Connect with us

News

Is Gold Another Fiat Currency?

Published

on

[ad_1]

This past week gold surpassed $1100 an ounce in the futures market. This is certainly good news for gold bulls, and it’s difficult to argue with this powerful trend. However, there are some things that bother me about the latest impulse move up. Maybe it’s just my contrary nature. I am a long time gold bug. I started trading gold more than 30 years ago and I strongly believe in the principals and arguments favoring gold. But timing is another matter.

I just drove to Costco and during the 10-minute drive there I heard two commercials urgently urging listeners to buy gold now to protect their wealth. On the way home I heard three commercials, two on one channel and another upon changing the channel, again urging listeners to buying gold now. I admit I was in a bit of a Seattle traffic jam on the way home so it may have been a 15-minute drive. I just wonder if urging the public to buy gold at $1100 is going to be a sensible investment. I heard few commercials urging buying when gold was under $300 not that long ago.

One argument that gold bugs make is that gold is a hard asset that can’t be created at the whim of a politician or fed chairman. Soybeans and pork bellies would also fit as a real asset, but gold is non-perishable and very resistant to degrading over time. Soybeans and pork bellies are more useful as they are commodities than have a use. Well, gold does have some uses. A minuscule amount can be used in industry, such as electrical contacts in important components which makes gold unique due to its anti-corrosive qualities. A much larger use is in jewelry. But the vast majority of gold is held in vaults as a store of value. It seems ironic that gold, that was once in the ground, requires such a huge effort in terms of human labor often in dangerous conditions to extract it from the Earth, only to return it to vaults and safes, often located underground as well.

But what about gold as a store of value. It is difficult to mine so it can’t be created out of thin air, as being the case with paper fiat currencies. It is durable. It can’t be debased, as the actual gold content can be determined. Even with all that going for it, there really isn’t much in the way of intrinsic value, other than the small amount used in industry and for jewelry. The value of gold is really set by supply and demand. Traders riding trends have a big say in how high or low gold can go. Demand is fixed to some degree by the difficulty of getting the gold out of the ground. On the other hand, most of the gold ever mined is still available to dump on the market, so supply is available if those hoarding decide to sell. Very little gold is used up. Much of the demand side comes from the perception of safety. Those who bought at the peak in the early 1980s and held through more than 20 years of a bear market might have a different perception of the safety of gold. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the general stock market had its largest bull market in history during the very long gold bear market.

But how safe is gold as a store of value when the price can be set by people, much the way people set the value of a currency. A paper currency is nothing but a promise based on nothing but good faith. The price of gold isn’t really based on much more than that if you think about it. What is to stop a central bank from dumping a huge quantity of gold on the market? What is to stop traders from riding a downtrend, forcing prices lower and lower? Demand can change quickly. There is no intrinsic value to guarantee that gold won’t go back to much lower levels. And there is certainly no guarantee that prices will keep climbing, as promised by all the gold ads. People set the value of a currency. And people set the price of gold. The price isn’t set in the heavens. It is perception creating supply and demand. It isn’t absolute. If all the gold suddenly disappeared, nobody would miss a meal. The Earth would still rotate. Life would go on.

As governments can’t possibly pay for all the spending and deficits, it seems logical that all paper currencies will continue to decline, and that so called hard commodities will at least hold their own in relation to those paper fiat currencies. But for those who believe that gold is a good hedge against irresponsible governments, timing gold purchases is probably still a good idea. Piling on the bandwagon after such a lengthy price increase might mean buying at too high a price. In the very long run as currencies continue to decline gold may still be a safe bet even at these nosebleed levels. But one might be better to wait until the bandwagon tries to knock off the speculators and prices come back down to Earth.

There have been a few technical divergences that might suggest gold could be ready for a pullback. One is the failure of gold mining issues to lead the way higher. Another is the relationship during the last impulse up between gold and silver. Gold and silver have had a symbiotic relationship for a very long time. There are times when one commodity is in favor over the other, but they generally move in the same direction. Sometimes, but not always, a clue to a turn can appear when one of the commodities makes a new high while the other fails to do so. This is the case now between the gold and silver market. In many of the impulse moves in the past silver would lead the advances as well as the declines. This can get decoupled a bit when there is fear of continued recession at a time when inflation appears to be a threat, such as in the current environment. After all, silver is more of an industrial metal than gold so it is more sensitive to weak industrial demand. But divergences between the two should be watched closely.

Calling tops in a greed driven bull market is very difficult, and I am not trying to call a top here. I’m just pointing out some warning signs. The trend is still up, but that could change quickly if the dollar should have a rebound rally and all the traders in gold rush for the exits at the same time. I’ve seen it many times in the past. This time probably won’t be different.

[ad_2]

Source by Doug Tucker

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?

Published

on

[ad_1]

Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.

Freelancers

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.

Advertise!

The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.

[ad_2]

Source by Lina Stakauskaite

Continue Reading

News

Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them

Published

on

[ad_1]

The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.

[ad_2]

Source by Robert W. Dudek

Continue Reading

News

Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

Published

on

[ad_1]

Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

[ad_2]

Source by Damien Oh

Continue Reading

Tags

Live Statistics

Trending