Giving something back to the animals in our country

As a nation of animal lovers, it is no wonder that there are thought to be around 9 million dogs and 8 million cats
living here in the UK and a staggering 51 million pets living in domestic homes across the United Kingdom. Animal art is also becoming more and more popular with people choosing to animal prints up on their walls and you can also
buy Cat Lap trays from places like
or perhaps grab one for a friend for Christmas.

Due to the large numbers of animals here in the UK it is a sad inevitability that some of these will end up as strays on the streets or being mistreated in their own homes. This is where the RSPCA and various rescue charities come into
play. Following on from their yearly analysis the RSPCA reported that around every 30 seconds someone dials their animal cruelty line and it was reported that they received over a million calls in 2017. A million calls is a vast number of animal cruelty and welfare issues for the organisation to deal especially as they only have around 500 active animal staff working for them in roles such as animal welfare officers, animal collection officers and inspectors.

The RSPCA was first established in 1824 when it was originally named the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before the Royal patronage was established in 1840 by Queen Victoria. The organisation deals with a vast
number of cases each year as well as help sick and injured animals belonging to owners who can not afford for their veterinary care and they also rehome numerous animals each year. The figures are astounding:

In 2017 some of the figures included:
. Over 114,000 animals rescued from their current environments
. Over 44,000 animals were found new homes
. Investigation of over 140,000 cruelty complaints
. Just under 1,500 convictions against those individuals who broke the law in   relation to the protection and welfare of animals
. Over 200,000 animals were taken to the RSPCA
veterinary practices to be microchipped, neutered and to be treated for a variety of illnesses and injuries.

The number of convictions compared to the number of investigations that take place each year is incredibly low, andthis can be due to the difficulties in taking these kinds of cases to court and providing sufficient evidence to prosecute an individual.

Which are the best Christmas events to visit this year?

With Christmas ads on the airwaves and Christmas songs in the shops, it’s that time of year again. Why not get out and about and enjoy some of the great Christmas events in Gloucestershire. Whether you meet Santa himself or cheer and boo at the panto there’s so much to enjoy!

Enjoy mulled wine at a Christmas market

There’s no shortage of Christmas markets spreading cheer and goodwill throughout Gloucester this Christmas. Cheltenham delivers a delightful outdoor shopping experience with over 40 stalls, while the Dean Heritage Centre brings a Victorian flavour to the festivities. Meanwhile, the iconic Gloucester Cathedral promises carols on the hour at their Christmas market which takes place in the beautiful cloisters.

Meet Santa

Father Christmas is everywhere in Gloucester this year, putting in appearances at the Regent Arcade in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds Clubhouse. At the Slimbridge Wetlands Centre
you can enjoy breakfast or tea with the elves and post a letter direct to the North Pole. The whole family will also love the opportunity to see the majestic wild swans and geese being given their evening feed on the enchanting floodlit lake.

Take in a Christmas show

People of Gloucester boiler service time is here again! Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! If you’ve already arranged your annual service with a local company
then it’s time to relax with a festive trip to the theatre.

Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre has a packed programme of shows for all the family this Christmas, from the children’s classic The Velveteen Rabbit to Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop. Star of the show is the annual panto – this year it’s Aladdin, directed by Blue Peter’s Peter Duncan and it’ll have you cheering, booing and laughing out loud! There’s also Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Stroud, and a spectacular Dick Whittington at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury.

An alternative Christmas

Want to try something different this year? Stagecoach West is offering a Friends and Family Explorer ticket so you don’t need to miss a single Christmas light switch on and you can leave the car at home. Use your ticket to head for Hip Hopmas Eve at Cafe Rene in Gloucester to groove to some old school hip hop classics or head for the Regent Arcade and sign up for Elf School!

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.

Investing – How To Choose The Best Option

Investors are increasingly forced to choose from a proliferation of investment options. They also have to deal with contradictory advice on how to achieve their financial goals and how to invest the savings they have accumulated during their lifetime. If you consider that there are more than 7000 mutual funds available in the United States alone, and thousands of insurance products worldwide, making the choice that will satisfy them ever after is daunting, to say the least.

No wonder people so often ask the rather general question: Which investment is best? The first part of the answer is easy: No single investment is ‘the best’ under all circumstances for all investors. Personal circumstances, goals and different people’s needs differ, as do the characteristics of different investments. Secondly, one asset class’s strength in certain circumstances could be another’s weakness. It is therefore important to compare investments according to relevant criteria. The art is to find the appropriate investment for each objective and need.

The following are the most important criteria:

  • the goal of the investment
  • the risk the investor can handle
  • liquidity required
  • taxability of the investment
  • the period until the financial goal is reached
  • last but not least, the cost of the investment.

