Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Creating A Solid Financial Plan That Works

The number one tip finance advisors give their clients is to create a personal financial plan and stick to it. Despite the simplicity of this advice, many individuals often forget to follow it, leading to challenges in the future. This is true regardless of how good the individual’s investing choices are. If these choices are not within the framework of a larger plan, it poses a significant risk. It is, therefore, important that financial plans are created as early as possible. This improves one’s financial decisions and creates an impressive independent blueprint that eventually leads to a safe and comfortable retirement.

Creating a solid financial plan requires three things. The first is setting clearly defined goals that outline one’s priorities. A good way to do this is listing down measurable and visible results – or milestones as it were – that will make it easier to track down progress. The second is determining a spending plan or budget. This is essential for any person because it allows an individual to implement saving and investing strategies intelligently. The last and most important is practicing self-control. It is tempting when a person has extra income, or a sudden windfall of cash, to immediately spend it. While it is advisable to treat one’s self every once in a while, most people may tap into their savings account for just an extra bit of fun. Self-restraint needs to be practiced at all times.

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It must be noted that these financial plans can change as the individual gets married or for other circumstances. However, any adaptation must still carry the core of the individual’s priorities and be carefully followed.
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Tony Amaradio helps clients of any age create and manage their wealth through sound practices. Learn more financial tips by following this Twitter account.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

China Produces 242 New Billionaires in Less than a Year

Despite a generally slow year, 2015 has seen China produce wealthy people on a scale that no other country has ever paralleled. In as short as 10 months, the East Asian economic powerhouse has produced 242 new dollar billionaires, bringing its total number of ultra high-net-worth individuals to 596. This means that China has already overtaken the U.S. (537) as home to the most number of billionaires. If Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included, the Greater China total reaches 715. Real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin is currently mainland China’s wealthiest person with a net worth of $29.5 billion.

Image source: wikipedia.org
Image source: wikipedia.org

Six self-made billionaires in the list were born in the 1980s, including Frank Wang (35) of DJI Innovations with a $3.4-billion net worth. Pony Ma (44), founder of social media empire Tencent Holdings, is the youngest of China’s 10 richest people, with $18.8 billion. Women accounted for 21 percent of the list with Zhou Qunfei, founder of Lens Technology, taking the lead at number 17 with $17.8 billion.

Although manufacturing and real estate remain the largest asset machines for the majority of China’s elite (half of the local top 10 are property magnates), information technology is a fast-growing segment of the wealth game. The number of IT-related names has risen 43 percent over 2014 to 210.

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Tony Amaradio is the founder and chief strategist of Select Portfolio Management, Inc., which assists clients in managing, building, and preserving wealth. Read more about his credentials on this website.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Read and learn: Personal Finance Books as a Tool for Financial Literacy

There are few things as liberating as achieving financial literacy. But for first-time learners, money matters can be too much to take in. Good thing resources are available for those who need them—personal finance books, for example.

Personal finance books are written not only to educate people but also to empower readers to correct their financial mistakes and misbeliefs. Reading these books is an effective starting point for studying finance since there are tons of varieties to choose from, most of them having a specific target audience.

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For example, Tamsen Butler’s “The Complete Guide to Personal Finance: For Teenagers” helps teenagers start taking money matters seriously. The writer opted to go for an entertaining route in the lectures to keep the youth interested; she doesn’t preach but educates teens of their financial options.

Meanwhile, Farnoosh Torabi’s “You’re So Money: Live Rich Even When You’re Not” is perfect for 20-somethings who are earning entry-level salaries. The book mainly talks about people’s habit of splurging and the importance of setting financial priorities.

Then there are the tried-and-tested personal finance books that have helped many attain financial freedom. An example of these is “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William Danko. First published in 1998, the book discusses the habits that build wealth and provides seven simple rules to being wealthy derived from the lifestyles of self-made millionaires.

Image source: BusinessInsider.com

These are just some of the books available to those willing to learn about personal finance. Of course, reading about finance is just the first step; people will still need to have a full grasp of their financial situation and map strategies for their specific financial plans. Regarding these matters, consulting with financial and investment advisors is still recommended since they have the tools and experience needed to explain difficult financial concepts to their clients.

Tony Amaradio is the founder and chief strategist at Select Portfolio Management Inc. Through the company, he offers wealth management assistance to individuals, families, and business owners. Learn more by visiting this website.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Serious Finance Question: Can Significant Wealth be Harnessed Through Social Media?

