When people ask me to suggest a great investment book, I almost always recommend that they start with “The Millionaire Next Door.” It is not really a book about investing – it is a direct personal finance book with a simple message: If you live within your means and save aggressively, you can also become financially independent, even if you were not born wealthy.
I concur with the book’s basic premise, and I have first-hand experience that it works: my parents. They started out with practically nothing. My mother grew up in a poor family. My father came from a wealthy upper middle-class family, but had received very little financial help from his parents as they always believed he should work and build himself financially.
So, my father worked and so did my mother. They worked diligently, saved aggressively, and refrained from getting sucked into a frivolous lifestyle and into keeping up with the neighbors. In fact, one of the essential observations in the book is that most self-made millionaires look at financial independence as preferable over achieving social status through spending.
Not that my parents did not have an enjoyable life through all these years of hard work, saving and living below their means. The book is often criticized for supposedly promoting an anti-social lifestyle, of secluding oneself from society at-large and hoarding money; but this is not true at all. My parents traveled extensively, entertained family and friends, and acquire things that considered important to them. They did not, however, reside in a big house or replace their car yearly. They never borrowed, with the exception of their home mortgage, which they were able to pay in full after 15 years.
Now, in their early sixties, my parents are financially-independent. Moreover, my father retired fully when he was 55 years old.
But why dwell on personal finance issues and money beliefs in an investing blog? Sure, we talk about investing all the time; but one has to have the money first to invest. You can dream about making it big by winning in the lottery or putting up the next phenomenal business venture. Such things happen. In most cases, however, it is not about a “big break,” but more about putting away some income into savings day-by-day and month-by-month. And once you start saving, you can have the money to invest – and Jemstep can serve your needs in investing wisely.
Read more: Way to becoming Wealthy
For many who are 50-something, their shortfall in retirement savings is not completely caused by a lack of planning. Many of them lost much of their savings during the recent financial crash in 2008 and 2009. Then, they were forced to take on a higher risk-profile than they should to try to compensate for their losses, which failed as planned for many, further aggravating the set-back in savings. Investors who are nearly retiring might be tempted to increase the risks they take in order to make sudden gains; but overdoing it can be disastrous. There are other, less dangerous means of getting your retirement plans back on track even if you will within only 10 to 15 years. Let us look at some:
• If retiring at 65 is not practicable, think of postponing it a few years till you reach 68 or 70. This will provide you with additional time to accumulate extra funds and can help you attain your goal for retirement savings.
• Keep saving as much money as you can. Even if your time-horizon is much shorter, it is never too late to start saving what you can to provide some extra cash-flow for your retirement.
• Try reducing high-interest debt. Paying off credit-card loans and other debts will improve your cash-flow and, dollar for dollar, is preferable to keeping your cash in low-yielding savings accounts. Simply put, you gain more by paying off credit-card debt at 10% interest than earning only 1% interest in a savings account.
• Consider Annuities. Annuities are products meant to pay a set monthly payment for certain duration and may work well for somebody lagging on their retirement savings. Because annuities are often insurance products, they may come with high rates and commissions. Speak with a trustworthy fee-only financial planner before acquiring an annuity. They can assist you in searching out low-fee options that will suit your personal retirement needs.
• Optimize your investment portfolio. Although you should remain essentially conservative, you should make sure that you possess the right combination of assets to produce the greatest possible profit for the amount of risk taken. Referred to as the “efficient frontier”, this is an objective for all investors which could come into clear view with a few short years to retirement. Tweaking your asset distribution could produce significantly better portfolio appreciation without taking on more risks. When assessing your allocation of assets, be aware of company stock you may have. Company stock should not comprise more than 10% of your portfolio in order to remain diversified and to avoid being overburdened by one stock. Employees who have served in a company for quite a while may possess far more than 10% in stock options as part of their retirement and might be better served by a more diversified portfolio. Be wary of high-fund fees. If you have mutual funds, make sure you pay competitive fees of not more than 1%. Remember, with low-fee fund options provided by Vanguard and others, you can readily find funds averaging about 0.5% for fees.
Source: Hong Kuang Commodities
United Overseas Bank (UOB), one of Singapore's three biggest banks by assets, has launched a new foreign direct investment (FDI) advisory unit in Hong Kong and aims to double its business between the city and Southeast Asia.
The unit, UOB's sixth after Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and mainland China, will focus on cross-border investment opportunities and help bring Chinese capital to Southeast Asia, the world's fastest-growing emerging market.
"UOB Hong Kong is well placed to capitalise on Hong Kong's role as a springboard for companies expanding into Southeast Asia," said UOB Hong Kong's chief executive and managing director Christine Ip.
Southeast Asia is well known for its natural resources, which have attracted many capital-rich mainland companies.
Many mainland state-owned enterprises have set up offices in Hong Kong to serve as their key flagship offshore investment platform, thanks to the city's free foreign-exchange and capital flow systems. This made Hong Kong the sixth-largest source of FDI into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from 2009-11 after mainland China.
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