Raffle Ticket – A Good Source For Raising Funds

Most people have heard the term ‘mutual funds’ but few have actually used this as an investment medium. Most small investors however have a very limited understanding of mutual funds that goes something like this a mutual fund is a “pool of money invested in stocks or interest bearing instruments” by those who are experts in the field. I don’t know about you but I would need a little more than this definition in order to invest my hard earned money or stake my retirement on the word of one other person. The truth is that many of those who invest in mutual funds experience very real gains as the result of their venture.

What Exactly is a Mutual Fund?

On a broad scope, mutual funds are an avenue in which you can invest a small amount of money with the potential of owning higher priced stocks and bonds that would under other circumstances only be available in large lots that you couldn’t afford on your own. The way in which this happens is through many people pooling the money to buy larger chunks of stock at lower prices. An example would be that the XYZ Widget Company has stocks trading at $10 per share and you would like to invest $100 in this company. The problem is that XYZ Company has a lot size of 1000 shares, which would cost $10,000. Mutual funds can pool together the $100 of 100 people in order to meet the minimum requirement.

Types of Mutual Funds

We have seen many evolutions in the stock market since its inception. Mutual funds have lasted through many of the changes we have seen over time and show no real sign of faltering. Below you will find a brief description of the various types of mutual funds currently on the market.

Equity Funds. These funds deal with equity shares of corporations. They carry not only high risks but also the opportunity for high rewards. Depending on the industry involved, these funds may be sector oriented (technology funds will invest in emerging technologies for example) or diversified meaning they consist of many funds from different sectors.

Debt Funds. As their name applies these funds deal primarily with debt-oriented mediums (those that carry interest). These funds invest in Treasury Bills, bonds, and other government papers. These investments are relatively low risk since there is a guaranteed return in the form of interest however the rewards are somewhat limited as they are not based on market movement. They are not ‘fool proof’ or risk free but they are a very safe investment for the tortoise type of investor beginning early or those with a sizable nest egg not worth putting in too much risk.

Balance Funds. These funds are perhaps the most interesting as they offer security along with a balanced diet of risk. With this type of investing you would set a predetermined ratio of investing (60% debt funds and 40% equity funds is a good safe ratio but it is up to the investor) and invest according to your comfort zone of risk and security. This type of investing offsets the risk of equity investing while living a little on the edge in hopes of great payoffs down the road while enjoying the security of debt funds-literally offering the best of both worlds to investors.

Each of the types of investing mentioned above has pros and cons and the answer of which is the best is a question that only you can answer. This is your retirement, future, nest egg, or kid’s college fund so only you can decide what an acceptable risk is. If you are willing to gamble equity funds might be best, if you’d prefer a surer bet, then debt funds might be best. If you have a little bit of adventure but don’t want to ‘risk it all’ then perhaps the balance fund is your best destination.

Price Determination

Once you have a basic understanding of the available options, the next step lies in understanding the price and how it is determined. The income of mutual funds is generally acquired in the form of interest, dividends, and trading. In debt securities however interest income is all but assured. This is not the case when dealing with equity stocks and the dividend in these situations depends on the profits earned by the company among other factors.

When investing in debt funds it may be that your best interest would not be a mutual fund. If you can afford the investment without the mutual fund you should determine which would be best for your situation. You want to choose the route that will offer you the higher reward. Keep in mind that market trends do not carry quite the weight when dealing with debt funds, as they will with equity funds.

Equity funds offer trading that is based on the perception of the fund manager as to what the market is preparing to do and the current risks vs. the potential reward. There are many things that will affect a stocks future from legislation to competition and millions of things in between that aren’t limited to technological advances and scientific breakthroughs. Thus the higher risk nature of this particular type of investment.

Understanding NAV

The first thing I should do here is explain what NAV stands for: the Net Asset Value of mutual funds. This value is declared on a daily basis and is the simple difference between assets and liabilities of the fund at the end of each day. The value is explained per unit and this is how the purchase price of the units are determined.

