Can Robo-Advisors Save You in a Volatile Market?

Robo-advisors to Help You in a Volatile Market

Although it has had a major impact, algorithmic trading is only one of the reasons why markets have increased in volatility. However, could you better weather the storm if you had access to the same technology as individual investors? Many say yes and are turning to robo-advisors in a volatile market to manage their assets.

What is a Robo-Advisor?

In simplest terms, the robo-advisors combine computerized trading with advice. They are becoming more popular since they are often free or available for a fraction of what you would pay for a financial advisor. Not only are they allowing greater access to individual traders, but also changing the way people manage and invest their money.

Algorithmic Trading

Computerized trading follows a model drafted by a financial advisor or economist. However, most models consist of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) reflecting the investor’s risk appetite, objectives, and time horizon.

Once you complete the questionnaires to determine these factors, computerized trading relies on algorithms to execute transactions. Thanks to current technology, we can now calculate these variables at a level of sophistication and speed that was previously only available to professional investors. Then, the automation periodically maintains the original strategy of the portfolios by rebalancing, performing dollar-cost averaging, or harvesting capital losses or gains on taxable accounts.

Using automated services enables lower fees than what human financial advisors charge. However, the overall method to determine fees is often similar. They typically charge a (fraction of a) percentage of the total portfolio value annually. Reducing your annual fees is one way robo-advisors work to your advantage in a volatile market. Unfortunately, there will always be some level of risk to contend with.

Robo-Advisors Performance in a Volatile Market

Some of the companies in this space demonstrate strong performances. Or, at least they did until the markets increased in volatility.

You should look at robos as a way to handle market turbulence. Rather, they offer a way to keep fees from interfering with your overall account appreciation. Furthermore, they regularly attend to your accounts that you may forget to do. Using robo-advisors automated services allows greater flexibility and adaptability in a volatile market.

Although this category of financial service continues to attract more assets and hype, it has limitations worth keeping in mind.

Which Company Has the Best Robo-Advisor in a Volatile Market?

Here’s a look at the different companies in this space, along with their fees and strategies.

Acorns

If you struggle to discipline yourself to save or invest, this robo is for you. It effectively helps you invest and save. It simply collects your spare change from electronic transactions. You only need to enable Acorns to round up the charge to the next-highest whole dollar amount on every purchase you make. Then, it automatically invests it for you.

Best of all, you can adjust it to your goals. You set the maximum amount per month. And, you can get money added to your account as a reward for deals with participating merchants. Using robo-advisors to help you save bolsters against losses in a volatile market.

Fees: For assets below $1 million, you pay $1 to $3 per month for one of three tiers of services.

Strategies: Acorns suggests strategies based on your income, time horizon, goals, and risk appetite.

Sign-up to Acorns here.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

This online bank’s offering in the robo-advisory space has gotten less attention. Not only does it have low fees, but is also easy to use.

Fees: You pay 0.3% of the portfolio balance annually and maintain a minimum account of $2,500.

Strategies: Their suggested portfolios reflect nine different levels of risk tolerance, three different types of goals, and five different general time horizons.

AssetBuilder

In one important sense, this company has more transparency with its robo strategies than the others listed here. In fact, it is the only one that publishes historical performance data on three-, five- and 20-year horizons for the portfolios.

Fees: The company’s fees are based on the number of assets you add to an account. However, the minimum amount is $50,000. When you enter that as the starting amount, you pay the maximum fee of 0.45% annually. But, that eventually scales down to 0.2% annually if you reach $20 million or more. Additionally, the company also sells retirement-related services for 0.5% annually. Furthermore, the site charges commissions on individual trades of $11.95 per transaction.

Strategies: The site has eight strategies on a spectrum of risk tolerance. The two most conservative strategies are referred to as capital preservation. Then comes a balanced strategy. After that, there are two strategies for growth. Finally, the company also has two different aggressive growth strategies.

Betterment

Although better known for its robo-advisory offerings, this company can also match you up with a human financial advisor. However, the fees and strategies below only apply to the robo-advisor.

Fees: The company charges 0.25% annually for the digital service and 0.40% for a premium level.

Strategies: Betterment works with five general categories of investing goals: saving for retirement, retirees withdrawing income, emergency funds, general investing, and preparing for a major purchase. Although, you’re allowed to choose more than one. The suggested portfolio is further customized based on your stated time horizon and your risk tolerance.

Sign-up to Betterment here.

Blooom

This option focuses on retirement plans. It assesses strategies that might not get any third-party attention otherwise.

Fees: There’s a flat rate of $10 per month.

Strategies: The company takes over the management and monitoring of your retirement plans provided by employers. So, any 401(k), 401(a), 403(b), or 457 plans are included. It optimizes your fund selection in a way that maximizes performance and minimizes hidden fees.

Ellevest

This company markets a full range of financial services to women. As part of that, it offers a robo-advisor product.

Fees: For accounts under $1 million, the annual fees are 0.25% of the balance of the portfolio. However, for premium accounts, it’s 0.5% of the balance.

Strategies: Ellevest creates portfolios based on the investor’s risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals. The latter can include saving up an emergency fund, down payment on a home, new business, children, retirement, and building wealth. But, you can also choose more than one of the aforementioned goals.

E*Trade Dedicated Portfolios

This leader in the world of online brokerage offers more than just the individual trading that the rest of the business is based on. They also have a line of robo-advisory services as well.

Fees: Depending on the amount of money you invest, the strategy you choose, and the amount of attention from a human financial advisor that you want, annual fees can range from 0.3% to 1.25%.

Strategies: A dedicated financial consultant helps you build a fully customized portfolio. It is then monitored and actively managed for you. There are three general groupings of services. The first tier is known as core portfolios and has a minimum balance requirement of $5,000. The next level up is blend portfolios, which have a minimum balance requirement of $25,000. The top tier is fixed income portfolios with a $250,000 minimum balance requirement.

Fidelity Go

This mutual fund giant has teamed up with Strategic Advisers, National Financial Services, and Geode Capital Management to offer a robo-advisory service.

Fees: They range from 0.35% to 0.4% annually.

Strategies: This service suggests strategies based on your goals, time horizon, and your risk appetite (on a scale of one to 10).

Financial Engines

This company sells robo-advisory services to other companies. Usually, it serves as a front-end provider for employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Fees: They have ranged from 0.2% to 0.6% annually.

Strategies: The company offers a robo-advisor type of interface for retirement plans.

IncomeClub

This robo focuses on a fixed income. It clarifies that its offerings are intended for inclusion in an overall portfolio strategy.

Fees: The company recommends a bond strategy without charging you anything. However, then it directs you to Interactive Brokers to transact. Unfortunately, they do charge fees for their services.

