Blog - onthemark

9 Reasons to Start a Business From Your Home

Starting a full or part-time home business is a major decision that requires research and planning that can seem daunting. But before you put off or dismiss doing it, consider these reasons why you should work at home.

  • You have control of your schedule when you work from home
  • Work-life balance is easier to achieve
  • You might be able to do something you enjoy
  • Costly and time-consuming commutes will be a thing of the past
  • Opportunity to switch between job types, adding variety to your work

Control Over Your Schedule

Being in charge of your day is one of the biggest benefits of working from home. You can set and customize your work hours to meet the needs of your life. Do you wish you could take a power nap in the middle of the day? You can as a home business owner. Do you do your best work late at night? You can schedule your work time then.

However, this freedom can also bring with it distracting temptations and the risk of procrastinating on work-related tasks. You’ll want to make sure you have the right entrepreneurial traits and a good daily organizational plan to handle this new responsibility. If you have a family, a partner, or have roommates, you’ll have to ensure that your home environment is conducive to the work environment you need.

Work & Life Balance

If you feel like your job is taking up too much time, having a home business could be the solution. Having a flexible schedule means you can make time for your kids and family, if you have them, or pursue other personal interests. If you want to homeschool while running your business, you can.

Balancing work and life at home can be challenging if certain rules and standards are not set and followed. Continuous interruptions from your children, for instance (while welcome and a good way to take a break) can cause you to lose quite a bit of work time.

However, achieving a work/life balance does take some planning and time management. In some cases, you may still need to arrange for child care. 

Make Money Doing Something You Love

One of the best aspects of starting a home business is being able to turn a hobby or a passion into income. In fact, you’re more likely to achieve success if you focus on pursuing your passion for profits when starting a home business.

No More Commuting

Working outside the home not only takes a lot of time, especially if you have a long commute, but also job-related travel expenses. Americans spend an average of $386 per month on gas. Cutting down on a daily commute would put some of that money back in your pocket. Other expenses many don’t consider are tolls, wear and tear on the car, and more frequent tune-ups.

Control Over Income

Many people choose not to start a business because they worry about making a consistent, livable income. While the potential ebb and flow nature of running a home business is something you need to consider, the reality is that a home business can allow you to earn what you’re worth.

As a home business owner, you set your own income goals, as well as your own product or service prices. As long as you do the work that needs to be done, such as drumming up new customers and marketing your business, you’re likely to make a profit. 

Tax Benefits

A big perk of working for yourself is the tax advantages not given to employees. You can write off equipment, supplies, services, and even a portion of your home or car if it’s appropriate.

Further, when you have a home business, you can deduct your expenses first and pay taxes on net income. With that said, it’s important to learn about home business deductions, reporting, and when to pay to ensure you’re following proper tax laws. Ideally, you should consult a tax expert.

Control Over Your Work Attire

No more blazers and dress pants. No more ties or pantyhose. You can wear whatever you want in your home office. If you’re most comfortable and inspired in your fluffy bathrobe, you can wear it every day if you want.

No Boss

A home business is ideal for someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do. You can do the work in the way you feel is best. Further, home business owners don’t have to feel guilty for showing up late (unless of course, it’s to an appointment). There’s no having to ask for time off or calling in sick. There’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re working.

Being your own boss and working from home requires a level of self-discipline that takes time to cultivate. If you are just starting out, and tend to procrastinate, take it slow at first to allow yourself time to get used to it, if you are able to.

More Opportunity for Growth and Variety

Too often, employees end up feeling stuck in their jobs. In a home business, even if your day-to-day tasks are relatively similar, there are many opportunities to mix things up more. You can work from a different location, change your schedule, or re-prioritize the order of the tasks you have to do.

Starting a business does require more initial investment than traditional work, such as gaining a working knowledge of basic accounting practices, marketing, and money for the equipment you need. To stay competitive, you’ll want to continue to study, grab some certifications, and keep abreast of current trends in your industry or small business management. In essence, you design your day and what you do, which allows you to expand and grow your skills and your business.

OriginalMINDY LILYQUIST

Gold Prices: Five Reasons Gold Is Set To Explode

Gold prices are retracing from highs today after touching their highest level in more than seven years. The gold price hit a peak of $1,779 yesterday as investors started to diversify their bets. Five key factors are likely to push gold prices higher in the coming days.

Lets dive deeper.

Coronavirus: Second Wave

Investors are largely risk-averse due to the threats of coronavirus second wave. New cases have started to surge. It was expected that there would be some spike in coronavirus cases as economies began to re-open. But what wasn’t priced in was that the situation would start to get out of control just as it did in Texas. New cases have soared 4.5%, and hospitals are close to their full capacity. 

Australia has reported its largest one-day spike in coronavirus cases in nearly two months, and this has raised alarm bells of a possible second wave. 

The UK has announced the re-opening of its pubs and restaurants, and travel restrictions are likely to be eased off from next month. Remember, the UK was one of the worst countries in terms of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, and it has the third-largest casualty rate due to coronavirus. If appropriate measures are not taken and respected, we will probably see another coronavirus wave coming to the UK. 

Of course, positive news on the Coronavirus vaccine or success in calming down the protests, and protecting the global economy from damage can keep the gold prices in check, and this may halt the sharp rise that I am expecting. 

Possible New Tariffs On Europe 

Donald Trump, the man who is known for escalating trade tensions, anchored trade tensions once again yesterday. Trump is weighing new tariffs on $3.1 billion of exports from the UK, Spain, France, and Germany. If tensions continue to rise on this issue and Trump doesn’t back off from his stance—which could be one of his tactics to show himself strong ahead of the US elections—investors are likely to steer away from riskier assets. 

