Back to School: The Right Degrees for Older Adults

It can happen to the best of us. In a fast changing world, the degrees and skills that were in demand yesterday might not be worth a whole lot tomorrow. Globalization has been causing mass changes the labor market and it’s possible that you have found yourself laid off or downsized, and that you no longer have the right qualifications to land a good job.

One option is to go back to school, but if you are an older adult, you should closely consider your options before investing the time and money it takes to secure a college degree. We certainly don’t want to discourage you from getting a degree, we just want to make sure that you consider what to study and where to study at.

If you are going to make a career change, a college degree is a great option for doing so. Before you sign up for a degree, however, you should ask yourself some questions. Where do your strengths lie? What type of degree can make use of your previous work experience, but will also open the doors to new job opportunities?

Let’s say you are an electrician but the factory you worked at has closed down and now you are having trouble finding a job. So what should you do? You could consider going back to school to be an electrical engineer.

With all the efforts to upgrade the energy grid and the revolution currently taking place in the renewable energy field, electrical engineers are in demand and the pay can be very high. At the same time, you’d be able to apply all of the knowledge you picked up as an electrician to your new career.

Another thing you need to pay attention to is the cost of getting a degree. Check out tuition prices, first and foremost, but also make sure you pay attention to costs of books, lab fees, and other things. These extra costs can add up very quickly. Usually, your local community colleges and/or state universities will offer the best value, but that isn’t always the case, so make sure you do some research.

Are Futures a Good Alternative to Stocks?

Let’s say you want to invest, but you aren’t comfortable with stocks, or are looking to diversify your portfolio. No one would blame you. On one hand, learning the ins and outs of each stock before you invest can be difficult. On the other hand, having a diversified portfolio is always a smart idea. One great way to diversify your portfolio and to expand your horizons beyond stocks is to invest in “futures.”

So, what are futures and how do they work? Futures generally involve the purchase of commodities, which can be anything from corn to oil. This type of product is considered a commodity because the goods bought are largely interchangeable. An ear of corn, after all, is an ear of corn.

Futures allow you to buy a commodity now at a prearranged price but the commodity itself won’t be delivered until a specified date in the future. For example, you could buy 1,000 barrels of oil but specify that the delivery date won’t be for another 6 months. If oil prices are low right now, you should be able to buy the oil quite cheaply.

If oil prices rise over the next few months, you will produce a profit because you secured the oil earlier at a cheaper price. Most of the time, people who buy futures do not actually take delivery of the oil itself, so you won’t have to worry about 1,000 barrels of oil being dropped off on your doorstep. Instead, you will settle the difference with the seller.

So let’s say you bought a contract to secure 1,000 gallons of oil at $100 dollars with a delivery date 6 months from now. Over the next 6 months, oil prices rise and reach $125 dollars. You could then settle and take the $25 dollar profit per barrel, which would amount to $25,000 dollars. On the other hand, if prices drop to say $75 dollars, you’d have to pay the seller the difference.

Either way, some people prefer to invest in futures because they prefer analyzing commodity markets to stocks. So if you are looking for an alternative to investing in stocks and bonds, consider futures!

 

How a POS System Can Help Your Business

New article picAs a business owner, one of the most beautiful sounds to you is likely the chime made whenever your cash register opens. Today, that cash register may actually take the form of a cash drawer, and it might be attached to a computer via electronic sales software. This allows you to gather a tremendous amount of data and real-time information about your customers. It can also help to free your time from calculating and performing menial tasks, allowing you instead to spend time devising high-level business expansion strategies. These are just some of the ways that a selling system can help your business.

POS Systems Help Inventory Control

One of the most important ways in which a Point of Sale System can help your business is in the the area of inventory management and control. The core of this system is likely to be a standard issue computer, or even an iPad, running specialized software. The system will also be equipped with a cash drawer, credit card reader, receipt printer and sometimes a barcode scanner.

All of these devices make it possible for your business to make sales and take orders both in person and online. Such a system is also generally quite cost effective and relatively easy to set up. The system will give you an accurate, up-to-the-minute assessment of your inventory. Every time an order is rung up, the inventory is also updated, with those items sold and/or used subtracted from your inventory list that is maintained on the system itself.

