5 Tips That Will Help You Create a Successful Career in Finance

This is a guest post by Jenny  Richards. Jenny has worked in the financial sector for 12 years. She is a certified CFA and currently earns a good income working for a business that deals in car title loans in San Jose California.

Every company, at one point or another, needs to employ someone with a financial background. Financial positions could vary in a company from accountant, finance administrators, advisors and planners, CFOs and others. The need for a position and the prestige within a company is usually dependent on the size of the company.

Financial jobs are usually dependent on market cycles. At the moment, small loans are in demand among many consumers as the market is still reeling from the effects of the financial crisis. As such, companies that offer car title loans are growing because they are dealing in the types of loans that consumers can afford. Such growth occasions an increase in financial jobs.

Below are tips that will help you grow your finance career: Continue reading

Chaikin Analytics Review and Free Trial

One of the biggest hurdles that the individual investor faces in trying to create a nimble, smart portfolio is the competition.

Investment bankers, quants, mutual fund companies, and big Wall Street firms are employing Ph.D. researchers with degrees in everything from finance to physics to create model portfolios. They use the latest and most powerful technology to guide their buys and sells.

The little guy doesn’t have a chance.

That’s what I thought, until last week. George and I had a chance to see a demonstration of Chaikin Analytics, probably one of the most complete set of investment tools and stock market model-building technology that’s available for the money. Or at least I’ve ever seen.

The Chaikin Analytics Dashboard

The Chaikin Analytics Dashboard

How does Chaikin level the playing field?

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The End of Everything and the Beginning of Nothing

Zero Marginal Cost SocietyThe predominant economic systems are capitalism and communism. Both have their problems, which seems to explain the existence of mishy-mashy socialism in most countries.

Most futurists debate which economic system will dominate the next century. That’s a mistake, according to some experts, like Jeremy Rifkin. Rifkin recently wrote The Zero Marginal Cost Society that looks at how technology and ideas, like the Collaborative Commons, will re-shape the financial status quo.

Adding sensors to just about everything will move the power of info-centric businesses — think energy and utility companies — back into the hands of individuals. If a person had smart enough algorithms, for example, they could purchase energy much more efficiently, use it efficiently, and save it efficiently. In a very real sense, an individual could run their own utility company.

But, that’s just the beginning. Let’s try to connect all the zero-marginal cost technologies. 3-D Printing has already received lots of hype, but buried deep within this technology are several — forget disruptive — transformative technologies. What if you could 3-D print your own efficient solar cells? What if you could 3-D print your own efficient battery? Let’s go crazy here. What if you could 3-D print a fusion reactor for your home.

So, now you’re going to not only be a smart consumer — a prosumer in Rifkin’s lingo — to a smart producer — or a producer… wait, that doesn’t work. Anyway, what happens when you produce something for almost free and use it so efficiently that you avoid costs. Well, everything becomes nothing. In other words supply increases to near infinity and costs fall correspondingly to near nothing.

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Did Kickstarter donors just get ripped off for billions?

By now, we have all read about the Facebook acquisition of Oculus, the virtual reality company, for $2 billion. That’s billion — with a “b.”


The debate can go on about whether this is a sell-out to Facebook and their slick and sometimes creepy marketing machine, or the next stage in a revolution of virtual reality. Or, both, for that matter. What a lot of people are wondering — especially those who donated money to Oculus through Kickstarter — is whether they got ripped off.

Kickstarter, a crowdsourced donation site, helped Oculus raise $2.4 million for its Rift product back in 2012. In exchange, backers received t-shirts, posters, and prototypes, depending on their level of gift.

So, legally, the answer is “no.” Nobody got ripped off. These people donated, they didn’t actually invest in the virtual reality company, nor were they promised any sort of any financial remuneration from Oculus for their donation, if they were able to sell the company.

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Stocks And Retirement | Should I Keep Holding On To These Stocks?

All retirees end up asking themselves if they should cash in their chips and make a smooth, profitable exit from the stocks game. Having nurtured their portfolios through the years, they sometimes feel uneasy about selling their stock assets. After all, a lot of time has gone by, watching them, believing in them, having them generating income, even if poor at times. Many retirees know that they could generate some extra cushion by unloading their stocks, but they just can’t seem to fathom the act.

Image courtesy

Image courtesy Andreas Poike

It’s important to remember why you started accumulating stocks in the first place. In most cases, it was simply a matter of developing a tangible financial portfolio; something that you created to make life better for the future of you and your loved ones. Well, have your stocks done that? Maybe you took a heavy hit back in 2008. Maybe you’re just recovering – and stock markets are doing just about as good as you could hope for right now. Maybe it is time time to cash them in. You can try the superannuation calculator over at Suncorp, if you need a hand figuring out how much you need to retire.

Should you sell your stocks now that you’re a retiree? Continue reading

We Are Fred Phelps

We Are Fred Phelps

We Are Fred Phelps

I would like to take a pause from the normal financial news and information of this site and, because it is really my only vehicle for this type of writing, talk about another topic — Fred Phelps. Phelps, the odious leader of the uber-odious Westboro Baptist Church, died this week. He and the Westboro Baptist Church made headlines for their “God Hates Fags” signs and protests at soldiers’ funerals.

Phelps wasn’t a polarizing figure. He was a unifying figure. Liberal or conservative, we could all hate Phelps. He was an equal opportunity hater and hated us all right back.

