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Setting Your Money Goals

3 Factors which determine your investment strategy

You may be wondering what is the right investment strategy for you, but without knowing anything about you, any advice on which investments are right for you may in fact be the wrong ones. There are basically three factors that determine which are the right investments for you, they are:

1. Your age

2. Purpose for the money

3. Your risk profile

Starting with your age. It would be rather silly of you to invest all your money in growth funds if you are aged 65 because if the market takes a dive such as was the case during the 1987 sharemarket crash and to a lesser extent, the Global Financial Crisis during the early 2000s you have less time to recover from these setbacks whereas the young ones have time on their side.

The purpose for the money is the second factor.

Decide whether you require the money in the short-term, medium-term, or long-term.

Short-term would be up to a year.

Medium-term is 1-5 years

Long-term is longer than five years

Short term expenses would be, a bank account for emergencies, a holiday within a year, dental expenses, or t pay for the kids schooling for a year.

Medium-term would be savings for a car.

Long term would be your retirement fund, saving for a house deposit, or saving for the trip of a lifetime.

Your risk profile is a determining factor in where you invest your money. If the thought of the sharemarket taking a dive will give you sleepless nights then investing growth stocks in the sharemarket is not for you. A better option would be managed funds where you will be given a choice between growth, balanced, and conservative funds.

It is important not to get into debt for there is a cost to debt and that is interest. Interest adds to the cost of goods bought with borrowed money, and this adds up to a fortune during a lifetime of borrowing for consumables. This is called bad debt because the value of the item declines over time.

There is such a thing as good debt though and this is your first home because the value of the property increases during the lifetime of the loan but even this is not always a good option for some people if you live a kind of transient lifestyle.

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What Could You Possibly Put On Your Real Estate Blog

Are you running out of creative juice for your needed daily or weekly blog? Are you having some sort of repetitions just after two months or so? If you are in this situation, you’re probably thinking of how you can possibly sustain readership with writing ideas or topics that are sure to entice readers to follow you. Here are some topics you can write about for the next days.

Local activities which kids and teenagers would probably ask permission from their parents to join. Every community conducts activities for children and teenagers. These activities are geared to enrich the knowledge and skills of the participants. Most of them are conducted during summer months. But there are also some activities conducted during the other months of the year. These activities can range from art workshops, sports clinics, dance competitions, talent shows, and a whole lot more.

Current news in your local community and even important events of the nation. News affects all. Whatever is happening in the community and in the nation has impact to everybody. Discuss how these events can affect the families and individuals in the community. Assert your point. Give insights on how these events can shape the local real estate industry.

Present places of interests to your readers. Make your real estate blog a reference for readers to familiarize themselves with the community’s various interesting places. Let your writings take them to the vest restaurants, entertainment hubs, museums, shopping destinations, and even tourist spots. These local crowd-drawers deserve to have their spotlights on your blog. It will also help if you’ll notify merchants, establishments or entities which you’ll mention in your writing. Through this, you are getting them fueled to share your writings in their respective platforms. This will eventually increase redirects from their spaces to yours.

Dissect local market studies. Different studies present various insights. They send signals to buyers and sellers alike. Present statistics, data, and other information which will be valuable and influential to the decisions of your readers. Will this month be good to buy a house? Will next month see home prices increasing at least for your market?

Give tips, suggestions, and advises. Your blog can also serve as a communication line between you and your readers. Engage them in your posts through tips about home staging. Suggest ways on how they can better rearrange the room of their sons or daughters. Give advise on how to deal with noisy neighbors. There are plenty of topics in which your expert opinion and advise are warranted.

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Should Caifornia Expand Its Rent Control Laws?

Proposition 10, named the Affordable Housing Act, is an initiative on the November, 2018, ballot to repeal the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (“Costa-Hawkins”) is a California State law, enacted in 1995, which places limits on municipal rent control ordinances. Costa-Hawkins affects rentals in two major ways. First, it prohibits cities from establishing rent control over certain kinds of residential units, e.g., single family dwellings, condominiums and newly constructed apartment units which are deemed exempt. Second, it prohibits municipal “vacancy control”, also called “strict” rent control.

