Money Management 101

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Managing your money is a big task. But if you want to get by in this world, it’s something you have to do. It can be too painful for some, so it gets avoided. But for the people who realize it, the pain/reward relationship is well worth the trouble to spend a few minutes managing your money.

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Managing your money is a big task. But if you want to get by in this world, it’s something you have to do. It can be too painful for some, so it gets avoided. But for the people who realize it, the pain/reward relationship is well worth the trouble to spend a few minutes managing your money.

After all, money makes the world go ’round, so make sure you get your share! And the good news is: it’s as easy as controlling what you’ve got!

Here’s what you need to make sure that you have control over your financial situation. Here are some valuable budgeting techniques to guide you in your expenses and income.

The first thing you want to do is make sure that you pay for your utilities on time and in full every month. Don’t wait until it’s too late to pay them. The second thing you need to do is make sure that you don’t have too many credit cards. Only a few credit cards are necessary to get by in life. You should consider cutting up the rest of them. And the third thing you should do you, if your bills have gotten the best of you, is to consolidate them into a single loan. This will enable you to pay them off over time without getting slammed with high interest rates.

Finally, establish a budget for yourself. This seems difficult and that’s why most people don’t do it. And because people don’t have a budget they find themselves in financial straits.

The easiest way to establish a budget is to take a draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left, write down your after tax household income. Be sure to write down the after tax amount as you want to measure available income only. After all, you don’t get to spend the before tax amount, right?

In the right column, list an average of each monthly bill. But you should also include your typical spending habits as well, like eating out, or impulse shopping. Don’t forget to include paying off your credit card as part of the bills!

Now that you have a list of income and expenses, see if there’s a way to increase your income, or reduce your expenses. Usually you’ll find a way to do a little to both.

While it seems so simplistic, so few people do it. And yet, creating a budget and sticking to it often separates the successful people from everyone else. What’s stopping you from doing it right now?

The Need for Diversification in the Stock Market

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Diversify or Die

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Copyright 2006 Richard Stoyeck

Why is it that some people only buy one or two stocks? Others may have 15 stocks but have 50 percent of their investment assets in just one of those 15 stocks. In Wall Street we refer to this type of behavior as concentration. Some firms call it over-concentration. When this happens in a brokerage firm it is always considered dangerous. It is so dangerous, in fact, that if the brokerage firm is using a concentrated stock position as capital, then the market value of the security in question is given a haircut. This means that the full market value of the security is chopped by some fixed percentage in any capital computation. In other words, if you are over-concentrated, you don’t get full value. Some of you may have margin accounts. As you know, StocksAtBottom.com advocates cash ownership of stocks. If you own stocks on margin, it is our opinion that you will get sold out on margin. Normally in a margin account you put up 50 percent of the value of the stock you acquire in cash. If equity falls below 35 percent, you get a margin call. Now, brokerage firms love it when clients have 15 or 20 different stocks in a margin account. If there are some bonds in that account, guess what, they love it even more. Why? Because brokerage firms know that stocks represent risky investments. Something can always go wrong in any one situation. Maybe something can go wrong in any two situations. It’s tough to see something go wrong in 15 situations. That is the essence of diversification. SPREAD THE RISK AROUND. It makes a lot of sense. Some investors own 50 to 100 stocks. This is because they think they need that many to achieve the investment goals that they set out for themselves. In business school at a master’s degree level they teach you that to achieve true diversification you need to own something approaching 14 equity positions. It has been the experience of StocksAtBottom.com that 6 to 10 different equity positions is sufficient to achieve diversification. The one thing we know for sure is that it’s not one stock or two stocks. Own one or two and you get killed.

Putting all your eggs in one basket We advise all investors to own several stocks and to own more than one sector. Own more than one type of investment (that means equities, bonds, real estate, cash, you get the picture) or you will have problems. Sectors refer to stocks with broad themes. Examples are: * Energy * Semi-conductors * Housing * Auto * Consumer * Airlines * Personal Computers * Technology in general If you own 10 stocks, but they fall into only 2 sectors then you really have not achieved diversity in your portfolio. You see, when they come to get Ford Motor, usually General Motors is not that far behind. By the way, it’s great on the upside to own everything in one sector when that sector is going your way. There’s probably not a greater high in the world than when everything you own is going up. On the flip side, when you are overly concentrated in a sector that’s heading down, lower and lower every day, there is no worse emotional low. The depression can be almost unbelievable. There’s also the issue of owning more than one type of investment. There are equity investments, which are stocks. There are real estate investments, and bond investments. There are also venture capital investments, precious metals, and others such as oil and gas. To a large extent, you achieve diversity in your investment strategies by owning different types of investments, as well as investing in different sectors. Let’s go into a few real life examples. We at StocksAtBottom.com believe we have already made the equivalent of a lifetime of investing mistakes, so learn from a few of ours.

