What is Important in a Trading Platform

So, you have finally decided to bite the bullet and try to do something with your money other than earning nearly zero in a bank account. If you live in Europe, you can have the privilege of lending your money to the German Government and receive less than you gave them back in 10-years due to negative interest rates. You know that a trading platform is important to your success, and that if you are patient you can find the one that fits like a glove.

Many trading platforms are similar, but it is differences that will help you increase your likelihood of achieving success. Nearly all platforms provide you with the ability to trade a financial instrument. Buying and selling are relatively standard. It’s the nuances that you should look at before you hand over your capital.

First of all, you should look to see if the platform you are interested in has been reviewed by other traders. Be careful of many of these online reviews, as a broker will write many of these on their own. Look to see if there are any negative, such as customer service or not returning money when you ask to redeem your cash. If you cannot easily get in touch with a broker, you will become frustrated very quickly and this will take away from your focus on trading.

The products that a broker offers is very important. Many brokers will focus on either forex or stocks, or just indices. If you know you will only focus on a specific type of instrument, then a broker that has a trading platform that specializes is okay. On the other hand, if you are looking for a wide variety of Mobile Trading Platforminstruments which will provide you with opportunity, then find a platform that offers a plethora of instruments. Here, you will also need to be careful of the brokers ability to offer tight bid/offer spreads. If the broker only really focusses on forex but also offers stock indices, the spread they provide on indices could be wide which will erode your ability to turn a profit. Remember, the bid is the price where the broker is willing to buy a security while the offer is the price where the broker is willing to sell a security.

A trader can learn something new every day. Finding a trading platform that offers an education section is very helpful (Iforex trading platform for example) . The key is to read a lot of opinions in an effort to formulate your own view. Sure, you might find someone who you really like, but it’s very important to hear what a lot of people are thinking.

Platforms that offer robust technical analysis tools are also very helpful. The easy of which you can draw trend lines or insert studies will entice you to use their tools more and more. Some platforms even offer back-testing tools which allow you to test your strategy on historical data to see if it worked at some period in the past.

The process of finding the trading platform that fits your needs takes time and effort. Many people rush the process and eventually find out that the platform you have chosen is not for you. If you take the time to find the right trading platform, you will be able to concentrate on your strategy and produce robust returns.

Motif Investing $100 Referral Bonus

A motif is a carefully researched and balanced collection of stocks/ETFs that reflect a specific idea or trend. You can begin by selecting a motif that intrigues you from their catalog. If it is right for you, you can purchase it as is, or customize it to meet your particular investment objectives. It costs $9.95 to buy or sell a motif. Motif Investing Referral Link

You can also build your own motif from scratch, with up to 30 stocks or ETFs of your choice. Just click “Build a Motif” in the top navigation to get started. It cost $9.95 a trade to buy or sell a motif. An interesting option they offer is their Creator Royalty Program. Through this program you can build your own motif and when someone else buys the motif you created you get a royalty of $1 paid at the end of each quarter. You aren’t likely to get rich from building your own motif, but it is a nice way to make a little extra money. If you are already planning on building a motif for yourself, you might as well sign up for the Creator Royalty Program and make a little extra money.

To make this even a better deal Motif Investing is currently offering a couple of bonuses for signing up. I think the referral bonus is the best deal. If you sign up through my referral link you can get a $100 bonus for funding it with $1000 or more and executing at least one trade. This is a pretty good deal and I signed up through a referral link myself in order to get the $100 bonus. Here is my referral link if you would like to sign up. I will make money for you signing up as well so I appreciate any signups through my link. If you would rather get a link by email just leave a comment and I will send you a referral link.

They also have a different bonus that is available through the affiliate link below. This deal isn’t quite as good since it requires more trades. If for some reason you don’t want to go through my referral link this is another option.

How New Investors Can Build a Profitable Portfolio

Investing is not a simple passive income generator. It requires research, work and commitment. If you are just starting out as an investor, it will take some time before your investments yield profitable returns. Your investments need a strategy to be successful. Just putting money into the stock market is not a smart strategy. You will need to carefully and considerately build an investment portfolio over time that can last through economic downturns and is resilient to the unpredictable money market. Read ahead to find out how you can build a successful investment portfolio.