However, if for some reason, the trade tariffs are avoided, or investors do not see this a potential threat to global economic growth, gold bulls may not succeed in pushing the gold price higher. 

China-US Trade War

China is not a country that is going to sit on its hand and let the Trump administration to bully it. The Phase-one US-China trade deal has become immensely fragile due to coronavirus. China has reduced its Agriculture and poultry from the US.  There has been confusion about the US-China trade deal, and Trump has also talked about “decoupling” from China. In addition to this, China sees the US stance on Hong Kong as interference in its domestic affairs. 

Traders do not like the US picking a fight with the second biggest economy of the world, and we have seen the evidence of this last year that jolted the US stock market. 

If, for some reason, we see the relationship between the US and China getting back on track with no further threats to the US-China trade deal, we may not see a massive surge in the gold price. 

The US Unemployment Claims 

The weekly jobless claims data continue to paint a very dull picture for the US labour market. Sadly, with the regional shutdown of stores in the US, it seems the minor recovery we have seen so far could be under a significant threat as well. In simple terms, the unemployment claims numbers are already ugly, and they are likely to become even worse because companies like Apple AAPL have begun the process of re-closing of their stores in US coronavirus hotspots. 

The job market is the most important for the Federal Reserve, and Fed monetary policy is highly reflective of this. The Fed is determined to keep the interest rate lower for longer, and they are unlikely to increase the interest rates anytime soon. Another major central bank, the Bank of England, has provoked a new idea concerning interest rates, and will not increase the interest rates while the government balance sheet is mammoth. Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, has talked about this, and, likely, the Fed will also pay attention to this notion. 

Earnings season 

The third earnings quarter is currently wrapping up. At the beginning of this quarter, there was some hope for improvement as the economies began to re-open. But the emergence of the second corona wave is likely to trigger another cautionary note from US companies, and investors are not going to like it. The US stock market rally that we have seen after the Covid-19 stock market crash could lose its momentum. Again, the risk-off mode is likely to spur interest in gold. 

However, if the US corporates start to focus more on the positive side and for some miraculous reason their cash burn ratio goes down, we may not see much movement in the gold prices.

OriginalNaeem Aslam

Case Study: Identifying The Relationship Of Gold To Crypto

Since the beginning of modern history, gold has been an important means of storing value. In the past 200 years, the gold sector has remained relatively unchanged. However, there have been some interesting developments implying that change is just around the corner.  

Over the years, gold has proven to be a suitable alternative to both fiat currency and cryptocurrency. The real question is, could it perhaps be both? In this article, we will be looking at three different trends and what this really means to the whole world of crypto: bitcoin, stablecoins and legislation.

Bitcoin could serve as a replacement for gold

During a recent Bitcoin summit in Israel, Nick Szabo stated that “Central banks will end up using bitcoin as a reserve currency.” In a Q&A session, Szabo also said, “I think it will be one of the many reserve currencies that can be used to underpin value on other things. There doesn’t have to be only one anymore.”

In an interview with MarketWatch, Inton said, “If cryptocurrency were to displace gold’s investment case, the implications for gold prices would be devastating. 40% of gold demand relates to investment, so a shift in investment from gold to cryptocurrency would be a seismic shock.” If this event were to come to pass, the repercussions would send shockwaves throughout the world’s global economy.

Felix Hartmann from the crypto hedge fund Hartmann Capital says, “Bitcoin bridges the gap between currency and a store of value asset. It maintains the speed and flexibility of fiat currency while remaining independent of central banks and governments and their macro-economic policies such as inflation.”

Gold-pegged stablecoins

For a large number of new cryptocurrencies entering in 2018, most have proven to be inflated, volatile or unreliable. That’s why 2018 saw ICO’s on the downfall with stablecoins on the rise. This later became known as the “stablecoin frenzy,” mainly due to the benefits of cryptocurrency without the volatility.

Gold-pegged stablecoins emerged from the stablecoin frenzy. One good example of this is Novem who pegged their cryptocurrency to gold. According to a recent statement, the company has approximately 35 kg in LBMA-certified gold (Q1: 2019), stored securely by Loomis International. The amount of gold translates to almost $1,500,000 in collateral.

The aftermath of the stablecoin frenzy may lead to gold-pegged stablecoins flourishing—especially if the value is delivered to both consumers and businesses across the precious metal industry.

Gold and legislation

With a worldwide monetary crisis being just around the corner, Ron Paul who served US Congress for several terms from 1976 until 2013, wrote a formal paper, called “The Dollar Dilemma: Where to From Here?”

Paul said, “There are several major efforts being made to replace the fiat dollar with gold or cryptocurrencies, while other countries are making plans to challenge the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.” What this really means is that gold or cryptocurrencies could, in the very near future replace fiat.

However, this begs the question, what happens next? Crypto investors need “regulatory clarity.” According to a recent article by Cointelegraph, legislation clarity may indeed be underway. “Two United States congressmen introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Dec. 20 that would exclude digital assets from being defined as securities.”

Final remarks

In the near future, it will be interesting to see what happens with gold, bitcoins and stablecoins. A lot of this hinges on the government’s aptitude to provide investors with regulatory clarity, stablecoin adoption, and will gold continue to be the reserve currency? Right now, it’s too early to say, but one thing remains clear—the financial markets are in for a change.

Original Luke Fitzpatrick

5 Tips for Operating a Home-Based Business

Operating a home-based business can be both exciting and challenging. But conducting business at home during a pandemic can take that challenge to new heights. Possible hurdles can range from having children underfoot to the temptations of the refrigerator, TV, and social media, not to mention the anxiety of ongoing news updates. Maintaining the security of sensitive documents is frequently overlooked, with potentially disastrous consequences. Following the five strategies below can help ensure that working from home is productive, safe, and profitable. 