If an apartment is under “vacancy control”, the ordinance works to deny or limit an owner’s ability to increase its rent to a new tenant (s). It works this way even in cases where the prior tenant voluntarily vacated the apartment or was evicted for cause (such as failure to pay rent). In other words Costa-Hawkins, by now prohibiting “vacancy control” in the above circumstances, mandates that cities allow an apartment owner the right to rent it when vacant at any price (i.e., usually the market price).

Rent control in California is largely the creation of its municipalities. This ability of city governments is limited by the federal and state constitutions, as well as federal and state laws. Costa-Hawkins is a key state statute enacted to manage the power of California cities to regulate their rental markets. Original rent control efforts sought to provide the public with affordable housing but caused a fall in the number of new units being built, thus aggravating the housing shortage. Subsequent rent control laws exempted new construction. Such regulation also removed incentives to improve or even maintain, older housing units.

Repealing Costa-Hawkins would mean eliminating the current regulations on rent control, opening the door for city governments to impose their own rent regulations on newer buildings, and allowing for the possibility of vacancy control.

There are opposing sides to the repeal.

“Securing the Democratic Party endorsement is huge,” for repealing Costa-Hawkins Housing Act, said Joe Trippi of Trippi, Norton, Rossmeissl Campaigns, the lead strategist on the Yes on 10 campaign. “The party’s endorsement helps make clear that it stands with the millions of Californians struggling to pay the rent and supports returning the power to respond to the state’s housing affordability crisis back to the people and back to local communities.” It’s thought that repeal will allow communities to create strong tenant protections against displacement, rent increases and evictions without interference from State law.

David , CEO and Founder of L.A. Property Management Group refutes the idea that repeal will bring about affordable housing. According to David, much of the debate surrounding Costa-Hawkins is colored by a fundamentally false dichotomy: supporters of the repeal seek to characterize opponents as greedy corporate landlords eager to profit on the further gentrification of California’s cities at the expense of low-income tenants clinging to their housing. “As a property manager who works every day with both tenants and landlords, I can tell you from experience how unfair and untrue this is.”

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Doing A Personal Financial Assessment

In order to reach the top of the real estate investing mountain, you’re going to want, and need to utilize all the tools available to you in your financial tool belt. While you can theoretically build a house with just a few tools, the quality of the house can suffer if you don’t have certain specialized tools at your disposal. The same holds true when you’re trying to finance your real estate transactions.

First, a key truth in real estate: You don’t need to have a sterling credit record or access to a ton of cash in order to make a fortune as a real estate investor. But you’ll reach the real estate investing Promised Land much more quickly if you do.

Because your ultimate goal is to create a thick real estate portfolio, and a large residual monthly income that comes in regardless of whether you decide to pull yourself out of bed every morning or you choose to sleep in, you will want to ensure that your finances are in a maximum state of health. That requires you to give your finances an intensive check-up, much like your personal physician would do to ensure that you’re the picture of good health.

Step One: Get in the Right Frame of Mind

The most critical step of analyzing your financial situation lies in realizing that the way you approach money and financial decisions plays a massive role in your ultimate success or failure. If you have a proven track record of shooting yourself in the foot with bad financial decisions, it’s imperative that you do a radical about-face and change your spending habits.

If you waste a ton of money on music downloads, splurge daily on over-priced gourmet coffee, or you are on a first-name basis with the greeter at Walmart, I have a newsflash for you: Your budget has more pork in it than a Congressional spending bill. By cutting much of the waste out of your personal economy, you can generate cash out of thin air that you can use for much better purposes than instant gratification. Instead, you can change your life for the better. But the choice is yours alone to make.