Strategies: Everything suggested by IncomeClub involves fixed income in one form or another. Depending on your time horizon, risk appetite, and objectives, this site suggests different assets. It may recommend money market funds, certificates of deposit, federal government bonds, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, international bonds, or combinations thereof.

FutureAdvisor

Open an account with this particular robo-advisor, and you too can have the same killer investment performance that the Yale University endowment is famous for. In fact, the brains behind said wonder-fund, Dave Powell, created FutureAdvisor’s portfolio models.

Fees: The annual management fee is 0.5% of the value of your portfolio. Over 90% of the funds used by FutureAdvisor trade commission-free. However, there are commissions of $7.95 per trade for the others. Add in the expense ratio of the funds, and you have a total fee of about 0.65% a year.

Strategies: Designate whether your risk appetite is conservative, moderate, or aggressive. Then, convey your time horizon for FutureAdvisor to suggest a strategy.

MarketRiders

This web-based investing platform promises that its rebalancing algorithms can add up to 2% to the value of your portfolios.

Fees: You pay $14.95 a month or $195 annually.

Strategies: The company has three types of strategies. One of them is intended to help you save for emergencies, another for retirement, and the third for more speculative goals.

M1 Finance

Purists say that M1 Finance’s business model only partly resembles a robo-advisor at the portfolio management stage. However, it is still among one of the top robo-advisors to help you manage your assets in a volatile market.

Fees: The company states that it charges no fees to consumers.

Strategies: Instead of suggesting a portfolio, M1 Finance offers a visual interface for people to set up portfolios. Then, it maintains the portfolio allocation using algorithmic trading.

Merrill Edge Guided Investing

This old-school retail brokerage has expanded into robo-advisory services.

Fees: You pay 0.45% annually. Plus, trades can have commissions of one to three cents per $1,000 traded. 

Strategies: The company recommends different strategies based on your investment horizon, goals, and risk tolerance. They base recommendations on answers to a questionnaire.

Morgan Stanley Access Investing

This full-service investment house has thrown its hat into the ring with a robo service.

Fees: You pay just 0.35% of the value of your portfolio annually.

Strategies: Morgan Stanley has portfolios modeled for specific goals like retirement, education, building wealth, starting a business, saving for a wedding, buying a car or house, or other large purchases. You also specify target dates, your risk appetite, and whether there are any specific areas of investing that you’re interested in.

Personal Capital

This company offers free software to help you analyze your finances. It suggests ways to minimize your fees. But, it leads you toward its robo-advisory offerings.

Fees: If your account value is below six digits, you pay an annual fee of about 0.89% of your portfolio value. Commit more than that, and you lower the fee.

Strategies: There are three tiers of services based on the number of assets you choose to commit. If you have $200,000 or less, you’re in the tier that most closely resembles the robo model. At this level, a financial advisor recommends a portfolio of tax-efficient ETFs. From there, you’re entirely automated.

The next level up gets you more customization and advice. Those with more than $1 million to invest get the private wealth management treatment. This includes full access to a financial advisor.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

For a discount brokerage with a history of no-frills, low-commission trading, Schwab’s robo-advisory service is surprisingly sophisticated.

Fees: Interestingly, Schwab doesn’t charge advisory fees for its robo service. The company says there aren’t any hidden fees or commissions. It clearly states that it earns revenue from the underlying assets in the portfolios.

Strategies: Each portfolio contains up to 20 different asset classes. They are determined in proportions that are based on an investor’s risk appetite, current life circumstances, and goals.

SigFig

This company offers robo-advisory services directly to consumers and in partnership with other financial institutions such as Wells Fargo Bank.

Fees: You pay nothing for your first $10,000.  However, the minimum balance is $2,000. After that, they charge 0.25% annually for every dollar above that amount.

Strategies: There are portfolios with conservative, moderate, and aggressive growth strategies. They are tailored for different types of goals and time horizons.

Stash

Stash is ideal for people who are new to investing. This mobile app suggests not just ETFs but also looks at other types of investments based on your preferences.

Fees: For accounts under $5,000, the first month is free. After that, you pay $1 per month. But, this fee increases to $2 per month for a retirement account. Above the minimum amount, the fees switch to 0.25% of your annual portfolio balance.

Strategies: Stash suggests individual investments based on your investment budget, risk tolerances, goal, and time horizon.

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios

This discount brokerage has come out with a robo-advisory that leverages the company’s low-to-no commissions on core ETFs.

Fees: The lowest-tier service, Essential Portfolios, costs 0.3% annually. The next level up, Selective Portfolios, costs 0.75%. The top tier, Personalized Portfolios, has service costs up to 0.9%.

Strategies: Essential Portfolios has five different portfolios. Selective Portfolios consist of a broader range of goal-oriented portfolios. Personalized Portfolios offer more tailored portfolio construction and advice.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

This mutual fund giant issues some of the most cost-efficient ETFs in the industry. Therefore, Vanguard is certainly well-positioned to compete in the robo-advisory market.

Fees: You pay just 0.3% of the portfolio value annually.

Strategies: Vanguard arranges a meeting with a human investment advisor to set up a strategy reflecting your goals and current financial situation. Then, the robo-advisor executes and manages the portfolio. Their services allow you to be as involved as you want, giving you one of the best robo-advisors to navigate in a volatile market.

Wealthfront

This robo aims to reduce taxes, fees, and risk all in one offering.

Fees: You pay 0.25% of your portfolio value per year.

Strategies: The company has three categories of portfolio allocations. One is for retirement and the rest for taxable accounts. Within each of these categories, there are 20 different portfolios. Each of them has different amounts of risk and volatility.

Wealthsimple

The company’s approach aims to minimize volatility and maximize reward through diversification.

Fees: You pay 0.4% annually with a balance of five digits. If you have less than that, you pay 0.5%.

Strategies: The company currently offers you a choice of three strategies: conservative, balanced, and growth.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor

The money-center bank unveiled a robo-advisor in partnership with SigFig.

Fees: If you invest $10,000 to $25,000, you pay an annual fee of 0.5%. That fee drops to 0.4% if you have a minimum of $25,000 in a Wells Fargo deposit account, or $50,000 in combined banking, brokerage, and credit accounts.

Strategies: The service has nine different portfolios based on your goals, time horizon, and risk appetite. The choices include conservative income, moderate-income, aggressive income, conservative growth and income, moderate growth and income, aggressive growth and income, conservative growth, moderate growth, and aggressive growth.

How Can You Choose the Right Robo-Advisor to Withstand a Volatile Market?

As you can see, many robo-advisors can help you manage your assets in a volatile market. However, with so many choices, you could suffer decision fatigue from comparing them.

So, one way to streamline the process is to choose the one with the lowest fees. In that case, the free robo-advisors are the most attractive. But, before you rush into anything, make sure you read and understand their business model. It may not provide the services you need.

