Lesson One – Investment Definition and Explanation

Investment is one of the fundamental concepts in finance. No financial discussion, website or blog is complete without clearing and explaning investment. I intend to write about investment in detail with reference to households and individuals, as a tutorial, starting from defining and explaining investment as a phenomenon and then slowly incorporating complex topics in further posts.

Definition of Investment

"Investment is the concept of putting 'surplus' money to things such as stocks, bonds, real estate, starting a new venture, buying a capital good etc. with a hope / forecast to have capital gains or continuous streams of positive net income from This employment of money. "

With reference to individuals, it is generally recommended to use surplus money for investments, as there is a very thin line between investing and speculating, so investment decisions should be made very wisely and with proper research and analysis. Investment always comes with a risk of losing the invested amount, and this loss would not be in the control of the investor then, it is always advisable to measure and research all risks involved.

Investment is a parallel concept to savings, where savings is done with an intent to cope with increasing inflation, Investment on the other hand is done with and intention to earn revenue streams or have capital gains from money invested, and it also generates employment and increases The production level of a country. Individuals save or invest their surplus money based on how much risk they are willing to take. More risk taking individuals prefer investing over savings.

All About Your 3G Internet Service

In the technology circle, there is much hue and cry about 3G internet services. It is a known fact to everyone that 3G stands for "3rd Generation", but very few are aware of this technology from its core. Basically, it's an initiative taken by the International Telecommunication Union to create a global wireless standard for mobile internet access. However, it requires a minimum mobile internet access speed which is comparable to DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet speed. To meet the technology standards, there needs to be high-volume voice services.

Unlike its predecessor 2G (2nd Generation) technology, which was discovered around voice applications including talking, call-waiting and voicemail, 3G technology emphasizes on internet and multimedia based applications that facilitate web browsing, music downloads, video conferencing etc. However, to access 3G network, your device need to support an information transfer rate of at least 200 Kbit / s. With the increased demand for high-speed internet services, the popularity of 3G is also surmounting. The technology has multiple benefits to offer, some of which are discussed below:

High-speed Internet on the Go: Before the advent of this technology, it was almost a dream to get access to high-speed internet on the go. Modern developments in mobile technology coupled with 3G has created great opportunities for users to surf internet at a blazing fast speed, even while they are traveling.

Reaches Remotest Corners: It's easy to find 3G access at places where wired connectivity is difficult to install. This helps minimize the gap in internet access in rural areas or areas with limited connectivity. The speed sometimes exceeds the speed of dial-up internet services.

Affordability: 3G standards benefited the rural people to a great extent. While it's expensive to set up wired connections at homes, the wireless internet costs less and offer better speed to the users. With the development of this telecommunication technology, users can now get high-speed connectivity even on their mobile devices.

Multimedia Usage: Both corporate and personal consumers benefit from the service as it facilitates the use of diverse multimedia applications and enhancements the wireless internet experience. It enables real-time video conferencing, music download at a faster speed, uploading and downloading files at a speed that equals to wired broadband services.

Stay Entertainment: Internet offers multiple ways to keep the users entertained. For lightning fast internet speed and seamless network availability, users can enjoy online gaming, listen to their favorite music or watch movies online with their 3G internet connection.

Although, 3G internet technology is getting momentum both in urban and rural areas, there are still some places where this technology is not as effective as metropolitan cities like New York and San Diego. While telecommunication experts are hopeful to enhance the reach of both 3G and 4G (4th Generation) networks and make the services more affordable for the users, the increased traffic and the usage of mobile devices are the two main issues of concern for the tech experts. Moreover, to sustain a balance in the environment, there needs to take more precautions, as wireless rays often cause harmful radiation, which have adverse impact on the environment.

Financial Strategies For Troubled Firms

There are strategies that troubled companies can use to save themselves from dire straits and regain their former financial success. These same sort of strategies are valuable for business owners and financial executives to understand how their firms can avoid financial turbulence and failure.

