Investing Money in 2014 and 2015 for Retirement – An Old Pro’s Viewpoint

In 2014 and maybe 2015 and beyond, investing money will be tougher and putting together the best investment portfolio might mean investing money for safety vs. higher investment returns. The best investment ideas are slim pickings. There is very little that is normal in today’s world of finance. My reasoning and background follows.In 1971 I had my Masters in Business (finance) and knew nothing about the investment world or investing money. Actually, I found it quite embarrassing, because adults that I would meet in the business world thought that I might have the best investment ideas in my pocket – due to my education. The years that followed were not the best investment environment, and I became a stock broker in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. I learned real quick what my job was really all about: selling investment ideas… SELL the sizzle NOT the steak… I was informed by my sales manager.Forty years later, investing money is a game that I find has changed little. It’s all but impossible to find the best investment, and the world of investing money is primarily a sales game aimed at uninformed investors (more than 90% of the investing public). I once read that NOW is always the hardest time to invest money. I’ve seen difficult times in the markets for over 40 years and I’ve NEVER repeated that phrase until now.At this time, I am afraid that it is really true. Allison and I have three children, who are all basically 30-something and trying to make it in a difficult world. Investing money for retirement is not an option for them. It is an absolute necessity if they don’t want to work for the rest of their life. Many folks my age are covered by pension funds plus other entitlements, but that’s not the norm for 2014 and beyond. Now, let’s get down to business and talk about investing money in 2014 and beyond; and the best investment ideas I can muster as an older (but still on top of my game) retired financial planner.If you have a 401k at work participate in it, and take maximum advantage of your employer’s matching contribution if your company offers this feature (it’s free money). Investing money here is automatic and almost painless. This is one of the best investment ideas available for accumulating a nest egg for retirement. Plus, the tax advantages will put a smile on your face each year at income-tax time.Open a Roth IRA with a major NO-LOAD mutual fund family and start investing money each month through their automatic investment plan. Enter “no-load funds” into a search engine and you’ll see some of the biggest and best fund companies at the top of the page, names like Vanguard, Fidelity and T Rowe Price. Give them a toll-free call if you have questions – like do you qualify, how much can you invest a year, and will they send you free literature. A Roth IRA (or Roth 401k if available) is one of the very best investment ideas for accumulating money for retirement. A Roth account (IRA or 401k) is TAX FREE investing, as long as you follow the rules. Tax free is as good as it gets and difficult to find.Mutual funds are the average investor’s best investment vehicle because they offer both professional management and instant diversification in the form of a managed portfolio of stocks, bonds, and money market securities. When you invest money in a fund, you own a very small part of (own shares in) a very large investment portfolio. There is always a cost for investing money in funds. All funds charge for yearly expenses. This can amount to less than 1% a year in NO-LOAD FUNDS, with no sales charges when you invest money and no extra ongoing management fees. Or, you can pay 5% in sales charges off the top when you invest money, 2% or more for yearly expenses and 1% to 2% in additional management fees if you work through a sales rep (financial planner, adviser, or whatever).One of the best investment ideas for 2014, 2015 and beyond: keep your cost of investing money as low as possible. This could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the long term. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.Do all that you can to learn about investing money; and especially learn about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Once you understand stocks and bonds, getting a handle on mutual funds is a piece of cake. What are the investment options inside your employer’s 401k plan? The vast majority of them are likely mutual funds – mostly stock funds, bond funds, and/or balanced funds (that invest in both stocks and bonds). There will likely also be one or two safe investment options that pay interest: a money market funds and/or a stable account.Investing money successfully in 2014 and beyond could be very difficult due to today’s investment environment. First, record low interest rates mean that safe investments that pay interest are paying close to nothing. Second, bonds and bond funds pay more interest, but when interest rates go back up to normal levels they WILL LOSE money; that’s the way bonds and bond funds work. Third, stocks and stock funds are pricy, having gone up in value and price well over 100% since 2009. In other words, best investment ideas are few and far between.Here’s the best investment strategy in 2014 and beyond for beginners who want to start investing money for retirement and keep it simple. In a 401k and/or Roth IRA account invest (monthly or each payday) equal amounts into a stock fund, bond fund, and money market fund. If your 401k has a stable account option use this instead of the money market fund if it pays more interest.Mutual funds are always one of the best investment ideas for most investors – if you invest money in low-cost no-load funds. (Your 401k plan should have no loads, sales charges). When investing money for retirement in 2014 and 2015 keep three factors in mind. Two of these always apply: keep costs low and invest money across the board in all three fund types listed above. Your third factor is to give money market funds equal weight in 2014 and beyond for added safety. Normally, you would give them less weighting.

S&P 500 Rallies As U.S. Dollar Pulls Back Towards Weekly Lows

Key Insights
The strong pullback in the U.S. dollar provided significant support to stocks.
Treasury yields have pulled back after touching new highs, which served as an additional positive catalyst for S&P 500.
A move above 3730 will push S&P 500 towards the resistance level at 3760.