Reputable online brokers are technically free of charge as well. And, they bring an added level of trust to personal financial management. They can offer services for free they will earn income from third parties using a business model called payment for order flow.

However, you may feel more comfortable working with robo-advisors offered through an institution that you know. If you already have a relationship with them, using their robo-advisors makes money management simpler in a volatile market.

There are plenty of tantalizing choices in the robo-advisory world. Most of them offer great opportunities to maximize your investment performance by saving money on fees. However, you should choose the one that best aligns with your financial goals.

When to Work with a Human Financial Advisor

If you need more personalized advice, then you won’t get it from any of the robos. But, you could get the best of both worlds by also working with a human financial advisor.

A human financial advisor can give advice based on an investor’s current life situation and preferences. Unfortunately, the robo questionnaires usually don’t ask about investors’ beliefs or ideals. Nor can they sense whether someone is confused about their goals or risk appetites.

Robos can’t handle certain kinds of complex financial planning. So, if you’re setting up estates, looking for insurance recommendations, or need coaching on budgets, it is more beneficial to work with a human financial advisor.

Best of Both Worlds

If you require more in-depth attention, then you should hedge your proverbial bets. You don’t have to choose one over the other. Instead, you can utilize a combination of both. Then, you can tap a human financial advisor for some situations and a robo for others. Although robos use the same technology as algorithmic traders, none can explain current market conditions to you the way a human financial advisor can.

Readers, are there any companies that weren’t included in this article that you think should be added? Have you looked into any robo-advisors? If so, which ones? Or, if you haven’t checked any of this out yet, why not? Have you ever worked with a financial advisor? What kind of investing experience do you have?

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Are Vinyl Records Still Worth Investing In

Are Vinyl Records Still Worth Investing in?

For those looking at alternative investment options, vinyl records have seen a recent resurgence in popularity. In fact, prices reached their 25-year-high back in 2016. There is still a great demand both among baby boomers and millennials who have discovered the superior sound of vinyl records. But, as with all investments, collectibles always come with risks. Yet many are asking, are vinyl records still worth investing in?

Why People Invest in Vinyl Records

Listening to your favorite songs on vinyl is a much different experience than when you hear a digital recording. Vinyl has a much fuller sound and better quality since it captures small subtle sounds which digital recordings remove. It also provides music lovers a tactile, physical connection to the music.

You might think this type of nostalgic memorabilia only retains its value if you can find rare albums in good condition, but you would be wrong. While the rarest vinyls are worth staggering amounts of money, there is still value to investing in vinyl records. Classic artists are still releasing new albums, and current artists continue the tradition of recording through this medium. Special editions, early releases, and album art could become extremely valuable over time. With a little luck, the right vinyl record could bring huge returns.

The popularity and demand for vinyl records show no signs of slowing down either. But, there is only a limited supply of original vinyl records. So, if you held onto any records, inherited them from a relative, or scour sales for new ones, you may have a good foundation to build a valuable collection. If you get lucky and find a rare piece of music history, you could sell your vinyl records for tens of thousands of dollars.

Types of Vinyl Records that Are Worth Investing In

The key to making a good investment is knowing the value of things. With vinyl records, it’s knowing which albums and artists to look for. As you build your collection, these are the types of vinyl records that are still worth investing in.

1. Albums with a History or a Story

As with all collections, the most valuable pieces usually have a history or story behind them. When it comes to vinyl records, several legendary albums have sold for a small fortune. For example, Ringo Starr’s first copy of the Beatles White Album got more than three-quarters of a million dollars at auction. Signed copies will also fetch high prices and net you a huge return on your investment.

While most of us will probably never own any of these iconic titles, some albums that have more copies in circulation may still be good investments. Just to give you an idea, copies of the Sex Pistols A&M pressing “God Save the Queen” have seen a huge value increase. Although it was worth $2,000 – $3,000 back in the early 2000s, its value has soared to somewhere between $11,000 and $14,000 today. With an increase of 300-400% for a single album, you can see why some people think that vinyl records are still worth investing in.

2. First Press Collectibles

Another factor to consider is the date your vinyl records were released and whether they are first pressings. The value of records pressed by the first original masters is much higher than later copies which may have used different materials which creates a much different sound. If you aren’t sure if you have a first pressing, just take a look at the spine of the sleeve and look for these indicators to help you.

3. Records from 1993 – 2003

There was a point when record companies tried to kill the record industry, and they very nearly succeeded. With the arrival of CDs, they suppressed the production of vinyl records. However, die-hard audiophiles and dedicated artists ensured that they remained in production.

Unfortunately, that means there were fewer records printed from about 1993 – 2003.  So, records from this era are worth more since there are limited quantities. And since there are already so few available, prices will continue to rise as the supply of these albums shrinks.

4. New records

Finally, you can always take your chances by investing in new records. However, be warned that trying to predict the next big artist or album is a crapshoot. If you do put your money on the right horse though, it could bring you the biggest returns.

For those who like the gamble, there are a few things to consider that might improve your chances of getting lucky. Collectible and special release albums from established artists will likely have a higher value. Some newer pressings of older titles are also increasing in value when better pressings improve the quality of the sound. And, of course, if you keep them in mint condition, it will exponentially increase potential returns.

Most Valuable Vinyl Records

So what are the most expensive vinyl records out there? Here are the three most expensive albums that went for the highest prices at auction to date.

1. Wu-Tang Clan – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin – $2 million

This album is by far the most expensive vinyl record sold. As the only one ever made, it was already quite valuable. The added controversy surrounding the buyer, Martin Shkreli, is sure to raise it even further. However, the verbiage included in the contract at the time of sale states that the owner can’t try to sell or make money off the album for 100 years.

2. The Beatles White Album – $790,000

It was well-known among fans that the Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr, held the first copy of their popular White Album. So, it’s no wonder that he made music history when he sold it at auction in 2015 when it sold for $790,000.

3. Elvis Presley – My Happiness – $300,000

Elvis Presley’s first test pressing became the third most valuable record when Jack White brought it for $300,000 at auction back in 2015. Since then, he released it through his record label with all its pops and scratches to create a more authentic listening experience.

If you have a passion for music and the patience to dedicate to building a collection, vinyl records could prove a profitable investment for you.

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Too Many Questions About Yield Farming!

What are things behind the enthusiasm for cryptos? It’s something relatively new for many of us. It’s Decentralized Finance or DeFi for short. This new concept looks like the traditional banking system that cryptos have come up with before, but it is different from what we have known about this term in fintech.

In this article, we’ll get yield farming explained, which is a hot topic in DeFi, so that you can understand why many people are talking about it. If all these things sound a little puzzling to you, don’t worry! We are here to resolve your skepticism of how yield farming is explained.

So What Is Yield Farming?

