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A Safe Approach To Doubling Your Money? More Than One Exists

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Double your money on an investment? The phrase represents a holy grail for many. The challenge sounds especially daunting today when most “safe” investments are returning historically low returns. Bankrate, which tracks U.S. certificates of deposit, currently lists a 2.0% 5-year return on a $25,000 deposit.

According to investment author Ken Clark, doubling your money is still a realistic goal, but also one that can lure people to act impulsively. Clark, writing in Investopedia, presented five realistic strategies an investor can follow to double their money.

The Classic Approach

The classic approach is to earn gains slowly. An example is investing in a secure, non-speculative portfolio including investment grade bonds and blue chip stocks. This approach works on account of the “rule of 72,” referencing calculating how long it takes to double value based on compounded interest. Dividing the expected annual rate of return by 72 yields the number of years it takes to double the value.

Since blue chip stocks have gained about 10% over the past 100 years while investment grade bonds have gained about 6%, a portfolio split evenly among them will return about 8%. This means the value will quadruple in 18 years.

Warren Buffet

According to Stansberry Research, Warren Buffet turned $105,000 into more than $50 billion through compounding. He researched the best companies to invest in, then waited for their stock values to drop due to a scandal or a market collapse, then he bought.

‘Blood In The Streets’

The “blood in the streets” approach refers to instances when an investor feels they have to buy because everyone else is selling. This is also known as the “contrarian” approach. Stock prices of normally strong companies suffer slumps on occasion when fickle investors want to bolt.

Sir John Templeton and Baron Rothschild said smart investors buy when there’s “blood in the streets.” They were referring to the fact that good investments get oversold, presenting a buying opportunity for investors who know what they are doing.

The book value and price-to-earnings ratio offer barometers for determining when a stock is oversold. These metrics have established good historic norms in specific industries and broad markets. When companies fall below these historic averages for systemic reasons or superficial ones, an opportunity exists for investors to double their money.

The Safe Approach

Investors wary of risk find bonds a safe approach to growth. Zero-coupon bonds such as U.S. savings bonds can accomplish this goal. Such bonds are easy to comprehend. Rather than buying a bond paying regular interest, purchase one at a discount to its ultimate maturity amount.

Rather than paying $1,000 for a $1,000 bond paying 5% annually, buy it for $500. When it approaches maturity, its value rises until the holder is fully repaid the face amount.

There is no reinvestment risk in this approach. Standard coupon bonds carry the regular need to reinvest interest payments as they are received. Zero-coupon bonds do not incur the challenge of investing smaller rate payments or risking declining interest rates.

The Speculative Approach

For investors craving excitement and having an appetite for bigger risks, options, margin and penny stocks offer some of the fastest ways to double value.

Puts and calls enable one to speculate on the stock of any company. Investors who pay attention to specific industries are in a position to improve their portfolio’s performance using these stock options. Each stock option can represent 100 shares of stock, meaning a stock price could only have to rise a small percentage to return a big gain. This approach requires research, since options can suck wealth as fast as they can give it.

Those who want to leverage their faith in a stock but don’t have the patience to research options can sell a stock short or buy on margin. These techniques involve borrowing money from a brokerage house and purchasing more shares to boost potential profits. This technique takes guts since margin calls can corner one’s available cash while short selling can deliver infinite losses.

Bargain hunting is another technique that can boost returns. Whether one gambles on former blue chip companies selling at under one dollar or investing thousands of dollars into the next “big thing,” penny stocks can double in value in one day. A company’s stock price, whatever the amount, reflects what value other investors don’t see paying beyond.

The Best Approach Of All

The best way to doubling one’s investment pile is taking advantage of their employer’s matching contribution to their retirement plan. Receiving 50 cents on every dollar deposited is a sure way to build wealth.

Another important consideration is the fact that the money going into a 401(k) is tax deductible. This means every dollar invested costs the investor only 65 to 75 cents. For every 75 cents, investors receive $1.50 or more in their retirement fund.

For those who don’t have an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan and earn less than a certain amount, the federal government matches a portion of contributions to retirement accounts. The Credit for Qualified Savings Contribution cuts the tax of the contribution by 10% to 50%.

Do Your Homework

Doubling one’s money is a realistic goal, but investors need to be frugal. There are more scams promising unrealistic returns than safe bets.

