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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Luxury whisky – investing in whisky offers significant payoffs

It’s no secret that luxury whisky is now being purchased for more than just collection and consumption. Believe it or not, whisky is a form of investment that can render significant returns. In the UK, for example, specialized websites and auction houses are becoming core markets for buying and selling fine whisky bottles – the rarest the bottle, the better the chances to witness outstanding ROIs. 
Experts argue that in 2016 the value and volume of fine Scotch whisky sold in auction houses increased tremendously. A collection of Single Malt Scotch in the UK was trade for an astounding sum of £14.21 million, increasing 49% from £9.5 million. In 2015, the number of whisky bottles sold at auction houses increased by 35% - from 43,000+ to 58,000+. 

How to know the difference between investment whisky and standard whisky

To begin with, it’s worth mentioning that a bottle of whisky stored somewhere on a cupboard shelf is unlikely to increase in value anytime soon. Just because you don’t want to open it, it doesn’t mean at some point its value will increase. Bottles from special editions and rare whisky varieties have the best chances of rendering returns on investment. 
In countries like the UK, particularly in Scotland, more than 10,000 people work in the whisky and scotch industries. The drink has increased in popularity outside the UK, expanding to the US, Japan and China. Drinkers are not the sole beneficiaries of this boom. Collectors should be the happiest as whisky maker Glenlivet recently brought out a very rare type of whisky – the Winchester Collection 1964.

Distilled in oak barrels back in the 60s, the whisky was just bottled. The entire collection of 100 bottles can now be purchased for £18,000. Phil Huckle, ambassador of the Glenlivet brand, argues that the price can be perfectly justified. The company has been investing a lot in storing and making the whisky; after 50 years it was about time for the product to see returns. 

Is investing in whisky worth considering? 

£18,000 for a single bottle of whisky is a lot, since you can’t even drink it. Nonetheless, avid investors and collectors have seen substantial returns from investing in fine whisky in the recent years. Experts argue that the value of the world’s top 100 collectible whisky bottles has increased by an astounding 20%. However, even though certain brands are currently seeing sensible returns, let’s not forget that we’re talking about a form of investment; it’s risky to invest when you don’t know the market, meaning that cautious investors with not a lot of money to spare are advised to steer clear of this type of asset. What’s even worse is that there’s no investor protection in case something bad happens. 

What makes a bottle of whisky become a collectible? 

Just like with other similar forms of investment, scarcity, reputation, and uniqueness are fundamental. Experts would advise investors to begin with whiskies that come from authorized specialists; then they can move on to more exclusive varieties and explore the best most renowned distilleries. However, you should be very careful as forgeries are everywhere. 
In case you’re having doubts, the best thing that you can do is consult an accredited distillery. They’ll be more than happy to offer you information about the type of whisky you’d be interested to buy for investing. Another great idea might be to invest in whiskies you’re fond of, and then refine your palette step by step (as you gain more experience). If you’re just looking to collect, it’s best to purchase varieties you can actually afford. 
Regardless, investing in whisky is a subjective form of investment. A sensible return is not guaranteed, no matter what types you choose to buy. Stick with single casks, limited editions and discounted bottles to keep your investment as diversified as possible. As you gain more experience, you could consider outsourcing the selection process. Invest in a fund and let someone else choose the bottle varieties in your name. 
Bottom line is, before spending any money it’s best to get more familiar with the whisky business. Keep in mind that fine wine varieties such as Margaux wine, and others, are completely different from whiskies. Keep things simple spending wisely and you have high chances of seeing visible returns.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stock Market perspectives of 2017

By Frank P. Allan

2,300* — Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Remark: "2017 might be the slightest sure in years, with higher-than-common dangers and a double arrangement of results that have drastically differentiating outcomes: elation or fail, essentially higher or lower than the base case," said Savita Subramanian.

"As the probability of master development strategies waxes and fades in the coming months, we see the potential for huge market swings. Hazard/reward will be more vital than total targets."
*2017 could be a parallel year when the market tumbles to 1,600 in the bear case and ascends to 2,700 in the bull case, Subramanian said.

2,300* — Credit Suisse

Remark: "The key positive for 2017, in our judgment, is that financial specialists are overweight flattening supports (i.e. bonds) on expansion supports (values) when strategy producers are moving far from NIRP towards monetary boost, and swelling desires are set to keep rising," said Andrew Garthwaite.

