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Risk And Opportunity

 The threat of a downgrade has been hanging over the market for nearly a year, ever since S&P put South Africa on negative watch in December 2015. With the country’s sovereign rating only one notch above sub-investment grade, the next step down would be into ‘junk status’.

This has worried many investors, as the obvious question is what they should be doing with their portfolios. How do they manage the risk of a potential downgrade?

For Ian Scott, the head of fixed income at PSG Asset Management, however, this question should always be asked alongside another: what if South Africa isn’t downgraded? The outcome, he argues, is not guaranteed and therefore investors should be seeing not only the risk, but also the opportunity.

“What’s important to think about is that the downgrade is already reflected in South African bond pricing,” says Scott. “The country’s offshore credit spreads are trading in line with other countries that are already in junk status like Brazil, Russia and Turkey. Nobody knows what the market will do if we are downgraded, and there will

what you’ll do after retirement?

 However, more and more people are having to ask what happens next. In a time when life expectancy is steadily increasing, the idea of throwing away your briefcase and putting your feet up to live out your ‘golden years’ in peace and quiet is looking increasingly less appealing, and less practical.

For a start, there is little point in retiring ‘to do nothing’. Many retirees find that they are actually busier than they were during the working lives, but the difference is that they can do what they enjoy.

“We are finding more and more people who are re-thinking retirement,” says Kirsty Scully from CoreWealth Managers. “In most cases, they have been professionals in their careers and they want to stay employed to continue with their personal and professional growth and development, yet they don’t want a typical work schedule. They are looking for flexible working arrangements so as to have a good balance between work and leisure.”

Wouter Dalhouzie from Verso Wealth says that from both a mental and physical well-being point of view, it is

Young investors should read this

 Equity investing

The problem you have mentioned is that you have had difficulty finding the time to manage your portfolio. First you need to make the distinction between speculating and investing. If you aren’t taking part in speculative trading, you don’t need to be sitting in front of your laptop watching the markets all day.

The time required for investing is in the form of research prior to making an investment. This doesn’t mean you need to monitor your portfolio constantly but rather make good decisions at the outset and practice restraint when you are tempted to react to short term market volatility.

This is where it may be in your interest to appoint a manager with the necessary expertise, who will build and run a bespoke portfolio for you. You want to find one that will allow you to be involved in the stock picking, but also provide guidance.

You have stated that you have learnt a lot so far through trial and error and would like to learn more in future. This would be a great

Invest Internationally From the U.S. | How to Do it ?

Four Things to Consider Before You Invest Internationally

1. Local knowledge matters: To best understand the culture, customs, current events, fads and politics of a nation, you need to physically be in the country. Being local will provide the ultimate environment for research and better timing for investing.2. No two markets are alike: Different countries’ markets command different multiples, and investor demand varies. Here are some reasons for this:

  • Monetary and fiscal policy will vary from country to country.
  • Yield curves vary as well.
  • Investment activity is influenced by different groups. For example, in some countries, pension plans play a far greater role in the markets. In other countries, individual investors are a more prominent force.
  • The stage of economic growth (whether the economy is emerging, expanding, mature or contracting) affects the country’s growth and risk outlook. (See”Emerging Markets Are Not a Monolith”.)

3. Companies vary — even within the same industry: An American retailer may be quite different from, say, a Japanese retailer. If you don’t believe that, then compare the shopping experience at Macy’s ( M) with that at Mitsukoshi.4. The impact of foreign exchange (FOREX): When you invest overseas you are investing in two assets:

Financial Goals Still Fall Short

The good news is many Americans are planning for the future – with over half making long-term plans. The bad news is what “long-term” means to most Americans.

While 57% of Americans are making long-term plans, most people define “long-term” as just 4.4 years on average, according to a recent New York Life survey.

“It’s surprising to me that 4.4 years would be considered ‘long-term,’ because we generally define long-term financial planning as ten-plus years,” said Justin Richter, senior wealth advisor with Mariner Wealth Advisors.

Richter said a well-structured financial plan must be balanced across all time horizons, requiring trade-offs and careful consideration of a client’s priorities and goals — which is why it’s important to work with an advisor who can take the time to understand these things in order to address both near-term and long-range needs.

