Developing a Successful Home Budget

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Hoping for the best when it comes to budgeting rarely works out well.

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This is probably the most requested topic that I receive, normally after someone gets a large unexpected expense, or they start thinking about retirement and realize that they have saved a woefully inadequate amount of money.

I recommend using a monthly time-frame to look at your cash inflows and outflows, because most bills are monthly and four weeks is a short planning period that most people can manage. The first thing to do is determine your monthly after-tax income. Usually, this is the amount of money from your paycheck that gets deposited into your checking account. If your income is variable, then use an average of the last three months. (Any savings account interest income would be a bonus.) Next, list out your fixed monthly expenses, such as rent, mortgage, car payment, phone, electric bill, etc. All of these numbers can be changed in the long-term, but first you need to determine a baseline budget of where you are right now.

Make sure you include all of your utilities; some are only paid quarterly or annually, like car insurance, the water bill, or an association fee. Take these expenses and calculate what they would be on a monthly basis. For example, if your water bill comes quarterly, divide it by 3. If you have semi-annual car insurance, then divide it by 6.

So now you have your fixed monthly income and your fixed monthly expenses. Deduct one from the other, and you have the variable amount of money that you are free to spend any way you want for the remainder of the month. From this remaining amount of money, start listing out your main categories of variable spending: groceries, entertainment, medical expenses, clothing, dry cleaning, personal care (haircut, nails, etc.), and gifts. Take each of these variable expenses and put an amount next to them that you think represents your average monthly spending for that category.

Make as many subcategories as you need to make an accurate estimate. The more precise it is for your spending habits, the more effective it will be for you. For example, food can be broken down by grocery store/fast food/dining out/work lunch/etc. Then go through the last few months of your checkbook and credit card statement looking for any spending that hasn’t been covered so far that you need to include for your situation.

Now you should have a total number for your monthly income, total monthly fixed expenses, and total monthly variable expenses. The moment of truth is when you deduct the two expenses from your income to see if there is anything left over. Don’t panic if it is a negative number ?it is far better to discover this out now, rather than building up credit card debt later. Most people comment somewhere along this process, “Oh, so that is where my money is going. I had no idea I spent so much on that!?
Seeing all the numbers in black & white can help you prioritize (and negotiate with all the other spenders in the family). From this beginning budget, you can start to set monthly targets for spending categories, you can focus on reducing the largest expenses, and find areas where you should start doing some price-comparison shopping. And did I mention that saving a 5-15% of your income should be an additional fixed expense? Yes, you need to pay yourself first!

Having a budget is the critical first tool in managing your money. Wielding this tool allows you to finally start making financial decisions based on the facts instead of fiction. You can plan for expenses instead of being caught by surprise. And most importantly, figure out how to move forward with goals like a big vacation, a new car, or investing.

Borders Coupon Book

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Information on borders coupon book, coupon books, borders books coupons, borders movies coupons, borders music coupons, printable coupons, coupon book resources, coupons and gifts, discount coupons, gift cards, coupon email alerts.

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Want to save your money, it’s not an easy job my friends as we all know we have been always charged higher for any product than what actual price is.

Most of us are difficult kind of shopper, one who wants it cheap AND good. In my defense, as they really after is value, and more than willing to pay a fair price or go out of my way for something that is truly worth it.

Borders coupon book is the best way to purchase and enjoy great bargains and discounts on a range of goods and services. The goods range from bestseller book titles to the top pop hits of the day. Get DVDs of classic movies at great discount offers using the Borders coupon book.

Coupon books give you convenience and ease of making purchases and at the same time offer great discounts, and even free offers! Number of sites on the internet provides free online coupons, free discount coupon codes, free bargain shopping deals, free consumer promotions, and free shipping and rebates. Check out the one which you are looking for

To save money on best selling DVDs. Select from a large catalog of titles that include movies like Hotel Rwanda, Hitch, The Fifth Element, Spider Man 2, and The Amityville Horror. Use a Border book online coupon to avail great discounts on bestsellers and classics and enjoy your shopping by paying a fair price to the retailers.

Anna Josephs is a freelance journalist having experience of many years writing articles and news releases on various topics such as pet health, automobile and social issues. She also has great interest in poetry and paintings, hence she likes to write on these subjects as well. Currently writing for this website Borders Coupon Book
. For more details please contact at annajosephs@gmail.com

Debit & ATM Cards

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The following article covers the liabilities of fraudulent activities for credit cards, ATM cards and debit cards.

