Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Invest in Stock for Beginners

As I have stated many times on this site before, it is of utmost importance to be invested in the stock market. The earnings you make from your career will be your biggest wealth building strategy. However, second only to that, will be what you invest in. Many people have been able to build significant wealth through investments. 

While you can find many tools and resources on this topic on both online and offline platforms, a beginner may find it hard to know where to start. What should you be looking for anyway? And what are the key things to think about and ask before you even put down money on an investment? This article will give you some tips to get you started as a beginner. Hopefully after reading, you’ll realize that this is not as hard as you may think.

[Read more…]

AI Improving Banks and ATM Technology

AI, or artificial intelligence, is slowly gaining momentum in its adoption into different industries across the world. For some time the financial industry lagged behind. But no longer. Financial institutions are understanding the value of AI and how it can impact their business.

By embracing digital technology, Companies are learning how to offer clients greater and better solutions to solve and manage their real financial problems. One segment of financial services that is taking advantage of AI is the banking industry. 

AI and the Banking Industry

Here are a few ways AI continues to improve banks and specifically, ATM technology.

Cash Costs

Banks are often at the forefront of meeting their customer needs in the best way possible. For example, ATM software solution providers such as Perativ are encouraging its bank partners to rethink the cost of cash. In many cases, banks ignore their rising costs of holding, transferring, and distributing cash because they do not know about the solutions available. Cash optimization experts in the industry are out to change that.

These strategists offer critical insights in real-time to help their clients make strategic decisions for their ATMs, bank vaults, and more. In this data-centric world, new SaaS companies are leveraging colossal amounts of data to allow their clients to accomplish goals such as saving costs, gaining more revenue, and more. 

Related Content: Emergency Fund Basics: The Step on Which all Other Success is Built

Security

Security is a must for any bank. To that end, banks and ATMs are embracing AI in their surveillance systems. This development assures that clients have a safe and better experience while depositing or withdrawing their cash.

AI-powered surveillance tech can offer things like remote monitoring. It can send any pre-determined patterns that might indicate a high-risk scenario like suspicious ATM tampering.

Additionally, AI cameras within the banks boost protection to tellers as well as incoming clients through facial recognition. It’s a chance to ensure that customers get the best service or identify any blacklisted patron.

Finally in regards to security, the installation of motion detection in restricted areas and bank vaults is a chance to note any suspicious entries during or even after bank operating hours. Thus, banks ensure that their client’s valuables are always safe at all times.

Personalized Service

AI technology in banks and ATMs is a great way to offer a digital transforming service into a customized and personalized service. AI can analyze a clients unique behavior patterns, requirements as well as preferences and then tailor and experience for that particular client.

Through personalized service, banks get a competitive edge. It’s also an opportunity to boost compliance while increasing customer engagement. Through service optimization, there’s overall operational efficiency.

A Conversational Banking Technology Experience

AI in banks is an excellent opportunity to offer a more tailored experience to every client. Artificial intelligence technology provides a fascinating way to deal with different clients appropriately. The AI doesn’t only perform a vast array of tasks at once but also reads into a person’s emotions and enables them to solve the problem before it escalates. AI provides valuable insights to phone agents and bankers, thus maintaining consistency with all matters concerning transactions.  

The fascinating beauty of state-of-the-art AI is that it has enhanced customer experience. With AI technology in place, one can think of cash optimization-based solutions across the banking networks. Thus, one can handle all matters concerning their cash distribution network and beyond.

Leave a Comment Below or Answer a Question: What is your most frustrating thing about going to the bank? What services does your bank provide that you really appreciate? How can banks better serve you? 

Borrowing Money with Bad Credit

If you have made some wrong financial choices in the past, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be given a second chance and a way to get back on your feet. And it doesn’t mean no one is willing to do so.

Conventional lenders such as banks or credit unions might decline candidates with poor credit reports because they don’t consider them trustworthy. Even a secured loan may be out of the question. Direct or online lenders may be more open to approving your application, but their terms won’t always be most favorable.

Here are some options to consider if you have bad credit and are looking to take out a loan.

[Read more…]

5 Best Ways to Build Your Credit Score 

Having a top-notch credit score is essential in your every day to day life. More and more people need a good one to access things for their life. It makes a person more desirable to employers, landlords, and mortgage lenders as well as negotiating for lower auto insurance rates and other services. 

But the million-dollar question is, “What can one do to build their credit score?” If you are wondering the best strategies to guild your credit score, you are in luck.  Today we will discuss a few options that will aid you in getting a good credit score.