Arrow Electronics It was Christmas week in the early 1980’s. One of us was sitting at Bear Stearns as a limited partner at the time. We were doing very well as stockbrokers. It was the period of full commissions (no discounting), and clients were doing 10,000 share trades in $50 dollar stocks. Taking home an income of $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a year was no big deal at the time. We were loaded up on Arrow Electronics, a NYSE company in the semi-conductor sector. Business was fantastic, the future was bright, and things could not have been better. Since we were involved on the banking side as well, we had an open line of communication to the company. We knew we had a good thing going. The telephone rang on one of those beautiful days prior to Christmas when New York City is the place to be, Rockefeller Center all lit up with a 50 foot Christmas tree and all. “Hello.” A harried response, “There’s been a fire at the Tarrytown Hilton Executive Center, a lot of people are dead.” “Okay, that’s terrible, how does it affect me and by the way, what’s for lunch today?” “Buddy, you don’t understand,” the dead pan voice says. “What don’t I understand?” “The entire executive leadership of Arrow Electronics was in that fire.” All of them, every one of them had been killed by this monstrous tragedy. It was the worst Christmas imaginable for the wonderful families of this dedicated group of execs. The families never recovered, the company never recovered in terms of the people that were left, and the stock took years to recover. It plummeted from $32 per share to $4 per share in a matter of days. The recovery was slow and hard, it was agony all the way back on this particular stock. Arrow Electronics is an example of putting all your eggs in one basket. It is an example of owning just one stock. SAB does not care how much you know about a company, things can go wrong and do go wrong. You simply cannot own just one company because the risk on the downside is too great. YOU MUST DIVERSIFY IN ORDER TO SPREAD THE RISK.

The Grand Daddy Boom in Uranium

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Approaching his 50th year in the uranium business, the quiet but assertive Chairman and Chief Executive of Uranium Resources (OTC BB: URIX). Paul K. Willmott talked to us about the current uranium bull market. Willmott discussed the third uranium bull market he’s experienced with both exuberance and caution.

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Approaching his 50th year in the uranium business, the quiet but assertive Chairman and Chief Executive of Uranium Resources (OTC BB: URIX). Paul K. Willmott talked to us about the current uranium bull market. Willmott discussed the third uranium bull market he’s experienced with both exuberance and caution.

Interviewer: How do you feel about the rising uranium price? And how high do you think it will go?

Willmott: Looking at the oft-quoted number of over $100/pound, that number came out of an analysis from a gentleman at MIT (Thomas Neff, MIT Center for International Studies). What he did was use the high point of 1980s with a time-value of money, and came up with $100. I am not saying that the prices could never get to that level. I’d never say that. There could be a price spike, and there are a lot of things that could or could not happen. The prices will rise to cover projected and estimated costs of production. It will also get to a level that will induce people to invest in companies, or for the company to invest in the business to get a rate of return.

Interviewer: How are the production costs different now as opposed to then?

Willmott: If you go back to the 1980s, the majority of the uranium was being mined by underground mining methods. Underground or open pit methods were used here in the United States: most of it in New Mexico, a lot of it in Colorado and Wyoming. The cost of production in those days was somewhat in the mid to high $20’s. When you put a rate of return on it, it got the market price up into the high $30’s. Since then, the major mining in Canada now is not at Elliot Lake or at Bancroft, Ontario, both underground and where it was before. The majority of uranium mining now is being mined in high grade ore bodies in the Athabasca Basin, which back in the 1980s was basically unknown, unexplored or unfound. In the United States, there is virtually little or no underground mining of uranium. It’s all done by low-cost ISL. Same as in Kazakhstan. You still have open pit mining of low-grade ore bodies, but those are very inexpensive to mine as in Africa. You also have byproduct in Australia.