Take Care of the Basics

One of the first orders of business before launching a home business is taking care of the legalities. Depending on the nature of the business, it may be necessary to obtain a general business license, a special health permit, clearance for signage, or sales tax licenses. Professionals such as accountants may need to obtain a specific license from the municipality, county, or state. If clients will be coming into the home, special parking permits may also be needed. It may also be necessary to obtain a doing business as (DBA) certificate or another formal registration for businesses that are operating under an assumed name.

Recognize the Pros and Cons of Working from Home

On one level, working from home is great. There is no dealing with rush hour traffic or crowded public transportation. Most days it’s possible to work in comfy pajamas – or dress from the waist up for online conferences. However, working from home also has its downsides. It’s far too easy to spend the day lounging about snacking and watching daytime TV. When work gets hectic, living spaces can be transformed into a disorganized mess with papers and office gear scattered everywhere. Isolation is also a potentially major problem – not only because of loneliness but also from the lack of opportunity to make connections. The solution is to embrace the advantages of working from home while also establishing a personalized routine.

Establish a Dedicated Home Office or Workspace

The ideal situation for working from home is to set aside a separate room as a dedicated office. A guest bedroom can be converted to an office while including a comfortable sofa bed or day bed to accommodate overnight guests. Whether or not a separate room is available, establishing dedicated office space is essential. An ergonomic chair, a desk or table at the proper height, sufficient natural and supplemental light, and ample storage are all key to creating a home office that inspires productivity. Stock up on office staples such as paper, postage, and ink for the printer to avoid excessive trips to the store or post office.   

Minimize Distractions and Maintain Productivity

There is no need to rise at 6 a.m. and be in front of the computer by 8 a.m. However, establishing a regular work routine is key to maintaining a reasonable level of productivity. Turn off the TV and avoid spending hours on social media. 

Scheduled breaks are also important. Take five minutes to get up and walk around the room. Allow 15 minutes or half an hour for a TV break – but avoid watching anxiety-provoking news shows. It’s also important to schedule time to interact with colleagues or contacts via Slack, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or some other interactive chat or videoconferencing tool. Taking social media breaks is also OK – as long as you hold yourself to strict time limits.  

Protect Sensitive Paper and Computer Documents

Working from home is not only convenient for small business owners, but also for cybercriminals and identity thieves. Downloading and installing current computer software security updates is a must. And while it may be tempting to skimp on outdated equipment, this penny-wise and pound-foolish strategy can backfire in the case of ransomware or another malware attack. 

Likewise, proper disposal of paper documents is a must. Opting to shred documents or even burn them is an effective way of ensuring sensitive personal or financial records do not wind up in the wrong hands. 

Embracing the Work from Home Lifestyle

Working from home can be a liberating change from the 9 to 5 routine. And during a worldwide pandemic, working from home is one of the safest ways to maintain an income. However, it is important to take care of legalities, set up an effective home office, and establish good cybersecurity and paper disposal practices to minimize the risk of identity theft and other security hazards. It is also important to establish a regular routine and make time for interactions with other people to reduce loneliness and maintain productivity.

OriginalEileen Conant

Is It Better to Save or Invest Your Money?

When building wealth, it is important to understand the similarities and differences between saving and investing your money. Knowing when to save and when to invest your money is a key part of your wealth building plan.

Let’s start from the top. Basically, saving money is putting money aside on a regular basis. You spend less money than you earn and put the rest in a savings account at your bank. This should be an automatic part of your monthly budget. Remember, saving money is an important part of being financially successful.

Investing is taking this a step further, and putting money into the stock market by buying stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investment vehicles. Investing is absolutely imperative in building long-term wealth.

What Is Investing?

Once you have a good amount saved, you can begin investing money. Investing is the way that you will begin to really grow your money and begin to build wealth. For example, if you keep your savings in a savings account, the amount of interest you will earn will be very small. However, if you invest in mutual funds or stocks, your rate of return will be much higher.

The big difference? The stock market fluctuates, and it’s never a sure thing that you’ll earn money. In fact, you can lose money in the stock market, so be sure to keep that in mind when investing.

You will eventually come to the point where your investments make more than you are contributing each month. Your wealth really begins to grow at that point.

What Should I Invest In?

When you begin to build wealth, it is important to spread your risk. Mutual funds are an easy way to diversify your portfolio. These funds are spread out over many different stocks so that if one company fails, you do not lose everything. Another good idea? You should have your money invested in more than one mutual fund. You don’t need to have 20 mutual funds, but three or four is a good start.

If you feel confident with investing in individual stocks, be sure that you spread your investments over a wide variety of companies, businesses, and sectors of the market (For example, do not invest all your money in tech.) It is not enough to invest in different companies if they all in the same industry because sometimes entire industries can take a hit.

You may consider investing in other things. One example is real estate. This can bring you a good passive source of income. Real estate also tends to increase in value over time. However, do not do this until you are ready to purchase in cash, and can pay for any repairs or unexpected expenses out of cash flow. It also may require more work on your part, depending on how you choose to rent it out and whether or not you use a property management company, which can cut into your rental property earnings.

Real estate can be a great investment, but it also has its risks. Much like the stock market, property values can go up and down.

When Should I Start Investing?

Most financial advisers recommend that you wait to start investing until you have paid off the majority of your debt. However, this really depends on your interest rate. If you are paying a 0% interest rate on your debt, it may make more sense to begin investing before it’s paid off, since you can earn a greater percentage in returns. (The average rate of return on the stock market is around 7%.)