We must first realize that business failure or bankruptcy never happens overnight. Normally there is a gradual trend of financial deterioration that is sometimes exacerbated by industry troubles. No doubt in the current 2009-2010 environment the auto industry is a poster child for a troubled industry, as an example.

Naturally firms that are on the very precipice of failure or bankruptcy do not have many options or time left. It has to fix itself, or sink. No business owners or entrepreneurs want to face bankruptcy, liquidation, and other creditor issues.

Do financially failing firms survive because of a revival in products or their services, or have they in fact executed on improved financial management. This is a challenging questions, because the very financial problems that beset a firm hinder it in getting new sales, acquiring inventory, and regaining supplier credibility.

Also, lets be realistic, banks and other finance companies do not throw themselves at failing firms with financial offers of loans, lines of credit, etc. In fact what usually happens is that the company is forced to pledge some or all assets at much higher rates, sometimes simply accentuating the financial problems that were already there.

So what are the financial strategies that a firm can undertake to avoid financial failure when it has been losing sales, not generating profits, and generally traveling down a potential death spiral?

There are three or four solid strategies that can save the firm. The first is ‘ assets ‘. The second is liabilities and debt, and the third we will simply call ‘ maneuverering ‘.

Strategy 1:

Assets have value. They can be sold, re financed,, or pledged to secure new financing. This type of strategy works best when it works for all parties, the company and the lender, or the company and another firm. However lets be clear that this is somewhat of a one shot strategy. It either must work or it doesn’t. Asset maneuvers have 3 stages of success: assets can be used to get a new loan, assets can be sold, or they can, in somewhat of a worst case scenario, be liquidated.

Strategy 2:

On the other side of assets on the balance sheet is debt and equity. Debt can be structured properly to ensure the lender gets a reasonable reward, and the company is able to both repay and survive. There are too many types of debt to consider for the purposes of this article – suffice to say that creativity in debt is somewhat unlimited. A firm could issue debt, as an example, and repay only when the company is earning profits again.This would normally entail higher rates, but again, as we have stated, the transaction has to make sense both for customer and lender. A solid alternative solution is to simply re – structure existing debt at new rates and amortizations.

Alternatively to debt a company with promise can bring in new equity or ownership. This is somewhat more risk for all as dilution of ownership is usually significant when a company is failing and bring in new equity capital.

Strategy 3: A firm sometimes has to look to the outside for help. Since the owners and managers are often too close to the problem it is somewhat of a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. Outside consultants and industry experts can often bring a solution to the table. They have insights that management simply did not possess. These strategies include developing new sales and product strategies, bring in new management, or considering a strategic merger.

In summary, anyone who has worked through several business cycles over a number of years knows that companies can in fact be saved. Some go on to be the new super stars of their respective industry. The company must clearly uncover what the problem is, and then adapt strategies, financial or otherwise, to fix those problems

How to Avoid a Credit Card Charge-Off

The simplest way to avoid a credit card charge-off is to learn and understand the credit card system. Here are some tips:

Sending Credit Card Payments Through The Mail:

Some credit card companies actually require you to use their own pre-printed envelopes, but even if they do not, it is a good idea to do so in the interest of more efficient processing of your payment. Make sure you have included the billing coupon and have written clearly the amount that you are paying. Include your check, also written legibly, and remember to write your account number on the check.
When Ronald Reagan was running for President, he was asked what he was going to do to make the post office more efficient, to which he responded that he would start mailing workers workers their paychecks. Allow ample time when you send your check to the credit card company.

Change Your Credit Card Due Date Something That Is Convenient For You:

Many people find that the greatest number of their bills, such as their mortgage or car payment, are due at the first of the month. If these places a burden on your ability to pay your credit card bill that may also be due at the first of the month, a simple way to avoid this problem is to just ask your card issuer to change the due date for your monthly payment. There is no harm in the asking, and many card issuers offer this ability to change the due date of your bill as an option. One important thing to remember, though, is that it may take a couple of billing cycles before this date change is fully implemented. It is important to make sure that your bill is paid promptly when due until your change of due date becomes effective. Otherwise, you could find yourself on the wrong side of a late fee.