Pfizer Rallies After Announcing A Huge Price Hike For Its COVID-19 Vaccines
S&P 500 is currently trying to settle above 3730 as traders’ appetite for risk is growing. The U.S. dollar has recently gained strong downside momentum as the BoJ intervened to stop the rally in USD/JPY. Weaker U.S. dollar is bullish for stocks as it increases profits of multinational companies and makes U.S. equities cheaper for foreign investors.

The leading oil services company Schlumberger is up by 9% after beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Schlumberger’s peers Baker Hughes and Halliburton have also enjoyed strong support today.

Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna gained strong upside momentum after Pfizer announced that it will raise the price of its coronavirus vaccine to $110 – $130 per shot.

Biggest losers today include Verizon and Twitter. Verizon is down by 5% despite beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Subscriber numbers missed estimates, and traders pushed the stock to multi-year lows.

Twitter stock moved towards the $50 level as the U.S. may conduct a security review of Musk’s purchase of the company.

From a big picture point of view, today’s rebound is broad, and most market segments are moving higher. Treasury yields have started to move lower after testing new highs, providing additional support to S&P 500. It looks that some traders are ready to bet that Fed will be less hawkish than previously expected.

S&P 500 Tests Resistance At 3730

S&P 500 has recently managed to get above the 20 EMA and is trying to settle above the resistance at 3730. RSI is in the moderate territory, and there is plenty of room to gain additional upside momentum in case the right catalysts emerge.

If S&P 500 manages to settle above 3730, it will head towards the next resistance level at 3760. A successful test of this level will push S&P 500 towards the next resistance at October highs at 3805. The 50 EMA is located in the nearby, so S&P 500 will likely face strong resistance above the 3800 level.

On the support side, the previous resistance at 3700 will likely serve as the first support level for S&P 500. In case S&P 500 declines below this level, it will move towards the next support level at 3675. A move below 3675 will push S&P 500 towards the support at 3640.

