Check Out These Check Facts

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Checking accounts have changed and you may want to spend some time checking out the changes and how they affect you.

Check Out These Check Facts

Checking accounts have changed and you may want to spend some time checking out the changes and how they affect you.

To start, checks are being processed more quickly these days. This means that when you write a check the money may be deducted from your account sooner. To avoid bounced checks, be sure you have enough money in your account at the time you write a check. A bounced check charge could cost you $25 per check or more.

Here are some other changes you should make note of:

• Some of your checks may be converted to electronic funds transfers from your account-called electronic check conversion. Your check is now like a debit and the money may come out of your account sooner. If you don’t want the checks you write to pay bills converted, contact your creditors to find out how to opt out. If you need a copy of a check that was converted, you will have to contact your bank, which will then contact the creditor who converted your check.

• Some of your checks may be processed as a check (instead of being converted), but the banks may exchange payment information electronically. Banks do this by creating “substitute checks.” Substitute checks are special paper copies of the front and back of the original check. When banks use substitute checks, the money may come out of your account sooner.

• The items listed in your checking account statement may look different from one another. Some items may be listed by check number and others may be listed by the name of the company you paid. Always review all of the charges listed on your account statements to make sure they match your receipts or records.

If you have questions about how your checks are processed, contact your bank, savings and loan or credit union.

Remember, under federal law you are protected against errors in your account when electronic funds transfers are used. But you have to read your bank statements each month or go online to check your account transactions. And you need to notify your bank as soon as you spot an error.

Budgeting For Emergency Funds?

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Emergency funds are considered to be a necessity as far as financial security is concerned, since it can provide one with financial resources that one can resort to and depend on when an emergency arises such that when one is sick and have the burden of paying huge medical bills, or unexpected home or major car repair.

When one has no emergency fund, one can be obliged to acquire debt on your credit card that might take several years to repay with interest that would late…

budget, family budget

Emergency funds are considered to be a necessity as far as financial security is concerned, since it can provide one with financial resources that one can resort to and depend on when an emergency arises such that when one is sick and have the burden of paying huge medical bills, or unexpected home or major car repair.

When one has no emergency fund, one can be obliged to acquire debt on your credit card that might take several years to repay with interest that would later cost so much more.

However by putting an extra thirty to fifty dollars every month in an individual “emergency savings account?one can be secured with what emergency the future may bring. In doing this, it is recommended that one regards the emergency fund as an additional bill, to be punctually paid each month.

Yes, one can and should budget and allocate the extra money for emergency fund, as this is very significant when one refers to his “financial future? Here, the goal is to create savings from budgeting your income; the emergency savings should ideally be equal to at least three months your living expenditures.

What’s important is that you should steadily put a certain amount of money aside, and only use it for real emergencies.

Not like an investment, the success of one’s long-term savings funds does not really count on the amount of return or interests but on placing a fixed amount of money away constantly and steadily so to have immediate access to it at all times.

In spite of one’s financial status, the initial step in the process of constructing an emergency fund is by knowing where your money is presently being consumed or spent.

When one recognizes and determines where one’s earnings are spent, then it will be easy for one to choose and make a decision where to trim down expenses. In other words, budget.

Budgeting is putting or setting aside money for anticipated and unanticipated future use. It is here that one sets up a goal so as to save. So set an emergency fund as your goal.

Checking, savings, money market accounts and “certificates of deposits? are great places to keep one’s cash that might be needed on quick notice.

The amount saved from budgeting can either go to your savings goal, emergency fund or both. One could utilize the money saved from budgeting financial expenses by saving half of it to your savings account and half of it for emergencies. This way, you achieve your goals in savings and at the same time put in funds for emergency use. It’s your choice.

Trading Stocks Online – What Works

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Imagine you are trying to do car repairs, and the only tool you have is a hammer. Sure, you’ll be able to get some jobs done, but they won’t be done properly and you’ll most likely break something else in the process. Trading stocks online is much like that. There are many ways to trade, but only some of them truly work.

trading, stocks, online, invest, mutual fund, market, trade, investment

Imagine you are trying to do car repairs, and the only tool you have is a hammer. Sure, you’ll be able to get some jobs done, but they won’t be done properly and you’ll most likely break something else in the process. Trading stocks online is much like that. There are many ways to trade, but only some of them truly work. Sometimes, investors end up losing money because they didn’t take the time to find the proper investment method or tool. Here are some tips that can help you to trade successfully.