THE GOAL

Goals determine the characteristics sought in an investment. You will be in a position to choose the most appropriate investment only when you have decided on your short-, medium- and long-term goals. The following generic goals are normally involved:

Emergency fund

Emergency fund money should be readily available when needed, and the value of the fund should be equal to about six months’ income. Money market funds are excellent for this purpose. While these funds do not perform much higher than inflation, their benefit is that capital is saved and is easily accessible.

If you already have a ready emergency fund covering more than six months’ income, you could consider a more aggressive mutual fund

Capital protection

If your primary aim is capital protection, you will have to be satisfied with a lower growth rate on the investment. Those above 50 are normally advised to be conservative in their investment approach. While this may for the most part be sound advice, you should also keep an eye on the risk of inflation, so that the purchasing power of your money does not depreciate. It is not the nominal value of the capital that should be protected, but the inflation-adjusted one. At an annual inflation rate of 6%, $1 million today will buy the same as $174 110 in 30 years’ time. A 50 year-old with $1 million would therefore have to lower his living standard substantially if he only retains the $1 million until he was 80.

Conservative investments like those listed above should form the normal basis for providing an income. Because of inflation risk, investments should be structured so that they can at least keep up with inflation. This means that at least a percentage of the investment source providing the income should be made up of other asset classes like property and equity mutual funds. The percentage would differ according to individual and economic circumstances.

Investors fortunate enough to have their basic budget provided for by a conservative fund could consider increasing their income with commercial property funds and tax-free income from dividends paid out by listed shares.

Capital growth

If an investor’s primary goal is to achieve capital growth, the real rate of return should be higher than inflation. This implies greater risk to capital in the short term. Investors aiming at capital growth should not be apprehensive, as they will reap the rewards in the long term.

The history of equity prices over the past 100 years proves equity investments to be the best performer, followed by property. This does not mean you should buy either of these investments blindfolded. Wait until the quality shares in which you are interested are trading at inexpensive price levels.

RISK

The investment with a history of the highest growth is not necessarily the one to choose. The Standard Bank’s Gold Fund increased by 178% during the period 13 August 2001 – 24 May 2002 (284 days). Judging only on the growth of the fund during this period, it performed exceptionally well. But would it be the right investment for a retiree? During the 805 days following this, the same fund experienced a negative growth rate of 44%! The problem with an investment that decreases by this percentage is that it will not reach its previous peak by increasing again by 44%. This is because the growth this time will take place from a lower base, so in fact the investment would have to increase by approximately 80%.

LIQUIDITY

Hard assets like Persian carpets, works of art and antique furniture may be good investments in the long term, but unfortunately they are not very liquid. The same is true of certain shares in smaller companies. Money market funds, on the other hand, are very liquid, but the returns may not always be as good as those from other investments. The need to liquidise the investment quickly is therefore also a criterion to consider when evaluating investments.

TAXABILITY

The taxability of an investment has a considerable impact on its value to the investor. When comparing the returns on different investments, the return after tax has been deducted should be used. The investor should always ask what will be left in his pocket after tax deduction.

PERIOD

Conservative investments with no potential for high returns are suitable for shorter periods, while investment-objectives with longer time horizons aspire to achieving higher returns. Money market funds are suitable for periods of one or two years. Income and conservative asset allocation funds for three or four years and flexible asset allocation funds, commercial property funds and value equity funds may be chosen for longer periods, dependent on the economic and interest cycle and the propensity of the investor to accept risk.

COSTS

The costs involved in an investment are normally things like administrative cost and commission. The percentage of the costs to the investment amount directly affects the value of the investment. Many of the currently available investment products are structured in such a way that investors can negotiate commission.

CONCLUSION

No investment strategy blueprint is going to be perfect for everyone’s circumstances. Investment opportunities should therefore be examined critically before any decision is made. It should also be kept in mind that there are different companies managing specific funds under the investment categories referred to above. Some are more effectively managed than others. Investors should therefore research investments as well as the managers thoroughly before investing. Otherwise, they could appoint professional asset managers to do so on their behalf. Time spent determining the type of investment you really need is time invested in your future financial well-being.

Mexican Grand Prix Facts

If you love Formula 1 racing, maybe you’ve always dreamed of watching a race
somewhere hot and exotic. The Mexican Grand Prix fits the bill perfectly and has
taken place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City a grand total of
19 times since 1963. After more than 20 years of not hosting the race, the Mexican
Grand Prix returned to the F1 racing calendar in 2015. For your own once-in-a-
lifetime trackside experiences, visit the Mexico F1 Paddock Club with
edgeglobalevents.com/f1-paddock-club/f1-paddock-club-mexico/
The History of the Mexican Grand Prix
The very first Mexican race took place in 1962 where it was staged at the new
Magdalena Mixhuca circuit in Mexico City. The park also hosted events like
basketball, field hockey, track cycling and fencing for the Summer Olympics of 1968.
By 1963, the circuit became part of the Formula 1 Championship. However, it
wouldn’t be long before the Mexican race lost its place on the F1 calendar mostly
due to its incredible popularity. The organisers felt they could not control the
hundreds of thousands of spectators causing a safety issue for drivers. The last race
until 2015 happened in 1970 and was won by Ferrari team driver Jacky Ickx.

