A New Way to Invest in Property

The two most frequently asked questions by investors are:

  1. What investment should I buy?
  2. Is now the right time to buy it?

Most people want to know how to spot the right investment at the right time, because they believe that is the key to successful investing. Let me tell you that is far from the truth: even if you could get the answers to those questions right, you would only have a 50% chance to make your investment successful. Let me explain.

There are two key influencers that can lead to the success or failure of any investment:

  1. External factors: these are the markets and investment performance in general. For example:
    • The likely performance of that particular investment over time;
    • Whether that market will go up or down, and when it will change from one direction to another.
  2. Internal factors: these are the investor’s own preference, experience and capacity. For example:
    • Which investment you have more affinity with and have a track record of making good money in;
    • What capacity you have to hold on to an investment during bad times;
    • What tax advantages do you have which can help manage cash flow;
    • What level of risk you can tolerate without tending to make panic decisions.

When we are looking at any particular investment, we can’t simply look at the charts or research reports to decide what to invest and when to invest, we need to look at ourselves and find out what works for us as an individual.

Let’s look at a few examples to demonstrate my viewpoint here. These can show you why investment theories often don’t work in real life because they are an analysis of the external factors, and investors can usually make or break these theories themselves due to their individual differences (i.e. internal factors).

Example 1: Pick the best investment at the time.

Most investment advisors I have seen make an assumption that if the investment performs well, then any investor can definitely make good money out of it. In other words, the external factors alone determine the return.

I beg to differ. Consider these for example:

  • Have you ever heard of an instance where two property investors bought identical properties side by side in the same street at the same time? One makes good money in rent with a good tenant and sells it at a good profit later; the other has much lower rent with a bad tenant and sells it at a loss later. They can be both using the same property management agent, the same selling agent, the same bank for finance, and getting the same advice from the same investment advisor.
  • You may have also seen share investors who bought the same shares at the same time, one is forced to sell theirs at a loss due to personal circumstances and the other sells them for a profit at a better time.
  • I have even seen the same builder building 5 identical houses side by side for 5 investors. One took 6 months longer to build than the other 4, and he ended up having to sell it at the wrong time due to personal cash flow pressures whereas others are doing much better financially.

What is the sole difference in the above cases? The investors themselves (i.e. the internal factors).

Over the years I have reviewed the financial positions of a few thousand investors personally. When people ask me what investment they should get into at any particular moment, they expect me to compare shares, properties, and other asset classes to advise them how to allocate their money.

My answer to them is to always ask them to go back over their track record first. I would ask them to list down all the investments they have ever made: cash, shares, options, futures, properties, property development, property renovation, etc. and ask them to tell me which one made them the most money and which one didn’t. Then I suggest to them to stick to the winners and cut the losers. In other words, I tell them to invest more in what has made them good money in the past and stop investing in what has not made them any money in the past (assuming their money will get a 5% return per year sitting in the bank, they need to at least beat that when doing the comparison).

If you take time to do that exercise for yourself, you will very quickly discover your favourite investment to invest in, so that you can concentrate your resources on getting the best return rather than allocating any of them to the losers.

You may ask for my rationale in choosing investments this way rather than looking at the theories of diversification or portfolio management, like most others do. I simply believe the law of nature governs many things beyond our scientific understanding; and it is not smart to go against the law of nature.

For example, have you ever noticed that sardines swim together in the ocean? And similarly so do the sharks. In a natural forest, similar trees grow together too. This is the idea that similar things attract each other as they have affinity with each other.

You can look around at the people you know. The people you like to spend more time with are probably people who are in some ways similar to you.

It seems that there is a law of affinity at work that says that similar things beget similar things; whether they are animals, trees, rocks or humans. Why do you think there would be any difference between an investor and their investments?

So in my opinion, the question is not necessarily about which investment works. Rather it is about which investment works for you.

If you have affinity with properties, properties are likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with shares, shares are likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with good cash flow, good cash flow is likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with good capital gain, good capital growth is likely to be attracted to you (but not necessary good cash flow ).

You can improve your affinity with anything to a degree by spending more time and effort on it, but there are things that you naturally have affinity with. These are the things you should go with as they are effortless for you. Can you imagine the effort required for a shark to work on himself to become sardine-like or vice versa?

One of the reasons why our company has spent a lot of time lately to work on our client’s cash flow management, is because if our clients have low affinity with their own family cash flow, they are unlikely to have good cash flow with their investment properties. Remember, it is a natural law that similar things beget similar things. Investors who have poor cash flow management at home, usually end up with investments (or businesses) with poor cash flow.

