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Whether it is the tensions in the Middle East, Africa or elsewhere, it is becoming increasingly obvious that political and economic uncertainty is another reality of our modern economic environment. For this reason, investors typically look at gold as a safe haven during times of political and economic uncertainty. Why is this? Well, history is full of collapsing empires, political coups, and the collapse of currencies. During such times, investors who held gold were able to successfully protect their wealth and, in some cases, even use the commodity to escape from all of the turmoil. Consequently, whenever there are news events that hint at some type of global economic uncertainty, investors will often buy gold as a safe haven.
A cash bank deposit is the simplest, most easily understandable investment asset—and the safest. Not only does it give investors precise knowledge of the interest they’ll earn, but it also guarantees they’ll get their capital back. On the downside, the interest earned from cash stored away in a savings account seldom beats inflation and loses around 2% a year. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have become quite popular since their introduction back in the mid-1990s. ETFs are similar to mutual funds, but they trade throughout the day, on a stock exchange, just like shares of stock. Unlike mutual funds, which are valued at the end of each trading day, ETF values fluctuate intra-day. Farrukh Kazmi is the founder of A&S Asset Management, I am committed to helping people achieve financial freedom by bringing Wall Street experience to the local investor.
An ETF can own hundreds or thousands of stocks across various industries, or it could be isolated to one particular industry or sector. Some funds focus on only U.S. offerings, while others have a global outlook. For example, banking-focused ETFs would contain stocks of various banks across the industry. Bond ETFs might include government bonds, corporate bonds, and state and local bonds—called municipal bonds. Industry ETFs track a particular industry such as technology, banking, or the oil and gas sector. Commodity ETFs invest in commodities including crude oil or gold. Currency ETFs invest in foreign currencies such as the Euro or Canadian dollar. Inverse ETFs attempt to earn gains from stock declines by shorting stocks. Shorting is selling a stock, expecting a decline in value, and repurchasing it at a lower price.
Many people seek out professional financial advice from a professional, but with so many options to choose from it may seem overwhelming to find an advisor. First, determine what level of advice and service you require and how much autonomy you’d like to give away to a professional. Look for professional certifications and designations after an advisor’s name, such as CFA, CFP, or CIMA. Determine the fee structure you’re most comfortable with – fee-only, commission-based, or based on assets managed. Ask for referrals and then run a background check on the advisors that you narrow down such as from FINRA’s free BrokerCheck service. All of our brokerage accounts are held and available for viewing at National Financial Services, a Fidelity Investments Company. Registered Representative of and securities offered through Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (BFCFS). Member FINRA/SIPC. A&S Asset Management and BFCFS are independent entities. Read even more details at Farrukh Kazmi.
There are too many open jobs in the economy right now to get filled and talent is in high demand. Don’t settle for the status quo. Most people spend more time planning for their vacations each year than they do optimizing their careers. If you’re not making the most of it your full time job and making as much money as you can from it, you’re selling yourself short. Figure out how much you should be getting paid by analyzing your current market rate for someone with your skills and experience by using websites like Indeed and Glassdoor. You should also contact and build relationships with at least two recruiters in your industry. Because recruiters live so close to the market they not only know what you should be getting paid, but they can also recommend additional skills you can develop (check out my post on best skills to learn), and potentially even recommend a new higher paying job or company.
Although the U.S. dollar is one of the world’s most important reserve currencies, when the value of the dollar falls against other currencies as it did between 1998 and 2008, this often prompts people to flock to the security of gold, which raises gold prices . The price of gold nearly tripled between 1998 and 2008, reaching the $1,000-an-ounce milestone in early 2008 and nearly doubling between 2008 and 2012, hitting around the $1800-$1900 mark. The decline in the U.S. dollar occurred for a number of reasons, including the country’s large budget and trade deficits and a large increase in the money supply.