How do you make the important decisions of your life, such as what to study or where to invest your money? Is there a mathematical strategy to thinking clearly? On this week’s Goldstein on Gelt show, Professor Michael Starbird, professor of mathematics and author of “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking,” talks about how we make decisions and how to think clearly.
Posts Tagged ‘invest’
I often share with my clients a simple yet powerful analogy: think about your relationship as you do about your bank account. That’s because investing in your relationship is similar to saving money; the more you put into your bank account or relationship, the more you can take out when necessary.
The way to develop your emotional wealth is to invest as much equity as possible, so when the going gets tough, you can dig into your savings and avoid going into the red.
Investing in your relationship takes time and effort and is a challenge for all couples. In my own life, for example, I believe my relationship is so important that my wife and I try to schedule time alone together at least once a week to focus on our relationship. Despite the pressures of our busy lives, we try to creatively make sure we are investing in our marriage. Sometimes we go out to a restaurant to eat or just take a walk down the block together. Other times, we go grocery shopping or head to the local convenience store in order to enjoy a few minutes alone just schmoozing about our day. When life goes into overdrive and time is limited, we take a “time out” for ourselves, and spend a few minutes in a quiet and secluded room in the home just talking to one another.
It really doesn’t matter what you do or what you talk about during your private times together. What matters most is to give your spouse the feeling that he or she is the most important person in the world.
Of course, the way to build emotional equity in a marriage is to make as many deposits as possible. In general, positive statements like complimenting one another, sharing appreciations and speaking kind words are “deposits.” Every time you tell your spouse that you appreciate them, or their actions, you are building more emotional wealth. You can even think of a compliment as a dollar. Imagine how rich you could become if you increase the amount of times per hour you compliment your spouse!
And it’s not just complimenting that works; actions speak louder than words. Helping each other with daily tasks such as shopping for food or just cleaning the house are ways in which couples can increase their emotional equity. The point is that it doesn’t take a large budget, or a lot of time, to build a relationship. Even the simplest gestures can make a difference.
The opposite is also true. Couples will deplete their emotional savings by criticizing and exercising external control. Trying to force one another via manipulation or by insulting each other decreases emotional wealth, and can even put some relationships into bankruptcy.
At the end of each month, I suggest that couples take a look and see how their emotional savings account is developing. They should check how many deposits they’ve made and how much was withdrawn. The goal is to become aware of the overall growth of the relationship and to see if it is getting stronger, or needs more nurturing.
The Miraculous Bamboo Tree
One way to illustrate the need to invest in the long-term sustainability of your marriage is to look at the miraculous growth pattern of the Chinese bamboo tree.
It seems that this tree when planted, watered, and nurtured for an entire growing season doesn’t outwardly grow as much as an inch. Then, after the second growing season, a season in which the farmer takes extra care to water, fertilize and care for the bamboo tree, the tree still hasn’t sprouted. So it goes as the sun rises and sets for four solid years. The farmer and his wife have nothing tangible to show for all of their labor.
Then, along comes year five.
In the fifth year that Chinese bamboo tree seed finally sprouts and the bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet in just one growing season! Or so it seems….
Did the little tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond? The answer, of course, is obvious. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew. The same principle is true for people.
Sunday – The Jerusalem Municipality approved a plan to invest in and upgrade the Jerusalem Deer Sanctuary in Deer Valley (near the Pot Junction), and to turn it into the first city-based nature park in Israel. The park will cover an area of over 60 acres.
New deers will be brought into the existing sanctuary, and the park will now also have a section for people which will include a bicycle path, bird watching terraces, and a reception and education center. There will also build a water reservoir.
The first part of the new park is expected to be completed in January 2014.
Mayor Nir Barkat said this will turn Jerusalem into a “green” city and inprove the standard of living of the residents.
What did you do when you built your portfolio? Did you invest the money and then simply walk away? Did you then expect to take another look in ten years’ time and find that you had miraculously become rich?