Interviewer: Are you saying uranium prices are determined by production costs, not supply concerns?

Willmott: The big point is the major cost of uranium today is significantly less than what it was in the 1980s. If you go back to my basic premise, which is that price rises to cover cost of production, I don’t see that you can make the comparison of taking the high point in the 1980s and transposing it over today on the time-value of money basis, and coming out with something over $100/pound. That’s not to say the market could not get over $50/pound. I think it very well may. I think it will be the spike or an anomaly. And I think it will ultimately fall back as production comes on to the current demand of uranium.

Interviewer: What about Asian demand?

Willmott: There’s lot of talk about reactors in China, in India, Russia, and elsewhere. Talk of reactors in Europe staying on longer. That could prolong the cycle. I think that you will find over the next 5-7 years there will be enough uranium discovered, or discovered, put into production, licensed and permitted, to meet our current demand for uranium. That cycle may get prolonged a lot longer as these other (nuclear) plants may or may not come on.

Interviewer: Won’t the U.S. alone put an additional squeeze on the current uranium inventories by building another 10, 15 or 20 reactors?

Willmott: No, because if you look at the lead time on the announcement of these plants, the lead time to get these plants on, I think you’re looking at five to ten years at best. The I don’t think it’s going to be as long for the Chinese, because they don’t really have environmental concerns, regulatory concerns or intervener concerns. It certainly would put a crimp on existing and forecasted production. In terms of the long-term needs, they will ultimately be met. The current prices today are impacted by the current needs and some perception about the future.

Interviewer: TradeTech LLC recently announced, in a news release, that a large percentage of the spot uranium price rise in 2005 came from speculators and investors?

Willmott: If you look at what spot demand is, compared to the long-term demand, usually the spot is around 20 million pounds. Last year, I think it was around 30 million pounds. (Editor’s note: On January 27, Trade Tech reported slightly less than 30 million pounds for 2005.) That’s 20-30 million pounds of demand out of total demand of 180 to 190 million pounds. Of that demand, this past year, around 10 million ?that’s the latest number I know ?came from speculators, hedge funds, and the Uranium Participation Corporation (TSE: U). Certainly, it was a very major influence of a very small part of the market. Every week, everybody is excited about what the spot price is going to be on Monday night for UXC or Friday night from Trade Tech. It’s a little bit of the tail wagging the dog. Most certainly, the demand of 10 million pounds or so by the hedge funds had a very significant impact on the spot market for 2005.

Interviewer: But will this speculative uranium buying continue?

Willmott: Some of these people were able to get in while the spot price was in the low $20’s. Now that the price is at $37.50/pound, they’ve done quite well. If this price increase plateaus, and I project the spot price to be about $40/pound by the middle of this year, and then I’m not sure. I don’t know how long it will take to get up to $50. It might go up quite rapidly. What you’re going to see, as you can see with some of the (publicly traded) stocks out there, I think the major increase could very well be behind us. You will get an increase, but it certainly will not be in the couple of hundred percent increases that we’ve seen in 2005.

Interviewer: Is the oft-quoted $100/pound number realistic then?

Willmott: The uranium spot price is going to go to some level where there will be enough money brought in by investors to do the necessary exploration and development. There may be a price spike along the way. My feeling is it’s just not going to climb up and get over the $100 range that a lot of people are talking about. It could be a price spike, but I don’t think it’s sustainable.

Interviewer: After the price spikes, or runs higher, where do think the uranium price will settle?

Willmott: As the prices rise, on a longer term basis, there will be production that comes online, as is always the case. I am on record as having said that the price could very well get up to a level where it’s $50, $60 or $70/pound. But it will ultimately fall back to a level that more represents the cost of production. If you look at the places where they are exploring for uranium now, in Athabasca, and you look at the current costs of production, it’s my feeling that somewhere in the high $20’s or low $30’s is where the price will ultimately be for uranium. I think it’s going to take anywhere from five to seven years, may be ten, before production gets to that level. And that’s in today’s dollars.

Interviewer: Have prices become unrealistic in the uranium sector?

Willmott: I think there’s a lot of speculation out there, which may be a bit unrealistic. That’s more in the stock prices. Certainly, the need for uranium is there. I just think people are over-reacting as to what’s going to ultimately happen.

