Get Stock Market

August 31st, 2014 | La Grand 1520 Financial | No Comments »

Investors know that oil prices and terrorism, two things that really cannot be controlled, have a large influence on the stock market. Many investors avoid airline stocks for this reason. They cannot control one of their biggest expenses (fuel) and an act of terrorism can seriously damage the industry.

Why are cruise stocks any better? Rising fuel costs and Hurricane Katrina led to lower stock prices for companies like Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. These two cruise lines account for about 75 percent of the cruise industry, worldwide.

When George Allen Smith IV, from Connecticut, vanished while on a Royal Caribbean cruise, the industry received a lot of negative publicity.

Certainly, there are many negatives for cruise stocks, but some investors are bullish. First, there is no direct indication that the vanishing honeymooner from Connecticut has hurt ticket prices. Valuations on these stocks also look good.

Carnival Corp. trades at 16 times estimated 2006 earnings; its historic range is 10 to 30 times earnings. Royal Caribbean trades at 14 times estimated 2006 earnings; its historic range is 5 to 24 times earnings. Growth potential is strong as only 4 percent of Americans have ever taken a cruise.

When considering cruise stocks, remember the risks. A sharp rise in fuel prices or another terrorist attack would likely have a negative impact on cruise stocks. In my opinion the risk outweighs the possible reward as I don’t expect cruise lines to significantly outperform the broader market.

Brought to you by Warren Buffett giving an interview on the practices he uses for investing in penny stocks. To receive penny. . .

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Financial Planning

August 30th, 2014 | La Grand 1520 Financial | No Comments »

No one likes to imagine that illness or death could compromise their family’s financial security. But, tragically and all too often, these things devastate families and leave them in a vulnerable financial position just when they need the most security. Spending only a few hours preparing for such a scenario might save your family needless trouble. Once, only fathers needed to worry about this, but today with two-earner families comprising the majority of American families, both partners should actively participate in planning to make certain financial security for themselves and their children.

At the very least, each partner should have a simple will specifying who will receive assets and who will take guardianship of the children. Financial professionals advise naming one person to control the financial assets and another person to take physical custody of the children. You can prepare your own wills by purchasing a kit online or at an office supply store. Although this is a good short-term solution, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible, particularly if you have a lot of assets or there is disagreement in your extended family about who should serve as guardians for your children.

Adequate life insurance is also essential to protecting your family. The majority of Americans do not carry enough life insurance to make certain that their family will enjoy the same quality of life after their death. Simple term insurance is adequate for most people’s needs. Whole life policies rarely provide the same level of returns as other investments, such as stocks. Many insurance companies have life insurance calculators on their websites which will help you determine exactly how much insurance you need. Be sure to take into account any insurance provided by your employer. If one spouse stays home with the children, they should also be insured since the surviving partner will need to pay for child care and household services.

Most Americans are unaware that it is not death, but disability that most frequently causes financial problems for a family. Check with your employer to see if they offer short and long-term disability insurance. If not, have your insurance agent quote you for this essential coverage that will protect you and your family if you can no longer work.

Finally, long-term care insurance will cover nursing home or other types of ongoing residential care. Young people often overlook this coverage, thinking that it’s only for older people. However, head injuries, paralysis and other traumatic injuries often result in the need for long-term residential care.

Guest Speaker: Jason Payne, Personal Financial Planner and Friend Objective: 1. Understand careers in financial planning.

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Financial Institution

August 28th, 2014 | La Grand 1520 Financial | No Comments »

We have all heard the stories of financial institutions exploiting consumers with shady practices such as exorbitant interest rates, hidden fees, and the like. These accounts anger us and, rightfully, those that practice these deeds should be exposed. Fortunately, not all reports are bad as evidenced in the way many companies are treating their customers in light of recent disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Let’s take a look at how some companies are responding in the wake of disaster.

1. Disaster Relief Programs. If you live in an area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and own property, you may be eligible for relief depending on your financial institution and the program they have in place. One well known bank, for example, is automatically deferring mortgage and home equity loans for as long as ninety days, or three payments. In addition, this same bank is not assessing late charges for that timeframe, nor are they reporting negative information to affected consumers credit reports.

2. Payment Holidays. Similar to disaster relief programs, several credit card companies are allowing their customers to not make credit card payments for a two or three month time period. Two institutions have stated that they will not collect late fees, but in each case it is not clear whether customers will still be charged interest on their unpaid balances.

3. Loan Extensions. The financial arms of several automakers are allowing customers in affected areas to defer loan payments for up to three months. Essentially, these institutions are extending the loan’s length and adding the months to the end of the loan period without charging customers fees for this service.

If you live in any of the affected areas, it is best to contact your financial institutions directly to learn exactly what type of deferral plans, if any, they have in place. Some programs are less clear than others, particularly the payment holidays for credit card holders since it is not always apparent whether you will still be charged interest during the affected time period. Still, these types of compassionate gestures by certain financial institutions can create plenty of goodwill for consumers and they are the types of corporations certainly worth patronizing for the long term.

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