This article gives an overview of a subject that is very serious to most people and deserving of significant consideration. In a free market society, the individual bears responsibility for their own wealth creation. Those who are serious need to allocate time to research investment options.

Since most individuals do not have the time to devote to extensive investment research, financial advisers are important. Finding the right advisor, however, requires research in itself.

Kiplinger.com, a long-time investor research firm, recently released an article on selecting an investment advisor. Following are some tips.

1) Learn financial professional vocabulary. Know the difference between an SEC registered investment adviser, a registered representative and an insurance agent. Know if the adviser’s compensation is fee-based or commission-based.

2) Be aware of all fees associated with investments. The fee-based adviser arrangement is a preferred method since it incentivizes ongoing planning. But it is important to be aware of investments held in a fee-base account since these are fees on top of the fee paid to the adviser.

3) Be aware of an adviser firm’s revenue sharing arrangements with mutual funds and annuity products. These arrangements can cloud an adviser’s advice. Big financial companies often have revenue sharing documents disclosing their conflicts of interest.

4) Be aware of an adviser’s affiliations. Some companies that seem independent are actually franchises of larger companies and therefore have the same conflicts of interest as larger companies.

The relationship an investor establishes with an adviser has to be based on trust to be mutually beneficial. The client in this relationship should feel comfortable asking the advisor any question they wish.

While it is not unreasonable for the advisor to feel frustrated at times working with a client, a good advisor wants the client to feel confident in their investment decisions.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.9 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsLester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.




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GDPR and Blockchain: Three Projects Seeking to Decentralize Data Protection

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Whether you’ve been keeping track of the news or are a citizen within the European Union yourself, there is a great chance that you have noticed the recent discussion regarding the newly implemented GDPR (or ‘General Data Protection Regulation’) in the bloc.

The rules came into effect this year alongside the recent vote in favor of implementing stricter copyright laws pertaining to intellectual property and ‘memes’ and has caused a fair bit of controversy, alongside the recent worldwide events including the USA, and their repeal of ‘Net Neutrality’ laws across the entire USA.

Image source: Forbes.com

Advertising, Big Data and You

For a wide range of reasons, digital advertising is a huge industry – being near-perfect solutions for digital, web-based organisations which are seeking to maximise their revenue / profits, whilst minimising expenses.

A common phenomenon affecting advertising is ‘Big Data’, where user information is collected and processed through complex artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.

Your usage of internet technology more likely than not creates an endless trail of digital footprints, which are gathered and interpreted by companies and their systems to provide and interpret detailed insights on user habits.

Data Protection Rights

GDPR is meant to result in transparent and honest interactions between consumers, big data companies, and even social media companies such as Facebook now face the challenge of how to market or rebuild trust with consumers. Though there is still a myriad of concerns amongst consumers regarding how companies will approach this.

Implementation of GDPR has caused quite a shakeup for the AdTech industry, with users are being given total control over how much data websites and applications can collect about them.

Now users can consent to which cookies web operators have access to, but there are still several ways for big data to continue to profit from your data without cookies. Methods such as incoming IP tracking scripts, Browser Fingerprinting and malware-infected websites are commonplace and could prove more malicious than previous methods.

Can Blockchain Further Increase Data Privacy?

Technology has already empowered websites visitors with the ability to overcome issues such regarding data privacy and invasive advertising tactics.

‘Adblocker’ for example is a web-browser extension which automatically removes almost all adverts from a website, and just like ‘NoScript’ (removing potentially malicious scripts from pages) has been utilised by software such as Tor Browser to achieve thorough user safety and anonymity.

Through these kinds of solutions, blockchain or not, website operators are going to be encouraged to increase the quality and value of content on their pages.

Considering such software and the exponential growth of blockchain as an industry, it is of little surprise that we have seen an influx of services, products and ICOs which seek to combine the benefits of these technologies with those of blockchain / cryptocurrency.

Here are a few of what we consider to be the most interesting in the present crypto space…

1. Online.io

Image source: Online.io

The Online.io project financially rewards website operators in a ‘proof of online’ system which essentially quantifies the time spent on each website and rewards website operators appropriately. It is also the only project in this article which we haven’t reviewed on this site so far (although I wouldn’t count it out for the near future, so watch this space!)