Aggressive, or Conservative?

First, you must decide what kind of investor you want to be. Do you want to aggressively pursue traded stocks for higher returns at a higher risk, or do you want to let your investments slowly grow over time at less risk? The investments on your portfolio should reflect whether you want to be aggressive or conservative. If you want to be a high roller, you can invest in the stock market, consider a REIT to profit from real estate or invest directly in a business. On the other hand, if you want to incur as little risk as possible, your portfolio should include safe options like fixed deposits and government bonds.

Buy Established Stocks

When you are starting out, you will not be in a good position to assess risk and determine which stocks are the best. Most likely you will have no idea which stocks to buy. Therefore, in the beginning it’s best to buy established stocks from trusted companies like Google, Facebook or Apple that do not show even the slightest sign of failing anytime soon. Buying established stocks will initiate you into the business of investing, and will be a great starting point to begin learning the ropes.


No investment portfolio is a good portfolio unless it’s diverse. You should never pour all your money into one venture. That is a surefire way to lose your capital in case something happens. You can protect yourself against unexpected turns in the economy by diversifying your portfolio as much as possible. Your investments should be well balanced between low risk and high risk ventures. Diversification does not mean buying stocks from different companies in the same industry. For example, if you have Google stocks and Facebook stocks, your portfolio is not diverse. Both are tech companies, which will be similarly impacted by downturns in the tech industry. If you want your portfolio to be truly diverse, you could buy tech stocks, then agricultural stocks, stocks from a foreign company that won’t be affected by fluctuations to the dollar and invest in non-stock ventures like precious metal.

Consider Joining a Mutual Fund or an ETF

At first, diversifying an investment portfolio on your own can seem a daunting task. It would be better to join a mutual fund, where you can add your funds to a pool of investments managed by a professional financier. Your money will be invested in a diverse array of ventures. You will have to pay a commission, but it will save you a lot of trouble. Alternatively, you can consider an exchange traded fund. An ETF is like a mutual fund that is traded like a stock. The biggest difference between the two is that ETFs are not managed by anyone.

The key to making your portfolio profitable is planning ahead. Diversify, anticipate economic upheavals and invest smartly. Sooner rather than later, you will also have a successful investment portfolio generating stable returns.

Genuine Fear of Funds for Retirement

An increasing number of people are beginning to actually fear retirement. That is largely because they are recognizing that their retirement funds are likely to be insufficient for them to lead a comfortable life, let alone enjoy some holidays. A recent survey by Allianz suggests that the figure has exceeded 60% with signs that it will continue to rise. Obviously the recession was a major problem to some people, especially those hoping that their real estate investment was going to bear fruit in the short to medium term.

With interest rates so low some investment has been struggling to match inflation. Certainly certificates of deposit and savings account cannot guarantee any significant growth and many were fearful to invest elsewhere for fear of losing everything. There are obvious requirements that people want in investing: minimal risk, maximum growth.


Those who want retirement income should go for investments that provide regular dividends as a priority. Over the last 40 years they have out-performed non-dividend payers at almost 4:1. Few people can become skilled in investment overnight but there is plenty of information online to research so at least potential investors might begin to build up a knowledge base and know the questions they should be asking of a professional financial adviser.

There are general categories of investment worth supporting as well as some to definitely avoid. The older you are the more you should avoid risks even if you are tempted by headlines about possible returns. You could lose everything.

Debt Free

In order to be able to invest you must be in control of your finances and that means being largely debt free. There is nothing wrong with having a mortgage because despite the problems during the recession, real estate will appreciate in value over the medium to long term thereby building up your assets. Whether you want to use the equity to fund later life or not, there is certainly security in having such an asset. In contrast debt on credit cards is sheer waste. Card companies charge a high rate of interest on month end balances so it is definitely a wise strategy to pay off any balances. A more competitive interest rate is always available from a personal loan. If you take a loan out and pay off such balances you will be saving money by lending in installments. Just don’t build up any balances again!

You need to find a balance in your financial management strategy. In terms of your savings and investment you would be well advised to have a 401K retirement scheme in place because your contributions are pre-tax while employers should match those contributions to a certain level. Safe investments can be found in the S&P 500 where growth should be fairly good over the years. There is nothing wrong in getting specific advice of course.

