Best Investment Strategy For 2012 and Beyond

The best investment strategy for 2012 and beyond will differ from the popular investment strategy offered by most investment advisers and financial planners today. The investment landscape has changed. Here’s a strategy for making the best of it.Up until recent times you could stay out of serious trouble by simply allocating about half of your investment assets to stocks and the other half to bonds. That’s the traditional investment strategy often recommended for average investors, and most people deal with it by putting their money in stock funds and bond funds. Stock funds are the growth half of the equation and the risky part of the strategy. Bond funds are considered the relatively safe investment designed to pay higher interest income. Over the years losses in one fund type were usually offset by good returns in the other.Welcome to the year 2012, where bonds and bond funds will likely not be such a safe investment. Stock funds are never safe and 2012 will be no exception to the rule. Asset allocation will be only half of the story going forward. Selecting the right funds within each category will be the other key to success. Let’s look at your best investment strategy in both fund categories, and the reason why certain funds will be your best choices.Two things stand out about the so-called recovery the USA has supposedly experienced over the past few years. First, the economy did not recover as it has in the past after a recession – 9% of the working force is out of work. This makes for a weak economy and puts pressure on the stock market and stock funds. That’s why you’ll need to be careful about which stock funds you include in your investment portfolio.Second, interest rates have been driven down to historically low levels to stimulate the economy in general and the pathetic housing market. Even with a 4% mortgage rate average folks can not qualify for a mortgage or afford to buy a house. Today’s ridiculously low interest rates mean savers can not earn a respectable interest income in truly safe investments. It also means that bond funds could be a trap in 2012 for people who don’t really understand bonds and bond funds. Let’s look at the best bond fund strategy first.Even the best bond funds of the past few years could be big losers in 2012… if they hold long term bonds in their investment portfolios. When interest rates turn around and go back up the bonds they hold will lose significant value because new bonds will become available that pay more attractive (higher) interest income. Your best investment strategy for bond funds is to own funds that hold corporate bonds that mature in about 5 years to 7 years. CORPORATE BOND FUNDS pay more interest income than similar funds that invest primarily in government bonds. Funds that hold bonds maturing in 5 to 7 years (intermediate term bond funds) will be much less affected by rising interest rates than long term funds holding bonds that mature in 20 years or more. That’s a fact, and that’s how bonds work.Your best investment strategy for stock funds will be to go with GROWTH AND INCOME funds that invest in high quality companies with a history of paying 2% or more per year in dividend income. If the stock market gets truly ugly in 2012 and beyond these funds will be your best bet to sidestep huge losses. In a bad stock market funds that pay little or nothing in dividends are usually the big losers.Sometimes it pays to be aggressive and take on more risk. The year 2012 looks like a time to get more conservative and live to be a risk taker another day. Most investors need to hold stock funds and bond funds as well as truly safe investments like bank CDs. Your best investment strategy for 2012: allocate your investment assets with 40% going to INTERMEDIATE TERM CORPORATE BOND FUNDS and the same going to high quality GROWTH AND INCOME STOCK FUNDS paying 2% or more in dividend income. The other 20% of your investment portfolio goes to safe investments like bank CDs.

