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Advice on Securing your Financial Future

The following is a guest post on a timely personal finance topic from Maria, a tech writer from the UK with a fondness for finance.  We encourage you to follow her on Twitter at @financeport for more debt reduction and personal finance tips and information.  Without further adieu:

Advice on Securing your Financial Future

Want to secure your financial future? Want to make your future goals brighter? want to save money?

The first step you need to take is to create a financial plan.  Having a financial plan will help you to save money and make decisions consciously and accurately.  It includes a list of your goals as well as a time frame, cost, anticipated rate of return, and the investment/savings method you will use to achieve the goal.

Secure your Financial Future
Secure your Financial Future

The formula that all the people should follow is “Bright Financial Future=Solid plan + Steady income.”

Create a Financial Plan:

In order to secure your future the first step is to have a financial plan where you put more interest in saving money.  In order to make decisions financially you should have some type of plan, no matter how basic.

Set Goals:

You will have a better chance of having money if you plan for the things you want to do in future. Long-term goals may require five to ten years to accomplish. For example your goal may be to start a family, save money for a child’s wedding, college tuition, or purchasing a home. Short term goals are the things you would like to do next week, today, or in a couple of years.  They may include getting marriage, changing jobs, taking a vacation, buying a car and so on.

Consider Investing:

In order to deliver regular interest payments you can count on, a savings account is a good start, but it will not generate enough interest to keep up with inflation. Investments in bonds and stocks have generally out performed inflation, but CDs and savings accounts have not. Investments in stocks and bonds contain more potential to earn profits than savings accounts do, they also have option to fall in value or generate a lower gain than you expected.

Other than government bonds, investments are never guaranteed in the sense if you loose money on investment you probably have no recourse. This is the biggest difference between insured bank accounts and investments.

Seek Advice:

Some people locate investments by searching the internet and reading magazines as a form of due diligence, others rely on the Advice of experts. A financial expert can help you select the investments that best fit your plan. Before selecting an investment expert, it is wise to conduct interviews with different licensed experts. This will help you to have knowledge on several types of services that are accessible to investors.

Start Saving Seriously:

Start by saving enough money to cover your urgent living expenses for many months. You should have easy access to your money in a savings account.  A savings account is generally insured for losses up to $250000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

In any situation, if you are short of money and need an emergency loan, you can get a loan in order to secure those funds by purchasing Payment Protection Insurance (PPI).  PPI is an insurance policy which is purchased with loans and credit cards in order to secure those loans for the lender.

About the Author:

This article has been posted by Maria, a professional blogger who is writing articles on PPI claims and shows keen interest in finance. You can reach her on Twitter: @financeport

TEACHING HOSEA

The following is yet another excerpt of a book which we have recently completed about teaching the Bible which focuses on some techniques that may be little known and are certainly seldom practiced today.  Here we present “Teaching Hosea,”  Enjoy!

Taken from “Hosea: A teacher’s guide for those who are lead to teach the book of Hosea”

TEACHING HOSEA

With these teaching tools in your tool belt, it is now time to approach Hosea.  The following sections are tools designed to acquaint you with the prophet and the world in which he lived.  It is by no means exhaustive and is no substitute for your own investigation on the subject.

Keep in mind that teaching the Word of God is not a journalistic exercise, nor is it similar to writing an academic paper.  As such, there are no formal rules with regards to citing your sources or using previous academic work to support your statements.  In fact, citing sources in an attempt to gain credibility with your class may have just the opposite effect.

The Word of God is its own authority, and you, who have humbly submitted yourself to guide the class through the Word of God, will speak on its authority to the degree that you allow the Holy Spirit to operate both in your life and in the class that you are guiding.

An 18th century Russian icon of the prophet Hosea located in the Iconostasis of Transfiguration church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Northern Russia, painted by an unidentified artist during the first quarter of the 18th century.

It will be obvious to all when you state an opinion that is purely your own, and you should not be afraid to speak into the class that which you are lead to say simply because you cannot find it cited somewhere else.  For what you are to speak is something new, and many may be healed by what you say at the Lord’s direction. Again I say, do not be afraid to speak it.

The setting and character development which will greatly enrich the class can and must be investigated both inside and outside of the Bible.  The Bible did not take place in a vacuum, and neither should your teaching of the Bible take place in a vacuum.  There is a wealth of information being discovered today which is serving to support the Biblical narrative as God’s creation bears witness to His Word.  It is your job as the teacher to investigate and bring what is required of this information to your class.

The balance of this book is a summary of my own investigation into Hosea, and I pray that it will supplement your own study of Hosea.  You are free to use of it what you deem appropriate for your specific audience.

