- Prenuptial Agreement – Some people are afraid of discussing this but it must be addressed! Know beforehand whether one of these agreements are for you. You and your spouse should be on the same page on this before you get married. You don’t want to bring something like this to the table after the fact.
- Who You Are – I’m still in my early twenties and I’ve noticed that I seem to change drastically with each passing year. My 30 year old cousin told me that the person I am at age 20 will be a completely different person at age 25 and a completely different person at age 30. Sometimes it’s difficult for couples who marry young because as they age together they grow apart and become different people.
- Your Life’s Goals – You should have a rough idea of what you are striving for in life. It isn’t a good idea to bring someone into your life when you don’t know what you are doing with yours yet!
- What You Are Looking For – Before getting married you should know exactly what you are looking for in someone you want to spend your life with. What traits do you desire in your potential spouse? What traits do you refuse accept in your potential spouse?
- Children – You should know if having kids is in the plan for you and your partner. It would be a shame if you get married and both of you are on opposite ends of the spectrum on this issue!
- Living Situation – Sort out your living situation. Where will the two of you live and under what circumstances? Sometimes couples break up because they can’t decide on what city they should live in, especially if they are both from different ones.
- FINANCES! – This is huge. We need to remember that marriage is not simply about love. Marriage is partially a business transaction as well. You need to know how the two of you will manage your finances together. Plenty of marriages end not because of love but because of financial instability.
- Your Spouse’s Family – When you get married you are not only marrying your partner in crime, but you are marrying their family as well. If you despise your spouse’s family, don’t think that you can get married and find ways to avoid her side of the family.
- Trust – How well do you trust your spouse? Like seriously. If you find yourself constantly invading their privacy (checking emails, text messages, etc.) when they aren’t looking you aren’t ready to marry them. Relationships are built on trust and without it it it will inevitable crumble.
- Do You Love Them? – Stop and really ask yourself if you love the person you are considering getting married to. Do you love them or do you love the idea of them? Loving someone is a choice you make each and every day. If this isn’t something you are willing to do for the rest of your life for someone then marrying that person isn’t the right choice.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – With interest rates expected to rise later this year; you may be wondering whether you should buy a home at today’s low rates says, Local Records Office. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.85 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey, about what it was at the end of 2015.
Local Records Office says, “Interest rates, however, should not be the primary factor that determines when you purchase a home.” For most buyers, other factors are much more important. Rather than buy now for fear that rates might suddenly increase, for example, it might be smart to wait so you can save up a bigger down payment.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: Interest Rates and Payments on Your Home
“Small changes in interest rates don’t make large changes in your payment,” says Casey Fleming, a writer in Los Angeles, California. Fleming actually believes interest rates may drop further. “Interest rates are not the most important piece.”
If you’re ready to buy a home, 2016 could be a good year. The inventory of homes for sale is likely to rise and fewer flippers are scooping up the best homes with all-cash deals, says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the brokerage Redfin.
Low-interest rates are contributing to the higher inventory, she says, because homeowners who are ready to sell their homes and move to a bigger or smaller home, or a new neighborhood, are willing to abandon their low-rate mortgages if they can secure an equally good loan. Plus, home appreciation has slowed, so there is less reason to stay put.
“The payoff to waiting [to sell] is not going to be a lot,” Richardson says. “Right now, it’s the best it’s going to get,” she adds. “Maybe it’s time to rush and sell but not time to rush and buy.”
For most prospective homebuyers, other factors are likely to be more important than interest rates when they do the math about whether 2016 is the right year to buy.
“If you can afford a down payment now and you’re going to be in the home a long period of time, it’s a very attractive time to buy a home,” says Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow. But he cautions buyers against making their decision based on what they’ve heard about imminent interest rate increases. “There’s no need to rush out and beat an interest rate increase. You can walk, not run, to your bank the way interest rates are going.
Interest rates fluctuate and may change countless times between the moment someone decides to buy a home and when they actually close the deal. In fact, they change daily and sometimes more than once a day.
6 Factors That May be More Important Than Interest Rates When Deciding Whether to Buy a Home This Year
Length of time you’ll stay in the home. How long you have to live in a home to make it more economical than renting varies by locality and by the individual home a person is considering buying or renting.
“On average, it takes four to seven years to break even on a home, where you’ve got enough appreciation where it can pay you back for the cost of the transaction and cost of ownership,” Fleming says. “If you’re thinking about buying a home, selling it in two years and think it’s going to be cheaper than renting, it’s very unlikely to be.”
