Three ways to achieve a financially empowered retirement

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It’s never easy to save and juggle your money on a daily basis, especially when all your wants and likes are out of the budget or your spending habit is a bit hard to control. If setting a goal for your future retirement seems like a tedious task, here are three helpful ways you can do to make it more manageable and achievable:

  1. Create a retirement budget plan

One effective way to reach your retirement goal and to enjoy your golden years is by creating a feasible lifetime budget plan, considering annual inflation. This will help you determine how much you would need to save during the entire career days. Saving enough portion of your income today will make a big difference in the future. You don’t have to trouble yourself about money if you have enough savings that can give you a stable stream of income in the long run.

  1. Consider long-term investments

Make the most of your savings and learn how to invest your money in long-term and safe investment machines. Nowadays, a variety of investment options are available in the global market, where you can choose which ones are most suitable and lucrative for you based on your goal and future needs. Among the most popular investments in the market today are stocks, mutual funds, real estate, and annuities. Seeking advice from a professional wealth advisor, such as LOM Financial, can help streamline the whole process.

  1. Secure a health insurance coverage

Generally, health is one of the biggest components of our budget. And as we get older, the higher the possible amount we could spend on health care needs. Sometimes, our budget isn’t enough to cover all the expenses when a major health problem arises. If you are employed, make sure your employer provides you with quality health care coverage or get a health insurance plan yourself. In some developed countries today, health care services or commonly known as “universal healthcare” are being provided to their citizens at no cost.


How much money do you really need for a comfortable retirement?

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There are several options available to make sure that you’re on the right track of investing for your golden years. While all these preparations are necessary, there is one crucial question that almost everyone fails to answer until it’s already too late: how much does one need to save for a financially secure retirement?

The answer will depend on the following factors that determine the amount that you need for retirement. For instance, where you plan to spend your golden years is a huge determinant of whether or not your savings will last for years.

A million dollars is usually the estimate for a comfortable retirement plan, but recent findings suggest that it’s not the safest number. This is because the buying power of your $1 million will vary depending on which state or country you decide to settle in.

In sunny Hawaii, for instance, you can live comfortably for almost 12 years with your million-dollar retirement fund. If you’re in Mississippi, you will be able to live through your golden years worry free for 26 years.

Other factors that determine how much one needs for retirement are related to their future lifestyle choices as well as spending habits. According to experts, it’s not really about how much you earn; it’s more about how much you spend. Start by evaluating your yearly expenses at present, and multiply that by the ideal number of retirement years and you’ll have an idea of how much you’ll need.

The last factor is about looking at the guaranteed income sources after retirement. While knowing that you can rely on these regular and consistent financial sources can be comforting, make sure that you’re not totally depending on them throughout your retirement years.


US-China Trade War: Countries most vulnerable to the impending fallout

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Just like every war in the history of mankind, there are no winners – only casualties. Both sides suffer from the consequences and the most vulnerable ones are often left to deal with the aftermath. The same is true with the on-going US-China Trade War, that according to experts like LOM Financial, the clash between these two economic powerhouses could cause ripples to its neighbors and other export-oriented countries.

The fallout from the ongoing trade war between the US and China is finally making its presence felt especially on Asian economies. South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan’s respective GPDs rely on exporting goods and services to China. The same goods are used in the Chinese manufacturing industry to produce products, such as automobiles and electronics that are then shipped to the United States.

The rising uncertainty and instability between the trade relationship of US and China can dramatically disrupt the global supply chain production. According to a simulation done by the Bank of England, the developing rift could hit up the global GDP by 2.5% over a period of three years, with the economy of the UK suffering from an overall 2% hit to growth.

Economists recently released a new model that revealed the top countries that will be most affected by the ongoing trade war. The ranking was based on how they are linked on the global value chain as well as how much their economies depend on the entire trading network.

