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How to Create A Financial Roadmap: Investing In A Volatile Market

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The market has been heading up, up and away for so long that many investors may not remember (or even experienced in some cases) what it was like to invest during times of extreme volatility. However, the bull market has to end sometime—and probably for longer than a single quarter like we saw at the end of last year.

So how do you go about making investment decisions when it becomes very challenging to find positive returns? It can be tempting to switch out your entire portfolio when there’s a sudden change, but that may not be the wisest move. Before making any changes, you should consult your financial roadmap, and if you don’t have one, then now is an excellent time to make one. The Securities and Exchange Commission advises investors to look at their entire financial picture before making any big changes. This step-by-step guide will help you get everything down on paper.

#1. Set goals

Image result for goals

To start creating your financial roadmap, write down any goals that you have. Perhaps you want to purchase a new home in 10 years. You’ll also want to determine when you want to retire, although this age could change over time if you discover that you can’t retire as early as you want to. Decide what types of things you want to save money for, whether it’s a new home or car, an education, retirement, medical bills, a “rainy day” fund, or anything else.

Don’t forget to set timelines for each goal so you have an idea of when you might be able to achieve these goals realistically. The SEC has a number of calculators and other financial tools to help you set realistic timelines for your goals.

#2. Look at your current financial picture.

Most investors already know the basics, but pulling everything together into a roadmap might seem a bit overwhelming because it can be so easy to forget something. Even though you may think you know everything you need to know about your current financial picture, just having all of it down on paper will help you get organized.

Make a list of all your liabilities and assets, including individual holdings in your portfolio[s]. List all your checking and savings accounts and their balances, the cash value of your life insurance policies, real estate, home, retirement accounts and other investments, and any personal property. Knowing which stocks or other assets you have money in can make it easier to decide where you want to move your money when the market turns.

On the liability side, list your mortgage, credit card and bank loan balances, car loans, student loans, and any other liabilities. Add up your assets and liabilities and subtract your liabilities from your assets to see your net worth. If you have a negative net worth, you can start making plans to get on track. The Foundation for Financial Planning has some excellent worksheets to help you get started with making your lists so you don’t forget anything.

#3. Consider your risk tolerance before making any changes.

 

After you’ve made a list of all your investments and assets, it’s time to think about your risk tolerance. As the winds of the market shift around, risk sentiment will move as well. There is no such thing as an investment that is 100% safe.

A good guideline for determining the best mix of risk in your investments is to subtract your age from 120 and put that percentage of your portfolio in stocks and the other percent in bonds. For example, a 40-year-old would put 80% of their portfolio in stocks and the remaining 20% in bonds.

Of course, there are many other asset classes to consider too, and picking stocks is literally a full-time job. Thus, you may want to consider an index fund for your stock holdings if you just want to set it and forget it. However, if you want to take on a bit more risk in part of your portfolio, there are many actively managed funds with excellent track records to take the guesswork out of stock picking.

As you’re setting out all your investments and thinking about making changes, make sure your portfolio is properly diversified so that when one asset falls, another one gains to make up for the loss in the other one. Think over every potential change carefully before making a move to avoid unnecessary turnover and fees associated with trading.

The SEC also has a handy guide here which explains more about investing and creating a financial roadmap.

This article originally appeared on ValueWalk. Follow ValueWalk on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Entrepreneurs

DATA: Are VC Investors Cutting Down On Checks?!

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According to a recent survey, venture capitalists are worried there’s too much money moving around the private markets.

For Q3, the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index—a quarterly University of San Francisco undertaking for the past 15 years—scored 3.58 on a 5 point scale (5 indicates high confidence, 1 low).

“But 3.58 is still high….ish…no?”

Well. Not really. You’ve gotta look at how it’s trending.

So how’s it trending?

Global Venture Capital Financing by Stage: 2010 - 2018

Some non-report, index data from 2010-2018.

This quarter’s index measurement dropped from Q2’s index reading of 3.76—and below the nearly 16-year average of 3.70.

That said, it’s better than Q4 of last year where investor confidence market the lowest index reading since Q1 of 2009, right around Recession time.

And with all the tech IPO activity this year—including BOTCHED ones like WeWork and not-so-good ones like Uber—investor confidence could be dipping even further. Especially with, what appears to be, IPO fatigue in the public markets.

And that may not play out well for valuations.

OK, so what’s the deal?

A couple of factors.

According to the researchers, investors are catching stank face over the—quote— “lofty valuations due to a continuing enormous supply of capital being made available to new ventures as more mega funds ($500M or more) are being established.”

ROUGHLY TRANSLATED: Mega investors—like WeWork sugar daddy SoftBank—are frustrated with poor returns.

