Smart Investing: Top Tips for Finding a Forex Broker

Finding the right broker that suits your trading needs is very important and when you make the right choice, it should definitely help rather than hinder your prospects of trading successfully.

When you are trading liquid Forex markets, these markets often have varying liquidity and opportunities that present themselves need to be actioned and executed as swiftly and efficiently as possible, which is where a good forex broker comes into the equation.

Narrowing down your choice

A fundamental point to consider when you are trying to choose a forex broker is to establish and consider what general brokerage type they belong to.

There are three distinct types of forex broker. The first is a Market-Maker, and they will form a two-sided market to customers of their dealing desk. This means that they can take either side of a trade provided that they buy on the bid and then sell on the offer side.

A forex broker who is classed as a market-maker will take the other side of your chosen trade and then either offset that trade or elect to keep it running depending on their opinion as to the market’s direction.

If you choose an ECN broker, you should be aware that an Electronic Communication Network broker does not actually have a physical dealing desk. An ECN is basically an electronic platform to facilitate the trades of market makers, traders, banks and any other participants who wish to enter competing bids and offers through the network system.

A No-Dealing-Desk brokerage is exactly that. Although it lacks a dealing desk it does offer you access to multiple liquidity providers instead. These providers post their best bids and offers with the No-Dealing-Desk, in the hope that they can fill these orders and earn a marginal profit by increasing the dealing spread.

Important considerations

Making the right choice of broker is so important for a number of extremely valid reasons and when you consider that a poor execution service can actually cost you lost profits and opportunities in a fast-moving environment like the foreign exchange markets, it is worth taking the time to get it right.

The amount of starting equity that you have available will to a certain extent dictate your available choice, but here are some other important considerations as well.

You should check to see what regulatory body oversees the broker that you are thinking of signing up to. It is also of high importance that you establish how the funds you are lodging with them are insured.

You should also check how fast they are with their executions and get some other traders opinion on this factor rather than simply accept the testimonials and information given on their website.

Other considerations that could well be important to you include finding out if orders are executed automatically on a system or put through manually. Find out if they charge separate commissions or they are part of the spread, and also establish if any margin balance you have will attract interest.

Having the right forex broker is akin to having the right vehicle to get where you want to be. If they can’t offer what you need or want, you are simply making it harder for yourself to make a profit from the forex markets.

Spencer Dawson is a longtime Forex trader with his own helpful broker. An avid writer, he likes to share what he has learned over the years on various websites, so newcomers to the Forex field can learn by his experience.

Getting Your Small Business Out of a Financial Bind


Getting Your Small Business Out of a Financial Bind

Even today with more help and benefits to small businesses than ever before, most small businesses still struggle financially at one point or another. There are a lot of hurdles to jump over and a lot of expenses that only increase as your business grows. For those small businesses that are already in debt, it can seem like a never ending fight in a battle that you will never win.

No need to throw in the towel yet, there are a lot of things that you can do to not only keep your small business going, but also to ensure its future success. It is just a matter of understanding why you are in debt, how you got there, what you need to do to get out of debt, and how you can prevent it in the future. Here are some tips to help you get your small business out of a financial bind.

Find out where exactly you owe money

This may seem like a silly question, but many business owners do not really know who they are paying when they are paying past due bills and other debt. This is not only dangerous to your businesses financial situation; it can also hurt your credit and lead to identity theft. Find out exactly where you owe money. If it something that you don’t remember doing in the first place, you may not actually owe them anything. Double check that any credit agencies are legitimate before you start making payments. That way you will only pay what you truly owe and you will keep your identity safe.

Pay off debts based on deadlines

The farther past the due date that you go on your debt, the more you will pay in interest. Therefore, it is a good idea to pay off the longest standing debts first to eliminate paying more in interest. That being said, if you have any debts that have higher interest rates, like a high interest credit card, pay those debts off first. That way, your business can pay less in interest and have more to continue paying off debts. If you come up short with collectors that simply will not wait anymore, you can take out a small loan from TitleMax.com to make up the difference with a lower interest rate.

