Best Investment Strategy for 2013 – Simplified

Here we lay out the average person’s best investment strategy for 2013, keeping both the investment strategy and investment options simple. For most folks the best investment options are mutual funds. So, here we highlight the best funds and funds to be wary of for 2013 and beyond.Due to the risk of interest rates rising in 2013 or 2014 and the heavy investment losses that this could cause, money market funds are your best investment strategy and best funds in the safety department. They earn interest and pay dividends that increase when rates go up, and their share price does not fluctuate in value (pegged at $1). Every major fund family offers these funds, and your best strategy is to go with tax-free funds ONLY if you are in a higher tax bracket. Otherwise, the best funds here for you are the traditional, taxable money market variety.Bond funds are the next investment options to consider in putting together your best investment strategy, and this is where you must be careful. Bond funds should be a part of virtually everyone’s investment portfolio; and have been good solid performers year after year for a long time (basically, for 30 years). However, the best funds in the bond arena of yesterday could be the worst funds in 2013 and beyond. Bond funds are relatively safe and are some of the best investment options for average investors ONLY when interest rates are high and/or are falling. Since interest rates fell to record lows in the summer of 2012, there is not much room for them to fall much further.Your best investment strategy in terms of bond funds: go with short or intermediate term bond funds. Don’t reach for the higher dividends offered by long-term bond funds, because if interest rates head north significantly, your fund’s value will head south big time. That’s one of the worst investment options for the average investor. Don’t go with the highest quality bond funds; and don’t go with tax-free funds unless you are in a higher tax bracket. Both of these investment options will only serve to lower your dividend income in this period of record low interest rates.The average person also needs to include stock (equity) funds as a part of their investment strategy for 2013. The best funds in the diversified equity funds category will be those that hold large-cap, high quality stocks that pay higher than average dividends. These are your best investment options because they offer: diversification, good dividend income, and less volatility (price fluctuation risk).There are times when the best investment strategy is aggressive in nature; but with financial problems in Europe, and a floundering economy in the USA this is not one of them. Keep all 3 mutual fund types in your investment portfolio to keep your portfolio balanced. But cut your risk in both your bond funds and stock funds by going with the mutual fund investment options suggested above.It’s tough to find good interest income and dividend income these days without taking significant risk in long-term bond funds. To increase your dividend income I suggest you also consider specialty stock funds that specialize in a specific industry. Real estate equity funds could be one of the best investment options to increase your dividend income, and could offer good returns (growth) as the real estate industry gains strength.When considering your best investment strategy for 2013 and beyond you’ve got to take today’s HIGHLY UNUSUAL interest rate environment into consideration. Our Federal Reserve has openly stated that they INTEND to hold rates down or lower them even further through 2013 and possibly 2014. They want to stimulate our lackluster economy. Meanwhile, the USA goes further and further into debt. National debt: $16 TRILLION. Even at today’s ridiculously low interest rates, the economy is not responding.Maybe the Federal Reserve will successfully take interest rates even lower; and maybe this will stimulate our economy. In putting together your best investment strategy for 2013 or 2014, I wouldn’t count on it. Sooner or later the party will be over for people who assume that their longer-term bond funds will continue to be one of the best investment options out there.Your best investment strategy in times of high uncertainty should focus on both caution and balance. Here I have offered my opinions on the best funds, best investment options for the average investor for 2013 and beyond.

Holiday Travel – How to Stay Sane While on the Road

“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…” Many of us will travel this holiday season, for a holiday meal, a few days’ stay with family or friends, or a week’s vacation to celebrate with loved ones. Staying organized with your holiday travel will ensure smooth sailing.Before you goPlan your trip. Where will you go? How will you get there? Where will you stay? What will you do while you’re there? Make any necessary arrangements and reservations as early as you can. Though there can be occasional “last minute” bargains based on space availability, most often, around the heavily traveled holiday times, the best deals are offered to those who book in advance.Pack thoughtfully. Make a list. It can be tempting to just open up your suitcase the night before you leave and toss some stuff in, but don’t skip the list step for stress-free travel. Brainstorm a list a week before you go. Do all of your laundry a couple of days before you need to pack so that everything you want to take is clean and ready. Check the long-range weather forecast (weather.com) for your destination so you’ll know what the typical temperatures and conditions will be like. Think through what you’ll be doing while on your trip. Will you attend a party, engage in an activity that requires special clothing or equipment, exchange gifts? Include appropriate items on your list so that you’ll be prepared.Don’t forget items such as your camera, batteries, chargers, swim suit, toiletries, medications, “every day” clothes, special occasion clothes, accessories, gifts, pajamas, shoes, and anything else you plan on wearing or using. If you’ll fly, visit your airline’s Web site and tsa.com to become familiar with current regulations, restrictions and charges associated with checked and carry-on baggage. Are you expecting to shop or receive a lot of gifts while on your trip? Consider packing an empty duffle bag, or smaller suitcase inside of a larger one to use on the return trip to hold extra items. Making a thorough list and then checking or crossing things off as you pack them will ease your mind that you’re remembering everything you wanted to take.Prepare things at home for your absence. Have your mail held at the post office and your newspaper delivery suspended while you will be gone, or have a neighbor come by and pick up daily. Leave some interior lights on or set specific lamps on timers so it appears as if someone is home. Make arrangements for your pets’ care or plant watering while you’re away. Alert a trusted neighbor (and your alarm company, if you use one) of your travel plans and contact information so that they can reach you in case of an emergency. Leave a few minutes after you pack to put away things you decided not to take and tidy up a bit. It’s always nice to return to a clean home.Travel dayKnow what to expect. Map out your travel route. If you’re traveling by car make sure you have directions to your destination (mapquest.com) and if you’re traveling by plane, understand your options for ground transportation to and from the airport, both at home and at your destination.Leave a cushion and plan for the unexpected. Most of travel stress comes from time crunches and delays. Leave plenty of extra time to allow for traffic, long lines and anything else that may come up. Even if this means you’ll have time to wait at your gate at the airport, or arrive early to your destination, you’ll have time to relax with a cup of coffee, a good book, or just people watch – all better than the alternative.Be prepared. Bring healthy snacks, reading material and anything else you may need to make your travels, or your waiting time, more comfortable and enjoyable. If you’re traveling with children, help them pack their own activity bag, perhaps including one or two new small items, books or activities, to hold their attention.Home, sweet home: your returnIf possible, block off a full day at the end of your travels before returning to school or work. Use this time to unpack, wash clothes, catch up on mail, email and phone calls received while you were away, restock the refrigerator, and ease back into “real life”. You’ll be so glad you did.Enjoy your (organized!) travels, and happy holidays!