Step Two: Relentlessly Cut Expenses

When you’re done paying bills at the end of the month, do you usually have cash left over, or do you tend to spend everything within a day or two of payday – and then limp through until your next paycheck comes in? Most people spend the lion’s share of their paycheck on bills, food, and other necessities. If they’re lucky, they are able to set a few dollars aside for a rainy day. The difference between those who have control of their finances and those whose financial life is in disarray, is that having control involves taking control, and keeping control. While many people have trouble increasing their income, it is possible to reduce spending. In order to do that, you need to get a handle on your expenses and identify areas of your budget that can be trimmed back. While this isn’t the sexiest topic of conversation, it’s absolutely vital to your ultimate success as a real estate investor. Budgeting for monthly expenditures and spending only what is on your list is one of the most difficult aspects of taking control of your financial life. By eliminating unnecessary expenditures, you’ll reach your goals more quickly. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

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Property Investment 101A – A View to a Kill

For a property investor, the wide range of property in the market can present both opportunities and risks in the pursuit of assets acquisition. There is a smorgasbord of landed and high-rise residential property to choose from in terms of price, design, build-up and location to suit one’s life-styles and budget. Selecting the right property depends on many factors which interplay to make it challenging for a novice investor. A good location that comes with good amenities and accessibility is a good place to start.

The decision of which property to invest hinges upon the aforementioned factors which can also be colored by one’s emotion. As much as one try to be objective and practical, the sweet-talking salespersons or real estate agents and enticing decor of the show units can pull wool over our eyes. We can easily overlook the fine prints in the glossy brochures or the subtle defects in the ready units. Developers tend to embellish their sales publication with hyped-up value and benefits to attract potential buyers.

Be this as it may, one should always be mindful of the tricks of the trade employed be seasoned sales agents who act in the interest of the developers or sellers. Some agents can be quite economical with the truth and gives unverified information to close the sale. It is therefore prudent to check and verify information with reliable sources. One can also do research and compare data with other sources such as the internet and the community at large. Your friends, family members and relatives can also be a source of reference.

Now that we have covered some of the pitfalls and hazards in property investment and selection, we should take calculated risks and weigh the options we have in an enlightened manner. This article will focus on high-rise serviced apartments which are flooding the property market in my home country of Malaysia. This is because many property developers over here are building high-rise residential units to cater to the life-style living aspiration of the people who looks for convenience, accessibility and security. Most of these high-rise developments come with a myriad of facilities and living comfort. These so-called lifestyle themed development can come with a hefty price tag in the form of maintenance fee, quit rent and assessment fee. For the investor, the objective is to get good rental yield and capital growth in the years to come. A good rental yield for high-rise serviced apartment should preferably be 5-6%. This will make it worth your time and effort in finding and selecting a good property to invest which can be quite a hassle. Otherwise, you are better off holding cash in the form of fixed deposit or placing your money in bonds or unit trusts which are more liquid when you need the money.

An investor needs to pay for the upkeep of the property. As such, any expense such as maintenance fee and cost of repairs will cut into the rental incomes derived from tenanting the unit. For high-rise residential units such as serviced apartments which sit on commercial land, the quit rent, assessment fee and utility bills are charged at higher rates than residential property. The rental incomes are also taxable. Interests from mortgage loan taken to finance the property is the other major expense that will reduce the rental incomes unless an investor choose to pay the property by cash. However, the investor who prefer to borrow for want of gearing can use the rental incomes to defray the monthly loan installments payable to the banks. The interests charged by the banks can also be offset against the rental incomes before tax is charged under the law. For cash purchase, the investor has stronger negotiating power and is in a stronger financial position to hold on to the property compared to a purchase via bank loan which can be risky when interest is going up.

Finding tenants to rent out the units in a high-rise serviced apartments can be fast or slow depending on the density of such development within the locality. A heavy density development creates more competition for tenants compared with the one with lower density. This holds true for rental yield as well.

