Repost: 2019 Real Estate Forecast: What Home Buyers, Sellers And Investors Can Expect

Real estate is arguably the largest industries in most developed countries across the globe. Thus, many investors are considering real estate as a great long-term investment option. If you’re planning to invest this year, learn more on Forbes:

 

An illustration of a house sinking into the water.Getty

 

There’s no doubt about it: the 2018 housing market has seen its ups and downs.

The year started with sky-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a definitive upper hand for sellers. In recent months though, home price growth has faltered, rates have risen to their highest point in nearly eight years, and favor has started to shift from seller to buyer.

 

Will these trends continue? Will housing experience the same wild ride in the new year? Here’s what experts predict will happen in 2019 real estate market:

 

Mortgage rates will continue rising.

 

“Despite steady climbing for the past two years, mortgage rates remain lower than they were during most of the recession and below average for the type of strong economic growth we’ve been experiencing. That will change in 2019, as the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage reaches 5.8% — territory not seen since the dark days of 2008 when rates were racing downward in response to the housing crisis.” — Aaron Terrazas, director of economic research for Zillow

 

Millennials will keep buying homes — despite those rising rates.

 

“The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by continued rising mortgage rates and surging millennial demand. Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.” — Odeta Kushi, senior economist for First American

 

“Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of buyers next year, accounting for 45% of mortgages, compared to 17% of Boomers, and 37% of Gen Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle next year, older Millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up the majority of Millennials who close in 2019. Looking forward, 2020 is expected to be the peak Millennial home buying year with the largest cohort of millennials turning 30 years old. Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.” — Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com

 

 

Continue reading HERE.

Repost: The 8 Best Retirement Plans to Use in 2019

The best thing to kick off your 2019 is to create a financial plan – especially for your future retirement. Here’s a few recommendations from The Balance:

Image source: pexels.com

 

If you want to retire with the same standard of living in your golden years, it is important to studiously save for retirement. Consistently putting away at least 10% to 15% of your income every payday should put you on track to a great retirement.

 

The best type of retirement plan for a large number of Americans is the 401(k) plan. This type of retirement plan is named for its section of the IRS code that explains how it all works. Most importantly, you should understand your investment options, how your retirement plan influences your taxes, and how to get the biggest impact from every dollar of retirement savings.

 

Depending on your employer, you may or may not have access to this type of retirement plan. Many education workers rely on a 403(b) plan, which has similar rules. Public employees of government agencies typically have a 457 plan in addition to a pension. But 401(k) plans are the biggest and most common employer-sponsored retirement plan.

 

If you are a small business owner, an HR manager evaluating 401(k) providers, or an in-demand worker comparing multiple job offers, it helps to understand the criteria that make a retirement plan the best retirement plan.

 

When looking at 401(k) plans, try to find one that minimizes fees while maximizing investment choices across diverse, low-fee mutual funds and/or ETFs that align with your needs. For this reason, some of the biggest investment brokerages and mutual fund providers set the standard for the best retirement plans available today. And the difference between expensive plans and low-cost plans can easily lead to tens of thousands of dollars in your retirement, if not more. A recent study found the average fee is around 1% of assets, but high-quality plans charge significantly less.

 

It’s also important to consider employer matching. This is up to your employer, not the plan provider, but it’s an incredibly valuable piece of the total compensation puzzle and you’ll want to keep it in mind. Many large employers match around 3% to 6% of an employees gross pay.

 

Now that you know more about what to look for in a 401(k) plan, which is very similar to a 403(b) or 457 plan for education and government workers respectively, here is a list of the best retirement plan providers you can choose today.

Continue reading HERE.

Repost: A Volatile Start to 2019

The stock market had a rough year ender just last month. Check out today how the market kick off 2019 on LOM Financial:

 

 

We started 2019 with a rollercoaster in the stock market. The S&P ended the week up 1.90% while the MSCI World Index gained 1.81% in the shortened trading week. Emerging markets were up 1.15%.