The financial world, like many other things in life, is always subject to change. Markets go up, and markets go down. What if there is a war in your part of the world, or a huge banking crisis? The financial markets are affected by so many outside factors, a lot of which are not necessarily as dramatic as the above two examples but still have their ramifications upon investments. For this reason, it is always a good idea to take a periodic check of your portfolio to see if the level of risk is still appropriate and if you need to readjust your investments in favor of something that would be better for your present circumstances.
This fiscal check could be compared with the annual reevaluation that Jews are supposed to make at this time of the year. The months of Elul and Tishrei are a time to examine your deeds. You look at what you have done over the past year and where you are going. Are the decisions that you made in the past for yourself and your family still right for you, given the circumstances in your lives that may have changed during the year? How have various challenges that you may have undergone affected the way that you live your life? When you look at the future, what do you see? Although you cannot predict what will happen, there are certain things that you may need to keep in mind and prepare for. Are you prepared for these events?
Spiritual accounting is similar to the financial accounting. In order to be an effective investor, it’s a good idea to sit down once a year with your financial adviser and ask:
- What has happened over the past year that might have changed the balance in your portfolio? – Which of your investments have become more or less risky as a result of market performance? (Learn more about assessing whether high or low risk is good for you.)
- What are your goals for this year, and do you have the means to accomplish them?
- Do you need to change anything in order to improve your financial situation? And if so, exactly what?
- What are the pros and cons of any possible financial move that you may be considering, in terms of hidden costs and taxes, as well as potential profits?
With best wishes in starting the New Year with renewed spiritual strength…and a reevaluated, stronger portfolio.
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced fraud charges and an emergency asset freeze to halt a $600 million Ponzi scheme on the verge of collapse. The emergency action assures that victims can recoup more of their money and potentially avoid devastating losses.
The SEC alleges that online marketer Paul Burks of Lexington, N.C. and his company Rex Venture Group have raised money from more than one million Internet customers nationwide and overseas through the website ZeekRewards.com, which they began in January 2011.
Users who go into the zeekrewards.com website this morning, receive this message: “Zeek Rewards is currently unavailable. More information will be available shortly on this website.”
Not so with zeekinhebrew.blogspot.co.il, which appears to be the Israeli offshoot of the same outfit, and continues to function and lure in unsuspecting get-rich-quick seekers in Israel.
The home page is a Q & A that includes these paragraphs:
How much should you invest after joining ZeekRewards?
To profit from ZeekRewards, you must enter once a day and publish one of the ZeekRewards ads, it takes from one to two minutes a day. In addition, you can invest money in the website and increase your daily interest rate.
How soon see revenues in ZeekRewards?
Once you have registered on the site, you need to post an ad of your choice every day (from a pool of ZeekRewards ads) and paste your ad in one of the free sites that serve ads online (a full list is on the ZeekRewards website).
After you posted an ad, you receive a confirmation which you send to ZeekRewards.
Once you submitted the certificate at ZeekRewards, you have 24 hours during which you are entitled to earn money.
Within 24 hours you can see the revenues (relative to the amount you spent on the site). The gains come by check to your home once you choose [to collect].
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., customers were offered several ways to earn money through the ZeekRewards program, two of which involved purchasing securities in the form of investment contracts. These securities offerings were not registered with the SEC as required under the federal securities laws.
The SEC alleges that investors were collectively promised up to 50 percent of the company’s daily net profits through a profit sharing system in which they accumulate rewards points that they can use for cash payouts. However, the website fraudulently conveyed the false impression that the company was extremely profitable when, in fact, the payouts to investors bore no relation to the company’s net profits. Most of ZeekRewards’ total revenues and the “net profits” paid to investors have been comprised of funds received from new investors in classic Ponzi scheme fashion.
“The obligations to investors drastically exceed the company’s cash on hand, which is why we need to step in quickly, salvage whatever funds remain and ensure an orderly and fair payout to investors,” said Stephen Cohen, an Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “ZeekRewards misused the power of the Internet and lured investors by making them believe they were getting an opportunity to cash in on the next big thing. In reality, their cash was just going to the earlier investor.”
The SEC’s complaint alleges that the scheme is teetering on collapse with investor funds at risk of dissipation without its emergency enforcement action. Last month, ZeekRewards brought in approximately $162 million while total investor cash payouts were approximately $160 million. If customers continue to increasingly elect to receive cash payouts rather than reinvesting their money to reach higher levels of rewards points, ZeekRewards’ cash outflows would eventually exceed its total revenue.