Property investment is also a good hedge against inflation as it offers capital gain over a period of time. Depending on location and type of property (leasehold or freehold), the capital appreciation can be 5-10% per year. Over a period of 5 – 10 years, a property can appreciate at such rates if the property cycle is expansionary. A property can also remain stable or unchanged in terms of capital growth compared with other properties in the same locality. This is due to saturation or property glut in the market. If an investor is not careful, a property investment can result in negative capital growth owing to contraction and troughs in the economic cycles. Timing is therefore important in property investment. In addition, if you buy a property in a location with plans for development of MRT/LRT stations or transportation links to other major roads and highways, you can expect capital appreciation in the future.

When deciding what type of property to invest, high-rise residential units earn better rental yields compared with landed property which offers a lower rental yield of 1.5-2%. This can be attributed to the lifestyle convenience provided by high-rise serviced apartments which provide facilities such as swimming pools, gymnasium, sports and recreational activities, 24-hours security, etc. High-rise serviced apartments with facilities tend to attract younger families who look for such lifestyle conveniences. On the other hand, landed property has higher capital growth simply because it sits on its own titled land which is getting scarce with the growing population. It can offer capital growth of 5-10% per year especially freehold and those in prime location. High-rise residential units with strata titles usually do not offer the same capital growth. Do bear in mind that any capital gain obtained from disposal of the property may attract capital gain tax.

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What Is The Focus of Worksite

Health is certainly the focus of worksite wellness programs today. And you do want your program to have clarity of focus, right?

A look at the definitions of health doesn’t really help us to establish what health really is. Beyond the definitions, there are two ways to view health:

• The reductionist/mechanistic view

• The health creation or production view

The difference in these views can be seen in both the different definitions of health and how health as a concept is implemented or executed. These two different views see health as being either a personal choice, or as a social responsibility.

Health, when viewed through the reductionist/mechanistic lens, is considered to be either personal or individually determined. This view is about a link between health and the body. The reductionist/mechanistic view is a medical view of health. Health is seen as being a medical problem with medical solutions delivered by medical care.

In this view, health is medicalized. Medicalization is a process whereby non-medical problems and issues become defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illnesses and disorders.

The conceptualization of health in this view is having a healthy body. Health as a goal is achieved by deliberate and intentional action. Health maintenance involves will-power, self-control, self-discipline and self-denial. Health is achieved through body maintenance in accordance with physical standards.

Worksite wellness programs today, with their focus on employee health status management, typically view health through the reductionist/mechanistic lens based on the medical model which focuses on organ related pathology within the individual. Health is viewed in medical and technical terms. This view fits right in with the individualistic and hard work core values of the American culture.

The creating or producing view of health looks at health as being more than just about illness. This view considers the role of social, environmental, economics and behavior as determinants and moderators of health. In this view, health is more than about the individual and is seen in human social and cultural terms.

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County Health Department

As clinical providers seek ways to improve the health of their patients at the population level, one great resource that they should tap is their county health department. There are many resources and skills that health departments will share with physicians and other providers that will improve their ability to improve the health of their patients.

In my work I have had numerous occasions to collaborate with the chief epidemiologist of the Kent County Health Department of Michigan-Mr. Brian Hartl. Through these contacts and through an introductory epidemiology course I have found that health departments are experts at providing population level health services. This is in contrast to most clinical providers who excel at working with their patients on a face-to-face level. Both staff of physician offices and staff of health departments are concerned with the health of individuals and groups of people.

Clinicians most often work with individuals during face-to-face encounters. They treat the disease or injury of an individual one at a time. For instance, if a physician is treating a patient with hypertension, she will plan a course of treatment with the individual in mind. If the physician considers the population level in her work, then she is looking at how the treatments and instructions that she provides affect a group of her patients. For instance, she may consider how effective she is in treating her patients with hypertension collectively.