It’s also a good idea to have a solid emergency fund saved before you begin investing. You should have money in your emergency fund that relatively liquid and easily accessible, without paying a large penalty. A money market account at your bank is a safe place to put this.

Investing can help you build wealth. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to truly build wealth – and increase your net worth – until you spend less than you earn and get out of debt. That’s why it’s still wise to stick to a budget, so you can save and invest effectively.

Who Can Help Me Start Investing?

So you’re ready to invest, but you’re not quite sure where to start. A good first step is to meet with a financial advisor.

A financial adviser can explain the different types of investments that are available to you. He or she can explain the risks and the potential gains to help you find investments that you are comfortable with.

Another option is to select an online brokerage site or robo-investor. The fees are lower and if you know the types of investments you want to make, you can save money in the long run.

One final thing to keep in mind: Investing is a long-term strategy for building wealth. It’s important to be patient, and ride out the times when the market is not doing well. Once you do this, then you can truly be on your way to building net worth.

Original – BY MIRIAM CALDWELL

The Flexibility And Strengths Of Real Estate Investment

There are many different ways to invest your money and improve your financial well being. Modern technology has made access to investment tools easier than ever no matter if it’s your bank or money market account the ability to engage with your investment activity and funds is easier than ever. However, investing is a broad term that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

When you talk about an investment it can be a money market account, high-interest savings, an IRA, real estate, and more. For many people investing in real estate remains a long-standing and popular way to invest your funds and turn a profit. An advantage real estate has over other methods of investment is its a real tangible object that is in a physical location making it something easier to conceptualize and personally manage.

Real estate is also flexible and can be something as simple as an apartment complex to high-end real estate in Monaco. As a financial investment real estate requires careful research before you buy any piece of property to see if it fits your investment profile. Here are some general advantages real estate offers as an investment and advice to see if real estate investing is right for you.

The Strengths Of Real Estate Investment

  • Stability: real estate, in general, is more stable than the stock market. The stock market represents multinational corporations that are worldwide and as such are easily affected by a variety of international events. While real estate can certainly be impacted by outside events but in most cases, these are more localized.
  • Return On Investment: when well maintained and managed real estate offers a consistent income flow. While real estate’s earnings aren’t as high as the stock market they are more predictable and easier to directly impact through direct involvement such as property improvement and hiring outside management companies.
  • A Growing Investment: many properties appreciate in value resulting in their listed value increasing over time. This means that money can also be made by selling the property if ownership becomes infeasible in the future.
  • Tax Savings: an investment is meant to make money and real estate investments can generate income by reducing costs via tax write-offs. These tax incentives include depreciation, interest incurred on mortgages, and more.

Ways To Invest In Real Estate

Real estate is a far more versatile investment than you may first assume. While rental properties are the first thing that comes to mind when you think of making money off of real estate there are several ways to make use of it as an investment opportunity.

  • As Rental Properties: the most well-known form of property investment renting out property has been an investment strategy for centuries. It allows a hands-on approach and several companies are willing to assist with management, maintenance, and repairs if needed.
  • Real Estate Limited Partnerships: not everyone can be a sole property owner as there are several barriers to entry such as capital and time. In a real estate limited partnership, you are a limited partner buying a share of a property portfolio which is managed by a larger company that serves as the primary partner and property manager. Income is made through distributions and later on when the property itself is sold.
  • Property Flipping: another popular form of real estate investing is flipping property. This type of investment is short term, not lasting more than a few months, and it tends to take two forms. The first type buys an undervalued property in an area with appreciating property values and flips it to turn a profit in response to market forces. The second type renovates the property, makes improvements, increases its value, and then sells it for a profit exceeding the upfront costs.
  • REITs (Real Estate Investment Trust): a REIT is traded on the stock market like any other stock and represents an investment in a property portfolio. REITs pay out dividends like other stocks and offer the unique opportunity to invest in properties that have a high barrier to entry such as malls, office buildings, other commercial properties, healthcare facilities, and others.

Final Thoughts

As the above information shows real estate investment is a sound strategy that should be a part of your investment strategy. It is a flexible investment that offers many ways to use your money and if traditional rental property management doesn’t fit your goals there are several other options to consider. With proper research, your real estate investments can turn a stable predictable profit for many years.

Original – NuWire

Why Buy Silver? 10 Reasons to Invest in Silver Now

Is silver a good investment? Why should someone buy it?

It’s natural and even prudent for an investor to wonder if a particular asset is a good investment or not. That’s especially true for silver, since it’s such a small market and doesn’t carry the same gravitas as gold.

 But at this point in history, there are compelling reasons to add physical silver to your investment portfolio (and only one is because the price will rise). Here the top 10 reasons why every investor should buy some silver bullion…

#1 Silver is Real Money

Silver may not be part of our currency, but it is still money. In fact, silver, along with gold, is the ultimate form of money, because it can’t be created out of thin air (and thus depreciated) like paper or digital forms. And by real money, we do mean physical silver—not ETFs or certificates or futures contracts. Those are paper investments, which don’t carry the same benefits you’ll find in this report.

Physical silver is a store of value, just like gold. Here’s why.

Silver has…

• No counterparty risk. If you hold physical silver, you don’t need another party to make good on a contract or promise. This is not the case with stocks or bonds or virtually any other investment.

• Never been defaulted on. If you own physical silver, you have no default risk. Not so for almost any other investment you make.

 • Long-term use as money. A scan of monetary history shows that silver has been used in coinage more often than gold!

As Mike Maloney says in his best-seller, Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver, “Gold and silver have revalued themselves throughout the centuries and called on fiat paper to account for itself.”

Owning some physical silver provides you with a real asset that has served as money for literally thousands of years.

#2 Physical Silver is a Hard Asset

Of all the investments you own, how many can you hold in your hand?

