Why Smart Home Products Could be a Wise Investment

It has been revealed in a recent report that homeowners could benefit in a number of ways by spending some money on converting their home into a ‘smart home’. One design expert, who has converted his own home into a smart home without spending a fortune, has said that this is something that homeowners can do for just a few hundred dollars at a time but that they can reap the benefits both in terms of convenience and financially.

Smart HomeThe Colorado designer, Carlos Espinosa, said that he is now able to control his lights using his smart phone, has had moisture detectors installed so that he is quickly made aware of any leaks around the home, and has a smart security system installed. He said that he is now able to use his phone so that the lights in his home come on and the front door unlocks as he turns the corner to his property, which he said was particularly useful when coming home in the evenings when it was dark.

An increase in property value

According to Espinosa, these various systems that have helped to turn his home into a smart home cost just a few hundred dollars a time adding that the rewards more than make up for the cost. He said that he felt more secure and was able to benefit from total ease and convenience in terms of controlling many of the functions in his home. Continue reading

Religious Leaders Going After Bad Credit Loan Lenders

Are religious leaders in opposition to the payday loan industry? They could be joining the fight against the much detested sector in one state.

It was reported last week that several Minnesota officials would introduce legislation next week that would implement reforms on the payday loan industry. For the second time in two years, state representatives will try to cap interest rates, limit the number of payday loans a customer can use and curtail the methods of bad credit loan businesses collecting money.

Praying HandsMany concede that it will be difficult because the payday loan lobby has spent millions of dollars to quash any sort of regulatory reform bills. But the bill’s sponsors may have a new ally that will serve as an important ally: the religious community.

At an annual meeting this past week, Minnesota State Baptist Convention leaders announced they would support and advocate for congregants who have been seriously affected by high-interest payday loans. Moving forward, the church will partner with ISAIAH, a religious group that represents roughly 100 congregations across the North Star State.

Reverend Billy Russell said in a statement the bad credit loan industry makes immense profits “for those who design these predatory products.” Continue reading

Dendreon Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The stock price of Dendreon was down by 68% to $0.30 per share as the Seattle based biotechnological company filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. Dendreon is now aiming to resurrect its financial structure to continue future operations in a smooth way and increase the growth of the company.

The protection was filed after discussions were held among senior leaders and board of directors who agree to the terms on resurrecting structure that could mean a total re-organization or a sale of its popular cancer drug operation.

Dendreon

Dendreon is seeking this protection with a plan, which involves a possibility of a takeover with the complete sale of the company or takeover by the lenders as the company currently faces a major shortage of cash. In the U.S. Bankruptcy court, the biotech company showed that it has debts worth $664 million while its assets are currently valued at $364 million, which means its current ratio currently stands at 0.59:1 showing how weak the financial structure of the company is currently. Continue reading

5 Credit Card Tricks to Use This Holiday Shopping Season

‘Tis the season to take out your credit card and shop at the nearby mall to get all of your Christmas shopping completed. Unfortunately, this usually leads to an enormous credit card bill by the end of January. This is why a large percentage of people get the winter blues at that time of the year.

A new infographic by Landmark Cash found that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of people have at least one credit card and 20 percent have four or more cards – only seven percent were rejected for new cards. In addition to the large amount of credit cards, the average debt per adult is more than $8,000.

credit-card-statistics

Most financial experts will urge consumers during this period of the year to put away the plastic and only bring with you to the store a list, cash and a level head; in other words, spend within your means and don’t get carried away with buying gifts for your friends, family and colleagues. However, consumers can use credit cards if they do so responsibly and wisely. Continue reading

How to Fund Higher Education Schooling

young African American college studentLooking for financial assistance can be a daunting experience for a student wanting to pursue further studies or even for parents for that matter. The truth is that it does involve a lot of calculation.

Although long gone are the days when students would back out of further studies due to lack of finances, fear of taking out bad credit loans, or not being able to afford it. In fact, funding for college education as a student or a parent has become more possible these days with the options available. Today, filling out forms for financial aid is one more form along with the college application form when applying to different colleges.

Financial Aid:

First, check what sort of financial aid you are eligible for. Are there campus based aids, any scholarships, low interest student loans, etc? There are multiple options available depending on the different backgrounds students come from.

Choose your College:

Once you have figured that out, go through your choices of the college brochures you like and check the fee structure plus additional costs for each of the colleges. Analyze which college gives you the best financial deal and education without burning a hole in your savings and leaves you with enough money for daily or monthly requirements. This is an essential research step before you apply for a loan for your education. Continue reading

Understanding Equity and Derivative Markets

MoneyIn Economics, a market is a system where buyers and sellers interact to trade commodities and set prices. This market can be further narrowed down as a financial market which is a platform for people and firms to exchange financial instruments and securities. There are various specific functions of financial markets including finance through stocks and management of financial risks. These functions are carried out in the equity and derivative markets respectively.