[Read more…]

7 Best Business Ideas for Veterans

One major dilemma facing our veterans is what to do after they have served their country. For many of them it has been years since they had a civilian job. So moving back into that arena could prove challenging.

Many of these men and women possess skills and character traits that would make them great at running a small business. In fact, according to research conducted by Bunker Labs, 25% of these veterans want to start their own business. With all the military training they receive, veterans will most likely run their business in an organized, efficient and disciplined way.

Making connections to get your business starting may prove difficult. But the good news is that the digital age has made it easier to start a business. There are more support channels now than there were a decade ago.

[Read more…]

The Best Way to Send Money to People

Many people think that a traditional bank is the only safe and convenient way to send money overseas. It is true that banks have best reputation of securing wire transfers all over the globe. Unfortunately, sometimes their services come at a steep price. Additionally, banks are notorious for lower exchange rates, higher processing fees, and fewer options to send or receive cash.

Thankfully, since the revolution of the internet, there are now many other alternatives when it comes to how we can send money to recipients who are far from us. How we send the money and how it is received depends on the delivery mode. Because of this, it can take from minutes to several business days to access those funds.

But, if you know this, its easy to get the money to where it needs to go when it needs to be there. You just have to plan ahead a little bit.

Here are the best ways to send money to people for whatever purpose it may serve.

[Read more…]

Is Gold a Good Investment for an Average Person?

There are many people who believe that investing in gold bars could be the best decision you would ever make. But, equally as many people have faced indecision between investing in gold bullion or stocks and bonds as a way of securing their future. Which is the best option to capitalize on?

The truth is you can capitalize on both of them. Both have upside potential.

So, is gold investing a venture the average person should entertain? For those who answer “Yes”, here are the four main reasons they site.

Why to Invest in Gold

1. The Unpredictability of the Dollar

Although the dollar is believed to be one of the world’s strongest currencies, it becomes hard to figure out when its value is likely to drop. An excellent example of such times was from 1998 and 2008 when gold prices hit $18,000 per ounce.

During this period, the dollar was relatively weak due to the trade deficit and increased money supply into the economy. Individuals who had stored their worth in currencies moved to the security of gold to redeem their portfolios. As a result, the value of gold nearly tripled. Investors who had a gold ira rollover made a large profit out of it.

This is why an average person looking for a long term investment strategy shouldn’t overlook the benefits of storing their savings in gold. You never know when fluctuation of the current currency would strike. Luckily, when such a time comes and you had saved your wealth wisely, you might end up opting for an early retirement because you have gained so much.

2. Supply Constraints

As a general rule of the demand and supply chain, when the demand for commodities goes up, the likelihood of their supply goes down. As a result, this leads to an increase in how much you would have to part with to get the same item. The less their is of an item, the more it is going to cost.

The same principle applies in the gold market. Between the year 2000 and 2007, annual new gold production fell from 2,573 to 2,444 metric tons, according to bullion vaults of the global central banks.

During times like this, those with precious stones are reluctant to sell them. For those who are willing, they end up asking for lots of money. As a result of the decline in the availability of gold, if you had made a move and bought your fair share of the metal, you would be making handsome profits from their sale.

3. Portfolio Diversification

You can never tell when one form of the securities would be outdone by the other. It may sound more lucrative to invest in bonds and stocks. But as an average person, it would come in handy if you diversified your portfolio with some precious metals.

Related Content: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Investing Money the Right Way

4. Geopolitical Uncertainty

Trust in global trade unions keep on experiencing crises. This was most recently seen in the recent case of the European Union, where some countries wanted to walk out of the coalition. Similarly, when nations are against each other, the geopolitical tensions rise. This makes the currency in those particular countries deflate.

Business can become hard to conduct, resulting in global economic burden. The value of the currencies goes down and investors start hoarding cash. At those times, many see the safest place to invest is with precious metals.

Eventually, gold becomes hard to buy due to the shooting up of its demand. For individuals to have their investment in gold, it’s a great time to take profits.

Conclusion

Gold is one of the ways for an average person to diversify their portfolio. With the economic shifts becoming hard to predict, you never know when your money will lose some of its value. Similarly, precious metals are the right way of investing with less risk compared to stocks, which sometimes end up not yielding the much-anticipated returns. Ultimately, gold has been known to be a hedge against inflation, making it an investment strategy you might want to consider.

Questions for Discussion: Have you ever invested in gold? What was your experience like? Do you think their is more risk in investing in gold, stocks or bonds? 