Mend your public image

After your small business has gone through a significant financial loss due to debt, many people might be skeptical to do business with you again. It is a good idea to show that you are paying or have paid off the debts that you once owed and focus everyone’s attention on the positive future that your small business has. Create a new marketing campaign centered on the future and your customer’s future benefit from working with your business.

Prevent future debt

Once you have everything paid off and have everyone back on your side again, you can begin to create a plan to help your small business avoid ever getting into this position again. You not only need to understand how you got into debt in the first place, but also how to prevent that same situation from happening again. Find some new ways to help your small business save money every day to build a safety net for future financial troubles.

Author Bio:

Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. You can find her on Twitter.

Understanding money management technologies

Taking control of your personal finances and cash balances has never been easier. Gone are the days when we had to transfer money between checking accounts by completing paperwork at a bank. Before banks moved to digital record keeping even paying cash into an account required forms and signatures.

Times have changed for the better; technology now provides fast, secure and easy ways to move money. Monitoring, moving and accessing money from and to multiple locations is the key to good money management. Modern technology is also helping people to budget better; we no longer need to keep every paper receipt to be able to manage our expenses.

Money management systems

There are many money management systems on the market today and each serves a specific purpose. Some solutions are designed to work on desktop computers, some operate on secure websites and there are now apps for smartphones.

The type of solution you choose really depends on your needs. If you are managing your household budget a web-based service will allow you to quickly update your records. If you are rarely near a computer you should invest in a good app for your smartphone.

As demand continues to grow we are seeing more all-in-one-services, such as Mint.com, which records your spending for you. It automatically categorizes your spending and creates visual representations of your spending patterns. If you start spending more in coffee shops or on alcohol the software will alert you; this acts as a prompt to reduce spending.

Quicken is a desktop solution that has been a popular choice since 1983. They have also acquired Mint, which widens their offering. Quicken provides people with access to loans and mortgages too. This is a premium service, but the main advantage is that it links into your bank and credit card accounts so that you do not have to manually input your income and outgoings.

Of course, you do not have to use dedicated software. A spreadsheet can be utilized to manage all your income and expenses from month to month. Software and apps just make it easier.

Managing money whilst travelling

An advancement of smartphone technology coupled with an almost universal availability of wireless Internet has led to a boom in mobile money management. These solutions are ideal for travelling businesspersons and people on vacation.

If you have ever encountered a money problem while on vacation, with no access to your bank, you will appreciate how useful the latest money management solutions are for travelers. New services provide a very easy and secure way to transfer money to anywhere in the world at a very competitive rate.

Until this new age of mobile technology the only ways to transfer money overseas was to either ask your bank to arrange a bank-to-bank transfer or to use a street money transfer company. Both options involve exchange rate fees and handling charges.

However, mobile technology has allowed for huge cost savings in the money transfer industry. This is one of TransFast.com’s benefits; they provide fast and efficient ways to transfer money from any currency at rates much lower than banks charge.

Are we better with our money?

Money management is certainly easier than ever. Income and expenses can be automatically tracked and money can be transferred quickly and securely. This is certainly saving us time, but are we becoming better at managing our money?

The best way to be responsible when gambling

For many people today, their number one method for accessing casino games is through online casino sites. These sites provide gamers with the same games they would find within a land based casino. Since there have been many advancements in technology in recent years, these sites have come to provide very realistic gaming. However, when playing online there are some considerations that players must make to ensure that they are gambling within a responsible manner.

It can be rather easy to lose track of how much money you’ve gambled especially with how banking works at an online casino site. When you’re not holding physical money, this is even more of a concern. Anytime you’re preparing to go gamble online, establish a limit for yourself – this is an amount of money you can afford to lose. While establishing the limit is important, sticking to it is just as important. Never be tempted to add more money to your bankroll to keep playing, this is a pitfall some players fall into. They chase their gambling losses by continue to bet more money which often doesn’t work for them. Walk away from the game when you’re reached your limit, the online casino will be there for another session when you’re mentally and financially ready.