Their proprietary crypto-coin (OIO) will be used to distribute rewards to all parties based on visitor time-spent, bounce-rate and other established metrics. This presents a fascinating opportunity for website owners to still effectively monetize their website in compliance with GDPR and without the need to utilize other means of data collection.

Online.io could somewhat be considered a democratized system, as users rank each website based on their experience. The highest rated websites will be rated higher in ‘Trust’ through an algorithmic formula, which acts as an indicator of website quality for future visitors.

It’s likely to continue delivering a highly positive boost to the whole ecosystem as consumers now (especially millennials) would rather get rid of traditional advertising methods: hence ad-skipping buttons on YouTube as well as Ad-blockers and anti-tracker software.

2. Peer Mountain

A blockchain based project which seeks to connect so called “self-sovereign ID holders with businesses, enabling commerce at scale” by utilising technological solutions like smart contracts.

Peer Mountain is unique for providing customers (a private individual / citizen) with a greater level of confidence when looking to access a product or service – no matter where they are, or what their country of origin may be.

To the organisations taking part, budding entrepreneurs worldwide, a whole new market audience is available. A mutual benefit which is equally enjoyed by the ‘self-sovereign ID holder’ too – incentivised by not having to register their private information on a host of centralized servers.

The security is achieved through use of innovative code: which makes use of a combination of user-experience solutions, with the innate security benefits of distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrency.

3. DOVU

This team has put all its efforts into creating a ‘mobility’-focused solution which incorporates “a unified token, wallet and marketplace for earning and spending mobility related rewards”. By mobility, what they are referring to is of course transportation related activities: such as ride-sharing and courier services.

In this instance however, it also applies to mobility information – and how it is bought and sold in the data economy.

Unlike the other solutions listed, DOVU aims to resolve the contentious issue of data privacy by allowing service providing companies make direct offers to users of its ecosystem in return for a quantity of the platform’s proprietary token.

Key use cases and clients pegged to take advantage of this platform include automotive manufacturers and marketing organisations for use in big-data research and algorithmic insight / report generation.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Crypto Capitulation Is Upon Us

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Capitulation: kuh-pich-uh-LEY-shuhn (noun) the action of surrendering or ceasing to resist.

From their December peak, cryptocurrency assets have given back over $400 billion. This amounts to more than the GDP of many countries.  If this were values lost in the stock market whose worth is in the trillions, it would be called a minor correction. In crypto terms there is only one word to describe the carnage: capitulation.

As painful as it is, the point to be made here is the capitulation is a good thing.  Read on and I will share some thoughts for you to consider.

Mass Media Mania

First let’s take a look at some of the news that is causing such despair. Most recently the selling mania has been in response first to Facebook and more recently to Google.  Both of these mass social media giants have ban cryptocurrency advertising. Read closely and you won’t be shocked to realize that the target of their ire are the many ICOs.

The problem is not that Facebook and Google are the only advertising platforms.  The problem is that they are considered mainstream media and without these two, the trend of cryptocurrencies gaining legitimacy is delayed.  That is right, I said delayed not blocked or prevented.

The World Has Changed

Five years ago, when bitcoin was unknown to most people, this might have been a fatal move. Today is a different story. I recently traveled to a remote mountain town in the interior of Mexico.  Everyone I met had heard about Bitcoin and eyes lit up with excitement when I ask if I could pay for lunch with bitcoin.  

Today are dozens of websites dedicated to cryptocurrencies, either holding them, exchanging them or just writing about them.  Probably the most effective advertising remains on Google, it is called Google Search and it is free.

If someone wants to learn about owning bitcoin or any other currency, there is a ton of educational information.

Of course it would be far better all around if Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt had taken a different approach such as banning only advertisements for ICOs, but that didn’t happen so supporters of crypto aren’t comforted in their beliefs that bitcoin is going mainstream in 2018.

The Flipside Is Being Ignored

Every argument has a flip side.  If the removal of ads contributes to cleaning up ICO scams, that is a good thing.  We can all agree on that point. And let’s be honest there is more than one problem the crypto community needs to clean up.

This adds to the ongoing regulatory news including March 7th ruling in US Federal District Court that cryptocurrencies are commodities.  As such they can be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC).

On the same day the Securities & Exchange Commission issued the following order:

“If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an ‘exchange,’ as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration,” the commission said in its “Statement on Potentially Unlawful Online Platforms for Trading Digital Assets.”

