Sunday, October 7, 2007

Business Investing Retirement Planning-Achieve Your Retirement Goals With The Right Investing Plan

So you want some business investing for retirement planning tips? Unfortunately, in todays day and age, many get to the end of their working years completely broke, and are forced to continue working long into what was supposed to be retirement.

You dont want this to happen to you. Retirement should be a time to experience the things you never had a chance to while you were working; dont let a lack of finances rob you of these experiences, especially when they are so easy to obtain.

First of all, in order to achieve your retirement objectives (and therefore know which business investing avenues are best) you need to know what you want to do after you retire. Do you want to own a beach house in California? Travel 10-15 times per year? Just stay around the home and relax?

Knowing this info is critical. Without this, how will you ever know if you are closing in on achieving your goals?

Once you have your goals planned out, now its time to figure out how much they will cost. This is where a retirement planning calculator comes in. often times, you can find a free one online.

Many companies give these tools out hoping that you will decide to go with them to receive retirement planning advice. Whether you do or not, at least use the tools to figure out the money you will need to retire on.

Now that you know this, figure out how much money you make now, and how much you will need to earn between now and retirement to accomplish your objectives. Only now should you begin looking for an investment vehicle that will get this for you.

For instance, if you have loftier ambitions, and want to travel 15 times a year, then you will obviously need more money than if you were just planning to relax around the home. If this is the case, and depending on when you are beginning investing for retirement, you will want to invest in a more aggressive investment vehicle (of course, this varies depending on whether you are starting at a young or older age).

Once youve found one that provides a sufficient rate of return and will continue to do so until retirement, stick your money in there, and then keep close tabs on it. Remember, nobody else is responsible for your financial state; its only you.

If you dont know enough about business investing for retirement planning to spot a good opportunity, then either learn yourself or hire a financial planner to figure this part out for you. The most important thing is that you have a plan, and stick to it. This way, you will achieve your retirement goals faster and more easily than you ever imagined possible.

For more great retirement planning investment advice, check out, and get some great retirement planning help

The Definition Of Forex Is Not "Easy Money"

The definition of Forex is: whenever one form of currency is traded in exchange of another. As with most things online the Forex market has become an opportunistic battlefield for small time people to make big bucks in selling hype. If you do a search for Forex online, you will likely find thousands if not millions of sites dedicated to showing you how to make money in the Forex Market. Most of them always claim the same thing, Ill show you how to make 7 figures a year!

If youre like me, youve grown so tired of seeing that headline, that you immediately hit the X button when you see that title on a site. Personally I thank them for believing people are so gullible because its the only reason I have the job that I have. All day long I receive request for reviews of e-books, memberships, online opportunities and too many other things to name. Most of the time Im bored out of my mind but the sheer repetition of the same re-canned junk.

So you can imagine my delight when something that Im reviewing is able to hold my childishly short attention span. By no means is trading on the Forex market an easy venture to understand, nor garner a seven figure income with ease (if it were that easy do you think theyd give it away for a few bucks?). But there are a handful of programs that truly teach you exactly how to go from newbie to earner in fairly short order.

The latest program that came across my desk is called Forex Trading Machine and was developed by a guy named Avi Frister. Hes been a successful Forex trader for over 11 years and his system backs his expertise up. Most of the programs that are successful have found ways to maximize earnings while minimizing risk, and as far as Ive seen, this is probably one of the most unique and profitable Forex systems available online.

Jordan Drew is and expert reviewer on all things things in the Clickbank network, as well as hundreds of other products opportunities offered online. Know before you buy!

Welcome to the BIG Buy Low

Every correction is the same, a normal downturn in one of the Markets where we invest. There has never been a correction that has not proven to be an investment opportunity. You can be confident that the Federal Reserve, as hypnotized as it is with keeping inflation under control, is not going to cause either a financial panic or a prolonged recession with tight money and high interest rate policies. While everything is down in price, as it is now, there is little to worry about. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.

Every correction is different, the result of various economic and/or political circumstances that create the need for adjustments in the financial markets. In this case, an overheated real estate market has finally taken a breather; an overdose of bad judgment among lending institutions is producing a major hangover; and an overheated Stock Market, propelled by demand for speculative derivative securities (ETFs), and Hedge Funds, is finally falling back to more earthly levels.

The reality of corrections is one of the few certainties of the financial markets, a reality that separates the men from the boys, if you will. If you fixate on your portfolio Market Value during a correction, you will just give yourself a headache, or worse. None of the fundamental qualities that made your securities "Investment Grade" just three months ago---when your Market Value was at an All Time High---have changed. No interest payments or dividends have been cut. Only the prices have changed, to preserve the reality of things---and in both of our markets. Welcome to the Big Buy Low!