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The following article covers the liabilities of fraudulent activities for credit cards, ATM cards and debit cards.

Many people find it easy and convenient to use credit cards and ATM or debit cards. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) offer procedures for you to use if your cards are lost or stolen.

Limiting Your Financial Loss

It is faster and easier to process financial transactions today than ever before. Thanks to the electronic age, check cards, debit cards, and ATM cards give us instant access to funds on deposit at the local bank or a financial institution miles away. This also provides an avenue of opportunity for thieves and scam artists to rapidly deplete our financial reserves as well.

There are laws in place that provide a measure of protection from total financial ruination, but you need to be aware of your rights and responsibilities should your cards be stolen or appropriated for mischief. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) are two laws implemented on a federal level that can assist individuals targeted by the criminal element. For the laws to work properly, however, you need to invoke the protective measures by doing certain things if your cards are lost or stolen such as reporting the loss or theft promptly to the issuers.

Limit Your Financial Loss

As soon as you discover the loss or possible theft of your credit cards and your ATM or debit cards you must immediately notify the companies that issued the cards so they will have that fact on record and can monitor the cards for unusual activities. You can usually find toll-free numbers for the 24 hour help line on the back of the card or on your billing statement. It is a good idea to make a list of your cards, along with the account identification and the toll-free numbers, for reporting their loss. When you travel be sure to keep this information separate from the cards so you will have access to the information should you have a need to make a report while away from home.

Keep a record of the companies you notified. Follow up the phone call with a letter that includes all of the pertinent information such as account number, when you noticed your card was missing, and the date you first reported the loss.

As a side note, you might want to check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers the liability amount you are responsible for in the case of theft. If you do not currently have such coverage, you might want to contact your insurer to include this protection in your policy.

Under the Credit Card Loss or Fraudulent Charges (FCBA) act, the maximum liability for illegal use of your credit card is $50 per card. If you report the loss before any unauthorized charges are posted you cannot be held liable for any of the charges. If the charges are made using your account number, but not the card itself, you will not be held responsible for any of the charges. The FCBA specifically says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges and limits your loss to $50 of the charges made on the cards prior to you reporting them lost or stolen.

You should always review your card billing statements for errors, but following the loss or theft of the cards you should be even more diligent. If you notice anything amiss in the statement, send a letter to the card issuer along with a description of the questionable charge. Remind them of the phone call you made and the letter you previously sent notifying them of the loss or theft of the cards. There is usually a separate address on the statement to which you will direct billing errors. Do not send the letter along with your payment unless you are directed to do so by the card company.

The Electronic Fraudulent Transfer Act (EFTA) also protects you from fraudulent use of your bankcards. Federal protection from loss due to unauthorized use of your ATM or debit card depends on how quickly you report the loss. For example, if you report the loss before the card is used, the EFTA protects you from any loss. If the report is made within two business days after noticing the loss you will not be responsible for more than $50 on each card.

If you fail to make a report within two business days after you discover the loss, you could be held responsible for up to $500. If you wait more than 60 days after you receive a billing statement reflecting fraudulent activity to make a report, you risk unlimited loss. For example, if you do not file a timely report on the theft of the cards, you could lose not only all of the money in the account, but also be held liable for the amount of overdraft protection you are granted. You must report unauthorized use, loss, or theft of the cards within 60 days of the mailing of your card statement or face unlimited loss. You are liable for charges made between the date of loss and the date the loss was reported. If the thief only uses your account number and not the card itself, however, you will not be held accountable for those charges.

Protecting Your Cards

To protect yourself against fraudulent use of your cards, you should know where they are at all times and keep them safe and secure. If your card requires a password or personal identification number (PIN), don’t write the number down so the thieves will get the code along with your cards. Do not use your address, birth date, phone or Social Security number as the PIN. Commit the pass code to memory and don’t share the information with anyone.

In addition, the following suggestions may help you protect your credit card and ATM or debit card accounts.

