Best Investment Ideas and Best Safe Investments for 2012

Here we list some of the best investment ideas and tackle the challenge of finding the best safe investments for 2012. What might appear to be one of the best investment ideas to the uninformed could turn out to be one of the worst.

Looking at the big picture for investment ideas in 2012, moderation in asset allocation and a balanced investment portfolio will be the most basic key to success. There are 4 asset classes, and average investors need to spread their money across at least the first three to keep their overall portfolio risk moderate. The 4 categories in asset allocation are: safe investments, bonds, stocks and alternative investments like gold and real estate (optional). Asset allocation can be simplified, because there are mutual funds available to average investors that represent each of the 4 asset classes. Now let’s get more specific about the best investment ideas for 2012 starting with safe investments.

Safe investments earn interest and do not fluctuate in price. You will need to look outside of mutual funds in 2012 to find the best safe investments because record low interest rates have taken yields on money market securities (and hence money market funds) down to just about zero. One of the best investment ideas if you have an account with a discount broker or major mutual fund company is to shop for one-year CDs paying higher rates if you can’t get competitive rates from your local bank. Do not tie your money up for longer periods just to earn a little more interest. One of these days interest rates will go back up and you will be locked in at a lower rate and face penalty charges if you cash in early.

Finding the best safe investments will be truly challenging in 2012, but here are some more investment ideas. If you are in a retirement plan like a 401k that has a fixed or stable account option do not overlook it. You can often get a much higher interest rate there (maybe 4% to 5%) than anywhere else outside of your retirement plan. If you own an older retirement annuity or universal life insurance policy, it might have a fixed account you can add money to that is guaranteed to never pay less than 3% or 4%. Remember, truly safe investments like U.S. Treasury bills and bank money market and savings accounts are paying WAY LESS than 1%!

Over the past 30 years bonds and bond funds have become a favorite with investors because they have been consistent performers and returned on average about 10% per year… basically about equal to what stocks have returned, but with considerably less risk. Many investors have fallen in love with their bonds funds and consider them to be among the world’s best safe investments. Bond funds are NOT safe investments. They have performed well since 1981 (when interest rates and inflation were at record highs) for one primary reason. Both inflation and interest rates have been falling for 30 years, which has sent bond prices higher. Loading up on bond funds now is NOT one of the best investment ideas for 2012. In fact, it is one of the worst investment ideas.

When interest rates and/or inflation turn around and head upward bond funds, especially those that hold long-term bond issues, will be losers. That’s how bonds work. One of the very best investment ideas for 2012 is to sell your long-term bond funds if you own any, and switch to funds holding bonds with average maturities of about five years. These are called intermediate-term bond funds; and average investors should have some money invested here as part of their asset allocation strategy to add balance to their investment portfolio. These are not truly safe investments, but they are much safer than long-term funds.

My best investment ideas in the stock department focus on stock funds. Do not go heavily into the more aggressive funds that invest primarily in growth and/or small company stocks. These pay little if anything in dividend income and tend to be more risky and volatile than the average stock fund. Go with funds that invest in high quality large-company stocks with excellent dividend paying histories. Look for funds that are paying 2% or more in dividends. One of the best investment ideas for 2012 and beyond: invest in no-load funds with low yearly expenses. No-load means no sales charges, and low expenses mean higher net returns to the investor.

Alternative investments include the likes of real estate, gold and other precious metals, natural resources, commodities, foreign investments and so on. One of the best investment ideas for managing a truly balanced investment portfolio is to include this fourth asset class as well. The simplest way for the average investor to add these alternatives to their portfolio is with mutual funds that specialize in these areas or sectors. My best investment ideas here: don’t go heavily into any one area, and don’t chase after a sector (like gold) just because it’s hot. Real estate and natural resources funds would be my picks as two of the best investment ideas in the alternative investments asset class.

Moderation and diversification across the asset classes will be the key to asset allocation in 2012. I have also listed some specific best investment ideas for keeping the average investor in the game and out of serious trouble should the investment scene turn ugly. Above all else memorize this: long-term bond funds are not among the best safe investments for 2012. They are not safe investments, period.

Interactive Technology in Healthcare Education

Healthcare professionals are under pressure to remember, utilize and absorb vast amounts of new or changing information in increasing volume. This surge has led to new and improved computer-based tools for many healthcare activities and to an explosion in the marketplace of tools used in instruction and education of healthcare workers. This article explains the use of interactive technology in healthcare and how this benefits instruction and education of healthcare professionals.