Credit Cards

It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? It does but it is remarkable how few people are in the happy position described above. The level of credit card debt in the USA is truly disturbing. The total US consumer debt divided by the number of cards puts the average debt per card at more than $5,000. Looking more closely at the figures, the average debt being carried forward month after month by those who never clear their balances is over three times that figure.

Social Security

It seems that people within 15 years of the official retirement age have fairly poor retirement provisions in place. Some 30% have nothing at all and will have to rely on the Social Security System to fund them when they have finally retired. The benefits decided will not provide more than a very basic retirement lifestyle. Indeed as people live longer and fewer people are paying into the System, benefits will drop by as much as 25% by the mid-2030s without significant action. That action, which is effectively taxation, is extremely unpopular in Congress so will it happen?

No wonder an increasing number of people are expressing their fears for the future. How that will reflect in terms of their acting to improve their situation remains to be seen. Time is certainly an enemy to those in their later years. Youngsters in contrast have time but should still prioritize starting to save, even in a small way.

How to Reduce Your Student Debt

Reducing your student debt while in school seems like an impossible task. This is not the case if you are smart with your money and pick up a job here or there. Being in debt until you are 40 years old is a possibility especially with high interest rates and a degree is a low paying field. The following are some ways to reduce your student debt and save money while you are in college.

If you are a great writer, then there is a need for you online. Companies pay writers to write blog posts for them on a daily basis. Getting your foot in the door isn’t very difficult as you can apply to write for a content production company. Although this might take up a lot of your time, this is time you are making money and not spending it.

Getting a job in the service industry is worth its weight in gold in college. Not only will you possibly be able to eat free, you can make quite a lot of money in a college town. Bartenders can solid amounts of money while only having to work nights. People in the service industry take care of each other so it is possible that a bartender you serve and give some free drinks will return the favor next time you are at the bar with your friends.

Coupons for clothes or new outfits can be found online in multiple locations. Groupon has daily updating coupons from stores like Lord and Taylor along with many other stores. Looking trendy does not always have to be expensive.

Taking advantage of student discounts might not seem like a cool option but having extra cash is always hip. Many restaurants have great deals for students and some student groups offer free food at their events. Although this isn’t viable to do all the time, it can make going out to eat much cheaper and you won’t have to deal with dining hall food.

As you can see there are things that will help you reduce your student debt in the long run. A few thousand dollars over the course of a few years might not seem like a lot to some, but to those with crippling student debt this is incredible. Saving doesn’t always have to be hard, smart saving can impact your life immensely.

Take Control of your Financial Affairs

It is not always easy. You must have determination and self-discipline. You must also have a plan. In an ideal world everyone should have an emergency fund and retirement provisions in place. The reality is that many people have no such thing and the numbers of people that have financial problems have increased, many as a result of the recent recession. The economy is improving now but there are still people with a great deal to do to repair their finances.

Write Everything Down

Are you one of those that need to get right of your debts and start to build for the future? If so, you should begin but writing down all your debts as well as your current monthly expenditure. It may not make good reading but you must include everything. The other half of the equation is your regular income. Now that you have all the figures in front of you, you have to set yourself a budget and stick to it. It is likely to include economies and you should certainly ask yourself whether there are obvious savings you can make in monthly expenditure.

You need to prioritize your debts and certainly look to pay off any debts that are incurring high rates of interest. If you have balances on your credit cards they will be among the first that should go. If you prefer to pay off the smallest amounts first then that has the effect of reducing the number of your creditors of course. Whichever route you choose you must stick to your plans.

Regular Debt Reduction

In any event you have to try to reduce your debts month by month and aim to gradually improve your credit score. Just because you have debt it does not mean that you will not be eligible to get a loan as long as you can demonstrate your ability to make full repayment within the term of the loan. The lenders who operate exclusively online take the view that applications for loans should be approved if they appear to be affordable to the applicant. You can take your time finding out what is available by reading the websites of those lenders who seem suitable. You do not have to make contact in the initial stages; just read and see what offers are available. In addition you should look whether the lender looks committed to service and confidentiality, two absolute essentials.

Convenient Loans

The whole thing is so convenient. It can be done at your leisure from home. Once you have satisfied yourself that you have the right lender you can provide some basic details and are likely to get an immediate decision and the funds in no time if you satisfy the lender that you can repay the loan.

