Understanding The Most Important Investment Concepts

It’s always good to have at least a basic foundation of fundamental investment knowledge whether you’re a beginner to investing or working with a professional financial advisor. The reason is simple: You are likely to be more comfortable in investing your money if you understand the lingo and basic principles of investing. Combining the basics with what you want to get out of your investment strategy, you will be empowered to make financial decisions yourself more confidently and also be more engaged and interactive with your financial advisor.Below are a few basic principles that you should be able to understand and apply when you are looking to potentially invest your money or evaluate an investment opportunity. You’ll find that the most important points pertaining to investing are quite logical and require just good common sense. The first step is to make the decision to start investing. If you’ve never invested your money, you’re probably not comfortable with make any investment decisions or moves in the market because you have little or no experience. It’s always difficult to find somewhere to begin. Even if you find a trusted financial advisor, it is still worth your time to educate yourself, so you can participate in the process of investing your money and so that you may be able to ask good questions. The more you understand the reasons behind the advice you’re getting, the more comfortable you will be with the direction you’ve chosen.Don’t Be Intimidated by the Financial Lingo If you turn on the TV to some financial network, don’t worry that you can’t understand the financial professionals right away. A lot of what they say can actually boil down to simple financial concepts. Make sure you ask your financial advisor the questions that concern you so you become more comfortable when investing.IRAs Are Containers to Hold Investments-They Aren’t Investments Themselves The first area of confusions that most new investors get confused about is around their retirement vehicles and plans that they may have. If an investor has an individual retirement accounts (IRA), a 401(k) plan from work, or any other retirement-type plan at work, you should understand the differences between all the accounts you have and the actual investments you have within those accounts. Your IRA or 401(k) is just a container that houses your investments that brings with it some tax-advantages.Understand Stocks and Bonds Almost every portfolio contains these kinds of asset classes. If you buy a stock in a company, you are buying a share of the company’s earnings. You become a shareholder and an owner at the same time of the company. This simply means that you have equity in the company and the company’s future – ready to go up and down with the company’s ups and downs. If the company is doing well, then your shares will be doing well and increase in value. If the company is not doing well or fails, then you can lose value in your investment.If you buy bonds, you become a creditor of the company. You are simply lending money to the company. So you don’t become a shareholder or owner of the company/bond-issuer. If the company fails, then you will lose the amount of your loan to the company. However, the risk of losing your investment to bondholder is less then the risk to owners/shareholders. The reasoning behind this is that to stay in business and have access to funds to finance future expansion or growth, the company must have a good credit rating. Furthermore, the law protects a company’s bondholders over its shareholders if the company goes bankrupt.Stocks are considered to be equity investments, because they give the investor an equity stake in the company, while bonds are referred to as fixed-income investments or debt instruments. A mutual fund, for instance, can invest in any number or combination of stocks and bonds.Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket An important investment principle of all is not to invest all or most of your money into one investment.Include multiple and varying types of investments in your portfolio. There are many asset classes such as stocks, bonds, precious metals, commodities, art, real estate, and so on. Cash, in fact, is also an asset class. It includes currency, cash alternatives, and money-market instruments. Individual asset classes are also broken down into more precise investments such as small company stocks, large company stocks, or bonds issued by municipalities, or bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury.The various asset classes go up and down at different times and at different speeds. The purpose of a diversified portfolio is to mitigate the ups and downs by smoothing out the volatility in a portfolio. If some investments are losing value at some particular period, others will be increasing in value at the same time. So the overarching objective is to make sure that the gainers offset the losers, which may minimize the impact of overall losses in your portfolio from any single investment. The goal that you will have with your financial advisor is to help find the right balance between the asset classes in your portfolio given your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and investment time horizon. This process is commonly referred to as asset allocation.As mentioned earlier, each asset class can be internally diversified further with investment options within that class. For example, if you decide to invest in a financial company, but are worried that you may lose your money by putting everything into one single company, consider making investments into other companies ( Company A, Company B, and Company C) rather than putting all your eggs in one basket. Even though diversification alone doesn’t guarantee that you will make a profit or ensure that you won’t lose value in your portfolio, it can still help you manage the amount of risk you are taking or are willing to take. Recognize the Tradeoff Between an Investment’s Risk and Return Risk is generally looked at as the possibility of losing money from your investments. Return is looked at as the reward you receive for making the investment. Returns can be found by measuring the increase in value of your investment from your original investment principal.There is a relationship between risk and reward in finance. If you have a low risk-tolerance, then