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09/28/17 Investing , Travel # ,

Why Spend Christmas in Spain? To Play the Lottery

Why Spend Christmas in Spain? To Play the Lottery

I’d love to travel to Spain someday, especially for Christmas. The gothic architecture. Beaches. Tapas. A sanctuary city for abandoned beach inflatables. Museums. The lottery.

Yes, the lottery.

As a longtime opponent of lotteries for many reasons, I’m changing my mind on Spain’s lottery — and not just because it was for $2.4 billion last Christmas.

Why to hate lotteries

Lotteries are used by governments to raise money, though most of the money raised by lotteries doesn’t go back to the states or education — one of the biggest beneficiaries promoted by state lotteries.

They also increase gambling addition, prey on the poor to play more, and have lousy odds of winning. You’ll likely get hit by lightening before winning the lottery.

But the dumb reasoning that “You can’t win if you don’t play,” along with the easy fantasy of what you’d do with the winnings are enough enticement for millions of people.

If you want to become a millionaire, do it the boring way by saving and investing the money you’d spend on the lottery. And if your fantasy is to spend a month in Tahiti drinking mai-tais for days (OK, that’s mine), then save your money and do it. Continue reading

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02/06/17 Debt , Investing # ,

Financing Solar Panels for Your Home

Financing Solar Panels for Your Home

The sun’s energy is free, but harnessing it isn’t.

Figuring out how to finance solar panels can be tricky, with more options for putting solar panels on your roof than there are loan options for buying a home.

Solar panels and the equipment that goes with them to convert the sun’s energy into electricity is expensive. Based on the average house paying $75 per month for electricity, a solar system that generates that much power costs around $25,000 to $35,000, according to the Solar Power Authority.

Utility company incentives, tax breaks and other subsidies can cut the cost in half, but even then it can take years for the solar panels to pay for themselves in energy savings.

A system that costs $18,000 — which includes installation, labor and the solar power system — has a payback period of about 20 years, the Solar Power Authority estimates.

Cost considerations for solar panels

How many solar panels your home will need and if solar power is worth installing depends on a number of factors. These include the size of the roof, amount of sunlight your home gets, energy needs and how much electricity you’ll still need to buy from your utility company.

Since the sun doesn’t shine on your home 24 hours a day, it won’t generate power all the time. Unless you live in a sunny state such as Arizona or don’t use much electricity and your solar panels produce more electricity than you’ll use, you’ll need to buy electricity from the power company when it’s dark or your solar system isn’t providing enough electricity.

The good news is there are many ways to finance solar panels and eventually power your home for free with power from the sun. Continue reading

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08/30/16 Investing

The Start of a Curious Stock Investor

The Start of a Curious Stock Investor

The first thing that fed my curiosity about being a stock investor was a simple assignment from a high school history teacher.

As a newspaper reader since junior high school, I was always interested in how news affected a stock’s price. Sometimes the news didn’t affect it much, but when it did, the impact could be huge.

Partly as an excuse to keep a handful of students out of his hair for awhile, I suspect, one of my high school history teachers sent a few students at a time to the school library to look up stocks in the newspaper and track them. We only did this over a few months, and getting yesterday’s stock prices was the most updated information we had.

In tracking stock prices, I noted if the company was in the news for a good or bad reason. If a company made a major mistake, the price might drop for a few days.

My first pick as a stock investor

Following the news led me to my first purchase as a stock investor after I read about Coleco and the new products it was introducing. I already owned a Coleco Electronic Quarterback game, playing it for hours and even bringing it to school to play with my friends during lunch.

Investing in what you know is a common principal for a stock investor, and as a boy who played that electronic game often, I saw the popularity of it and was intrigued by Coleco’s plans. Continue reading

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04/04/16 Investing #

Forex Trading Tips for Beginners

Forex Trading Tips for Beginners

Earning profits in a Forex market can be a bit tedious and difficult when one does not have levels of expertise and experience behind them.

Although there are no alternatives to the initial toil in the market but there are definitely certain things a beginner could keep in mind in order to beware of initial frauds and mistakes people commonly make so as to avoid the same. You can check into ETX Capital and get to know more about this.