Stay tuned for more teaching tips and purchase the book itself hereTrust Jesus and stay fresh!

The Bible Play – Getting to Know the People of the Bible

The following is another excerpt of a book which we have recently completed about teaching the Bible which focuses on some techniques that may be little known and are certainly seldom practiced today.  Here we present “Getting to Know the People of the Bible,” a wonderful way to deeply explore the Biblical text in a participatory Group setting.  Enjoy!

Taken from “Hosea: A teacher’s guide for those who are lead to teach the book of Hosea

Getting to Know the People of the Bible

While reading the Bible is a great discipline, it is at least equally important that the Bible be understood through the eyes of the characters who are both explicitly and implicitly a part of the story. Many of the characters in the Bible are unnamed, such as the soldiers who guarded the tomb of Jesus.

While it is possible to read the Bible and focus on the main characters, there is a tremendous amount to be learned from a study of the Bible through the eyes of all of those who were actually present at the event.

How can this be accomplished? It is possible to read any number of commentaries, speak with pastors, friends, and read related histories with the goal of accomplishing a complete understanding of the event and the eternal truth that God is trying to teach.

However, there is a superior and much less time consuming way to intimately know the characters of the Bible. That is, to role play, or become them for a time, if you will, for yourself. This miracle can be accomplished by what we call a “Bible Play.”

The Bible Play is to be accomplished in a class or other type of group setting. The teacher or the group will decide which part of the Bible that they are to act for the play. This is usually done by the teacher, but in a smaller group can be done by prayerful consensus.

Once the part of the Bible to be explored has been decided, the teacher is to read the story once through, stopping each time a new character is introduced and acknowledging the character by name to the class. At this point, it is important to mention that characters can include animals and inanimate objects as well.

After the first reading, the teacher calls for a time of prayer, in which everyone, the teacher included, is to choose which character in that they are to become. The Holy Spirit will guide this process, for each person present has something unique to learn and be healed of in this exercise.

During the time of prayer, the Lord may reveal characters which are not explicitly mentioned in the Biblical text as being present as being there. This is completely valid as long as the group unanimously agrees to the inclusion of the up until now unmentioned character.

Once EVERYONE has a character (for none may be simply observers to this exercise), the teacher will identify the physical space in which the play will take place. The characters are to take their initial places in the physical space, collaborating with everyone in the group until there is agreement upon the basic starting places and areas for interactions amongst the characters as called for in the Biblical text. This does not have to be done in exhaustive detail, but there must be agreement as to the areas described to enable the interactions amongst characters in the Biblical text to occur.

If the story calls for two or more physical locations, such as Jonah on the boat, in the belly of the whale, and then in Nineveh, it is important to understand that these physical spaces should be completely separate from each other. You are not simply setting scenes on a stage, the entire Bible play and all involved must become alive.

After the characters and spaces are chosen, the play is to begin. Everyone must participate and there is no rehearsal. In the Bible there were no rehearsals, and to fully understand the character through the activity of the Bible play the events must be encountered naturally, without preparation or prior coordination other than the agreement as to spaces mentioned above.

An 18th century Russian icon of the prophet Hosea located in the Iconostasis of Transfiguration church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Northern Russia, painted by an unidentified artist during the first quarter of the 18th century.

The teacher or assigned narrator (which is also a valid and required character) begins to read the story and the action begins. If a character is to speak, the narrator may give the line to the character, but the person playing the character must speak it aloud. This detail is powerful and adds much to the play.

Once a character is completely done with their action, they may follow along with the narrator and watch what unfolds unless their character is specifically called to stay with the story. In many cases, the participant may find what their character did after the interaction called for by the Biblical text. This knowledge may be important and cannot be discounted. The participant is to be the character until the reading of the Biblical text is complete.

At this point it is important to mention that no one, not the teacher nor the narrator are to assume the role of a director, for it is the Holy Spirit who directs the play.

After the story is complete, all participants are to share what they learned about their character during the Bible Play. Much healing is accomplished by during this time of reflection.

The Bible Play is the best method by which to know the characters of the Bible, for during the play, they are truly there with us. There is cannot be accomplished any other way. One may read 1,000 books about Hosea but until you have actually seen, heard, or been him, you will never truly know him.

Stay tuned for more teaching tips and click here to purchase the bookTrust Jesus and stay fresh!

Setting

The following is another excerpt of a book which we have recently completed about teaching the Bible which focuses on some techniques that may be little known and are certainly seldom practiced today.  Here we present the all important element which we call the “Setting,” which, as you can imagine, is not what it seems.  Enjoy!