But, might there not be a little — about half — of Phelps in all of us? That’s my question — do we come off as Fred Phelps? Check out social networks, or watch the news and you will see and hear how ideology has split us into two ideological camps. We create templates for our hate. The same cruel jokes that liberals heaped onto George W. Bush and conservatives a decade or so ago match up pretty well with the anti-Obama, anti-liberal crowd today. We post our meme updates on Facebook and we call each other Rupugnican and libtards. All of which plays well to our peer groups. Liberals preach to the liberal choir, conservatives to theirs, just like Phelps came off to his choir.

To each other, though, we start to look like a more targeted version of Phelps, but with just a bit less self-awareness.

And there are a lot of reasons to keep this going. By losing ourselves in our ideologies, we place ourselves in demographics, which makes it easier for news organizations, publishers, and entertainers to spoon feed our hate and fears. Follow the money, reporters always say, and there’s a lot of money to be made in this.

We may make some friends with our re-spewing of the hate industry that most of us call politics, but we’re going to lose some, too — maybe even some good friends. We won’t make much headway and converting people to our ideas — because it’s really about preserving our self-interest, not at finding solutions that everyone can live with.

But, ultimately, we’re losing ourselves. We’re becoming soulless caricatures. When we cling to our ideology, at the expense of our humanity, we are Fred Phelps.

Buying a Franchise Business

What exactly is a franchise business?
There may be some slight variations from one situation to another but on the whole, this involves buying what is effectively a license from someone to open up your own business operating under their corporate umbrella and brand. It is a very familiar business model and offers the advantage of you being able to join a winning brand rather than needing to come up with your own business idea and develop it accordingly.

Image courtesy Ed Hart

Image courtesy Ed Hart

What are the main advantages of a franchise?
As touched on above, you are theoretically jumping onto the bandwagon of an existing successful company and that may be worth a lot to you.
Other things that might come as part of the package, though not always so do check, might be: Continue reading

How Can You Avoid the Next MtGox Bitcoin Meltdown?


Bitcoin was supposed to be a safe haven — away from the greedy hands of corporations and bankers and far from the idiotic brains of mindless speculators. It was a popular people’s currency.

The evaporation of Bitcoins in MtGox has caused every fan of the crypto-currency to re-think this. And it’s making them ask: How can we avoid putting our Bitcoins in the next MtGox?

Short answer: you can’t. What seemed to be lost in the idealism of Bitcoin — that it’s some weapons that would only be wielded by the good against those who are evil — was the critical idea that Bitcoin, and every other crypto-currency for that matter, is that it’s only a tool. And tools can be misused and crafted into weapons very easily. It all depends on the hands that are using it.

Whether MtGox debacle was one of greed, or one of incompetence, remains to be seen. But just because MtGox went down due to either fraud-or-fuck-up dynamic does not mean it won’t happen again.

While there’s no way you can completely avoid the mess, you can consider some risk-assessment strategies to pull the needle back to your side.

Insist on Transparency
Bitcoin is supposed to be about transparency; its exchanges should be equally transparent. If you believe that the exchange you’re using isn’t completely open, find another.

Remain Cautious
Continually monitor the Bitcoin situation. There were rumors that MtGox was sketchy. Only the smart ones got out in time.

Panic, then Assess
People tell you not to panic. But if you sense that your exchange is faltering, get your Bitcoins out immediately and redistribute them elsewhere. If it is just a drill, you can move them back.

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Crowdsourcing The Personal Hedge Fund



Many people have problems with hedge funds and big investment conglomerates. They rake in billions of dollars and live like rock stars.

People hate them so much they protest constantly, occupying this and occupying that.

But, I don’t have a problem with them. In fact, the chants of sympathy for the poor and working class and hand-wringing over income inequality are typically a cover for the protesters who are simply jealous of the big financiers. Had they stumbled onto these opportunities, they would be in the same penthouse, driving the same Porsche.

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From Main Street to Mainstream: Will More Businesses Accept Bitcoins?

From Main Street to Mainstream

From Main Street to Mainstream

If Bitcoin becomes mainstream, it won’t do so because of the bankers, hedge funders, and other Wall Street types. Those folks are happy to trade whatever type of currency comes their way. If tomorrow, the world switched to beaver pelts, you can bet that someone would create a beaver pelt ETF, or build a hedge fund that is invested heavily in beaver pelt-for-dollars trading.

But, for Bitcoin to become more accepted as a mainstream currency, users will need to pave a path to Main Street. That hasn’t been the case, so far. But there are signs that this is changing. In fact, two trends — gift cards and third-party Bitcoin facilitators — can make the alt-coin more user-friendly.

Main Street Vs. Wall Street

Main Street is more cautious and fearful than their “No Fear” counterparts on Wall Street. Bitcoin has terms that they’re not familiar with — algorithmic mining, blockchains, wallets, etc. It can be scary for someone from a non-tech background to embrace this alt-currency. Much easier for them to reach into their own physical wallet and produce a dollar bill or a credit card, right?

Then, there are governments who are taking shots at Bitcoin. They are not accepting it — and some are even banning it. This makes total sense. Bitcoin is a threat to their monopolies on currency, one of the key ways they hold power.

So, Bitcoin does have some hurdles.

However, there are signs that the ice of fear is starting to be chipped away. Trends are starting to develop that can build a bridge from alt-coin users to Main Street.

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