High Risk, Moderate Risk and Low Risk Investments

For those looking to invest, you should know that many investments can be categorized as being high risk, moderate risk and low risk. Investing is not difficult, but you should always put lots of thought and planning into it. It is also extremely important to educate yourself about the many different investments available to you so you can find those that fit best with your specific situation and lifestyle. Here are some tips regarding the three categories of investing.

Low Risk Investments

While low risk investments are usually very low key and rarely are extremely glitzy or publicized, they do offer conservative investors a way to save money for the short or long term without the risk involved that you find in other forms of investing. Low risk investments usually pay the lowest yields, but are far less volatile than many other types of investments. Low risk investments include money market funds, certificate of deposits and some types of bonds. Low risk investments are perfect for those that want to make sure there money remains safe and secure. While low risk investments don’t offer high returns, they do offer stability and security for those that can’t afford to lose money or would just like to avoid as much risk as possible. Expect low risk investments to pay out yields of 1% to 5% annually.

Moderate Risk Investments

Moderate risk investments are perfect for those that are interested in investing for the long term and would like to earn moderate yields. Moderate risk investments are usually certain kinds of stocks, bonds and mutual funds that pay handsomely over the long term. While generally riskier than saving money in a bank, for those that are looking to invest for the long term, historically speaking you will grow your money quite nicely. Moderate risk investments usually use the power of compound interest and time to create a nest egg from 10 to 40 years with regular savings. For instance, saving 1K per year at an interest rate of 10% for 30 years can return close to 200K. Moderate risk investments usually return yields of 5% to 12%.

High Risk Investments

High risk investments are those investments that if you are lucky can return huge yields, however the downturn is that they can be extremely volatile and in many cases instead of getting rich off your investment, you find yourself losing some or all of it. High risk investments include penny stocks, international stocks, some types of Forex trades, etc. The sky is the limit for returns, but many high risk investments- if considered a winner should return yields that range from 10% to 30%++.

Using Personal Finance Books As Motivators

There is no question that many people struggle with their personal finances. It seems like more and more you hear about the average credit card debt going up, with people having more and more problems paying their mortgage or saving for retirement. It is not a huge surprise, because the culture seems to promote spending money, and makes it seem like you are an outcast if you do not try to “Keep up with the Joneses.”

However, there is a segment of society that people can turn to if they are looking for support and ideas and how to get out of this endless cycle, and that is personal finances books and websites. There are hundreds of books (probably too many) promoting the benefits of strong personal finance, with suggestions on how to live your life in a way that helps you plan for the future and make sure it is secure. These types of books can help in a couple of different ways.

One, they give you ideas to help you live more frugally and responsible with your money. They can also help you figure out the best places to put or save your money, since this is often an area where people feel overwhelmed. Oftentimes, you might want to start a retirement account, but you don’t know how, so you simply do nothing. With the right materials, you can find out that it is not nearly as hard as you think it is, and you can get it done. It can help you realize that doing things 85% correctly is better than not doing anything at all.

Another way that these books can help is to provide you with encouragement and motivation. If you are at home on a Friday night because you don’t want to spend the money it takes to have a night out on the town, it can get you down, and make you feel like you are missing out on life. However, if you have these books as motivation, it can help you realize that you may be sacrificing now so you can live a more rich life later. It can provide that spark that you need to make those financial changes in your life, and make sure that things are staying on the right path for you to reach your financial goals. This is especially true if you do not have friends that are helping you on that path.

For those struggling with personal finance, there are many great personal finance books that can help you to reach your financial goals, and help you live a life without financial worries.

How Much Can You Save Without a Car

Understand that having your own transportation helps in easing the hassles of having to squeeze with the morning and evening crowds when you are getting to or off from work. Okay, now you got your car and you are able to get to your destination with ease. But the problem has just rise. What problems? The terrible jams on the expressway, the ERP gantries, the parking fees and even finding that parking lot (super pissing if you are already late for a meet up).