So what are the VCs saying? 

Well, the VCs chipped in with their two cents, in jargon, of course.

Menlo Ventures Partner Venky Ganesan says private markets have been fueled “by the availability of cheap capital and the surge of new entrants to private investing.”

AllegisCyber’s Bob Ackerman said something similarly jargon-y, adding there’s “too much capital chasing too much undifferentiated innovation with unrealistic return expectations.”

In other words: Too much money being thrown at ideas that aren’t new ideas but expect to be the next Facebook from standpoint of traction.

On one side of the spectrum, then you have guys like Kobe Bryant, whose $100M VC fund Bryant is straight CRUSHING IT, with 18 active deals and 10 exits.

Then there’s Trump…

Trading uncertainty is making people stay on the sidelines. Apparently, all the impeachment chatter isn’t helping either, according to the research.

USF’s Mark Cannice concluded his report—and brace yourself, there’s a whole heap of jargon coming—by saying this:

“With new sources and unprecedented amounts of capital being made available to new ventures” along with “evolving expectations of public markets for venture-backed firms in terms of paths to profitability, it could be argued that the venture industry is itself in the midst of a transformation.”

What the FUCK does that even mean?!

We’ll tell you what it means.

TRANSLATION: Venture capitalists are basically sick and tired of startups burning through cash without being profitable in the hope that a massive IPO will get said venture capitalists their 10x returns on the back of sucker public investors.

And said sucker public investors have caught on to the shiznit. In other, less pretentious words, the gig is up.

(See how we did that in three words vs. three lines? 🔥)

But that doesn’t mean there’s no money to be made…

2008 - 2017 Global Alternative Asset Indexed Returns

There are entrepreneurs out there who raise capital scale, just like there are VCs who don’t just invest to cash out at IPO. Or you can always go catch an alley oop with Kobe and get straight back into the gains game. That’s always an option…

‘Till next time, #WealthGANG…

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INFOGRAPHIC: How To Invest Your Money (In 8 Simple Steps)

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Plenty of savers are making do with low rates of return on their deposits—almost eroding the value of their savings. Here’s a guide on how you should invest your money and gain some great returns off it.

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Money

Will Cloud Gaming Drive The Next Big Gaming Transition?

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The global gaming industry has always been a disruptive one. Nuclear physicist Edward Condon developed the first computer game in 1941 called Nim, one which pretty much saw the computer win 90% of the time.

The disruption didn’t fizzle out. Soon afterwards, the first programming guidelines were written for a chess game developed by Claude Shannon, while a decade later the US Department of Defense created a war game — STAGE.

This really set the stage for what was to come later video games. American investor Ralph Baer wasted no time and conceived the idea of playing video games on TV, and the world’s first gaming console was released. The rapid evolution of gaming consoles coupled with gaming design and the introduction of graphics cards have taken the global gaming industry by storm.

In the last decade, the evolution of smartphones opened up a totally new segment known as digital gaming. In 2016,  Activision Blizzard paid close to $6B to acquire King Digital- a digital gaming behemoth. Not one to trail far behind, the eSports segment, despite its nascency, proved to be a long-term revenue driver for top gaming firms.

Will cloud gaming be the next key driver in global games?

Now companies such as Microsoft [MSFT], Google [GOOG] and Electronic Arts [EA] aim to create a market for cloud gaming. So what exactly is cloud gaming? It’s similar to online streaming services such as Netflix [NFLX] and Amazon Prime [AMZN], but with games.

Cloud gaming will allow users to play games on their computer or mobile devices. A remote server will send players video feed and receive controller inputs. This now means that players no longer need to purchase gaming consoled to play the latest games. All you need is a stable internet connection.

Google’s cloud gaming project is called Project Stream and the company launched a beta test last month. Players required a Google Chrome browser and an internet connection of 25 Mbps or higher.

Microsoft which also manufactures the Xbox consoles announced its cloud gaming platform known as Project xCloud. It has confirmed several Xbox games for beta testing such as Halo, Minecraft, and Gears of War.

The tech giant is hoping for growing interest in cloud gaming to offset any declining sales in gaming consoles.

Following Google and Microsoft, top gaming publisher Electronic Arts has forayed into this space, with a project known as Project Atlas.

Will this move garner global attention?

The shift to cloud gaming is going to be as disruptive as any in the gaming space. Players can now subscribe and stream games online instead of spending over $300 for the latest gaming console. The cloud gaming space is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26% between 2017 and 2023.

While Netflix and Amazon have changed the consumption of entertainment via cord cutting, it is very likely that cloud gaming will soon be a hit among players in a few years time. Is this the end of the gaming console?

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