Yield Farming is a form of staking cryptocurrency or lending crypto assets to generate profit (% profit or reward in the form of a new cryptocurrency). This is an innovative but also risky and volatile feature of the decentralized finance (DeFi) system.

The Reasons Why Yield Farming Is So Popular

The apparent benefit of Yield Farming lies in the attractive profits brought to each investor. Up to now, the form of interest farming still generates higher interest rates than players depositing money in traditional banks. However, high interest rates come with certain risks.

In 2020, Yield Farming had explosive growth in popularity, the number of participants. It is estimated that a considerable amount of money has been created through the Ethereum ecosystem. Productive mining platforms that operate on Ethereum and the DeFi engine system dominate the market.

Yield Farming’s productive farming process has also pushed the advent of many different protocols. When owning an infrastructure platform that includes a community of users who share the same passion and actively participate in the system’s activities, it can easily attract more partners to cooperate.

Yield Farming has become as popular as it is today in part because it supports projects in terms of liquidity. Along with that is the benefit for both lenders and borrowers. Yield Farming helps everyone to have access to capital in the world of DeFi finance.

DeFi Platform For Yield Farming

Investors who want to use Yield Farming to increase their profits can go through the following DeFi platforms:

Compound: is a currency market that allows users to earn interest by depositing crypto-assets into several pools supported by the platform.

MakerDAO: is the first decentralized credit exchange that allows users to lock cryptocurrencies as collateral to borrow DAI, a USD-pegged stablecoin. Interest is paid as a “stabilization fee.”

Aave: is a decentralized liquidity exchange where users can participate as depositors or borrowers. Depositors provide crypto assets to the market to earn passive income, while borrowers can borrow either over-collateralized (permanent) or uncollateralized (one-block liquidity).

Uniswap: is a protocol for creating crypto mobility and trading ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum. Uniswap eliminates intermediaries and unnecessary fees, allowing for fast, efficient transactions.

Balancer: is an automatic market maker (AMM) platform developed on the Ethereum blockchain and launched in March 2020. Balancer acts as a self-balancing, price-adjusting portfolio. And crypto coordination. Participants in the Balancer will receive back BAL tokens.

Synthetix: is based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain and provides highly liquid synthetic assets (synths). Synths track and deliver returns on the underlying investment without requiring investors to hold the purchase directly.

Yea rn. Finance: uses its algorithm so that investors can choose from many different DeFi lending platforms like Aave and Compound for the highest yield. Yearn. Finance made waves in 2020 as its YFI governance token grew to over $40,000 in a short time.

Yield Farming Vs. Other Forms Of Investment

When new to the cryptocurrency market, perhaps not many people see Yield Farming with some other form of investment. Examples include liquidity mining, staking, and cryptocurrency mining.

Yield Farming and Liquidity Mining

Many people often get confused between Yield Farming and Liquidity Mining. Although they can be used interchangeably, there is a fundamental difference.

Both Yield Farming and Liquidity Mining have the potential to generate profits from governance tokens. In it, Yield Farming will need DeFi applications, such as leverage. As for Liquidity Mining, it works based on the Proof of work algorithm.

During liquidity processing, the pool of miners will manage to earn a dividend swap equivalent to 0.3%. Along with that are the newly mined tokens after successfully identifying the block of transactions and saving them in the Blockchain ledger.

For Yield Farming, however, the liquidity provider uses DeFi decentralized finance platforms. Here, allow them to transfer money or lend money to earn interest.

In addition, Yield Farming participants can also use leverage when borrowing or lending stablecoins. At the same time, players will apply different money transfer strategies to optimize interest rates.

Yield Farming and Crypto Mining

Yield Farming and Crypto Mining forms of cryptocurrency mining have a relatively significant difference. Specifically, Crypto Mining mainly runs on the Proof of work algorithm. Meanwhile, Yield Farming relies on a DeFi application that operates primarily on the Ethereum network platform.

Compared to cryptocurrency mining, profit farming is an advanced way to earn rewards still. However, players must own cryptocurrency to participate in the lock and deposit to make a profit.

In a nutshell, Yield Farming is like a form of users lending out properties they own to receive interest. As for cryptocurrency mining, users will directly participate in the mining process with their efforts and the hardware system they invest in.

Farming and Staking

The Staking staking process works based on the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. Accordingly, validating participants create blocks through a completely random selection process, earning rewards from active investors in the same platform. Then, the higher the bet, the bigger the prize.

As for Yield Farming, players will generate profits from the tokens they are holding through lending and interest.

On the other hand, Staking requires a more significant amount of cryptocurrency to increase the chances of being selected as a validator in the next block. Depending on the token’s block formation, players may have to wait up to several days to receive their staked rewards.

Yield Farming participants have the right to move assets flexibly whenever it is essential to optimize the possible profit. Compared to staking, profit farming allows you to send your notifications to the liquidity pool integrated on the protocol.

Conclusion

Yield Farming is a form of making money through the player’s house locking its assets. The assets here are usually cryptocurrencies. It works almost similar to the structure of savings in traditional banks, but the deposit process is more straightforward, the interest rate is more attractive.

That’s everything we want to show you about yield farming. Hopefully, after reading this summary, you have a better understanding of Yield Farming.

Oddest Collectibles to Invest in 2021

The Oddest Collectibles to Invest in 2021

When it comes to investment strategies, there is no single prescribed way to maximize your returns. While most investors choose to put their money into stocks, bonds, or real estate, they are not the only options out there. Some people seek out more unconventional assets such as collectibles. Although many of us are still holding on to childhood memorabilia in the hopes that someday it may be worth a fortune, chances are slim that you will see five figure returns. However, some of these may net you better returns than traditional portfolio assets. Here are some of the oddest collectibles to invest in 2021.

The Best Collectibles to Invest in 2021

1. Stamps

As the king of all hobbies, most people know that rare stamps are worth a small fortune. With a quick Google search, you will find dozens of news stories of stamps that sold for millions of dollars. Although experts estimate that only 1% of stamps worldwide will appreciate over time, it is one of the safer options on the list of oddest collectibles to invest in 2021.

If you are lucky enough to have one of these in your collection, it could earn a yield between 5% and 20%. However, they also advise that you will need to hold these assets for up to 15 years before you see significant returns.

2. Coins

Collecting coins is a popular pastime than has huge rewards to the most persistent collectors. In fact, rare coins can bring in thousands or even millions of dollars at auction. While your wheat pennies will only sell for a few bucks, coins made from precious metals or featuring mistakes are the most valuable ones. Unfortunately, investing in coins doesn’t earn you any dividends. Therefore, the value depends entirely upon how much someone is willing to pay.

However, gold coins provide a more tangible return for investors. Even after nearly 600% growth in the last two decades, gold prices continue to rise. So, even if these coins hold no value among coin collectors, they will always be worth their weight in gold.