The patients of a county health department are the population of the county. Only in a few instances do health departments treat individuals one at a time. Much of their work would not be considered clinical interventions. However, their work does affect the population as a whole. For instance, health departments are responsible for seeing that food at restaurants is handled and cooked correctly. Health departments track reports of communicable disease to identify potential clusters or outbreaks, such as measles, in order to mobilize the community and physician groups to respond and prevent further transmission.

Can these two health groups benefit each other in improving the health of their patients and, if so, how? I recently interviewed Brian Hartl about this and he shared some thoughts that I believe can help clinical providers do a better job. As an expert in population level health, Mr. Hartl sees much of his work as preventive in nature. In the emerging world of population level medicine it is important for physicians and other clinical staff to focus on prevention too-prevention of chronic diseases worsening for patients, such as prevention of patients diagnosed with prediabetes advancing to diabetes, and prevention of teen patients from misusing alcohol and other drugs, including tobacco. The Kent County Health Department has many resources that can help physicians achieve their goal and would be very willing to collaborate with clinical groups. In fact, KCHD currently has a grant whose funds can be used to improve patient opportunities for chronic disease prevention, risk reduction or management through clinical and community linkages.

Mr. Hartl believes there is potential to work together with physicians to establish a system for prescribing healthy living activities and lifestyles as non-clinical interventions for the prevention/management of chronic disease. For instance, the Kent County Health Department is actively engaged in helping communities develop walking paths in underserved areas in the City of Grand Rapids. He thinks that patients with chronic diseases can greatly benefit if they became more active by walking. He is willing to share maps and information about the location of such paths so that a physician can prescribe a walking agenda for a patient and then point them to nearby paths that they can easily access.

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Suggestions for Health Sector Reform in Trinidad and Tobago

Health reform refers to the changes in health administration, health planning and, health research that places significant emphasis on local health challenges aimed at improving health administration, health planning and healthcare. They will combine to produce an efficient model of healthcare delivery capable of increasing patient physical, medical and psychological safety. Health reform should be driven by empirical data, best practice and evidence based practice. A variety of health statistics; such as mortality, manpower needs, technology functioning and patient satisfaction; should be analyzed and employed in strengthening health systems.

In Trinidad and Tobago the current system of healthcare is highly centralized. The Ministry of Health maintains operational oversight of five regional health authorities. These are the North West Regional, North Central Regional, Eastern Regional, South West Regional and Tobago Regional. South West, North West and North Central are the largest regions; each catering for the healthcare needs of more than three hundred thousand people.

A significant reform should be the specialization of the Ministry of Health in fewer functions aimed to improve healthcare efficiency. For example, it can concentrate on data compilation and analysis. It should be staffed with expert health researchers tasked with analyzing changes in epidemiology, and trends in morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health should have the power to instruct regional authorities to make systemic and resource changes based on the statistics collected and analyzed. Regional bodies should be mandated to provide health based statistics to the Ministry of Health quarterly. The Ministry of Health must maintain general oversight of regional authorities. It should produce annual reports based on self- monitoring and evaluation of the systems, performances and challenges in each region. Financial statements and audits should be submitted annually to the Ministry of Health and factors accounting for variance should be justified. Recommendations should be made for improvements and incidences of white-collar crime prosecuted.

One major reform that should be implemented is granting absolute autonomy to regional health authorities for the delivery of healthcare. They should be able to generate their own funds by charging fees for their services. This would eliminate dependency on the state or Ministry of Finance for funding. Each regional health authority should be able to invest in the stock market or undertake other income generating measures it deems feasible. Its funds should be spent in accordance with the health needs of the population it serves. Regional authorities should be responsible for primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. In addition, they should be given oversight of private hospitals and health facilities in their geographic regions. Private facilities should be subject to price controls to avoid exorbitant charges and should be required to pay at least ten percent of their annual profit to the regional authority.

