Here we consider the seven stages of monitoring investments throughout life.

The seven ages of man is a speech from one of Shakespeare’s plays and catalogues the stages we go through in life, from baby to old age. It is an excellent comparison to investing and how investors need to ensure their investments keep pace with them as they move through life. However, this doesn’t just apply to saving for retirement, it applies to any investment goal and portfolios need to be monitored to make sure they are on track to achieve their objective.

Baby to young adult: Although financial commitments are negligible at this stage in life, it is a good idea to encourage children to save for themselves and to understand the basics of money from an early age.

Under 25: Retirement is a long way and a bulk of an individual’s income may be earmarked to fund their current lifestyle – buying property or cars for example – rather than saving for later years. However it is still a good idea to get started in investing and understanding what it is all about. Now also might be a good time to develop a high risk, aggressive portfolio as there is plenty of time to recover from any capital losses.

25 to 35: Although retirement may still seem a long time away, the earlier someone starts investing, the greater chance they have of building a significant nest egg for later years. At this stage in life people may be able to afford higher risk and more aggressive growth strategies as there is more time for investments to recover from losses or market volatility.

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In today’s marketplace, having a college degree can make one more competitive for jobs and serve as a key to upward mobility. The value of a college education goes beyond dollars and cents and building competency in a chosen discipline: there is an intrinsic value as well.

Perhaps this partially explains why millions of Americans forego common sense when picking college.

New Study Says Cost of College Is Not a Factor

According to a recent study by Sallie Mae, the country’s leading education lender, cost is often not a factor when picking college. “40 percent of families do not limit their search based on total expense.” Now, this would be fine if 40% of families were financially solvent enough to truly bear the costs of any school their students chose. However, students are increasingly being burdened with record levels of debts.

In fact, two-thirds of students graduate with some debt, with the average debt being $19,237. One-fourth of students will graduate with nearly $25,000, and 10% will graduate with greater than 35,000.

The primary reason attending school has become so much more expensive over the last decade is that school-related expenses (including tuition and fees) rise at rates that far outpace inflation.

According to the College Board, tuition and fees have risen in 2007 at more than double the rate of inflation for both public and private schools. Notwithstanding the fact that the inflation estimate is based on the consumer price index, which historically underestimates inflation by excluding gas and energy (too volatile), the cost of going to school can still be staggering.

While the annual costs for a public school (including tuition, room, and board) averages $13,589, the costs for a private school averages $32,307.
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A friend of mine is an unabashed and very sane Obama supporter (not Obamabot in the slightest). When I asked him why he bought the t-shirt, he said:

It’s all in good fun. Win or lose, this presidential election season is just full of grade-A entertainment!

Presidential politics is serious business!

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The presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain announced today that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter is pregnant.

In a statement, Palin and husband Todd said, “Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We are proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby, and even prouder to become grandparents.”

Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential hopeful and running mate of John McCain, has revealed that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five-months pregnant.

The couple said Bristol, 17, plans to marry the “young man” who is the father of her child. The Reuters news agency reported Monday that Bristol is five months pregnant.

“We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents,” Sarah and her husband, Todd Palin, said in a statement on Monday.

The news comes as the Republican National Convention is to open in St Paul, Minnesota.

“Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realise very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family,” the statement added.
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The dreaded “R” word – recession – has been dominating business headlines for months now. More and more economists are predicting bleak economic conditions and weak job growth in the coming months.

If you get laid off, you can only hope you saw the writing on the wall long before your company announced its cuts. You can only hope you leave with an impressive work history, great recommendations, and updated skills. You can only hope.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so prepared when the boss delivers a pink slip.

Here are some things you can do starting today — whether you think you face a layoff or not — to keep yourself relevant on the job:

Act as if your job is always on the line, even if you’re still on the company payroll. Strive to make yourself more valuable — not just to your current employer, but also to any potential employers you’ll need to win over in the future.

Imagine yourself interviewing for a new position. Can you point to specific ways in which you’ve improved your skills and grown on the job? If so, keep up the good work.

Document your accomplishments. Update your resume regularly to reflect your ever-increasing skills on the job. You can use this information during your performance review and salary negotiations or, should the worst happen, for finding other employment quickly.

If, however, you’ve been coasting in your current position, it’s time to take some initiative. Try these surefire ways to increase your value as an employee:
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So it’s now official, and 80,000 packed into the Denver Broncos’ football stadium in Denver on Thursday were there to see it: Barack Obama is now indisputably the Democratic candidate for the 2008 presidential election campaign, and the first bi-racial man in American history to win the nomination of a major party. The unlikely campaign that began 19 months ago in the freezing winter of Springfield, Illinois had reached and passed its penultimate hurdle.