3. Comic Books

In recent years, Hollywood has brought our favorite childhood superheroes back to life. But, it has also made many super-fans rich. With the recent surge in popularity, original comics in mint condition now fetch top dollar at auctions. For example, a 1938 comic featuring Superman’s first appearance sold for over $2.1 million.

If your comic books have been well-loved and show their age, they won’t be worth nearly this much. However, it is possible to find rare issues at conventions which you can sell or trade for a profit. Comic-Con events are a great place to build your comic book collection as well as find some of the oddest collectibles to invest in 2021.

PFadvice.com has a very good series of which comic books are the most valuable, by decade.  The site also provides a useful discussion about what makes comics valuable. Hint: when the comic’s characters get adopted by popular culture, the value of the comic book increases.  Here are the lists of the most valuable comic books of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 199os.

4. Trading Cards

While this is a broad category, trading cards are a solid choice if you want to invest in collectibles. The most attractive thing about trading cards is that you can personalize it to your own passions or interests. Whether you are into baseball, Pokémon, Yugioh, or Magic the Gathering, rare cards are worth millions.

If you had any trading cards as a child, dust off your collection and check their value. Even if you don’t have a Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle card, your trading cards could still be worth money.

5. Toys

Vintage toys are another good option for collectors. As with comics, vintage toys from the 80s and 90s have seen a huge resurgence in popularity. If you held onto your favorite toys after the various toy crazes subsided, they could fetch a good price, given they are in good condition. Action figures, Beanie Babies, Lego’s, Barbie dolls, and Hot Wheels are all hot-ticket items right now.

When you are ransacking your home for valuable collectibles, look for items still in the original packaging. However, if you don’t have any toys from your own childhood, you can always begin a new collection.

The Oddest Collectibles to Invest in 2021

Now that we’ve covered the most common and valuable ones, here are some of the oddest trends and collectibles that people are investing in.

1. Sneakers

Any vintage item in good condition will generally bring a good price. However, sneakers are quickly becoming one of the most valuable vintage items on the market. There is a huge demand for first and limited-edition sneakers. In particular, Nike and Adidas sneakers in mint condition regularly sell for thousands of dollars on eBay.

A recent article from the Huffington Post uncovered that vintage sneakers provided better returns than gold. However, be warned that prices and demand are unpredictable. So, it’s a bit of a gamble knowing which shoes to invest in.

2. Electronics

It’s not surprising to learn that vintage electronics fetch high prices at auction. Original Apple products and first-generation devices not only make great conversation pieces, but also sell for millions online.

While you probably don’t have an original Macintosh computer lying around, early generation iPods, Alexas, and Nintendo DS gaming systems are likely to appreciate in value over time. Since most of this technology is still relevant, early editions are relatively easy to find. So, if you have any vintage electronics still in the box, it would be worth your while to hold on to them to see if they increase in value over the next few years.

3. Anthropomorphic Taxidermy

This is by far the oddest collectible to make the list. For those who don’t know what it is, anthropomorphic taxidermy is the art of preserving dead animals and displaying them in human situations. For example, specimens are usually dressed in human clothing or posed into human roles and settings. Although it may seem odd to many people, this type of art is extremely valuable to the right collector.

Investing in Collectibles

If you are looking to invest in less traditional assets, collectibles are a fun and interesting way to diversify your portfolio. However, it always includes greater risk than more traditional options like stocks and bonds. While there are no guarantees that your collectibles will bring high returns, patience is a virtue. Although most collectibles won’t earn a fortune in your lifetime, you never know…your favorite collectibles could bring you more than enjoyment in the years to come.

 

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How the Drought in Taiwan Is Affecting the Tech Industry

How the Drought in Taiwan is Affecting the Tech Industry

Severe Drought in Taiwan Drying Out Production

For those who are closely watching the global chip crisis, all eyes are currently on Taiwan. As a resident of the R.O.C. myself, I have both personal and financial stakes as the severe drought conditions in Taiwan persist. The country is facing its worst drought in over 50 years. This leaves tech manufacturers and policymakers with some difficult decisions in the days ahead.

Not only do I worry about my friends still living there as reservoirs dry up, but I have also heavily invested in several Taiwanese tech companies. The island is home to some of the world’s largest producers of semiconductor chips, which are responsible for approximately two-thirds of the global supply. However, the drought may further aggravate chip shortages and affect production as the government enacts even tighter water restrictions.

How Severe Is the Drought in Taiwan?

Water is a precious resource, especially in places like Taiwan where supplies frequently fluctuate. The country depends on typhoon season to fill its reservoirs, but it has faced several water shortages in recent years. Current reserves are quickly drying up since no major storms hit the island last year to replenish its water supply.

When I lived there in 2015, we faced similar conditions. Previous droughts led cities to shut off supply two days a week in order to conserve water. But, experts say this is the worst drought Taiwan has faced in recent memory. The water levels in Taiwan’s reservoirs have not been this low in 56 years. Right now, 16 of the islands’ 19 reservoirs are below 40% capacity. Of these, seven are under 10% and steadily declining. At this rate, some regions of Taiwan could be without water in the next 30 to 60 days.

Conservation

To conserve the supply, the government announced restrictions to ration its reserves to over a million residents and businesses. Earlier this spring, officials required its most important technology and industrial parks to cut water usage by an additional 11%. Unfortunately, government officials may have to decide between further limiting supplies to its two most important sectors: technology or agriculture.

Continued conditions promise to further strain the local economy. However, the questions remains as to who will have priority access to water. With Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. accounting for roughly 4.5% of the national GDP and its increasing dependence on foreign imports of food, decisions must be made about resource allocation. Officials also warn that things will only get worse. Without significant rainfall, there will be stricter water rationing for all.

How Will the Drought Affect Production and the Global Chip Shortage?

It is not only investors who are questioning how the drought in Taiwan will affect the global stock markets. Automakers, tech manufacturers, and world leaders are also concerned about a shortage of components if water restrictions impact Taiwan’s manufacturing and exports.

Semiconductor chip producers require massive amounts of water. They use it to clean wafers at every step of production, etch patterns, polish layers, rinse all the components, and maintain health standards at the facilities. In 2019, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, used 156,000 tons of water per day, accounting for 10.3% of that region’s water consumption. As these chips become more complex with added layers, manufacturers will require even more water for production processes.

Billions of people around the world require semiconductor chips to operate their cars, smartphones, computers, and gaming consuls on a daily basis. Since Taiwanese wafer-fabrication factories make up 65% of global revenue, the future of Taiwan’s tech industry may be in peril. Analysts are unsure if companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Micron Technology Inc., United Microelectronics Corp., and Vanguard International Semiconductor Co. will be able keep up with growing demands without sufficient water supplies.