Interviewer: After World War I, a British army major in the Belgian Congo discovered uranium oxide with concentrations as high as 80 percent. That very quickly ended the long-term radium boom in the Colorado Plateau, an element which had been extracted from uranium. Could a major discovery end the recent excitement in this bull market?

Willmott: I don’t think any single discovery, whether it will be in Athabasca or elsewhere, no single discovery is going to overcome the total supply that is ultimately needed.

Interviewer: You’ve talked about Kazakhstan. Do you believe this is the wild card for the world market?

Willmott: Yes, it is. There are very large, very economic deposits there. They’ve made some very grand plans on what they’re going to produce. I personally don’t think they’re going to get there, not in the time frame they state. Then, of course, there are the uncertainties, such as the political. I can’t reflect on that, but there are uncertainties there. I don’t think they’re going to put on production as fast as what they have stated. I don’t think there is any single source that will do it (alleviate the supply shortage). I think it will go a fair distance in filling the shortfall or projected shortfall. I don’t think it’s going to satisfy it. But, you’re looking at somewhere around 80 or 90 million pounds of supply shortfall. Even if they get up to 25-30 million pounds, that’s not going to be enough.

Interviewer: Do you believe a bust will follow this excitement?

Willmott: Yes, but when you say bust, a lot of it is going to depend upon a market that doesn’t relate to current supply and demand. There’s a lot of supply out there that people will tout. Like “here come the Kazakhs,?or “the expansion of Olympic Dam,?or those type of things. Most supply and demand projections that we’ve been using in the company, and are using, have already anticipated these things. They’re not unknown ore bodies. The ore bodies in Africa, they’ve been known for a long time. Rossing staying on has been known for a long time. Midwest Lake has been known for a long time ?it was found 22 years ago. Cigar Lake was 22-23 years ago. A lot of the production you are seeing now, which is coming on and people are getting excited about, have been known and have been factored in for supply and demand projections for a long time.

Interviewer: How does the record price rise in 2005 compare to sustained high prices in the 1970s and early 1980s?

Willmott: I think that the 2005 price rise is a reflection of the shortage that is there. In the 1980s, the shortage, the price rise, then, was on a perception basis. The perception was that all of the utilities were going to get into nuclear power. I remember Eisenhower saying it was going to be too cheap to even meter. What happened was that all of these utilities were going to build all of these nuclear reactors. And then they realized the reactors were going to need uranium. That created a pseudo demand.

Interviewer: Why do you call this a false demand?

Willmott: The utilities all wanted to get into nuclear power. They made that decision. They then needed uranium to run their reactors. What happened then was the U.S. Enrichment Corporation told the utilities, “Look, if you want to get your uranium enriched, you are going to have to sign up for it now, basically on a take or pay contract.?With all of these grandiose plans, the utilities signed “take or pay?contracts with the USEC to supply uranium and to get it enriched. During the period, while they were committing, there was such a demand for uranium by all of these utilities that it caused the price to go up.

Interviewer: And then there was Three Mile Island.

Willmott: The demand for nuclear power went away after Three Mile Island. But, the utilities had already committed with mining companies to buy the uranium and they had already committed with USEC to enrich it. When the bloom went off the rose, there was no need for the uranium. The demand for the uranium went away, but the uranium kept coming out. That created a huge overhang that caused the prices to plummet and stay down for quite a number of years until the actual production was consumed. The “real?demand really turned out to be based more upon perception. When that perception died, the need for nuclear power died, but the supply kept coming out.

Interviewer: What about the demand today?

Willmott: Demand today is real. What is different in this cycle, besides the difference in the mining methods and the costs, which we’ve gone over, is that this is really a REAL demand right now. It’s coming from the utilities that realize there is an impending shortage of uranium.

Vonage Shorts Out, Under Armour Has Lofty Ambitions

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This article looks at two recent IPOs, Under Armour and Vonage.

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Under Armour, Inc. (UAI) debuted on November 18, 2005 at $31. The maker of branded performance clothing is growing its brand recognition via the use of hip brand promotion that is trying to wrestle away interest from the traditional buyers of Nike (NKE).

