Author Archive: Robert Bell

Three inspirational books highly recommended by the most successful people

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“Make reading a habit” is one of Warren Buffett’s precious pieces of advice. A well-known business tycoon, He believes that there are countless books out there that are worth reading–some of them written by people who have awe-inspiring experiences to share. We may have different stories and situations, but we can also learn from others’ life experiences—including failures, difficulties, and lessons—that we can use to succeed in the business world. Here are three must-read books to guide you:

  1. “Stress Test” by Timothy F. Geithner

The Stress Test book is a compelling piece of the former US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who now serves as President at a private equity investment firm in New York. Timothy’s 2014 masterpiece addresses the intriguing story behind America’s battle against financial crises and how politicians and the society survived from the cruelty of politics during his term at the Treasury. It is also a comprehensive guide ideal for all aspiring businessmen that will teach you how to manage a business or an organization especially in times of catastrophic financial struggle.

  1. “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham, well regarded in the investment world and oftentimes named as the “father of value investing” is the man behind the top-rated book The Intelligent Investor – first published in 1949. The book has received plaudits for its bold take on various principles in investing that that people can apply in their current business dealings. Benjamin’s avid fan, Warren Buffett, also considers this book as one of his favorites.

  1. “The Industries of the Future” by Alec Ross

Some of the most influential people nowadays, including Joi Ito, a Japanese entrepreneur, have read The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross. In this book, you will likely get promising and inspiring ideas of what does the future hold for various industries in the coming decades. This has caught the interests of many business magnates and even those average people who are also having wild thoughts and notions about the possible economic developments in the future.

World’s most historically significant trade deals

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It is no doubt that economic integration has created a healthy environment for international trade to thrive and expand. As these expansions mark their own transformations all over the world especially among economically competitive countries, trade agreements have also grown more complex.

Ever since the beginning of the history of international trade, there has always been a struggle between free trade and perfectionism, but the differences between these trade policies have relatively given more opportunities than drawbacks.

Just recently, two powerful regions, the European Union and Japan agreed to sign one of the largest free trade deals in the 21st century, a move that will eliminate tariffs of almost every good traded among the community’s member countries. The said trade agreement will benefit over 600 million consumers – and that is over 30 percent of the world’s economy.

Japan is not new to world-changing trade partnerships. In 1854, the Convention of Kanagawa opened the once economically and culturally isolated country to the United States. What made this agreement historically significant was not because of its direct economic impact but because of its enduring effect on the region. For one, the convention led to other bigger trade treaties that connected Japan to other Western Powers, leading to this Asian nation’s rise to modernization.

For Europe, the early half of the 20th century was a turning point in the continent’s united economy. As the world watched the Western power tearing itself apart, their leaders found security in a historic trade deal, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) – an agreement that created a common market for goods such as iron, coal, ore and other scrap metals.

With several participating countries like France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, it dramatically empowered economic cooperation among its members, increasing trade output ten folds.

Has Eastern European economy finally lost its steam?

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The entire European continent continues to experience strong growth in terms of its economic standing in the global race. In 2017, Europe’s GDP enjoyed an increase by 2.8 percent, a percentage higher than its 1.8 percent rate in 2016.

According to a recent forecast, Europe is set to enjoy a stable and strong growth at present, but experts predict a decline in 2019 – and this includes economies from its sub-region, Eastern Europe. Amidst the positive economic climate today, both Central and Eastern Europe are facing murkier forecasts in the coming cycles.

Additional data also points out that the economic outlook of Eastern Europe has finally lost its steam, slowing down from its previous boom from the past year. This can be attributed to the region’s weaker external demand which was a direct cause of the same slowdown suffered by the entire Eurozone.

Eastern as well as Central Europe which are often characterized by cyclically advanced economies, are now facing rapidly growing wages, with inflation that is predicted to pick up this year. Such events can relatively affect the region’s performance among its regional and global competitors.

Further threats by the trade war initiated by the United States’ President Donald Trump against the European Union are set to affect the region’s short-term growth and economic performance. In fact, many experts fear that if the situation won’t show signs of improvements, it could stifle Eastern Europe’s most vital industries, trading, and its overall economic stability.

With major structural and fiscal reforms, these effects are nowhere near their ending. Both Central and Eastern Europe are facing downside risks, due to the deteriorating state of global trade relations that are currently threatening the entire region’s growth trajectory.

 

How you can pay less tax while making the world a better place

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While altruism is the primary quality that motivates people to donate and help those in need, did you know that the simple gesture of writing checks to your favorite charitable institutions can help in reducing your taxes?

Generosity indeed goes a long way, and the benefit of paying lower taxes is one of its most practical advantages that are surprisingly less known to most people. Fortunately, there are financial institutions, such as LOM Financial, that help clients identify such opportunities and execute tax management plans in the most strategic and beneficial ways possible.

Donating to charity through the organizations recognized by the Internal Review Services (IRS) can make you eligible for a reduced tax. In order to check if your chosen organization is included in IRS’ list, you may request their IRS determination letter or call the government agency’s hotline.

However, you have to take note of the following:

  • Tax deductions are not honored if donations are given to individuals. These forms of donating include handouts to the homeless, pooled funds or collections to financially support a neighbor or coworker in need, or other victims of tragedies.
  • Claiming a charitable deduction is only possible if you itemize these deductions on your tax return. You can do this by itemizing them on Schedule A found on your federal form 1040 (lines 16-19).
  • Your donations will only be valid for tax deductions if it is substantiated by a receipt or a bank record where the name of the charity is clearly annotated.
  • While volunteering services won’t give you the advantage of reduced taxes, the expenses acquired while performing your charity work will – unless they are personal in nature or reimbursable.