Most people have loans of some kind. Home owners are likely to have mortgages and many use loans to purchase their automobile. Those with debt problems can improve their financial position by taking out a loan at an affordable interest rate to get rid of debts incurring much higher rates. The overall effect will be positive and the exercise will begin to improve your credit score.

No one will suggest that all this is easy. The hard times may continue for a few months but at least you will be making positive steps, albeit small, to a better financial future. You should not get too stressed by financial problems because there is always a solution if you have regular income and a determination to improve your financial situation.

Can European SMEs Secure Funding without Investment from Banks?

In short, yes. And more easily than ever in history.

The Peer to Peer (P2P) lending and Crowdfunding explosion through European platforms like Kickstarter, Zopa, Funding Circle and Auxmoney is making it quicker and simpler for SME’s to get funding than it ever was via the big banks – directly from thousands of individuals around Europe and the world.

No SME today should ignore thesefast and fluid sources of financing. It’s fast access to money without the banks!

The Peer to Peer Lending Boom

In fact, P2P is growing so fast it’s becoming an asset class in its own right, frequently earning 10% returns for investors according to this Forbes article. And ironically, with all the potential money to be made the big banks are beginning to take serious interest in the lending system which was designed to bypass them.

For example, Spanish banking giant Santander has a deal to buy up 25% of Lending Club’s loans, according to the NYT. And this trend of banks getting involved isfantastic for European SMEs because it will give you easier access to bank funding through the quicker, less stringent route of P2P Lending.

Crowdfunding Fun

Crowdfunding through services like Kickstarter raised a staggering $5.11 billion last year and is estimated to grow by 94% by the end of 2014. The huge potential of crowdfunding for SMEs was made famous by the Facebook acquisition of Oculus VR – a crowded funded virtual reality company – last year for $2 billion.

Both P2P Lending and Crowdfunding have caught up the public imagination, giving a slight ‘stick it to the man’ feel as they allow investors to invest directly in their fellow citizens, cutting out the banks.

So if you’re a European SME, how can you take advantage of these alternative banking sources to raise cash?

Why Most SMEs will Prefer P2P Lending

As powerful as the overall crowdfunding trend is, most SMEs will find it far easier and more reliable to get investment through P2P lending in particular.

Non-loan crowdfunding is basically for SMEs with bright, exciting new ideas to get financing from individuals around Europe and the world to fund their new project. Standard crowdfunding doesn’t give the investor any return, except the satisfaction of helping and some bonuses like getting one of the first products.

But because it’s not a real investment, like P2P lending, it takes projects which really grip the imagination to get funding. Something new, special and exciting, like Oculus VR. Most SMEs may have just as profitable business propositions – perhaps a proven and well-known business model – but without the same glamour. Andthey’ll find it harder and slower to raise cash through something like Kickstarter.

Equity crowdfunding now allows investors a piece of your business for their money. So if you’re happy to give up equity, this could be a great option. But if you’re looking for a loan, there’s a far better route.

What Exactly is Peer to Peer Lending, and How Can You Use It?

P2P lending is also known as social lending.

You’ve probably technically done P2P lending before, if you ever loaned money to a friend without going through a bank. That’s P2P lending! Of course, the difference the internet makes is both the lender and SME borrower can have no relationship at all and still have a very secure and safe transaction.

Typically, if you’re an SME seeking funding, you’ll apply through one of the services listed below, filling out credit forms and your application. Then the service will tell you how large a loan you can apply for and what interest rate you’ll be paying.

On the other side, investors will be allowed to loan to your business, and typically it won’t be one or two investors meeting your loan. But hundreds investing small amounts that add up. One of the most attractive things for P2P investors is how easy it is to diversify and spread risk.

How the Internet Makes Alternative Financing Easy

There are powerful trends of the market making it easier and easier to get P2P loans month by month. Competition is so high between platforms, pushing for greater improvements all the time. These days, anyone can set up a P2P lending platform provided he has a background experience with well thought plan subject to regulatory authorisation utilising with easy-to-use banking-like lending suites like the FMS.next Peer-to-Peer Lending Software and offer greater benefits to lenders and SMEs alike – tapping directly into the huge demands to borrow and invest. The benefit of actually using an established system, rather than a simple website or a counter-p2p platform is the reliability of monitoring risk elements, being white-labelled and able to perform complicated calculations as it can be customised and was built for this exact purpose.