How Are Industry Leaders and Officials Responding to the Drought in Taiwan?

Continued patterns of extreme weather and water shortages have industry and government leaders questioning how climate change will further affect production in the future.

Manufacturers’ response

In the face of the growing shortages, chipmakers are looking for solutions. Some are searching for alternative sources of water, including a new desalinization plant near Hsinchu. But, constructing new facilities, conservation measures, and limited resources will likely increase production costs. Furthermore, higher costs will also inhibit these companies’ manufacturing capabilities.

Although industry spokesmen remain stoic in the face of adversity, Taiwan’s manufacturers are preparing contingency plans for worst-case scenarios. The three major technology parks have already been trucking in water to ensure they have at least a two day supply on hand at each factory. However, facilities can only receive about 20 tons per delivery. Tankers and other sources provide a meager 20% of necessary water supplies should the government enact more extreme restrictions. Many producers are reusing as much water as possible and even using groundwater from construction sites. Unfortunately, none of these measures provide long term solutions.

Government response

Over the last few decades, government officials have taken several steps to address Taiwan’s water concerns. Their primary focus has been on improving infrastructure to retain its water reserves. Replacing aging pipes has been one of the most successful ways to reduce leakage. Since 2010, Taipei City reported a 9% decrease in water loss due to leakage. Furthermore, policymakers strongly support the private sectors’ efforts to construct more desalinization plants to reduce industrial dependency on national supplies.

Lawmakers have also suggested increased rates for heavy consumption. While Taiwan boasts the lowest prices for water in Asia, critics say this has contributed to the problem. So, some officials have proposed an additional surcharge for customers using more than 10,000 metric tons each month. Their hope is that increased rates will make everyone re-evaluate their daily water consumption.

An Uncertain Future

No one can say for certain how long the drought will last, when stricter limitations will occur, or how much it will impact production. This puts Taiwan and its manufacturers in a precarious position. The government is doing everything it can to ensure the tech manufacturing industries stay up or running. With recent contracts to supply chips to German, Japanese, and American automakers, the country’s economic growth depends on it.

Amid all this speculation, one thing is certain. If the water supply is not replenished soon, there will be ever greater stress on the country’s water supply and global chip demands. The Taiwanese government will have to choose to ration water to households or businesses supporting its economy.

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5 Reasons to Max Out Your Roth IRA

Reasons to Max Out Your Roth IRA Contribution

Time is your greatest asset when you invest with a Roth IRA. The earlier you begin investing, the greater your dividends will be during your retirement years. So, it is easy to understand why you would want to take advantage of accounts that let you build your tax-free retirement funds. There are many reasons to max out your Roth IRA this year, not the least of which is the extension for your 2020 contributions.

The Advantages of Maxing Out Roth IRA

When it comes to starting your retirement fund, the Roth IRA is one of the best options available. When you fund a Roth IRA, you capitalize on an important tax break if you contribute your after-tax dollars now. While traditional IRAs give you immediate tax breaks on your tax return, a Roth IRA lets you make withdrawals tax-free after retirement. A Roth IRA also gives you more control over your money since you choose the amount to invest.

One attractive feature of the Roth IRA is that you can maintain it indefinitely. Since there are no Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), you are not required to make withdraws once your reach a certain age.

Additionally, you can withdraw what you put in at any time.  You only pay a penalty if you prematurely take out the earnings in your account. So, there is no need to pay taxes if you only withdraw what you put into it.

A Roth IRA is especially good for young savers who will likely be in higher tax brackets after retirement.  Thanks to compounding interest, you get the most of your money when you max out your Roth IRA from an early age. Therefore, the sooner you start funding a Roth IRA, the more time you have to accumulate assets.

The Restrictions for a Roth IRA

These types of accounts have several restrictions on them because they have the greatest returns. These limits are put in place because Roth IRAs offer such a strong incentive to invest and take advantage of them. Here are some of the most important restrictions you should be aware of, but you can find a more comprehensive explanation here that outlines every detail of contribution rules.

Making Contributions

Although you can contribute to your Roth IRA at any age, you must have earned income for the year. However, if your income exceeds the set limit, you are ineligible to make any contributions for the year. If you do qualify, you can only contribute a maximum of $6,000 annually. If your earned income is lower than the threshold, you can only match the amount made after taxes.

There are no minimum contributions required, but you cannot exceed the yearly maximum threshold. The only exception to this rule is for people over 50 who can make a catch up contribution totaling $7,000. Keep in mind though, you can only make your annual contribution up until the tax filing deadline.

Making Withdrawals

When it comes time to make withdrawals, there are no penalties for the sum you have put in. However, you cannot make withdrawals on any earnings the account has generated for at least five years. There is a 10% penalty if you withdraw the earnings within the first five years of opening and funding the account.

To start receiving distributions from your Roth IRA tax and penalty free, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You must be at least 59 1/2 years old.
  • The distribution will be used to help purchase, build, or rebuild the first home for an account holder or qualified family member.
  • The account holder becomes disabled.
  • The assets are being distributed to beneficiaries after the account holder’s death.

My Contributions for 2020

With a Roth IRA, you are investing in higher-quality assets so you earn even more tax-free income. So, it makes sense to max out these accounts first. Especially now, when you have an extra month to get your contributions for an extra month thank to the extended tax filing deadline.

When I returned to the U.S. last year, I began investing by setting up my first retirement account with a Roth IRA. Unfortunately, I fall under a weird caveat of restrictions placed on foreign earned income. Although I had been working in country for a few months of the 2020 fiscal year, I am only able to match watch I earned domestically. This amount was less than limits set for maxing out a Roth IRA, so I will not be able to make a full contribution for 2020. However, it will give me a good head start for 2021.

5 Reasons to Max Out You Roth Contribution This Year

Any financial advisor can provide a long list of reason why it is a good idea to begin investing sooner rather than later. However, here are five great reasons you should max out your Roth IRA contributions for 2020 as well.

1. The IRS extended the tax filing deadline this year.

Now is the best time of all for maxing out your Roth IRA contribution. This year, you have an extra month for 2020 contribution thanks to the filing extension deadline until May 17.

2. You can begin accruing tax-free income for retirement now.

Retirement may not be on your mind if you are just starting your career, but it is never too early to begin investing in your future. Every dollar you contribute today equates to more tax-free income available to you in your golden years.

3. With time on your side, compounding interest is reason enough to open a Roth IRA.

Since you are unable to easily access the earnings from a Roth IRA, it encourages the account holder not to make withdrawals. If the principle amount remains untouched, compounding interest will drastically increase your initial investment. If you have time on your side, compounding interest is your best friend.