The Investment Decision

With so many mutual funds on the market you really need to study the funds you are considering before you take the plunge so to speak (as this is definitely the opposite of your goal)? Seriously, what parameters should you base your decision on? While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to investing, the following advice might point you in the right direction.

The investors approach. It really helps when investing if you are a very self-aware type of person. Knowing yourself helps you understand your intentions and establish proper goals for your investment strategy. Knowing yourself also helps you identify how much of a risk you are actually willing to take. If you are an aggressive investor and are comfortable with the risks involved but hoping for short run profits, you may wish to take things one step further and go with sector specific funds. Just remember these are highly speculative and can bring big profits quickly but when the numbers begin to fall, they tend to fall equally fast, which can result in heavy losses.

The Pedigree. As you study mutual funds you will learn that the past can often forecast the future. For example, the dot com crash wasn’t a one size fits all fiasco. There were some stocks that seemed slow and steady throughout who weathered the financial fallout of the overall industry. Your fund manager will have a lot to do with the profits and risks that you will accrue with your mutual fond. Conservative fund managers tend to invest slow and steady with minimal risks, they will not make aggressive trades even in sector specific funds.

The age and size of the fund are other mitigating factors when it comes to the decision making process. New funds may post heavy gains in the beginning but are often unable to stay the course once the test of time steps in. It is best, particularly for conservative investors to adopt a more cautious approach when dealing with new funds unless those managing the funds have a sterling reputation from previous work.

The Financials. The most important factor when making decisions regarding whether or not to invest in a Mutual Fund is the financial situation and forecast. Many things should go into your decision making process not the least of which are the past performance of a fund, the current trend of earning, operating expenses, and entry or exit loads. Each one of these factors is very important and none of them should be overlooked during the decision making process.

Diversification. We have all been warned of the dangers that go along with putting all of your eggs into one basket and many learned this lesson the hard way during the dot com crash of the nineties. Before investing in a fund you should take a moment to see exactly how diverse the fund really is. You could always elect to invest some of your money in one fund and other amounts of money elsewhere. I always recommend keeping some money invested in debt oriented funds rather than all monies invested in equity funds. This allows some degree of security so that all is not lost over a deal gone wrong. The benefit of a diverse portfolio that invests in multiple sectors is that if one industry takes a huge hit you may be able to cover your losses with the other items in your portfolio.

Monitoring. Contrary to popular belief, mutual fund investing isn’t about making an investment and leaving the rest to the experts. You must continuously and constantly keep an eye towards the bottom line in order to insure that your best interests are being served. No one is infallible, experts included. Follow the NAV reports on a daily basis in order to protect your interests. Remember that no one is going to care for your interests quite the way you will.

While the pointers mentioned above are on the mark they are by no means all inclusive. Investing in mutual funds is a gamble like any other kind of investing. Be certain that you aren’t risking more than you are willing to loose but diligently guard what you do invest in hopes of avoiding loss. Ultimately, experience is the greatest teacher when it comes to investing and some mistakes will simply need to be made in order to learn and grow. We all make them and some are painful. Hopefully the information above will help you minimize your losses while maximizing your gains.

Gambling Funding for New Zealand Charities

In New Zealand, gaming operators are required to donate 7% of their profits to community initiatives across the country. The system is one of the most beneficial in the world, providing more money to community projects than most other gambling markets. The money gathered from gambling operators is used to fund a wide range of projects, including sports, arts, health and education initiatives. Many of the donations from gambling grants go back into the communities in which they were raised.

Gambling operators donate their money to a wide range of Gambling Trusts across the country, such as Pub Charity and The Lion Club. Community groups and organizations then apply to these foundations for funding. Operators do not directly handle donations in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

The proceeds donated by gaming clubs provide the most significant source of community funding for not-for-profit organizations across New Zealand. Gambling grants make a more significant impact on community efforts than any other financial resource in the country.