And individual investors are also so excited about the prospect of investing directly into companies, the trend is only going to keep on growing. SMEs should get on board.And here are the five best places to do so in European today;

  1. Funding Circle (UK)

This fast-growing UK platform has loaned over £90 million to SMEs over the last 4 years. Even the UK government, eager to spur on small business owners, is lending through Funding Circle, promising a total of £20 million and doubtless more thereafter.

Investors are flooding to it, and loans can be anything from £5,000 to £1 million.

  1. Zopa (UK)

The top European P2P Lending platforms are mostly UK-based, so far. Like Zopa, a more personal service with individual lenders and borrowers interacting directly. And borrowers are neatly categorized into credit grades for easy sorting.

Loans only go up to £15,000, but the process is fluid and it’s perfect for small business owners with decent credit and in need of a quick cash injection. You can always get more than one Zopa loan if you need more cash.

  1. Auxmoney(Germany)

This booming German P2P platform has seen €43 million raised over 10,000 projects through it so far, and at a quickly accelerating rate, recently seeing €12 million raised in a single month. The German market is getting on board P2P lending with gusto.

Loans range from €1,000 to €20,000. So again, a good SME source for smaller cash injections.

  1. Ratesetter (UK)

Ratesetter introduced the concept of borrowers paying a credit fee to lenders if they miss payments or defaults. Most P2P lending platforms offer the lender no reimbursement if a business defaults, so this adds an element of risk for an SME, but the favourable interest rates often reflect this. Judge this one carefully.

  1. isePankur (all of Europe)

This platform was the first to allow cross-border lending throughout the EU, and is now looking at expanding into Central and Eastern Europe too. Great for SMEs looking for foreign investment, and a much larger pool of money to attract.

Elsewhere in Europe, the top P2P lending platform in France is Pretd’Union. In Italy, it’s Smartika. And in Spain, it’s Comunitae. All growing fast as great sources for SME-financing.

The Future of P2P and Alternative Finance

As governments, pension funds, hedge funds and other institutional investors join the big banks in getting a piece of the P2P Lending pie, it’s clear that we’re only at the very beginning of this trend for SME funding.

In a way it’s a beautiful joining of banks alongside individuals on an equal footing – all lending under the same terms. Peer to Peer Lending and Crowdfunding still only account for a tiny sliver of the European business lending market, but they’re growing fast, and all indicators show it won’t stop any time soon.

Who are the biggest beneficiaries of all this? SMEs.The future is bright forsmall and medium-sized business funding!

Letting Compound Interest Work for You

The rich seem to keep getting richer without having to work harder than anyone else. But just how do they do that? One of the secrets the wealthy use to create more wealth is to invest their money wisely. In fact, they even earn more money from the interest on the money they’ve invested. Surprise! Money can grow on trees after all.

You can do the same with your money by depositing it into accounts that pay compound interest. Here is how compound interest works and how it benefits you and your finances.

Let’s begin by looking at how basic interest works. Basic interest is paid on the amount deposit into your account. Even when interest is applied and the amount in your account grows, the interest is still only applied on the principal – the amount without the interest. You won’t earn a lot this way because you’re only earning interest on the principal amount.

It is much smarter to put your money in an account that pays compound interest. This is where you can really watch your money grow, and make more money from your initial deposit.

Compound interest is basically interest that is collected on the original amount you deposited plus the interest that has already been applied to that amount. So, whenever interest is applied, the amount of interest is added to the principal for the next time interest is applied. Unlike basic interest that is applied only to the principal, compound interest is applied to the entire amount in the account, not just the principal. The act of applying interest is also known as “compounding.”

Your money can earn more in a compound interest account than in other types of accounts because you’re earning interest on a greater amount of money each time the interest is compounded. This is a very smart way to invest your money and watch it grow and even double.

You can find out how long it will take your money to double in a compound interest account by applying a very simple calculation. Take the interest rate you’re earning for your money and divide it into 72. For example, if you’re earning four percent interest, you would divide four into 72 and learn that it will take 18 years to double your money. If your money is in an account that pays six percent compound interest, it would take 12 years to double your money.