Luxembourg, one of the most export-oriented economies in the world is largely dependent on trade – and that’s why it tops the ranking for the most vulnerable economies to the fallout. Taiwan, Slovak Republic, and Hungary could also suffer greatly from the trade war’s ongoing tariff impositions.


REPOST: Will geopolitical tensions derail markets?

Global equity markets had been bouncing back from early April’s lows as investors shifted their attention to the still relatively strong world growth outlook bolstered by favourable economic tailwinds such as the US corporate tax cut and rising employment.

However, the markets are now slumping again as new geopolitical risks emerge. Disruptive counterforces, including an escalating trade war, political showdowns in Europe and currency devaluations in Latin America are beginning to work against the synchronised global growth scenario which appeared to be in intact earlier this year.

The major averages are up slightly on the year, but that masks considerable variance between regions and sectors. For example, the tech-heavy Nasdaq market is up 9.5 per cent year-to-date, easily outperforming the broader S&P 500 stock index which has advanced by just 1.9 per cent as of this writing.

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Geography affects a country’s economic activities but can it determine growth?

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It’s not a coincidence that most of the highest-earning countries with progressive economies come from regions ideally located on the Temperate Zone. The US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Europe dominate the world when it comes to economic development.

Indeed, the climate of a particular country and where they are located on the globe may have a huge impact on their income levels. This is because other aspects related to a country’s geography such as transport costs, productivity, availability of specific natural resources and raw materials, accessibility to major distribution hubs, the burden of diseases, political stability, also come into play – and the same aspects make underdeveloped countries located in geographically disadvantaged setting, less competitive.

While geographical factors can easily determine economic growth and the types of economic activities that countries take part in, experts argue that these are not constant determinants of economic performance. A country, despite its geographic disadvantages, can still push progress forward by focusing on the resources available to them.

Middle Eastern countries, despite in the middle of a desert and experiencing dry and hot climate follow a similar reality. The abundance in petroleum fields and the richness in natural gases necessary to sustain the international industrial life force make these nations competitive players in the global economic stage.

Developing countries as well as developed countries in Asia, on the other hand, despite being set in regions bombarded by different environmental hazards such as earthquakes and typhoons, have their own resources that have helped them stand out, and one of the most important is this: knowledge in technology. Meanwhile, tiny countries and territories such as Asian Tiger Singapore, leading offshore financial center Bermuda, and Mediterranean island-nation Malta all have very little resources yet were able to succeed and become significant global players.

A skilled and educated population can be a huge asset to their workforce. The creation of globally competitive human resources can topple down even the most stubborn obstacles that connects geography and economic development.


How the world’s biggest Sovereign Wealth Funds are financed

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Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are state-owned and are characterized by a heavy focus on long-term investments on foreign assets like bonds, stocks, precious metals, and even real estate. Most of these funds are created by export-oriented countries rich in natural resources. As of 2017, the world’s total sovereign wealth fund has reached over $7 trillion in assets.

While objectives of creating a sovereign wealth fund may vary among nations, almost all of them focus and have these general goals in common: diversification of their revenue base, protection from market volatility, and accumulation of savings for their country’s future generations.

Currently, the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund is owned by Norway, followed by oil-rich countries in the Middle East like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the primary reason why these nations always make it to the top of the rankings has something to do with their access to the most important capital sources of a sovereign wealth funds: commodities, in the form of oil and gas-related funds.

Primarily financed by exporting commodities, commodity sovereign wealth funds rely on the growth of both gas and oil prices – and these resources fund a majority of funds, accounting for more than 50% in 2015 alone.

Sovereign funds can also be financed by non-commodity assets, and usually created from an excess of the country’s current account surpluses’ currency reserves, privatization proceeds, resource exports as well as fiscal surpluses. These make up the over 40% of the world’s sovereign wealth funds.

On a smaller scale, private investment portfolios function almost on the same way as SWFs—except that they are personal accounts. Wealth management firms and offshore portfolio management companies like LOM Financial work with clients to build customized investment accounts that are powerful enough tap into the world’s biggest and newly emerging markets.