In a world of paper profits, digital trading, and currency creation, physical silver stands in contrast as one of few assets that you can carry in your pocket anywhere you go, even another country. And it can be as private and confidential as you want. Physical silver is also a tangible hedge against all forms of hacking and cybercrime. There’s no “erasing” a silver Eagle coin, for example, but that can certainly happen to a digital asset:

Silver Doesnt get Hacked

#3 Silver is Cheap

What if I said you could buy a hard asset at 1/70th the price of gold—and it would protect you just as well against crisis?

That’s what you get with silver! It is much more affordable for the average investor, and yet as a precious metal will help maintain your standard of living as good as gold. If you can’t afford to buy a full ounce of gold, silver can be your ticket to holding some precious metals. This is also true for gift-giving. Don’t want to spend over a $1,000 on a present but would like to give a hard asset? Silver just made it more affordable.

#4 Silver is More Practical For Everyday Small Purchases 

Silver isn’t just cheaper to buy, but can be more practical when you need to sell. Maybe someday you don’t want to sell a full ounce of gold to meet a small financial need. Enter silver. Since it frequently comes in smaller denominations than gold, you can sell only what you want or need at the time.

Silver is more practical than gold

Every investor should have some silver around for this very reason.

Keep in mind that silver coins and bars bullion can be sold virtually anywhere in the world.

#5 Silver Outperforms Gold In Bull Markets

Silver is a very small market—so small, in fact, that a little money moving into or out of the industry can impact the price to a much greater degree than other assets (including gold). This greater volatility means that in bear markets, silver falls more than gold. But in bull markets, silver will soar much further and faster than gold.

Here are couple good examples… check out how much more silver gained than gold in the two biggest precious metals bull markets in the modern era:

 Gain from 1970 low to 1980 high  Gain from 2008 low to 2011 high
Gold  2,328% 166%
Silver 3,105% 448%

You might say silver is gold on steroids!

We can expect this outperformance to repeat in the next bull market, too, because the silver industry remains tiny.

#6 Silver Inventories Are Falling

Governments and other institutions have traditionally held inventories of silver. But today, most governments no longer hold stockpiles of the metal. In fact, the only countries that warehouse silver are the US, India, and Mexico.

Look what’s happened to those inventories since 1996.

Government Silver Inventories: Down 73%

A big reason governments don’t hold a lot of silver is because coinage is no longer made from the precious metal. But as you’ll see, silver is used in industry to a much greater degree now… so if future industrial needs are difficult to meet, governments will be ill-equipped to support those needs.

#7 Industrial Use is Growing

Believe it or not, you don’t go one day without using a product that contains silver.

It’s used in nearly every major industry, from electronics and medical applications to batteries and solar panels. Silver is everywhere, whether you see it or not. As Mike says in his book, “Of all the elements, silver is the indispensable metal. It is the most electrically conductive, thermally conductive, and reflective. Modern life, as we know it, would not exist without silver.” Due to these rare characteristics, the number of industrial applications for silver has skyrocketed. In fact, industry now gobbles up more than half of all silver demand.

Silver Biggest Use is Industrial

Silver is used in a wide number of industries and products, and many of those uses are growing. Here’s a few examples…

• A cell phone contains about one-third of a gram of silver, and cell phone use continues to climb relentlessly worldwide. Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, estimates a total of 5.75 billion cell phones will be purchased between 2017 and 2019. That means 1.916 billion grams of silver, or 57.49 million ounces, will be needed for this use alone!

• The self-heating windshield in your new Volkswagen will have an ultra-thin invisible layer of silver instead of those tiny wires. They’ll even have filaments at the bottom of the windshield to heat the wipers so they don’t freeze to the glass.

• The Silver Institute estimates that silver use in photovoltaic cells (the main constituents of solar panels) will be a whopping 75% greater in 2018 than it was just 3 years earlier.

• Another common industrial use for silver is as a catalyst for the production of ethylene oxide (an important precursor in the production of plastics and chemicals). The Silver Institute projects that due to growth in this industry, 32% more silver will be needed by 2018 than what was used in 2015.

There are a lot more examples like this, but the bottom line is that due to its unique characteristics, industrial uses for silver continue to expand, which means we can reasonably expect this source of demand to remain robust. But that’s not the whole story… unlike gold, most industrial silver is consumed or destroyed during the fabrication process. It’s just not economic to recover every tiny flake of silver from millions of discarded products. As a result, that silver is gone for good, and limits the amount of supply that can return to the market through recycling.

So not only will the ongoing growth in industrial uses keep silver demand strong, millions of ounces cannot be reused. That might be a problem, because…

#8 Supply is About to Fall

As you might be aware, the silver price crashed after peaking in 2011. Over the next five years it fell a whopping 72.1%. As a result, miners had to scramble to cut costs to turn a profit. One of the areas cut dramatically was exploration and development of new silver mines.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that if you spend less time and money looking for silver that you will find less silver. That drought in exploration and development is starting to take effect.

Mine Production from Top 10 Largest Silver-Producing Countries

Low prices have affected how much scrap metal is available, too.

Silver Secondary Supply

All of this is starting to have an impact on total supply.

Total Global Silver Supply

Silver supply has fallen three consecutive years, the first time since 1991-1993.

As much as two-thirds of silver mine supply comes as a byproduct from base metal operations (copper and zinc, for example). But these other sources of supply will clearly have an impact on the availability of new metal coming to the marketplace. These realities have set the stage for a peak in silver supply. If demand stays at current levels, it will be difficult for everyone who wants silver to get as much as they need. And don’t look now, but…

#9 World Demand is Growing

Global demand for silver is growing. Virtually all major government mints have seen record levels of sales, with most already operating at peak production. Surging demand is nowhere more evident than China and India. These two behemoth markets have long histories of cultural affinity toward precious metals. And with their populations growing (the opposite of what is happening in the West), their tremendous appetite will continue.

