time or upfront promotions until you've got all the details. Ask your bank on the duration of the introductory offer, then consider if you can pay off the debt when the APR (annual percentage rate) goes up. Know how much exactly is the balance transfer fee. If you ignore or misunderstand rules in your balance transfer, you may end up paying for more.

Making Minimum Payments

Though making minimum payments is better than not paying at all, interest rates are applied to your unpaid balance the following month, causing your debt to grow. The only difference is that you will not be bothered by bank calls. It's a vicious cycle that has cause many credit card users to get buried in debt.

Too Many Credit Cards

Why do you want more credit cards? Because you reached the credit limit in one of your cards? One credit card is enough to cause anyone a major headache. Imagine what the consequences of multiple credit card accounts can do.

Taking Cash Advances

Banks are clear on making cash advances. They usually recommend taking cash advances for emergency purposes. The cash advance feature can be extremely handy but avail with caution. It can cost your sky-high interest charges and upfront fees. And, the longer you take to repay a cash advance, the worse it gets for your situation. Explore other ways to find cash when you need it and get a cash advance only as a last resort.

Spending For Rewards

Firstly, rewards aren't free. You need to spend money before you earn rewards. In choosing a cardmake sure that the rewards promised are worth the annual fees and interest rates you'd have to pay. In general, pay careful attention to all the terms and conditions of credit card rewards.

Neglecting Credit Scores

All these above mentioned mistakes will have a negative effect on your credit score. Strive for a healthy credit score; it opens a lot of financial opportunities for you. With every credit decision you make, always consider the possible effects it would have to your credit score.

About the Author:

Gilbert Bermudez is a freelance blogger for CompareHero, a Malaysian based comparison platform that compares consumer services.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Diversification of Finances is not Necessary, its Imperative

Diversification of finance means to invest in a variety of different assets so as to reduce the risk of loss. If the values of the assets do not rise and fall synchronously, then the weighted average risk of the individual assets will be more than the risk of a diversified portfolio. Any investor, who wants to avoid risks as much as he can would definitely diversify to some extent. Diversification can possibly increase the performance of the investments. This process requires very active management that can ratchet up the different and uncorrelated variances which constitute the portfolio.

Diversification of Finances

The following proverb provides a perfect example of diversification:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

If you place all of your eggs in a single basket, and that basket falls, then all eggs may break. To reduce the risk of this loss, you can place eggs in different baskets.

Now let’s come back to finance. An undiversified portfolio will have a single stock only. This proves very risky as a single stock may fall in value by fifty percent over the course of a year. This is not an unusual performance. Now, if a portfolio was to have twenty stocks, then the probability of that portfolio going down by such a large percentage is lesser, especially ifall the stocks were selected at random.

If prior return expectations are identical, then in a diversified portfolio the expected returns would be the same as that of an undiversified portfolio. Some stocks may perform better than others. The returns of a diversified portfolio will be higher than the returns of the stock that performs the worst. Also, a diversified portfolio’s returns will be lower than those of the best-performing stock. So in this way, by diversifying a portfolio, you are avoiding coming out either the best or the worst by investing in single stock.

There are also concepts of diversifiable and non-diversifiable risks. If someone buys a particular stock in a company then the stock is exposed to index movements and stock movements of the company. This risk can be diversified or reduced if the buyer diversifies among several different stocks. However, if the buyer buys all stocks of a company, then he is only exposed to the movements in that index. This is non-diversifiable risk and it will remain the sameno matter how many stocks of the company are bought. However, the buyer must keep in mind that there is always a risk of overdiversifying. This may lead to a severe loss, your performance may suffer, and you may end up paying for fees.

Diversification Strategies:

Diversification is either vertical or horizontal in corporate portfolio models. Horizontal diversification means that related companies are being acquired or that product line is being expanded. Vertical diversification means that distribution channels are being amalgamated. Non-incremental diversification is a strategy that is mostly employed by corporate empires. In this strategy, the individual businesses have very little in common and still the company manages to achieve diversification from external risk factors to stabilize.

Playing in the stock exchange market is not easy. There are a lot of risks and you may have to face losses. However, there are certain risks that you have to take order to achieve what you desire. Finance is a field in which you take risks regardless of how good you are. however, if there is a strategy that you can implement in order to reduce the risk then you would be smart to adopt it. Diversification is a strategy that can improve overall stock performance. If a portfolio has more than one stock, then not all those stocks will fall in their performance. Despite the falls that some stocks will face, the overall performance of your stock will still be higher than that.

Diversification has its disadvantage in that the overall performance will always be lower than the highest performance among all the stocks.This is a trade-off that you will have to deal with because coming up with only the worst-performing stock of the year in your portfolio will not generate a healthy impression.