"Be that as it may, we see a down market in H2 2017, consequently our year-end 2017 focus of 2,300. The second half difficulties incorporate the potential adverse effect of US security yields over (3% being the CS see for end-2017); the developing valuing force of US work pressing overall revenues, and the danger of China refocusing on change instead of expert development approaches. We keep on preferring values to both bonds and gold."
*2,350 midyear

2,300 — UBS

Remark: "Regardless of the potential for greater instability, we anticipate that the bull will praise its eighth birthday in March 2017," Julian Emanuel said.

"Not a single retreat is to be found, for the present. Be that as it may, the familiar axiom 'three stages and a lurch' could put stocks under a magnifying glass when the Fed climbs again after a climb this December."

2,300 — Goldman

Remark: "'Hope' is potential for positive EPS amendments from lower corporate charges, repatriation of abroad money, less control, and economic jolt," David Kostin said.

"'Dread' is the hazard that spending deficiency limits charge change, rising swelling prompts Fed to fix consistently, and security yields keep on growing."

2,325 — Citi

Remark: "Our PULSE structure is nonpartisan on four fronts (unexpected, profit, slant, and liquidity), is still positive on valuation," said Tobias Levkovich.

"The standardized profit yield crevice examination remains at 1.57 standard deviations underneath its 40-year normal, generating an 87% shot of higher markets in a year's chance. ... After basically accomplishing our mid-2016 S&P 500 focus of 2,100, we see conceivable late year delicate quality given a year-end 2016 goal of 2,150. ... Extra picks up are sensible in the following 12-15 months, yet not remarkable; our mid-2017 target is 2,250 while our preparatory 2017 year-end target is 2,325."

2,325 — Jefferies

Remark: "An administration move happened overnight after Trump's triumph," Sean Darby said.
"Trumponomics: monetary unwinding and protectionism are both inflationary and US dollar bullish. The unfurling of Trump's strategies will happen when wages are expanding. Purchase the customer. Values are profiting from the loosening up of the force exchange settled wage and reach for yield, yet a robust dollar will go about as a roof for income and will fix liquidity conditions."

2,350 — BMO

Remark: "We trust the S&P 500 has a decent possibility of conveying at any rate high-single-digit rate picks up in 2017 as the market moves from P/E to EPS-driven picks up and adapts to the positives and negatives related to a Trump organization and the changing approach elements it creates," said Brian Belski.

About the author: Frank P. Allan is author of this article, he is also a stock market blogger, he is engaged in research of neural network for stock prediction.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Alternative investments for retirement – do they act as your pension pot?

Many people today don’t trust pensions, and rather than not know how much they’ll have for retirement, they choose to invest. The choices are endless, although the majority of retirees invest in property. 

Only the most informed take risks; and by risks we mean investing in unconventional assets, such as fine wine, gold, collectibles, and more. Is real estate really one of the safest and most profitable types of investment? Is real estate worth relying on in the last 20-30 years of your life?

In certain areas, property may seem to have incredibly good values. However, as far as buy-to-let is concerned, chances are you’ll fail if you don’t know what the sub-niche involves. The exact same principle applies when investing in fine wine, gold and collectibles. For an alternative type of investment to pay off, the investor has to know the ins and outs of that form of investment. Otherwise he won’t be able to solve unexpected issues, or worse deal with loss. If you’re sure that alternative investing is what you need for retirement, the following examples might help expand your pension pot.


The famous cryptocurrency is one of the newest and most innovative forms of alternative investment. If you believe in the virtual currency and want to invest in its potential, now you can through the Self-Directed IRA – the only individual retirement account that allows investors to buy bitcoins and add them to their retirement portfolios. The process is rather simple. You have to open an account using the SIDRA (self-directed IRA) app; and then add bitcoins to that account. Your account will be funded via transfer or rollover. The last step is to complete a Bitcoin allocation order. Your account should have at least $5,000 and the fee charged upfront is very small; no other charges will be applied to your account.

When investing in the Bitcoin IRA, you have to know very well the rules implied. For example, note that you won’t have access to the money until you reach the age of 59 ½. Even though everyone can buy bitcoins, the Bitcoin IRA has several added benefits related to tax-advantage savings without any hassles.

