If the bond bubble bursts in 2013 or 2014 it will be headline news and it’s best to know where your best investment funds – the best mutual funds to invest money in – are now. The best mutual funds to invest money in will invest your money in what are called “alternative investments”. If you are not familiar with these specialty funds, it’s time to pay attention.There IS a bond bubble because bond prices are absurdly high, which has resulted in record low interest rates. If you are an average investor your best investment vehicle takes the form of mutual funds; but it’s your job (or your financial planner’s job) to find the best mutual funds to invest money in. Most investors (and financial planners) see only 3 basic choices to invest money in: safe investments, bonds, and stocks. Alternative investments like gold, silver, basic metals, real estate, natural resources, and other commodities and TANGIBLES are too often ignored.I suggest that alternative investments are your best investment if the bond bubble bursts in 2013 or 2014 because tangibles like basic materials (like copper and aluminum), oil, and real estate have an INTRINSIC VALUE. They are not just financial assets like stocks and bonds. The best mutual funds will be those that invest money in these areas (for you). Here’s the logic.The bond bubble bursts – which means that BIG investors sell bonds and send bond prices into a tailspin. The really big investors (like insurance companies, pension funds, and mutual fund companies) SELL as much and as fast as they can. FEAR strikes the stock market and heavy selling sends prices (in general) down. Bond funds are pummeled and DIVERSIFIED equity (stock) funds are severely bruised. Where will the big investors invest money now? Since they’ve just cashed in billions and billions in the markets, the money they’ve taken in has to go someplace. And what about average investors who thought they owned the best mutual funds, bond funds?Big money will flow to the money market (the safe haven). It will also search for the best alternative investment. For most people the simplest way to invest money in this alternative arena will be through specialty equity (stock) funds that invest money in stocks of companies involved in specialty areas like precious metals, energy, basic materials, and real estate. These should be the best mutual funds and your best investment to earn higher returns if the bond bubble bursts and the stock market in general tumbles.The best investment strategy for 2013 and 2014 will be to cut your exposure to bond funds and general diversified stock funds. The best mutual funds to invest more money in: money market funds for safety, and specialty funds that invest in the “alternative investment” arena for growth and higher returns. The best investment portfolio should include all 4 asset classes: cash (safe investments), bonds, stocks, and alternative investments.Should the bond bubble burst in 2013 or 2014 high uncertainty and risk will make it difficult to invest money and find the single best investment or best mutual fund. Spread your money around and diversify across the 4 asset classes to achieve true balance. That’s the best investment advice I can think of.
As we travel more and more, we want to prepare better and better itineraries. Here we discuss a few clever ways to plan a great itinerary. Planning an itinerary be fun. Here’s how!Step 1: Draw up the dream holiday. Use pictures to tell the story and include a timeline that shows start and finish dates as well as any special events that you might be targeting on the way.Step 2: Get a map and look at the possibilities, noting travel time between destinations and other important information, like weather, crowds, geography, and local opportunities. In this stage you are looking at the big picture, not the day by day approach. Develop the timeline and list interesting activities that you find. Complete a high level timeline that lists the main towns, approximate length of stay and travel times. You should have a logical travel plan by now between destinations. Remember, travelling in one direction eliminates the need to return to the first city.Step 3: Carry out further detailed research on the destinations dealing thoughtfully with culture, weather, and the health of travellers, local events and festivals adding this information to the timeline. Adjust as necessary. Include strategies to reduce stress like minimum two night stays (do not need to pack and unpack every day), choose optimum times to see attractions – perhaps going early and avoiding the crowds. Leave some slack in your itinerary for those unexpected events. You can find these anywhere you want to look when you are travelling. You might need to rest as well. Assume that you will return later for more exploration, because you cannot see everything at once. You now have a stack of information that needs to be turned into your dream.Step 4: Carry out final research on accommodation and select appropriately. The options are endless but there are always bargains out there. Make sure that the transport connections work and access is possible to your chosen destinationsStep 5: Your itinerary is ready for pricing. You have two options (a) do it yourself online or (b) take it to a travel agent. He/she will be impressed by your planning and given the opportunity may add value to the itinerary without significant cost increase. (Perhaps even a cost reduction) Once you have received the quote from the travel agent – challenge him/her in any of the areas that you want improved or changed. Remember: It is your itinerary and you want it to enjoy it!Planning an itinerary is fun. It can take quite some time for a complicated itinerary. Let you imagination and dreams fly.
To counter the problem of health-care financing in the USA, Consumer-directed health care (referred as CDHC) has emerged in the recent past, designed to decrease the health spending by providing financial incentive for consumers to choose the best health care proposition. With both public and private sector financiers looking to reduce their health-care expenses, CDHC has been opted as a way of bringing greater efficiency and cost control into health care.Consumer Directed Health Care refers to health insurance plans that permit patients to use medical payment products like personal Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements etc as a mode of settling the routine medical claims. So, patients have more control over their health budgets as they pay through consumer-controlled accounts for routine medical claims as opposed to a fixed health insurance benefit. Principally, it aims at giving patients greater control over their health care, both economically and medically. It is also meant to improve healthy competition among health care providers to increase the range of patient control.Consider this example. A health savings account (HSA) linked with a high deductible health plan lets you take care of routine claims through HSA and other high claims through the regular health plan. This is a typical CDHC plan with a lower premium than a traditional health plan premium, allowing you to take charge of your routine health-care expenses in turn making you more aware of the cost and quality of care involved before spending your money.There are tax advantages as well like in the case of HSA. However, each individual needs are different and a health insurance plan must be taken after careful consideration and professional advice on the matter.
Home health care is a delicate matter and must be handled with tact and commitment. There may come a time when a parent or other elderly loved one is no longer able to safely support themselves on their own. Home health care is a viable alternative to sending someone to a nursing home and is a convenient option that enables your loved one to get the care they need without having to be uprooted from their home. With an enormous amount of options, it can be tricky to find the best service but continue reading and you will discover several easy tips for finding a high quality home health care provider.Get References/RecommendationsAny successful home health care provider should have references or recommendations readily available. Talk to your loved one’s doctors, attorney, financial advisor and other members of the community that may know of companies that offer a premium quality service. Your local Area Agency on Aging will have a list of providers you can look at. If this agency or a hospital social work department can give a recommendation that would be great because they rarely do so and tend to save such references for the very best services.Find Out Your LiabilityWhenever you hire a private home health care provider, please understand that there will be certain liabilities involved. Be sure to learn more about insurance, taxes, worker’s compensation, training and background checks before making any decisions. If you use an employment agency to make a hire for example, you could become the official employer of the caregiver which means responsibility for payment, taxes and numerous other obligations.Analyze Their EquipmentOnly consider home health care providers that use cutting edge communications and monitoring technology. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example: How long does it take the service provider to find out if their employee has not turned up? How do they communicate with you? Do they provide online monitoring? Be specific with your questions and don’t be fobbed off by vague answers.Know Your ProviderAs this company will be responsible for taking care of your loved one, you need to learn more about them and how they operate. Find out if they allow you and your loved one to interview candidates for the job and get information on how they train and support their team. Additionally, you need to find out how many different caregivers will be responsible for providing care. It is best if only 1-2 staff members are involved to maintain continuity. Your loved one should not be subjected to the confusion of having several different strange people in his/her home.Remember that home health care is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution and the company you choose should have the ability to provide a service specifically tailored to the needs of your loved one. The home care agency you choose should be licensed and subject to state regulations but there will always be qualifications and skills that sets one provider apart from all the rest. Don’t settle for second-rate home health care, do your research and ensure the person you love receives the best level of attention and support possible.