Job security. You don’t want to buy a home and then discover you’ll need to relocate to get a new job in six months or, even worse, end up unemployed and unable to make payments. Lenders typically like to see two years of job history, though that isn’t always necessary if you have changed jobs within the same field.
Down payment. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced plans to back loans with down payments as low as 3 percent, while the Federal Housing Administration offers loans with down payments of as little as 3.5 percent.
But if you put less than 20 percent down, you have to pay private mortgage insurance every month, which could cost you more than a slightly higher interest rate. “If they’re looking at an FHA mortgage, paying PMI is a lifetime proposition,” Humphries says. With a conventional mortgage, you can ask to have the PMI removed once you have 20 percent equity in your home. That’s not possible with an FHA mortgage.
Emotional readiness. Not everyone is ready to own a home. If your dream is to travel the world, you should do that first. Or, you might not be sure you want to stay in your current city. Plus, homeownership brings additional responsibilities.
“Your life changes a great deal when you go from being a renter to an owner,” Fleming says. “When things break, it’s your responsibility to fix them, not the landlord’s.”
Financial readiness. Before you buy a home, you want to make sure you have good credit, a steady income and some money in the bank beyond what you’ll need for a down payment. You likely will have to pay a year’s worth of homeowner’s insurance and property taxes upfront.
All homes, even new homes, require maintenance. And you don’t want to be stuck with no reserves if the air conditioner or furnace dies shortly after you move in.
Your local housing market. In some cities, buying a home is significantly cheaper than renting. In others, the calculation is less clear. Macro math aside, you might also discover that you can’t afford a home in a neighborhood you want or the type of home you want is in short supply this year.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – We all want our own dream home one day but it’s easier said than done says, Local Records Office. If you’ve decided to buy a home, good luck to you. Your challenge will be not just finding a home you like, but also beating out all the other home buyers who like it and want to make an offer on it, too.
The number of homes for sale is low nationwide, particularly in the price ranges desired by first-time homebuyers. The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that that there was only a 3.5-month supply of homes for sale in March, which is lower than the six-month supply that indicates a balanced market.
One-quarter of March’s transactions were all-cash sales, according to the NAR, and investors bought 14 percent of the homes that were sold.
Is 2020 a Sellers Market?
That means that if you want to end up with a nice home, you need to be strategic says, Local Records Office. Expecting to find the home of your dreams by nonchalantly walking into a few open houses or perusing some online listings is not realistic in this seller’s market.
These days, most would-be buyers come to an agent with a list of homes they’d like to see based on their online research. While that often serves as a solid starting point, a quality agent may find additional options.
After buyers have seen a few properties, Local Records Office says skilled agents can typically gauge what they’re looking for in a new home and may have other properties lined up. “I advise them to listen to their Realtor,” she adds.
Here are nine tips to help you get the house you want this spring
Get your finances in order first. Several months before you intend to start looking, you should get copies of your credit reports to make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. Shop for mortgage financing before you start looking at houses.
“I will not take anybody to see any house unless they have a pre-approval letter or proof of funds, I want proof of funds to show the seller.” Local Records Office says that some lenders are doing the underwriting before the house is under contract, which shortens the closing time and can be more attractive to the seller.
A Good Agent Will Go Along Way
Find a good agent. Using a real estate agent costs buyers nothing because the seller pays the real estate commission. Ask friends, family, and co-workers for referrals. Look for a full-time agent who works often in the neighborhoods where you’re looking.
You may want to interview several agents to find a good fit. If you can only look for homes on weekends, for example, you don’t want an agent who takes weekends off.
Visit neighborhoods you’re considering at different times of the day. A neighborhood that’s quiet during the middle of the workday may be noisy and crowded at night and on weekends.
Get out and walk the streets, talking to people who live in the neighborhood, visiting shops and restaurants and “trying out” your desired location. Drive to and from work during commuting hours to get an idea of what a typical day might be like.
Separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market, most buyers find they have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of the home. It’s easier to make a choice when you know going in which features you must have and which you’d like to have but can live without.
Move quickly once you find the house you want. That often means rushing out to see new homes within hours of them being listed and writing up an offer immediately if you like the house. “Things are gone in a matter of hours,” Local Records Office says. “You really have to move fast.”