Take Orders Online and Offline

A strong POS system can also enable your business to accept orders almost anywhere. This means that you will be able to promote your offerings in person and using online marketing methods such as websites and social media sites. You could even try using a mobile payment app and then your business could be taken on the road in real life. This could allow for the addition of traveling sales representatives.

For orders taken in your retail location, a simple card reader connected to an online processing account is all that you need. For an offline order, the same basic principle applies, only customers enter their own card number into your online payment gateway. In either case, both methods are extremely secure and they result in your payment being deposited directly into your bank account within 24 to 48 hours.

Offers Accuracy and Analysis Functions

Another way in which a strong Point of Sale System will help your business is through the accuracy and analysis functions provided by the software.

Of course, to really get the full benefits of this accuracy, you need to have a barcode scanner attached to the system. Not only does this make getting your inventory counted and included in the system much faster and easier, it is also a lot more accurate than having to type everything in by hand. Plus, you can set up a scanner for each of your checkout units, which speeds up the checkout time for your customers.

As far as analysis is concerned, you can also run a wide variety of different reports. These will be accurate and up-to-the-minute reports, and can include anything from a daily (or even hourly) sales report to the number of XYZ items that are on hand, or any other inventory or sales-related report you could possibly dream up. This is great for managing inventory and even establishing alerts for low levels, so that you know when it’s time to order more. You will then be able to analyze your sales patterns and use this to perfect your business strategy.

Improved Markdown Management

With a sales system it is also much easier to devise, implement and manage different types of sales and discounts. This has typically been a very difficult problem for small and mid-sized businesses. In some cases, you might have been forced to go through sales receipts manually at the end of the day in order to identify how many of those “on sale” items were sold.

Using such a system, however, the sales can be input manually. Then, when an item is scanned at the checkout line, the correct, discounted price appears at the register. Simple. Not to mention that everything in this inventory is accurately tracked and reports can be run just as easily to identify these items.

Bottom Line

A good, strong computerized sales system can give your business a lot of benefits. Some of the best include the ability to more accurately track sales and inventory and automate many of your routine management functions. This can have the ultimate effect of freeing up your time so that you can work on your business rather than in the business.

Why You Should Consider Working Abroad

Right now, the United States economy is puttering along. If you are struggling to start or advance your career, you should consider international opportunities. Of course, you should also be aware that in order to start a career abroad, you would have to offer tangible skills to any potential employer. Don’t expect to hop off a plane and to be hired on the spot.

Moving abroad can be an especially great choice for younger people. For one, you probably won’t be tied down to a house, or likely even a family. Relocation is much easier. One possibility is to join the Peace Corps, which doesn’t pay much but provides great experience. You could also teach English. Or if you have a teaching degree, you could teach at an international school abroad.

If you’re in a technical field, many countries may have demand for your services. For example, the oil and gas sector is booming in many places, such as Malaysia and Myanmar. If you happen to have a degree in oil and gas, you may be able to find a job in one of these far-flung countries. Or if you’re a finance expert, you should check out Asia’s financial hubs, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Mind you, a move abroad doesn’t have to be permanent. Many Western companies are expanding into emerging markets and often they are looking for volunteers who will go abroad for a year or two to help set up a new office. You should check to see if your own company has any such opportunities. You will get to enjoy a new experience and could build up your reputation within your company.

Working abroad isn’t for everyone, and sometimes even if you want to work abroad, there won’t be any opportunities. Like the title of this article states, you should “consider” working abroad. See if there are any opportunities in your field. Ask yourself if you think it’ll be a fun adventure, or a big hassle. If it seems like it will be a positive experience, go ahead, apply for opportunities, and check within your personal network for any chances to work overseas.

The Essentials of Silver Investing Under New Fed Leadership

The following post is by David Parker from www.easy-forex.com.

Silver investing is a great way of entering the commodities markets as it allows traders to diversify their investment portfolio with a safe haven asset. It also has the added attraction as it goes through periods of volatility giving great trading opportunities. With the change of chair of the US Fed we could see some interesting trading for silver.