Exclusive Caribbean beach destinations for luxury travelers

Tourism is one of the most important sectors in the Caribbean region – and the island-destinations scattered throughout this part of the world are popular destinations for luxury travelers from various countries. The most admired Caribbean beach destinations among high net-worth individuals offer more than just a laid-back tropical lifestyle. Luxury travels within this region promise privacy, five-star services, and exclusive access to the most lavish travel experience there is.

Here are the top beach destinations in the Caribbean for luxury travelers:

Seven-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands

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When it comes to luxury family vacations, the Seven-Mile Beach in the western side of the Grand Cayman is an easy choice because of its selection of the most sophisticated and exclusive accommodations in the entire Cayman Islands—one of the world’s most important jurisdictions for offshore investments. Popular hotel brands offer the most lavish holidays especially for wealthy guests who want to spend quality time with their family. Aside from hosting one of the largest luxury penthouses in the Caribbean, Cayman hotels offer exclusive facilities such as private elevators, outdoor terraces, a libraries, and movie theaters.

Platinum Coast, Barbados

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This Caribbean destination is known as the “Platinum Coast” because of the long line of luxury hotels located along this western coast. It includes the sophisticated first-class accommodation, Sandy Lane – the most luxurious beachfront property built on the island. In Barbados, you can pretty much enjoy everything that a dream tropical experience is all about: fine dining, water sports, shipwreck diving, golfing, shopping, sightseeing, and many more.

Gregory Town, Eleuthera, Bahamas

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Luxury suites, fine dining, private boat and plane, hilltop infinity pool, indoor and outdoor recreations…you name it. This Bahamian paradise has everything that a luxury holiday has to offer – and it is set in an exceptionally beautiful high-end beachfront location: the Eleuthera. This place is a characteristically long and thin island in the Bahamian territory and is popular for its turquoise waters and pink beaches. It’s also the location for the archipelago’s five-star hotels and exclusive resort-boutiques popular to European and American luxury travelers. In addition to being a prime offshore investments center, the Bahamas is indeed a luxury traveler’s paradise.


The busy parents: Tips on how to achieve work-life balance

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Being a parent is a lifetime commitment, indicating that parenthood is the toughest job ever invented. However, it is also often considered to be the most rewarding and exciting experience for any person, especially among women. Such job has no one-size-fits-all formula as every family has its own unique needs and dynamics.

Having a family life is full of surprises and struggles especially if you are a working parent. It’s never easy to juggle and maximize your time between your kids and the demands of work. If you are like most parents, who have experienced difficulties in dealing with your daily routines and child-rearing responsibilities, here are five simple and helpful tips you might want to consider:

 

  1. Leave work at work

Transitioning your work mode to home-life is a bit challenging and stressful, both physically and mentally. Parents who are working long hours outside are less likely to spend time with their children. Family bonding is extremely important, no matter how busy and dog-tired you are after a long workday. When you get home, it is better to let go of work and spend quality time with your family.

 

  1. Find quality childcare

Most parents today are both working for a higher income to support their family needs. Nowadays, there are many independent couples who have lived on their own with no relatives around. Paying for a quality childcare provider may cost money, however, the peace of mind it provides is priceless. Thus, hiring someone to look after your child can be the best option and solution for you.

 

  1. Create a family calendar

When you have so much work engagements outside home, there may be times you tend to forget your family commitments such as children’s school activity, regular health check-up, a family event, or even celebrating your wedding anniversary. As a busy parent, creating a family calendar is an effective strategy that will help you organize your entire schedule for both family and work.

 

  1. Spend quality time with your partner

Beyond all the duties and responsibilities as a parent, you should also learn to prioritize your relationship with your husband or wife even when you’re both busy. Regardless of your grueling schedules, make sure to establish a daily routine and activities with your partner. Showing love and affection to your partner sometimes isn’t enough to strengthen you relationship–it’s about the constant communication, shared quality time together and appreciation.