If you want to reduce the risk that comes with holding an investment, you will want to look into the practice known as hedging. One of the best ways to hedge your investments is to take any shares you have in a company and sell them to the company’s opposition.

For stability, you will want to look to investing a pre-arranged amount of money each month into one or more mutual funds. Mutual funds are composed of shares from approximately 10 companies, and often focus on a specific area of the market, such as energy, paper, or currency. Although there is still a risk that you can lose money through your mutual funds, they are much more stable and have a much higher chance of recovery, based on the fact that they center on stocks from more than one company. Be patient if the market takes a downturn; don’t sell your funds or stock immediately. History has shown that if a market goes down, it will also go up.

Another online trading tactic is to look at the stock market and find good, stable companies whose stock has taken a downturn. The way to find them is to look for ones that have dividend yields. Pick several of these companies and invest equal amounts of money in buying stocks from each of them. Although there is risk involved with this method, the history and stability of these companies is often enough to pull them through the slump they may be experiencing. And when their stocks begin to rise in value, you will benefit from this wise trading investment.

Use the Power of Autosuggestion in the Stock Market

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Self-Confidence is an essential starting point for any business venture, especially in stock trading. Learn how to build your self-confidence through the power of autosuggestion. This might change your life.

autosuggestion,self-confidence,trading software, day trading, swing trading, stock trading, online trading, trading systems, trading logs, trading software, stock market, day trading courses

Self-Confidence is an essential starting point for any business venture. This is true even more if the business is trading in the stock market because psychology plays such a major role. Keep reading, this might change your life!

About 10 years ago, I received a copy of the book “Think and Grow Rich!” written by Napoleon Hill. Today, I credit most of my success in business (including trading) to this book.

At first applying some of the principles described in this book appears a bit crazy – for example reading a Self-Confidence formula and a Definite Plan aloud every day. But you really have to look at it with an opened mind and believe me (and many peoples who have made millions) this stuff works:

Here is a brief overview (you really need to get the book):

– First – you must have a burning desire – for a trader this desire should be “to become a consistent winner in the stock market“.

– Second – you have to have a definite goal including the amount you want to make and the date by which you want this money to be in your account.

– Third – You need a definite plan, or what you will do in exchange for this money.

Here is an example of a plan – it is generic enough to be applied to most trading styles. Items specific to your style should be added. Your plan should be read aloud first thing in the morning and right before going to bed.

By December 31st 2006, I will make $200,000 dollars with my trading. In return for this money I will do the following:

– I will follow a trading plan to guide my trading – therefore my job will be one of patience and discipline

– I will plan each trade carefully – I will not jump into trades by fear of missing out

– I will monitor the market’s current picture

– I will monitor the current picture for each industry

– I will manage my trades to protect my capital and my profits

– I will protect my capital through good money management

– I will take responsibility for all my actions.

– I will trade to trade well and for the love of trading, not to trade often and not for the money. The money will come as a result of trading well.

– I will not be influenced by the opinions of others. I will reach my own decisions and follow them.

– I will build the self-trust necessary to operate in an unlimited environment which has no rules.

– I will be rigid in my rules and flexible in my expectations.

-I will never think that taking money from the market is easy and I will never assume that I know enough.

-I will have no particular expectation when I place a trade because I know that anything can happen.

-I will treat trading as a probability game in which I don’t need to know what is going to happen next in order to make money. All I need to know

is that the odds are in my favor before I put a trade

– I believe that I deserve this money. I believe that I will have this money in my possession. My faith is so strong that I can now see this money before my eyes. I can touch it with my hands. It is now awaiting transfer into my account. I am awaiting a plan by which to accumulate this money, and I will follow that plan when it is received.

Read (and reread) this book and apply its principles to your life – and notice the difference in your Self-Confidence.

Performance Contracting Helps Save on Energy Costs

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As soaring energy costs increasingly affect the bottom line of U.S. businesses, the “energy performance contract” has become an attractive solution for commercial building owners. This contract is a financing or operating lease offered by an energy service company, also known as an ESCO, to help businesses improve the energy efficiency of their buildings or facilities.

Performance Contracting Helps Save on Energy Costs

To improve energy efficiency, some companies are doing more than just turning out the lights at the end of the day.