Here are some Forex trading tips for beginners:

Know the basics

It is extremely important for any beginner to be clear on the basics of the Forex market. Even though expertise comes with experience, it is also important to have all basics knowledge to establish a strong base in the market.

Reading books, referring websites, interacting with other traders, etc are a few ways of doing the same.


Forex market works on speculations; therefore it is extremely important to have a set plan for any contingencies that might occur. Once you know what to do, set your goals accordingly and stick to the plans and time frames set to reach the same.

One may also choose to first create a demo account and not a real one if they are not absolutely sure of their position and therefore wish to learn before entering the market.

One may also choose to consult a professional broker.

Proper management

Entering an extremely dynamic and a highly unpredictable money market, it is important to manage your trade properly.

Making notes, keeping track of funds, assessing losses and failures, making a trading strategy, etc can help in managing your business properly and would ensure long term success.

One common rule followed by all traders is not to invest more than 3% of the total capital in a given trade so as to avoid any extreme condition of losses.

Be realistic and practical

It would be wrong to think that one would start earning right from the beginning of the trade. Unless one is extremely lucky, such a situation is not possible. Therefore look at things more practically. Consider your time spend, experience and contribution in trade before determining any attainable goals and profitability in business.

Do not get emotionally carried away

Considering that Forex market involves a lot of complications and twists, it is important for any beginner to not get carried away in their emotions and hence take hasty decisions. These transactions involve taking up calculated risks that need to taken by a calm mind and not in a fit of emotions.

Before you fully enter the market you must have an adequate idea as to what are you heading into. Once a methodology is chosen and followed meticulously and patiently, success is soon to come ones way in the Forex market.

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03/16/16 Investing

Save money as a landlord without damaging your reputation

write-593333_1280Finding the best deal is the smart way to do business. The best doesn’t always mean the cheapest either, it could be the smarted move, a way of saving you money or getting the most for the money you are spending.

So how can you save money as a landlord without damaging your reputation? Check out the points below for some advice.

Good tenants will save you money

A good tenant means someone who pays the rent on time, alerts you of any issues quickly, keeps the property clean and tidy and takes care of the furnishings and appliances. These people are hard to find so a good vetting process is vital and could pay off massively.

The right insurance

When your insurance is up for renewal, don’t just simply stay with the same policy. Shop around and find not only the best price but the most for your money and most importantly, what’s relevant to your property and what you need to cover. Try UKinsuranceNET for a range of quotes to suite you and your let property. Get multiple quotes and find the perfect one for you.

Keep up with maintenance

It’s very easy to fall behind on the maintenance of your properties. There’s always something ‘more important’ to do and therefore small issues can build up and turn into big problems. Don’t just wait for tenants to alert you of any issues either, things like clearing the gutters and checking the plumbing prior to winter are things that need to be kept on top of to avoid the need for major work.

Maintaining your properties will not only nip potential problems in the bud, but is also typically a stipulation of your landlord insurance cover.

Swap carpets for laminate

At first this might seem costly, but in the long term laminate will prove much cheaper than carpet, being easier to clean, longer lasting and much better at looking great for longer. Carpets come will various costs from replacing them entirely or professional cleaning.

Buy quality

For furnished lets, be sensible about the amount of wear and tear your property’s furniture will endure. Keep in mind that cheap, flimsy furniture will have to be replaced if broken, incurring more costs for you. Simply spend a little more to begin with and choose quality, sturdy pieces, to last the test of time.

Stay legal

Keep on top of your legal requirements and obligations, therefore avoiding any costly fines. This could include having your annual GasSafe registered check or fulfilling your requirements for Right To Rent checks.

Claim your allowable expenses

As a landlord you are entitled to deduct allowances to work out your taxable rental profit. There are many things you can claim for including water rates, council tax, cost of services, legal fees and much more. If you are unsure, speak to your accountant or find out more online.

Use these seven tips to help you save money in the long run and be a more profitable, successful landlord. If you have your own money saving tips for landlords let us know and good luck in your business venture.

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.