Spoke to a driver regards to the above expenses incurred for driving.

Mr Salei – From Ang Mo Kio, travelling along the CTE all the way to Town, plainly for the ERP charges, it cost about $9 bucks and a little cheaper from town back to Ang Mo Kio. And now, because of the increase in oil prices, owning and maintaining a personal vehicle is even tougher.

Drive Brand New Honda Jazz

Car Loan – $600

Petrol – $300

Road Tax – $62.50

ERP – Assume $14 to and fro per day for 5 days a week and 4 weeks – $280

Parking – $1.60 per hour, $16 per day x 5 days x 4 weeks and total up to be about $320 per month.

Total expenses on Car alone – $1562.50

The total expense does not include your travelling on weekends, maintenance and modifications (for your audio, lights and parts which may cost few to ten over thousands).

If you chose to turn to taking public transport – Bus, Mrt and occasionally Taxis.

You save on parking – $320

Car Loan – $600

Road Tax – $62.50

Petrol – $300

Total Savings – $1,282.50 per month

And in a year you will be $15,390 richer. Wow!

(p/s: I have not minus the ERP charges because if we take occasion taxis during peak hours, the charges are incurred directly to us. )

But of course, if you have a big family and you need a transportation that can put your family members in it for outings, you may really want to keep it. On the other hand, weigh your current expenses without your car, are you able to take on extra cost on top of your expenses? At the end of the day, would you be a able to still secure emergency cash for rainy days for you and your love ones.

It is very crucial for you to plan for adding new luxury in life, not just buying that car. It is an expense and not a keep.

Total Expense On Car Alone –

Be All That You Can Be: The Company Persona and Language Alignment

It’s not just CEOs and corporate spokespeople who need effective language to be the message. The most successful advertising taglines are not seen as slogans for a product. They are the product. From M&M’s “melts in your mouth, not in your hand” to “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin” bathroom tissue, from the “plop, plop, fizz, fizz” of Alka-Seltzer to “Fly the friendly skies of United,” there is no light space between the product and its marketing. Words that work reflect “not only the soul of the brand, but the company itself and its reason for being in business,” according to Publicis worldwide executive creative director David Droga.

In the same vein, advertising experts identify a common quality among the most popular and long-lasting corporate icons: Rather than selling for their companies, these characters personify them. Ronald McDonald, the Marlboro Man, Betty Crocker, the Energizer Bunny — they aren’t shills trying to talk us into buying a Big Mac, a pack of smokes, a box of cake mix, a package of batteries; they don’t even personalize the product. Just like the most celebrated slogans, they are the product.

Walk through any bookstore and you’ll find dozens of books about the marketing and branding efforts of corporate America. The process of corporate communication has been thinly sliced and diced over and over, but what you won’t find is a book about the one truly essential characteristic in our twenty-first-century world: the company persona and how words that work are used to create and sustain it.

The company persona is the sum of the corporate leadership, the corporate ethos, the products and services offered, interaction with the customer, and, most importantly, the language that ties it all together. A majority of large companies do not have a company persona, but those that do benefit significantly. Ben & Jerry’s attracts customers in part because of the funky names they gave to the conventional (and unconventional) flavors they offer, but the positive relationship between corporate management and their employees also plays a role, even after Ben and Jerry sold the company. McDonald’s in the 1970s and Starbucks over the past decade became an integral part of the American culture as much for the lifestyle they reflected as the food and beverages they offered, but the in-store lexicon helped by setting them apart from their competition. (Did any customers ever call the person who served them a cup of coffee a “barista” before Starbucks made the term popular?) Language is never the sole determinant in creating a company persona, but you’ll find words that work associated with all companies that have one.

And when the message, messenger, and recipient are all on the same page, I call this rare phenomenon “language alignment,” and it happens far less frequently than you might expect. In fact, virtually all of the companies that have hired my firm for communication guidance have found themselves linguistically unaligned.