Corrections are beautiful things, but having two of them going on at the same time is like a trip to Fantasy Land. Theoretically, even technically I'm told, corrections adjust prices to their actual value or "support levels". In reality, it's much easier than that. Prices go down because of speculator reactions to expectations of news, speculator reactions to actual news, and investor profit taking. The two former "becauses" are more potent than ever before because there is more self-directed money out there than ever before. And therein lies the core of correctional beauty! Mutual Fund unit holders rarely take profits but often take losses. Additionally, the new breed of Index Fund Speculators is ready for a reality smack up alongside the head. Thus, new investment opportunities are abundant!

Here's a list of ten things to think about or to do during corrections:

1. First of all, don't beat yourself up by looking at your account Market Value. You don't live in a vacuum and you are not immune to market price variations. That is why we only buy the highest quality securities in the first place and stick with a well-defined Asset Allocation plan. Look for ways to add to your portfolios---that's what the smart guys are doing.

2. Take a look at the past. There has never been a correction that has not proven to be a buying opportunity, in spite of the media hype that this one is special. When they are broad, fast, and deep, the rally that follows is normally broad, fast and steep. Get ready to party.

3. The "Smart Cash" that was accumulating during the last rally---the one that ended abruptly in May, should be put back to work, and probably will be too soon. That's also normal. There are no crystal balls, and no place for hindsight in an investment strategy. Buying too soon, in the right portfolio percentage, is nearly as important to long-term investment success as selling too soon is during rallies.

4. Take a look at the future. Nope, you can't tell when the rally will come or how long it will last. If you are buying quality securities now (as you certainly should be) you will be able to love the rally even more than you did the last time---as you take yet another round of profits. Smiles broaden with each new realized gain, especially when most Wall Streeters are still just scratchin' their heads.

5. As (or if) the correction continues, buy more slowly as opposed to more quickly, and establish new positions incompletely. Hope for a short and steep decline, but prepare for a long one. There's more to "Shop at The Gap" than meets the eye, and you may run out of cash well before the new rally begins. Cash flow is king, so take smaller profits sooner than usual so long as there are abundant buying opportunities.

6. Your understanding and use of the Smart Cash concept has proven the wisdom of The Investor's Creed. You should be out of cash while the market is still correcting---it gets less scary each time. As long your cash flow continues unabated, the change in market value is merely a perceptual issue.

7. Note that your Working Capital is still growing, in spite of falling prices, and examine your holdings for opportunities to average down on cost per share or to increase your yield on fixed income securities. Examine both fundamentals and price, lean hard on your experience, and don't force the issue.

8. Identify new buying opportunities using a consistent set of rules, rally or correction. That way you will always know which of the two you are dealing with in spite of what the Wall Street propaganda mill spits out. Focus on value stocks; it's just easier, as well as being less risky, and better for your peace of mind.

9. Examine your portfolio's performance: with your asset allocation and investment objectives clearly in focus; in terms of market and interest rate cycles as opposed to calendar Quarters (never do that) and Years; and only with the use of the Working Capital Model, because it allows for your personal asset allocation. Remember, there is really no single index number to use for comparison purposes with a properly designed value portfolio.

10. So long as everything is down, there is nothing to worry about. Downgraded (or simply lazy) portfolio holdings should not be discarded during general or group specific weakness. Unless of course, you don't have the courage to get rid of them during rallies---also general or sector spefical (sic).

Corrections (of all types) will vary in depth and duration, and both characteristics are clearly visible only in institutional grade rear view mirrors. The short and deep ones are most lovable; the long and slow ones are more difficult to deal with. Most recent corrections have been short (August and September, '05; April though June, '06) and difficult to take advantage of with Mutual Funds. So if you over-think the environment or over-cook the research, you'll miss the party. Unlike many things in life, Stock Market realities need to be dealt with quickly, decisively, and with zero hindsight. Because amid all of the uncertainty, there is one indisputable fact that reads equally well in either market direction: there has never been a correction-rally that has not succumbed to the next rally-correction.

If you were head scratching on Smart Cash, Working Capital, or The Investor's Creed, it's time to order the newly revised edition of Brainwashing.

Steve Selengut
Professional Portfolio Management since 1979
Author of: "The Brainwashing of the American Investor: The Book that Wall Street Does Not Want YOU to Read", and "A Millionaire's Secret Investment Strategy"

Accountability - They Are Still Missing The Point

Many in Government are talking about accountability in business as a result of the accounting and stock market scandals. President Bush signed the Corporate Fraud Law, which was supposed to make CEO's accountable. They are still missing the point about accountability. What they are really talking about is responsibility to the law, not accountability! In addition, they are talking about accountability as if it were something that can be legislated or directed - it cannot!