Have you ever wondered why the world’s greatest investors, such as Warren Buffet, tend only to invest in a few very concentrated areas they have great affinity with? While he has more money than most of us and could afford to diversify into many different things, he sticks to only the few things that he has successfully made his money from in the past and cut off the ones which didn’t (such as the airline business).

What if you haven’t done any investing and you have no track record to go by? In this case I would suggest you first look at your parents’ track record in investing. The chances are you are somehow similar to your parents (even when you don’t like to admit it ). If you think your parents never invested in anything successfully, then look at whether they have done well with their family home. Alternatively you will need to do your own testing to find out what works for you.

Obviously there will be exceptions to this rule. Ultimately your results will be the only judge for what investment works for you.

Example 2: Picking the bottom of the market to invest.

When the news in any market is not positive, many investors automatically go into a “waiting mode”. What are they waiting for? The market to bottom out! This is because they believe investing is about buying low and selling high – pretty simple right? But why do most people fail to do even that?

Here are a few reasons:

  • When investors have the money to invest safely in a market, that market may not be at its bottom yet, so they choose to wait. By the time the market hits the bottom; their money has already been taken up by other things, as money rarely sits still. If it is not going to some sort of investment, it will tend to go to expenses or other silly things such as get-rich-quick scheme, repairs and other “life dramas”.
  • Investors who are used to waiting for when the market is not very positive before they act are usually driven either by a fear of losing money or the greed of gaining more. Let’s look at the impact of each of them:
  • If their behaviour was due to the fear of losing money, they are less likely to get into the market when it hits rock bottom as you can imagine how bad the news would be then. If they couldn’t act when the news was less negative, how do you expect them to have the courage to act when it is really negative? So usually they miss out on the bottom anyway.
  • If their behaviour was driven by the greed of hoping to make more money on the way up when it reaches the bottom, they are more likely to find other “get-rich-quick schemes” to put their money in before the market hits the bottom, by the time the market hits the bottom, their money won’t be around to invest. Hence you would notice that the get-rich-quick schemes are usually heavily promoted during a time of negative market sentiment as they can easily capture money from this type of investor.
  • Very often, something negative begets something else negative. People who are fearful to get into the market when their capacity allows them to do so, will spend most of their time looking at all the bad news to confirm their decision. Not only they will miss the bottom, but they are likely to also miss the opportunities on the way up as well, because they see any market upward movement as a preparation for a further and bigger dive the next day.

Hence it is my observation that most people who are too fearful or too greedy to get into the market during a slow market have rarely been able to benefit financially from waiting. They usually end up getting into the market after it has had its bull run for far too long when there is very little negative news left. But that is actually often the time when things are over-valued, so they get into the market then, and get slaughtered on the way down.

So my advice to our clients is to first start from your internal factors, check your own track records and financial viability to invest. Decide whether you are in a position to invest safely, regardless of the external factors (i.e. the market):

  • If the answer is yes, then go to the market and find the best value you can find at that time;
  • If the answer is no, then wait.

Unfortunately, most investors do it the other way around. They tend to let the market (an external factor) decide what they should do, regardless of their own situation, and they end up wasting time and resources within their capacity.

I hope, from the above 2 examples, that you can see that investing is not necessarily about picking the right investment and the right market timing, but it is more about picking the investment that works for you and sticking to your own investment timetable, within your own capacity.

A new way to invest in properties

During a consultation last month with a client who has been with us for 6 years, I suddenly realised they didn’t know anything about our Property Advisory Service which has been around since April 2010. I thought I’d better fix this oversight and explain what it is and why it is unique and unprecedented in Australia.

But before I do, I would like to give you some data you simply don’t get from investment books and seminars, so you can see where I am coming from.

Over the last 10 years of running a mortgage business for property investors:

  • We have executed more than 7,000 individual investment mortgages with around 60 different lenders;
  • Myself and our mortgage team have reviewed the financial positions of approximately 6,000 individual property investors and developers;
  • I have enjoyed privileged access to vital data including the original purchase price, value of property improvements and the current valuation of close to 30,000 individual investment properties all around Australia from our considerable client base.

When you have such a large sample size to do your research on and make observations, you are bound to discover something unknown to most people.

I have discovered many things that may surprise you as much as they surprised me, some of which are against conventional wisdom:

Paying more tax can be financially good for you.