Over the course of the last year, The Lion Foundation donated more than $53 million to 4175 charities and community efforts across New Zealand. In its 26 years of operation, the foundation has awarded over $590 million in gambling grants. Last year, sports received the most amount of funding with $20.5 million, followed by community efforts which received $16.1 million. Health and education both received over $8 million.

This year, Pub Charity donated $24 million. Sport and community, yet again, received the most funding with sports clubs receiving $7.6 million and community efforts receiving $6.9 million. Education and Health Services received $4 million and $3.3 million, respectively. Emergency services received $1.9 million.

What You Should Know Before You Invest in Mutual Funds

Most people have heard the term ‘mutual funds’ but few have actually used this as an investment medium. Most small investors however have a very limited understanding of mutual funds that goes something like this a mutual fund is a “pool of money invested in stocks or interest bearing instruments” by those who are experts in the field. I don’t know about you but I would need a little more than this definition in order to invest my hard earned money or stake my retirement on the word of one other person. The truth is that many of those who invest in mutual funds experience very real gains as the result of their venture.

What Exactly is a Mutual Fund?

On a broad scope, mutual funds are an avenue in which you can invest a small amount of money with the potential of owning higher priced stocks and bonds that would under other circumstances only be available in large lots that you couldn’t afford on your own. The way in which this happens is through many people pooling the money to buy larger chunks of stock at lower prices. An example would be that the XYZ Widget Company has stocks trading at $10 per share and you would like to invest $100 in this company. The problem is that XYZ Company has a lot size of 1000 shares, which would cost $10,000. Mutual funds can pool together the $100 of 100 people in order to meet the minimum requirement.

Types of Mutual Funds

We have seen many evolutions in the stock market since its inception. Mutual funds have lasted through many of the changes we have seen over time and show no real sign of faltering. Below you will find a brief description of the various types of mutual funds currently on the market.

Equity Funds. These funds deal with equity shares of corporations. They carry not only high risks but also the opportunity for high rewards. Depending on the industry involved, these funds may be sector oriented (technology funds will invest in emerging technologies for example) or diversified meaning they consist of many funds from different sectors.

Debt Funds. As their name applies these funds deal primarily with debt-oriented mediums (those that carry interest). These funds invest in Treasury Bills, bonds, and other government papers. These investments are relatively low risk since there is a guaranteed return in the form of interest however the rewards are somewhat limited as they are not based on market movement. They are not ‘fool proof’ or risk free but they are a very safe investment for the tortoise type of investor beginning early or those with a sizable nest egg not worth putting in too much risk.

Balance Funds. These funds are perhaps the most interesting as they offer security along with a balanced diet of risk. With this type of investing you would set a predetermined ratio of investing (60% debt funds and 40% equity funds is a good safe ratio but it is up to the investor) and invest according to your comfort zone of risk and security. This type of investing offsets the risk of equity investing while living a little on the edge in hopes of great payoffs down the road while enjoying the security of debt funds-literally offering the best of both worlds to investors.

Each of the types of investing mentioned above has pros and cons and the answer of which is the best is a question that only you can answer. This is your retirement, future, nest egg, or kid’s college fund so only you can decide what an acceptable risk is. If you are willing to gamble equity funds might be best, if you’d prefer a surer bet, then debt funds might be best. If you have a little bit of adventure but don’t want to ‘risk it all’ then perhaps the balance fund is your best destination.

Price Determination

Once you have a basic understanding of the available options, the next step lies in understanding the price and how it is determined. The income of mutual funds is generally acquired in the form of interest, dividends, and trading. In debt securities however interest income is all but assured. This is not the case when dealing with equity stocks and the dividend in these situations depends on the profits earned by the company among other factors.

When investing in debt funds it may be that your best interest would not be a mutual fund. If you can afford the investment without the mutual fund you should determine which would be best for your situation. You want to choose the route that will offer you the higher reward. Keep in mind that market trends do not carry quite the weight when dealing with debt funds, as they will with equity funds.

Equity funds offer trading that is based on the perception of the fund manager as to what the market is preparing to do and the current risks vs. the potential reward. There are many things that will affect a stocks future from legislation to competition and millions of things in between that aren’t limited to technological advances and scientific breakthroughs. Thus the higher risk nature of this particular type of investment.