 

Apple Cuts Guidance

Apple cut its revenues forecast for the first time in 16 years as the Chinese market slowed and demand for the iPhone dropped off. There may be a bit more going on here. Apple products have been a status symbol over the past decade. Part of this was well deserved. Apple was one of the first companies to implement a touch screen display and helped innovate the $0.99 song (compared to buying a collection on a CD). Their innovation had allowed them to charge a premium for their phones. At this phase in development, the company has innovated less. The Apple Watch and various minor changes to the phone and tablet space are not providing the same levels of growth for the company.

 

Apples decision to push off 5G integration makes sense for the US markets. The infrastructure is still being developed state side. Internationally, this strategy places Apple at a disadvantage. For those looking to replace their phones, a 5G ready device should be more desirable as it can operate at 10x the speed of a 4G network. The average life of a cell phone is a little over 2 years. Why would someone buy a phone that costs more and is 1/10th the speed of a generic brand? Apple is aiming to transition into a more services driven brand though it is unclear what that will look like.

 

Continue reading HERE.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Most Dominant Tech Giants in the Stock Market

Historically, Technology is one of the largest sectors based on its economic growth globally. In fact, its profitability continues to rise in recent years, generating billions of revenue each year. And, who would have thought that these tech companies will become the world’s largest stock markets, today? 

 

Image source: pexels.com

 

 

  1. Apple

This iconic technology company has made a large impact in history. With its greatest innovations from devices to software products, Apple is now considered as one of the largest and most valuable publicly traded corporations across the globe. In addition, Apple was able to reach $1 trillion dollar market cap valuation in early August.

 

  1. Amazon

Amazon plays a significant role in both technology and e-commerce industry. Apart from being a relatively huge online retailer, this tech company became a favorite shopping destination by most consumers especially in the U.S., nowadays. In 2017, Amazon’s revenue has skyrocketed to $177.9 billion.

 

 

  1. Microsoft

A well-known Washington based Technology Company that focuses on developing advanced computer software, for decades. With over $110 billion in revenue as of this year. Despite the constant market volatility lately, Microsoft has remained robust and firm to continuously attract many investors.

 

 

Repost: While the Fed Fumbles, Look at Emerging Markets

Here’s the latest global economic update from LOM Financial:

 

 

Despite market turbulence, the Fed decided to go ahead with the fourth rate hike of the year, while reducing expectations for next year to two hikes. All risky assets prices declined after the rate decision, as investors fear that higher interest rate will be a burden to economic growth. As the Fed contemplates its new reality and U.S. markets struggle to regain balance, we think Emerging Markets are worth a look at these levels.

 

It seems fitting that 2018 was the year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac. Most asset classes fared poorly this year as investors hit the panic button, but the pain has been particularly acute in the emerging market (EM) sector. Notwithstanding a few weeks of recent relative outperformance, EM’s as a whole have dramatically underperformed the broader averages this year. For example, while the S&P 500 stock index has declined by 8% year-to-date, the MSCI emerging market stock index is down 15.6%, representing underperformance of 7.6% as of this writing.

 

To a large extent, 2018 has been a perfect storm against the EM’s. The strengthening greenback, rising trade war tensions, geopolitical upheaval and collapsing oil prices have been major headwinds. China, by far the largest of the EM countries, has lately been the whipping boy of American politicians and the clear target of Trump’s aggressive trade negotiations. Looming uncertainties over trade policies and growth have curtailed business investment creating poor sentiment for investors. Also, China and the other EM’s are experiencing slower rates of GDP growth than they have enjoyed in the past.

 

Despite modestly decelerating growth in the world’s second largest economy, economists expect China’s gross domestic product (GDP) to advance at a rate of about 6.6% in 2018 and 6.2% in 2019, more than double the rate expected for the developed world as a whole using Bloomberg consensus data. Next year, aggregate emerging market GDP is expected to advance at a rate of 4.7%, compared to 2.1% for developed countries, as forecasted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 

 

Continue reading here for more insights.