This one took me years to swallow, but I can’t deny the facts. The clients who have managed to get into a positive cashflow position have paid a lot of tax and will continue to pay a lot of tax, whether it is capital gains, income tax or stamp duty. They don’t have an issue with the tax man making some money as long as they continue to make more themselves! They regularly cash in the profits from their properties and reduce their debt, but always continue to invest and park their money where the return is best. In fact, I can almost say that the only people who enjoy positive cashflow from their investment properties are the people who have little concern about paying taxes as they treat them as the cost of doing business.

Just about every property strategy works. It just depends on who does it, how it is done, when it is done and where it is done.

When I first started investing, I went and read many property investment books and attended many investment educational seminars. Just about every one of them was convincing and this confused the hell out of me. Just when I was about to form an opinion against a particular property strategy, someone would show up in one of my client consultations and prove that it worked for them!

After testing many of these strategies myself, I came to realise that it is not about the strategy,(which is only a tool) but rather it is about whether the person is using the tool appropriately at the right time, in the right place and in the right way.

There is no such thing as the best suburb to invest in, forever.

If you randomly pick a particular property in what you think is the best suburb over a 30 year window, you will find that there are periods during which this property will outperform the market average, and there are periods when this property will underperform the market average.

Many property investors find themselves jumping into historically high growth suburbs at the end of the period when it is outperforming the average, and then stay there for 5-7 years during the underperforming period. (Naturally this can taint their view of property investing as a whole!)

There is no such thing as the worst suburb to invest in, forever.

If you pick a property in the worst suburb you can think of from 40 years ago, and pitch that against the best suburb you can think of over the same period of time, you will find they both grew at about 7-9% a year on average over the long-term.

Hence in the 1960s, a median house in Melbourne and Sydney was valued at $10k. The worst property around that time may have been 30% of the median price for then, which was say about $3k. Today, the median house price in these cities is about $600k. The worst suburb you can find is still around 30% of that price which is say $200k a house. If you believe a bad suburb will never grow, then show me where you can find a house today in these cities, that is still worth around $3k.

Median Price growth is very misleading.

Many beginner property investors look at median price growth as the guidance for suburb selection. A few points worth mentioning on median price are:

We understand the way median price is calculated as the middle price point based on the number of sales during a period. We can talk about the median price for a particular suburb on a particular day, week, month, year, or even longer. So an influx of new stocks or low sales volume can severely distort the median price.

In an older suburb, median price growth tends to be higher than it really is. This is because it does not reflect the large sum of money people put into renovating their properties nor does it reflect the subdivision of large blocks of land into multiple dwellings which can be a substantial percentage of the entire suburb.

In a newer suburb, median price growth tend to be lower than it really is. This is because it does not reflect the fact that the land and buildings are both getting smaller. For example, you could buy a block of land of 650 square metres for $120k in 2006 in a newer suburb of Melbourne, but 5 years later, half the size block (i.e.325 square metres) will cost you $260k. That’s a whopping 34% annual growth rate per year for 5 years, but median price growth will never reflect that, as median prices today are calculated on much smaller properties.

Median price growth takes away people’s focus from looking at the cost of carrying the property. When you have a net 2-3% rental yield against interest rates of 7-8%, you are out-of-pocket by 5% a year. This is not including the money you have to put in to fix and maintain your property from time to time.

Buying and holding the same property forever doesn’t give you the best returns on your money.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely you will achieve an average growth of 7-9%. But you will be bound to hit periods where your property outperforms the 7-9% growth and periods where it under performs the 7-9% growth.

The longer you hold a property, if its growth is at or above average, the lower its rental yields will become.

The longer you hold a property, the higher the capital gains tax you will need to pay when you sell, and the less likely you will be able to sell it.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely there will be a need for an expensive upgrade of the property.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely you will forget which part of the equity actually belongs to the tax man, AND the more likely you will be to try to leverage the equity that doesn’t belong to you. This can get you into a negative equity position with a negative cashflow forever, unless you have proper financial guidance.

Offshore Investment – The Ideal Way for Saving Your Wealth

What Is Offshore Investment?

Offshore investment refers to a wide variety of investment strategies that take advantage of tax benefits offered outside of an investor’s home country.

There is no scarcity of money-marketplace, bond and equity assets offered by trustworthy offshore investment companies that are fiscally sound, time-tested and, most importantly, legal.

What Is Offshore?

Offshore explains the repositioning by an entity of a trade process from one countryside to another, typically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes. Even state governments make use of offshore investment. More recently, off shoring has been associated primarily with the sourcing of technical and administrative services supporting domestic and global operations from outside the home country, by means of internal (captive) or external (outsourcing) delivery models.

“Offshore ” is usually to portray a country where there are also no taxes or low taxes for foreign persons either individual or commercial.

