Forex Currency Trading The Basics Information On Debt Consolidation Loans Is Widely Available Don T Let Bad Credit Be Your Downfall 401 K Retirement Plan

Forex is the name given to the foreign exchange market, where international currencies are bought and sold. Due to the development of free exchange rates, the market began in the 1970s and has become the world’s largest financial market with a daily turnover of US$1.9 trillion.

To put that into perspective, that’s over thirty times the daily turnover of the rest of the US equity markets combined.

Unlike normal stock markets which are traded on exchanges that are located in a specific place, Forex currency exchange takes place via an Over The Counter (OTC) or interbank market. This means that transactions are conducted electronically between brokers.

Thanks to this and global time zones, Forex is a genuine 24 hour financial market. The day begins in Australia and moves around the globe as each of the leading financial markets open in Tokyo, London and New York. So it’s always possible to find someone who is willing to buy or sell international currencies. This gives investors the chance to respond to price changes caused by a variety of economic, social and political events at any time of the day or night.

There are two main reasons for trading currency on Forex. Approximately 5% of Forex trades are undertaken by multinational companies and governments who buy or sell products and services in a foreign country and have to convert their profits into their domestic currency. Forex allows them to hedge (or protect) their profits so that in the even of a dramatic currency fluctuation, their profits won’t be reduced.

However, the other 95% of Forex activity is due to people or organizations trading for short term profit. Forex allows you to trade virtually any currency, although in practice most activity (85% of total turnover) relates to the major currencies which include the US Dollar, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, the Swiss Franc, the British Pound, the Australian Dollar and the Canadian Dollar.

Trading on the Forex exchange involves simultaneously buying one currency and selling another. For example, if you buy USD/EUR, that means you buy the US Dollar and sell an equivalent value of the Euro. Closing you position involves buying the Euro and selling the US Dollar.

The price of all currencies traded on Forex are influenced by the laws of supply and demand. If the demand for a currency outstrips the supply, the price rises. Alternatively, if supply is greater than demand, the price of a currency will fall.

Forex trading has a number of significant advantages that make it an extremely attractive form of speculation.

First, due to its size and lack of exchange controls, it’s almost impossible for any person or organization (including central banks and governments) to significantly influence prices for an extended period of time. This means that you can enter the market secure in the knowledge that your investment is competing on a level playing field with every other investor around the world.

Second, due to the vast size of the market, the liquidity is excellent. So unlike the position with many stocks and shares where you might find it hard to sell certain investments, you can open and close Forex trades almost instantly as there are always scores of international buyers and sellers.

Third, it’s relatively easy and cheap to get started trading Forex. All you need is an internet connection, a broker and perhaps $500 – $1000 to open a trading account. Once you’ve got these things you can trade 24 hours a day from Sunday afternoon through to Friday evening. And thanks to the availability of information on the internet it’s possible to find all the data that you need for the purposes of analysis and decision making.

Fourth, it’s possible to make substantial short term gains with relatively little capital thanks to the number of daily fluctuations in currency prices and the ability to leverage your capital (often up to 100 times) thanks to margin trading.

However, due to rapid fluctuation of currency prices and marginal trading, Forex trading carries significant risks, so caution must be required when deciding which trades to make.

When it comes to decision making, there are two basic Forex trading strategies, technical analysis and fundamental analysis.

Technical analysis relys upon using price charts, trend lines, support/resistance levels, highest price, lowest price, transaction volumes and various other mathematical formulae to identify trading opportunities. This is based upon the belief that everything that may influence the price of a currency has been considered by the market and factored into the current price.

Crucially, technical analysts don’t try to defeat the market. The are content to predict short term, minor fluctuations using patterns from the recent past and the belief that history will repeat itself. The main disadvantage of the method is that all the results are purely historic and cannot always be relied upon as an accurate guide to the future.

Fundamental analysis looks at wider factors such as the national economy of the currency, the political stability, employment figures, industry figures, interest rates, tax policy and a wide range of other economic indicators. However, before basing your investment decisions on these factors alone, it’s important to consider both technical analysis and the fact that market expectations can influence the price of a currency as much as reality.

In determining if debt consolidation is the best solution for your financial difficulties, you will need information about it to best make this decision. Sources of information on debt relief consolidation is not limited but rather widely available, though the quality of the sources varies. You do not need to pay for debt consolidation information as some of the better information available is often better than the expenses sources. Try the free sources first.

You may be surprised to find that friends and family may have gone through a similar situation. As such, they will likely have useful information on the process and be able to recommend companies or assist you in determining if it is the best way to go. It may be embarrassing to disclose your situation, but the benefits you receive from asking could outweigh that embarrassment. Just remember that you are not alone and many individuals find themselves dealing with a debt situation. If anything, they may be able to guide you on finding good sources of information or even reliable companies to contact.

Another source of information is the internet. With the popularity of debt consolidation today, a great amount of information is available online on a variety of topics. Compare websites and the information provided. Free sources of consolidation information is available on line and could very well provide you with a sufficient amount to make your decision. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying unnecessary fees to obtain information from the actual debt consolidation professionals when you could obtain the same information on your own without spending anything.

Testimonials from existing or previous clients of a company is a good way to determine its reliability. If possible, contact these clients yourself to verify that they are actual testimonials and not part of a marketing tactic. You can find e-books online to download which is good way to have a comprehensive overview of debt consolidation in one source limiting the time you spend searching many individual sources. A few dollars spent on such e-books is probably cheaper than paying for professional advice. Gathering information prior to contacting a consolidation professional can also provide you with important questions to ask the professional prior to committing to their services and handing over your debt situation.

Thorough research is far more important than you may realize, but the time spent gathering it is valuable time spent. It could save you money which could otherwise be applied directly toward your debt. It is something to consider.