As soaring energy costs increasingly affect the bottom line of U.S. businesses, the “energy performance contract” has become an attractive solution for commercial building owners. This contract is a financing or operating lease offered by an energy service company, also known as an ESCO, to help businesses improve the energy efficiency of their buildings or facilities.

The key to energy performance contracting is to use long-term utility savings to fund the improvements. The ESCO often guarantees energy savings that will meet or exceed annual payments to cover all project costs, usually over a contract term of seven to 20 years.

“A building owner either pays a utility for an inefficient building, or they can pay an ESCO to improve their building,” says Jeff Stokes, a vice president at World Energy Solutions, a publicly traded ESCO (symbol: WEGY) based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

World Energy Solutions strives to reduce kilowatt usage by up to 30 percent. The company offers a variety of services, including utility billing and rate analysis, energy auditing, installation of building improvements, building systems maintenance and ongoing monitoring and verification of the energy savings.

ESCOs can provide flexible and unique ways to finance their services. For example, World Energy Solutions offers to pay the

total up-front cost of installation as well as equipment maintenance in return for an 80 percent share of the actual savings realized over a minimum 10-year period.

“In some cases, our company will fund the entire installation, at no charge to our customer, and live off the savings we generate over a certain amount of time,” says Ben Croxton, chief executive officer of World Energy Solutions.

ESCOs not only identify energy-saving opportunities, but also develop engineering designs and specifications and manage the entire process. They also can provide staff training and ongoing maintenance services.

Even the federal government has gotten into the act, and for good reason: Executive orders that require federal agencies to use 35 percent less energy by 2010 in comparison to 1985 levels will require $5 billion in energy projects. Much of that will go to “Super Energy Savings Performance Contracts,” offered by the Department of Energy.

Tips on how to save money

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Money is an essential element in every body’s life. It is the one that we exchange to get all the necessary things in life. And that is exactly the reason why we work all day and sometimes night.

saving money, personal finance

Money is an essential element in every body’s life. It is the one that we exchange to get all the necessary things in life. And that is exactly the reason why we work all day and sometimes night. Since the flow of money in one’s life is not uniform, it is only prudent to save some money for the crunch days. Economics permits one to spend his/her money in any amount as he/she wishes. But how rationally one could plan so as to maintain a minimum level of backup in any given day is directly linked with his/her ability to save.

In daily life, even if we know that we are spending money to buy things we need, most of us tend to over see the fact that more than 50% of the spending is for purposes that are quite unnecessary or those expenditures can be avoided without affecting one’s basic life style. Exactly this is the point from where one should start thinking of saving money.

Distinguish between and clearly understand your needs and wants. Needs are those things one require to sustain his/her basic needs. Want on the other hand refers to anything that is not an absolute necessity but which presence enhances one’s way of life. For example, a car can be a need but a $40,000 SUV is a want.

It is a human nature to insist on the best and the biggest even if the same quality is available at a lower cost. Spending $100 in a posh restaurant when one can afford the same sumptuous meal at $20 or buying a $20 shirt with a $30 trendy label attached all belong to this category of “keeping up with the Joneses? A bit of intelligent spending here can save a lot.

It is a good idea to try a commodity and get a feel of it before actually buying one. Because there is no point in buying something you may never use or hardly use. Such an analysis is relevant especially when the item under consideration is a costly one. Rent one, borrow one, and try one out before making the final call.

Mortgages can easily be the biggest single expense most families have in their monthly budget. Here, zeroing on the best deal is where the trick lies. Calculated comparisons can make a difference of few thousand dollars in the entire deal. Another big expense is linked with the vehicles a person owns. One should see if he/she is getting the best deal on the maintenance, insurance and repairs.

True, food is a need as well as a recurring expense. Keeping a check over the money spend on food ?to a necessary extend – can make a big difference in the money one could save at the end of the month. Plan food purchases in advance, go for generics or store brands and stock up the items that you regularly use when available on sale.

Another expenditure that drains a lot of money is one’s fascination for clothes. Unlike electronic goods, the price of clothes is continuously on an upward spiral. Hence it is a good idea to buy quality clothes that lasts a longer period. Such clothes are better than the ‘throw away?types. The cost of clothes is not going to come down either. Therefore, buying in advance for a season ahead is a logical correct step. But never over do it. Getting clothes for 5 years in advance is stupid!

Telephone is a common thing in every house hold. This is one department where money drains like an open tap. Though local phone service has a fixed price long distance calls matters. Shop around to find out the best deal as far as the service provider is concerned. Keep in mind, a saving of $16.75 a month can add up to $200 a year.