Here’s a couple good examples… check out the growth in silver demand in China (for all uses):

Total Silver Demand in China

And look at the growth of silver jewelry in India:

Silver Jewelry Demand in India Has Soared

This kind of demand doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Sooner or later there will be consequences when surging demand meets crimped supply—and those consequences are all positive if you own the metal.

#10 The Gold/Silver Ratio Favors Silver

Last, the gold/silver ratio (the price of gold divided by the price of silver) can give clues about which metal might be the better buy at any given time. Especially when the ratio reaches an extreme…

The gold-to-silver ratio averaged 47:1 during the 20th century. It’s averaged about 61:1 in the 21st century. So a ratio at or above 70 is in outlier territory and thus makes silver a good buy relative to the price of gold. You can see that the ratio sank to almost 30 at the peak of the bull market in 2011. It reached as low as 17 in early 1980. This compression in the ratio shows just how much silver can outperform its cousin gold. It also confirms it is undervalued compared to gold.

• Add all up the reasons and silver just might be the buying opportunity of the decade.

It’s hard to find an asset with a greater distortion between price and fundamentals. Not only is it a good hedge against crisis, the price will be forced up by a perfect storm of fundamental factors.

Original – By Jeff Clark, Senior Analyst, GoldSilver 

10 Habits to Develop for Financial Stability and Success

Just like any goal, getting your finances stable and becoming financially successful requires the development of good financial habits. I’ve been researching this topic extensively in the last few years in my quest to eliminate debt, increase my savings and increase financial security for my family. I’ll talk more about these habits individually, but wanted to list them in a summary (I know, but I’m a compulsive list-maker).

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Make savings automagical. This should be your top priority, especially if you don’t have a solid emergency fund yet. Make it the first bill you pay each payday, by having a set amount automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings (try an online savings account). Don’t even think about this transaction — just make sure it happens, each and every payday.
  2. Control your impulse spending. The biggest problem for many of us. Impulse spending, on eating out and shopping and online purchases, is a big drain on our finances, the biggest budget breaker for many, and a sure way to be in dire financial straits. See Monitor Your Impulse Spending for more tips.
  3. Evaluate your expenses, and live frugally. If you’ve never tracked your expenses, try the One Month Challenge. Then evaluate how you’re spending your money, and see what you can cut out or reduce. Decide if each expense is absolutely necessary, then eliminate the unnecessary. See How I Save Money for more. Also read 30 ways to save $1 a day.
  4. Invest in your future. If you’re young, you probably don’t think about retirement much. But it’s important. Even if you think you can always plan for retirement later, do it now. The growth of your investments over time will be amazing if you start in your 20s. Start by increasing your 401(k) to the maximum of your company’s match, if that’s available to you. After that, the best bet is probably a Roth IRA. Do a little research, but whatever you do, start now!
  5. Keep your family secure. The first step is to save for an emergency fund, so that if anything happens, you’ve got the money. If you have a spouse and/or dependents, you should definitely get life insurance and make a will — as soon as possible! Also research other insurance, such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
  6. Eliminate and avoid debt. If you’ve got credit cards, personal loans, or other such debt, you need to start a debt elimination plan. List out your debts and arrange them in order from smallest balance at the top to largest at the bottom. Then focus on the debt at the top, putting as much as you can into it, even if it’s just $40-50 extra (more would be better). When that amount is paid off, celebrate! Then take the total amount you were paying (say $70 minimum payment plus the $50 extra for a total of $120) and add that to the minimum payment of the next largest debt. Continue this process, with your extra amount snowballing as you go along, until you pay off all your debts. This could take several years, but it’s a very rewarding process, and very necessary.
  7. Use the envelope system. This is a simple system to keep track of how much money you have for spending. Let’s say you set aside three amounts in your budget each payday — one for gas, one for groceries, one for eating out. Withdraw those amounts on payday, and put them in three separate envelopes. That way, you can easily track how much you have left for each of these expenses, and when you run out of money, you know it immediately. You don’t overspend in these categories. If you regularly run out too fast, you may need to rethink your budget.
  8. Pay bills immediately, or automagically. One good habit is to pay bills as soon as they come in. Also, as much as possible, try to get your bills to be paid through automatic deduction. For those that can’t, use your bank’s online check system to make regular automatic payments. This way, all of your regular expenses in your budget are taken care of.
  9. Read about personal finances. The more you educate yourself, the better your finances will be.
  10. Look to grow your net worth. Do whatever you can to improve your net worth, either by reducing your debt, increasing your savings, or increasing your income, or all of the above. Look for new ways to make money, or to get paid more for what you do. Over the course of months, if you calculate your net worth each month, you’ll see it grow. And that feels great.

Original – By Leo Babauta

Gold in a time of coronavirus

It’s gold’s time to shine again. The metal price is up 10% this year and 25% since early 2019. Where it goes to from here is the subject of raucous debate, but the consensus is that it will go higher. Possibly much higher.

The bursting of every asset bubble in-sight, from equities to bonds and real estate, has investors scrambling for cover, and gold is seen as one of the few places of safety at times like these.

Gold shares are one way of participating in this bonanza, but investing in physical gold is for many more desirable – though it requires jumping through a few hoops.

SA Bullion has been around since 2005 and is headed by Hilton Davies, a former investment manager at Allan Gray. Davies set up Allan Gray Namibia and was instrumental in setting up Allan Gray unit trusts before venturing off on his own. “I saw the huge potential for gold as a long term store of value,” he says.