For Credit and ATM or Debit Cards:

* Do not reveal your account number over the phone unless you know you’re dealing with a reputable company.
* Never put your account number on the outside of an envelope or on a postcard.
* Draw a line through blank spaces on charge or debit slips above the total so the amount cannot be changed.
* Don’t sign a blank charge or debit slip.
* Tear up carbons and save your receipts to check against your monthly statements.
* Cut up old cards – cutting through the account number – before disposing of them.
* Open monthly statements promptly and compare them with your receipts. Report mistakes or discrepancies as soon as possible to the special address listed on your statement for inquiries. (For more information on the federal laws regarding FCBA and EFTA, click here)
* Keep a record – in a safe place separate from your cards – of your account numbers, expiration dates, and the telephone numbers of each card issuer so you can report a loss quickly.
* Carry with you only those cards that you anticipate you’ll need.

For ATM or debit cards:

* Don’t carry your PIN in your wallet or purse or write it on your ATM or debit card.
* Never write your PIN on the outside of a deposit slip, an envelope, or other papers that could be easily lost or seen.
* Carefully check ATM or debit card transactions before you enter the PIN or before you sign the receipt; the funds for this item will be fairly quickly transferred out of your checking or other deposit account.
* Periodically check your account activity. This is particularly important if you bank online. Compare the current balance and recent withdrawals or transfers to those you’ve recorded, including your current ATM and debit card withdrawals and purchases and your recent checks. If you notice transactions you didn’t make, or if your balance has dropped suddenly without activity by you, immediately report the problem to your card issuer. Someone may have co-opted your account information to commit fraud.

Paying For A Registration Service

There are service providers who, for an annual fee, will contact all of your credit card and ATM bank card issuers in the case of theft or loss of your cards. This service will notify the issuers and request new cards for you, but other than allowing you to make one phone call and saving you from making numerous phone calls yourself, you do not need this service.

The FCBA and the EFTA allows you to contact your card issuers?customer service department directly to notify them of the theft, loss or unauthorized use of your cards. If however, you would enjoy the convenience of a notification service to make the calls for you, be sure to compare the companies?offer versus the fees they charge. Be sure your card issuer will work with such a service and find out if the service pays any fees if they fail to notify the card company in a timely manner and you incur charges on your card.

If you decide to purchase service from a registration company, compare offers. Carefully read the contract to determine the company’s obligations and your liability. For example, will the company reimburse you if it fails to notify card issuers promptly once you’ve called in the loss to the service? If not, you could be liable for unauthorized charges or transfers.

Bankruptcy Law: Some Important Facts

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As applying for loans, credit cards and other forms of credit are easier to come by, so are the bankruptcy rates in the United States. In a ten year period, between 1994 and 2004, bankruptcy rates in the United States nearly doubled.

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As applying for loans, credit cards and other forms of credit are easier to come by, so are the bankruptcy rates in the United States. In a ten year period, between 1994 and 2004, bankruptcy rates in the United States nearly doubled. The government’s reaction was to take a closer look at reasons parties were filing for bankruptcy, new laws were instated to ensure that individuals and businesses had valid reasons for applying for bankruptcy.

One of the primary laws regarding bankruptcy that was passed in the United States in 2004 is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. This law just went into effect in October 2005, but has already caused quite a stir in the financial and bankruptcy law arenas. Besides making it more difficult to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or complete bankruptcy, the law imposes stricter rules and budgets on Chapter 13 debtors.

A major change the law makes throughout the United States is the need for debtors to have filed tax returns for four years in a row before qualifying for bankruptcy. As well, dischargeable debts, or those debts where personal liability is taken away by the court system, is more difficult to come by. The Act requires that debtors prove good reason for dischargeable debt and is even requiring more debtors to take responsibility with non-dischargeable debt budgets.

As far as the two major types of bankruptcy laws are concerned, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that which allows the debtor to keep some assets upon proving only limited debt and a steady income. This bankruptcy is excellent for those debtors who have gotten themselves into major financial difficulty but still have means of paying for some assets. The court will set up a repayment schedule and budget that allows for full repayment of mortgages or cars within three to five years.

If repayment is simply not an option, the bankruptcy law requires that a debtor will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is often referred to as complete liquidation of assets, except for exempt items. Exempt items in a bankruptcy hearing are determined by the court and are usually items that are a necessity, such as a car or work related items. As well, the courts will distribute debts into two categories: non-dischargeable and dischargeable debt.