While money management is important another important resource is time. When you’re playing at an online casino, time can quickly slip away. When playing at home, you do have clocks within view, unlike when playing at a land casino. Decide ahead of time what the maximum amount of time is you can spend gambling. Like your monetary budget, when the time determination is met, then you really should walk away even if you still have money left. Some players find it helpful to set a timer.

Five Must Dos for Keeping Credit Card Debt Manageable

You just got a new credit card, and you’re excited about using it. But, before you go out and blow up your shiny new plastic, take some time to think about how to manage this debt responsibly. That bill will come due in 30 days. So, the “free” money isn’t really free.

Be Careful About Which Cards You Apply For

There are many aspects to choosing a card. If you have a card already, put it down and pick up the terms and conditions you got with it. What is the interest rate? What does the card company charge for cash advances? What other charges does the company assess? Is there an annual fee?

What is the grace period on payments? What is the penalty for late payments? You want to know all of this before you charge up the card. If the terms seem unfair, don’t shrug your shoulders and go on a spending spree. Don’t be afraid to apply for credit card terms with other companies. Not all companies offer the same terms.

Make Smart Buying Decisions

Try not to buy disposable items on the card. This is a difficult temptation to resist, but it’s important that you resist it nonetheless. For example, groceries are already expensive. You don’t need to add interest to that and make it an ongoing monthly debt.

Try to charge large, productive, expenses to the card. For example, if you’re going to carry a balance, use the card to pay for educational expenses or car expenses – something where whatever you spend the money on will help you make more money or maintain your current income so that you can pay off your bill.

Alternatively, save the credit limit for emergency expenses.

Pay Off Your Debt Every Month

If you pay off your balance every month, and this should be one of your goals, it’s OK to make “everyday” purchases. You will not accumulate interest on those purchases so it becomes a way for you to “smooth out” your income and expenses. This might help if your income is somewhat variable during the month.

Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate

Credit card companies are open to negotiation. Call them up. Negotiate your rate. This works particularly well if you’ve been a customer of theirs for years, and have accounts in good standing. But, even if you’re new, you may be able to negotiate a better rate based on your excellent credit rating.

Opt Out Of Card Rate Increases

You might not realize it, but you can opt out of rate hikes. How? By calling your credit card company and telling them that you don’t want to accept the terms of the rate hike. Your card issuer will suspend your card privileges (you can’t use your card anymore), and you’ll have to pay off the balance in 5 years. But, at the end of it, you may be able to reinstate your card, though it will be at the higher rate. Of course, you could just leave the card dormant and inactive. The card issuer will likely cancel it when you’re finished paying it off.

Michael Cobb has always had a knack for numbers. As a personal finance counselor, he often writes about foundational principles of managing budgets and other smart money decisions.

Weathering the Energy Bills: Staying Warm in Cold Snaps without Spending a Fortune

When the temperature drops unseasonably but you know it will only last a few days, you may not be keen to turn on the central heating for the whole house. So what can you do to avoid the chills when cold snaps bite? Here are a few ideas to keep you cosy without increasing your energy bills.

Keep Warm at Night

Don’t get the chills at night, and instead follow a few simple tips to make sure you stay warm under the covers.

The classic way to warm up a cold bed is to use a hot water bottle, so make sure you have one of these handy for when the cold nights cause problems. Another great option is to get yourself an electric blanket. You can buy electric blankets from a local store, or you can shop for one online and get it delivered to your door. And of course, you can always throw on an extra blanket or two, so make sure you have one of these ready in the cupboard.

Block the Drafts

Even a small draft can make a room seem a lot colder, so when the temperature falls, get ready to block up the gaps. Close the doors in your house so that the colder air from the rooms you are not using does not transfer to the warmer rooms that you are using. You can also use draft stoppers underneath the doors to block the cool air from entering. Other areas to block up with something include keyholes, the letter box and the cat flap if you have one. Get them all covered and it can make a big difference.

Let the Sun In

Sunlight is a free and effective source of heating, so make sure that during the day you open all of your curtains and let as much light into your home as possible. Then remember to close your curtains as soon as the sun goes down to trap the cold air that forms next to the windows.