 

  1. Improve and enjoy your social life

You have to realize that being engaged full-time in parenting and in your career doesn’t stop you from having a social life. Try to step out of your comfort zone and explore new things every day. It will make a significant difference to your life as a parent and as an individual. Everyone needs a “me time” for us to free ourselves from all the worries and anxieties of life.


The ultimate Caribbean spring break destinations

While your home country offers a long list of Spring Break destinations that can definitely make the best time of your college year unforgettable, the Caribbean promises you a vacation of a lifetime that can easily be summarized in two words: paradise and fun.

If you’re still looking for the ultimate getaway itinerary for your Spring Break vacation, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the best Caribbean destinations that you should consider:

Nassau, the Bahamas

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Aside from being a popular cruise-ship stop and a major offshore investments center, Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas offers long lines of crystal clear beaches and a rich underwater paradise of offshore coral reefs. In fact, it’s a famous diving destination for Western tourists seeking the ocean life adventure. The city’s downtown area is also lined with chic hotels, restaurants, and boutiques. If your idea of fun is partying, it has a vibrant nightlife hosted by several local clubs and casinos.

 

Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands

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The British Overseas Territory is known as a primary cruise-ship destination because of its rich colonial-era ruins and attractions. In addition, the island’s beaches and colorful coral reefs also make the region of one the most preferred spring break destinations for those who want to experience both culture and underwater adventure.  The Grand Cayman is the best location where you can interact with nature, thanks to its calm waters in its beaches and shady trees around its old-growth forest.

 

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

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One of the emerging travel destinations for spring breakers is Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana. While it still can’t compete with other Caribbean locations in terms of popularity, the island’s all-inclusive resorts offer the ultimate and overall fun-travel-party experience. The adventure does not stop there. The neighboring tropical rainforest offers the best outdoor activities from hiking, ATV adventure, and zip-line rides.


REPOST: Steel and aluminum tariffs trigger sharp stock market sell-off in US and Asia

While China only accounts for a small portion of US steel imports, its massive industry expansion has helped produce an excessive supply of steel that has pulled down prices. Read more on The Guardian:

 

World stock markets have tumbled after Donald Trump said the United States would impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminum next week.

The threat of a trade war with China and higher goods prices led to a sharp sell-off in Wall Street on Thursday, causing Asian markets to take fright on Friday.

The Nikkei index in Japan fell 2.4%, Hong Kong and South Korea were down 1.6%, and the ASX200 in Sydney was off 1% in early afternoon trading. Asian steelmakers bore the brunt. South Korea’s Posco fell 3% and Japan’s Nippon Steel 4%.

Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets in Sydney said it was a “sharp reminder of the initial negative reaction to the election of Mr Trump … An explanation may come, but the initial market interpretation of the move is rank populism. The lack of structure makes anticipating further measures and possible responses to retaliatory moves difficult to predict.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had initially fallen more than 570 points, with heavy losses for manufacturers like Caterpillar and Boeing. The index closed down 420 points and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both dropped on the day.

Trump campaigned on the promise of protecting the US steel industry but until now has done little to make good on those promises.

At a meeting with US industry officials at the White House, he vowed to rebuild American steel and aluminum industries, saying they had been treated unfairly by other countries for decades. The move is likely to increase tensions with China, whose top trade official, Lui He, is in Washington for trade talks.

“People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries, by people representing us that didn’t have a clue,” Trump said at a White House press conference attended by executives from the steel and aluminum industries.

“Or if they did, then they should be ashamed of themselves because they’ve destroyed the steel industry, they’ve destroyed the aluminum industry, and other industries, frankly, when you look at all the plants, the car plants, automobile plants that moved down to Mexico for no reason whatsoever, except we didn’t know what we were doing. So we’re bringing it all back.”

His comments followed an early-morning tweet that said the steel and aluminum sectors needed protecting from unfair trade, which drove shares in domestic industries sharply higher.

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