Non-dischargeable debts also fall into two categories: non-dischargeable due to wrongful conduct on the debtor and non-dischargeable due to public policy. Wrongful misconduct by the debtor could mean theft or laundering money while public policy could include child support payment or court related judgments.

Keep in mind that in either type of bankruptcy, an individual is almost always required to still pay for taxes, student loans, alimony, child support or court related fees. This is the place where many bankrupt parties are misled in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as it is often referred to as “a fresh start”. While the court can set up payment plans to help the debtor repay public policy debts, even Chapter 7 debtors will still be required to make payments.

Another major point regarding bankruptcy law is that a bankruptcy will stay on a credit report for approximately ten years. This will make it extremely difficult to become eligible for any type of credit, even a credit card, but especially for a car loan or a house mortgage. While some creditors will still offer limited credit to bankrupt individuals, the interest rates and finance charges are usually through the roof. This makes it even more difficult for debtors to get back on their feet.

Last but not least, keep in mind that bankruptcy law will require any co-signers to be responsible for debt payments. If mom or dad signed for a car loan when you were young and you still owe on that car, they are liable for payments. These friends or family members who were once doing you a favor may be brought into the bankruptcy law court proceedings, which can put a strain on friendships and family relations.

For specific bankruptcy law questions it is best to contact a bankruptcy attorney or legal aide in your county or state. Bankruptcy laws and proceedings may vary slightly from state to state, so be sure to make contacts in the state where you plan to file for bankruptcy.

Cash Advance Loans Online – The Plus Side

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Cash advance loans online can be a huge lifesaver when you find yourself in a bit of a pinch in between your paydays. So just what is a cash advance loan and how will it be helpful to you?

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Cash advance loans online can be a huge lifesaver when you find yourself in a bit of a pinch in between your paydays. So just what is a cash advance loan and how will it be helpful to you?

A cash advance loan (or payday loan) is a very short-term loan that carries extremely high interest rates. Generally, these types of loans last from a period of one to four weeks and you either write a check out that the company will cash when the loan is due or you would have to authorize the company to be able to make withdrawals out of your savings or checking account.

If you are in a bad credit situation when it comes to obtaining a loan, getting a cash advance loan may just be the answer you are seeking. Most all payday loan companies only require that you have either an active savings or checking account and have held your current job between 3-6 months and be able to prove how much you make in a month.

You can obtain your money very quickly when you decide to into applying for cash advance loans online. After you have provided the loan company with all of the information that they require and you are approved you are likely ti have your cash within 24 hours sometimes instantly depending on the company you are getting your loan through.

Getting a cash advance loan can assist you in making your credit score better. Just make sure that when you are getting an advance you make sure that the loan company reports to one of the three major credit agencies.

Now the next time that you are in a bind and need some cash quickly, if you are you sure you can meet the terms, applying for cash advance loans online would be a smart move.

Doorway to Quick Cash Immediate Approval Loans!

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In case of an immediate approval loan, you do not provide any guarantee, so there is more risk for the lender and less for you.

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Financial matters are crucial one and you need to be extra careful while opting for any kind of loan. One more thing, in financial matters you should remember that a stitch in time saves nine. Therefore, always consider whether you will receive instant cash to meet your needs from that particular loan or not. One such loan in financial crisis is immediate approval loans.

Have you missed few monthly payments on your home loan? Are you a discharged bankrupt? Do you have arrears to clear? You have probably convinced yourself that loan market has no options for you and the few options available are way beyond your reach.

In case of an immediate approval loan, you do not provide any guarantee, so there is more risk for the lender and less for you – but you still have some risk because you have to pay the loan back, and lenders can still take some action against you to recover their money. The amount of money you can borrow on them is usually limited by your ability to repay.

Prior to applying for a personal loan against next pay cheque, note that such a short duration of loan, prompts the lenders to charge exorbitant fees. These immediate personal loans therefore may even result in debts for the borrowers. So be careful in finding a suitable lender who has lower fee charged on instant personal loans.

The lenders do not insist any security for instant approval loans. So much time would have been otherwise spent on evaluation of the residential property is now saved. It facilitates for the instant approval of these loans. These loans are slightly expensive compared to other loans. As they are short term loans, lenders charge very high interest rate on these loans.