Don’t Use the Bathroom Fan

If you normally use a bathroom fan to get rid of the build up of steam, turn it off when the temperature drops for a few days. The humidity in the air will make it feel warmer, which will make your morning shower more comfortable.

Double Glazing

Installing double glazing is a more expensive option, but it can help to trap the heat in your home as soon as the temperature drops, saving you the need to turn on your heating until it is really necessary and improving window efficiency.

Put On a Jumper

The simplest way to stay warm when a cold snap hits is to wear more clothes inside the home.

If you have your winter clothes stored away, get some of them out early and have them on standby so you can wrap up warm in the evening and avoid turning on the heating.

And of course, there is nothing like a hot chocolate or bowl of soup in the evening to keep you cosy whatever the weather outside.

Stay Warm Without Using Heating

It can be a nasty shock when the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse. If you are not ready to turn the heating on just yet, follow these tips to make sure you stay warm and snug even without turning on the heating, which will help you to save money on your bills.

Maddison Wilhelm runs a budget-minded household. From couponing tricks to saving on bills, she often blogs about ways to live well on a tight income.

Improving efficiency for first time entrepreneurs

Most entrepreneurs will attest that starting a business can be highly exciting. There is something very satisfying about building a successful venture and not being answerable to anyone. While most first time business owners are aware of the responsibility they have taken on, some seem unable to handle the new demands on their time.

The zeal to succeed can drive first time entrepreneurs to spend more time buried in their work; however, long working hours coupled with inexperience often contribute to inefficiency. Business owners who put themselves under immense pressure usually find that they become stressed and overworked.

It is therefore important for entrepreneurs to learn how to work smart as opposed to working hard. The following simple tips can help first time business owners to increase their efficiency and boost their productivity.

  • Efficient time management.

Learning how to manage available time is an essential but tricky skill for any entrepreneur to grasp. Beginner entrepreneurs should learn to start working early in the day to make the most of the time they have. Smaller tasks such as answering emails, returning calls or dealing with paperwork should be done in batches at an appointed time later in the day to avoid interrupting any important work.

  • Prioritizing tasks

In order to increase their efficiency, individuals who run their own businesses should learn how to prioritize their daily activities. Tasks that are deemed most important or urgent should always be carried out first before doing anything else.

  • Outsourcing.

Novice entrepreneurs usually err by attempting to do everything on their own, leading to frustration. Outsourcing is a cost-effective solution that can help such business owners to increase their productivity while allowing them to stick to their core functions. Contractors or freelancers can be hired to deal with time-consuming or repetitive tasks. Accepting payroll help and administration aid from Atlantic Umbrella or any other umbrella company is also sure to make work easier for the business owner.

  • Hiring a passionate team.

When looking to hire employees to join their team, new entrepreneurs are advised to select individuals who share their vision and passion. Such employees are usually highly motivated and are more productive in their work. Business owners should also endeavor to build, retain and grow their team of employees for greater and sustained efficiency in their businesses.

  • Embracing technology.

With all the tablets and smartphones around, novice businessmen have a plethora of apps to choose from to help streamline their business functions. Entrepreneurs should take advantage of technology to stay in touch with their clients or suppliers or to learn more on how to make their ventures more successful

  • Scheduling personal time.

Business owners need to set aside some personal time each week. They should use this time to indulge in their hobbies, travel or hang out with their friends and families. This downtime is important as it helps them unwind, de-stress and recharge in readiness for another hectic working week. A relaxed and inspired entrepreneur is likely to be more efficient and productive at work.

A guide to the ultimate energy efficient home

One of the main forces driving innovation in modern building design is the need for homes to be energy efficient. Increasingly, homeowners demand properties that function on both aesthetic and environmentally friendly levels. Fortunately, it is possible for homes to simultaneously look beautiful whilst using energy wisely.