This manifests itself in two ways. First, in service-oriented businesses, the sales force is too often selling with a different language than the marketing people are using. There’s nothing wrong with individualizing the sales approach to each customer, but when you have your sales force promoting a message that has no similarity with the advertising campaign, it undermines both efforts. The language in the ads and promotions must match the language on the street, in the shop, and on the floor. For example, Boost Mobile, which caters to an inner city youth demographic, uses the slogan “Where you at?” Not grammatically (or politically) correct — but it’s the language of their consumer.

And second, corporations with multiple products in the same space too often allow the language of those products to blur and bleed into each other. Procter & Gamble may sell a hundred different items, but even though each one fills a different need, a different space, and/or a different category, it is perfectly fine for them to share similar language. You can use some of the same verbiage to sell soap as you would to sell towels, because no consumer will confuse the products and what they do.

Not so for a company that is in a single line of work, say selling cars or selling beer, where companies use the exact same adjectives to describe very different products. In this instance, achieving linguistic alignment requires a much more disciplined linguistic segmentation. It is almost always a more effective sales strategy to divvy up the appropriate adjectives and create a unique lexicon for each individual brand.

An example of a major corporation that has confronted both of these challenges and still managed to achieve linguistic alignment, even as they are laying off thousands of workers, is the Ford Motor Company — which manages a surprisingly diverse group of brands ranging from Mazda to Aston Martin. The Ford corporate leadership recognized that it was impossible to separate the Ford name, corporate history, heritage, and range of vehicles — so why bother. They came as a package. Sure, Ford maintains individual brand identity, through national and local ad campaigns and by creating and maintaining a separate image and language for each brand. For example, “uniquely sensual styling” certainly applies when one is talking about a Jaguar S Type, but would probably not be pertinent for a Ford F 250 pickup truck. But the fact that the CEO carries the Ford name communicates continuity to the company’s customers, and Bill Ford sitting in front of an assembly line talking about leadership and innovation in all of Ford’s vehicles effectively puts all the individual brands into alignment.

The words he uses — “innovation,” “driven,” “re-committed,” “dramatically,” “dedicated” — represent the simplicity and brevity of effective communications, and they are wrapped around the CEO who is the fourth-generation Ford to lead the company — hence credibility. The cars are the message, Bill Ford is the messenger, the language is dead-on, and Ford is weathering the American automotive crisis far better than its larger rival General Motors. Again, the language of Ford isn’t the only driver of corporate image and sales — but it certainly is a factor.

In fact, the brand-building campaign was so successful that GM jumped on board. But Ford quickly took it a step further. In early 2006, they began to leverage their ownership of Volvo (I wonder how many readers did not know that Ford bought Volvo in 1999 and purchased Jaguar a decade earlier) to communicate a corporate-wide commitment to automotive safety, across all of its individual brands and vehicles. Volvo is one of the most respected cars on the road today, and aligning all of Ford behind an industry leader is a very smart strategy indeed.

So what about the competition?

General Motors, once the automotive powerhouse of the world, has an equally diverse product line and arguably a richer history of technology and innovation, but their public message of cutbacks, buy-backs, and layoffs was designed to appeal to Wall Street, not Main Street, and it crushed new car sales. At the time of this writing, GM is suffering through record losses, record job layoffs, and a record number of bad stories about its failing marketing efforts.

It didn’t have to be this way.

The actual attributes of many of the GM product lines are more appealing than the competition, but the product image itself is not. To own a GM car is to tell the world that you’re so 1970s, and since what you drive is considered an extension and expression of yourself to others, people end up buying cars they actually like less because they feel the cars will say something more about them.