When it comes to credit issues, we all make mistakes of one kind or another. But many people have no scruples in such matters. At one point in time, bad credit was more of a reality for most of us. It’s because there were so many options available that we never really considered if a loan would do us good or pull us down even further, or if we would be able to pay for credit card purchases at all.

We have spent hours and hours agonizing over why this had to happen to us as opposed to someone else. In all honesty, there was a time when I owed so much that I had been making late payments or altogether missing payments. But the idea of bad credit hardly bothered me. In fact it was the farthest from my mind. I just wanted to finish paying off my debts, and never really thought about the disadvantages of becoming a high risk borrower.

I have found that a woefully large number of people have no idea about all that bad credit entails. To clear things up, bad credit usually stems from not being able to make timely payments, failing to pay, exceeding your credit card limit and filing for bankruptcy. An occasional late payment, however, is not going to result in your being labeled as a high risk candidate when it comes to loans.

But if they see a trend — which could be based on your payment history as well as the status of your other loans or debts — they will presume that you are unable to pay. You could do yourself a favor by consulting your creditors when a severe cash crunch starts threatening you. Lenders are not necessarily villains, and they would be willing to help you make the payments. Running away or hiding from debtors is usually the first sign that you are on the verge of having bad credit.

A bad credit score can mean bad news for the way in which you and your family live. If you have bad credit, chances are you will have a hard time applying and getting approval for a new loan or credit card. With a history of bad credit hounding you, the best bargains will automatically go elsewhere. The risk debtors take in lending you money will have to be shielded with higher interest rates. Believe it or not, bad credit also affects your employment chances, residential choices and sometimes even your insurance.

I have been there and I have seen the dark side, the humiliation of being turned down a job as well as having an apartment manager tell me that because of my bad credit history they won’t be able to accept me into the building. There is no need to be subjected to such an ordeal.

You can avoid falling into such a vicious cycle. All you need to do is keep a track of how you spend your money. It is just a matter of being able to manage your funds properly as well as looking for the right lending companies. It is not as easy as it sounds. A little persistence and a lot of effort makes the difference between a bad credit score and a good one.

The cornerstone of retirement savings for many people today, the 401(k) plan is a savings vehicle that requires a hands-on approach – which is why we are investing our time and money (intellect = money) in describing its features as fully as possible, so as for you to clearly understand and imbibe them. Ready? If you forgot your multivitamins today please have them before we continue.

Well, ready or not, here we come!

The 401(k) plan makes it easy and convenient for you to save money for retirement. Once you enroll, your contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck before you even get to see it. This forces a strict savings discipline on you usually an absolute necessity if you’re not good at looking to the future. Since you are planning to pass through the retirement stage of your life in style instead of as a pauper (and it’s hard to foresee this and save when you receive a full pay-check), this is a real advantage that will help make your retirement as comfortable as possible. If you’re using this plan, you may even retire at age 55 and gain full access to your money, penalty-free! This, in part, is a semblance of the sheer beauty of the plan. Aren’t we poetic?!

Do remember that your contributions deducted from the paycheck are tax-deferred, thereby decreasing your current income tax. (That news calls for a pat on our back!) However, there is a limit to how much you may contribute to a 401(k). This limit is set by the Congress and set forth in the Internal Revenue Code. Your employer, too, may limit your contributions to a percentage of your salary, depending on how much he really likes you. Additionally, he may also choose to match all or a part of your contribution. (Yes, it’s time for you to go through your company’s policies regarding the plan if you haven’t already!) It’s also time to polish those rusty apple polishing skills – pun intended!

Most 401(k) plans provide you with a range of investment options, including stock funds, bond funds, balanced funds, international funds, and company stock. You may decide (on your own) how your contributions are distributed among the plan’s offerings by considering your long-term financial objectives, your tolerance for risk, and how close you are to retirement age. We do not advise you to fear risky investments since those are the ones making the greatest amount of money. Others may think differently and suggest that a more conservative allocation strategy is ideal as you get older. Don’t pay too much attention to those behind the times financial advisors; they’re all ageist!

Regardless of your allocation strategy, it is critical to closely monitor the progress of your 401(k) plan. The plan is required by law to provide you with an annual statement in order to assist you with the management. Many plans will also provide you with quarterly statements, online access, and toll-free numbers offering 24/7 access to your current balance.

Each 401(k) plan also specifies when and how often you can make changes to your investments. While some plans permit you to make daily changes, others allow a limited number of transactions per year. At any rate, you are responsible for checking up on your plan’s performance and making allocation changes whenever deemed appropriate. Please make sure you’re not smashed on the day you decide to make those changes!

Certain 401(k) plans also allow you to access your savings in case of a financial emergency before reaching the age of eligibility. This access may come through a loan (with interest) or a hardship withdrawal. In case of a hardship withdrawal you will have to pay ordinary income tax on the amount withdrawn and pay a 10% penalty to the government if you don’t meet one of the following exceptions: (1) purchasing a principal residence; (2) avoiding eviction from your present residence; (3) paying tuition for yourself, your spouse, children or dependents; (4) funeral expenses for a family member; and (5) medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of your AGI.

Oh and we lied when we said that the 401(k) plan always permits you to make penalty-free withdrawals if you retire at age 55. While it is true that you may make such withdrawals at this particular age, it is also correct that certain 401(k) plans only allow you penalty-free access to your savings at age 59.5 years. Again, it is for you to choose the plan that meets your needs. Just remember that by April 1 following the year in which you turn 70.5 years old or retire (whichever is later), it is obligatory to begin withdrawing from your 401(k). So let’s hope you will have so much money coming in that you won’t have to withdraw before turning 70.5! Yes, were also finding it a little odd that we have to refer to ages in decimals (who says seventy point five ?!)- But that’s how it goes, my friend!

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