Since the beginning of the latest global financial crisis in 2008, the number of investors who went in search for alternative investments grew dramatically. The downhill slide of several stock indices and shares, together with ever present volatility in the financial markets, pushed many traders to consider investing in safe haven assets. Even though silver is viewed by some as ‘gold’s poor cousin’, it remains as one of the most traded precious metals. Like its cousin, it is used as safe haven investment by traders who want to diversify their portfolios and add some relative stability. Demand for silver is relatively constant as it is a component used in manufacturing, jewellery, photography, and even medicine because of its conductivity and strength.

Even though it is produced in most countries, more than half of silver’s global production comes from the East (China and Australia) and Latin America (Mexico, Peru, and Chile). Silver is a commodity used for both industrial and investment purposes but in recent years most of its demand comes from the industrial sector. According to The Silver Institute, as of 2010 the industrial demand of silver has been more than 50% of its production and hence its price is mostly driven from there. It is estimated that this percentage is likely to increase in the future as technological advancements may find more uses for silver in electronics, cars, and the solar power industry.

Entering the silver market can be achieved by two main methods – either though physical purchase of silver or by investing in exchange-traded products. The purchase of physical silver is always more fulfilling because it puts the actual metal in the investor’s hands but it comes with a variety of costs from storing and insuring it, and even costs when selling it. Probably the most common method of silver investment is through Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), where traders get all the benefits from investing in silver without having to store it, however ETFs have more price volatility. A trader wishing to stay away from both high price volatility and physical silver ownership may look to invest in silver mutual funds. These portfolios may be combinations of different silver mining stocks and physical silver ownership which diversifies the risk. The downside with these funds is higher trading costs and the investor should have some knowledge of the stock market.

The sharp rise of silver prices during the first eight years of the 21st century was mainly due to the vast demand from emerging markets such as China and India. However, the last few years’ recovery of the European and U.S. markets, together with the slowing down of China’s growth, pushed silver prices very low. The ongoing speculation for the U.S. economy outlook and the future moves by the Fed as regards to the slowing down of its asset purchasing program are expected to be the main driving factors for the price of silver. The imminent appointment of Janet Yellen as Fed Chairman might be the beginning of a different approach to the U.S. economy’s Quantitative Easing (QE) program, and any holding back from further easing of the QE program may lift silver prices upwards.

As with any investment, traders should commit to researching for insights about silver before investing any capital. Silver was regarded as a symbol of wealth and prosperity but now new technologies require increasing quantities of the precious metal for the production of many products. Investors can enter the silver market in many ways and should always keep in mind that it’s going to be an exciting ride.

Making Big Profits with a Powerful Shopping Cart

Making Big Profits with a Powerful Shopping Cart

More and more people are using the Internet to take part in one of the greatest wealth creating opportunities, running their own business. But making big profits right away isn’t always easy, and with positive cash flow crucial for a small business to cover original startup costs and overhead expenses, many small business owners can get overwhelmed. Many are so focused on doing what they need to cover their expenses now, they tend to overlook things they could do to grow profits in the future. All small business owners have the resources available to help them generate more money. The first thing they need to do is look into accepting payments online with a powerful shopping cart.

Gain More Money by Working with an Expert

It makes sense to start a small business website with a powerful web based shopping cart. Working with a reputable company that specializes in creating these features on websites is a smart investment early on in a business. This is because a well-designed shopping cart allows a company to make a seamless transition into doing larger volumes of business. Using an inferior shopping cart tool on a website to save money in the beginning could mean losing business later. Think about it. If you have to shut down your website to accommodate a larger audience or to handle additional volume, you will lose money. Having a powerful shopping cart in place from the beginning means not having to sacrifice profits which could be lost making upgrades in the future.

Saving Your Businesses Reputation

A business’ reputation is extremely important, especially when just starting out. People want to buy from businesses with good reputations. Many people start judging that reputation by the systems a company has in place online. For many consumers, this indicates how successful a business is at what they do or sell. One of the most important features to help make an online company’s reputation is its shopping cart. People are most impressed by those which can accept payments quickly and easily. The shopping carts also need to be able to accept a wide variety of payment options, such as several different credit cards and PayPal. Having these tools communicates to a consumer that a business is reputable and knows what it’s doing.