Under Armour has targeted the youth and athletic market where it competing with the established and strong Nike brand. Under Armour has a projected five-year annual earnings growth of 22.50% versus 14% for Nike. But on the valuation side, Under Armour is discounting in significant premium growth over that of Nike. Under Armour is trading at 46.19x its FY07 and a PEG of 2.75 versus 14.27x and a PEG of 1.06 for Nike. Clearly, Under Armour will need to perform to its lofty expectations going forward; otherwise, the stock will sell off. Nike is a superior value play.

Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE/VG) debuted on Wednesday at $17, the mid-point of its estimated IPO pricing range of $16-$18. The provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an early entrant into the rapidly growing area of VoIP and presently has about 1.6 million subscribers but the company has yet to turn a profit. VoIP uses a broadband connection to make phone calls.

High advertising costs to acquire customers have hindered margins. Vonage is the current leader due to its early entry into the VoIP business but I see the company facing a difficult uphill climb as intense competition surfaces from major cable companies and the Skype service from eBay (EBAY).

The reality is Vonage has to spend extraordinary money on acquiring customers whereas for cable companies and eBay, there is already a significant customer base to market to. Vonage will soon realize this.

Hedge fund manager and the host of the hugely popular ‘Mad Money?show on CNBC said Vonage is a “piece of junk,?which I have to concur with. And with Vonage currently trading down at $13, the market may also view Vonage as over hype and not enough substance.

Instant Approval Credit Cards Online – How They Work

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This article describes instant approval credit cards online and how to find the best cards available.

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Instant approval credit cards are those that generally do not require special requirements to be met in order to receive membership to the card. Often, these cards can be applied for, and approved, entirely online. There are many advantages to instant approval credit cards online that make them particularly attractive to many consumers.

An instant approval credit card online application is simple to complete. All of the necessary information required by the credit card company can simply and easily be placed into the online application form. Thanks to cookies, which saves information to your computer, much of the information can probably be added with the click of a button. Nothing could be simpler! With instant approval credit cards, there is no need to prove employment status and wait for it to be verified. There generally is no need to have a bank account. In addition, most instant approval credit cards do not even look at credit history in order to approve membership.

Many instant approval credit cards are secured credit cards. Secured credit cards are cards that the cardholder supplies money ahead of time to the card. These cards do not actually extend a line of credit to the cardholder. Instead, they allow the cardholder to access his or her own money with the ease of a credit card.

Secured instant approval credit cards provide a win-win situation for the cardholder as well as for the credit card company. The credit card company is happy because there is no concern about the cardholder borrowing money and failing to pay it back. Because the card is secured with the cardholder’s own money, there is no need to perform a credit check or enforce stringent approval requirements.

This is part of the reason credit cardholders enjoy applying for secured instant approval credit cards. There are no hassles and no worries about being denied approval because of poor credit. In addition, secured instant approval credit cards help the cardholder remain in control of his or her finances because he or she plans ahead of time how much money will be placed on the credit card. Paying toward the card ahead of time also ensures the cardholder will not build up a debt that is impossible to overcome.

There are also unsecured instant approval cards available to consumers. Some consumers are not interested in secured cards because there are many fees associated with these cards. Fees such as application fees, processing fees, annual fees, and monthly membership fees are commonly found with secured credit cards. In addition, there is generally a fee assessed each time the cardholder places more money on the card, which is referred to as “loading” the card. In addition, some people are not interested in secured credit cards because they are seeking a card that will provide a loan that they can pay back at a later date.

Unsecured instant approval credit cards are not as common as those that are secured, but they are available. These cards often do check an applicant’s credit history, but they are capable of completing this process quickly and efficiently, which allows them to still provide instant approval. Sometimes, these credit cards will only approve a small line of credit until they have had the opportunity to perform a more extensive credit check. After a few months of membership, instant approval credit cards following this practice will then extend an offer to the cardholder to increase the line of credit.

Instant approval credit cards are a convenient means for applicants to gain access to a wide array of credit cards, including business credit cards, cash back credit cards, and reward credit cards. Through the ease of online applications, the process could never be simpler!

How To Create Your Own Emergency Fund?