To help with safety, the circuit was partly redesigned and given a new name – the
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. It was named after two local racing brothers who
both died in racing accidents – Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez. It briefly returned to
the F1 calendar in 1986 and was a favourite with drivers, particularly the nerve-
wracking final corner named Peraltada. Sadly, the track fell out of favour once again
as organisers couldn’t fund the improvements needed to keep the track up to date.
Fast forward to 2015 and the Grand Prix once again returned to the Autodromo
Hermanos Rodriguez. The circuit had been redesigned with the main alteration being
a slow-speed section near the stadium which effectively halved the perilous final
Peraltada corner. Each race is a sell-out and it’s very well supported by local fans as
well as international ones.
Mexican Grand Prix Fact File
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is the highest track on the F1 calendar at
2,240m above sea level. At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest track is the Yas
Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and the Sochi Autodrom which both lie less than 1m
above sea level.

The driver Jim Clark is the only driver to complete a ‘Grand Slam’ at the Mexican
track in 1963. He took pole position, the quickest lap and won the race.
It was at the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix that driver Gerhard Berger had his first of 10
Grand Prix wins. He achieved this incredible success in a Benetton B186 and won
the Mexican race on just one set of Pirelli tyres.
The last turn on the newly designed circuit was renamed after British racing driver
Nigel Mansell in 2015 after winning the race twice in both 1987 and 1992.

Top rugby training tips to get you to the top of your game

Rugby is a wonderful game of skill and tactics and the best players must be in peak physical condition to play to their optimum ability. Understanding your best position, and the skills that are inherently required for that role is a big breakthrough in maximising the performance.

Image Credit

Building fitness for rugby is not easy and takes a lot of hard work and commitment. It can be achieved through careful training and specific exercises, and it’s important to plan for both physical and mental fitness.

Brain training

Rugby is a physical game, there’s no doubt about it, but the most successful players are also mentally fit and prepared to take to the field. Prepare for the highs and the lows as all players will face both in different measure, and how you approach one can often determine how much of the other is seen.

Mind and body can benefit from interval training, and as the game itself tends to be played in bursts of around 30 seconds, it makes sense to train in similar circumstances; commit to 30 seconds of very intense activity followed by a period of rest. Time yourself for the 30-second bursts; pick an exercise, do it for 30 seconds as well as you can, as many times as you can, and then rest for 30 seconds to recover. Repeat both for as long as you can continue the exercise until you cannot go on. It’s a great preparation for the reality of the game where the intensity comes in bursts.

Image Credit

Group training

Rugby is a team game, so of course, it’s important to train with others and practise the various set pieces together, though it is also important to be able to focus and train alone. Of course, knowing you’ll be practising with others can be motivation to keep going when otherwise you might have talked yourself out of it!

Make the most of your pre-match preparation with the right drills and rugby training videos from experts like Sport Plan. Once you’ve put in the training, it’s game time. Read the tips from Total Rugby
to get the most from your game time.

Training with others in subgroups to mimic who will do what during the game will also help.

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.

Current Trends in Wedding Photography

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Wedding photography is an evolving field that requires artistic talent, vision, and highly technical expertise.

In the past wedding photography was almost always limited to stiff posses without much regard for the underlying story, emotion, romance, and behind the scene events of the wedding day.

Although there is still a big segment of the wedding industry that practices traditional photography with its preplanned poses, and recreation of the wedding peak events such as the kiss, the ring exchange, etc., the modern wedding couple demands a more contemporary approach to their wedding day.

Wedding photojournalism has been in vogue for the past decade. The central idea behind it has been the capture of the wedding events without any interference or direction from the wedding photographer. The photographer is there to capture the true essence of the wedding day. As a result of this realistic approach the photographs are a true representation of the wedding day. Hard core wedding journalistic will be totally opposed to posing any wedding related event. If it doesn’t not happen during the wedding it won’t be recorded. This includes family group photos.

Several photographers offer a hybrid approach to wedding photography, usually a combination of traditional and journalistic wedding photography. In this approach the photographer focuses on documenting the wedding day but the coverage also includes a session with the couple for formal posed or semi-posed photographs and also family group photos.

The latest trend in wedding photography is toward a more fashionable approach. Inspired on high-end fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, GQ, American Photo, etc., and wedding magazines the photographer seeks to make the couple’s fantasies real.