Social media has the tendency to display wealth, but does it generate wealth? Yes, it has become a platform for online vending and other exchange in services, and many startups are launched through websites that increase traffic through social media promotions. Summarily, social media has given new generations of users alternative means to earn income, and also a false view of wealth. Evidently, everyone might think they’re the next Jeff Bezos, but social media has more wealth-growing uses than online selling.

Image source: iccfwm.com

Social media users not inclined to selling could find that social media is an efficient platform for wealth growing resources. Wealth managers, then, should put this platform to good use by engaging generations of social media users in dialogues about income-generating opportunities. Millennials, in particular, get their current events from their Facebook and Twitter feeds. This new method of consuming information will influence their attitudes toward investing. Social media allows them to keep track of companies and brands that influence them, and will shape their tastes in industries that they think have longevity.

Furthermore, the presence of celebrities and other high-net-worth individuals on social media can dictate market trends---and as considerably as people downplay the celebrity effect. A single tweet from a big business personality like Donald Trump can send his stock prices down or up. Many investors are also surveying social media conversations about certain trends to inform their stock purchases.

Social media also has a bearing on the way wealth managers engage their clients. Social media is synonymous with real time. Wealth managers have to catch up with the pace of real time in relaying updates on crucial investments. Social media has the power to leave wealth creators behind in a delay of a second.

Tony Amaradio runs Select Portfolio Management Inc., a firm specializing in providing affluent individuals, families, and business owners comprehensive wealth management services. For more about his company, visit this website.

Monday, May 11, 2015

REPOST: College Students Fail When It Comes to Financial Literacy

When it comes to investing, time is both your best friend and worst enemy. Hence, it is best to start young. Problem is, most young adults have little to no knowledge about financial literacy. Read the article below to know why many college students fail at managing their finances:

Image source: mainstreet.com

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If learning how to save and master financial literacy is something people should learn young — the future may be bleak.

A new study looking at what first-year college students know about finances shows most can only answer about a third of general financial questions correctly. The questions — ranging from topics like the right amount of money to set aside in case of a financial emergency, to how long a late payment remains on your credit history — were part of the “Money Matters on Campus” survey sponsored by education finance site Higher One and education technology site EverFi.

“The results of the survey are disappointing, but not unexpected,” said Tom Arnold, professor of finance at the University of Richmond. “Most money habits come from experience and example. Incoming freshman are not very experienced and have more than likely relied on their parents for financial guidance and financial support."

“Consequently, prior to college, many students do not have to budget their money nor be concerned about paying off debt,” he added.

While not knowing the correct answers to questions is one thing, actual risky financial behaviors are much worse. The research showed 12% of first-year students at four-year schools do not check their account balances because they are “too nervous,” and only 39% use a budget. The study also found while students were more financially literate if they took financial literacy courses in high school, those that had checking accounts were even more so. Also, students attending two-year schools proved to be slightly more knowledgeable — possibly because they may have a higher degree of personal financial knowledge due to their “age, financial experience and general lifestyle differences,” the study suggested.

Investment experts like Tony Amaradio think of financial literacy as a right of everyone, regardless of social class, gender, or age. Subscribe to this blog to know how you can improve your financial status.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

REPOST: Could free online courses improve financial literacy?

With the advent of search engines and online financial classes, you can now have access to a wide range of resources that you can use to broaden your knowledge about smart investing. Read the article below to know which online programs will suit your needs best.

PwC is offering free online courses that might help students and teachers learn more about how money works

A primary school student in Chorley, England, receives a financial management lesson. Could more education about money reduce poverty and inequality? |
Image source: theguardian.com

The efforts of US universities to educate the population with free online courses has inspired private businesses to do the same – and in the process, improve financial literacy among the nation’s students and teachers.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world’s biggest auditing firms, announced Monday that it would boost its three-year-old $160m Earn Your Future financial literacy program with an additional $30m to digitalize its core classes so that anyone with a computer can access them for free.

“We really felt this has to help everyone,” said Shannon Schuyler, a principal and corporate responsibility leader at PwC and president of the PwC Charitable Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm. “Knowledge should be everyone’s to access.”

Financial literacy is not only key to the nation’s economic health, but also an important tool in the fight against inequality and poverty. Christine Legarde of the International Monetary Fund said in an address last year that financial inclusion can be a “powerful agent for strong and inclusive growth” for the more than 2.5 billion people in the world currently lacking access to basic financial services. Companies like PwC, Capital One, Discover Financial and Mastercard are now working to help Americans improve their financial skills, which could ultimately boost their bottom lines.