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One of the mistakes people make when trying to get their finances under control is not having an emergency fund on their savings account. This article will gives you some tips to start creating your own emergency fund.

personal finance, finance, emergency fund, financial planning, irregular expense, spending control

Do unexpected car repairs, quarterly insurance payments or unexpected medical bills find you hard pressed to squeeze even one more dollar out of an already stretched monthly budget? These are inevitable expenses and sometimes can put you under a stress condition when you need the cash to pay for these emergencies and unexpected expenses. But if you learn to budget for these emergencies events and save in advance, you will be at a better position to handle them.

Like most of Americans, you may stretch your income to cover the regular monthly expenses, and always choose to ignore or not to think about the brakes that are getting spongy or the plumbing that's beginning to make strange noises. And you end up a surge on your monthly expenses when the brakes wear off and the plumbing break out.

Planning and saving for those events can help prevent an ordinary life from turning into a crisis and can also cut down dependence on credit cards. Not having savings is a major reason people get into debt.

Here are some steps to help you get started to plan for your emergency fund, the "Saving" fund which will help you prevent financial disaster.

1. Identify your irregular expenses

Analyze your pass credit card statement and checking account registers to identify your irregular expenses occur throughout the year. Examples of these irregular expenses are property taxes, insurance premiums, vacations, car tune-ups, holidays and birthdays. List down in a piece of paper all the expenses which are not spent in monthly basis.

2. Write the anticipated amount on the calendar

In most of cases such as insurance premium and property taxes, you will know when the expenses are due to occur. And for those unknown cases such as car repair and plumping repair cost, try to anticipate their expenses and list them somewhat earlier than you actually expect them to come up. Be sure to update your calendar as you discover more expenses.

3. Plan-in the non-monthly expenses into your monthly spending

Based on the foreseen amount and anticipated amount that are captured on your calendar, plan ahead your non-monthly expenses into your monthly spending. For example, you know that your car insurance is going to due on May, set aside small amount of your money for this purpose starting on February. And when May rolls around you can transfer the expense to your spending plan and have money available to pay it. Setting aside even a few dollars each month for foreseeable expenses can prevent larger money woes ahead.

Sometimes, you may find it hard to set aside some extra money from your monthly income; but remember, repairing your car or paying your insurance is not optional expenses and you need to spend it soon or later. So you need to find a way to reduce your monthly expenses so that some money can set aside for emergency fund. You may need to track your spending; then, reduce or cut the optional expenses such as entertainment, dinner at restaurant and other impulse purchase, the money save from those optional expense can be put into your emergency fund.

In Summary

One of the mistakes people make when trying to get their finances under control is not having an emergency fund on their savings account. The problem is that if you don't have money set aside for those unavoidable bills, you inevitably end up adding to your credit card balance to cover the difference.

The bottom line is to start today. It may be discouraging at first if you find that you don't have enough money to fully fund your emergency fund, but you'll begin to succeed the minute you start the process.

Winning Traders – What They Have In Common

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We often hear that 95% of people who try trading for a living fail within the first year. These are not very good odds and it is natural for new traders to wonder if they have what it takes. In this issue, I give you a list of 20 characteristics I believe could be found in most winners.

trading, investing, stock market, day trading

We often hear that 95% of people who try trading for a living fail within the first year. These are not very good odds and it is natural for new traders to wonder if they have what it takes. In this issue, I give you a list of 20 characteristics I believe could be found in most winners. I also included some Truths about trading.

The methods employed by winning traders are extraordinarily diverse. Despite the broad spectrum of traders, certain characteristics are found in most winning traders (in no specific order):

– Winners have a trading plan with a strategy that incorporates effective money management. They have the discipline to execute their plan relatively flawlessly and the self esteem to accept the money the market gives them.

– They use their head and stay calm ?they don’t get excited or depressed because of their trades. They don’t act on emotions. They can handle success and failure without self-destructing.

– They don’t trade to feel good or to get high.

– They handle trading as a serious intellectual pursuit.

– They always protect their capital because they know they cannot trade without it. This means that they don’t get caught up in the thrill of the moment, the excitement of a running stock ?they don’t jump into careless trades.

– They love trading, trading is a passion and they spend a large portion of their time trading and learning about trading.

– They know that sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing (sit on their hands). They do nothing unless there is something to do.

– They don’t pay attention to other people’s opinions, they make their own.

– They don’t try to guess the future – they know it is a game of probabilities. They understand that they will always have a percentage of losing trades but they keep the losses for those trades small. They don’t hesitate to get rid of a position when the loss is still small.