The phones are ringing hot at SA Bullion, as South Africans worried by the global outbreak of Covid-19 try to get their hands on physical gold. The lockdown has put a temporary brake on SA Bullion’s ability to trade, but still, the inquiries are streaming in.

The company offers two ways to get invested in gold:

  • SA Bullion operates as a gold dealer, selling gold directly to the public in SA and internationally; and
  • The company operates as a gold investment manager, providing an investment service in SA and internationally.

“In SA we deal exclusively in the bullion Krugerrand, not in proof Krugerrands, which trades at a very high premium to the bullion price and makes little sense to us,” says Davies. “At the end of the day, the only thing of value is the metal content and purity, hence we stick with bullion Krugerrands.”

The company trades more than R1 billion in gold a year and offers vaulting services in Dubai, Zurich and Johannesburg.

Krugerrands are legal tender (so attract no VAT)

The advantage of owning Krugerrands is they are classified as legal tender in SA and are therefore not subject to VAT. The same is not true of bullion bars, whether minted or not, which attract VAT at 15%.

Costs

SA Bullion investment clients who want their gold vaulted in South Africa, acquire their Krugerrands at a premium of 3% to the prevailing metal price. They get charged 1.5% a year and this fee covers vaulting, insurance and management.

How can South Africans buy physical gold?

You can contact SA Bullion via your financial advisor (it is a licensed investment management firm) or approach the company directly at its website www.sabullion.co.za.

After the paperwork is done and the cash transferred to SA Bullion, new bullion Krugerrands are purchased on your behalf from Prestige Bullion (a joint venture between SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) and Rand Refinery). Your gold is then stored at Rand Refinery in terms of a contract with SA Bullion. To exit, you can have SA Bullion sell your Krugerrands back to the Sarb or have your Krugerrands delivered to you.

You can also sign up for a monthly debit order (from as low as R500 per month) much like any unit trust.  SA Bullion manages a Nedbank account for every client and their system interrogates the client account balances every day. When you have sufficient funds for one Krugerrand, the system automatically puts your funds into the buy-orders for that day.

International investors

For investors seeking a managed investment in physical gold offshore, the minimum capital outlay is normally $50,000, though SA Bullion has reduced this to $25,000 until end-May. You can invest in Krugerrands, 100 gram Minted Bars or 1 kilogram Cast Bars. For offshore investments, there is no VAT on bars. For your foreign gold account, you get charged 1% a year and this fee covers vaulting, insurance and management.

What if I want my gold stored overseas?

Once your paperwork is done and your cash is ready, SA Bullion arranges for the funds to be transferred to its offshore company in Mauritius, which then does an export trade with Rand Refinery in Johannesburg. The gold is then air-freighted to your vault selection – either Dubai or Zurich. Following the touchdown, the gold is walked through a customs clearance process and then placed in the care of the world’s leading vaulting service provider. Contractually, SA Bullion may not reveal the names or locations of the vault service provider.

When you wish to exit from your investment SA Bullion sells your gold to a foreign bullion refinery or has it delivered to you anywhere in the world (but your export may not be re-routed to a SADC country).

Until now SA Bullion has sourced its gold exclusively from Rand Refinery but plans to source additional gold from an overseas refinery as of April 2020.

What are the chances of governments confiscating gold?

The chances may seem remote that governments will seize gold, but it has happened before in times of crisis. So it shouldn’t be entirely discounted.

One of the greatest heists in history was pulled off in 1933 in the US by then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who made it a criminal offence for US citizens to own or trade gold anywhere in the world. Those in possession of gold were forced to swap it for paper money at the price of $20.67 an ounce.  A year later Roosevelt introduced the Gold Reserve Act, vesting all gold and gold certificates with the US Treasury, and immediately thereafter changed the statutory price of gold to $35 an ounce – netting an immediate profit for itself of 67%.

“We think the chances of something like this happening again are remote, but it is a question we get asked,” says Davies. “There would be serious consequences for any government attempting to do this again, even in a time of crisis, as it would immediately void property rights and attach pariah status to the government of the day.”

Hence, details of the vaulting services offered around the world are a closely guarded secret.

What are the prospects for gold?

Gold has been in a five-year bull market, but the best may be yet to come. The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has materially altered the outlook for one of the few remaining refuges against fiat currency debasement. Central banks around the world are firing up the printing presses to mitigate the catastrophic effects of the global economic shutdown, triggering renewed interest in physical gold. While the rand has lost more than 20% of its value so far this year, gold has held its value in the face of a crashing equity prices and volatile currencies. The shutdown of several of the largest gold mines in the world will constrict supply over the coming months, while demand is expected to ramp upwards over the course of 2020.

In this 21st century gold has gone up in Rands at approximately 15% per annum. Davies does not see this changing.

Original – By Ciaran Ryan

20 Reasons Why Network Marketing May Be Your Best Option

If you are new to network marketing or are considering network marketing, in today’s economy it will be the best decision you could make.

The opportunities have never been greater for success than it is now with all the resources available online.

To be really successful in network marketing it is very important to understand why you should even bother.

I decided that to help you with either your belief or with what prospects say, you will have some great information to get you motivated and on the right path.

Here are 20 reasons why network marketing may be your best option, though I could give you many, many more.

#1. Work From Anywhere: This has been one of Americans biggest dreams is the possibility to be able to work on their laptop from anywhere around the world. To me this is priceless. As long as you can get internet connection you can run your business. If anything changes in your life you just move to another state, city, etc. and you business is portable because your business is portable.