Taken from “Hosea: A teacher’s guide for those who are lead to teach the book of Hosea

Setting

As we alluded to earlier, there is a power that is unleashed by simply reading the Word of God as if you have never read it before.  A key to this power being released is the teacher’s ability to bring the class into the setting of the Biblical text.

An 18th century Russian icon of the prophet Hosea located in the Iconostasis of Transfiguration church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Northern Russia, painted by an unidentified artist during the first quarter of the 18th century.

Setting, in this sense, is more than historical facts and data. It is more than an understanding of the people, places, economic, religious, and geopolitical circumstances which are present at the time the text is taking place in.  All of these are important elements of setting and can be aids to the class’s understanding of the text, however, for the Power of The Living God to be released into the room, something more is required.

The class must miraculously be transported to the time and place of Biblical account to be transformed.  The teacher guides the class to this place by humble submission to the power of God at work in the room.  In this place, all of the class’s previously formed conclusions about the Biblical text are shattered as they are transported to the place and time where the Biblical text takes place.  It is no longer a story or lesson, the room is alive as each person through supernatural selection assumes their place in the Biblical account as it is actually taking place around them.

Each person in the class is healed as the Spirit of The Living God teaches through each one of us as we experience the text as is written, not as it is interpreted by the teacher, but as it is spoken aloud to the class.

The teacher must balance elements of timing, relationship, and content as the healing presence of the Holy Spirit moves through the room.  The setting is given by The Lord and communicated through the teacher to bring healing as we open the Bible as if we have never opened it before.

Stay tuned for more teaching tips and purchase a copy of the book itself hereTrust Jesus and stay fresh!

G7 Meet to Stop Yen’s Dramatic Rise and the BLS Calls BS on its Broad CPI Measure – A Mint Classic

Over the past year, the Bank of Japan has tried numerous times to Kamikaze its currency and has failed miserably.  As of the writing of this classic Mint, the USDJPY exchange stood at about 80:1.  Check today to see how the Bank of Japan has fared.
 
As for the other theme, if anyone still believes in the BLS’ headline inflation number, they probably work at the Federal Reserve and watch I-Pad prices for signs of inflation!

Enjoy!
 
3/18/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
 
The G7 Central Bankers have called an emergency meeting to “do something” about the “skyrocketing Japanese Yen.”  This meeting is simply their latest attempt to combat reality.  The reality of the situation in Japan is that they are dealing with a catastrophe.  When one is dealing with a catastrophe, the next prudent step, after all of the immediate crises have been contained, is to take stock of the situation.  By taking stock, we mean that one takes note of what was lost and, more importantly, what one will need in order to restore things to an acceptable level of comfort.Comforts cost money.  In Japan, to replace these comforts the average person needs Yen.  They will either get this Yen by making a claim with their insurance company or selling assets to raise cash.  With damages of nearly $15 Trillion Yen (roughly 3% of Japan’s GDP) and counting you can imagine how the demand for Yen is, well, about to skyrocket.

 
The Japanese people are still dealing with the catastrophe.  Speculators in the currency markets are, as always, one step ahead of what must happen and are sapping liquidity, in terms of Yen, at a rapid pace.  This activity, taken at face value, will presumably wreak havoc for Japanese Government Bond prices, the prices of stocks traded on the Nikkei, and the US Dollar.
 
These three markets will crash if nature is allowed to take its course.  You see, in the tipsy turvy world of currencies, to buy a yen more often than not means that a US dollar, a JGB, or a stock listed on the Nikkei is sold on the other side of the trade.
 
The most sought after currency in the world, at least until the G7 meet tomorrow
 
The accelerated selling of dollars, as Jim Rogers points out, could cause the endgame scenario for the US currency to swiftly come upon the world.  Mr. Rogers goes so far as to call this a “Moment of Truth for the dollar.”
You can see the brief interview by clicking here.
 
Of course, as Mr. Rogers points out, it may be time to buy the dollar, if for some reason it is to survive as a top tier currency.  We have lived just long enough to know that anything is possible.
 
The G7 meeting today is VERY IMPORTANT.  It should not be, if only the world had not left the embrace of sound money 40 years ago, but unfortunately, it is.  For the G7 will essentially decide whether to keep the Dollar on life support or to pull the plug.
 
What will they do?
 
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the legion of bureaucrats who are charged with cranking out data in order to support FED policy, appears to be starting its own form of political protest against the loose dollar policies followed by the Federal Reserve.  After faithfully cranking out the core CPI, a key statistic here at The Mint, for years and watching it slowly become distorted into the puppet statistic that it now is, they came out with a data point in 2002 called the “Chained Consumer Price Index” which takes into account a rolling average of food and fuel costs, which the core CPI now blatantly ignores.
 