“It’s important to convey how short-term decisions may impact long-term goals,” Richter said. “Most people are, by nature, focused on the here and now, so I view it as a significant part of an advisor’s job to help clients keep the big picture in mind. This may mean showing clients how maintaining a certain spending level

How to Invest the Long Run

Being an optimist myself, I don’t particularly like busting other people’s bubbles — we’ve had enough of those lately. Nonetheless, for my inaugural Long Run column, I have to begin on a negative note: Investing isn’t going to be easy the next few years.”For the long haul, we’re going to be in for a period of fairly tough markets,” says Ralph Wanger, manager of the ( ACRNX) Liberty Acorn fund since 1970. “You’re going to have to have substantial skill to prevail, because you can’t wait for the markets to bail you out.”If you’re still reading — indeed, if you’re still checking out TheStreet.com and other financial news publications — then the bear market hasn’t scared you away. That’s wise, because stocks remain investors’ best bet for the long haul. However, we are in a new era, only not the one people were touting a few years ago.From August 1982 to March 2000 — the greatest bull market in history — real returns averaged 15.6% a year, according to Jeremy Siegel in his book Stocks for the Long Run . That’s more than double the historical rate of equity returns. Regression to the mean hasn’t been fun.This doesn’t

The Way to Make Huge Finance Gains

The Power of a Raise

Let’s say you currently make $60,000 per year and you’re able to negotiate a 10% raise (more on how to do this below).

Assuming that 25% of that new income goes to taxes, that means you now have an extra $4,500 to save each year, which is almost enough to fully fund an IRA.

Looking at it another way, that extra $4,500 represents a 7.5% return on investment, which is right in the range of what experts expect from the stock market.

So by negotiating a raise, you’ve given yourself a stock market-like 7.5% return. And unlike the stock market, that 7.5% return will be consistent year after year.

And if you’re investing that $4,500 each year, you’ll earn additional returns on top of your contribution. Assuming a 7% annual return, that investment will grow to $197,393 after 20 years and $454,828 after 30 years.

Plus the increased salary sets a higher baseline for future raises and for your salary at future jobs, making it more likely that your income will increase even further over time.

And all of that comes with pretty much no risk.

4 Steps to Merging Finances with Your Partner

1. Focus on Joint Goals, Not Joint Accounts

It’s tempting to get caught up in the logistics of joining your finances. How do you create joint accounts? Which accounts should you join? What if you want to keep some money for yourself? Does that mean your relationship is in trouble?

Ignore all of that. It doesn’t matter. At least not at the start.

What really matters are your joint goals. What are you working towards? What is your shared vision for the life you’re building together?

Start having conversations about what you each value and want out of life. Listen to each other so you can truly understand what’s important to the other person.

Find the goals you already have in common and make those the priorities. And start talking about how you can find middle ground on the others.

This communication is the real key to successfully merging your finances. All the rest is just logistics.

2. Create a System

There are two main ways you can start sharing those expenses.

The first is to create a joint

Consultant of Financial Planner

On my blog, one of the topics I like to cover is explaining how the personal financial advice industry works. Most people get financial advice from someone who is a salesman of insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and other products. You can also get help from someone whose main profession is something related like a CPA or lawyer who offer advice as a side business. The best way to get advice however, is from someone who functions as a consultant.

There are financial advisors out there that charge by the hour for financial advice. They often call themselves financial planners to distinguish themselves from financial advisors. You can find these financial planners through industry associations like the Garrett Planning Network and NAPFA.org.

I say it’s best to work with a consultant style of advisor because the consultant works only for you. Ask yourself what someone’s motivation is. A financial advisor employed by an insurance company or investment company (like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, Vanguard, etc.) has sales managers above them making sure they sell a certain number of contracts every month. You don’t want to be one of those sales targets. It may work out for you, and there

Plant Power Investing

Low-cost index investing has become a popular approach to achieve market returns and will continue to be used by more individual and institutional investors. On the other hand, sustainable investing is also a growing trend, as more investors recognize that an “all-of-the-above” index investing strategy conflicts with their worldview. Index investors are accepting the status quo by owning companies as they are. Sustainable investors are driving change by using fund managers who engage with companies to adopt positive changes or by simple divestment (i.e. avoid investment in the company or sector).

I envision three groups of individuals who would find plant power investing attractive – vegans, vegetarians and advocates of a healthy eating / living lifestyle (ironically, HE/LL for short). The majority of individuals in this category, however, are not in a position to take on an extraordinary amount of investment risk. Investing in “pure play” meat or egg substitute start-up companies is beyond their financial reach.