Digital systems that capture images from documents, 35-mm slides, physical samples or specimens, or virtually anything that the camera lens can see, is found in interactive technology. In healthcare, transmitting these images to computers with simple devices or software that will allow the display and integration of educational material into the training environment is easily accommodated.

The method for delivering these images or documents, usually via PowerPoint presentations, photography, videotape or audio presentations can turn a standard Windows PC into a dynamic, interactive, teaching tool. Depending on the type of training environment needed, interactive presentations can be found in the use of liquid crystal displays, large plasma displays, rear projection systems or even whiteboards. Educators can now tailor their courses to their audience’s expectations and needs using any number of these presentation forms.

Effectiveness of interactive learning systems is largely dependent upon the type or form of delivery used in combination with software that is easily used by both novice and expert users. Smaller systems will use a pen or stylus vs. a computer and a mouse where larger systems may use elaborate videoconferencing systems where many participants can be in the virtual classroom at the same time. Many healthcare organizations already utilize small and large types of communication systems routinely in the delivery of quality, high-tech healthcare to patients and their community. Adapting this equipment or having it serve dual purposes is an easy and cost-effective transition.

The era of the blackboards and chalk dust is now a memory for most of us. Interactive technology tools permit the educator to draw on, write on, and annotate data right on the screen as part of their dynamic presentation. In addition, the educator can now annotate their presentation and then save, print and even distribute by email, the contents of the class session to all participants.

The mobility that interactive technology gives the educator in the virtual classroom lends itself to unlimited types of uses and methods for delivery of high quality, interactive, sessions. Participants, too, benefit from easy access to the sessions, improved and more accurate note-taking that can be used later for study and reference. This all leads to greater retention of the learning objectives and enhanced or improved application in the field once the participant returns to the office or department.

Healthcare professionals should look for educators and learning systems that combine ergonomics with interactive technologies that integrate use the user of free text, annotation, images and video clips with the traditional printed materials. Transitions between screens or programs, linking to the Internet and class sessions, downloading or printing of the course materials and saving of files or information for future classes or reference use should be easy and simple to use. The presentation and delivery of the educational material should be efficient and easy to use and tailored to use by both healthcare professionals that have varying levels of technological skills.

Regardless of whether healthcare workers are new to the workplace or seasoned professionals, the learning systems used should assist them with learning new skills, procedures, diagnostic techniques and terminology. Communication between healthcare workers in both local and distant communities is on the rise and the use of interactive technology enables the participants to collaborate and share critical data and information.

Interactive technology can also benefit the bottom line and reduce costs formerly associated with travel or staffing and resources to send workers to local, regional or national meetings. Interactive presentations and systems can also attract and hold the participants interest and attention, enhancing their learning and retention gained from the course(s).

It is no wonder, then, that interactive technology has gained such a strong and prominent position in the education of healthcare workers. Healthcare workers looking for either online, distance or local training should evaluate the presentation and delivery systems used in order to maximize their learning experience.

PUBLISHING RIGHTS:

You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print, in your e-book or on your website, free of charge, as long as the author’s information and web link are included at the bottom of the article and the article is not changed, modified or altered in any way. The web link should be active when the article is reprinted on a web site or in an email. The author would appreciate an email indicating you wish to post this article to a website, and the link to where it is posted.

Copyright 2005, M. A. Webb. All Rights Reserved

What is a Line Cook and the Responsibilities That Come With the Job?

Fire, a term used to get ready to starting an order that the waiter just placed in. The guest have probably been waiting for at least ten minutes from the time that they first sat down at their table, and are now waiting for that meal that the kitchen staff will prepare.

The front line in the kitchen is where most of the food is fired. It is divided and usually consists of a saute section, a broiler, a grill, a deep fryer, a salamander, cold reach-ins or drawers, and hot water wells. One that works on this line, which may consist of 2 to 3 even 4, depending on the size of the restaurant or the menu, are called line cooks. Sometimes the chef likes to get in on the action.

As a line cook you need to be prepared, you need to know the menu, all the different recipes, have all your tools on hand, have all your ingredients in the menu on the line, and of course you need the skills of cooking.