About Late Fees:

In the classic television detective series Columbo, which starred Peter Falk, Lieutenant Columbo always appeared to be distracted and disorganized, but in reality he was extremely focused and observant. One common scene that brought delight to fans of the show was when Columbo left a room in which he had been speaking to the murderer. He kept turning around and starting question after question with, "Oh, just one more thing …" Then he trapped the criminal. Well, the credit card companies are not Lieutenant Columbo and we consumers are certainly not murderers, but when it comes to trapping us in the fine print of their credit card agreements, it always looks like there is "just one more thing."

Make Your Credit Card Payment On or Before The Due Date:

Your monthly payment is due on whatever date of the month it says on your credit card bill. If your payment is late, the fine print of your card agreement provides for the right of the credit card company to assess a late fee, which can be as much as $ 35 for each late payment. In the past, some credit card companiesave their customers five or even ten days of grace after the due date before assessing a penalty, but that is not the situation any longer. So you send your payment with sufficient time to arrive at the card company on your bill's due date.

But, just one more thing: Some credit card companies deem your payment late if it is processed later than 1:00 pm on the day of your due date. Some of these companies do not receive and process mail until after 1:00 pm; Therefore, the real date by which your monthly payment must be received is a day earlier than the date indicated on your contract. So you need to make sure your payment gets there three days ahead of the due date. Another Note: If the envelope contains a staple, a paper clip, or a note from you, the fine print of the contract specifics that there may be a delay of up to five days in posting your payment. This may cause a late payment to be assessed on a payment that arrived at the card company prior to the due date of the bill. I'll bet Lieutenant Columbo read the fine print before sending in his payment.

Make Your Credit Card Payments On-Line:

The most efficient way to make credit card payments is to make the payment on-line if the company offers that service. You can specify the amount you want to pay, which account you want it deducted out of, and specify the date you want the payment made. By paying your cards this way, you can set the payment to be made exactly on the due date so the credit card company is not getting your money any earlier than the due date and you have the peace of mind knowing you will never be late On your payment. Just be sure to set this up at least 3 days before the payment is due, otherwise there might not be enough time to process the payment in time.

Avoid Credit Card Interest Rate Hikes:

Another problem with late payments is that they can also trigger penal interest rates as high as 29%; So, for example, instead of the 10% interest rate your card may carry, your rate will now be jacked up to 29% effective immediately. In fact, even if you are timely in your payment, credit card companies generally reserve the right to raise your rate to a penalty rate if you are late with any other payment to any of your creditors, whatsoever they may be. Just read the fine print.

Can not Make Your Credit Card Payment?

If you're struggling with making your monthly payments, before you're ever late on a payment, CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY! Most companies will come up with a reduced payment plan if you're experiencing a hardship. You'll want to do this as soon as you determine that you can not make your payment, before the due date. You'll want to negotiate a payment that you can afford with your credit, then send that payment in on or before the due date so it does not affect your credit.

You'll want to be sure to get this agreement in writing and be sure to negotiate that this reduced payment WILL NOT be reported as a late payment on your credit report. Sometimes creditors will agree to a reduced payment, but they'll go ahead and report it as being 30 days late because it's less than what was contractually agreed to. If you get a letter from the credit card company agreeing to the reduced payment, along with a statement from the company that they will not report you as being late to the credit bureaus, you'll have the proof you need to send into the credit Bureaus if they do not hold up to their end of the bargain. This happens more often than not, so make sure you protect yourself.

"Settling" Your Credit Card Balance For Less Than The Full Amount:

"Settling" a credit card account basically means that you're paying less that the full balance. This technique is usually used if the account has already been charged off and can only be done if you have the money to pay them in full. If you're going to try this, you'll want to try to negotiate a "Pay for Deletion", which basically means that whatever amount the two of you agree to settle the account for; The credit card company is also agreeing to remove the account from your credit report. By doing this, the charge-off and late payments will no longer negatively affect your credit score.