The growth in the number of mutual funds that divest from fossil fuels provides an example that plant-based investors might want to follow. Why not simply avoid companies that are in obvious conflict with your worldview? Truth is, there

5 Ways to Trim Your Investing Taxes

1. Tax reporting methodology

Tax-reporting methodology refers to how your capital gains from asset sales are reported for tax purposes. There are 12 methodologies; which one your financial services company uses will directly affect the amount of taxes you will owe. Many custodians use the “average cost” or “first in first out” (FIFO) methodologies. But there are other options, such as “high cost long term” (HCLT), that can help you save on taxes.

For example, let’s say you bought five shares of stock at $20 a share. Later you bought five more at $25 a share and then five more at $30. Two years later, the share price goes to $47, and you need to sell three shares to rebalance your portfolio.

You would have the following capital gains using the given tax reporting methodology:

  • Average cost: $22 gain per share. (Your gain is based on the average price of all the shares you bought, which was $25.)
  • FIFO: $27 gain per share (The first shares purchased — for $20 — are the first ones sold.)
  • HCLT: $17 gain per share (The most expensive shares held for more than a year — those you bought for $30 — are sold

Give the Gift

This time of year sees both children and adults preparing their wish-lists for the upcoming festive season. But as many South Africans continue to grapple with rising debt, now is a good time to shift the focus from giving material items to providing future financial well-being.

Giving a child an investment as a gift will not only promote a culture of saving from a young age, but will also show them how you can make money grow.

There’s a powerful story of one customer’s commitment to leave a legacy for his family, and the value of sound financial advice. In November 1968, a customer made an initial deposit of  R400 into the Old Mutual Investors’ Fund and 48 years later, his investment is today worth over R600 000.

More precious than the value of his money, however, was the culture of saving and the legacy that he passed on to his children and grandchildren. On special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays, he invested a set amount of money on his children’s or grandchildren’s behalf. With this investment, his daughter was able to provide for her daughter’s schooling.

If South Africa is to develop a generation of

Tips to Save Their Kid’s School Fees for Parent

Here are some tips below for parents to ensure that they have planned appropriately for their children’s education costs:

Start early

Parents should start saving for their children’s education as soon as they possibly can. Many people do not consider, or are not aware of, the great advantages of compound interest, and how accumulated savings grow over several years when invested properly. By investing from an early age, parents will eliminate the financial worry of not having sufficient funds to give their children the best education possible, as the funds in their investment will grow every year.

Automate savings

The best way for parents to ensure they are regularly contributing towards their children’s education is to open a dedicated savings account and set up a monthly debit order. This way the parents will automatically save money every month towards this cause. However, they must have a strict rule in place to never withdraw any money from this account if it is not related to the child’s education.

Explore ways to get discounts

It is advisable to do some research and contact schools to find out whether they offer financial incentives that could

Increase Your Wealth with One Way

What is human capital?

Human capital is the combination of skills, knowledge and abilities you have that will enable you to generate income over your working life. Nearly all of us have an ability to generate some income but very few people consistently invest in themselves so that they can increase their earning potential over time. According to the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, university graduates generate R16 million more income over their careers than non-graduates. This might give some context to the #feesmustfall campaign in South Africa.

If you choose to invest in yourself, you need to ensure that your skills and knowledge remain relevant and adaptable to changing economic conditions and an evolving business environment. You should regularly review whether you need to add to your skills or knowledge-base. Additionally, you need to be honest enough with yourself to be able to decide if you need to change careers if you are in a dead-end street. For instance, I would not consider newspaper printing as a long-term career option!

Specialise but not too much

Some careers reward those who specialise but one should always be careful of becoming too narrowly focused in

Tips for Women’s Finance

You need your own will and have to understand the implications of your partner’s estate planning

Chairperson Ronel Williams, says in practice, Fisa often finds that where a woman does not have a lot of assets, or leads a busy life, proper estate planning is neglected.

This could have far-reaching consequences.

Where estate planning is done, it is important to not only consider current circumstances, but to plan for the future, should the situation change, she says.

One example is in cases where a woman’s husband passes away, leaves the bulk of the estate to her and she dies shortly thereafter.

“So then suddenly she does end up with having quite a sizeable estate and her will actually doesn’t reflect the position for her changed financial circumstances.”

She could for example have provided in her will that her estate devolves on her children. If they are still minors (under 18 years) and inherit small amounts, this does not necessarily pose a problem. If, however, her estate is sizeable, the children’s inheritances have to be paid to the Guardian’s Fund unless her will provides for a trust.

While the law allows parties to

Tips to Teaching Your Children about Money

However, a panel of experts at The 2016 Money Expo agreed that this is one of the most important subjects any parent has to manage. Preparing your children for their financial futures is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

Nikki Taylor from Taylored Financial Solutions said that the earlier parents start on this journey, the easier and more effective the lessons will be.