Being mentally prepared, by far, is one of the most important ingredient a line cook should have. One must be able to concentrate on the task at hand over all the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. the chef would be calling out orders, waitstaff are asking all kinds of questions, you maybe working on maybe three or more things at once, and timing is crucial, everyone on the line must be in sync. With all these distractions one must keep his composure. Getting stressed, or angry doesn’t help but it does happen. Waitstaff asking you how much longer, chef telling you to fire one more thing from another order, your saute cook is a little behind, it’s been almost an hour since this chaotic mess started and your wondering when will it end. Temperatures rise on the front line and I don’t mean the burners.

After all is said and done, there are no complaints, no one waiting long for their meal, guests are happy, a few compliments, waitstaff got their tips, line cooks getting ready to clean the line, and making a list of the prep that needs to be done when they return the next day. Everyone gets a pat on the back, job well done. That is the reward and one of the goals of the front line cook.

Guest satisfaction is the priority of the front line cook. The quality of the meal is your number one concern along with presentation. All the ingredients must be fresh, every cook must be on the same page as far as the recipes go, there needs to be consistency making sure that what you cooked today, will taste the same tomorrow or next week. This is what brings in repeat customers, this is what a restaurant focuses on and depends on. The line cook along side the rest of the kitchen staff strive to do this daily. As a line cook you need to take pride in your job, because if you do, that pride will certainly reflect on the meals you prepare.

Investing Money in 2014 and 2015 for Retirement – An Old Pro’s Viewpoint

In 2014 and maybe 2015 and beyond, investing money will be tougher and putting together the best investment portfolio might mean investing money for safety vs. higher investment returns. The best investment ideas are slim pickings. There is very little that is normal in today’s world of finance. My reasoning and background follows.

In 1971 I had my Masters in Business (finance) and knew nothing about the investment world or investing money. Actually, I found it quite embarrassing, because adults that I would meet in the business world thought that I might have the best investment ideas in my pocket – due to my education. The years that followed were not the best investment environment, and I became a stock broker in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. I learned real quick what my job was really all about: selling investment ideas… SELL the sizzle NOT the steak… I was informed by my sales manager.

Forty years later, investing money is a game that I find has changed little. It’s all but impossible to find the best investment, and the world of investing money is primarily a sales game aimed at uninformed investors (more than 90% of the investing public). I once read that NOW is always the hardest time to invest money. I’ve seen difficult times in the markets for over 40 years and I’ve NEVER repeated that phrase until now.

At this time, I am afraid that it is really true. Allison and I have three children, who are all basically 30-something and trying to make it in a difficult world. Investing money for retirement is not an option for them. It is an absolute necessity if they don’t want to work for the rest of their life. Many folks my age are covered by pension funds plus other entitlements, but that’s not the norm for 2014 and beyond. Now, let’s get down to business and talk about investing money in 2014 and beyond; and the best investment ideas I can muster as an older (but still on top of my game) retired financial planner.

If you have a 401k at work participate in it, and take maximum advantage of your employer’s matching contribution if your company offers this feature (it’s free money). Investing money here is automatic and almost painless. This is one of the best investment ideas available for accumulating a nest egg for retirement. Plus, the tax advantages will put a smile on your face each year at income-tax time.

Open a Roth IRA with a major NO-LOAD mutual fund family and start investing money each month through their automatic investment plan. Enter “no-load funds” into a search engine and you’ll see some of the biggest and best fund companies at the top of the page, names like Vanguard, Fidelity and T Rowe Price. Give them a toll-free call if you have questions – like do you qualify, how much can you invest a year, and will they send you free literature. A Roth IRA (or Roth 401k if available) is one of the very best investment ideas for accumulating money for retirement. A Roth account (IRA or 401k) is TAX FREE investing, as long as you follow the rules. Tax free is as good as it gets and difficult to find.

Mutual funds are the average investor’s best investment vehicle because they offer both professional management and instant diversification in the form of a managed portfolio of stocks, bonds, and money market securities. When you invest money in a fund, you own a very small part of (own shares in) a very large investment portfolio. There is always a cost for investing money in funds. All funds charge for yearly expenses. This can amount to less than 1% a year in NO-LOAD FUNDS, with no sales charges when you invest money and no extra ongoing management fees. Or, you can pay 5% in sales charges off the top when you invest money, 2% or more for yearly expenses and 1% to 2% in additional management fees if you work through a sales rep (financial planner, adviser, or whatever).