4 Reasons The Study Of Organizational Behavior Is Imperative

The managers or entrepreneurs are the leaders who can shape the success of their organization. For a successful run, a leader needs to ensure that the business carries out its internal and core operations Organizational Behavior plays a vital role in any enterprise’s success. It outlines the system in which the company will run, where it’ll fit in the industry and it also decides the future of the company. It defines the vision, mission, and goals of the company and outlines a way in which the members of the company will interact with each other. Thus, every manager or entrepreneur should learn the core principles of Organizational Behavior for the success of the business. Here are a few more reasons that exemplify the significance of the study of organizational behavior:

1. It helps in understanding the mission of the enterprise
Every organization has its quintessence or its purpose of carrying out the intended operations. Organizational behavior aids the entrepreneurs in defining the task of the organization- what a company will do and how it’ll do it. It defines an infrastructure that will be followed by the company throughout its run. It also emphasizes on establishing a mission statement that the company wants to achieve through its operations. The mission is not only monetary but it speaks of the company’s culture and aims at bringing a change in the lives of the customers, stakeholders and all the people involved with the company. The mission statement tells everyone about the goals of the organization and can be used to gauge the effectiveness of its operations.

2. It aids in establishing clear expectations
The organizational behavior not only helps in establishing a mission, but it also helps the managers or entrepreneurs in setting expectations for the employees, stakeholders as well as the customers. It helps in formulating the chain of command performed by each employee and also decides the kinds of vendors and customers the company should expect.

3. It helps in better decision making
The organizational behavior paves way for uniformity in the company and its core values. The establishment of the uniform mission, actions and messages facilitate the managers to make better decisions that are fruitful for the company. Organizational Behavior entails an identity to the organization so the managers can make their decision aligning with the nature of operations of the organization.

4. It ensures that managers hire the right person
The employees are the main pillars of organizational behavior. The people that bring new ideas and passion to the organization are considered as the perfect employees for the organization. If the organizational behavior is clearly defined, the newly employed candidates can easily understand their duties and it also makes easy for the managers to hire the right people and communicate with them effectively.

Would You Benefit From Making Early Payments on Your Auto Loan?

Monthly payments make up an important element of the auto loan. The amount of money that you will pay each month depends on a number of things; such as the money you put down, the value of the car, loan term, your current income and credit score, etc. Many a times people wish to repay their auto loan earlier than their term or wish to get the loan refinanced. Understanding the effect of paying your loan early vis-à-vis making timely payments can help you in making a well-informed decision.

Pay Early or Pay on Time: The Auto Loan Question

· Are you interested in making Early Payments?

You know you are a financially adept individual when you think about paying your auto loan early rather than spending the money on frivolous things. The following pros and cons of prepayment will take you one step closer in making the right decision.

Pros: The reduction in the interest amount can help you save a great deal of money. Paying off your auto loan early gives you the financial freedom to use that money elsewhere. Secondly, if you are going to receive a large sum of money in the near future, it is wise to prepay your loan instead of spending it elsewhere. It will make your debt-free early and allow you to live a tension-free life.

Cons: Timely auto loan payments mean that you have planned your finances in an efficient way. If you repay your loan all at once, it may project that you are unable to manage your credit. Remember prepayment of your auto loan will not hurt your credit score, however, it will not improve the score either.

· Do you believe Timely Payments are a Good Choice in the Long Run?

Small payments made every month can surely have a positive impact on your credit rating. The following pros and cons will help you clarify the advantages and disadvantages of timely payments.

Pros: Timely payments made every month are certain to keep your credit score in check. Many a times people may forget to make the payments on time. However, automatic bank payments can help you to keep your payments regular. A shorter loan term with timely payments will help you in obtaining lower interest rates and an overall cheaper auto loan deal in the future.

Cons: An automatic timely payment means that you will have to maintain a certain balance in your bank account, which may temporarily block your finances. A certain amount of your income gets allocated to the monthly payment. Compared to a prepayment strategy, timely monthly payments carry less financial freedom.

Your Auto Loan Payment Schedule: What is Best for you?

Income is an important element that decides which option you should choose between paying your auto loan early and making timely payments. If your monthly payment is manageable and your income supports the loan, you should opt for timely payments. However, if your income source is unstable and you require a car on an immediate basis, you should opt to make a prepayment of your entire loan. On the basis of your financial situation and circumstances, make the wiser choice.