If you are a travel addict, travel expenses can make a big difference if not having the right travel agent. Even if it is the same place, airline, hotel or car rental, the difference between two travelers can easily exceed $1000. Keep one’s eyes and ears open when hunting for a traveler.

Remember, saving money is not putting all the dollars that one earns in his/her savings account. But it is all about intelligently spending the bucks, at the same keeping a check on all the unnecessary expenses. Good Luck!

How To Save On Magazine Subscriptions

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Reading is our essential necessity for information. Everyone knows that periodicals are the best way to get updated information ?from business and current affairs to latest fashion trends and movie reviews. We all are different, so are our interests. The vast range of popular magazines is there to satisfy our any information need.

Through thousands of categories and titles you can definitely find the ones that will become your family’s favorites, advisors, best friends. E…

Reading is our essential necessity for information. Everyone knows that periodicals are the best way to get updated information ?from business and current affairs to latest fashion trends and movie reviews. We all are different, so are our interests. The vast range of popular magazines is there to satisfy our any information need.

Through thousands of categories and titles you can definitely find the ones that will become your family’s favorites, advisors, best friends. Even with all kinds of resources available on the Internet, to actually hold a nice glamorous issue is a different pleasure altogether.

However, to provide all the family members with magazine subscriptions is rather a luxury for an average family. The father would want an edition stuffed with news and essential information, like News Max or The Week; Mom would go for something like Good Housekeeping or Easy Home Cooking. Teenage daughter would be all for a piece of glamour like CosmoGirl or Teen Vogue. And a little son would be thrilled getting his regular issue of Boy’s Quest or Child Life. Does that mean spending hundreds of dollars annually? May be. May be not. Depends on how smart consumer you can be. Just a few tips will allow you to save on subscriptions and get the magazines you want.

Everyone knows that to buy a magazine subscription is cheaper than to buy the same editions separately every month. But before you go for a magazine subscription, be sure that this particular magazine is actually what you want. If you are not sure it’s good enough, it pays buying an issue or two at a newsstand or borrowing them from a library. Don’t get carried away with commercials ?loud titles and glamorous design may turn out to be zero useful information. Make your own opinion and remember ?the most expensive doesn’t mean the best.

Once you decided which magazine subscriptions you want, look for the lowest price. The longer the period of subscription is, the cheaper is the rate per issue. That’s how you will also be spared of overpaying in case the price rises. Beware of magazine subscription scams! If you are not buying a subscription from a publisher, at least find out whether the subscription service provider is reliable. Check if there are hidden costs that will add up to a low price, making it high eventually.

Study the cancellation policy before you subscribe to any special offer. Also, if you pay by your credit card, some magazines will automatically renew your subscription unless you call to cancel it.

Finally, hunting for your favorite magazine subscriptions online, give preference to the companies, providing magazine subscription coupons or magazine coupon codes. They will help you save even more than you could do on special offers or magazine sales and get more favorite periodicals for your family.

Managing the Income Portfolio

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You don’t have to be a professional Investment Manager to professionally manage your investment portfolio, but you do need to have a long term plan and know something about Asset Allocation?a portfolio organization tool that is often misunderstood and almost always improperly used within the financial community. Remember, your unhappiness is Wall Street’s most coveted asset. Don’t humor them.

Investing, rate of return, income portfolio, stocks, bonds Wall Street, asset allocation, financial plan, cost basis, Working Capital, profit, market value, performance evaluation

The reason people assume the risks of investing in the first place is the prospect of achieving a higher rate of return than is attainable in a risk free environmentÂ…i.e., an FDIC insured bank account. Risk comes in various forms, but the average investor’s primary concerns are “credit?and “market?risk?particularly when it comes to investing for income. Credit risk involves the ability of corporations, government entities, and even individuals, to make good on their financial commitments; market risk refers to the certainty that there will be changes in the Market Value of the selected securities. We can minimize the former by selecting only high quality (investment grade) securities and the latter by diversifying properly, understanding that Market Value changes are normal, and by having a plan of action for dealing with such fluctuations. (What does the bank do to get the amount of interest it guarantees to depositors? What does it do in response to higher or lower market interest rate expectations?)