Think about it. Here’s a company that was the first to develop a catalytic converter, the first to develop an advanced anti-tipping stabilization technology, the first to develop engines that could use all sorts of blended gasolines, and most importantly in today’s market, the creator of OnStar — an incredible new-age computerized safety and tracking device. Yet most American consumers have no idea that any of these valuable innovations came from General Motors, simply because GM decided not to tell them. So instead of using its latest and greatest emerging technology to align itself with its customers, GM finds itself in a deteriorating dialogue with shareholders. No alignment = no sales.

Another problem with GM: No one knew that the various brands under the GM moniker were in fact . . . GM. Even such well-known brands as Corvette and Cadillac had become disconnected from the parent company. Worse yet, all the various brands (with the exception of Hummer, which couldn’t get lost in a crowd even if the brand manager wanted it to) were using similar language, similar visuals, and a similar message — blurring the distinction between brands and turning GM vehicles into nothing more than generic American cars. Repeated marketing failures were just part of GM’s recurring problems, but as that issue was completely within their control, it should have been the easiest to address.

When products, services, and language are aligned, they gain another essential attribute: authenticity. In my own market research for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, I have found that the best way to communicate authenticity is to trigger personalization: Do audience members see themselves in the slogan . . . and therefore in the product? Unfortunately, achieving personalization is by no means easy.

To illustrate how companies and brands in a competitive space create compelling personas for themselves while addressing the needs of different consumer groups, let’s take a look at cereals. Anyone can go out and buy a box of cereal. But different cereals offer different experiences. Watch and listen carefully to their marketing approach and the words they use.

Most cereals geared toward children sell energy, excitement, adventure, and the potential for fun — even more than the actual taste of the sugar-coated rice or wheat puffs in the cardboard box. On the other hand, cereal aimed at grown-ups is sold based on its utility to the maintenance and enhancement of health — with taste once again secondary.

Children’s cereals are pitched by nonthreatening cartoon characters — tigers, parrots, chocolate-loving vampires, Cap’ns, and a tiny trio in stocking caps — never an adult or authority figure. Adult cereals come at you head-on with a not-so-subtle Food Police message, wrapped in saccharine-sweet smiles, exclaiming that this cereal is a favorite of healthy and cholesterol-conscious adults who don’t want to get colon cancer! Ugghhh. Kids buy Frosted Flakes because “They’re grrrreat!” Adults buy Special K because we want to be as attractive and vigorous as the actors who promote it. When it comes to cereal, about the only thing parents and kids have in common is that the taste matters only slightly more than the image, experience, and product association — and if the communication appears authentic, they’ll buy.

And cereal certainly sells. From Cheerios to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, more than $6 billion worth of cold cereal was sold in the United States alone in 2005. If you were to look at the five top-selling brands, you would see a diverse list targeted to a diverse set of customers. The language used for each of these five brands is noticeably different, but in all cases totally essential.

In looking at the first and third best-selling brands of cereal, one might initially think that only a slight variation in ingredients mark their distinctions. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios are both based around the same whole-grain O shaped cereal, but are in fact two very different products, beyond the addition of honey and a nut-like crunch.

The language behind Cheerios is remarkably simple and all-encompassing — “The one and only Cheerios.” Could be for kids . . . could be for young adults . . . could be for parents. Actually, Cheerios wants to sell to all of them. As its Web site states, Cheerios is the right cereal for “toddlers to adults and everyone in between.” The subtle heart-shaped bowl on each box suggests to the older consumer that the “whole-grain” cereal is a healthy start to a healthy day. But the Web site also has a section devoted entirely to younger adults, complete with testimonials and “tips from new parents” talking about how Cheerios has helped them to raise happy, healthy children. The language behind Cheerios works because it transcends the traditional societal boundaries of age and adds a sense of authenticity to the product.