Finding the Best Options for Your Business

So how do you get started the right way, with a powerful shopping cart that’s going to add to your business and not detract from it? The answer is simple. Have one created by a business that specializes in that kind of thing, and knows what it’s doing. Before you can choose your shopping cart provider, you need to know what you are looking for, according to Leigh Mason of Smash Magazine.com. Figure out which options for accepting payments you will need. For example, do you have a lot of foreign customers who will need to pay with currency other than U.S. dollars? Knowing this is crucial to the success of an online business.

Successful Shopping Cart Solutions

Several studies have been done on the reasons why customers choose to abandon their online shopping carts at such high rates. The number one reason listed, according to Yoast.com, was because shoppers were presented with unexpected costs. A notable 56 percent of respondents decided not to make the purchase because of this. Let’s face it, nobody wants to go into a transaction thinking they’re about to pay one price, and then get to the end of the process finding out they will have to pay much more. Other top reasons why the sale didn’t go through included several key things that can be fixed with a good shopping cart host, including:

  • Website navigation too complicated
  • Website crashed
  • Process was taking too long
  • Concerns about payment security

These are common issues people have with poorly created shopping carts and these are all things that can be fixed with a little help from an expert. If your current shopping cart has any of these issues, it’s time to take a look at making a change. Start off by doing a little research and make a list of what your ideal shopping cart will need. Maybe it’s an easier to navigate process with fewer steps; maybe it’s a more secure payment processing system. If you get stuck anywhere in this process, you don’t have to worry. With expert help at your fingertips, you don’t have to go it alone. A good online shopping cart provider will be able to help you assess your needs and point you in the right direction. These experts will know which features will offer your company the most powerful options for doing business online and succeeding in the eCommerce market as it continues to grow.

You may also want to check out this related article: Making Credit Card Payments in the eCommerce Environment

What Is Share Market And Its Significance?

If you have acquired sufficient savings, it must be high time that you look for an investment option that has a better potential of increasing your money. Most of you already know that depositing your money in the bank is the safest way to keep your money, but the interest banks will pay you is very minimal that it could hardly be called an investment. Risking on putting up your own business, on the other hand, do offer a good probability of getting a huge profit, but only if you really work hard and enter the right business. Another way you can invest your money is on the share market. However, many may still be wondering what is share market?

Share Market Basic Definition

To define a share market it is best to split the words and understand each. First is share. A share is basically a piece of a company’s ownership. For instance, a huge company can divide the bulk of its assets into one thousand shares, which they can own solely for themselves or offer to the public. Second is market. As most of you know, a market is where a seller and a buyer meet to transact a sale. A share market, therefore, is a venue where buyers and sellers of company shares meet to do business.

The Need to Sell Shares in Stock Market

Most companies start their businesses with a capital. They either loaned this or financed it from their own pockets. Once the business progresses and grows bigger, the amount of money needed to keep the operation going and to finance the growth will also increase. Now, the company owner has two choices. That is whether he takes additional loan or sells part of his ownership of the company to raise the money he needs. A practical solution is to sell a part of the ownership. Here, the company is not obliged to pay back the money raised and there are very little strings attached. Whoever buys their shares are now deemed co-owners, who in a way are risking their money on the future of the company.

What is share market

How Share Market Works?

In a share market, those who already own a share on a specific company can still sell their shares in the future. This could be because they need their money back or they do not want to be a co-owner of the company anymore. Usually, you would need a broker to do the transaction between buyer and seller. Brokers can be individuals, banks, or other financial institutions. They match buying and selling prices, and they attend to orders based on who made the orders first. Therefore, if a buyer is interested to buy shares of a certain company, he has to speak to his broker and make his orders before he runs out of shares to buy, which happens if the share is showing a great potential for growth.