It is a truth that offshore investment havens have crafted a unique legally recognized and tax free climate for overseas individuals and businesses. They offer specifically to them. More than half the world’s assets exist in such asset havens.

Monetary privacy, a steady legal environment and realistic rulings are the trademark of these jurisdictions.

When we converse about offshore investment financial companies, the term invokes up an image of enormous, shadowy monetary monoliths, investing funds without any transparency.

Advantages

There are many reasons why people like investments in offshore:

1. Tax Reduction

Many nations, recognized as tax havens, offer tax inducements to overseas investors through an offshore investment. The positive tax rates in an offshore investment possible country are intended to encourage a vigorous offshore investment atmosphere that magnetizes outside wealth. For tiny countries like Mauritius and Seychelles, with only a few reserves and a small population, offshore depositors dramatically increased their economic activity.

Offshore investment occurs when offshore depositors outline a company in an overseas country. The corporation acts as a shield for the investors’ financial credits, shielding them from the higher tax load that would be acquired in their home nation.

Because the corporation does not engage in local operations, little or no tax is enforced on the offshore investment company. Many overseas companies also benefit from tax-exempt category when they put in in U.S. markets. As such, making ventures through overseas corporations can clutch a distinct benefit over making investments as an individual.

2. Confidentiality

Numerous offshore investment jurisdictions have confidentiality legislation which creates it is an unlawful offense for any worker of the financial services commerce to disclose possession or other information about their clients or their dealings.

But in the examples where unlawful proceedings can be proved, identities are being disclosed. Thus the Know Your Client due diligence documents are becoming just more complex.

Disadvantages

The main drawbacks are those of costs along with ease.

Many investors like to be capable to meet up and speak to the person setting up their incorporation of offshore investment companies and traveling to the tax haven costs funds.

In a number of nations you are taxed on your universal revenue, so not disclosing offshore investment returns is illegal. In other countries having offshore accounts are unlawful for individuals but authorizations can be obtained from companies.

Several banks in offshore jurisdictions need smallest amount in investments of US$ 100,000 and higher, or to possess assets locally.

The kinds of offshore investment companies usually existing are:

  • Trusts
  • Resident Offshore Company
  • International Business Company
  • Protected Cell Company

These types of companies also exist.

E.g.: Many mutual funds and hedge funds whose investors favor ‘ off shore country’ ventures.

But for average financiers like us too can form offshore companies of relatively small size to fulfill our most everyday needs. Or we can put in, via our off shore investment expert, into offshore companies to own investments in special funds.

There are various uses:

  • Trading Companies
  • Professional Services Companies
  • Shipping Companies
  • Investment Companies
  • Intellectual Property & Royalty Companies
  • Property Owning Companies
  • Asset Protection Companies
  • Holding Companies
  • Dot Com Companies
  • Employment Companies

Trading Companies

Import/Export and general trading company’s activities are also compatible with the structure of offshore investment companies. The offshore investment company acquires orders from the supplier and has the goods distributed directly to the customer.

It does the invoicing to the customer and saves the difference in a tax free country. E.g. Products from China to Kenya could be invoiced by a Seychelles or RAK offshore incorporation and the revenues retained there.

Individuals utilize offshore investment companies to acquire mutual funds, shares, property, bonds, jewelry and precious metals. Sometimes they will also apply these companies to trade in currency, equities and or bonds. The wealthy will also have diversified offshore investment companies for different division of possessions; for different countries or by different categories of investments.

The diversification evades the risk. But also in cases where capital increases taxes are levied, e.g. in property or equity, sometimes it is cheaper to sell the company rather than the individual asset itself.

Professional Services Companies

Individuals, e.g. counselors, IT experts, engineers, designers, writers and performers working outside their local country can gain momentously from using an offshore investment business. The offshore investment business demonstrates the individual as a company worker and gets a fee for the services rendered by the ’employee’ [possessor]. This fee is received and saved tax free. The person can then receive the imbursement as he or she hopes to minimize their taxes.

Shipping Companies

The utilization of offshore investment companies to possess or license commercial ships and pleasure craft is very familiar internationally. Shipping companies mount up earnings in tax liberated offshore jurisdictions and, if every ship is placed in a separate offshore investment company, it can get hold of considerable asset security by isolating liabilities of each individual craft.

Investment Companies

Individuals make use of offshore venture companies to then buy mutual funds, shares, bonds, property, jewelry and expensive metals. Sometimes they will also use these companies to operate in currencies, equities and or bonds either via the internet or through managed funds run by banks and financial institutions. The wealthy will also have diversified offshore investment companies for dissimilar class of assets; for different countries or by different varieties of investments.