Lenders usually have no hesitation in approving the loan amount within a short span of applying for it, if the borrower enjoys a constant source of income to repay the loan amount. The loan approval process is very easy. Apart from the identification and employment status of the borrower, another factor that needs consideration is borrower’s regular monthly income. If the monthly salary of the person is in accordance with the amount to be borrowed then it cuts down the risk of the lender. Lender therefore can quickly approve your Fast approval home financing loan plan. Find out from experts which loan serves you right, try now!

A New Wall Street Line Dance: Performance

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Every December, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, investors begin to scrutinize their performance, formulate coulda’s and shoulda’s, and determine what to try next year. It’s an annual, masochistic, right of passage.

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It matters not what lines, numbers, indices, or gurus you worship, you just can’t know where the stock market is going or when it will change direction. Too much investor time and analytical effort is wasted trying to predict course corrections?even more is squandered comparing portfolio Market Values with a handful of unrelated indices and averages. If we reconcile in our minds that we can’t predict the future (or change the past), we can move through the uncertainty more productively. Let’s simplify portfolio performance evaluation by using information that we don’t have to speculate about, and which is related to our own personal investment programs.

Every December, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, investors begin to scrutinize their performance, formulate coulda’s and shoulda’s, and determine what to try next year. It’s an annual, masochistic, right of passage. My year-end vision is different. I see a bunch of Wall Street fat cats, ROTF and LOL, while investors (and their alphabetically correct advisors) determine what to change, sell, buy, re-allocate, or adjust to make the next twelve months behave better financially than the last. What happened to that old fashioned emphasis on long-term progress toward specific goals? The use of Issue Breadth and 52-week High/Low statistics for navigation; and cyclical analysis (Peak to Peak, etc.) and economic realities as performance expectation barometers makes a lot more personal sense. And when did it become vogue to think of Investment Portfolios as sprinters in a twelve-month race with a nebulous array of indices and averages? Why are the masters of the universe rolling on the floor in laughter? They can visualize your annual performance agitation ritual producing fee generating transactions in all conceivable directions. An unhappy investor is Wall Street’s best friend, and by emphasizing short-term results and creating a superbowlesque environment, they guarantee that the vast majority of investors will be unhappy about something, all of the time.

Your portfolio should be as unique as you are, and I contend that a portfolio of individual securities rather than a shopping cart full of one-size-fits-all consumer products is much easier to understand and to manage. You just need to focus on two longer-range objectives: (1) growing productive Working Capital, and (2) increasing Base Income. Neither objective is directly related to the market averages, interest rate movements, or the calendar year. Thus, they protect investors from short-term, anxiety causing, events or trends while facilitating objective based performance analysis that is less frantic, less competitive, and more constructive than conventional methods. Briefly, Working Capital is the total cost basis of the securities and cash in the portfolio, and Base Income is the dividends and interest the portfolio produces. Deposits and withdrawals, capital gains and losses, each directly impact the Working Capital number, and indirectly affect Base Income growth. Securities become non-productive when they fall below Investment Grade Quality (fundamentals only, please) and/or no longer produce income. Good sense management can minimize these unpleasant experiences.

Let’s develop an “all you need to know” chart that will help you manage your way to investment success (goal achievement) in a low failure rate, unemotional, environment. The chart will have four data lines, and your portfolio management objective will be to keep three of them moving upward through time. Note that a separate record of deposits and withdrawals should be maintained. If you are paying fees or commissions separately from your transactions, consider them withdrawals of Working Capital. If you don’t have specific selection criteria and profit taking guidelines, develop them.

Line One is labeled “Working Capital? and an average annual growth rate between 5% and 12% would be a reasonable target, depending on Asset Allocation. [An average cannot be determined until after the end of the second year, and a longer period is recommended to allow for compounding.] This upward only line (Did you raise an eyebrow?) is increased by dividends, interest, deposits, and “realized?capital gains and decreased by withdrawals and “realized?capital losses. A new look at some widely accepted year-end behaviors might be helpful at this point. Offsetting capital gains with losses on good quality companies becomes suspect because it always results in a larger deduction from Working Capital than the tax payment itself. Similarly, avoiding securities that pay dividends is at about the same level of absurdity as marching into your boss’s office and demanding a pay cut. There are two basic truths at the bottom of this: (1) You just can’t make too much money, and (2) there’s no such thing as a bad profit. Don’t pay anyone who recommends loss taking on high quality securities. Tell them that you are helping to reduce their tax burden.