According to the SEC, Burks has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges against him without admitting or denying the allegations, and agreed to cooperate with a court-appointed receiver.
According to the SEC’s complaint, ZeekRewards has paid out nearly $375 million to investors to date and holds approximately $225 million in investor funds in 15 foreign and domestic financial institutions. Those funds will be frozen under the emergency asset freeze granted by the court at the SEC’s request. Meanwhile, Burks has personally siphoned several million dollars of investors’ funds while operating Rex Venture and ZeekRewards, and he distributed at least $1 million to family members. Burks has agreed to relinquish his interest in the company and its assets plus pay a $4 million penalty. Additionally, the court has appointed a receiver to collect, marshal, manage and distribute remaining assets for return to harmed investors.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Brian M. Privor and Alfred C. Tierney in the SEC’s Enforcement Division in Washington D.C. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the Quebec Autorite des Marches Financiers and the Ontario Securities Commission.
Are you looking for a good way to invest your money? If so, you might consider mutual funds. A mutual fund is essentially a collection of stocks and/or bonds that is shared by investors. Everyone puts his money into a “basket,” and each person owns a proportional percentage of the overall mutual fund. Each mutual fund has managers that are in charge of the buy-and-sell decisions, so all the investor needs to do is put his money in and wait/hope to earn some profits.
Four reasons investors choose mutual funds are:
-It takes the work off your shoulders — why spend time going through rows of figures and researching the performance of your securities when there are professional money managers who can do this for you? In fact, not only do they save you the work, but they can possibly do it better.
-”Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” or in financial terms, diversification. Diversification is a technique where you spread your investments among various companies, industries, and geographic locations, thus minimizing your risk if something fails. For example, if you were to put all of your savings into Brazilian coffee and a huge flood wiped out the entire coffee bean crop across South America, you would be left with nothing. But if you diversify, you are less likely to lose everything. Putting your money into mutual funds, which by their very nature are diverse (though some do stick to certain sectors or countries), saves you the headache of searching for the best way to spread your investments.
-Mutual funds are not only good for the big guns. If you only have a little bit of money you can still invest. Unlike some professional money managers who may have minimum account size requirements to manage your money, mutual funds offer professional management without investment minimums (other than buying one share). In this way, mutual funds may be an affordable way to get professional guidance and diversification.
-What if you suddenly need your money? Mutual funds are fairly liquid. You can redeem your shares at the current NAV —along with any fees and charges assessed on redemption — at any time.
If you think investing in mutual funds may be for you, learn more at www.LearnAboutInvestments.com, and then schedule a meeting with your financial adviser.
Chairman of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club Itzik Kornfein said in an interview with Israel TV’s sports channel that a number of Haredi businessmen from “Belgium, London and Russia” have expressed their desire to invest money in his team, on one condition: that Beitar would not play on Shabbat.
Kornfein also mentioned Israeli maverick millionaire Rami Levy, who also wants to buy the team if it would not play on Shabbat. He said: “I have no problem not playing on Shabbat, on the contrary, [I'm all for it]. I sent letters to [league president] Avi Luzon and [media content company] Charlton on the matter. We have many traditional-Jewish fans and itr comes down to five games a year altogether.”
Kornfein envisions combining a deal with Rami Levy and the Haredi investors. “Ramy is an honest and fair businessman. We’ll have to put things on the table from our side and see what happens.”
In his interview with the sports channel, Kornfein spoke openly about the mental fatigue he felt at what had been his vain attempts to recruit buyers for the Jerusalem team and save it from bankruptcy.
In January, Beitar Jerusalem was the target of angry criticism by religious season ticket holders who missed part of a crucial game with the team’s arch-rivals, the Arab team from Beit Sichnin. The original game time was set for 5:15 PM, but out of consideration for religious fans game time was postponed to 5:40. Except the Shabbat ended only at 5:45.
The fans accused Charlton of scheduling an early start to make room for their later, popular feed from the English soccer leagues.