Understanding NAV

The first thing I should do here is explain what NAV stands for: the Net Asset Value of mutual funds. This value is declared on a daily basis and is the simple difference between assets and liabilities of the fund at the end of each day. The value is explained per unit and this is how the purchase price of the units are determined.

The Investment Decision

With so many mutual funds on the market you really need to study the funds you are considering before you take the plunge so to speak (as this is definitely the opposite of your goal)? Seriously, what parameters should you base your decision on? While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to investing, the following advice might point you in the right direction.

The investors approach. It really helps when investing if you are a very self-aware type of person. Knowing yourself helps you understand your intentions and establish proper goals for your investment strategy. Knowing yourself also helps you identify how much of a risk you are actually willing to take. If you are an aggressive investor and are comfortable with the risks involved but hoping for short run profits, you may wish to take things one step further and go with sector specific funds. Just remember these are highly speculative and can bring big profits quickly but when the numbers begin to fall, they tend to fall equally fast, which can result in heavy losses.

The Pedigree. As you study mutual funds you will learn that the past can often forecast the future. For example, the dot com crash wasn’t a one size fits all fiasco. There were some stocks that seemed slow and steady throughout who weathered the financial fallout of the overall industry. Your fund manager will have a lot to do with the profits and risks that you will accrue with your mutual fond. Conservative fund managers tend to invest slow and steady with minimal risks, they will not make aggressive trades even in sector specific funds.

The age and size of the fund are other mitigating factors when it comes to the decision making process. New funds may post heavy gains in the beginning but are often unable to stay the course once the test of time steps in. It is best, particularly for conservative investors to adopt a more cautious approach when dealing with new funds unless those managing the funds have a sterling reputation from previous work.

The Financials. The most important factor when making decisions regarding whether or not to invest in a Mutual Fund is the financial situation and forecast. Many things should go into your decision making process not the least of which are the past performance of a fund, the current trend of earning, operating expenses, and entry or exit loads. Each one of these factors is very important and none of them should be overlooked during the decision making process.

Diversification. We have all been warned of the dangers that go along with putting all of your eggs into one basket and many learned this lesson the hard way during the dot com crash of the nineties. Before investing in a fund you should take a moment to see exactly how diverse the fund really is. You could always elect to invest some of your money in one fund and other amounts of money elsewhere. I always recommend keeping some money invested in debt oriented funds rather than all monies invested in equity funds. This allows some degree of security so that all is not lost over a deal gone wrong. The benefit of a diverse portfolio that invests in multiple sectors is that if one industry takes a huge hit you may be able to cover your losses with the other items in your portfolio.

Monitoring. Contrary to popular belief, mutual fund investing isn’t about making an investment and leaving the rest to the experts. You must continuously and constantly keep an eye towards the bottom line in order to insure that your best interests are being served. No one is infallible, experts included. Follow the NAV reports on a daily basis in order to protect your interests. Remember that no one is going to care for your interests quite the way you will.

While the pointers mentioned above are on the mark they are by no means all inclusive. Investing in mutual funds is a gamble like any other kind of investing. Be certain that you aren’t risking more than you are willing to loose but diligently guard what you do invest in hopes of avoiding loss. Ultimately, experience is the greatest teacher when it comes to investing and some mistakes will simply need to be made in order to learn and grow. We all make them and some are painful. Hopefully the information above will help you minimize your losses while maximizing your gains.

Winning at Gambling – 9 Rules For Gambling Success

Gambling is a massive industry and even in times of a worldwide economic recession, bookmakers continue to prosper. The reason for this is because the majority of gamblers do not follow simple rules, lack discipline and are unable to control their emotions. Its not easy but by following some simple guidelines you can turn yourself from a loser funding the bookmakers into a successful gambler.