A modern eco-friendly home has efficient insulation that keeps the interior warm in winter and cool in summer. Drafts are a thing of the past in today’s house designs, as are huge heating and energy bills. Modern home designs use double glazed windows, which allow light to flood in and keep cold air out. Other eco-friendly behaviors we can adopt that reduce the carbon footprint in modern homes include low energy light bulbs, aerated faucets to lower water usage, using paints free of Volatile Organic Compounds and sourcing goods and furnishings fashioned from recycled and natural materials.

But what about those of us living in older homes? Can we make our traditional dwellings more energy efficient? The good news is, ‘yes, we can!’ For those considering a move to an older home and the typical issues that go with the territory, it is good to learn eco-friendly living is still attainable.  A historic, characterful home can be a joy to live in and if refurbishment is planned, it presents the perfect opportunity for making improvements to its eco-friendly rating.

Old houses are commonly criticized for their poor insulation and drafts, however it is possible to cure an old house of the cold. The choice of a period or historic home is frequently based on appearance, so it’s likely that any refurbishments will need to be in keeping with the taste and style of the architecture. Old, wooden framed sash windows are often found in older properties – and whilst undoubtedly good-looking, they are terrible draft magnets. A quick trip to the DIY store for some insulating strips to fill the gaps in the window frames will be time and money well spent.

One of the more attractive and sympathetic solutions to poor window insulation in older houses is fitted shutters. Not only do custom made interior wooden shutters look the height of elegance, they offer good insulation against cold, shield interiors from fading due to bright sunlight and are fully adjustable for light levels and privacy. For a solid investment in the future for an older property, wooden shutters are hard to beat.

Other areas to focus on in older houses include heating and plumbing systems that consume less energy. If an antiquated heating system is being overhauled why not replace it with one of the more energy efficient options now available? Good research pays dividends in this crowded area, but those who take the plunge enjoy impressive savings and clean environmental returns.

Get free power from the sun with solar panels! Those ubiquitous rooftop panels are now easy to source for domestic premises. Affixed to south facing roof elevations, they are the perfect energy source for hot water and lighting circuits – and once the initial investment is paid for, they keep powering the home for years, for free!

Energy efficient homes are clearly here to stay and it’s good to know that whether modern or traditional, we can take practical steps to reinforce these ideals within our own four walls.

Philanthropy in the business world

Due in part to the recession and a decline in general standards of living, people are much more cynical about big business than they used to be, and it can be hard for business owners to explain how what they do helps wider society. One answer to this is philanthropy, through which business people can show directly that accumulating profits isn’t necessarily about greed—that money like this can be used to benefit others. Philanthropic activity is a great way for business owners to boost their reputations, win loyal customers and give something back at the same time.

Engaging with customers

In today’s connected world, philanthropy can have a bigger effect on a business reputation than ever. Just as companies fear the speed with which boycotts and bad word of mouth can spread if they make a socially ill-considered move, they can celebrate the speed with which positive news travels if they are perceived as doing something good. This has led an increasing number of businesses to develop high profile partnerships with charities. Even before funds are donated, an arrangement like this can benefit both parties by assuring them of good PR and increased media visibility. A highly effective approach can be donation matching, where a company offers to donate an equal amount to that given by members of the public (which can be estimated based on past fundraising drives), thereby encouraging people more generally to get into the habit of giving to good causes.

Philanthropy and new markets

Philanthropy can also open doors into new markets.  It is no accident that tech companies have recently been investing heavily in countries like India, specifically with a view to supporting economic development and boosting literacy rates.  With Western markets now close to saturation point when it comes to mobile technologies, these countries offer a huge new marketplace, but potential customers need to have the disposable income to purchase with and the skills to be able to use those purchases. Once they have access to such technology, they benefit again, because it becomes much easier for them to start up or expand businesses of their own, bringing employment to their communities. Done right, this approach to business philanthropy means that everybody wins.

Philanthropy today

Among famous philanthropists, Bill Gates has recently been in the news for extending his work to help children from disease control into education, using peer evaluators to establish the most effective ways of teaching in challenging environments.

Warren Buffet’s son has taken up his father’s mission and pledged $24m to help combat rhino poaching.