#2. Your Own Schedule: This is a big one for me. If I have an appointment I do not have to ask for time off work from a regular job. Because you can set your own schedule, it is also very easy to not work your business in network marketing so you must become disciplined if you want to grow the business. You only get out of it what you are willing to put into it. In a traditional business the same holds true as well, however, you have a far greater investment at risk.

#3. Low Cost of Entry: With network marketing companies you can start with just a computer and a small investment to get started. Some have even started with no money to invest. Only time and hard work. If you were considering starting a traditional business, generally speaking, you are looking at $50,000 minimum investment, just to open the doors. Franchise type of business would even be a far greater investment of $100K, or more and most of the owners do not even start to see a profit for over 5 years. My question to you would be: Which would you rather invest, say a small amount of $1000 or $50,000 or more?

#4. No Employees: This in itself should make you take a serious look at network marketing. There are no payroll worries, tax worries, workers compensation worries like you would have in a traditional business that are all cost associated with employees. No one asking for salary increases or just plain old making sure others are getting the work done for you. The only employee you need to worry about is yourself.

#5. No Billing/Account Receivables: You do not have to worry about billing any of your customers, or collecting any money, that is all handled online, and even if you sell physical products, the products are drop shipped for you with most companies. In a traditional business sometimes you wait 90 days or more to collect their money.

#6. Tax Benefits From A Homebased Business: This is a huge benefit. With a home based business you will receive some of the same tax breaks that the rich are already taking advantage of. You can have access to over 250 tax incentives that rich people know about and take advantage of! The tax benefits alone are generally greater than the cost to get started.

#7. There is No Discrimination Between Men/Women/Age/Race: Everyone who enters network marketing has the same opportunity as the next person to succeed. I have even heard of someone that was bedridden becoming successful in their network marketing business.

#8. No Commuting: Just imagine the time and money you would save from not having to commute back and forth to your business or day job. One thing we can never get back is time. Time is something we seem to never have enough of. I personally do not consider sitting in rush hour traffic a good use of my time.

#9. Security: We hear everyday of companies laying employees off. Cut backs. There is no such thing as job security when working for someone else. With the shrinking job market and technological advances leading to fewer and fewer people needed to do the same job as there once was. What’s more secure…having one income stream with a job where you could be outsourced or downsized in an instant, or additional income coming from a network marketing business? When you have your own network marketing business you have the stability of your network. Yes, even in network marketing, there are companies that come and go, but those companies, however, can not take your network. That is your security in this business.

#10. Residual Income: Boy, this is priceless. I hope you can understand this amazing benefit and the power of it. Network marketing allow you to get paid a residual income, even when you are not working, plus it can grow month to month. Imagine when you retire and you still have that residual income coming in for you.

#11. Training Already In Place And Readily Available: Because Network Marketing is a system which has many independent distributors, the companies typically have training available at your fingertips. Why not learn from those that have already proven there success.

#12. Receive The Help, Encouragement, and Support From Others In The Same Profession: I have benefited so much from this. You will find that everyone is willing to help each other to succeed. Find yourself a mentor to follow and work with. Generally in America everyone is out for themselves, clawing their way to the top of the ladder. You will find network markets different. Everybody helps everybody and you will find that you will be doing the same in a very short time.

#13. Personal Growth: This is big in my personal opinion and a synonymous with network marketing. The personal growth you must experience along with the growth of your business is essential. You must grow, especially if you want a large income. You must grow to become the person that helps others, encourages others, and helps others to also get what they want out of life. If you don’t grow then you will become stagnant.

#14. You Build Social Skills: You become a better person, which improves so many other areas of your life. When you build your social skills other look forward to working with you and being around you.

#15. Allows You To Help Others On A Massive Scale: The ripple effect that your business can have on others can be larger than you could ever imagine. Your personal impact can touch more people than you will ever even know about. To people who love to help others this is a huge benefit. This reason should be at the top of your priority list.

#16. Quickly Profitable: Unlike traditional businesses, which generally speaking take 3-5 years before they even think about seeing a profit, in network marketing, depending on what you are doing, you could see a return in days.

#18. Build Your Business By Using The Internet: The internet is changing the world as we use to know it. The possibility of reaching a greater audience for your business is just at your finger tips. Here you can focus on people who are only interested in what you are selling. This makes any advertising cost much lower. With the traditional business, yes this can be done, depending on the type of business, but the cost for a traditional business can be far greater than what you will experience because you are reaching out to people one at a time.

#19. Ability To Work In A Stress Free Environment: Today people are working in a FEAR based environment. With more and more jobs being outsourced, there are less jobs available. Employers can pay less and require more, and this is happening every day. With network marketing you are working from the comfort of your home, and the fear and stress are far less. You are creating your own dream, not someone else’s dream.

#20. Ability To Involve Your Kids: Since you can work from home, you can involve your kids, and teach them a strong work ethic and social skills. Working around your schedule is a plus in order to spend more time with your kids taking them to that ball practice, with you being able to stay and watch. With you kids around you, they see what you do, how you do it, learn how to be entrepreneurs, as well you can also involve them in your business and have them do projects you choose for involving them in your business. I can’t think of a better way to instill a good work ethic in your children.

I understand that network marketing is not for everyone, but to me it is a better way. If you are considering network marketing, or if you are already a part time network marketer I hope this helps you to appreciate what a great opportunity you are a part of . The friendships, personal growth, helping other people, are all priceless. I have given you 20 Reasons Why Network Marketing May Be Your Best Option, I could have give you many more.

You are your only limit. Bottom line is, you determine the amount of success or failure you have in network marketing. It is like anything else in life. You get out of it what you are willing to put into it. If you show up and work your business consistently, grow yourself, success will happen. So the only limit is the one you put on your business.

If you are looking to join a marketing company, or want to find out what company I have partnered with click here

Original – Barbara Marian

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