In the fashion wedding photography approach the goal is to make the wedding couple look their best. Their romantic interplay is glamorized to its maximum expression. The everyday couple becomes like wedding celebrities. Attention to detail is required to achieve the perfect look. This approach requires a great deal of artistic talent behind the camera and also great computer image editing skill to produce a unique photo. Half the photo is made on the camera with the second half achieved though digital image editing and manipulation.

Which style is best, is for you to decide. In our experience a big segment of the wedding couples want to capture the reality, details and romance of the wedding day but at the same time they have fantasies about their wedding and the way they should look.

When making a decision for a wedding photographer look closely to the photographer’s portfolio and see how it agrees with your philosophy on how your wedding day should be photographed. Regardless of your philosophy please make sure that you select a master of the craft, you and the next generation deserve masterpiece memories of your wedding day.

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Pros And Cons of Using Microfiber Towels

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The invention of microfiber brought a revolution in the market few years back. Microfiber towels were successfully launched for cleaning and dusting. Microfiber towels even proved useful to clean oil stains. Right from its inception, this fiber was considered to be far more superior to other fibers available in the market. Microfiber is not only superior in quality but is also quite affordable so it became extremely popular in the cloth industry.

With an excellent cleaning capabilities these towels also became very popular at home for day to day use. This is why people started using such towels for heavy cleaning.

Prior to the invention of microfiber, people preferred to use cotton towels which had an excellent absorption power. But microfiber towels have very high absorbency as compared to cotton towels. Microfiber was an excellent alternative to the old cotton in various products like in microfiber bath towels, sportswear, dusting towels etc. Since these towels have very high absorbency, they are very often used by sports persons and in the gym since they effectively absorb sweat of the person. The average life of microfiber towel is many times more than other conventional towels.

Microfiber brought real change to our lives as it delivered excellent products which replaced other fibers used so far. It is considered to be the best material to wipe out all stains on furniture. If suppose you have spilled some liquid on table or some sauce in kitchen then a microfiber towel can be used to clean them perfectly without leaving a trace of the incident. This kind of towel is not only known for being the best absorbent and it also dries up quite fast.

Microfiber bath towels are extensively used at swimming pools because of its high absorption quality. When swimmers come out of the pool they wipe out their bodies using these. Also, since they are ready to use in very short interval of time as they dry up very quickly, the swimmer can use it again after the wash.

Microfiber bath towels are generally preferred by people living in colder regions where drying your towel daily after bath is not that easy. Even at room temperatures microfiber bath towels dry up much faster as compared to regular cotton bath towels, hence preventing your towel from acquiring mildew odor which initiates due to dampness.

Microfiber bath towel need special care while washing. An extra effort is required from your end to maintain such towels. You can easily wash cotton bath towels with hot water and soap in your washing machine, but washing these towels is a bit more elaborate. While washing a microfiber bath towel you need to follow the wash instructions given on your towel. By following these simple wash instructions you can enjoy using the microfiber towel for a very long time.

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Affiliate Masters Course: A Review

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The Affiliate Masters Course is one of the finest online education course if you want to make money by being an affiliate marketer.

It is a course that has excellent info on becoming the best affiliate that you can become and best part is that it is offered absolutely free of charge.

The experts in internet marketing have discovered and disclosed “the perfect affiliate system” With the free 10-day course that is aimed at helping you become a successful affiliate, you are guaranteed to meet success in online business! There’s no need to worry about anything. It is free of charge and totally hassle-free. Plus, you will following a step by step by process that would guide you through it all starting…

The course will teach you how to come up with a   unique  website concept. You will learn to brainstorm hundreds of profitable website niche ideas with keyword-focused content pages that are guaranteed to make you earn money… to attracting targeted, motivated traffic that redirects on your recommendations, and buys from the retailers you represent.

This is without doubt the ULTIMATE affiliate-earning resource for you.

One of the independent associateprograms.com authorities, Allan Gardyne has this to say about Affiliates Master Course:

“I don’t there’s any other report out there that is better at explaining to people how they can make the most out of affiliate marketing. What’s better? It’s free of charge!!”

The list of “firsts” developed by Affiliate Masters Course is endless.

In fact, the Affiliate Masters Course has become an Internet favorite. Not only is it updated regularly, it is also known for commencing a lot of “firsts” in the business. It is the one responsible for inventing the idea behind keyword brainstorming, researching keyword supply and demand, niche identification, and the creation of theme-based content sites. It was also the first, anywhere, to push for contextual text-based links.

Although in the past, the ideas that it introduced seemed to be a bit unacceptable, at present, it has become accepted and used by everyone all over the internet, and thus, all over the world. While everyone is still lagging behind the “old-new” ideas, this course was already out there giving away “new-new” ones.

Right now, the Affiliate masters revamped fourth edition is out!

Before staring your e-business, grab a hold of our course first because only then would you be able to start on the right track!

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