Francesco Corallo has shown his support for a children’s charity in Guatemala, taking the opportunity to circulate an old court judgment, which says that, for a certain police department, it is forbidden to link Francesco Corallo to the Mafia—illustrating how philanthropy can be used to repair a damaged reputation.

Chuck Feeney, meanwhile, has funded impressive new research facilities at the University of Queensland, helping to drive forward the development of technology that will, in turn, help others.

Dealing with a compensation payout – your options

Receiving compensation after an accident at work can be a huge relief, finally bringing closure and providing the financial support necessary for recovery.  But while there’s lots of help available when you set out to win it, you might find yourself short of good advice on how to spend it.  Most people actually spend all their compensation money within just a few weeks, with vacations and automobiles among the most popular acquisitions.  This can leave them in financial difficulties later on, especially if the accident is still taking its toll and further medical expenses have to be met.  It may also mean that they end up paying more tax than necessary, as well as missing out on opportunities to earn interest on the money.

For those who want to make sure they get the most out of their compensation, it helps to understand a few simple principles.

What is compensation for?

Most compensation packages actually contain several elements.  First are general damages, money given to make the victim feel better and compensate for the stress of the experience.  Then there may be money to make up for lost earnings, and potentially, money to live on if working is not going to be an option in future due to the injuries sustained.  There can also be money to cover things like travel expenses associated with the claims process, medical expenses (including the cost of treatment likely to be needed in the future), and adaptations to the victim’s home or car in order to accommodate a lasting disability caused by the accident.

When the money is spent, it’s important to consider these matters.  Nobody will check up and demand to see proof of how it’s being used, but neglecting to take account of accrued debts or ongoing expenses could easily lead to problems.

Compensation payouts average around $3,500 but can vary considerably. For instance, attorneys Brown & Theis recently won $185,000 for a construction worker who suffered a severe shoulder injury due to a fall.

Tax and welfare

When winning compensation, people are sometimes told that they can choose whether to receive it in a lump sum or in installments.  Some people will need it all straight away, for instance because they need to pay for major home adaptations.  In many cases, however, it’s better to opt for installments as this minimizes the amount of tax that needs to be paid on the money.

Receiving compensation in installments is also a better idea for people in receipt of welfare payments, including those who have just had to apply for them because of a disability caused by their accidents.  Having access to a large amount of money may mean that welfare payments are stopped or reduced, potentially leading to all the compensation being lost.  This is a lot less likely to happen with installments.

Where the body paying compensation does not offer installments, one option is to engage with a solicitor who can set up a trust fund to achieve the same effect.  Money held in trust doesn’t need to be inactive.  It’s a good idea to seek independent financial advice (many banks offer this for free) so that it can be wisely invested and earn interest or dividends to increase the overall amount.

Buying a Home: Top 5 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent

You’re ready to buy a home, and you’re considering using a real estate agent, but you’re not too sure whether you need one or not. After all, you don’t relish the idea of paying 3 to 6 percent commission on a home. There would have to be a really good reason to hire one – [...]

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Insurance vs. Savings: Knowing the Difference When It Comes to Your Health Care

The differences between health insurance and a health savings account are not always clear. In fact, this murkiness is likely responsible for the relatively low adoption rate of health savings accounts even though they offer a number of benefits over traditional health insurance. The differences between the two types of health care coverage are explained [...]

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Money Matters: Smart Financial Habits of Rich People Anyone Can Leverage

You have decided that this is the year that you will finally put your financial affairs in order. You are determined to clear up your bills and start putting savings aside. While these are worthwhile goals, you need to devise a concrete plan to make them work. A good place to begin is with an [...]

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Simple and Easy Ways to Make Super Savings on your Auto Insurance

Everyone wants to get the best possible deal when it comes to paying for their car insurance but the problem is knowing what to ask and what to look out for in order to get the best rates. There are so many small details or aspects that could change your quote and also where you [...]

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How to Protect Your Wallet From High Medical Costs

High medical costs can wipe out your finances. In fact, medical debt was, until the housing crisis, the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. To put a dollar figure on things, consider that cardiovascular disease (stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and vein problems) cost an estimated $444 billion in 2010, making [...]

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