“For me, it’s about starting them early,” said Taylor. “How do you teach children manners? You don’t wait until they are 15. You start when they are really young.”

Brand manager at Emperor Asset Management, Lungile Msibi, said that even two- and three-year olds can appreciate the lessons of delayed gratification and working towards a goal.

“Start kids when they are young with goal-based savings,” she advised. “If they want a Barbie doll, for instance, show how they can save towards that goal. That’s important because later in life they will understand that you can’t invest if you don’t have a goal.”

As they grow older, you will have therefore prepared them for conversations about investing for the long term. It’s particularly helpful if family members support

Financial Education Delivered

Six months after launching, the highly popular Wealthy Ever After financial education course is moving into the corporate market, having delivered 9 000 hours of content to users.

Co-developed by JSE-listed media group Moneyweb and The Money School,Wealthy Ever After is an online financial education course aimed at empowering people to take control of their finances. Used in conjunction with webinars and on-site education sessions, it forms a part of a powerful education tool.

“This course represents a major investment for Moneyweb and it is pleasing to see the take-up of the product by both individuals and corporates,” says Moneyweb Managing Director Marc Ashton. He adds: “Lack of financial education leads to poor money habits and this has a proven negative impact on productivity inside businesses and a direct impact on the bottom line.”

The challenging economic conditions add an extra layer of challenges into the mix, as staff grapple with rising interest rates, a higher cost of living and lower expected investment returns from property and equities.

“As employers begin to see the effects of the macroeconomic conditions filtering down into both the personal and professional lives of their employees, we’re seeing almost

5 Innovative Finance Products Launched

SmartRand

Developed by financial planning firm Galileo Capital, SmartRand is one of South Africa’s first ‘robo-advisers’. The online service gives anyone, with any amount of money to invest, access to advice and the ability to invest securely through its platform.

SmartRand takes users through a detailed questionnaire that assesses their risk profile and their investment goals before recommending a suitable product for their needs. It currently uses a selection of just five passive fund choices to keep things simple and the costs low.

Just Retirement

With the reform of the pension fund industry a government priority, Just Retirement’s ‘enhanced annuities’ offer potential benefits to anyone with a below average life expectancy. Since the likes of smokers or those with medical conditions have different risk profiles, enhanced annuities can potentially increase their retirement income.

Based on a telephonic questionnaire, Just Retirement assesses an individual’s risk profile and offers them an annuity rate based on that risk. It therefore moves away from the one-size-fits-all approach that is currently the norm.

RMB Krugerrand Custodial Certificates

A first in the world, Krugerrand Custodial Certificates give investors to own Krugerrands while enjoying the liquidity of an

Advice for a young investor

I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your father. Taking responsibility for the family’s finances at 22 is no small task. I trust that over time, the pressure of managing your family’s financial matters and completing your studies holds you in good stead in the future.

As you embark on this new journey in the investment world, I want to stress the importance of staying anchored in your financial goals and the investment strategy you choose to use in order to achieve them. If you do not believe in your investment philosophy, your prospects for success diminish and you are at the mercy of emotion.

You should also remain mindful of the following principles: risk and return are related, diversification is the antidote to uncertainty, asset allocation determines the rate of return in a diversified portfolio, and emotion undermines the best investment strategy.

I will address your question pertaining to your investment strategy but I am unable to offer further guidance as I have limited information as to the capital invested as well as your monthly income needs and future goals. You will also need to talk to a professional with regards

Time for Clear Heads

These difficulties aren’t limited to South Africa either. Global economic growth is still tepid and geopolitical tension is high.

“It’s very much at the top of everyone’s mind that there are very high levels of uncertainty both on the political and macro economic fronts,” says the manager of the PSG Equity Fund, Shaun le Roux. “As far as politics is concerned we have what’s going on inside the ANC, a very divisive US election, and Brexit and its consequences. On the macro economic side, there are big questions around the South African economy, which is going through a very tough patch and may be looking at a recession.”

Of these, the local political landscape is perhaps the most concerning. However Le Roux says that while the stakes are high and the outcomes unpredictable, investors shouldn’t make hasty decisions based on noise alone.

“What one needs to bear in mind is that when a story is dominating all the newspaper headlines the market knows about it and the market tends to be quite efficient at pricing in bad news,” he argues. “In this regard our analysis shows that something like a sovereign debt downgrade is pretty