One of the best investment ideas for 2014, 2015 and beyond: keep your cost of investing money as low as possible. This could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the long term. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Do all that you can to learn about investing money; and especially learn about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Once you understand stocks and bonds, getting a handle on mutual funds is a piece of cake. What are the investment options inside your employer’s 401k plan? The vast majority of them are likely mutual funds – mostly stock funds, bond funds, and/or balanced funds (that invest in both stocks and bonds). There will likely also be one or two safe investment options that pay interest: a money market funds and/or a stable account.

Investing money successfully in 2014 and beyond could be very difficult due to today’s investment environment. First, record low interest rates mean that safe investments that pay interest are paying close to nothing. Second, bonds and bond funds pay more interest, but when interest rates go back up to normal levels they WILL LOSE money; that’s the way bonds and bond funds work. Third, stocks and stock funds are pricy, having gone up in value and price well over 100% since 2009. In other words, best investment ideas are few and far between.

Here’s the best investment strategy in 2014 and beyond for beginners who want to start investing money for retirement and keep it simple. In a 401k and/or Roth IRA account invest (monthly or each payday) equal amounts into a stock fund, bond fund, and money market fund. If your 401k has a stable account option use this instead of the money market fund if it pays more interest.

Mutual funds are always one of the best investment ideas for most investors – if you invest money in low-cost no-load funds. (Your 401k plan should have no loads, sales charges). When investing money for retirement in 2014 and 2015 keep three factors in mind. Two of these always apply: keep costs low and invest money across the board in all three fund types listed above. Your third factor is to give money market funds equal weight in 2014 and beyond for added safety. Normally, you would give them less weighting.

Staying Healthy: HIPAA Training

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is fondly known as HIPAA. It is a law that was enacted to provide protection and safeguard against the issuance of confidential medical information of individual patients. HIPAA specifies that those who work in the medical industry receive training in the laws and procedures of patient information security. Hospitals, physicians, nurses, researchers, and insurance companies are required to understand and be certified in HIPAA rules and regulations. There are those who work as medical staff, clerks and records clerks who must also be trained. HIPAA training teaches policies, organization, and protections as well as the procedures involved in maintaining patient security and privacy rights.

HIPAA Training

If an organization is deemed a covered entity by the medical community that organization is required to provide HIPAA training to all employees, agents, volunteers, trainees and contractors. As a definition, a covered entity handles, stores, and uses private medical information.

HIPAA training can be obtained in several different ways. Generally HIPAA training is completed at the time of first employment with training sessions conducted throughout the employee’s career. Training can be conducted between the execution of agreements, though educational conferences, classes and seminars, on the job training, in newsletter updates, online or several other methods. Whatever way you choose to administer HIPAA training, you will be required to provide employees with certification and keep copies of these certificates on file.

It is possible to incorporate HIPAA training using an agreement entitled a privacy, confidentiality and information security document. This instrument is used at the time employment begins and throughout the employee’s career. Policies of the HIPAA laws and of the clinic will be included and the employee will be tested on HIPAA privacy issues. There should also be signatures from both the employee and the employer stating that training has been offered and the employee is certified. If there is a problem with HIPAA policies or a breach of confidentially and security these documents are the proof that the employee and the employer were trained and signed off on the HIPAA laws.

HIPAA educational courses are dependent on how the employer will handle protected health information and how the employees will use this information. The classes discuss procedures and policies for handling information to be in compliance with HIPAA laws. Written procedures are required to be available in the office, and these written documents describe how patient data is handled, what the policies are in case of a breach, and how a security breach will be documented.

Transmitting Patient Information via Computers

A covered entity stores and exchanges protected medical records through its computer system. HIPAA designates procedures that must be followed. For example computers must be password protected, provide limited access, and have additional back up security procedures. Training regarding the usage of electronic   transmission  of patient data includes computerized exercises developed to create potential HIPAA violations. The tools are given to the employee to resolve the breach. Exercises are documented and graded. This type of training can be very effective when certifying employees in HIPAA security methods.

Making Investment Plans

Steps In Investing

Step 1: Meeting Investment Prerequisites-Before one even thinks of investing, they should make sure they have adequately provided for the necessities, like housing, food, transportation, clothing, etc. Also, there should be an additional amount of money that could be used as emergency cash, and protection against other various risks. This protection could be through life, health, property, and liability insurance.