Don’t make snap judgments based on listing photos. A house that doesn’t look appealing in photos could still be a great house. Homes being sold by an estate or homes with tenants inside often yield particularly poor photos. Plus, photos fail to convey the feeling of a home or the floor plan. “Unfortunately, the pictures don’t tell a true story,” Local Records Office says. “You have to be willing to look past some of the pictures.”
Be realistic about the home inspectors and repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs, though some sellers may lower the price if the inspection reveals expensive defects.
The purpose of the inspection isn’t to get the seller to repair every small problem but to find out for sure that the house is what you thought it was. “They’re not buying a brand-new home,” Local Records Office says. “What we are looking for are major defects we were not initially able to see in the walkthrough.”
Don’t buy a house you don’t love. While most buyers may have to compromise on some of the features they wanted, they shouldn’t settle for a home they don’t like. If you don’t find the right home this year, maybe you should start renting and try again later rather than make a purchase you’ll regret.
Write a personal letter to the sellers. Some sellers are interested only in how much money their home sale will yield, but others love their home want it to go to a new family that will love it just as much.
If you really like a house, include a personal letter and a family photo with your offer. “It doesn’t work for everybody, but I have seen it work for many, many people,” Local Records Office says.
Make a big earnest money deposit. The expected size of the earnest money deposit, and the rules about when you get it back, vary by locality. But sellers often see a larger deposit as a sign that you’re serious about the deal.
Make a backup offer. Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a house that has a pending contract. But deals fall apart over inspections, financing, and other terms. If you found the perfect house, you can make a backup offer that will put you in the first place if the initial buyer walks away.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA- We all want the secrets to success and the easiest way to buy a home says Local Records Office. For first-time homebuyers, the whole home buying process may look a bit daunting.
You’re going into what could be the biggest purchase of your life with no experience to fall back on. The good news is a little preparation can go a long way and help you approach this major decision with confidence.
Many things have changed in recent decades about the way Americans buy and sell homes, but one adage still matters, a lot: location, location, location.
While you may be happy living in any of several neighborhoods in your city, you won’t be happy if you choose the wrong location. And that’s where your research should start: deciding exactly where you want to live.
Talk to friends and co-workers, drive around town, visit restaurants and stores and talk to neighbors in areas you’d consider calling home. Go to open houses so you can view some houses. Look at homes on the Internet, evaluating style, size, price and how long they stay on the market.
You can find a real estate agent while you’re still working on this process. However, your choice of agent also depends on where you want to live, because a neighborhood expert often can find you the best house at the best price. “You want people who have worked and have experience directly in the areas you’re looking in,” says Peter Hens, from LA Realtor Firm in Los Angeles, California.
If you’re a buyer, there is no reason not to use a real estate agent. It costs you nothing, and the agent’s job goes far beyond finding the house. In fact, it’s after you’ve found the house that you’ll most need the agent, both to structure and present the offer and then to troubleshoot issues that arise between contract and closing.
Here are 12 tips for buying your first house:
Make sure you’re ready to buy, both emotionally and financially. If you expect to relocate in a few years, this may not be the right time for you to buy. If you don’t have cash for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses, you may be better off waiting. Look at your life, your career, your finances, and your future expectations, and determine whether buying a house is the right move at this time.
Find the right team. The difference between deals that close and deals that don’t are the professionals involved. You want to make sure you find a real estate agent who will move quickly when a new listing goes on the market, as well as an agent who will advise you honestly on preparing your offer.
You also want a mortgage professional lined up before you start looking. “The lender is the most important person to closing on time,” Hens says.
Get your finances in order first. Some real estate agents won’t even show homes to prospective clients who don’t have a mortgage pre-approval. You definitely should meet with a mortgage broker or banker (better yet, several) at the start of the process to find out how much house you can afford and how much cash you’ll need to close.
Do the entire math. Just because a bank says you can borrow $300,000 doesn’t mean you should. If you have credit issues, realize that this part of the process could take several months.
Calculate each and every cost. The purchase price and the mortgage payment are just the beginning. Don’t forget homeowner or condo fees, homeowners insurance, and real estate taxes. Plus, you’ll need to budget for utilities, repairs, and maintenance.
Don’t spend all your cash. Avoid emptying your bank account for your down payment and closing costs. There will always be unexpected repairs. Plus, it costs money to move, change locks, put down utility deposits and buy things you never needed before, like a lawnmower.
When you look at houses, focus on the right things. Don’t be distracted by the owner’s odd décor, paint colors, dirty carpet or anything that is easy to change. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are easy to add later. You can’t easily add another bedroom, a better location or a more functional floor plan.