PwC, which already offers some basic lessons online, plans to make 22 of its 43 modules available online in September. New courses will have video and will “combine hard teaching and gaming”, Schuyler said. Games engage children and allow them to act out real life scenarios, which can help provide context, she said. Online course levels, aimed at kindergarteners through 12th graders, include lessons like “Creditworthiness” and “Saving matters” for students in grades 3 to 5, and “Building wealth and consumer fraud” for teenagers in grades 9 through 12.

The need for more financial literacy is great. According to a recent study by the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development, American teenagers achieved mediocre scores in financial literacy (pdf) compared to other countries, ranking between eight and 12 out of the 18 nations tested. Worse, only 14% of American adults answered five out of five questions correctly on a 2012 financial literacy quiz. Only 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance course currently, and only six demand that students be tested on financial aptitude.

“Research proves that financial literacy helps people make better choices, yet only a relatively small number of children are exposed to financial education in school,” said Paul Golden, a spokesman for the National Endowment of Financial Education, a non-profit that aims to educate Americans about money matters. “We have a societal responsibility to send our youth into the world with the tools to be financially capable, and globally competitive, as adults.”

Part of the problem lies with teachers’ lack of confidence in the subject, experts say.

“Even if a financial literacy course program were implemented in high schools today, they would still fail for one more reason: although teachers support such programs, they don’t feel they’re prepared to teach it,” said Eduardo Herrera, chief communications officer at investment firm Liberty Capital.

In a recent National Endowment of Financial Education study (pdf), more than 80% of teachers surveyed said they did not feel competent to teach personal finance topics like credit and debt or saving and investing.

While programs like the Earn Your Future initiative could go some way to tackling the issue, some experts say that educators should remain wary of courses offered by big companies, and should guard against children being exploited for economic gains.

“We encourage teachers to carefully review curriculum and materials provided by any business,” said Christine Mason, an expert in educational reform and executive director of the Center for Educational Improvement, a nonprofit that helps leaders use new technology and other innovations to improve teaching at their schools. “Not all curricula and materials are created equal.”

However, programs like the PwC initiative are necessary and provide much-needed hands-on support to teachers, she said. The push for all students to learn algebra led many schools to drop their personal finance courses, which left a gaping need for this type of instruction.

“School-business partnerships are part of the backbone of the most successful schools in the US,” said Mason. “With review and carefully monitored use, such programs can be an important supplement to enhance instruction.”

To help figure out what teaching methods work, PwC has partnered with universities to analyze financial literacy programs in schools and colleges, and it also plans to fund research into how new technology, like iPads, can enhance the teaching of complex financial concepts.

“The good news is that over a third of millennials were offered financial education [in 2014] either in high school or college, or by an employer – higher than any other generation,” said Gerri Walsh, president of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation, which helps equip underserved communities with financial skills.

Perhaps the courses now being offered for free by companies like PwC could help extend the ranks of the financially literate into other generations, too.

To get a more in-depth look at some of the most effective investment platforms available in the market today, read the entries on this blog for Tony Amaradio.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Socially responsible investing: Putting one's money where the heart is

Any good financial expert will recommend that investors use their money to support something they're interested in or believe in. While it's traditional to buy into business that make the most money, many individuals these days are also choosing to interpret that advice specifically as a call to invest in causes that have an impact on the community, the environment, the country, or the world in general. This is called “Socially Responsible Investing” (SRI).

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Socially responsible investors usually stake their lot in with companies, developments, and governments which uphold the same values as they do. For instance, an environmentally-conscious individual may invest in a company developing eco-friendly products or advocating clean technology.

Image Source: newswire.ca

Another way SRI is embodied is by shareholder's advocacy. These investors basically use their "say" to influence the direction a company or organization is taking in order to affect society or the environment positively. It can be seen as a form of activism where investors push for the company to operate in a more ethical or sustainable way by managing water use, limiting greenhouse gas emissions or espousing diversity within the organization.

In order to bring social good to disadvantaged areas, many people have also looked into making investments in microfinance institutions, credit unions, and community development banks in these regions. As members of these poorer communities gain more access to small loans and financial services (like banks) to fund small businesses or development initiatives and the jobs that follow, there can be real, observable positive impact on the community's economy, thanks to investors.

Image Source: investmentnews.com

Socially responsible investing is a way for people to use their money for the betterment of the world around them. While some people think this might be limiting one's portfolio, as companies and organizations become more willing to embrace social change and environmental consciousness whether by how they conduct business or in the products or services they provide, the opposite might be the more common scenario soon.

The founder of Select Portfolio Management Inc.,Tony Amaradio, is a proponent of financial literacy. Learn more about wealth management and financial education on this blog.