You don’t have to be a professional Investment Manager to professionally manage your investment portfolio, but you do need to have a long term plan and know something about Asset Allocation?a portfolio organization tool that is often misunderstood and almost always improperly used within the financial community. It’s important to recognize, as well, that you do not need a fancy computer program or a glossy presentation with economic scenarios, inflation estimators, and stock market projections to get yourself lined up properly with your target. You need common sense, reasonable expectations, patience, discipline, soft hands, and an oversized driver. The K. I. S. S. Principle needs to be at the foundation of your Investment Plan; an emphasis on Working Capital will help you Organize, and Control your investment portfolio.

Planning for Retirement should focus on the additional income needed from the investment portfolio, and the Asset Allocation formula [relax, 8th grade math is plenty] needed for goal achievement will depend on just three variables: (1) the amount of liquid investment assets you are starting with, (2) the amount of time until retirement, and (3) the range of interest rates currently available from Investment Grade Securities. If you don’t allow the “engineer?gene to take control, this can be a fairly simple process. Even if you are young, you need to stop smoking heavily and to develop a growing stream of income?if you keep the income growing, the Market Value growth (that you are expected to worship) will take care of itself. Remember, higher Market Value may increase hat size, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

First deduct any guaranteed pension income from your retirement income goal to estimate the amount needed just from the investment portfolio. Don’t worry about inflation at this stage. Next, determine the total Market Value of your investment portfolios, including company plans, IRAs, H-Bonds?everything, except the house, boat, jewelry, etc. Liquid personal and retirement plan assets only. This total is then multiplied by a range of reasonable interest rates (6%, to 8% right now) and, hopefully, one of the resulting numbers will be close to the target amount you came up with a moment ago. If you are within a few years of retirement age, they better be! For certain, this process will give you a clear idea of where you stand, and that, in and of itself, is worth the effort.

Organizing the Portfolio involves deciding upon an appropriate Asset Allocation?and that requires some discussion. Asset Allocation is the most important and most frequently misunderstood concept in the investment lexicon. The most basic of the confusions is the idea that diversification and Asset Allocation are one and the same. Asset Allocation divides the investment portfolio into the two basic classes of investment securities: Stocks/Equities and Bonds/Income Securities. Most Investment Grade securities fit comfortably into one of these two classes. Diversification is a risk reduction technique that strictly controls the size of individual holdings as a percent of total assets. A second misconception describes Asset Allocation as a sophisticated technique used to soften the bottom line impact of movements in stock and bond prices, and/or a process that automatically (and foolishly) moves investment dollars from a weakening asset classification to a stronger one?a subtle “market timing” device.

Finally, the Asset Allocation Formula is often misused in an effort to superimpose a valid investment planning tool on speculative strategies that have no real merits of their own, for example: annual portfolio repositioning, market timing adjustments, and Mutual Fund shifting. The Asset Allocation formula itself is sacred, and if constructed properly, should never be altered due to conditions in either Equity or Fixed Income markets. Changes in the personal situation, goals, and objectives of the investor are the only issues that can be allowed into the Asset Allocation decision-making process.

Here are a few basic Asset Allocation Guidelines: (1) All Asset Allocation decisions are based on the Cost Basis of the securities involved. The current Market Value may be more or less and it just doesn’t matter. (2) Any investment portfolio with a Cost Basis of $100,000 or more should have a minimum of 30% invested in Income Securities, either taxable or tax free, depending on the nature of the portfolio. Tax deferred entities (all varieties of retirement programs) should house the bulk of the Equity Investments. This rule applies from age 0 to Retirement Age ?5 years. Under age 30, it is a mistake to have too much of your portfolio in Income Securities. (3) There are only two Asset Allocation Categories, and neither is ever described with a decimal point. All cash in the portfolio is destined for one category or the other. (4) From Retirement Age ?5 on, the Income Allocation needs to be adjusted upward until the “reasonable interest rate test?says that you are on target or at least in range. (5) At retirement, between 60% and 100% of your portfolio may have to be in Income Generating Securities.

Controlling, or Implementing, the Investment Plan will be accomplished best by those who are least emotional, most decisive, naturally calm, patient, generally conservative (not politically), and self actualized. Investing is a long-term, personal, goal orientated, non- competitive, hands on, decision-making process that does not require advanced degrees or a rocket scientist IQ. In fact, being too smart can be a problem if you have a tendency to over analyze things. It is helpful to establish guidelines for selecting securities, and for disposing of them. For example, limit Equity involvement to Investment Grade, NYSE, dividend paying, profitable, and widely held companies. Don’t buy any stock unless it is down at least 20% from its 52 week high, and limit individual equity holdings to less than 5% of the total portfolio. Take a reasonable profit (using 10% as a target) as frequently as possible. With a 40% Income Allocation, 40% of profits and dividends would be allocated to Income Securities.

