Archive for February, 2009

The Abcs Of The Stock Market

February 19, 2009
Arecent study indicates that Americans are saving less these days than they were 10 years ago, except for entrepreneurs and corporate executive and in one particular segment – young middle-managers who are about six to 10 years into their careers and only beginning to make headway into the higher echelons of their particular industry.

Are you one of these people? If you are, then chances are that you are currently in the process of planning or expanding your base of investments. You have probably given real estate a good look and determined that, although attractive, it is more ideal for a full-time real estate investor because it demands a lot of effort and time. You also probably have a tidy little sum invested in various banking tools like savings and time deposits as well as common trust bonds and government securities. That’s all well and good and your money is safe right there. But now you want to shoot for the moon, mainly by investing in the kind of company and industry that you may be familiar with. You are eager to try the stock market.

Here are a few basics about the stock market business.

The stock market is mainly a place where you sell or trade a company’s stock. These stocks are small shares in the company which it sells to the public in order to raise capital to finance its other ventures. Of course, you already know that capital is the money that a company spends for producing, improving, expanding, distributing and promoting its products and services. If you buy a company’s stocks, you are one of its shareholders.

The use of the term stock market also applies in reference to all the stocks that are available for trading (as well as other securities) as in the statement “the stock market performed well today.”

You can also trade bonds on the stock market. Bonds are a business IOU that indicate that the bond issuer holds the bond holder a debt. Bonds are traded directly between two parties over the counter.

You may opt to trade commodities on the stock market. The term commodities refers to agricultural products (coffee, sugar, wheat, maize, barley, cocoa, milk products) and other raw materials (pork bellies, oil, metals). For example, if you feel that the price of coffee will increase next month, you buy the coffee commodity now and reap the benefits of the price increase next month when you sell.


Careers In Finance: Insurance vs. Corporate

February 19, 2009
It has been eight years since my friends and I graduated from business school, eight long years since we studied all about the law of supply and demand and dreamed about our future careers in the exciting and rewarding field of finance.

There are six of us in our group and we have all managed to stay in touch with each other despite our hectic schedules. Who am I kidding? One big reason why we have stayed in touch with each other is because we help each other with contacts and networking. There’s nothing like a little school spirit to make the wheels of business spin a little faster. That is especially so since most of us have landed in different spheres of the financial industry. Different, yes, but I must also stress that these spheres are inter-connected. It really is a fascinating industry.

One day over drinks at the club, we decided to compare notes about our respective jobs. Much of the discussion revolved around the topic of who had the best job among us. Two of the guys, who were making a splash in insurance, strongly endorsed their field. They said that the insurance industry has annual revenues that surpass the trillion-dollar mark, which makes it a secure and financially-rewarding place to spend one’s career. The guys said that there are over 2.5 million people currently working in insurance now holding jobs as an underwriter, sales representative, customer service rep, asset manager or an actuary. As the guys said, the name of the game now is knowing how to manage risk and anticipate problem areas.

Gregory, the most scholastically gifted among us back in school, had a different opinion. He worked as a financial planner in a major corporation. Gregory argued that it is not the size of the industry that should determine who has the best job, but rather how important that job contributes to his company or clients. As a financial planner, Gregory said his position made him vital to the future of his company because he was the one who planned all the future spending of the company. Nothing would move without my approval, he said.

Actually, both of them had a point, but I had to ponder a little bit before I could response.

Investing In Finland’s Pharmaceutical Industry

February 19, 2009
According to local sources, the pharmaceutical industry will be the next sector in Finland’s economy to show strong growth. Both the number of companies operating in the pharmaceutical sector and the number of professionals employed in the industry are expected to double in the next ten years. Specifically, the number of companies operating in Finland’s pharmaceutical industry and associated sectors is expected to increase from its current total of approximately 50 to a total of 140 companies by 2010. By the same year, current forecasts indicate that the number of experts and professionals employed in the industry will more than double to a total of 14,000. In the same period, sales by the industry are expected to rise to €3,500 million-approximately $3,200 million. Major part of this sum will be coming from outside Finland. In addition to medicine-related sales, the Finnish pharmaceutical sector is expected to generate significant sales volume through the provision of product development and manufacturing services.

Pharmaceutical companies’ experts support that the Finnish pharmaceutical sector is based on high-level know-how and this will bring foreign capital to Finland very soon. Companies will also be coming to Finland to exploit the product development expertise. In fact, the Finish pharmaceutical sector’s growth is mainly supported by Finland’s position as one of the leading high-technology locations in the world. In fact, the strong growth of the Finnish pharmaceutical sector offers excellent opportunities for U.S. companies and venture capitalists to cooperate with Finnish companies in joint ventures and partnerships.

One of the biggest contributors for a foreign investment to take place is the target country’s workforce, which is based not only on the skilled, but also on the number of available workers. Pharmaceutical companies tend to look at the talent, but it is definitely an employee’s market out there. That is not a problem in Finland, because the national unemployment rate is still high. A second major factor is presence of other pharmaceutical companies. If a location is right for one company, it probably offers the same advantages to others. Recruiting new employees with R&D or manufacturing skills, for instance, is easier if there is already a large base of pharmaceutical or biotech workers right in the neighborhood. Because the pharmaceutical industry has close ties with the medical community, it is common for R&D and manufacturing companies to locate close to major medical centers. On the other hand, pharmaceutical and biotech companies developing products for food crops or livestock generally prefer communities in farming areas. The reason so many large pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotech start-ups are expanding or locating in Finnish is because they are offered what they are looking for. With a strong supply of highly skilled labor, a significant incentive package, a favorable wage differential and sophisticated communications and transportation systems, Finland is bound to attract pharmaceutical companies during the next decades.

Sticking To A Budget

February 19, 2009

Budgeting your money can be difficult. With so many expenses and random, unexpected purchases, trying to accurately track your finances can make your head spin. In this article, we’ll give you a basic format for tracking your budget so that you can save money. The first step to creating a budget is to determine a baseline for your income and your expenses. Document everything that you know you normally spend throughout a month, as well as what you can expect to receive monetarily. Note only the expenses and income that you can count on, since they are the basis for your economic standpoint. After you’ve got your list of incomes and expenses put together, it’s time to determine exactly how your income works. Figure out how much you make per month through your job as well as any other payments that you can count on such as alimony or child support. Next comes the hard part: figuring out all of your expenses. Since you probably have many more different expenses than you do incomes, it’s easy to overlook some expenses that you may partake in. Document them as best you can. Now what you need to do is weigh your monthly income versus your monthly expenses. By doing this, you can determine pretty accurately whether you are posting revenues or expenses when all is said and done. Now that you know exactly where you stand in terms of monthly revenues, you need to create estimates for your expenses throughout a month. Since bills and needs can vary from month to month, do your best to determine a basic outline for what an expense should cost you. The basic idea of your budget is now complete. From here, it’s important to track your expenses as best you can, recording any time when you make a financial transaction, be it a down payment on a house or a candy bar at the store. By seeing exactly where your money is going, you can determine what aspects of your lifestyle you can trim to better suit your budget. Good luck, you can do it!

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February 19, 2009

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