Dying without leaving a will is a bad idea.

If you haven’t made a will, then you have made a mistake, everything you own will be shared out according to the law instead of in accordance with your wishes. This could mean your estate passes to someone you hadn’t intended – or that someone you want to pass things on to ends up with nothing. For example, if you’re not married and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die. If you’re married, your husband or wife might inherit most or all of your estate and your children might not get anything.  All of this can be avoided if you make a will, setting out your wishes.

Oh, and if you needed any more persuading, if you do die without having left a will, all your assets are likely to be frozen until the estate is sorted out, which can mean hardship for your loved ones in the meantime. And it’s much more expensive to use the courts to reconcile an estate, so there’ll be less left over for your family too. It really is a ‘no brainer.’

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This is my list of meaningless expressions that are used by investment analysts when they are talking about the equities. But first, an acknowledgement — I find that I have either used, or accepted as meaningful almost all of them. Cunning investment rogues crowd much of the Stock Market, and they speak a strange and mystery-shrouded language.

There’s a X% Probability of Markets Rising

Generally speaking, X is equal to 50%. This is an extremely useful phrase for analysts who have no clue about what the markets are going to do (which is generally all of them, all the time) because it is guaranteed to be correct under all possible circumstances. If it does rise, then your 50% prediction is right. But if it falls or stays flat, then the other 50% comes into play and you are still right. You can actually set the percentage at 99 and still be always right.

The Easy Bucks have been Made

This can be used to sound intelligent and knowledgeable whenever the markets have gone up. However, it doesn’t mean much because it’s just a different way of saying that the markets have gone up. Your audience may think it implies that making money will be more difficult from now on. However, since you haven’t actually said anything about what is likely to happen in the future, you are in the clear no matter what happen.

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Being a Financial Planner, I am naturally more in tune with the truthfulness or, should I say, the intentions of retirement advertising. It’s all about hitting the pain points. Not much fun, right? At least buying a new car or a house is fun. Yet sometimes the important things in life are not “fun”. Retirement planning is one of those things.

When you need a new car, you check out the rates at the credit union. If you need a mortgage you also check rates. In other words, you shop for the best rate before you shop for your car or your new home. When was the last time you said, “Hey Honey, we haven’t saved enough for retirement. Let’s go down to the credit union and meet with a financial advisor.”? Probably never. I wish people were as in tune with their retirement planning as they are with getting a new car or a new house.

To compound matters, the big financial companies, that can afford to advertise on TV like to make you succumb to what I call the Lump Sum Scare. You know, they tell you that you need a lump sum of several million dollars or you won’t be able to retire – ever! I know better. If you haven’t saved “enough” and that is a relative term. It’s as personal as your fingerprints, you can still retire, be they different terms than maybe you are thinking about right now.

Let’s look at 5 ways you can retire on your terms, even if you are starting late.

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If after 10 seconds you didn’t notice the shark in the background, you probably need to train your ” adversity quotient ”.

It is the same when investing, you always get attracted to those ‘big’ returns.

Be careful of the lurking adversity.

Most adults know that they need to invest in order to meet their long time financial goals. Most people enter the investment world with little real live experience, even less investment-applicable education, and a myriad of unrealistic expectations.

Every investor is different, and each has their own set of criteria. Some may base their decisions purely on the facts; others might be more inclined to factor their feel for the people at the helm into the equation. Some may be in the right frame of mind for risk-taking; others might be playing it safe for a while, or waiting to see how out-standing investments play out.

Seven Realistic Expectations – This Is What You Want:

1. I want to lose less market value than my markets do, during cyclical corrections.

2. I want always to be prepared for corrections, and with enough cash to take advantage of lower prices.

3. I want my investment “base income” to be dependable and consistent — even in the midst of financial crises.

4. I want my investment portfolio to make faster moves to new All Time Market Value Highs.

5. I want the productive “Working Capital” in my portfolio to grow constantly and consistently throughout the market cycle.

6. I want my annual “base income” to grow every year, regardless of market conditions.

7. I want never again to experience disappearing profits in excess of a reasonable target %.

Six Steps To A Secure Investment Future – This Is How You Get It:

1. Learn how to use “cost based” asset allocation techniques.

2, Learn how to develop and apply fundamental risk minimization techniques.

3. Learn to understand the investment environment and to use it to your advantage.

4. Learn how to select income investments and how to guage their performance.

5. Learn how to select “safer” stocks, diversify properly, and to establish profit targets.

6. Learn how do protect yourself from the demons of Wall Street and their media cronies.

Author:- Steven Selengut

 “The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.”- Warren Buffet.

The right time to get back in the market may be just around the corner. With global economies sinking, sometimes dramatically, it can be a scary thought to put your hard-earned money on the line. However, a smart investor will realise that golden opportunities are appearing if proper research is done.