Peer to peer lending

Also known as social lending, peer-to-peer can benefit both borrowers (who can obtain loans at more affordable rates than in a bank) and lenders (whose ROI can be higher than in a bank). The process is customized, and it the last couple of years it has become extremely popular. However, peer-to-peer lending is not risk free. Considering that there’s no authorized body to manage transactions, there’s a default risk involved. Somehow it can be minimized when selecting more than a single platform from which to borrow cash. Some of the most well-known include Funding Circle, Upstart, SoFi, Pave, Daric, and the Lending Club among numerous others.

Private placement

Private placement means raising capital via unregistered securities offering. Both public and private companies engage in this form of investment to get funds from investors. Private funds such as hedge funds often consider private placements. Often rendered to accredited and institutional investors, non-accredited individuals can also make such investments. In their case, private placements are small businesses, LLC partnerships, land trusts and more. Even though these can be extremely profitable, there are certain risks involved you might want to know more about. Before doing anything, it might be best to consult with a financial advisor to help you settle on the most suitable course of action for your investment plan.

Fine wine

Last but not least, we have fine wine. Contrary to popular belief, investing in fine wine can be extremely profitable. But you have to do it smart. It’s fundamental that you know as much as possible about the industry before spending any money. Get advice from accredited consultants and merchants, check out the best wine websites and blogs for some extra information, and whatever you do, just make sure to stay away from people that sell “rare” wines by the bottle. You may be tempted to that attractive bottleof Chateau Petrus at the most convenient price, but what happens if the wine is spoiled? Or worse, fake?

Alternative assets might seem like the best type of investment, but then again even if they are, you have to steer clear of risk. Sure, it’s ok to be take a chance and try your luck, but this doesn’t mean you should put all your money into a single form of investment and call it quits.

Image: Chris Potter/Flickr, "Education Investing:, CC BY 2.0

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tips and tricks to avoid debts during festival season

Not planning ahead for festive season expenses is one of the main reasons why people slip further into debt. Money can matter a lot, especially during festivals and festivities. There are gifts, decorations, food and beverages to buy. For many, travel is impending, to meet up with friends and family. If you want to celebrate, you need money and when you don’t have it, you approach your friends or financial institutions that lend you money. 

Here are some tips and tricks that can save you some serious money during a festival season.

Set yourself an affordable budget for spending

Setting yourself a clear and realistic budget is a key strategy for managing your money during festival season. A detailed budget needs to be created for all your additional expected costs such as gifts, travel, party and decorations. Allocate the amount you can afford on each of these expenses and then you will have a total figure of what you can spend for each.

Use debit not credit

For everyday purchases, consider using debit card instead of credit card. This is a better way by which you can make sure that you don’t over-extend your credit. In the case of using credit card, you will end up using up a lot of personal finance by the time you have to pay up the card bills the next month!

Make a list and then shortlist

Make a list of all the people you want to invite for the party and for whom you need to buy the gifts. Once you are done with it, do shortlist the most important people from this list. And when you shortlist, try to cut down at least 50% of the first list. 

Check out for discounts and coupons

As we all know, festive seasons luckily come with discounts and coupons. You need to plan in advance so as to collect discount coupons and codes, make sure you use them to the maximum to save more on all your festive purchases. This is important to be kept in mind.

Make your own decorations

Decorations are the other expense where you need to spend more during festive seasons. Instead of buying such expensive decorations (glittering and lighted ones), spend some extra time, get creative and make your own decorations using cheaper stationary you can get. This will not only save you some money but also gets you decorations that are personalized and unique. You can also reuse the decorative items of the previous year. 

Note: Instead of the flashy and expensive ones, you can use the cheaper versions of LEDs for decorations 

Consider non-perishable discounted items to gift

Non-perishable items like wines and perfumes can be bought when they are sold on discount sale and that can be gifted during festive season which will help you to stay debt free.

Organize potluck parties

If you are not able to host or afford a party, arrange a potluck party (everyone brings in a dish that contributes to the party). This is a brilliant way to share and care and also survive during the festive season.

Stick to your budget

This is a very important thing to follow. If you are a little careful and plan well in advance, you can make sure that you follow your budget strictly, otherwise you will definitely have to consider getting help from some debt collection agency or some other options.

Debt can get you in bigger trouble personally and the thought of it lingers in your mind that fades the happiness of the festivities. Following the tips above will definitely help you to make the festive season the most memorable.

Image: Author owned and licensed