Not All Regulation Is Inherently Bad

The mere hint of added government regulation typically sends stock market investors heading for the exits and the same holds for investors in crypto.  But this raises the question, is some regulation of crypto a good thing?

If we examine the full spectrum of regulation to this point on a global scale there is one common target most everywhere.  That is the practice of exchanges. So far there has been little or not regulation, threatened or enacted, to protect investors from loss of funds due to security breaches.  

The question that needs to be ask is this.  Will SEC regulation result in better pricing and lower trading costs; if So, then this would provide a desirable outcome.  It is understandable if you laugh at the prospect of any government regulation having a beneficial outcome, but if you look at past SEC practices, you would come away with different conclusion.

So when the next regulation catches the headlines will it be to ban the existence of bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and others or to protect the investor from scams and excess costs?

Capitulation Is A Good Sign

Over the course of a pretty long investment experience, I have witnessed true misery on more than one occasion.  The pain is unbelievable, there is no perspective on the future and all you want is to take action to end the misery.  That is when you know the worst is happening and nothing is ever going to make it better. That is when major stock market bottoms are formed. It surely is painful these days for crypto investors. This is a good sign.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 96 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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Altcoins

What’s Behind Cardano’s Rising Popularity in South Korea?

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Cardano, better known as ADA in South Korea, pronounced as “aeda” in the local market, is growing at an exponential rate due to UpBit.

UpBit, South Korea’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange behind Bithumb, is operated by Dunamu, a subsidiary company of Kakao, the operating company of KakaoTalk and KakaoPay. The two mobile applications, KakaoTalk and KakaoPay, have a market penetration rate of over 90 percent in their respective markets–financial technology (fintech) and messaging.

Although UpBit remains as the only cryptocurrency exchange that has integrated Cardano within the local South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market as of date, the popularity of Cardano on UpBit is increasing rapidly. According to CoinMarketCap, 75 percent of Cardano’s daily trading volume is processed in South Korea, by UpBit.

Within its debut month, more than 3 million South Korean users signed up to use KakaoPay, the country’s most widely utilized fintech app. KakaoPay operates as a mobile bank, allowing users to send and receive money, obtain loans, and conduct financial activities. KakaoPay supports UpBit because a subsidiary company of Kakao in Dunamu operates UpBit.

Given that Cardano is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies on UpBit in terms of daily trading volume, naturally, as general consumers in the traditional finance market using KakaoTalk and KakaoPay move to the cryptocurrency market, the first few cryptocurrencies they are introduced to are bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano.

Cardano is also receiving significantly more mainstream and local media coverage than other alternative cryptocurrencies, specifically because the South Korean media has portrayed Cardano as a direct competition to Ethereum. Because Cardano is a smart contracts protocol, it is structurally similar to Ethereum.

The two key differences between Cardano and Ethereum are that Cardano uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm and it also has two layers that are used for smart contracts processing and payment settlement.

In South Korea, cryptocurrency mania has swept across most major industries. 5 out of 10 people on the streets, in subways, buses, and cafes talk about bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology on a regular basis. As such, the majority of investors are more technical than other regions.

Most investors of Ethereum in South Korea understand that the Ethereum Foundation and its open-source development team has been planning a PoS update via Casper. When Cardano debuted with a PoS protocol, it led South Korean investors to believe Cardano is a more innovative platform and has a technical edge over Ethereum.

January 31

For cryptocurrencies with strong followers in the South Korean market, January 31 is an important date to keep track. On January 31, local cryptocurrency exchanges are expected to open account registrations to new users and six major local banks are set to provide banking services to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Consequently, on January 31, it is likely that a massive amount of Korean won will flow into the local cryptocurrency exchange market. The recent cryptocurrency exchange ban fiasco, which turned out to be false, further increased the presence and popularity of cryptocurrencies in South Korea.

Cryptocurrencies like Cardano, EOS, Qtum, and Ethereum that have strong bases in South Korea will likely increase in value throughout late January and early February.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.4 stars on average, based on 3 rated postsJoseph Young is a finance and tech journalist based in Hong Kong. He has worked with leading media and news agencies in the technology and finance industries, offering exclusive content, interviews, insights and analysis of cryptocurrencies, innovative and futuristic technologies.




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