What is a Line of Credit and How Does it Work?

From time to time, you might find yourself in need of additional money to fund a project, pay a medical bill or cover for an emergency. It can be hard determining where to get access to the cash you need. It may be that a line of credit is just the thing to get you by.

A line of credit (LOC) is an agreement between a bank and an individual that is geared towards establishing the maximum amount of money a customer can borrow. Once agreed upon, the customer is allowed to access the borrowed funds from the financial institution through their bank accounts. They are then required to make repayments on the loans per the terms established with the bank.

Here is how a line of credit works.

[Read more…]

Start a Side Hustle While Still Working Full-Time With These 4 Tips

Side hustles are quite common among Americans in today. You’ll find that many people will have an additional job that they do on top of their full-time job. They do these gigs for many reasons – out of passion, as a hobby, out of necessity or to make their budget work. Still others have hope that their side hustle it will one day become their new full-time job.

Side hustles offer many unique opportunities. However, not many can take one on and quit their day job at the same time. Quite often, the side job comes while the person is still working full-time.

Don’t let that shy you away from the challenge though. Holding down a side hustle can be done. Here is how.

Four Tips for Starting a Side Hustle

If you’re interested in a side hustle, we have four tips to help you out if you’re still working full-time.

[Read more…]

What is the Dow and Why is it Important?

The words Dow or Dow Jones may not be completely unfamiliar terms. You may know what they refer to, but you may not know exactly how it works. So, this article will help set the record straight and give you the basics about the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

What is the Dow Jones? For starters, it would be correct to say that it is the most quoted financial instrument in the world. That is why it sounds familiar. No doubt, you have heard financial market reports about this on the news every day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock index. It was created in 1896 by two financial reporters, Charles Dow and Edward Jones. They were looking for a way to give the public a snapshot of how stocks generally preformed in any given day. To do so, they took the 12 largest companies at the time, added up their prices and divided by 12. That gave the average market price of that basket of companies.

Today, the Dow consists of 30 companies. The Dow Jones today represents the most significant areas of the U.S. economy, namely, financials, technology, utilities, industrials, and transportation. It includes companies like Apple, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, Microsoft, Nike, Proctor and Gamble and Walmart.

Because the Dow consists of only 30 companies, it may lead you into thinking that it does not carry much value. That is not the case. As you noticed, these companies are the heavyweights – the most influential companies in the U.S. As the Dow average goes, so usually goes the rest of the market.

Are there Limitations to the Dow Jones?

Just like most market indexes, Dow Jones has several limitations.

The first issue is that it does contain only 30 stocks. Today there are over 3,000 publicly traded companies which you could invest in. So the Dow may not give an accurate portrayal of what is going on in the rest of the stock market.

Secondly, the Dow’s calculation does tend to favor the more expensive stocks. The index is weighted based on price. So the more expensive a stock is, the more an up or down movement in that stock influences the overall index. The less expensive stocks will not have as much influence on the average.

What are the Benefits of the Dow?

1. The Dow serves as a historical marker

In order to predict or forecast the future of the markets, historical trends need to be observed. Analysts study the past stock market trends to help them reach conclusions about what the future may hold for stocks. This is where Dow Jones comes in.

By virtue of its long history, it offers a valuable information for the comparison of today’s markets and those throughout history.

2. The Dow helps investors make decisions

In the early days of stock trading, there was little information about stocks that was available to the general public. You invested in stocks with the phrase caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) in the back of your mind. You were at great risk due to lack of company transparency and information.

This is not so today. There are new rules set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that guard investors from being defrauded by companies. Additionally, news about the Dow and the rest of the markets is widely available through media outlets. It is not difficult for an investor to find the information they need. Knowing the price movement of stocks (for which the Dow is the standard), will help investors know when to invest.

Related Content: The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Investing Money the Right Way

3. The Dow provides a broad view of the economy

As aforementioned, Dow Jones is an umbrella of U.S. most capitalized and influential companies. Because the 30 Dow stocks are spread over different industries, they help create a comprehensive view of the U.S. economy. As those companies perform well, they will contribute positively to economic growth within the U.S. And as the economy goes, so goes the stock market.

If the economy is doing well, the stocks in the Dow will rise. If the economy is doing poorly, the Dow will at best be stagnant but most likely decline.

The Dow Jones continues to be one of the most resilient indices in the world. It has stood the test of time and continues to be the standard for financial markets around the world.

Make a Comment: Do you monitor the Dow on a daily basis? On what do you base your investing decisions?   