you will take on less risk when investing, which will result in a lower possible return at any given time, relatively. The highest risk investment will offer the chance to make high returns.Between taking on the highest risk and the lowest risk, most investors seek to find the right balance of risk and returns that he/she feels comfortable with. So, if someone advises you to get in on an investment that has a high return and it is risk-free, then it may be too good to be true.Understand the Difference Between Investing for Growth and Investing for Income Once you make the decision to invest, you may want to consider whether the objective of your portfolio is have it increase in value by growing overtime, or is it to produce a fixed income stream for you to supplement your current income, or is it maybe a combination of the two?Based on your decision, you will either target growth oriented investments or income oriented ones. U.S. Treasury bills, for instance, provide a regular income stream for investors through regular interest payments, and the value of your initial principal tends to be more stable and secure as opposed to a bond issued by a new software company. Likewise, an equity investment in a larger company such as an IBM is generally less risky than a new company. Furthermore, IBM may provide dividends every quarter to their investors which can be used as an income stream as well. Typically, newer companies reinvest any income back into the business to make it grow. However, if a new company becomes successful, then the value of your equities in that company may grow at a much higher rate than an established company. This increase is typically referred to as capital appreciation.Whether you are looking for growth, income, or both, your decision will fully depend on your individual financial and investment objectives and needs. And, each type may play its own part in your portfolio.Understand the Power of Compounding on Your Investment Returns Compounding is an important investment principle. When you reinvest any dividends or other investment returns, you begin to earn returns on your past returns.Consider a simple example of a plain bank certificate of deposit (CD) that is rolled over to a new CD including its past returns each time it matures. Interest that is earned over the lifetime of the CD becomes part of the next period’s sum on which interest is assessed on. At the beginning, when you initially invest your money compounding may seem like only a little snowball; however, as time goes by, that little snowball gets larger because of interest compounding upon interest. This helps your portfolio grow much faster. You Don’t Have to Go at It Alone Your Financial Advisor can give you the investment guidance that you need so that you don’t have to stop yourself from investing in the market because you feel like you don’t know enough yet. Knowing the basic financial principles, having good common sense, and having your Financial Advisor guide you along the way can help you start evaluating investment opportunities for your portfolio and help get you closer toward achieving your financial goals.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Hotels Near Disneyland California

Now that you have definitely decided to take the family on a unforgettable trip to Disneyland, you are going to have to find some hotels near Disneyland, California, in order for you to make a good choice as to where you and your family will stay. If you do a search on the Internet, you will find a variety of really good hotels.The Best Western Anaheim Inn is one of the most convenient hotels near the Resort. This hotel is located right across the street from the Magic Kingdom. You will be sure to experience a fantastic vacation and, at the same time, you will be staying in one of the most family-friendly hotels close to the Hotel Resort for families. You will not have to worry about breaking your pocketbook while staying at this hotel.One of the hotels near Disneyland, California, is the Best Western Anaheim Inn is located in the heart of Anaheim and is less than a mile away from the Convention Center. Every room in the hotel features a microwave, mini-fridge, and high speed wireless Internet access. You will get a sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are staying at the Best Western which is the World’s Largest Hotel chain.Be sure that you enquire about their vacation packages. The Park Hopper Tickets as well as other Southern California tours are ready for purchase. A shuttle bus leaves daily from a ¼ block from the hotel’s front door. You can also visit the Hollywood, San Diego Zoo, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. This makes the Best Western Anaheim Inn one of the most versatile of all of the hotels near Disneyland, California.Carousel Inns and SuitesA lot of families come to this area just to experience the sounds and the sights of the great resort. Their location in Anaheim is in the most perfect location because they are literally across the street. This is just another one of the hotels near Disneyland, California.This hotel has been designated as one of the Good Neighbor Hotels. This makes them Californias hit among both business and leisure travelers. This means that you will be able to skip the lines and be able to buy Park Hopper tickets there and get ready to seek out the fun and frivolity that many people experience when they come to the hotel. You will be able to enjoy the evening fireworks display from the rooftop pool or from the comfort of one of the Inn’s many suites that overlook the Disney Resort.You have now completed your Anaheim hotel search. Where are you going to go in order to enjoy fabulous family fun? Why, none other than the Disneyland Resort of course. Where will you stay when you come to visit?There is only one place that will fill you wish list and that is the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel – another fabulous Anaheim Hotel. The Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel is situated right across from the Matterhorn Mountain on Harbor Boulevard in Disneyland. It is an easy eight minute walk to the Main Gates. The hotel is only four blocks from the Convention Center. You will be able to watch the fireworks display from Castaway Cove at the Howard Johnson Hotel.We look forward to welcoming you to one of the hotels near Disneyland, California.