The diversification evades the threat. But also in cases where assets gain taxes are levied, e.g. in goods or equity, sometimes it is economical to sell the company rather than the individual asset itself.

Intellectual Property & Royalty Companies

Offshore investment companies are being seen as vehicles to own Intellectual Property and royalties received for software, technology rights, music, literature, patents, trademarks and copyrights, franchising, and brands. These companies are in the type of trusts or foundations.

Property Owning Companies

Owning property in an offshore investment company saves you the funds gains taxes that may be levied at the occasion of the property’s deal, which are avoided by selling the business instead of the property. Other significant benefits are the authorized prevention of inheritance and other transfer taxes.

Mainly, in some countries, e.g. Islamic ones, inheritance is via Shariah regulation and not your determination. So an offshore possession will make sure that the assets owned outside the country need not be distributed according to Shariah Law.

Asset Protection Companies

It is estimated that a professional in the US can be expected to be sued every 3 years! And that more than 90% of the worlds lawsuits are filed in the US.

Amazing statistics!

If you have an income or assets of more than US$ 100,000, you should seriously consider offshore investment companies!

Most offshore jurisdictions require that for a lawsuit, a lawyer must be hired and paid up front before a suit can be filed, thus keeping frivolous lawsuits away. Often a substantial bank bond has to be placed by the government, to even implement a lawsuit. It can also (take years of waiting) to get into court in some offshore investment jurisdictions.

If you have substantial liquid assets you should consider a Trust which would own the offshore company. This will provide a greater degree of protection, at the least expense.

However, we should remember that this structure is for asset protection, not for tax savings and so that the focus should be maintained.

Holding Companies

Offshore investment companies can also be used to own and fund operating companies in different countries. They could also be joint venture partners or the ‘promoter’ of publicly quoted companies. Mauritius is well suited as a country for investing companies because of its favorable double tax treaties.

Dot Com Companies

The internet has made the cost of business entry very low and consequently the legal protection of the company’s assets, both physical and intellectual, that much easier. Dot Com companies now use this flexibility to develop different software projects in different offshore investment companies to invite different investors and to keep the flexibility of raising funds separately for different projects depending on the project’s success. Both Mauritius and Seychelles have Protected Cell Company [PCC] structures available for just this kind of need.

Then there is the possibility of receiving your funds earned on the web into an offshore company’s bank account. Would that be of interest to you?

Employment Companies

Multinational companies use offshore investment companies to employ expatriate staff who are deployed in different tax jurisdictions around the world. To facilitate transfers, reduce the employee’s taxes and administer benefits easily an offshore company employment is preferred. Working on assignments throughout the world.

Automatic Motorcycles

German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach first developed motorcycles in 1885. It was a revolutionary petroleum-powered means of transportation that had provisions for a pair of stabilizing wheels. It came to be known as the riding car. Former models were large, bulky and had poor handling capabilities. Development of motorcycles began to progress after the First World War that saw extensive use of motorcycles, especially by Germans. These models were made with the help of new internal combustion engines that many manufacturers and producers of bicycles adapted in their designs.

Motorcycles were widely used as an economical solution to deal with rising prices of transportation. Prices of motorcycles were high at that time but yielded better returns over a period of time. As new internal combustion engines became additionally powerful and designs outgrew its bicycle origins, the number of motorcycle producers reduced. India was the largest manufacturer of motorcycles until Harley Davidson launched its bikes in the market in 1928.

Motorcycles are moderately complicated machines that make use of a “chassis” to support other parts of the bike, a “fairing” to mask the front end of the handle, “suspensions” to absorb shocks and reduce wear and tear of the motorcycle, wheels, an engine, a   transmission , and brakes. These are a few basic elements of a bike, along with some more technical mechanics involved, such as oil tank, chains, odometers, and so on. The engine comes in two variants where one of them is a popular option for most due to its simple usage.

Automatic Motorcycles eliminate the hassle of frequently changing gears during traffic or other stops. Nevertheless, manual  transmission  is preferred as it is more economical that the automatic  transmission  models. Auto  transmission  feature takes a toll on the fuel consumption of the bike. Young people find it easy to use automatic Motorcycles because this operation is less complicated and the performance is comparable for limited use.

While purchasing an Automatic Motorcycle it is advisable to opt for a 4-stroke engine as it provides better fuel economy.