For Fixed Income, focus on Investment Grade securities, with above average but not “highest in class?yields. With Variable Income securities, avoid purchase near 52-week highs, and keep individual holdings well below 5%. Keep individual Preferred Stocks and Bonds well below 5% as well. Closed End Fund positions may be slightly higher than 5%, depending on type. Take a reasonable profit (more than one years?income for starters) as soon as possible. With a 60% Equity Allocation, 60% of profits and interest would be allocated to stocks.

Monitoring Investment Performance the Wall Street way is inappropriate and problematic for goal-orientated investors. It purposely focuses on short-term dislocations and uncontrollable cyclical changes, producing constant disappointment and encouraging inappropriate transactional responses to natural and harmless events. Coupled with a Media that thrives on sensationalizing anything outrageously positive or negative (Google and Enron, Peter Lynch and Martha Stewart, for example), it becomes difficult to stay the course with any plan, as environmental conditions change. First greed, then fear, new products replacing old, and always the promise of something better when, in fact, the boring and old fashioned basic investment principles still get the job done. Remember, your unhappiness is Wall Street’s most coveted asset. Don’t humor them, and protect yourself. Base your performance evaluation efforts on goal achievement?yours, not theirs. Here’s how, based on the three basic objectives we’ve been talking about: Growth of Base Income, Profit Production from Trading, and Overall Growth in Working Capital.

Base Income includes the dividends and interest produced by your portfolio, without the realized capital gains that should actually be the larger number much of the time. No matter how you slice it, your long-range comfort demands regularly increasing income, and by using your total portfolio cost basis as the benchmark, it’s easy to determine where to invest your accumulating cash. Since a portion of every dollar added to the portfolio is reallocated to income production, you are assured of increasing the total annually. If Market Value is used for this analysis, you could be pouring too much money into a falling stock market to the detriment of your long-range income objectives.

Profit Production is the happy face of the market value volatility that is a natural attribute of all securities. To realize a profit, you must be able to sell the securities that most investment strategists (and accountants) want you to marry up with! Successful investors learn to sell the ones they love, and the more frequently (yes, short term), the better. This is called trading, and it is not a four-letter word. When you can get yourself to the point where you think of the securities you own as high quality inventory on the shelves of your personal portfolio boutique, you have arrived. You won’t see WalMart holding out for higher prices than their standard markup, and neither should you. Reduce the markup on slower movers, and sell damaged goods you’ve held too long at a loss if you have to, and, in the thick of it all, try to anticipate what your standard, Wall Street Account Statement is going to show you?a portfolio of equity securities that have not yet achieved their profit goals and are probably in negative Market Value territory because you’ve sold the winners and replaced them with new inventory?compounding the earning power! Similarly, you’ll see a diversified group of income earners, chastised for following their natural tendencies (this year), at lower prices, which will help you increase your portfolio yield and overall cash flow. If you see big plus signs, you are not managing the portfolio properly.

Working Capital Growth (total portfolio cost basis) just happens, and at a rate that will be somewhere between the average return on the Income Securities in the portfolio and the total realized gain on the Equity portion of the portfolio. It will actually be higher with larger Equity allocations because frequent trading produces a higher rate of return than the more secure positions in the Income allocation. But, and this is too big a but to ignore as you approach retirement, trading profits are not guaranteed and the risk of loss (although minimized with a sensible selection process) is greater than it is with Income Securities. This is why the Asset Allocation moves from a greater to a lesser Equity percentage as you approach retirement.

So is there really such a thing as an Income Portfolio that needs to be managed? Or are we really just dealing with an investment portfolio that needs its Asset Allocation tweaked occasionally as we approach the time in life when it has to provide the yacht?and the gas money to run it? By using Cost Basis (Working Capital) as the number that needs growing, by accepting trading as an acceptable, even conservative, approach to portfolio management, and by focusing on growing income instead of ego, this whole retirement investing thing becomes significantly less scary. So now you can focus on changing the tax code, reducing health care costs, saving Social Security, and spoiling the grandchildren.