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A Beginner’s Guide to Gold Investing What You need to know about Gold

photo: AMagill
There are lots of reasons why people invest in Gold. Some are looking for a haven against currency or market depreciation, and others for an aggressive approach to make a profit. Whatever your reasons are, I think that you should have a clear understanding of the market system before you begin to dabble.

Gold is a commodity and is driven up or down by supply and demand. Hoarding and distribution play a prominent part in the precious metal market place, and this causes price to be based more on sentimentality rather than increases or decreases in production.

Metals such as platinum or silver have a high demand based on industrial usage, but gold is produced, not for consumption, but only for accumulation. To put it in another way, gold is similar to money and has no quality grades. It does not decompose or corrode, and that is the reason why it is so popular to a whole range of investors.

Choice of investment. 

If you want to start investing in gold, you are spoilt for choice as to how to do it. You can buy it in bars, coins or bullion. Buy stocks in a gold mining company, gold futures and gold accounts. Which one is best for the complete novice is difficult to say, but I would advocate that gold stock and futures should be left to the professionals. As this is a beginner’s guide to gold investing, I would recommend an easier entry into the market place would be via gold bars and coins.

Coins and bars can be easily stockpiled and will maintain their value in times of economic dips. Some countries will allow you to open a gold account, and it is possible also for you to store gold with a private company in escrow if you have an account with them.

How much gold should you buy? 

As this is a beginner’s guide to gold investing, it would be wrong of me to infer how much you as an individual should purchase. At the end of the day, your decision on how much you want to buy comes down to personal choice.

After you have decided the first issue of what to invest in, you need to be clear in your head how much capital to assign to your gold portfolio. Thriving investors in gold say that it is good to go for about ten to twelve percent of your overall investment portfolio in gold.

The risk factor in buying gold. 

Gold is a relatively low risk investment , but is not totally free from danger. A beginner’s guide to gold investing would not be complete without dealing with potential problems a novice could meet.

To go into more detail than I can give you, you should do a lot of research on the Internet. In this market place, being informed means you have a good chance of success. There are a lot of forums and discussion boards out there in cyber space, and you can pick up some vital information about happening trends and future possibilities. Do not trust just one person, learn from anyone you find so that you get a broad idea of the market that you are entering.

Conclusion. 

Gold has always held a fascination for man and historically has been a secure and reliable currency. Gold has often been referred to as an international currency and remains so even today. There is money to be made, but it is an extremely complex market place and a beginner should seek expert advice. If you are keen to invest in gold via stocks then make sure that you invest in only the top 10 or so rather than investing in risky gold stocks.

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4 Tips on Cutting Interest on Credit Card Debt : It takes an effort

Interest month on month is what snowballs into a mammoth debt on your credit card. You can reduce that credit card debt if you can reduce the interest rate on your credit card. There are a variety of ways to reduce the interest burden. Read on and you can save huge amount of money and pain.

Rate reduction by the credit card company – This is the first and the foremost thing that you should be doing. Do not take help of anyone except your phone. Dial and ask for a rate cut. Do not worry if the first call is not successful. Most likely you will get it once you have done it a couple of times. Ask for the supervisor if you the customer service agent is not able to help. It is a great way to reduce the debt burden immediately.

Debt Consolidation Loan – Many companies will offer you this service for a fee. This is a good one to have as they will bundle up your loan into one big loan and will the rates they will charge for the new consolidated loan are typically lower than the rate charged by the credit card companies.

photo: Don Hankins

 Home equity loan – Now there is another option that can be explored which is the home equity loan which you can take against your house. Typically the home equity loan will have rates which are far lower than any other type of loan. This means that you take out all your credit card debt and reduce the interest on that by going for the home equity loan. It is the best thing to do and win win for you.

 Balance transfer – Even with huge credit card debt you will have companies which will offer you lower introductory rate or even a 0% APR for some months say 8-12 months. Transfer the balance to this card and immediately your interest rates goes lower. That helps as you will be able to pay the amount towards reduction of the overall outstanding dues with no additional interest burden staring at you.

 Peer to Peer Lending – This one is new as you can borrow money at lower rates and pay off the interest. That will definitely ease of some burden.

 Online sites – Use card comparison sites to see who charge low interest rates and then make the switch. There are several where you will be able to get competitive rates.

Also you should read these two articles to make sure that you are doing the right thing.

Article 1 : http://theinvestingmonk.com/how-do-i-eliminate-credit-card-debt-without-fees/

Article 2 : http://theinvestingmonk.com/five-tips-on-how-to-reduce-your-credit-card-debt-without-lowering-your-credit-limit/

Office Politics – Are you getting good at it ? Better play the game else you will not climb the ladder

photo: Victor1558
Yes that is true and at least that has been my experience. I have been sitting on the sidelines watching a lot of my peers that have doing that thing .. called office politics.
Each time someone got a promotion you knew why ? this was because he was the blue eyed boy of someone. Theoretically we were the same on the merit front and the amount of work done. The only thing that guy possessed was backroom networking skills and socialize with all the top bosses. Of course, people knew him rather than his work. Of course, people did not know me as I preferred doing everything right and worked hard to make an XYZ project successful. At the end of four years of putting real hard work and no returns I gave up and moved to a new organization?

Second organization.. Same setting .. Office was really divided into camps. I was not sure how the work was getting done. Well I knew as the lower level were the workers who delivered and were not affected by upper level politics. They just came into the office and delivered the work. At the top levels it was all about back stabbing, denying rightful promotions and picking up your favorites for good roles in the organization! Good bye meritocracy Good bye Equal opportunities. I survived four years there and the only reason for hanging in there was the family constraints. My wife was pregnant and then another issue within the family that was kept me holding onto the dear job for four years before I move on.

Third organization …. I was determined to prove that I can do even though I hated to do it. From the day I joined the organization I was ready to go for the politics. If you ask me if I hated to do it? Well, yes absolutely however it was all about proving that I can do it and work well within it.

 

Initial six months were spent in understanding the organization fabric. I knew who the main guys were that enjoyed the access to poltical powers. These were the main players. Here was the gameplan

1) First I started smoking. Yes, occasionally as guys did bond over at the smoking area on the first floor. I was shocked that these guys were discussing all sorts of office things while smoking. It is here I made a friendship of two of the top guys.
2) Drinking – Most of these guys used to go for Friday evening drinking binge and I was there with them. I had to give up some nice family time on Fridays to enoy the access.
3) Once in the circle I pushed for a new role under one of those guys. For me , the project deliveries were also of prime importance so over the six months I definitely built a strong layer and gave them a lot of exposure of work that I used to do. This layer had stretch targets. That helped as my team was able to pick a lot of stuff that I used to do. That freed up a lot of my time to do networking etc.

The whole politics thing was enjoyable at times given that you were powerful as well as people feared you. It was not bad for me personally, made the right kind of visibility and I had an out of turn promotion.

Two view points from my side :

Join them – Well for some this may be a tough call. There is a debate on the ethical part of it however I can tell you my perspective that I was not at all into however after getting beaten by it badly twice, it was time to give back.

View from the sidelines – This is not a bad option give the fact if you are content working and not looking ahead. I have felt that in some cases it can be a challenge as your career can be stifled. A lot of times it is anger and frustration also that comes in. If you can keep your calm then this is a better option .

Well if you think what I did was wrong .. please comment and we can have a healthy discussion and if you want some tips to survive office politics then check this post from One cent at a time.