The Best Investment Portfolio for 2014 and Beyond

If you have an investment portfolio (like in a 401k plan) take a good look at it, because it might not really be the best investment portfolio for 2014 and beyond. If you are a new investor, don’t start investing money until you are familiar with the best funds to include in your portfolio in 2014.

Your investment portfolio is simply a list showing where your money is, and for most average investors consists primarily of mutual funds: stock funds, bond funds and money market funds. Here we discuss the best funds and asset allocation to achieve the best investment portfolio in the event that 2014 and beyond becomes a tough environment for investors. You may need to make changes in your existing portfolio; and you should also be aware of the following as a new investor before you start investing money.

As an investor you should receive statements periodically which show you where your money is. The problem is that many investors do not give these statements, which clearly show you your asset allocation and your investment portfolio, the attention they deserve. That can be a problem. For example, if you had 50% of your portfolio allocated to stock funds in early 2009, you could have two-thirds of your money in these funds now. If the stock market takes a big hit, you stand to take a big loss. Let’s take a look at stock funds and the best funds for investing money there first.

The stock market and many diversified stock funds have gone UP in value about 150% in less than 5 years, and numerous financial analysts expect a correction (stock prices to go DOWN) in 2014. If your investment portfolio shows that more than half of your assets are invested in stock funds consider cutting back to 50% or less. If you are a new investor ready to start investing, allocate no more than 50% to diversified stock funds. The best funds: those that invest in high quality, dividend paying stocks vs. growth funds that pay little in the form of dividends. This is your first step in putting together the best investment portfolio for 2014, because it cuts your potential losses.

The best investment portfolio also includes bond funds, which have been good solid investments for over 30 years. Why? Interest rates have been falling, which sends bond prices and bond fund values higher. Problem: interest rates have hit all-time lows and appear to be heading higher. Higher interest rates create losses for bond fund investors. Many investors have an investment portfolio loaded with bond funds and are totally unaware of the risk involved if rates go up. If you are getting ready to start investing money you need to know this as well. When interest rates go UP, bonds and bond fund values go DOWN. That’s about the only iron-clad rule in the investment world.

Allocate no more than 25% to 30% of your total investment portfolio to bond funds to cut your risk. The best bond funds are categorized as intermediate-term funds, where the investment portfolio of the fund invests in bonds that mature (on average) in 5 to 10 years. These are the best funds now because they pay a respectable dividend with only moderate risk. The worst funds to hold now: long-term funds that hold bonds maturing (on average) in 15, 20 years or more. When you review your investment portfolio, get rid of these because they will be big losers if (when) interest rates shoot upward. New investors who want to start investing money: avoid them and allocate about 25% of your money to intermediate-term bond funds to avoid heavy risk.

Sometimes the best investment portfolio is loaded with aggressive stock funds and includes longer-term bond funds. Now, looking at 2014 and beyond, is probably not one of those times. For many years now losses in stock funds have been offset by gains in bond funds. Today the problem for investors is that even the best funds of both varieties could get hit if the economy falters and interest rates rise significantly. That makes investing money today a real challenge… one that few investors are prepared for.

So, let’s say that you start investing money with less than 50% going to the best funds in the stock department and about 25% allocated to the best funds in the bond universe… or you adjust your existing investment portfolio to these levels… where do you invest the rest of it? Even though interest rates are still historically low, you bite the bullet and invest it for safety to earn interest. In a 401k plan your best safe investment is likely the stable account, if your plan has one. Otherwise, the best fund for safety is a money market fund (even though they presently pay almost no interest). When rates go up, they should pay more. Or you can shop the banks for the best rates on short-term CDs, or savings accounts.

I expect that 2014 and beyond will be a challenging time to start investing money or to manage an existing investment portfolio. On the other hand, now you should have a handle on the best funds to consider when putting together the best investment portfolio possible. Remember, you must stay in the game in order to get ahead over the long term; but sometimes moderation is your best course of action.

General Motors Unveiled A Right-Hand-Drive Hummer H3

The Hummer is the closest thing that General Motors can come up to the Jeep. It should be remembered that GM has been trying to build a vehicle that can match Chrysler’s Jeep and so far the best that they can build is the Hummer. Unfortunately, what supposed to be a competition has ended in forming two distinct classes headed separately by Jeep and Hummer.

The Hummer and the Jeep are distinct from each other not only with the obvious exterior features but also with its auto components starting from the complex down to parts like Jeep ignition coil from that of the Hummer’s own version of ignition coil. But both vehicles are remarkable machines that are worth checking out.

Recently Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman, global product development, unveiled a prototype right hand drive H3 during the opening ceremony of their new Hummer facility in Manchester, UK.