It has not dropped dramatically since the financial collapse of 2008-2009, but it is still in familiar territory. It may take another another year or more for a large upswing in the markets, but at least we hope that the Dow will not drop below previous lows. That may bring hope and some peace of mind about starting to invest again.

For investors, the operative question is simple, albeit very broad: In the midst of this crisis, what do we do?

A good rule of thumb: If a stock you are considering for investment depends upon a speedy return to normal, you should be looking elsewhere. Warren Buffett has often said that you should invest in businesses that you wouldn’t mind owning if the stock market were closed for an extended period.

Dollar Cost Averaging

The concept of Dollar Cost Averaging comes to mind in the current market situation. It is the process of buying stocks or similar investments on a regular basis, such as once a month, using a fixed amount of money. When prices are low, you are able to buy more shares. When prices are high, you buy fewer. In this way, you are able to take advantage of temporary low prices. This is especially helpful for long-term investments, such as retirement accounts. It may go against human nature to buy stocks when everything is falling and red but in fact it can lead to a bigger payoff if done correctly.
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We have seen a number of dark days for stock markets all around the world in the past months. But how frightened should we be? Is the next Great Depression upon us? How can we distinguish a small crisis from a huge one? One way to deal with these questions and to calm our feelings of panic is to look closely at a single bad day. When we do that, the details can show us that the bigger picture may not be as bad as we fear, and, hopefully, quell our feelings of panic.

Let’s look back at September 29. On that day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7% and the S&P dropped by 8.8%. The Dow’s declines were the largest since the 9/11 attacks, and the S&P had its worst day since Black Monday in 1987. Media headlines included comparisons to the “Crash of 1929” and even “The Great Depression,” but, in spite of all of this, were things really as bad as they seemed?

The first thing to do when we have a horrible day like this is to look at as many of the details as you can. Now, when you do this you should expect some bad news. But the real insight will come when you compare the details of a single bad day to the details of an even worse day that history has proven to be a true market crash.

So let’s put September 29 into perspective.

Before the US stock markets opened on that morning, bad news was already spreading. The financial crisis had reached Europe. Governments were forced to bail out the Belgium bank Fortis, the U.K. nationalized mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, and Germany’s Hype Real Estate Holding. At home, Wachovia announced that it was in talks with several firms to be sold. Wachovia, in fact, did not fail, but scared customers had pulled their funds after Washington Mutual’s collapse.

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It’s virtually impossible to know what size home you can afford if you aren’t fully aware of how much money you are earning and how much you are spending each month.

Start with your income: How much do you bring home after taxes and retirement plan contributions?

Next, look at your expenses: What are your necessary expenses? How much are you paying each month toward your debt? What additional expenses do you have that wouldn’t be deemed “necessary?” How much money do you have left (if any)?

This will help you see how much breathing room is in your current budget, what expenses might be on the chopping block and the space you have for additional home and mortgage expenses when buying a home.
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emergency-fund

In life you should expect the unexpected, and this is why you need an emergency fund. The best you can do is to prepare for emergencies that require access to additional money and having an emergency fund is the ideal solution.

None of us have the ability to foresee the future or predict the hurdles which lie ahead of us. This makes building an emergency fund a financial priority. People who are living on a lean-and-mean budget will have the toughest time setting aside money for emergencies. If it’s possible to squeeze out another $40 or $50 each month and put it in a money market account, it’s worth doing.

Establishing an emergency savings account is vital in good times and in bad. The purpose of the fund is to sock away three to six month’s living expenses. But this money could also be used when you’re staring at major, unplanned expenses such as a car breakdown or a leaky roof.

Housing a small rainy day fund should be a vital part of an individual’s financial goals. This is of high importance if you don’t already have readily available funds in your account for covering any unanticipated expenses. They provide financial security because they give you funds to fall back on if you become ill, or if you or your spouse loses your job, you incur large medical bills, or have an unexpected large bill such as a major car or home repair. You do not want to end up in a situation where you have to buy daily necessities on credit.

Saving your money in a small account for emergencies is definitely a better alternative to taking a loan or cashing in your long-term investments. If you take a loan, there is the additional burden of paying interest. Encashment of your investments before maturity means not only will you lose out the interest, but also some part of the original investment. This will also set you back significantly in your overall financial plan.

I echo the idea of treating the emergency fund as a bill, put the money away and don’t be tempted by the latest sale. Success at building an emergency fund depends on consistency of saving money on a regular basis and keeping this money separate from the general savings account. Otherwise you will be tempted to dip into these monies even if you simply run over your budget at a certain point.

The size of the special savings account will depend on your personal situation. I always advice my clients to keep between three to six months salary in the reserve. But you will have to decide on an appropriate amount based factors such as your Dependants and fixed monthly expenses.

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