Wondering About the Functionality of Payday Loans?

Money is essential to our lives. It is always needed to make ends meet. Simply stated, we cannot do without it in some form or fashion,

Sometimes though, life rears its ugly head – usually through a crisis. We call these emergencies. Hopefully, when these come, you have saved enough in an emergency fund to make it through the financial struggle.

But what if you haven’t? What if there is no money available to you? What if you are so deep in debt, you can’t see a way out? When you are deprived of cash and trapped in a financial calamity, it’s hard to know the right way out. It is an awful scenario.

When you get in this tight of a spot, it’s easy to just spend your days and nights waiting for a miracle to happen. But you have to make some wise decisions and hunt for a resolution to the situation. Being depressed and frustrated is not the solution.

In times like this, some people have turned to securing a payday loan to help them out. This article will share the benefits and risks of this method to help get you out of your crisis.

What are Payday Loans?

Payday loans are short-termed loans. They are used for borrowing small debts for a short period of time, usually for $500 or less. You can usually find them via storefront lenders or online.

Payday loans are most often paid back in one single payment when the borrower receives their next paycheck. They serve as a bridge to cover expenses until you get paid again. The repayment date is usually set two to four weeks from when the loan was made.

If you use a payday loan for your genuine needs and pay it back to the lender according to an agreement, you will definitely be going to have a more positive and fruitful experience. Payday loans do have many controversies linked to them though. So, in order to get benefit from them, you should have to be familiar with both the positive and negative impacts of these loans.

Advantages of Payday Loans

The primary benefit of a payday loan is that you can get fast financial assistance for a short period of time. Some of their advantages are:

No hard and fast terms and conditions required. It sounds so appealing for people in trouble because they do not have time to waste in long and document verifications, faxing or paper procedures.

Easy to access.Payday loans are easily accessible and available to every person. Fast payday loan lenders should not bother about your financial background or credit score.

24/7 customer care service. You won’t have to follow typical bank hours, as online payday loan services are available 24/7. You can approach these websites anywhere, anytime with just a single click. Customer care representatives are always there for financial assistance.

100% secured procedure. Payday loan lenders secure your information. It will remain confidential. Their modern encryption technologies will protect your information and keep it secure.

On the spot approval of the loan. No matter what is your financial background, these loans will be approved quickly soon after your verification.

Online availability of payday loans.Payday loans are very handy because the borrower does not need to go anywhere and search for a loan. They can be found easily online. So many lenders have online websites. You just have to visit these websites and select the appropriate option for yourself. All procedures from the beginning till the end will take place online.

Disadvantages of Payday Loans

When there are so many positive aspects, there must be some cons as well. Everything has its positive and negative features and so do payday loans have. Some of the downsides of payday loans are given below.

Elevated APR and interest rates. This is by far the biggest disadvantage when it comes to payday loans. These kind of loans are much more expensive because interest rates tend to be extremely high. The highest interest on credit cards for example average 28-36 APR%. An average APR of a payday loan is 300 – 500 times more than a regular loan.

Payday loan encourages cycle-of-debts. When a person is unable to return the money by the fixed date, they incur more debt. They will most likely have to take out another loan to repay the previous one. This just sinks them further into debt. The further they go into debt, the tougher the cycle will be to break.

Related Content: How to Get Out of Debt and Win in Five Simple Steps

No de-commitment period. Once you sign the paperwork, there is no backing out. With many bank loans there is a period where you can de-commit from the loan if you have second thoughts. You won’t get this with most payday lenders.

Access to bank account. Some payday lenders want/require access to your bank account. If they don’t get paid, they may try to pull funds from your account. This could result in overdraft charges billed to you for having insufficient funds in your account.

Damage to your credit. Payday loans can be damaging to your credit. This will happen when you can’t pay them back. Ultimately, they could refer you to a collection agency. If that happened, it would be something extremely hard to get your credit score positive again.

What to consider before taking out a payday loan?

Payday loans have a lot of risk. They can be a debt trap that you have a really hard time getting out of. There are better ways to get out of debt and handle life’s emergencies.

Related Content: Emergency Fund Basics: The Step on Which All Other Success Is Built

However, if you choose to go this route make sure you:

•    Are aware of the consequences and how a specific loan works

•    Know the terms and conditions set by the lender

•    Understand what the penalty for the non-repayment is

To read more about them, you can visit this article at Debt.org.

Share a Comment Below: Have you ever taken out a payday loan before? What was your experience? What are the other benefits and risks of payday loans?