GM is hoping that Hummer’s iconic design and unparalleled off-road capabilities would appeal to a wide audience globally. Lutz said that they are determined to build upon the brand’s unique recognition in Europe and most especially in the UK.

The right hand drive Hummer H3 will be built at GM’s Struandale plant in South Africa and will be made available in other right-hand-drive markets like those of Japan, Australia, and South Africa.

It can be remembered that it was in late 1999 when General Motors acquired the Hummer brand. It was only in May 2005 that the H3 made its debut in North America which helped the Hummer brand to become one of the fastest growing truck brands in the United States by the end of 2006. The H3 with its smaller, more efficient package makes it accessible to more customers.

In addition to the growth in the United States, Hummer was also able to expand to other parts of the world. And by 2006, Hummer was able to obtain an approximately 34 percent sales growth globally translated to 82,000 delivered vehicles compared to the 61,000 figure achieved in 2005. This performance was further strengthened by the new Hummer H3.

All the previous H3s were assembled in General Motors North American facility in Shreveport, Louisiana however the new international H3, intended for markets outside North America are assembled at the Struandale Assembly facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa where GM was said to have invested more than $100 million to prepare for production of the H3.

The Hummer H3

From the start the Hummer vehicles have created a class of their own characterized by extreme style and capability unparalleled by its competition. The latest addition to the Hummer family is the H3 which is designed to answer the demand from global markets for a premium everyday driving vehicle but at the same time maintains that legendary Hummer performance.

The H3 was designed for global distribution and was built in South Africa. The H3 embodies the brand’s unique styling features and iconic shape. Plus its premium interior design and 3.7 liter engine is offered with the choice of a manual or automatic transmission and a full-time four-wheel-drive system.

H3 is also loaded with original Hummer style and capability which boost its compact dimensions. But compared to the Hummer H2, the H3 is 39 mm shorter, 171 mm lower and 73 mm narrower. Although roughly the same length as the larger family saloon, the H3 is remarkable in navigating through traffic and yet still maintains its prowess when it comes to crawling and climbing capability off-road.

The 4782 mm long Hummer H3 is powered by GM’s Vortec 3.7 liter engine which revs up 242hp/180kW at 5600 rpm and 328 Nm of torque at 4600 rpm. It also comes with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. The H3 is the first Hummer ever to offer the choice of a manual or an automatic transmission.

The H3’s Hydra-Matic 4L60 electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission and the five-speed manual transmission provides it with ultimate driver control. At the heart of the H3 is its electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system which is amplified with traction control, an optional rear differential and StabiliTrak control which is offered as standard feature. The H3 can cross 407 mm deep water at 32 km/h or 610 mm deep streams at an 8 km/h pace plus climbed 407 mm vertical steps or rocks.

Lastly, the H3’s more compact size increases it maneuverability making it easy to park or to make tight turns when off-roading.

Degree Training Available Online

With the continual advancement of technology everything has become easier from reading the news to communicating with friends. One of the more recent advancements is the ability to earn an education online. Interested individuals can enter degree training online to make their desire of earning an education possible. Numerous accredited online colleges and universities offer degree distinctions in almost every job and career across the country.

Let’s talk first about the beneficial factors of earning a degree online. Prospective students will be able to earn their degree solely online. This removes the hassle of commuting to a campus, finding parking, etc. The ability to train online is a benefit to individuals who can’t stop working to earn a degree at a traditional college. With people having numerous avenues of responsibilities gaining an education will make it possible for them to raise their knowledge and career options from home. Most online degree programs let students choose their schedule and study pace, meaning if one course is particularly hard for an individual they are allotted more time to complete the course before moving on to another course.

Training methods will differ depending on the subject and course. Typically students complete work online and communicate with their professor and other classmates via e-mail and classroom databases. Students may have phone meeting times or video   transmission  courses. In a phone meeting students will check in with their professor and other classmates to go over course material and findings. A video  transmission  course will have the professor teaching while students watch him through a video  transmission . These type of courses are not usually integrated into a normal degree program. Most students will not have to communicate with people in this manner.

Online colleges offer training programs from certificates to PhD’s to qualified students. Let’s look briefly at what each level of education is offered to students, to gain a better understanding of what a degree program online looks like. Certificate programs are offered online in a variety of fields. Length will vary depending on the subject. In general certificate programs will take around three to six months to complete. Students who enroll in these programs are usually industry professionals brushing up on new techniques or technology.