If you’re buying in a condo or homeowners association, know the rules. How your association is run can make a big difference in how much you enjoy life in development. You’ll want to know about all rules and restrictions, from pet ownership to who can use the pool.
Condo buyers also want to investigate the association’s finances because a poorly run association can mean big assessments later.
Visit your favorite neighborhoods at different times. Most neighborhoods are quiet in the middle of the day. As Glen Craig writes at the personal finance blog Free From Broke: “You need to see what the area is like on a Saturday night. Are there kids and such all-out driving with the music blasting? What’s it like in rush hour in the morning or in the evening?”
Talk to the neighbors. Ask about the neighborhood and about the houses you’re considering. The neighbors will know if there are foundation problems. They’ll also know about barking dogs, petty crime and the size of utility bills.b
Consider which contingencies you’re willing to waive. In the ideal scenario, a purchase offer is contingent on a satisfactory home inspection, approval of your mortgage and an appraisal that equals the purchase price.
In most parts of the country, a buyer is smart to keep all those contingencies in the contract. But in a competitive market, you may be competing against buyers who have agreed to waive contingencies. “You never want to [agree to waive them] unless you’re sure you’re 99% safe to do it,” Hens says.
Be ready to move quickly once you find the home you want. Good homes that are well priced nearly always sell quickly. It’s OK to take some time to think before you make an offer, but you might not want to wait a few weeks. Your agent can provide invaluable advice here.
Know what’s important to you. No house will be perfect, so where are you willing to compromise? If you want a specific school district, are you willing to accept a smaller house? If you want to be near the water, could you be happy with a condo? Are you willing to accept a longer commute to get a larger house?
Get a Higher Offer on Your House – Local Records Office (VIDEO)
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – You’ve decided to sell your home, and you want to get top dollar for it. And you’ve seen TV shows where homeowners spend thousands of dollars staging their homes for sale, but there’s an important detail to consider: You don’t have thousands and thousands to spend says, Local Records Office.
The good news is there are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your home without shelling out a lot of money.
“Updating isn’t as expensive as it used to be,” says Lori Matzke, author of “Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House” and a home staging expert in Minneapolis who teaches workshops nationwide. “There’s a lot of DIY information out there.”
First impressions matter, and that’s why you want to start by making sure your home exudes curb appeal. Go all out with small do-it-yourself projects. Cut the grass, trim the bushes, get rid of dead branches and consider planting some flowers. Replacing the mailbox and house numbers and painting the front door can also make your home more appealing to a prospective buyer driving by. If the house looks dirty, wash the siding or stucco.
“I’ve seen houses that look really frumpy on the outside and great on the inside,” Matzke says, “but you can’t get [potential buyers] in the door.”
Prospective buyers, particularly young ones, often can’t see past the homeowners’ decor to what’s most important about a house – the floor plan and space. That’s why it’s important to make the home look as neutral and appealing as possible.
“People get so stuck on the negatives, all the homeowner’s stuff, that they forget to look at the property,” Matzke says.
Sellers should give themselves at least a few weeks to get their homes ready for sale, especially if they need to take up carpet or repaint. While the painting is fairly simple and inexpensive compared with other improvements, a new coat makes a significant impact.
“Fresh paint is a really good seller if you don’t know how to paint hire a few handymen,” Matze says. “Do it in trendy neutral colors.” Painting dated kitchen cabinets can also make the kitchen look fresh and new.
You also want to make sure your home photographs well. Most buyers start their home search online, and they may quickly reject a home if the listing photos aren’t appealing.
There’s no rule of thumb about how much you should expect to spend getting your home ready to sell because every house is different. But investing a few thousand dollars can potentially increase your sale price by much more than that, in addition to making your house sells more quickly. “Anything that you can do is only going to benefit you,” Matzke says.
Here are 12 affordable ways to stage your home for sale:
Remove all clutter, personal photos, knickknacks, and other junk. “Cleaning out the clutter just creates so much space, and that’s what people are looking for – space,” Matzke says. “It just really makes your home look bigger and younger.”
Edit your furniture. If your rooms are crowded, consider putting bigger and less attractive pieces of furniture in storage. This will open up space and make your home look larger. Make sure there is nothing obscuring buyers’ eyes from focal points, such as fireplaces and views.