An equity market is a network of financial transactions where stocks are traded and ownership of securities is allotted. It is popularly known as the stock market or stock exchange. The equity market is one of the primary methods of capital generation for firms and companies. It revolves around trading shares of ownership of a company in a public market. The movement of prices in a stock market is measured by the price indices.

The market can be further divided into primary and secondary markets. The trade in stock exchanges is done both manually and digitally. The equity market is also considered as an indicator of economic growth of the country. The dynamics of equity markets are strictly supervised by the central banks to control its volatile behavior. Over time the participants of the equity markets have shifted from individuals to institutions such as mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies etc. Continue reading

Loan Trading Strategies on the Secondary Market

Global MarketsHow does loan trading actually work? Loans that are purchased and sold in the secondary market are classified based on their price. There are 2 main ways that loans are traded, either by par or distressed trading. Par trading occurs when the sale or purchase of a loan is above or at 90 cents on one dollar. Loans that are trading with a value of “par” are categorized as “performing loans,” as the borrower is making timely interest and principal payments.

All loan trade prices are reported as a percentage of par value. To calculate the real purchase price for a term loan to see if it is valued properly, is the purchase rate multiplied by the funded amount of the loan on the actual settlement date. When buying this loan, the purchaser is entitled to all the interest and accruing fees that are distributed after the settlement date. That said, the seller is entitled to receive all accrued but unpaid interest and fees up until the settlement date.

Distressed trading is when the sale or purchase of a loan occurs below the 90 cent threshold on the dollar. Loan prices for distressed securities are formulated the same exact method as they are for par trades.

There are three primary institutions that dabble in online trading trading, which includes banks, finance companies and institutional investors. In Europe it is a bit more toned down, as only banks and institutional investors are active. In the Eurozone, the banking sector is more comprised of commercial banks, while in the U.S. it is much more diverse and can include a commercial bank, a savings and loan institution, or perhaps a securities firm. Loan market trading is growing in both the investment-grade and high-yield markets, as companies feel more comfortable borrowing in this market. Continue reading

Understanding how Investor Sentiment can Make or Break Government Policies

US Capitol DetailOver the last series of articles we have looked at how different types of government policies can have an impact on the growth of an economy as a whole. However, the successful implementation of monetary and fiscal policies is not as easy as it might initially appear on paper. By far the biggest threat to a government intervention into the economy is the consumers which it is trying to impact, and their ability to understand and evaluate those policies themselves. Specifically, if the population base of a given economy has the insight to interpret an economic policy in a way that compromises its credibility, it is possible for that plan to be undermined by the foresight of individuals within that economy itself.

As mentioned in previous articles, there are a number of ways in which personal investors can take advantage of economic policies to ensure that they benefit from the government’s involvement. However, if the government in power does not have a solid track record of implementing strong economic policies, or if the public does not actually believe that the measures being taken are enough to have a positive result in the economy, they may start taking additional measures on their own which will inadvertently counter-act the policies themselves. Continue reading

How can a Personal Investor Adapt to a Contractionary Monetary Policy

investingJust as a personal investor should take the time to adjust their personal financial position to better meet the demands of an expansionary policy, changes need to be made to reflect a Contractionary government policy. Specifically, because of the way in which such an environment will generally command higher interest rates, lower growth in private business, and possibly even an appreciation in currency values, an investor should focus on building up the integrity of their own financial position so that they can weather the ensuing costs of living.

The most obvious aspect of a Contractionary environment that an investor needs to deal with is the increasing costs of managing debt. Because of the way in which the government has taken it upon themselves to require banks to fortify their financial statements, while private business growth declines in the face of the reduced accessibility of capital, consumers will start to see that paying down their expensive debt is the strongest guaranteed investment that they can possibly make in the economy. Continue reading

How can a Personal Investor Adapt to an Expansionary Monetary Policy

nest-eggIn the last article we summarized exactly how Monetary and Fiscal policies combine to create overarching government strategies for controlling inflation, interest rates, and influencing private business and demand. This means that these strategies will actually have a direct bearing on the profitability of investments in that given economy, as well as its employment levels. Because of the significance of such policies, we need to be able to understand how it is that we can adjust our personal portfolios and employment schedule to benefit the most from different policies.

Looking at an expansionary environment, regardless of fiscal policy, the key point to remember is that the government is explicitly trying to bolster the economy by lowering interest rates, diluting the money supply with inflation. Their objective is to increase demand, private business, and therefore employment levels. Assuming there is credibility and predictability to the effort itself, there is a strong chance that foreign investors will also enter the currency region, and bolster the value of both the currency and the country’s associated investments. This means that an expansionary monetary policy is extremely conducive to borrowing, because of the cheap interest rates, and the fact that inflation will dilute out the value of the debt over time. From there, the environment is also conducive to investment, because of the way in which the government is stimulating private business and demand. Continue reading