Step 2: Establishing Investing Goals-Once the prerequisites are taken care of, an investor will then want to establish their investing goals, which is laying out financial objectives they wish to achieve. The goals chosen will determine what types of investments they will make. The most common investing goals are accumulating retirement funds, increasing current income, saving for major expenditures, and sheltering income from taxes.

Step 3: Adopting an Investment Plan-Once someone has their general goals, they will need to adopt an investment plan. This will include specifying a target date for achieving a goal and the amount of tolerable risk involved.

Step 4: Evaluating Investment Vehicles-Next up is evaluating investment vehicles by looking at each vehicle’s potential return and risk.

Step 5: Selecting Suitable Investments-With all the information gathered so far, a person will use it to select the investment vehicles that will compliment their goals the most. One should take into consideration expected return, risk, and tax considerations. Careful selection is important.

Step 6: Constructing a Diversified Portfolio-In order to achieve their investment goals, investors will need to pull together an investment portfolio of suitable investments. Investors should diversify their portfolio by including a number of different investment vehicles to earn higher returns and/or to be exposed to less risk as opposed to just limiting themselves to one or two investments. Investing in mutual funds can help achieve diversification and also have the benefit of it being professionally managed.

Step 7: Managing the Portfolio-Once a portfolio is put together, an investor should measure the behavior in relation to expected performance, and make adjustments as needed.

Considering Personal Taxes

Knowing current tax laws can help an investor reduce the taxes and increase the amount of after-tax dollars available for investing.

Basic Sources of Taxation-There are two main types of taxes to know about which are those levied by the federal government, and those levied by state and local governments. The federal income tax is the main form of personal taxation, while state and local taxes can vary from area to area. In addition to the income taxes, the state and local governments also receive revenue from sales and property taxes. These income taxes have the greatest impact on security investments, which the returns are in the form of dividends, interest, and increases in value. Property taxes can also have a significant impact on real estate and other forms of property investment.

Types of Income-Income for individuals can be classified into three basic categories:

1. Active Income-This can be made up of wages, salaries, bonuses, tips, pension, and alimony. It is made up of income earned on the job as well as through other forms of noninvestment income.

2. Portfolio Income-This income is from earnings produced from various investments which could be made up of savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, and futures, and consists of interest, dividends, and capital gains.

3. Passive Income-Income gained through real estate, limited partnerships, and other forms of tax-advantaged investments.

Investments and Taxes-Taking into tax laws is an important part of the investment process. Tax planning involves examining both current and projected earnings, and developing strategies to help defer and minimize the level of taxes. Planning for these taxes will help assist investment activities over time so that an investor can achieve maximum after-tax returns.

Tax-Advantaged Retirement Vehicles-Over the years the federal government has established several types of retirement vehicles. Employer-sponsored plans can include 401(k) plans, savings plans, and profit-sharing plans. These plans are usually voluntary and allow employees to increase the amount of money for retirement and tax advantage of tax-deferral benefits. Individuals can also setup tax-sheltered retirement programs like Keogh plans and SEP-IRAs for the self-employed. IRAs and Roth IRAs can be setup by almost anyone, subject to certain qualifications. These plans generally allow people to defer taxes on both the contributions and earnings until retirement.

Investing Over the Life Cycle

As investors age, their investment strategies tend to change as well. They tend to be more aggressive when they’re young and transition to more conservative investments as they grow older. Younger investors usually go for growth-oriented investments that focus on capital gains as opposed to current income. This is because they don’t usually have much for investable funds, so capital gains are often viewed as the quickest way to build up capital. These investments are usually through high-risk common stocks, options, and futures.

As the investors become more middle-aged, other things like educational expenses and retirement become more important. As this happens, the typical investor moves towards more higher quality securities which are low-risk growth and income stocks, high-grade bonds, preferred stocks, and mutual funds.

As the investors get closer to retirement, their focus is usually on the preservation of capital and income. Their investment portfolio is now usually very conservative at this point. It would typically consist of low-risk income stocks and mutual funds, high-yield government bonds, quality corporate bonds, CDs, and other short-term investment vehicles.

Investing In Different Economic Conditions

Even though the government has different tools or strategies for moderating economic swings, investors will still endure numerous changes in the economy while investing. An investment program must allow the investor to recognize and react to changing conditions in the economy. It is important to know where to put your money and when to make your moves.