This index hit a record high in February, confirming what most average Americans already know:  It has never been more expensive to live in the Land of the Free.
 
Will we be Brave enough to return to sound money?  You, fellow taxpayer, can take a step in that direction with just a few simple keystrokes.  APMEX, our affiliate, is running a contest.  They are giving away one 1 oz gold eagle coin each month.  All you have to do to enter is register by clicking this link and filling in the blanks.  You can register to win once per month.  If you so desire, click here and Register at APMEX.com Today!
 
By definition, the black hole of debt will always grow at a more rapid pace than the worthless currency that is printed in an attempt to fill it.  If the black hole collapses (i.e. widespread default occurs), hyperinflation will occur quickly.  If currency becomes scarce, people will find another medium of exchange, likely gold and/or silver.
 
Either way, the world will be out of this mess before long, so hold on to your hats, it is bound to be a wild ride to the other side!
 
Stay Fresh!
 
 
 
P.S.  If you enjoy or at least tolerate The Mint please share us with your friends, family, and associates!
 
Key Indicators for Friday, March 18th, 2011
 

US Debt Ceiling Vote to Ignite Armageddon in Bond Markets? Key Indicators all Point to Inflation – A Mint Classic

Today we are taking a break en route to Bolivia.  Breathing in La Paz is hard enough, let alone attempting to dissect what is occurring in the World economy.  As such, we offer a look at things which we wrote about 14 short months ago which came to pass just 8 short months ago.  A much ignored number which is peculiar to America, the debt ceiling.
 
Today, the number is mostly ceremonial but it is important to remember that the US is likely to breach the $16.2 trillion symbolic limit in the near future.  Will we have  repeat of the events we described?  Enjoy!
 
1/18/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
 
For some months now we have been wrestling with the notion that there will be a major collapse in the Bond Markets.  We have speculated as to the causes and possible effects in these chronicles, comparing the coming events to the battle of Armageddon, famously prophesied by John in the book of Revelation, Chapter 16.  Bondholders have been lured into a valley, and our guess is that they are about to get slaughtered.
 
When and how will this occur?  This is the subject of our speculation today.  Be forewarned, fellow Gambler, that we do not have any sort of inside information.  Rather, we rely on our own wild imagination and questionable powers of deduction.  Actual events may differ dramatically from what we imagine, and we pray that they will!
 
Our current speculation has its origin in digesting the reality of the upcoming Congressional vote as to whether or not to raise the debt ceiling.  In the past, this would barely have been news.  The government almost always, without fail, spends more money than it takes in. This is one of the few things that you can count on a democratically elected government to do.  To cover the deficit, the government must issue debt.  Since there is almost always a deficit and there is almost always interest to be paid on existing debt, the amount of debt owed by the government must always increase.  This is the basis of our current insane monetary system.
 
 But wait!  Along comes a group of Congressmen and women that either don’t understand the game or are unwilling to play along any longer.  They appear, at least from their rhetoric, to be set to vote AGAINST raising the debt ceiling (the total amount of debt that the US Government can officially borrow).  In theory, this would mean that Government expenditures would have to be immediately reduced by $1 Trillion, the projected deficit for current fiscal year, and further reduced to give them the ability to roll over the roughly $3 Trillion dollars worth of US Treasury debt that is set to mature in 2011, even assuming that it can be rolled over at 0% interest.  Both of these are plausible but highly unlikely scenarios.
 
 
As an aside, you can watch all of the dizzying US Debt statistics here.  We advise you to take some Dramamine beforehand.
 
However, a “NO” vote on raising the debt ceiling would make these highly unlikely scenarios not only likely but absolutely necessary.  A “NO” vote would likely trigger a sell-off not only in the US Treasury Debt Markets but also in every fixed income and equity market on the planet.  This sell-off would lead to an unprecedented amount of cash chasing around a finite number of real goods.  
 
In short, the end result of a “NO” vote would be a paralyzed Government and hyperinflation.
 
On the other hand, a “YES” vote is no picnic either.  Many of these Congressmen and women were around the last time they had to vote on a measure with such broad reaching financial implications.  Does the TARP Fiasco of 2008 ring a bell?
 