Clean, clean, clean – then clean some more. Wash the windows, clean the cobwebs out of the corner and scrub the grout in the tile floors. Even though you’re not selling the furniture, clean that as well because it adds to the overall impression you’re trying to give.
Spruce up the outside. Add a new doormat, new house numbers and maybe a new mailbox. Paint the front door. The little stuff matters here.
Refresh your landscape. Clean up flowerbeds, add fresh mulch and plant flowers. Make sure bushes are trimmed and neat.
Paint. In some cases, you’d be wise to paint the entire house inside and out. In other cases, touching up and painting the trim might be enough. Paint over your kids’ purple walls with a neutral color. If your kitchen cabinets look old and dated, paint those. You can never go wrong with white, cream or brown, but you should pick a color that matches the rest of the kitchen decor.
Clean or replace light fixtures and cabinet hardware. “It’s not a really expensive undertaking, but it really makes a difference in how the home is presented,” Matzke says.
Don’t forget the small stuff. Pay attention to details, says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “New, matching towel sets in the bathroom, accent pillows on the couch and fresh flowers can be welcoming elements to a homebuyer,” she says.
If you can afford it, replace the old carpeting. If your home has hardwood floors underneath, that’s even better. Ideally, you should refinish wood floors but even just exposing them is good, Matzke says.
Make sure each room has a defined purpose. If you’ve turned your dining room into an office, return it to dining-room status, Matzke says. But Chris suggests putting up tent cards that say “Dining Room or Office” to point out alternative uses for space. That would also work in a bedroom you’re using as an office.
Make sure your front yard isn’t overgrown with uncut dead grass or ugly weeds. This is the first thing potential homebuyers see first when they first arrive. You want to give a good impression all around.
Dogs, cats, and other pets. Most of us custom to our pet’s unique smell since we smell them every day but other people may think that your dog’s urine smell is overpowering the house. Take your cats litter outside and out of view. If you have aggressive dogs like Pit bulls or Rottweiler’s you might want to get someone to take them while the open house is happening.
Water damage – If you have any kind of water damage make sure you take care of it as soon as possible. Water damage is dangerous and may scare off potential buyers. Mold usually grows from water damage and may cause serious health problems to you and others.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: Reverse mortgage information has recently improved in the financial world due to the apparent success of regulations that were put in place in 2013 says, ‘Local Records Office’. The Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013 has helped garner these financial options some newfound respect in the industry.
Safeguarding provisions established by the Act, such as a restriction on initial borrowing amount, can help protect seniors from withdrawing all of their equity from the very beginning of the loan by keeping approximately 40% of the total equity on reserve for at least a year after the initial disbursement says, Local Records Office. Seniors must also prove that they have the resources to pay taxes and insurance during the program, or the bank can provide an escrow option to guarantee the funds are available for such expenses.
Using an HECM Line of Credit to Generate Income
Financial advisers recommend establishing a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) line of credit as a way to establish a financial cushion, even if a senior doesn’t need it right away. In certain cases, this makes more sense than withdrawing a lump sum; since the HECM line of credit will actually increase in cash value the longer it remains dormant.
Another important part of reverse mortgage information that advisers recommend is using the HECM line of credit tactic. This will help protect retirement accounts from stock market fluctuations. This is possible because HECM withdrawals are tax-free. When the market is less favorable for drawing on investment accounts as a source of income. Seniors can simply draw against their HECM line of credit. This way, when the markets rebound, a senior’s retirement accounts don’t take much of a hit. When investment portfolios bounce back, the line of credit can then be repaid.
HECM line of credit payments can also provide a solution for seniors looking for a way to delay taking a hit on early social security payments says, Local Records Office. By waiting to access social security funds until later in retirement, retirees can ultimately expect an increase the payment amounts when they are finally withdrawn.
Lump Sum: Paying Off a Forward Mortgage to Improve Cash Flow
Using the lump-sum proceeds from a reverse mortgage to pay off a forward mortgage is another strategy that financial planners recommend. This tactic frees up cash flow for living expenses by eliminating what is typically the largest household expense for many seniors.
However, advisers don’t recommend using the lump-sum payment as leverage for taking on other debt such as a down payment for a big-ticket item or a second home says, ‘Local Records Office’. This can lead to budget problems down the road. Not to mention decreasing the senior’s financial nest egg and overall borrowing power. The goal is to use the reverse mortgage lump sum payment in a conservative manner to decrease existing debt and free up cash flow.