Online Gambling May Be Cut Off By New Legislation

There is a new law waiting to be signed by President Bush which was presented to Congress that is holding the $12 billion online gambling industry by a thread. It appears that Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, introduced the bill on Saturday by joining it to the Safe Port Act before Congress took its election recess in November.The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that is expected to be signed by President Bush, will practically finish off all online gambling sites by making it illegal for any bank, credit card company or online payment system to process any payments being made to online gambling companies.The new law states that Online Gambling sites are now banned from accepting any type of check, credit card or electronic transfer payments for internet gaming in the US and seriously puts the industry in chaos.Surprised at the passing of this new debilitating law, the leaders in the online gambling industry took drastic measures and started to trade off stock on the London Stock Exchange which erased $8 billion from the industry. PartyGaming, the world’s biggest online gambling site said that they would cease their ties with the 920,000 active US customers they currently have only when Bush actually signs the new act.Although the new law hasn’t yet been signed, the industry is already being drastically affected. PartyGaming’s stocks alone have dropped 60% ending up at a measly .81 cents a share. Other sites like SportingBet and 888 Holding were also affected by the change and have since lost a lot of money on their shares. 888 Holding, for example, had a 48% decrease on their shares dropping them down to $1.42 on the British Market and announced that it was going to no longer continue its online gambling business in the United States.This isn’t the first Act, however, that has given the federal government power to break down the online gambling industry. Under the 1961 Wire Act, the federal government has the right to brake down online betting in sports, poker and other casino games that are considered to be illegal under the law.This is seriously debilitating the industries economy because the US consumer market is responsible for 50-60% of the online gambling revenue. These critical laws against the online gambling site owners are forcing companies to shut down or move out but what’s clear is that they are no longer welcome in the United States.The Madam Chairman of the Interactive Gaming Council, Sue Schneider, has predicted that over 500 companies running around 2,300 online gambling sites around the world will be facing extinction and will most likely be wiped out of the industry all together. The small number of companies that manage to live through this incredible crisis will have to live with a huge cut back on their revenue and figure out new ways of growing again. The idea of opening up in the Asian market has become a favored idea for many.Whatever the case may be, companies have 270 days after the bill is signed to figure out their plan of action before the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales decides how the law will be enforced.

Repercussions of Gambling

Ever played poker? Roulette perhaps? Have you ever wagered money when playing? Then, in fact, you have gambled. Gambling is when you wage money for something even when you do not know what the outcome will be. However, gambling seems to be a part of quite a number of people’s lives. It has become a habit, worse, even a psychological problem.For someone who gambles for the first time, it may not be hard to get out of it. Once you win something by doing it, you may want to try it the second time. When you get the hang of gambling, you will probably want to do it again. The next thing you know, you become unconsciously addicted to it. Even when you wish to stop, there is nothing you can do.Ludomania is known as the impulse or itch to gamble even when you know its’ corresponding implications. This however is just a minor difficulty. Severe cases actually nod into the direction of a mental disorder. It is called pathological gambling. One is considered to be a pathological gambler if one is preoccupied with gambling all the time and that is mainly all he thinks about. He tends to imagine when he will be playing again in the future or thinks about the game he played yesterday.When someone tries to recover from gambling problems and still resorts to gambling, then it is also considered pathological gambling. It is also when someone considers gambling as an escape from reality – a sort of a makeshift world when he can be himself at least for that moment to break away from his realities.One of the most common symptoms is the need to gamble more. When you lose a game, thus losing money, you have the urge to get it back and start gambling again. It is a never ending difficulty to those who are hooked on gambling.Consequently, one now has a hard time controlling his gambling habit. This loss of control will eventually lead to deceit to his family and friends.When gambling becomes so much of a habit, one may consider doing illegal acts. The need to gamble more when you lose money could lead to stealing money to recover your losses. Sometimes, one would resort to fraud. Forgery is also common when someone uses someone else’s signature especially in writing checks for him to continue gambling.Risking his relationship just for gambling is also a symptom. When he continues to gamble even when it compromises his time away from his wife or kids is a serious problem. This could lead to divorce. This also could involve missing work as a result of being in a game instead of at work.Another symptom is when he relies so much on his family or friends for money. When he is losing money because of gambling, he could resort to borrowing money from his family, friends, even a financial institution that could result in bankruptcy.Gambling will become serious if not given proper attention. When this becomes a habit, it becomes a hindrance to your relationships with others, especially with your family. When this becomes severe, you should go to counseling to counteract your gambling problems. Have someone to talk to. Your family can be of help because they are your first line of defense against gambling. But most importantly, discipline should begin with you. There is nobody who can help but you alone. Remember that too much gambling can make your life miserable, so avoid excess gambling.