On the bright side, a “NO” vote would bring an abrupt end to the insanity of the present world monetary system.  A system that is based on debt, not real money, which causes the productive forces of mankind to cannibalize themselves.  After the initial shock, a “NO” vote would be a great thing for mankind.  Do today’s politicians have the backbone to do this?  Only time will tell, but here at The Mint, we believe that at this point a “NO” vote or a stall tactic (which is practically the same thing) may in fact be likely to occur this spring.  We are not alone in this boat, as back in November former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin alluded to this vote as a possible “trigger for a “rout in the Treasury Market.”
 
While all signs in the Bond Markets point to an implosion, either this spring or at some unspecified date in the future, all of our Key Indicators here at The Mint are continuing to point to Inflation.  It is for this very reason that we observe them daily, to ensure that our hypothesis is correct.  These are the “cards” the we hold as gamblers.  Each one merits in depth study as to its economic significance but we will spare our fellow gamblers this depth for now and jump directly to the practical application. 
 
At the end of every Mint, we present the Key Indicators.  We encourage you to compare them with the Key Indicators from previous Mints.  If the Key Indicators are generally higher (with three exceptions) than they have been in the past, we expect inflation, maybe a lot of it.  If they are lower, we would expect deflation.  The magnitude of the inflation or deflation depends upon the magnitude of the changes in the numbers.
The three exceptions, of course, are the “FED Target Rate”, the “MINT Perceived Target Rate”, and the “Inflation Rate (CPI).”  In the case of these three indicators, if the number is lower than it has been in the past, we can expect inflation.  If they are higher, we would expect deflation.   
 
You may also click on each data point below for a link to its source to better perform trend analysis.
The timing of what is to come is a mystery.  Based on recent data, inflation is walking up the drive but still a ways from the door.  If we had to guess, we would expect inflation in full force by January 2012.  If Congress pulls the trigger with a “NO” vote this spring, it could arrive quite a bit sooner.
 
As Kenny Rogers wisely said, “Know when to walk away and know when to run!”
 
Stay Fresh!
 
 
 
 
P.S.  If you enjoy or at least tolerate The Mint please share us with your friends, family, and associates!
 
Key Indicators for Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
 
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  4.5%
Unemployment Rate:  9.4%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.5%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  11,787
M1 Monetary Base:  $1,954,500,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $8,881,000,000,000 (this numbers stands roughly $2 trillion higher today, about the same amount that the debt ceiling was ceremoniously increased back in August.  Coincidence?  we think not!)

Everybody Has a Voice

The following is another excerpt of a book which we have recently completed about teaching the Bible which focuses on some techniques that may be little known and are certainly seldom practiced today.  Here we present two more, “Everybody has a voice,” and an additional note on preparation.  Enjoy!

Taken from “Hosea: A brief guide for those who are lead to teach the book of Hosea

Everybody Has a Voice

The person who is teaching must recognize that they are not truly the teacher, per se, rather, that they are the intermediary who is delivering the Word of God afresh to minister to thirsty souls, amongst which they must find their own.  As such, it is important to ask open ended questions of the audience and to give everyone in the room an opportunity to respond.  It is equally important to understand that some questions do not have answers, in fact, the best questions tend to lead to further questions rather than answers.

And it is good.  Remember, as you are speaking the Word, the Holy Spirit is ministering about the room.  As the audience listens to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit is ministering, it becomes apparent that everyone in the room is a teacher and one person’s response to your question or comment may minister to another in the room without either of you being aware of it.  The healing that occurs when this take place is amazing, and should be expected to be a constant part of the class when the Holy Spirit is leading.

There are no set rules, but as the intermediary (read teacher), the person in charge of the class has the responsibility to maintain the classroom environment as holy.  If a question or comment carries on it can become more of a distraction than an aid to the healing that is taking place.

There is a fine line between teaching the Word of God and expressing one’s own opinions.  It will be clear when it has been crossed, as the teacher, you are responsible for discerning when it has been crossed and steering the class back to the Holy Place.

A Brief Note on Preparation

While we have provided a number of questions and historical background to facilitate the study, we encourage you to read the entire Biblical text which you will teach, in this case Hosea, at least five times before presenting it.  Each time, write down key questions which the Word begs the reader to answer.  We have provided space for you to do this on page 19, and it is expected that this space will not be adequate.

Some of these questions will simply appear verbatim in the Biblical text, as is often the case when Jesus is teaching.  Some of them will come to you through the Holy Spirit as you read and prepare.  All of these questions are valid, and the Holy Spirit will guide you as to which questions to ask.  Even simple questions such as, “what are you hearing?” or “what is happening out there, would anyone like to comment?” can lead to great healing amongst those in the class.

Stay tuned for more teaching tips and the release of the book itself here at The Mint.  Trust Jesus and stay fresh!