– They have a great respect for the markets and they never think taking money from it is easy.

– They behave like professionals. They take full responsibility for their actions and don’t look for something or someone to blame. Instead they use their losses as an opportunity to improve their plan.

– They trade to trade well, not for the money.

– While they are in a play, they don’t count how much money they have made or lost because they know this would influence their judgment. They focus on trading well.

– Amateurs keep thinking what trades to get into, while professionals spend just as much time figuring out their exits.

– When they have a winning position, they don’t let their emotions dictate when to close the position, which would result in small gains. They know emotions cannot be part of the decisions.

– When they enter a play, they don’t have any expectation. They understand it can go either way and that nobody can know the future.

– They have confidence in their plan, patience, and discipline.

– They are not afraid because they have developed attitudes that prevent them from getting reckless.

– They have self-monitoring skills and can continuously monitor their performance in order to improve it.

Some Truths about Trading

– The market is a huge crowd of people. Each member of the crowd tries to take money away from other members by outsmarting them. Everyone, including some of the brightest minds in the world, is against me and I am against everyone. It’s every man for himself. The money I want to make belongs to other people who have no intention of giving it to me.

– The market is like an ocean, it moves up and down regardless of what I want. The market does not know I exist and I cannot influence it. I cannot control the market any more than a sailor can control the ocean, but I can control my own behavior.

– Trading is all about management ?managing myself, my money, my attitude, and my positions. It is not about predictions, forecasts or opinions.

– There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks he must trade all the time. No man can always have adequate reasons for buying or selling stocks daily or sufficient knowledge to make his play an intelligent play (Jesse Livermore).

– Trading without imagination is like painting by numbers ?and is about as rewarding(William R. Gallacher).

– The market is not going to reward anyone for observing the obvious.

– A mistake made by many traders is that they become so involved in trying to catch the minor market swings (generating lots of commissions in the process) that they miss the major price moves.

– Advisors are only wrong when you get too many of them start thinking the same thing.

– A strategy to enter and exit trades will not help you unless you are both disciplined and organized.

Cost-Effective Ways to Cool Your Home

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As the temperature rises, so does the cost of cooling your home. But a new federal law may help keep your home both cool and cost-effective.

Cost-Effective Ways to Cool Your Home

As the temperature rises, so does the cost of cooling your home. But a new federal law may help keep your home both cool and cost-effective.

In January, the U.S. Department of Energy raised the minimum efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps from 10 to 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Although homeowners aren’t required to replace systems that are less than 13 SEER, doing so could shave 23 percent off energy bills.

Think of SEER ratings like gas mileage: The higher the SEER or miles per gallon, the more energy “mileage” you get. So as SEER levels rise, your cooling and heating products use less energy, giving you more bang for your buck while providing real environmental benefits through decreased energy consumption.

“The new 13 SEER standard not only conserves energy but it also reduces associated carbon dioxide emissions,” says Rick Roetken, director of marketing at Indianapolis-based Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems.

Bryant recently introduced a new line of 13 SEER models that provide superb savings, efficiency and comfort. The improved top-of-the-line Evolution System reaches levels of up to 20 SEER while allowing users to control heating, cooling, humidity, indoor air quality, schedules and maintenance reminders from a single, easy-to-navigate source.

To keep your home cooling system at peak efficiency, Roetken recommends having it inspected at least once a year by a trained service technician. Here are some additional tips:

* Install more attic insulation. Upgrading from 3 inches to 12 inches can cut cooling costs by 10 percent.

* Plant a tree. One well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling costs by 25 percent. Place leafy shade trees to the south and west and evergreens to the north.

* Use ceiling and box fans to help circulate air throughout the house.

* Set the fan on your central air conditioner to “on” rather than “auto.” This will circulate air continuously, keeping the temperature constant throughout the house and aiding in dehumidification.

* If you use a window air conditioning unit, make sure it’s the proper size. It’s better to get one that’s too small rather than too large. A larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won’t do as good a job dehumidifying the air.

* Invest in a programmable thermostat.

* If you don’t have central air conditioning, try a whole-house attic fan. This device pushes hot air out through the attic vents, lowering the temperature throughout your home by about 5 degrees in less than 10 minutes.