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The Best Investment Portfolio for 2016 and Beyond

The Best Investment Portfolio for 2016 and Beyond

Simply put, there is a lot to know and a lot to learn about investing. There are dozens of different kinds of investment vehicles and countless options among those for investing your money. Before you start putting your hard-earned money away, it’s best that you understand the basics of where it’s going and your best options for investing in 2016.

The Principles of Investing

Before looking at specific types of investments, let’s review some of the basics of investing. The very, very simple summary is that you give away some money, wait, and receive more money back after a certain time.

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It’s also helpful to understand what investing is not. For one, it’s not a way to make money overnight (in most cases). It’s not something to put all of your eggs in–all investments involve a degree of risk. And it’s not something worth putting money into if you have high-interest debt obligations to pay off because the chances are you’ll just end up accumulating more debt than returns on your investments.

That said, if you’re able, the sooner you invest, the better. It’s a snowball effect: The sooner that you put your money into something that will make you money, the sooner you make that money, which you can put back into investing. Rinse and repeat. The best time to invest was yesterday, and the second-best time to invest is now.

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Finally, you’ll want a diverse portfolio. That is, it’s best if your investments are split among different vehicles. If you’re all set to invest, make sure you have the following investments in your portfolio this year.

Mutual Funds

If you’re just starting out, mutual funds are the best way to grow your money. While it will take some time to see a return on this investment, they’re low-risk and almost a guaranteed profit. A mutual fund works by pooling together money from multiple investors who share a common goal and investing the money accordingly. Here are the best mutual funds you can invest in in 2016:

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  • Vanguard 500 Index Fund: Based on the S&P 500, this fund has had its slight ups and downs. But taking a longer-term look at the fund shows its almost doubled in value over the past five years, and it looks to continue to grow. It’s basically a guaranteed profit.
  • Vanguard Health Care: This fund is split among different health sectors such as biotech and healthcare technology. While Vanguard labels this fund as high risk and high reward, an aging Baby Boomer population is going to put these services in high demand.

Stocks

A stock is a portion of a company that you buy into, and as the company does well, demand for the stock rises, meaning your stock increases in value. The best stock investments you can make are in companies you expect to continue to do well. But, if you want to make a greater profit (with a higher degree of risk), you’d do better to choose companies that you expect to grow in the future. Here are your best stock investments for 2016:

  • Apple (AAPL): Of course, the best time to buy Apple was years ago. But don’t be fooled: this is still a good stock. The past year has seen the stock fall, meaning that it’s cheaper than it has been in two years. With a broadening ecosystem and a new headquarters, there’s no doubt that Apple’s stock will rise again.
  • Tesla (TSLA): The electric car company basically has the rapidly-growing industry cornered and is set to release its first consumer electric car next year. It’s a disruptor on the ground floor, just like Apple (AAPL) was, and it’s just announced its iPhone.

Commodities

Commodities are fairly easier to understand, as their value comes from physical objects. Better yet, they’re always in demand. Unlike a stock, you never have to worry about a commodity going out of business or making bad press. Here are three of the best commodity investments you can make:

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  • Alternative energies: If you’re interested in short-term investments, you might look instead at investing in crude oil. But taking a long-term view of energy shows that green and renewable energies like solar, nuclear, and natural gases are the way of the future. Their demand will increase this decade, and surely in the decades following.
  • Lithium: This precious metal isn’t as popular as gold, silver, or copper, but it’s due for a huge surge in demand, as it’s one of the main materials used in batteries. With a car industry that will see a greater reliance on batteries in the future, lithium will be coming out on top.

Real Estate

In simple terms, your investment comes in the form of buying a property, such as a house, an apartment, or a condo. While you’re responsible for paying the mortgage on this property, as well as for its upkeep and repairs, you can make money by renting out the property, or by “flipping” it by making renovations and selling it for more than you paid.

Your safest investment would be to buy a property that’s in an area of high-demand. With that in mind, consider these options for 2016:

  • College apartments and houses: There’s always an influx of students every year, and with tuition rising, across the board, more students will be looking for cheaper off-campus rentals than living in a dorm.
  • Real estate in trending cities: Homes in cities such as Detroit, which is on the verge of economic recovery, and Austin, which constantly ranks as an increasingly popular city for millennials, will no doubt be in higher demand in the coming future.

These are just a few of your investment options, but you would certainly do worse putting your money elsewhere. Look at these investments as opportunities to learn more about how investments work, and soon enough, you’ll be on to more complex (and hopefully higher earning) investments.

Featured photo credit: http://www.lifehack.org/ via lifehack.org

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Published on November 8, 2018

How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

2. Set your own boundaries

Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

Here are some important traits to consider:

  • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
  • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
  • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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3. Continuously invest in yourself

Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

4. Document the value you bring

Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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Here are some ideas:

  • joesmith.com
  • joeasmith.com
  • joesmithprojects.com

Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

5. Hide your salary requirements

Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

6. Do just enough research

Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

7. Get compensated by your value

Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

The bottom line

You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

Reference

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