While you could probably live a happy and healthy existence with Cheerios as your sole cereal choice, there is a substantial segment of the cereal market that demands more. For the cereal-consuming public roughly between the ages of four and fourteen, a different taste and linguistic approach is required. Buzz the Bee, the kid-friendly mascot of Honey Nut Cheerios, pitches the “irresistible taste of golden honey,” selling the sweetness of the product to a demographic that craves sweet foods. While the parent knows that his or her child wants the cereal because of its sweet taste (as conveyed through the packaging), Honey Nut Cheerios must still pass the parent test. By putting such statements as “whole-grain” and “13 essential vitamins and minerals” on the box, the product gains authenticity, credibility, and the approval of the parent.

Two different messages on one common box effectively markets the same product to both children and parents alike, helping to make Honey Nut Cheerios the number three top-selling cereal in 2004. So with the addition of honey and nuts, General Mills, the producer of the Cheerios line, has filled the gap between toddlers and young adults, and completed the Cheerios cradle-to-grave lifetime hold on the consumer.

To take another example, if you want people to think you’re hip and healthy, you make sure they see you drinking bottled water — and the fancier the better. No one walking around with a diet Dr Pepper in hand is looking to impress anybody. These days, there’s almost a feeling that soft drinks are exclusively for kids and the uneducated masses. There’s a cache to the consumption of water, and expensive and exclusive brands are all the rage. Now, there may be a few people who have such extremely refined, educated taste buds that they can taste the difference between Dasani and Aquafina (I certainly can’t), but the connoisseurs of modish waters are more likely than not posers (or, to continue the snobbery theme, poseurs). You won’t see many people walking around Cincinnati or Syracuse clutching fancy bottled water. Hollywood, South Beach, and the Upper East Side of New York City are, as usual, another story.

There’s one final aspect of being the message that impacts what we hear and how we hear it. How our language is delivered can be as important as the words themselves, and no one understands this principle better than Hollywood.

At a small table tucked away in the corner of a boutique Italian restaurant on the outskirts of Beverly Hills, I had the opportunity to dine with legendary actors Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, and Dom DeLuise. The entire dinner was a litany of stories of actors, writers, and the most memorable movie lines ever delivered. (Says Klugman, an Emmy Award winner, “A great line isn’t spoken, it is delivered.”) Best known for his roles in The Odd Couple and Quincy, Klugman told a story about how Spencer Tracy was practicing his lines for a movie late in his career in the presence of the film’s screenwriter. Apparently not pleased with the reading, the writer said to Tracy, “Would you please pay more attention to how you are reading that line? It took me six months to write it,” to which Tracy shot back, “It took me thirty years to learn how to say correctly the line that took you only six months to write.”

Spencer Tracy knew how to be the message — and his shelf of Academy Awards proved it.

Excerpted from WORDS THAT WORK by Dr. Frank Luntz. Copyright 2007 Dr. Frank Luntz. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.

Survival Guide For Personal Injury Claims

It’s a dog eat dog world out there and you need to be careful about the choices you make in your life. If you’re not vigilant, you can find yourself in a situation where you are left stranded, not knowing what to do, with the short end of the straw. This is also the case when it concerns any personal injury claim. There’s no doubt that we all definitely need personal injury lawyers to help us claim the right compensation, so what the right way to approach or pursue a personal injury claim?

Read This Before You Make A Personal Injury Claim.

Why do you think there are so many adverts on daytime TV for personal injury? Well the simple answer is that in this day and age everything is moving at a fast pace. Everyone is too busy and mistakes are often made. There is a lot more traffic on our roads, people busy trying to get to work, pick kids up from schools or go home. In this rush people can get careless either in their driving, at their work place, in their profession or in the mass production of products. Whatever the case, the carelessness or neglect of other people, companies or organisations can result in, innocent people, sustaining an injury or acquiring damages/losses. There has never been a time when so many personal injury claims have been made, and there is nothing wrong with that, because it is your right to seek compensation when you sustain a personal injury, from the neglect and carelessness of other people. With the boom in claims comes the rise in injury lawyers. Where there’s an increase in demand there’s an increase in supply, thus resulting in more and more injury lawyers competing for your custom.