 

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Health Savings Accounts – An American Innovation in Health Insurance

INTRODUCTON – The term “health insurance” is commonly used in the United States to describe any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a non-insurance social welfare program funded by the government. Synonyms for this usage include “health coverage,” “health care coverage” and “health benefits” and “medical insurance.” In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against injury or illness.

In America, the health insurance industry has changed rapidly during the last few decades. In the 1970’s most people who had health insurance had indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance is often called fee-forservice. It is the traditional health insurance in which the medical provider (usually a doctor or hospital) is paid a fee for each service provided to the patient covered under the policy. An important category associated with the indemnity plans is that of consumer driven health care (CDHC). Consumer-directed health plans allow individuals and families to have greater control over their health care, including when and how they access care, what types of care they receive and how much they spend on health care services.

These plans are however associated with higher deductibles that the insured have to pay from their pocket before they can claim insurance money. Consumer driven health care plans include Health Reimbursement Plans (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), high deductible health plans (HDHps), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Of these, the Health Savings Accounts are the most recent and they have witnessed rapid growth during the last decade.

WHAT IS A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States. The funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. These may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability.

Another feature is that the funds contributed to Health Savings Account roll over and accumulate year over year if not spent. These can be withdrawn by the employees at the time of retirement without any tax liabilities. Withdrawals for qualified expenses and interest earned are also not subject to federal income taxes. According to the U.S. Treasury Office, ‘A Health Savings Account is an alternative to traditional health insurance; it is a savings product that offers a different way for consumers to pay for their health care.

 

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Core Areas of Knowledge and Competence

OHA’s can contribute by helping managers to manage sickness absence more effectively. The nurse may be involved in helping to train line managers and supervisors in how to best use the OH service, in how to refer staff, what type of information will be required, what to expect from occupational health. By developing transparent referral procedures, ensuring that medical confidentiality is maintained and that the workers’ rights are respected the OHA can do much to ensure that employees referred for assessment due to sickness absence are comfortable with the process.

OH nurses, with their close relationship with workers, knowledge of the working environment and trends in ill-health in the company are often in a good position to advise management on preventing sickness absence. In my experience referral to General Practitioners have a limited use for work related issues, and gain best results by as well as keeping the GP aware, referring to a specialist occupational physician.

Planned rehabilitation strategies, can help to ensure safe return to work for employees who have been absent from work due to ill-health or injury. The nurse is often the key person in the rehabilitation programme who will, with the manager and individual employee, complete a risk assessment, devise the rehabilitation programme, monitor progress and communicate with the individual, the OH physician and the line manager. Nurses have also become involved in introducing proactive rehabilitation strategies that aim to detect early changes in health before such conditions result in absence from work. Improving and sustaining working ability benefits many groups, the individual, the organization and society, as costly absence and other health care costs are avoided.

In many cases the OH nurse has to work within the organization as the clients advocate in order ensuring that managers appreciate fully the value of improving the health of the workforce. OH nurses have the skills necessary to undertake this work and may develop areas of special interest.

The occupational health nurse may develop pro-active strategies to help the workforce maintain or restore their work ability. New workers, older workers, women returning to work following pregnancy or workers who have been unemployed for a prolonged period of time may all benefit from health advice or a planned programme of work hardening exercises to help maintain or restore their work ability even before any health problems arise. Increasingly the problems faced by industry are of a psychosocial nature and these can be even more complex and costly to deal with. OH nurses, working at the company level, are in a good position to give advice to management on strategies that can be adopted to improve the psycho-social health and wellbeing of workers.

Health and safety

The OHA can have a role to play in developing health and safety strategies. Where large, or high risk, organizations have their own in-house health and safety specialists the OHA can work closely with these specialists to ensure that the nurses expertise in health, risk assessment, health surveillance and environmental health management is fully utilized into the health and safety strategy. Occupational health nurses are trained in health and safety legislation, risk management and the control of workplace health hazards and can therefore make a useful contribution to the overall management of health and safety at work, with particular emphasis on ‘health’ risk assessment