What is Share Market: Benefits of Having a Stock Market

A share market provides a venue where seller and buyer meet to transact business legally and with utmost reliability. Here, buyers are obliged to pay and sellers are obliged to issue certificates. In other words, risks are eliminated. A share market also allows for the discovery of fair price for shares of certain companies. Everyone is on level ground, buying and selling at a price that is determined by the current market.

European Stock Market; Its History, Progress And Performance.

European stock market is a public entity in Europe where shares of a company are traded at an agreed price. The stocks or the shares are listed and then traded on stock exchanges which are owned by brokers. Such brokers have specialized in selling and buying shares from a listing of stock and securities on behalf of the companies. Participants in this market include insurance companies, banks, mutual funds and individual retail investors.

European Stock Market And it’s Importance

The European stock market was started with the purpose of facilitating the exchange of securities between sellers and buyers in Europe. In a way, this provided a marketplace where real or virtual. The exchanges facilitate price discovery by providing a real time trading on all the listed securities. The exchanges are either are physical locations or virtual kind. The physical locations involve carrying out transactions on a trading floor through the open outcry method. The virtual kind exchange is composed of a network of computers where exchange is done electronically through traders. A potential buyer bids a specific price for stock while the potential seller asks for a specific price for the stock. If the bid and the price match, a sale takes pace.

European Stock Market

A few decades ago especially after the Second World War, buyers and sellers on The European stock market were mainly individual investors like wealthy businessmen. However, this has changed over time because institutional investors have become the major players in this market. This change has caused some improvements in the operations of the market such as reducing the fees favoring the ‘small’ investor.

The European stock market is determined to provide a considerable amount of useful information all over Europe daily. This has increased the demand of this information by all key players in the market including the small investors. For efficiency, the news analysis consists of the recording, tracking, analysis and interpretation the flux. The analysis include the performance all companies over Europe no matter its popularity. The information is also posted in the internet which is now a medium of choice for several stock market watchers in Europe. It is preferred more because it is capable of providing detailed the up-to the-minute reports on trading.

The European stock market has now scaled into heights despite the longest recession in Europe and the highest levels of unemployment. This simply shows that the stock market growth has very little correlation with the economic growth. Many investors are now trading on shares instead of fundamentals as it is tracking the most. Only Greece’s new political crisis has knocked the local stocks down.

Last week on Friday, the European stock market attempted a rebound which ran out of gas as the day went on. The major European stock indices began to fade although the bargain hunters had accomplished their mission during the first half of the session. This has made the Euro group finance ministers to meet in Luxembourg in order to agree upon a protocol for rescuing or winding down insolvent banks and create a banking union.

Everyone is now positive on the European shares. Many investors are now buying them since they are still underweight now. They are cheap in terms of value but it is going to increase within the next few months. Make a wise decision now, buy some shares now and for real, you will enjoy huge profits within the next few months.

Should You Contract Retirement Companies?

With the relatively recent introduction of the private pension system, we could say that the palette of retirement saving instruments has become larger. In this regard, retirement companies play an important role. Thus, in addition to the state pension pillar, participants under 35 years contribute mandatory and those between 36 and 45 years optionally, the mandatory private pension (pillar II) and voluntary pension (Pillar III). In addition, insurers have to offer policies with component retirement life – products that represent solutions for retirement income support.

Advantages of Retirement Companies

If we refer only to optional solutions of this potential product portfolio for retirement – Pillar III and life insurance pension component – it must be said that although they have a similar purpose, each of the two has specific characteristics and advantages.

First, even if it is also meant for retirement savings, the financial plan provided by retirement companies has the main role of assuring your life. In other words, its main role is to provide financial protection for unforeseen events and, in addition, to provide a means of investment. In addition, the financial component of this pension plan allows the contractor to add, depending on the need and demand to the insurer, different extra insurance options.

More and more retirement companies offer life insurance with retirement component, which allows the contractor to choose one age at which he/she benefits from the accumulated amount in the account. This represents a suitable means of saving for those who want to retire before the age standard. At the end of the first payment period, the insured can choose either to collect the full amount at the time the account or benefit for a given period, the annuity. Voluntary pension (pillar III) is a product exclusively for additional retirement savings and the amount accumulated in the participant’s account is available only after the age of 60 years, being granted by retirement companies.