1 – Create a sensibly funded separate betting bank

Gambling is a pastime which, if not treated seriously can lead to massive debts and losses. So the first rule is to ensure you bet with what you can afford. If you initially set aside an amount, which if lost is not going to cause any major concern, you are immediately removing the stress. You can treat this bank in the same manner you would money you had set aside for social activities or personal treats – there is one key difference though, you may well see a return!

Also as part of this step break your bank into betting points. As an example if you had a bank of 500 you could create 500 points and state 1 point will be placed on bronze confidence bets, 3 on silver and 5 on gold. Alternatively you may prefer a percentage of the bank. Both ways are fine, once you have a clear, sensible and controlled banking structure which will only run out if you fail over a long period of time.

Finally as part of this step you must know realistically what you define as successful. If you have a betting bank of 500, it is not going to grow into a million overnight. Realism and sensible goals are vital.

2 – Keep records

If you are going to take gambling seriously, you must act in an efficient and controlled manner. The first key element in doing so is to ensure you keep full records of every single bet you place. A simple spreadsheet will do the job perfectly. Excel is of course ideal for this type of activity and offers massive ways of breaking down your data for you to see where you are going right or wrong. You can create headings and columns as you see fit but its recommended you have at least the following -

Date – the date of the bet being placed
Selection – what you are betting on
Amount – how much you are betting
Odds – the odds you have been given
Categorisation – the type of bet, for example a system name or a categorised description
Profit/Loss – your overall return
Comments – notes for future analysis

3 – Study

Unless you are lucky enough to be friends with someone on the inside then relying on other peoples word or a so called tip is basically just guessing. The rule of study means every time you go to type in a bet to your spreadsheet you have justification and a sure sense of why the bet is being placed. If you are unable to study the statistics/conditions and categorically know you are placing a bet for the right reasons, you should not be betting in the first place.

It is not acceptable and will lead to failure if your bets are not being based on thorough study of the betting event you are investigating. The rule of study is absolutely and categorically vital – it means sourcing appropriate materials, ensuring you understand the results and allowing enough time to really get to grips with your findings. To summarise, without studying you are guessing and will lose in the long-term.

4 – Know your odds and get the value

No matter what gambling selection you make, there must be a price associated with it you consider to be worthwhile. This is no different to going shopping – you know what you want to buy and what its worth, if the item is not as good value as you believe it should be, you wont buy it. The same rule applies here, if you are not able to get the odds you have set out for, then you do not back it. Ever!

Deciding on what the correct odds should be is of course an art in itself but something you must master in order to be successful at gambling. To summarise the rule – if you do not know if the odds are good or not how can you possibly add it to your betting spreadsheet with confidence?

5 – Hunt for the best odds

Call it penny-pinching if you wish, but the difference between 1/2 and 4/9 is massive in the context of a successful gambler. There are now plenty of resources to compare all prices available and the laziness of just backing with the same firm or your local betting shop for ease will not do if you wish to succeed at gambling. Now that you have identified a bet to place and seen you like the odds available, you must see the benefits of taking this extra time to get the best price available.

Check betting exchanges, online bookmakers and as many places you can possibly think of. There is no harm opening up several bookmakers accounts if needs be, plenty of them will give you free bets as an incentive and in the process create an extra way of funding your betting account!

6 – Trust your study

It is human nature to doubt ourselves, but if you have successfully followed rule 3 (study) then you should be extremely confident your betting selection is sound and justified. There are so many seeds of doubt happy to creep into your thoughts – providing you have studied correctly then ignore them. Just because your newspaper tipster discounts the selections chances or the odds are far higher than you expected does not mean your study was wrong. In fact it is at times like these when you will prosper most. As everyone else follows the crowd you will know, win or lose, your strategy is superior and in the long-term you will succeed at gambling whereas the majority of others will fail.

7 – Keep your discipline

Without this rule you are back to square one and will lose. Therefore keeping your discipline means accepting all of the following points and never changing your strategy.