Senator Obama himself, revelling in the biggest political extravaganza the US has ever seen, seized the opportunity on prime-time, coast-to-coast television to switch gears in campaign strategy – and the nation witnessed non-confrontational Obama morph into combative Obama.

“If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have,” he roared with the characteristically brilliant, soaring oratory that has stirred so much enthusiasm across the world. “I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first… John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.”

McCain, meanwhile, also took advantage of the evening to spring a surprise, one-upmanship campaign ad on the nation’s television screens. Oozing supposed sincerity, McCain looked straight into the camera and congratulated his opponent: “Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America,” he said. “Too often, the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed.” Minutes later, viewers saw an Obama campaign ad featuring a negative personal attack on McCain – all with the overall effect that Mr Nice Guy seemed to have transformed into an attack dog during the course of the evening, while the veteran old toughie McCain had changed into the warm and fuzzy of the two candidates.
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The pace of global oil demand growth should increase next year as rising consumption in emerging markets outweighs declines in developed nations hard hit by the high fuel costs and mounting economic problems. The barrel of crude which sold for $65 in 2007 might soon cost $200.

With such astronomical increase coming on top of a credit crunch, economists are talking seriously about the prospect of world recession and, even the worse, stagflation – the lethal combination of inflation and economic stagnation last seen in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

We are told it is all due to a world shortage cause by soaring demand for oil in China and India, and that we can expect record prices to continue for eight years.

But is this really the case? Nowhere in the world are people queuing at petrol pumps; there are no power blackouts and no idle tankers are waiting in the Gulf for oil.

On the contrary, oil storage tanks across the world are full, super tankers are queuing at ports to unload and no major oil field is closed. Across the world, 86million barrels of oil are produced every day which at the moment is sufficient, not least because consumption in America – which burns a quarter of the world’s supply every day – is actually declining.

Alarmists also say that the world’s oil supplies have passed their ‘peak’, that the world has consumed half of all its oil and that the remaining 1trillion barrels will be gone by 2025.

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Much has been written and said (and a lot more to come) about the incredible Olympic performance of Michael Phelps. And there’s no question in our minds that he deserves every one of the accolades and then some.

Well, he did it. 8 gold medals in 8 races for Michael Phelps. A truly amazing accomplishment.

And the beautiful thing is that all of us benefit from his performance. Every time Michael stood up on that gold medal platform, he reminded us that anything is possible.
Why?

Because he’s an outstanding example of someone who has followed the Universal Laws that always bring success. And you can find the clear evidence of that in some of the media coverage of
Phelps.

In an article about Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman, NBC Sports reported, “Bowman, who is something of a student of success literature, said a recurring theme of his coaching and direction is that successful people…make a habit of doing things other people aren’t willing to do. And that’s our game here.”

“The difference between successful people and failures is that successful people make a habit of doing the things that failures do not like to do.”

And that’s just one pretty obvious reason for Michael’s success, but there are others…Contrary to what NBC might have you believe, the purpose of these games is not to have you sitting around spending more time on your butt in front of the TV!

The purpose is to get you inspired to go out and reach for YOUR dreams!

Like the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, “the greatest principle in the history of mankind.”

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The US is already in a recession and it will be longer as well as deeper than many people expect, US investor Warren Buffett said. Warren Buffett said the economy is still in a recession and unlikely to improve before 2009 but that stocks appear better valued than a year ago.

He said in an interview the US was “already in recession” and added: “Perhaps not in the sense that economists would define it” with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. “But the people are already feeling the effects,” said Buffett, the world’s richest man. “It will be deeper and last longer than many think.”

“You always find out who’s been swimming naked when the tide goes out. We found out that Wall Street has been kind of a nudist beach,” said Buffett, who in March was called the world’s richest person by Forbes magazine.

But that is just part of a market system. And you know, if I had to pick the chances that we are going into a recession, I would say they are fairly significant, but I don’t know anything that you don’t know.

However he said that won’t stop him from investing in selected companies and said he remained interested in well-managed German family-owned companies.

“If the world were falling apart I’d still invest in companies,” he said.

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• You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.

• We do not view the company itself as the ultimate owner of our business assets but instead view the company as a conduit through which our shareholders own assets.

• When Berkshire buys common stock, we approach the transaction as if we were buying into a private business.

• Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.

• Never invest in a business you cannot understand.

• Unless you can watch your stock holding decline by 50% without becoming panic-stricken, you should not be in the stock market.

• The critical investment factor is determining the intrinsic value of a business and paying a fair or bargain price.

• Risk can be greatly reduced by concentrating on only a few holdings.

• Stop trying to predict the direction of the stock market, the economy, interest rates, or elections.

• Buy companies with strong histories of profitability and with a dominant business franchise.

• Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.

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