Repost: Here are 5 ways to control your stress during a volatile market

Investing in Stocks is like gambling, according to many investors. A volatile market is indeed inevitable and investors are losing money including their hopes and focus. During volatile times in the market, this wonderful investment advice from CNBC might help relieve and control your anxiety:

 

Kane Skennar | Photodisc | Getty Images Getting stressed out may point investments in the wrong direction, so learn to control stress in a volatile market.

 

While I can’t give you any investment advice or help you ignore the current market conditions, I can teach you how to manage stress so that “volatile” describes the market and not your mindset.

 

Emotions can help influence decision-making, but when it comes to considering investment decisions in a volatile market, getting stressed out may point your investments in the wrong direction.

 

The high level of stress in today’s financial market is not only threatening retirement accounts and portfolios, it’s depleting an investor’s greatest resource: brain power.

 

The signs of the strain on your brain are sleeplessness, increased conflict, decreased energy, memory struggles, difficulty focusing and/or increased use of food, alcohol or drugs to reduce anxiety. Any of these symptoms mean you will be less able to make your best personal and professional decisions.

 

Let’s get very real for a minute. Unless you already have yoga, exercise, meditation or a “work/life balance” in practice, it can feel overwhelming to think about adding something new into your day if you are feeling stressed right now. With that said, here are five “don’ts” that might surprise you and that will also help you discover some easier “dos” for stress-management.

 

Don’t strive for work/life balance. That’s right. Work/life balance is typically defined in such a way that trying to maintain it creates more stress through shame and guilt. My approach to work/life balance is the same as with evaluating weight loss. Just as you will likely be frustrated if you step on the scale every day, don’t look at how you balance work and home life or extracurricular activities on a daily basis. Rather, look at a whole week or even month to gauge how you are doing with either.

 

 

Continue reading HERE for more insights:

REPOST: A year-end checklist for your investments

Before this year ends, CNN has got some important and helpful tips for you investments:

 

What do I need to do before the end of the year, to be ready for tax-time and whatever next year may bring?

 

Even if performing a check-up on your investments isn’t typically on your list of things to do before the end of the year, this is one year you don’t want to skip.

 

Markets have been unusually volatile and investors may be leery about the year ahead. The 2018 tax year will also mark the first year in which the tax reforms took effect. That means there are several variables and new factors to consider as you close out the year.

 

Here are some important details to check in on before the end of the year.

Reallocate and rebalance

 

With the market on a tear for the past nine years, many investors’ portfolios have become stock heavy and may no longer reflect big picture goals, says Samuel Wieser, CEO and investment advisor for Northman Financial.

 

Asset allocation is a significant driver of portfolio performance, he says, and periodic rebalancing is a critical part of ensuring you are sticking with your investment strategy.

 

“If your portfolio has a bloated stock allocation, you are likely exposing yourself to excess risk,” Wieser says. “Many experts believe we may see a significant downturn in the economy and stock market in the coming months after the longest bull market in history. If you haven’t rebalanced lately, now would be a great time.”

 

A common mistake when rebalancing, he says, is to only focus on your IRA or brokerage accounts. Make sure you also look at your 401(k) or any other employer sponsored plan. Usually, the allocations in your account are completely up to you even though there may be a third party investment manager looking after the plan as a whole.

 

As a guideline for asset allocation, advisers recommend holding equities in the amount of 100 minus your age. So a typical 40 year old will hold 60% in equities. But consider that guideline alongside the fact that Americans are living longer and earning fewer rewards from low-risk investments. Your risk tolerance may be higher.

 

Continue reading HERE.

Market Updates – 12 December 2018

Global markets mixed Tuesday on positive trade hopes.

 

Image source: moneycontrol.com

 

Asian equities mixed, Japan’s Nikkei closing 0.34% lower as banks and transport stocks fell.