Knowing where to put your money is the easiest part to deal with. This involves matching the risk and return objectives of an investor’s plan with the investment vehicles. For example, if there is an experienced investor that can tolerate more risk, then speculative stocks may be right for them. A novice investor that wants a decent return on their capital may decide to invest in a growth-oriented mutual fund. Although stocks and growth funds may do well in an expanding economy, they can turn out to be failures at other times. Because of this, it is important to know when to make your moves.

Knowing when to invest is difficult because it deals with market timing. Even most professional money managers, economists, and investors can’t consistently predict the market and economic movements. It’s easier to understand the current state of the market or economy. That is, knowing whether the market/economy is expanding or declining is easier to understand than trying to predict upcoming changes.

The market or economy can have three different conditions: (1) recovery or expansion, (2) decline or recession, (3) a change in the general direction of its movement. It’s fairly easy to observe when the economy is in a state of expansion or recession. The difficult part is knowing whether the existing state of the economy will continue on the course it’s on, or change direction. How an investor responds to these market conditions will depend on the types of investment vehicles they hold. No matter what the state of the economy is, an investor’s willingness to enter the capital market depends on a basic trust in fair and accurate financial reporting.

Stocks and the Business Cycle

Conditions in the economy are highly influential on common stocks and other equity-related securities. Economic conditions is also referred to as the business cycle. The business cycle mirrors the current status of a variety of economic variables which includes GDP, industrial production, personal disposable income, the unemployment rate, and more.

An expanding business cycle will be reflected in a strong economy. When business is thriving and profits are up, stock prices react by increasing in value and returns. Speculative and growth-oriented stocks tend to do especially well in strong markets. On the flip side, when economic activity is diminishing, the values and returns on common stocks tend to follow the same pattern.

Bonds and Interest Rates

Bonds and other forms of fixed-income securities are highly sensitive to movements in interest rates. The single most important variable that determines bond price behavior and returns is the interest rate. Bond prices and interest rates move in opposite directions. Lower interest rates are favorable for bonds for an investor. However, high interest rates increase the attractiveness of new bonds because they must offer high returns to attract investors.

An Introduction To Birth Control

The dictionary defines birth control as “a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman becoming pregnant.” Birth control has become imperative in today’s world, due to the global rise in population, need for family planning and also to safeguard oneself from unwanted pregnancy.

There are various methods of birth control that one can adopt, including the withdrawal method, or coitus interruptus; barrier methods like condom, diaphragm, cervical cap or contraceptive sponge; chemical methods like contraceptive pills, contraceptive patch, or the progesterone-only pill (POP); intrauterine methods; fertility awareness methods and more. Other than the preventive methods, one can also adopt abortion methods like surgical abortions, chemical abortions and herbal abortifacients to end unwanted pregnancies. Some permanent birth control solutions are surgical sterilization, which includes tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.

Although there are many alternate methods of birth control available in the market, the most commonly used methods are contraceptive pills and condoms. Contraceptive pills or oral contraceptives consist of a pill with doses of synthetic hormones like progestin or estrogen, taken orally by a woman to prevent pregnancy. The contraceptive pills are considered to be a reliable mode of preventing pregnancy, but can sometimes also result in certain side effects like obesity, headaches or depression in some women. Condoms were traditionally manufactured for men but now are available for female users. Condoms serve a dual function, as they not only help in avoiding pregnancy but also prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.

In Canada and the US, contraceptive patches are also fast gaining popularity. A woman applies contraceptive patches on her skin for a week, and they release synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy. They act in the same manner as contraceptive pills. Contraceptive patches in Canada and US are sold under the brand name Ortho Evra, and are sold only by prescription.

With the advances in science and technology, we might witness new innovations in birth control methods; however, in order to choose the right mode of birth control one must consult one’s doctor.

Scooters – What Are the Features of a Scooter?

Scooters are quickly becoming a popular choice for cost conscious consumers looking for an economical way to get around town. Scooters have many benefits from low costs to above average fuel efficiency. However, when looking to purchase a scooter there are many features that you’ll either get standard or can upgrade. Here are some of those features:

Front Hydraulic ABS Disc Brakes Scooters can come with hydraulic anti-lock braking system (ABS) disc brakes on the front wheel. Hydraulic ABS disc brakes is a safety system on motor vehicles which prevents the wheels from locking while braking. Providing the best possible brakes to have because they provide the best stopping power.