4. You never know when circumstance will change.

At some point in your future, you may not qualify for Roth IRA contributions. So, it is wise to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

5. A Roth IRA protects against increased taxation rates.

Taxes are most people’s biggest expense after retirement. Therefore, maxing out your Roth IRA means you keep more of your money since withdrawals are tax free.

Furthermore, if you add more money now, a Roth IRA protects you against increased taxation rate. Other retirement accounts like 401(k) and traditional IRAs will be heavily taxed when you withdraw. However, the money you add to your Roth IRA would be unaffected by any future rise in taxation rates.

As you can see, there are several good reasons to max out your Roth IRA this year. Contact your financial advisor with and specific questions about how to set up and take advantage of these retirement accounts.

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What Are Your Retirement Options after Employment Termination?

What Are Your Retirement Options after Employment Termination?

When you leave a job, there are several loose ends that you will need to tie up. One important consideration when you leave your position is what to do with your employer-sponsored retirement accounts. If you are new to investing or not well-versed in financial matters, you may be wondering what your retirement options are after employment termination. You have a few choices. But, some are better than others. Before you make any major decision, you must evaluate eligibility requirements, know the tax implications, and compare the fees and investment options available to you.

Options for Your Retirement Plans after Employment Termination

1. Leave it where it is.

Depending on how much you have invested in the employer-sponsored 401(k), you may be able to leave your money in the current account. If you have more than $5,000 invested in the old plan, most companies allow you to maintain your retirement account. Even if you are no longer work for the employer, you may be able to leave your money parked in the account.

This will be most beneficial to you if the old plan has low fees, good investment options, or you have a large balance. If you go in this direction, you could always roll it over to a different account in the future as well.

However, if the balance is less than $5,000, your former employer might require you to move it after employment termination. For balances under $1,000, the company could force you out by simply writing a check. But, for balances between $1,000 – $5,000, your former employer must assist you in setting up an IRA if they are forcing you out of their plan.

When considering you retirement options after employment termination, this may not the best one for you. You may want to consider alternatives if you are likely to forget about it, let the account sit dormant, or you are not impressed by the terms. Your former employer’s plan may have more limited options when compared to various IRA offerings or your new employer’s retirement savings program.

2. Roll it over to a plan with your new employer.

Another possibility is to roll over the balance to your new employer’s retirement plan. Most companies will allow new employees to enroll in their retirement savings plan once they have reached the minimum length of employment. It is a fairly simple process, and only requires some paperwork to complete a direct transfer. The administrator of your former plan can deposit the balance of the previous account into your new one.

Rolling your retirement plan into a new one prevents you from paying any taxes on the balance. If you do not want the direct transfer, you can also have your former employer issue a check for the balance. Then, you can deposit the funds yourself. However, you must do so within 60 days. Otherwise, you will pay income tax for the entire lump sum. Before you close the first account, make sure the new 401(k) is set up and able to receive balance transfers.

This option is cost-effective because you can defer taxation. Additionally, you can consolidate your funds into a single account rather than keeping track of several different retirement accounts after employment termination. It also makes things easier down the line for family members or heirs when they need to handle your financial affairs. Just be sure to compare the available options and fees. Once you transfer the balance, you cannot go back to your old plan.

3. Roll it over to an IRA.

If your new employee does not have a retirement plan for its employees or the options are not ideal, you should consider rolling it into an IRA. Whether you choose a traditional or Roth IRA, the account will be in your name. Therefore, you have greater control over the account and can choose any financial institution you like. Since you are not restricted by your employer, you have freedom to decide how and where you invest your money.

There are few restrictions or limitations on these kinds of transfers. Furthermore, both traditional and Roth IRAs provide a wide range of low-cost offerings. Consolidating your investments into a single account also makes them easier to track.

If you go this route, you will have to include the untaxed amount in your gross income for the fiscal year you completed the rollover. But, if you meet certain qualifications, future withdrawals could be tax-free.

4. Begin taking distributions.

If you are nearing retirement age, you may want to begin taking distributions from your accounts. You can begin receiving distributions at age 55. But, you may have to pay the penalty on the taxable portion of it. Most retirement accounts dictate that you must be 59 ½ to receive distributions without the 10% tax penalty on early withdrawals. However, those who retire between the ages of 55 and 59 ½ do not need to pay this penalty.

Many people avoid this option because of the taxation and penalty fees. Moreover, when you begin receiving distributions from a traditional 401(k) you will need to pay income tax. On the other hand, distributions from your IRA will be tax free as long as you meet the age requirements and had the account a minimum of five years.

5. Cash out the balance of the account.

The last resort is to cash out your retirement accounts. However, if you liquidate your retirement accounts early, you will have to pay taxes on the full amount in addition to the 10% penalty. Most financial advisors warn against this because you are depleting your retirement savings. Unless you need the cash now, it is better to leave it in your accounts until the balance and distribution payments are tax-deferred.

Explore Your Retirement Options

Before making any major financial decisions, you should explore all your options. Weigh the pros and cons and determine which route gets you closer to your financial goals. There are many online resources that can help you make informed decisions. However, there is no shame in admitting you need help if you are in over your head. When in doubt, it is always wise to seek professional advice.

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The SMBX: Changing the Way You Invest in Small Businesses

SMBX: A new way to invest

As an individual investor, I am always looking for new and innovative ways to diversify my portfolio and increase my earnings. I already have a healthy range of holdings in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

However, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to generate passive income. That’s where platforms like the SMBX come in. This new marketplace directly engages with its investors to make it simpler for you to invest in small businesses.

The platform is somewhat complicated and new, so here is some explanation of what it is.

What is the SMBX?

The SMBX is new investment platform where small business owners can directly connect to the public. Their model utilizes regulation crowdfunding to allow small businesses to go straight to the source. As their tagline states, individual investors get to “be the bank,” providing an entirely new way to raise capital. Rather than purchasing stock in a specific company, any investor can buy small business financial securities through their marketplace.

What sets the SMBX apart is that they have created a new asset class: the Small Business Bond. The idea is to help small businesses generate capital through bonds instead of relying on bank loans. Private investors purchase bonds, which are debt-based financial assets. The investor (you) loans money to an issuer (the small business) for a period of time. In exchange, the issuer has a legal obligation to repay them, plus interest.

It is a win-win scenario for everyone. Small businesses can bypass the loan process to get the funding they need at better prices than banks offer. Meanwhile, investors have more control over where their money goes since you can pick which small businesses to invest in.

What are the Advantages of Investing with SMBX?

The greatest advantage of the SMBX is that it creates new options for both small businesses and individual investors. Unlike other marketplaces that emphasize equity, the SMBX is transforming small business debt through community engagement. Additionally, investors have the opportunity to affect change by supporting these businesses. What seems like a modest investment to the individual has the potential to impact not only the business owners, but also the people they serve.