 

The China’s CSI and Hong Kong’s HSI closed higher.
China’s CSI up 0.48% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng with modest gains.

 

European equities surged in early and midday trading up over 1.75% across the region, stumbling towards the close, however, still closing with gains across the region. London’s FTSE and the EURO Stoxx 50 both closing up 1.27%.

 

Choppy trading plagued US equities. Opening with over 1% in gains, slumping to the red midday and closing mixed but mostly lower.

DOW down 0.22%.
S&P down 0.04%.
NASDAQ closing 0.16% higher.

Repost: Approaching Neutral

Here’s a Market update from LOM Financial for the latest Global Market Performance:

 

 

Markets rebounded sharply last week with the MSCI World Index gaining 3.40% while the S&P500 rose 4.91%. The bond markets were mainly flat on the week.

 

The Federal Reserve

 

The Federal Reserves’ role is to balance unemployment with inflation. It achieves that goal by controlling the cost at which banks can borrow money and by buying companies stocks and bonds in the open market (known as quantitative easing). By lowering interest rates and buying up shares of companies in the open market, they prop up the economy. When they believe the economy is overheating (e.g., almost everyone that wants a job has one and prices of goods are rising), they try to cool things down by raising the interest rates and reducing their balance sheet. The latter is important because an overheated economy would be more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors and unchecked inflation can erode our ability to save and plan over the long-term.

 

The new Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, inherited an environment with historically low interest rates and a strong economy. He has been on record expressing concern that the low rates were creating a bond market bubble (declining interest rates increase the price of existing bonds). At the beginning of the year, the aggressive schedule of four rate hikes appeared unlikely. As the impact of the tax cuts appeared to stimulate the economy while the effects of an uncertain quantity of tariffs were yet to be felt, the Fed felt comfortable enough to raise rates.

 

Markets got spooked in October, when Mr. Powell implied that we were “a long way” from neutral, a rate level that would neither heat up or cool down the economy. That uncertainty, along with other risks like a trade war escalation and a potential hard Brexit, weighed down markets.

 

In a televised meeting at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, Powell was quoted as saying we are now “just below neutral.” I believe this implies the band would be 3-7% (since the historical average is close to 5%). Markets took this as good news, rallying sharply into the second half of the week.

 

Continue reading HERE.

 

Repost: Asian stocks take a breather after days of declines

Asian stocks saw gains on the day. Take a look at CNBC‘s latest market updates:

 


Following a closely watched OPEC meeting in Vienna on Thursday, the cartel reportedly agreed to decrease oil production but did not specify the exact number of barrels it aimed to bring off the market.

 

Shares in Asia were mostly higher on Friday on the back of a report suggesting the U.S. Federal Reserve could consider a slower tempo of increasing interest rates than had been previously expected.

 

The hard-hit mainland Chinese markets ended the trading day mostly unchanged, with both the Shanghai composite and the Shenzhen composite largely flat at around 2,605.89 and about 1,350.70, respectively.

 

Meanwhile, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong traded down by around 0.1 percent as of its final hour of trade.

 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.82 percent to close at 21,678.68 while the Topix index gained 0.61 percent to finish the trading week at 1,620.45.

 

Shares of Softbank, which saw significant declines in the previous trading day, extended losses as it fell 2.09 percent on the day. The company had earlier announced that there was no change in its earnings and dividend forecasts after a mobile service outage on Thursday.

 

Over in South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.34 percent to close at 2,075.76, with shares of chipmaker SK Hynix rising 1.21 percent.

 

The ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.42 percent to close at 5,681.50, with almost sectors in positive territory. That was a rebound from Thursday, when the index saw declines amid a broader sell-off across the Asia Pacific region.

 

Shares of Australia’s so-called Big Four banks saw gains on the day. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 0.16 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 1.00 percent while Westpac advanced 0.23 percent and National Australia Bank climbed up by 0.25 percent.

 

Continue reading HERE.