100 MPG Scooters can get up to 100 miles to the gallon. While this may occur with the newer and higher end models, this kind of gas mileage makes this scooter very fuel efficient and economical. This vehicle is the perfect alternative to cars and motorcycles to save on gas and keep extra money in your pocket!

Electric Start / Kick Start Most scooters come equipped with an electric start. The electric start starting system makes starting simple for anyone. They can also come equipped with a kick start. The kick start can also be used at any time.

4-Stroke Engine Gas motor scooters come equipped with up to a 250cc 4-stroke engine. These engines typically have the ability to go up to 55 miles per hour (MPH). With an engine this size, there is enough power for two people to ride.

Fully Automatic Transmission Scooters also have installed a fully automatic transmission. Operated by the simple to use ‘twist & go’ throttle acceleration in other words with a fully automatic transmission there is no clutch or gear shifting at all.

Storage Most scooters come equipped with a large storage compartment located underneath the seat. This extra storage can be used to put all your items that you would normally put in a car glove compartment. Other storage may include a detachable rear storage trunk to put bigger items such as a briefcase, laptop, or luggage.

Scooters come equipped with many features including front hydraulic abs disc brakes, fuel efficiency of up to 100 mpg, electric start / kick start, a 4-stroke engine, fully automatic transmission, and storage space.

The Best Investment Funds for 2014 and Beyond?

Here we go one step beyond the basics and suggest that the best investment funds for 2014 and beyond could be funds that invest money in alternative investments. You can debate whether diversified stock funds or bond funds will be the best funds to invest money in, but your best investment could be funds that invest money in alternative investments like gold, oil, and maybe even real estate stocks.

Informed investors know that you should invest money in more than one area in order to have a diversified portfolio. Most investors think that the best investment strategy is to own the best funds, and that your only choices are diversified stock funds and bond funds. Few have a handle on the arena called “alternative investments”. Where do you think the smart investors will invest money when neither stocks (in general) nor bonds look attractive and safe investments are paying record low interest rates?

The top dogs look around for opportunities that are “outside of the box” in search of their best investment alternatives. Welcome to the world of alternative investments. As an average investor trying to find the best funds you might want to broaden your horizons as well. If our economy continues to be lackluster and interest rates rise in 2014 and beyond both diversified stock funds and bond funds could take a hit. So, where can you invest money for higher returns if things turn sour in 2014 and/or 2015?

Gold is not cheap anymore but it is well below its highs as I write this. Gold funds invest money in stocks in the gold and silver mining industry, and they took a major hit in 2013. Historically, gold has been one of the best investment alternatives in times of high uncertainty and crisis. Gold funds might be one of the best funds if things get ugly in 2014 and beyond. They may or may not be your best investment, but adding them to your portfolio at this time to add more diversification could be a good idea just in case.

Another alternative investment that’s a candidate for best investment ideas: oil and other natural resources. Your best funds to invest money in here and keep things simple are called natural resources funds. They too have proven to be good performers when the stock market in general is having a rough time. You might think that gasoline prices at the pump (and oil prices) are high now, but think back a few years. Prices can always go higher, even in a bad economy.

And then there’s real estate as an alternative investment. This industry has recovered from the financial crisis lows, in no small part due to low interest rates. What will happen if rates climb as the economy sputters? Investors usually invest money in real estate with borrowed money. The truth of the matter is that interest rates are still low by historical standards. Real estate funds can be one of your best investment alternatives as investors rush in to buy before rates climb further. The best funds here invest money in real estate investment trusts and other companies in the real estate sector, like home builders. Caution: when rates rise significantly the real estate industry can sputter.

Why do I suggest that the best funds in 2014 and beyond could be those that invest money in specialized sectors like gold, natural resources and perhaps real estate? Historically, in bad times for the economy and stock market in general these industries can attract money as investors search for the best investment alternatives to invest money in. Both stocks (in general) and bonds are selling near historical highs. Bonds have been on a thirty year roll, and stocks have climbed 150% in less than five years. Neither looks cheap by any standard.

In your search for the best investment alternatives to make your money grow, sometimes you need to look outside of the box. You need to invest money so that some of it is safe and available for future opportunities. And in times like 2014 and beyond it’s a good idea to further diversify into alternative investments. The simplest and best investment vehicle for the average investor is mutual funds. The best funds to add to your portfolio are those that can swim against the tide when it goes out.