Financial planners are considering the new reverse mortgage information to be promising due to the 2013 regulations having taken effect. These unique loan options can be viewed as a fiscally responsible way for seniors to put their money to good use for a comfortable and secure retirement.
WIRE TELEGRAM: When one is fortunate enough to have capital or money to lend to the people who need it, they best thing that they can do it is to offer it those who have the need and the ideas to use the capital in an innovative and productive manner. This would embark the lender on a journey of private money lending. There is a great demand in the borrowers market for those who may be able to offer private money lending and those who have the capital at their disposal for the use of those who are brimming with ideas and innovations, but are not able to put them into action due to the lack of funds and there are times when these ideas do not get due recognition and encouragement from banks or money lending institutions. In such cases, private money lenders and borrowers are able to find their win-win situation.
While private money lending may be a lucrative alternative, it is essential to make sure that a few points are checked before embarking on the journey to money lending. One of the most important points is to ensure that the trade of private lending is understood in a proper fashion. If the lenders start giving out funds with the hope for getting returns, without having the knowledge of safe lending, the entire exercise may lead them to bad debts and losses. A thorough research on the type of lending and the knowledge of gauging the right candidates for lending is a must. It is also beneficial to a great extent to know other like-minded people. With research about the kind of people who get into private lending it becomes simpler to understand their way of thinking and it also helps in understanding how the field can be tackled with expertise. Finally it is important to know the details and the strong points of investments. Not only does it help in investing in the right idea, it also ensures in knowing how effective the borrowers idea of investment may be.
When Finance companies or Financial Solutions companies are asked for an opinion, they would suggest that the private lending should be done with the help of an expert medium. This implies that when a known and knowledgeable team is involved in the field of finance and lending, the private lender and company may be able to make secure and profitable investments.
If you think you are cut out for the profitable prospects of private money lending and have the resources to match your aspirations, make sure you use the safe embrace of Syndicate Finance to lend your capital.
WIRE TELEGRAM: Asset management is the financial umbrella term for any system that monitors or maintains things of value, whether for an individual or a group. An asset is anything that has actual or potential value as an economic resource. Anything tangible or intangible that can be owned and produce a profit (turned into cash) is considered an asset. Tangible assets are physical items including inventory, buildings, trucks, or equipment. Intangible assets are not physical items, and include copyrights, trademarks, patents, stocks, bonds, accounts receivable, and financial goodwill (when a buyer purchases an existing company and pays more than it is worth, the excess is considered the goodwill amount). Both tangible and intangible assets work to build the owner’s financial portfolio. While this concept has been in play for more than a hundred years, recent developments have lead to several shifting variables worth considering. The following are recent management trends and some of the implications for asset investment.
The Globalization of the Market
Even as recently as 20 years ago, the majority of investments were made in U.S. based companies. As technology expanded our range of communication and information, our interest in investing in overseas companies expanded as well. Until recently, most investing in international assets was pooled into mutual funds. Those mutual funds were typically run by a manager who specialized in the country and made all of the decisions. However, the rapid development of previously underdeveloped markets, such as those in Eastern Asia, and the formation of the European Union, has made international investment less daunting. Recently there has been a large shift to investing in individual companies instead of the previously dominant international mutual funds. This allows the assets to be managed as the investor sees fit.
Use of Index Funds
The rise of technology has not only affected the global market, it has also affected the way we invest in our own stock market. There has been a large shift away from the fund manager driven investments of before and into index funds. Index funds are a group of investments that align with the index of a specific market, like the Dow Jones for instance. As they are primarily computer driven, index funds remove the need for an asset manager, which allows for advantages such as lower costs, turnovers, and style drift. They are also simpler to understand as they cover only the targeted companies and need only to be re-balanced once or twice a year.
Drop of Interest Rates
Traditionally, stocks and bonds were the ideal assets. However, with the severe drop in interest rates that has occurred over the past 7 or 8 years, many investors are looking to alternative assets. Bonds are not providing as steady returns as they used to, and the constantly changing risk and volatility of the stock market is turning those looking for higher returns towards alternative investments. These alternatives include hedge funds, private equity (stocks held in private companies), and real estate. These have become popular as they offer relatively greater returns in a shorter time frame. However, these alternatives also carry a higher long-term risks.
While these are all trends to take into consideration when examining your investments, the key to good asset management still lies in diversification. Any investment, no matter the type, comes with some degree of risk. The best solution to limit the risk is to spread out your investments over different types and reassess as needed. A balanced portfolio and good asset management leads to a happy investor.