What then is accountability? Accountability is a combination of responsibility and standards (ACCOUNTABILITY = RESPONSIBILITY + STANDARDS). This implies a definable and measurable commitment to deliver a specified result. In other words, to paraphrase Harry Truman, it defines where the buck stops, which is at every level of responsibility. A great part of the confusion comes from a lack of distinction between responsibility and accountability. Responsibility refers to the duties to be performed, describing what should be done without specifying how well or how timely tasks should be performed. Responsibility is an action, accountability is a result (compared to standards).

The next logical question is: Who are we accountable to? Responsibility and accountability by their nature infer a relationship. The answer to the question is; our stakeholders. Stakeholders are individuals or organizations who are involved in or may be affected by the activities of the enterprise. There is a diversity of stakeholders within any enterprise or organization. Each stakeholder has a different and unique need that must be met by the organization. For example, an employee has a need for security, a paycheck, and a safe working environment. On the other hand, an investor has a need for a reasonable rate of return on their investment. A customer has a need for a quality product or service that provides value. The local government has a need for tax revenues and so on.

The business community has failed at the point of the stakeholder, because it has taken an unbalanced approach to meeting stakeholder needs. For business to be successful, it must be accountable at all levels to all of the various stakeholders. For many years, business has focused on meeting the needs of the investors rather than meeting the needs of all of the stakeholders. For example, a company decides to cut costs to drive up its perceived value to investors, and lays-off 1,700 employees. What is the impact on the stakeholders? Investors see improved cash flow and reduced liabilities, thereby making the perceived value of the company stock greater. The CEO realizes increased value to their assets (stock and stock options). The laid off worker is out of a job and realizes diminished value to their assets. The retained worker realizes greater demands on their time, decreased quality of work life and home life, greater stress, etc.

The impact on the organization is greater turnover (voluntarily and involuntarily) which drives costs up, increases waste, reduces effectiveness, and in many cases loses customers. The myopic view of stakeholders is threatening the long-term viability of the enterprise or organization.

Business needs a fresh look at how it is conducting itself in order to re-establish the trust of its stakeholders. A few arrests wont do, new laws wont do, and the words of our politicians wont do. We need to re-think our business structures in terms of true accountability to our stakeholders ALL of our STAKEHOLDERS! This requires reinvent our business in such a way that it is accountable at all levels. Accountability must be linked throughout the organization to its strategic purpose, its vision and values, and to all of the stakeholders.

Accountability requires a commitment from all parties. That commitment must be based upon an obligation to obtain predetermined results in a given activity. Such commitment will only come when both parties have a say in building the accountability. Such accountability does not just happen, it requires a system.

Any such system must take into account the obligations that all enterprises or organizations have to their stakeholders. Without an obligation, there can be no accountability. In business there are five fundamental obligations, they include:

Survival obligation

Essential work obligation

Principal markets obligation

Principal product obligation, and

Principal territory obligation.

These obligations exist at all levels of the organization, though they may be stated a bit differently at each level or from department to department. They drive the companys mission as well as its strategic purpose. The five fundamental obligations provide the basis for defining the work in terms of Continuing Vital Activities. These activities, which if not performed according to certain standards, could impair overall operating results.

Continuing Vital Activities (CVAs) are the framework within which realistic and achievable objectives are developed. They help focus the work so that objectives reflect what needs to be done (results based objectives), rather than what will ensure that bonuses are obtained (permissive objectives).

We need to change from the system of permissive objectives that many organizations have fallen victim to one that links concrete results to the obligations that the organization has to the stakeholders. These objectives require that standards be applied to ensure that the necessary results are obtained. The greatest barrier to effective results oriented objectives is a resistance by managers and subordinates alike to define appropriate standards. Standards development must be a part of any accountability system if it is to succeed.

There is a program available for building a true accountability system within an organization - it is called the Accountability Focused Management system provided by The ALERA Consulting Group, Inc. The Accountability Focused Management system provides a systematic structure built upon the five fundamental obligations. It creates an atmosphere of mutual commitment to those obligations by both management and personnel. It helps organizations analyze work to identify Continuing Vital Activities necessary for the success of their day-to-day operations. Once the CVAs have been identified for a position, the Accountability Focused Management system requires managers and subordinates to sit down and discuss the nature of the work in terms of the results the manager needs to get from the subordinate. The subordinate then defines the standards he is willing to, or capable of, achieving in the required time frame. The discussion between manager and subordinate produces a Results Commitment for each of the identified CVAs.

The Accountability Focused Management system changes the focus from responsibility to accountability.

Brice Alvord has over thirty years experience as an internal and external performance improvement consultant. He holds a BA in Sociology/Psychology from Central Washington University and an MBA degree from City University of Seattle. He is the author of over two dozen books on continuous improvement and training.