Retirement Companies

The two products work differently and in case an unforeseen event happen to you. Thus, if the person who contracted insurance policy with pension component dies, his/her loved ones will benefit from financial protection. In this case, the insurer pays the sum insured – a set amount from the start and is guaranteed regardless of the number or value of the premiums paid by the insured event. The voluntary pension, on the other hand, comes when the participant suffers from a permanent disability and cannot continue contributions. In this case, he/she benefits from money raised in account as a payment. In case of death, the legal heirs receive money from the account. Both these products are provided by retirement companies.

The voluntary pension can contribute monthly, with up to 15% of gross income, to which the employer can contribute further (if he wants to) or you can contribute together, respecting the maximum limit of 15% of gross monthly salary. By comparison, life insurance from assurance and retirement companies gives you the freedom to participate with the amount you want and allows you to set single premium payment frequency.

Regarding the tax treatment of contributions, it differs in these two products. The amount that you contribute to the voluntary pension is deducted from income tax, a maximum of 500 USD per fiscal year. This benefit is available only for you and for the employer, if he participates in your pension. In case of life insurance from retirement companies, the investment is not taxable, neither the payments you receive.

Last but not least, the two products are regulated and supervised by different authorities, the same companies that provides and manages. Thus, the insurance market (and thus the component life insurance scheme pension) is regulated by the Insurance Commission, while the private pension market is regulated by the retirement companies in charge.

An Introduction To The Indian Stock Market

Mark Twain had once divided the whole world’s population into two kinds of individuals: those who’ve visited the renowned Indian monument, Taj Mahal, and the ones who haven’t. A similar thing could be said about the investors. One can find two groups of investors – individuals who are aware of the investment options in India and others who don’t. Though India might look like a tiny dot to a professional investor in the United States, but upon a closer inspection, you’ll notice the things you’d typically observe in any promising market. Below we’re going to provide an introduction to the Indian stock market as well as how interested investors could gain exposure to this arena.

Indian Stock Market Overview

The majority of the trading happening in the Indian stock market is taking place on its 2 stock exchanges – the NSE (National Stock Exchange) and BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange). Interestingly, the BSE has been around since 1875. While the NSE, however, was founded in the year 1992 and began trading two years later, in 1994. Having said that, the two exchanges adopt the exact same trading mechanism and procedure, trading hours and duration, settlement process, and so on. At the previous count, there were over 4700 listed firms in the BSE, while the NSE had around 1200. Of the many listed firms trading on the BSE, just about 500 firms amount to greater than 9/10th of its market capitalization, and the remaining bunch includes highly illiquid shares.

When you find yourself comfortable enough to begin independent trading, you should open up a Demat account with any bank or stock trading firm (or stock broker). Even though you are confident enough to trade, it’s highly recommended that you trade in small amounts and under the guidance of someone who has got working experience of investing in the Indian stock market.

For beginner level, it is suggested that you get started with a “virtual” Demat account in order to get acquainted with the trading routines and activities along with their pattern. Plus it will make you recognize the area in which your trading interest actually lies. There are numerous virtual trading accounts offered by the large firms, some even for free, while the others with a low start-up fee to help you learn the strategies of trading in the Indian stock market.

Indian stock market

It’s a well recognized fact that there is substantial participation from institutional investors the Indian stock market. This is great news, however on the other hand, it makes the Indian stock markets more susceptible to global financial shocks. The Flls often move the investments and the swings produce intense price fluctuations leading to increased volatility. And when episodes just like the one from the year 2008 re-occur, the flight of the capital will certainly have a worse impact not merely on the actual financial markets, but additionally on the real economy and the economic climate. The anticipated slowdown in the Eurozone as well as the US may result into an outflow of large amount of foreign money from the Indian market.

Bothered about the present condition of the market? Well, ebb and flow is usually a part-and-parcel of not just the Indian stock markets, but all the global markets. So, the way you swim along is totally dependent on the kind of trading decisions you generally take.