As associate’s degree program will have students working through a one to two year program, depending on the field. An associate’s degree program provides students with coursework that establishes a foundation in their field. This foundation can be used to enter a profession as an assistant or use it as a base to gain higher education later after a few years of work experience. Gaining a bachelor’s degree is the most popular form of degree because almost every profession lists this degree level as a requirement prior to being hired. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes a student four years to complete. Knowledge gained at this level of schooling provides numerous career options and a foundation to enter graduate programs. Online programs allow students to continue education and earn a master’s degree and/or a PhD in their chosen field. These programs can last from two to four years and typically are pursued by individuals who want to enter managerial or supervisory positions within their respected field.

Don’t let the opportunity to earn a degree pass you by. Use the available technology to gain an accredited online education in a field of your choice. Enter a fulfilling career by enrolling in an online degree program today.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Transmission Repair or Replacement

In order to be a responsible and reliable vehicle owner, it is necessary to have occasional maintenance done. To keep things running their best and lasting as long as possible, you must get occasional inspections and improvements from someone who knows what they are doing. This means more than opening the hood and checking fluids with a dipstick or just simply looking at it.

A tune-up means that a licensed and qualified mechanic gets under the hood and under the car and looks to see what is happening with all of the systems and components of the automobile. Sometimes, the solution can be something simple like  transmission  repair, but sometimes, it will mean replacement of the whole shifting system. If that is the case, there are a few things you need to understand in order to make sure you that do not get taken for a ride with unnecessary work being done.

If the vehicle has a clutch and a stick shift, it is referred to as a manual system because to go from one gear to another, the driver must physically shift the gears. An automatic system is just that, it requires no human input and transitions on its own.  Transmission  repair and replacement on a manual system is much more straightforward than with an automatic system, but that does not mean it is any less important.

Now that computers can do so much, it is not surprising to learn that even  transmission  repair is not left to the opportunity for human error. Instead, diagnostics are performed with computerized gauges. These take electrical signals from the car to communicate codes that relate to specific issues. This allows the problem to be assessed without having to open everything up and physically examine what is happening.

If the problem that is discovered is too extensive or the cost or  transmission  repair is higher than the cost of replacement, it may be necessary to purchase a whole new system. This can be either brand-new or what they call rebuilt. In most instances, unless you must really save money, go with something new to ensure that you are not simply purchasing someone else’s problems and installing them in your car.

 Transmission  repair is the preferred choice over replacement. It is far less expensive and takes very little time. The fact of that matter is that sometimes the issues that a car has can exceed the skills of a mechanic. That is when it is important to bite the bullet and fork over the cash for something new that will continue to work for years to come.

What Causes Yeast Infections in Women – 3 Things That Will Shock You

What causes yeast infections in women? The answer may surprise you. This is one of the most common health issues that women experience. Tens of thousands of women are treated by doctors for this uncomfortable and embarrassing condition every day.

Yeast infections know no bounds of race, age, or geographic location. Any woman is susceptible to them. While there are a lucky few who are never bothered by this problem, most women will experience at least one yeast infection on their lives.

Once you learn what causes them, you’ll have a better idea of how they can be prevented.

1. Yeast infections can happen anywhere on your body. While the vagina is the most common location for these infections in women, problems can also happen in the blood, on the skin, and in the mouth. Dark, wet, and damp conditions cause yeast infections, so places on or in your body that have these conditions are breeding grounds for yeast.

In the blood, these infections manifest themselves as such things as PMS, depression, arthritis, and ADHD. On the skin, yeast causes rashes, and in the mouth, it causes thrush. Babies who get diaper rash are suffering from yeast infections (after all, a wet diaper is the perfect place for yeast spores to grow).

Eliminate these conditions, and you’ll be putting up a strong barrier against yeast.

2. Sugar feeds yeast. People who eat sugary diets are prime candidates for yeast infections. If you don’t consume a lot of sugar, it’s unlikely yeast will grow into much of a problem, even if you’re exposed to it. However, the more cookies and cake you eat, the worse your infection will become.

3. Yeast can be sexually transmitted. Men can be contaminated with yeast, but not have any symptoms. They can then pass it to their sexual partners without knowing it. The women get yeast, and pass it back to their partners in turn, creating a never-ending cycle of   transmission .

Attacking yeast at its roots is the best way to get rid of it for good. Even if you keep your body clean and dry, avoid sugar, and have protected sex, if you’ve already had an infection in your life, the yeast could still be there, lying dormant.

You’ve got to kill it all to ensure it won’t come back. There is a way to do this, and it’s safe and natural. Learning what causes yeast infections in women is easy, and getting rid of them for good can be easy as well, if you know what to do.