You may also find several online resource and companies such as Satellite360 - financial advisor Brisbane to help individuals and businesses on their financial and accounts related issues.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Things You Need to Know Before Filing for Bankruptcy

Some people see bankruptcy as a way to escape their debts but it is not always the wisest choice to declare bankruptcy. It does not necessarily release you from all of your obligations and it will seriously affect your ability to get any credit for several years. This means you must be prepared to live on your actual income. Bankruptcy may be the right choice but it should never be entered into lightly or without legal counsel.
Filing for Bankruptcy

Credit Counseling

Before you decide that bankruptcy is the best solution for your situation the first step should be to meet with a credit counselor. There are many good credit-counseling agencies but there are also many scam agencies. It is important to check the credentials, history and references of a credit agency before getting involved with them. A good agency can review your situation and make suggestions as to the best way forward to resolve your credit and financial problems. Whereas a bad agency may cause additional financial hardship and charge exorbitant fees while providing little assistance.Even if you do file for bankruptcy, the law requires credit counseling so you might as well get a head start and see if there are other options open to you that will resolve your financial situation.

Taxes

Whether or not you decide to declare bankruptcy, you should make sure to always pay your taxes. If you fail to file a return and the IRS does one for you instead, it will not qualify as a return. This point cannot be stressed enough. Many people think they do not need to file a return if they are declaring bankruptcy but that is completely false. It is actually a mandated requirement for filing bankruptcy to have your taxes prepared and an accurate return filed for the previous year.

Protect Your Assets

Bankruptcy protects certain items from creditors. The best way to protect your assets is to hire an asset protection lawyer. They specialize in knowing the laws and generally work with bankruptcy lawyers. If you do not go through with filing bankruptcy there are still many valuable things you can learn from an asset protection lawyer that will help you protect some of your assets from debt collectors and legal judgments made against you.

Filing Singly If You Are Married

Some couples may be able to file bankruptcy separately. Some states allow filing separately and also protect marital assets under state law. The impact of this is that a couple can file bankruptcy in different months and be able to maximize the amount of assets they get to keep under bankruptcy rules.

Change Bank Accounts

It is wise to open new accounts before you declare bankruptcy because if you have any debt or loans with your current bank they may close your accounts as soon as they are notified of the bankruptcy filing. If you wait to do this you could encounter a problem when trying to open a new account after the bankruptcy begins appearing on your credit record. It is also important to make sure any automatic payments are either discontinued or transferred over to the new account. Inform any creditors that you pay through automatic payments of the account change information. Do not accrue any debt on the new accounts otherwise they too may be at risk of being closed.

Learning to Live Without Credit

It is common that credit card companies will close your accounts and others will not extend credit to you during, or after a bankruptcy for a period of many years.For this reason it is critical to plan carefully. Cancel any subscriptions and break contracts that are not absolutely necessary. List out all those contracts, or subscriptions you want to break and then you can include them in your bankruptcy. Verify your total monthly income and expenses. You must be able to cover all of your monthly expenses with only your income. You should also establish a contingency account for emergencies. With this in mind, you may want to wait several months in order to save up and stash away some money prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy can be a way to get a fresh financial start, but it is imperative you understand the process and what to expect. Retain a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer to help educate yourself and plan out the best strategy so that the bankruptcy works to your advantage and truly gives you that fresh financial start you need without any unexpected surprises.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The New Tax Rate Update in 2014

The year 2013 has already been proved to be a very difficult year for the smaller enterprises and individual employees. The global recession has affected the economy of almost all countries, including that of the USA. The country has been on the verge of several economic downturns over the last few years, and this has forced the government to make amendments in the current tax rates and national obligations. The report of Fox Business states that the businesses that have not filled their tax files for the last two years were asked to pay all taxes with the new tax rate, and this added the tax pressure on them. For this reason, it is important for all small and giant enterprises to have their tax projection done at the earliest, so to determine their total and compound tax dues.

Tax Rate

Seeing the economic imbalance in the country, a number of governments have made changes in the tax calculating procedures. The ones who are earning more than $50,000 subject to an annual tax of 39.6%, while the one below this margin have to pay annual state tax of 35%. This tax is termed as the “Wage Tax”, and is different for the ones who run their private businesses. The report sheds light on the fact that the government has been quite unfair in the tax dealings with the elite group of the society, and has not taken into considerations the dark side of these amendments. A number of corporate agencies contribute in the economic welfare and programs of the country, and imposing higher taxes on these firms can very likely repel them to continue their funding and contribution.

An incentive that many Western governments have provided to the small and emerging enterprises can be described as a mere discount scheme. If a company is willing to pay 5 year taxes collectively by 2015, the company’s tax would be calculated based on the tax rate of 2014 and 2015. Thus, even if the tax increases next year, which is very likely, the company will not have to pay any additional compensatory money for that. However, the applicability of this scheme can be quite uncertain as small business would not have enough revenue deposit to pay taxes of 5 years in advance, and large enterprises are not given this benefit.

Joshua Reeves, CEO & Co-founder of Zen Payroll, speaks about online payroll system in his speech at the National Tax Bureau Conference. He sheds light to the fact that companies that update their employee data less frequently can be subjected to penalties, for the infringement of transparency policies. Financial liabilities and insurance dues of a company changes as its employee pool expands and fluctuates. He states that this information is important to be updated on a timely basis and the tax report should be modified on quarterly or bi-yearly basis to avoid any sort of tax penalties. For large enterprises with a huge employee database, this is a matter of high concern.

Author’s Bio: The author of this article is Rebecca Peterson. She has been an author of various home maintenance and decoration books. She has also been writing for various online magazine and blogs. She enjoys a large fellowship of people from around the globe that want to learn about the Tax Preparation Software and other Tax, Finance and Auditing related industries.