Impact Of Nutrition On Nations Produtivity And Healthy Growth

Nigeria has greatly improved socio-economically unlike her past years. The problem of malnutrition still cut across some of her citizens. She has been long hobbled by political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and poor macro-economic management. This has led her to over dependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of budgetary revenue. But certain governmental and economic reformation has brought about a lot of improvement ranging from an estimated increase in her GDP from $430 per capita in 2003 to $1,000 in 2005. Reducing the unemployment rate from 3.2% in 1997 to 2.9% in 2005. The adoption of micro-finance banking, and bank liquidation and consolidation by the CBN, resulted in the rating of Nigerian banks as one of the best in Africa. The peak of the whole thing was the historic debt-relief of $30 billion worth from the $37 billion own by Nigeria to the Paris Club in March 2006.In spite of all these recent development, 70% of Nigerians are still under the alienating hands of malnutrition and 60% in 2000 below poverty line. I have categorized the Nigerian nutritional problem for the sake of clarification into undernutrition, overnutrition and micronutrition. The purpose of this article is to review the government effort and also suggest ways of emanating the country from the alienating hands of poverty that threatens the country’s future.NUTRITIONAL PROBLEMS.
Though the three nutritional problems make up a summary of the country’s problem of malnutrition, it will be good to review the whole problem one after the other. Undernutrition is of the greatest nutritional problem that stricken mostly people in the rural areas and some of those who went to the city in search of greener pasture. Undernutrition is characterized by inadequate intake of macro-nutrients (namely: calories and protein). According to the president Obasanjo, “almost half of children ages 7+-13 in Nigeria are underweight”. A lot of children and adults go to bed starved, some take one meal a day and most of these meals are carbohydrates. This leads to malnutrition and protein deficiency. It is the main cause of kwashiorkor which is more unique to people living in the tropical African region. For adults, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.79g per Kg (0.36g per 1b) of body weight each day. For children and infants this RDA is doubled and tripled, respectively, because of their rapid growth. This is the root cause of stunted growth and deformation in growing children. One-fifth of Nigerian children die before the age of five, primarily from millions of Nigerians are also living below one dollar a day, others live by begging for food on the streets.Overnutrition is mainly the problem of adults and few adolescents especially the urban dwellers. It is a rapidly escalating public nutrition problem, principally reflecting shift in dietary patterns and more sedimentary lifestyles. The situation in Nigeria where economy favor a particular group than others, the poor gets poorer while the rich gets richer had brought about a higher percentage of overnutrition- Nigerian big man disease. This nutritional problem is now in an alarming rise in diet-related chronic disease such as type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and several diet-related cancers. These chronic diseases accounted for human suffering, social distress, loss of productivity, and economic burden to the health and other economic sectors. The increase in population obsessed in the country affects the country’s labour force and the productivity of the country both at present and in the near future.The last but not the list is micronutrient deficiencies. It is the inadequate intake of key vitamins and minerals. It is both experienced by the poor and the rich, rural and urban dwellers. It is hunger hidden under the guise of sufficiency in Nigerian society. Lack of vitamins and minerals results in irreversible impairment to child physical and mental development. That is why this type of malnutrition is centered on pregnant women and children. According to some empirical conclusions, it is observed that even moderate iodine deficiency during foetal development and infancy has been shown to depress intelligence quotient levels by 10-15 points. Folic acid deficiency is linked to serious birth defects. Inadequate iron affects children’s growth and learning ability, and reduces their ability to concentrate, fully participate in school and society interacts and develops; it also contributes to material mortality and lowered workforce productivity. It is on record that 40% of children under 5years of age suffers vitamin A deficiency.The three major nutritional problem in Nigeria place a great challenge on the country’s faltering economy has led to declining imports of costly protein-rich food, oil and animal feed. Many parents now abandon the task of breast-feeding and all this and many others contribute to the risk of malnutrition in Nigeria and more so now she is undergoing a rapid socioeconomic revolution.GOVERNMENT ACTION PRIOR TO DEMOCRACY
Nigeria economy was dominated by Agriculture and trade, which flourished during the colonial rule in 19th century. In 1960s and 1970s the petroleum industry developed and prompted greatly increased export earnings and allowing massive investments in industry, agriculture, infrastructure and social science.The sharp decline in oil prices, economic mismanagement, and continued military rule characterized Nigeria in the 1980s. In 1983, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) began providing assistance to the Nigerian Federal and State Ministries of Health to develop and implement programs in family planning and child survival. In 1992, an HIV/AIDS prevention and control program was added to existing health activities USAID committed $135 million to bilateral assistance programs for the period of 1986 to 1996 as Nigeria undertook an initially successful Structural Adjustment program, but later abandoned it. Plans to commit $150 million in assistance from 1993 to 2003 were interrupted by strains in U.S.-Nigeria relations over human right abuses, the failed transition to democracy, and a lack of cooperation from the Nigerian Government on anti-narcotics trafficking issues. By the mid-1990s, these problems resulted in the curtailment of USAID activities that might benefit the military government. Existing health programs were redesigned to focus on working through grassroots Nigerian non-governmental organizations and community groups.In 1987, The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), under the principal Researcher Dr Kenton Dashiell, launched an ambiguous effort in Nigeria to combat widespread malnutrition. They encouraged the use of nutrients, economical soybeans in everyday food. They further said that soybeans are about 40% protein-rich than any of the common vegetable or animal food sources found in Africa. With the addition of maize, rice and other cereals to the soybeans, the resulting protein meets the standard of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Soybeans also contain about 20% oil, which is 85% unsaturated and cholesterol free. Though a lot of nice programs for malnutrition alleviation started at this period, there were a lot of other socio-economic thorns that hindered the popularity and proper functioning of these programs till the democratic period. The economic instability within this period favored malnutrition to a great extent due to autocratic government. There was little or no in-depth effort to fight malnutrition. The period can be identified as the egoistic period- when the governmental private interest dominated at the expense of the suffering masses.THE LATER INTERVENTION
The most interesting part of this period is that it is characterized by promise and hope. Promise which is the chief working tool of this period and hope ever present to sustain the promise. The president Obasanjo in 2002 meeting with the president International Union of Nutritional Sciences promised to support a better coordination of nutritional activities and programs in Nigeria, he further said, “the high prevalence of malnutrition is totally unacceptable to this government and he assured the IUNS president that he would do everything possible to ensure that resources are available to improve household food security, greater access to healthcare services and better caring capacity by mothers including support for breast feeding promotion.On the 27th September 2005, Nigerian president chief Olusegun Obasanjo lunched the Nasarawa state school feeding program at the Laminga primary school. The program is fully funded and administered by the state of Nasarawa, which makes it a unique model in Africa today. The epoch making event is in fulfillment of one of the promises of combating malnutrition especially among children whom he observed that many at the age of 7-13years are underweight. He further promise to reach out about 27million children during the coming 10years.Other international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO), The United Nation International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which began in 1992 but took more root during democratic regime. All of them and many more are fighting acidly to eradicate poverty and malnutrition.There are a lot of challenges that exist in some nutrition improvement programs. There is the need for the government to place some nutritional research into the national policy. They should be able to reach out to the nook and cranny of the country. They should be able to coordinating all the sectors of anti-malnutrition agencies. A more effective intervention is very much needed.Nutrition is now an interventional issues a stake and as well the unavoidable duty of each nation. Though it is difficult to bring solution to every man’s door but the government should try as much as possible to reach people through, mobile agencies, and mass media. There should be a lot of effective research conducted in the nation to be updated with information such as; average government investment in nutrition per capital, current statues of nutrition deficiencies, and information on nutrition initiatives, as well as national policy frameworks and interagency coordination mechanisms. There is need to promote nutritional organisation especially, non-governmental organisation. The government should try to improve the socio-economic life of the people. Agriculture should be encouraged and improved in the country. There should be a check on the nutritional value of every product both imported and non-imported product. The Government should promote a global nutrition agenda, which would increase nutrition’s visibility at national levels and beyond.If these above suggested solution would be taken into account, Nigeria would improve to a heavy extent as the giant of Africa and future giant of the world economy, thereby clearing the future storm of economy facing Nigeria because of some of her citizens suffering from nutritional problems.