These examples illustrate how your money will be compounded on an annual basis. Some financial institutions will compound your interest on a more frequent basis, such as quarterly or monthly. Some even compound it daily.

Putting your money in an account that will earn compound interest is a wealth-generating secret you can’t afford to neglect. There is no easier way to increase your wealth than just letting your money sit there and watching it grow.

Tips For Investing, Saving And Managing Debt

Managing money may seem easy but most people find this task challenging. According to the 2013 Financial Literacy survey commissioned by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), most people are unable to manage their finances due to financial illiteracy. Figures from the aforementioned survey show that 43% of American adults are not saving enough money for retirement or emergencies. In addition, 37% of adults do not clear outstanding credit card debts at the end of the month. The good news is it is easy to get out of the debt trap. Here are some tips on how to save money and ultimately attain financial freedom:

Set Financial Goals and Invest Wisely

If you do not have financial goals, it is easy to spend all your money on unnecessary items. To avoid this outcome, Merrill Lynch’s director of Behavioral Economics, Michael Liersch recommends setting clear financial goals and pursuing them aggressively. Make sure you write your monetary policy goals down and commit yourself to achieving them. For example, if you set aside just $50 every week, you can build a small fortune at the end of a few decades. According to Merrill Lynch’s Wealth Management team, $50 saved every week translates to $2,500 every year. If you invest this amount in a tax-deferred account, you will have $80,000 at the end of 20 years. On the investment front, put your money in assets that you understand. Unless you are financial wizard, avoid fancy investments like derivatives and futures. Instead, go for binary options trading or trade assets like stocks, precious metals, or commodities. You could also invest in real estate.

Avoid Bad Debt

Many people acquire bad debt instead of good debt. When you take out a mortgage, you are acquiring good debt because the value of your residential home or commercial property is likely to appreciate. In addition, you can use a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to borrow money to cover emergencies like paying hospital bills instead of withdrawing retirement funds. On the other hand, acquiring high¬-interest credit card debt is not a good idea because it will drain your finances. The rule of thumb is to carry out thorough research before acquiring debt. Compare rates from various lenders and determine how much you can afford to set aside for settling outstanding debts at the end of the month.


Create a budget of your monthly income and track spending carefully. This might seem like a no-brainer but many people fail to follow this simple rule and then spend a lot of money unwisely. You should budget for all essential items including electricity, food, car fuel, mortgage payments, health insurance payments, and rent. Moreover, make a list of sources of income such as salaries, consultancy fees, or DIY projects that bring in money. If you are spending more than you earn, you need to cut some of your expenses.

All said, it is relatively easy to manage debt and invest wisely. Nevertheless, you will have to set realistic financial goals and invest wisely to achieve them. This is in addition to avoiding bad debt as well as tracking income and spending.

Investing With Lending Club

Since savings accounts and certificates of deposit have average interest rates of less than 1% right now, it is tempting to look at other places to put your cash in order to get a better rate of return. One possible place to invest your money for a better return is Lending Club Investing. The median rate of return at Lending Club for loans between 12 to 18 months old is 7.7%. Of course, there is also much more risk investing in peer to peer loans than there is just stashing your money in an FDIC insured savings account.

I have invested with Lending Club in the past and was very pleased with my results. My returns were about 10%, which is better than average and probably was a result of being lucky. You shouldn’t expect to get similar returns, but getting better returns than a savings account is very likely. If you do invest with Lending Club you should make sure to spread out your loans. You can invest as little as $25 in a loan. That is how I made my investments. I broke up my investments to $25 a loan so that even if a particular loan went bad the most I would lose in that loan is $25. I did have some loans go bad and if you invest in very many loans you will likely have some loans default as well. If you are diversified enough with your loans though, you should still have a good rate of return even if you have some loans default. On the Lending Club site they show that having 100 loans or more greatly reduces risks in your returns.

If you have $5000 or more to invest you can use PRIME to invest for you. Picking loans can take quite a bit of time, but using PRIME makes the process automatic. You just set your investment criteria and it will do the investing for you.

If you would like to learn more about Lending Club Investing you can just click one of the affiliate links in this post or the one below.