Compare Compensation Claim’s main objective is to help people, who wish to pursue a claim and make this whole process a lot simpler and more beneficial for them.

Survival Guide For Personal Injury Claims.

  • Be selective.

You have the freedom of choice to select whomever you wish to pursue your personal injury claim. Select an injury lawyer that suits your needs and meets your requirement. There are many Compensation Packages that can be offered to you. Know what you want and need. If you require a replacement vehicle then appoint a lawyer who can provide you with this service.

  • Don’t go for the first personal injury lawyer that comes along.

OK let’s use buying a car as an example. You wouldn’t buy a car from the first showroom or private seller, would you? Ideally you would visit a few showrooms or different private sellers before they made your choice, right? Cars are not cheap to buy and are not purchased every day. This is the same principle when it comes to you and your personal injury claim. There are so many injury lawyers out there and you need to find the best one for you, who can offer you an array of services and acquire for you the maximum compensation. Personal injuries are not an everyday thing, they only happen when an innocent individual gets unlucky enough to injury themselves, and let alone how much compensation can be settled. Compensation can go into the tens of thousands so be careful in your selection and make an informed choice.

  • Compare personal injury lawyers – do your homework.

Many injury lawyers have different expertise and experience in dealing with injury claims. On firm of lawyers could specialise in medical negligence and on the other hand another firm could specialise in getting compensation from employers. Do your homework before you make a personal injury claim. Know where each firm’s specialties lie.

  • Don’t get bogged down with all the technical jargon.

Injury lawyers are professional people and can throw a lot of technical jargon at you. May it be to hide information from you i.e. costs, complicated letters from your lawyer or from the third-party at fault lawyer or even medical reports, all of which can confuse an ordinary person. If in doubt, always consult your injury lawyer and ask them to break down the facts and explain things.

The basics of making a personal injury claim:

  • Time limits.

For most personal injury claims there is a time restriction of three years. You have to file a compensation claim within three years. There are some exceptions and we would recommend that you consult Compare Compensation Claims for a free assessment or your injury lawyer.

  • No win no fee.

“No Win No Fee” in the UK is the term used to describe the Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) between a law firm and their client. In any claim (Commercial or Personal Injury), this is an agreement between the client and their lawyer, which will enable the lawyer to take on a case on the understanding that if they lose the case, the client will not have to pay their lawyer’s costs. If the client wins their case, either the Courts or the losing party’s will make an award of damages. In addition, the defendant will be required to pay the client’s legal costs including any uplift of fees as well as expenses. With most Conditional Fee Agreements, the client will have nothing to pay and will receive 100% of any compensation awarded in their claim.

  • Costs

On a no win no fee basis you do not need to worry what a personal injury lawyer charges on an hourly basis. All costs are recovered from the third-party at fault. But if you are still interested in what their service charges are then you can ask them to provide you with this information.

  • 100% compensation.

You should not be deducted any money from your compensation and should be allowed to keep 100% of your compensation. Stay away from personal injury lawyers who deduct money from your compensation for any reasons. May it be for car hire or any other excuse they use, the compensation awarded is rightfully yours and you should be able to walk away with 100% of it.

  • Keep records, bills, receipts, photos and statements to support your personal injury claim.
  • Sketch plan and photographs.
  • Witness statements.
  • Any expert report – including a medical report.

Invoices and estimates for repairs and documents relating to any other losses claimed, such as loss of earnings should all be kept. It is vital you keep records of all personal injury related documents that can and will support your compensation claim.

  • Demand more.

Cover your expenses, demand your damages or losses being reimbursed and obtain compensation for your personal injury. These are the things that you should be looking to recover from the party at fault. If certain things are overlooked by your injury lawyer, i.e. travelling expenses as a result of your accident, then ask them to include such factors in your compensation. Remember you are the boss and the injury lawyers are working for you so take some control.