Line Two reflects “Base Income”, and it too will always move upward if you are managing your Asset Allocation properly. The only exception would be a 100% Equity Allocation, where the emphasis is on a more variable source of Base Income?the dividends on a constantly changing stock portfolio. Line Three reflects historical trading results and is labeled “Net Realized Capital Gains? This total is most important during the early years of portfolio building and it will directly reflect both the security selection criteria you use, and the profit taking rules you employ. If you build a portfolio of Investment Grade securities, and apply a 5% diversification rule (always use cost basis), you will rarely have a downturn in this monitor of both your selection criteria and your profit taking discipline. Any profit is always better than any loss and, unless your selection criteria is really too conservative, there will always be something out there worth buying with the proceeds. Three 8% singles will produce a larger number than one 25% home run, and which is easier to obtain? Obviously, the growth in Line Three should accelerate in rising markets (measured by issue breadth numbers). The Base Income just keeps growing because Asset Allocation is also based on the cost basis of each security class! [Note that an unrealized gain or loss is as meaningless as the quarter-to-quarter movement of a market index. This is a decision model, and good decisions should produce net realized income.]

One other important detail No matter how conservative your selection criteria, a security or two is bound to become a loser. Don’t judge this by Wall Street popularity indicators, tea leaves, or analyst opinions. Let the fundamentals (profits, S & P rating, dividend action, etc) send up the red flags. Market Value just can’t be trusted for a bite-the-bullet decision?but it can help. This brings us to Line Four, a reflection of the change in “Total Portfolio Market Value” over the course of time. This line will follow an erratic path, constantly staying below “Working Capital” (Line One). If you observe the chart after a market cycle or two, you will see that lines One through Three move steadily upward regardless of what line Four is doing! BUT, you will also notice that the “lows” of Line Four begin to occur above earlier highs. It’s a nice feeling since Market Value movements are not, themselves, controllable.

Line Four will rarely be above Line One, but when it begins to close the cap, a greater movement upward in Line Three (Net Realized Capital Gains) should be expected. In 100% income portfolios, it is possible for Market Value to exceed Working Capital by a slight margin, but it is more likely that you have allowed some greed into the portfolio and that profit taking opportunities are being ignored. Don’t ever let this happen. Studies show rather clearly that the vast majority of unrealized gains are brought to the Schedule D as realized losses?and this includes potential profits on income securities. And, when your portfolio hits a new high watermark, look around for a security that has fallen from grace with the S & P rating system and bite that bullet.

What’s different about this approach, and why isn’t it more high tech? There is no mention of an index, an average, or a comparison with anything at all, and that’s the way it should be. This method of looking at things will get you where you want to be without the hype that Wall Street uses to create unproductive transactions, foolish speculations, and incurable dissatisfaction. It provides a valid use for portfolio Market Value, but far from the judgmental nature Wall Street would like. It’s use in this model, as both an expectation clarifier and an action indicator for the portfolio manager, on a personal level, should illuminate your light bulb. Most investors will focus on Line Four out of habit, or because they have been brainwashed by Wall Street into thinking that a lower Market Value is always bad and a higher one always good. You need to get outside of the “Market Value vs. Anything?box if you hope to achieve your goals. Cycles rarely fit the January to December mold, and are only visible in rear view mirrors anyway?but their impact on your new Line Dance is totally your tune to name.

The Market Value Line is a valuable tool. If it rises above working capital, you are missing profit opportunities. If it falls, start looking for buying opportunities. If Base Income falls, so has: (1) the quality of your holdings, or (2) you have changed your asset allocation for some (possibly inappropriate) reason, etc. So Virginia, it really is OK if your Market Value falls in a weak stock market or in the face of higher interest rates. The important thing is to understand why it happened. If it’s a surprise, then you don’t really understand what is in your portfolio. You will also have to find a better way to gauge what is going on in the market. Neither the CNBC “talking heads” nor the “popular averages” are the answer. The best method of all is to track “Market Stats”, i.e. Breadth Statistics, New Highs and New Lows. . If you need a “drug”, this is a better one than the ones you’ve grown up with.