For Small Businesses

The greatest benefit to small businesses is that they have the ability to bypass traditional lenders. Small companies no longer have to be captive to bank loans. It is much easier and cheaper to raise capital through Small Business Bonds since they can appeal directly to the public. Furthermore, there are less regulations and fees associated with this type of asset. Here is what their website says:

SMBX value for businesses

For Investors

There are even more advantages for individual investors. Since you get to replace corporate banks, you have the ability to affect change within your community. You support local commerce when you invest in small businesses, allowing them to continue operating. What seems like a modest investment from the individual can have a huge impact on hundreds of people by creating more jobs locally and returning profits back to their communities.

Another benefit is that the SMBX welcomes non-accredited investors to join. The platform is easily accessible and very user-friendly. There are no investors fees and you can begin with as little as $10. The average returns on investments is approximately 6.5%, and it pays the principle plus interest each month.

What are the Disadvantages?

As with any investment, there is always risk. It is possible that your investment will not see profitable returns, and you could lose your money. SMBX is offering bonds, so you’ll want to read the bond prospectus for each offering.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the SMBX is a relatively new platform. Any financial advisor will tell you that it is risky to invest with new firms that have a short history. However, the expertise and combined experience of the founders give me confidence that I’m not throwing my money away.

One thing that I was disappointed with was the limited offerings. Since it is a relatively new marketplace, this makes sense. However, I hope to see a wider variety of small businesses on the marketplace and more frequently updated offerings in the future.

Here are some of the companies in their marketplace offering bonds.

SMBX Offerings

How Do You Start Investing with SMBX?

Getting started was the easiest part. It is simple to sign up. First, you need to create an account, which requires you to enter your personal details. They will ask for typical information including your legal name, address, estimated income, and estimated net worth. Once you verify your email and add a payment method, you are ready to get started. Just be aware that you must link to either a credit card or bank account to your profile.

After you confirm and submit everything, you can then browse the available offerings and choose which one to invest with. I carefully looked at each one, evaluating their financial goals, bond duration, expected yield, and overall mission.

Once I reviewed my options, I chose to purchase my first Small Business Bonds from ChildWise because I am very passionate about education. Furthermore, the bonds I bought have an estimated 8% yield. Not only can I feel good about where I am investing, but it also seems like I will see good returns.

Why Should You Use SMBX to Invest in Small Businesses?

My initial experience with the SMBX has been extremely positive. I feel it is important to find innovative ways to directly connect investors with the small businesses they want to invest in. Through their marketplace, investors are able to engage and interact with the company in an entirely new way. As the markets continue to evolve, it is important that small businesses find ways to thrive.

The best part is that it creates new revenue streams for your portfolio by supporting your local community.  You don’t need thousands of dollars to get started. Even a modest investment in Small Business Bonds with a high yield can significantly increase your earnings. You can get started with as little as $10 and choose from the latest offerings at the SMBX. The bonds pay between 4% and 9%, which is higher than most bank accounts, although you are taking a bit more risk.

By way of a quick wrap up here, if your looking for some additional revenue and you like the idea of investing in small businesses, you can sign up here.

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Energy Stocks during America’s Cold Snap

Energy Stocks Have High Performance during the Cold Snap

This February brought another bout of extreme weather to the United States. As subzero temperatures swept across the country, energy providers experienced unprecedented demands for heat and electricity. While many of us were watching the news, financial analysts have been watching how these winter storms affect energy stocks during this cold snap.

Record Lows during America’s Cold Snap

Normally, Arctic temperatures are contained within the polar vortex by the jet stream. However, the pressure systems usually concentrated around the North Pole pushed winter snow storms south. It brought snow and freezing temperatures to some of the driest, hottest parts of the country.

At one point, an estimated 150 million Americans experienced winter storm warnings. Meteorologists said roughly 73% of the country received snowfall. Many who live in the northern regions have seen these conditions before. But, southern states proved they were unprepared to deal with energy demands during the cold snap.

For the first time in the state’s history, every county in Texas was under winter storm warnings. At the coldest point of these extreme weather conditions, it was colder in Dallas than it was in Anchorage. When these drastic changes in temperature occur, it becomes dangerous to be outside. There are serious concerns of frostbite, hypothermia, and death when the power grid is disrupted.

Dealing with Rising Energy Demands

The Midwest and Southern parts of the United States faced record low temperatures that tested the limits of the power supply. To cope with rising energy usage, SPP implemented rotating power outages. The company had to reduce demand on their power grid in 14 states. By Sunday February 14, it became clear that supply and distribution would reach critical levels.

Rolling power outages began February 15, with residents told to expect them to last about 30-60 minutes. Here in the Midwest, we were left without power for up to an hour at a time. But, local providers quickly restored electricity and heat. Although it was inconvenient, the worst part was not knowing when or which part of the city would be affected.

However, it becomes more serious in places where the infrastructure is not designed for such extreme temperatures. The blackouts left 4.3 million people without heat and electricity in Texas. Some residents criticized the lack of response and preparedness, especially those who lost loved ones due to the extreme temperatures.

Energy Stocks Performance During the Cold Snap

As bitter temperatures drove up the country’s demand, the energy sector saw significant gains. Natural gas prices skyrocketed by 7.5%, reaching the highest levels since November. Meanwhile, oil prices also saw a boost. Oil production dropped to approximately 2 million barrels a day. This drove prices to more than $60 a barrel, the highest they have been since January 2020.

The Winners

Comstock Resources was one of the biggest winners. They reported that it was “like hitting the jackpot” since it was able to sell natural gas for premium prices. EQT Corp, a natural gas provider based in the shale regions of Ohio and Pennsylvania, also saw gains from the high prices. Australia’s Macquarie Group also expects to see a 10% rise in profits this year.

With large swaths or refineries out of commission along the Gulf Coast, companies like Valero Energy Corp and HollyFrontier Corp also saw increased production. Other refiners, like Shell and Total, have little exposure to the Texas markets. So, they are also in a prime position to ramp up production and increase profits.

The Losers

Unfortunately, many other utilities providers reported huge losses due to the winter storms. Alternative power sources became ineffective with wind turbines and natural gas wells freezing over.

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc estimates the financial impact on their Texas wind farms to be about $48 million. Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp adjusted their projected core earnings by $45-55 million due to restricted production. Just Energy doubts they will be able to continue after it forecasted $250 million in losses.

Furthermore, the extreme weather also interfered with transportation of oil and shutdown many refineries. The country’s hub of refineries along the Gulf Coast were the hardest hit. Exxon Mobil and Phillips 66 halted operations, losing 19% of the U.S.’s refining capacity. Diamondback Energy expects to lose at least five days of production. Other southern shale oil producers say it could take two weeks to restart their crude oil operations.

As milder temperatures return, you can be certain that financial analysts and investors alike will continue to watch the energy sector.

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