You will have losing days, runs and weeks
Luck evens itself out
You never gamble just for fun, based on a hunch or without study/justification/reasoning
Many occasions your rules will stop you from betting even when you strongly fancy something

8 – Learn from your mistakes

The massive benefits of your Excel record of all bets placed is the manipulation you now have over your gambling spreadsheet. Not every strategy you follow will be successful, none will last forever and some will just not be worth the time involved. Get rid of them, learn where you went wrong and do not do it again. Never be too proud or stubborn to accept you have gone wrong somewhere along the line. If you are you will lose.

9 – Keep your mouth shut

Let me make one thing clear first, this rule only applies to followers of all the other rules. If you are gambling like a madman and losing money you can not afford to then i suggest the opposite, shout it as loud as you can and seek immediate help. Gamblers anonymous is surely a good place to start.

For rule followers – nobody likes a bighead is the first thing to say, however more importantly if you are in any way successful others are going to follow what you say. By shouting out from the rooftops what you are gambling on, others are going to follow suit and this will lead to reduced prices. Additionally complications can arise from waffling on about your betting portfolio, basically most people do not understand gambling can be the work of an intelligent, studied and controlled process.

If your successfully gambling and moving in the right direction be content to yourself at how things are working out. Your ego should not need further boosting.

Summary

It is difficult to be successful at gambling but it can be done by following a controlled and structured strategy. With the internet at our fingertips there are so many fantastic resources available to assist us in our studies and providing you follow a basic set of rules and guidelines there is absolutely no reason why can not be successful with your gambling.

Internet Gambling Laws in the US Will Soon Take a Dramatic Turn

The U.K. introduced sweeping changes to its internet gambling laws with the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005. The stated purposes of the act were very noble: to prevent gambling from being a source of crime and disorder; to ensure gambling would be conducted in a fair and open manner; and to protect children from being harmed by enforcing the legal gambling age of 18 years. In practice, of course, the act led to a surge in on site operators moving to the country and a corresponding increase in tax revenues as a result.

In the U.S., the situation is much different. Gambling is legal under Federal law but prohibited in many states, with some local exceptions. Legal gambling states include Nevada and New Jersey, although many states have passed laws that legalize gambling in certain municipalities as well as on Native American lands. Internet gambling laws, on the other hand, have effectively prohibited operators from doing business within the states.

In 2006 Congress approved an act that dramatically affected the internet gambling laws and effectively proclaimed the industry illegal. That act threw the industry into turmoil, and drove virtually all of the U.S. based operations out of the country. Sites operated out of the U.K. and the Bahamas now garner a majority of this profitable business. But numerous faults in the 2006 legislation and the feeling that Congress has more important things to worry about have now pushed the country to the brink of legalizing the industry.

If the U.S. is to proceed with the legalization of gambling over the internet, congress must first do away with its awkward attempt at making it illegal under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (more easily referred to as UIGEA). The purpose of that act was fairly simple: make it illegal for banks, credit card companies, and other payment processors to transfer funds from gamblers to online casinos and from those online casinos back to the gamblers.

You must understand, however, that the preference of lawmakers has always been to prohibit online gambling. But concerns about the constitutionality of such a prohibition as well as the mind boggling problems associated with enforcing the ban have consistently killed any possible actions along those lines. So Congress chose instead to try to attack the problem by preventing the flow of capital between the gamblers and the casinos under the UIGEA.

Now, thanks in no small part to the national financial meltdown, Congress is poised to reverse its approach to internet gambling laws and scrub the problem-plagued UIGEA. Under a couple of proposed House bills including one sponsored by Barney Franks and Ron Paul, Congress now appears poised to legalize and regulate the industry.

Whenever Congress actually considers such a sensible approach you can assume that there are potential tax revenues to be gained. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that one of the major benefits of legalized gambling is additional revenue for the government. Recent studies have indicated that the tax revenues the government stands to reap from a legalized online gambling industry could reach more than $50 billion over the next 10 years.

Hopefully, based on current sentiment in Congress regarding internet gambling laws, U.S. based online gambling fans will soon be able to enjoy their sport legally through U.S. based operations that will be under the scrutiny, and taxing power, of the Federal government.