Most importantly, you have to remember that only charitable donations made in the same year are entitled to tax deductions.

Major bonds that dominate the Debt Market

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Also known as the debt market, the Bond Market is a dynamic financial market that allows participants to issue and trade debt securities. These exchanges play an important role in the economy especially since the primary objective of the bond market is to give access to long-term funding for both public and private expenditures. Financial services companies, including offshore investment firms like LOM Financial, look at the debt market as a major investment vehicle. Here are some of the most common types of bonds issued and traded in the credit markets.

Government Bonds

Government bonds are issued by national governments but it can also be issued by lower levels of governments such as local and municipal entities. Basically, it offers bonds with periodic interest payments, initially attracting buyers, especially conservative investors, by presenting a face value on their agreed maturity dates. Municipal bonds, on the other hand, are issued by lower levels of government such as a state or a local government entity.

Corporate Bonds

Corporate bonds cover a huge percentage of the entire bond market primarily because of the issuing capacities of large corporations – the bond’s main issuers. The debt securities, unlike the bonds issued by government entities, can carry a higher credit threshold and boasts the possibility to return higher yields – of course, with an equivalently higher risk.

Other types of bonds

There are other types of bonds that fall under the category, asset-backed securities. These are the kinds of bonds that are primarily issued by financial sector participants and banking institutions. An example of this type of debt security is mortgage bonds that rely on pooled mortgages from real estate properties.  However, these bonds are usually reserved for institutional investors and not accessible to individual investors.

Industries that scored the largest revenues in 2017

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The largest industries in the world today have a huge influence in the global economy. Aside from generating massive revenues of over $27 trillion, these industries have also raked in a total of $1.5 trillion in profits (based on 2016 data) – and their successes don’t end here. Inevitably, they have become important components in many investment portfolios, including discretionary accounts from offshore investment firms such as LOM Financial.

Based on Fortune 500’s ranking which was released after the end of the different sector’s respective fiscal years, these are the top industries with the highest revenues in 2017.

Banking and Finance Industry

The global banking and financial services sectors represent one of the world’s largest grossing industries.  According to the said ranking, there are 55 companies whose performances from the previous year earned their spots in Fortune’s top 500 money-makers. Included in the top ten is America’s Berkshire Hathaway with a revenue of $223.8 billion.

Automobile Industry

Another industry that’s in the ranks of the biggest industries in terms of revenue is the Automobile Industry, with 34 companies making it to the list. Examples are Japan’s Toyota Motors (with over $254.7 billion in revenue) and Germany’s Volkswagen with a revenue total of $240.2 billion.

Petroleum Industry

Not surprisingly, the petroleum industry is home to the top companies in 2017 based on their revenues. In this particular industry, 28 companies were recognized by Fortune 500. Ranked fourth is China’s Sinopec, with a revenue of $267.5 billion, and Netherland’s Royal Dutch Shell with a $240 billion on the seventh place.

While the retail industry did not make it to the top three highest grossing industries, WalMart Stores actually bagged the top rank as the leading company with the largest revenue in 2017.

What’s inside the most profitable investment portfolios today?

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Portfolio diversification is one of the most effective investment strategies that you should turn to especially if you’re new at investing. However, diversification does not only mean putting different entries into your folder but it also involves carefully balancing and choosing which sectors and specific industries can help you reach long-term financial goals.

Here are the top industries that constitute the most profitable investment portfolios:

Industries under the Technology Sector

Technology companies constitute the most popular sector to invest in, especially with the rise of several new industries that are transforming how people work and live – especially in this booming information age.  Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and even Autonomous Vehicles are part of the new wave of innovative industries that investors should consider for a balanced portfolio. Whether it’s investing in shares of this growing sector such as startups or opting for already established companies, you’ll be on the right track.

Industries under the Health Care Sector

This particular sector plays a vital role in responding to the demands of an aging population through leading innovations and life-saving products and services offered by the different health care industries. From biotechnology, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, hospital conglomerates, and other healthcare companies, including these investment options in your portfolio is a wise move.

Industries under the Financial Sector

The financial services sector covers a long list of industries that include financial organizations, banks, insurance companies, brokerage firms, credit card companies, and even offshore portfolio management firms like LOM Financial. The financial sector is your best bet if you’re looking at the benefits of long-term investments, especially in the U.S. as the government rolls over regulations that will effectively put financials on top of the best industries to invest in for 2018 and beyond.

The promise of a billion-dollar market in the luxury tourism industry

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Luxury travel is no longer just about expensive destinations and staying at the most luxurious hotels in the world. In fact, the recent trends that currently dominate the entire industry make it more diverse than how it was conventionally perceived.

According to statistics, the new face of the global luxury tourism industry shows an increased interest in destinations that offer unique, exclusive, and exotic holiday experiences for travelers. More interestingly, luxury travels are no longer limited to a particular affluent social group. This is because, the popularity of the luxury travel experiences in the social media coupled with the increased spending of the middle as well as an upper middle class have shaped and redefined the whole luxury travel market, fueling market growth that is expected to reach over $1.1 billion by 2022, according to the Allied Market Research report.

What drives the demand for luxury travel? According to the same report, the rising growth of the industry can be attributed to luxury travelers’ high spending power as well as their need for exclusivity. Similar studies and statistics that examined the opportunities and forecast for the luxury tourism industry showed that North American and European travelers contributed 66 percent of the industry’s total revenue. In addition, recent data revealed that the global destinations that topped the most-sought-after luxury travel experience are in Kenya.

Safari adventures, for instance, accounted for an approximately 44 percent of revenue not just in the U.S. but of the overall luxury travel market globally. In fact, this segment is still the most popular among young and middle age vacationers. On the other hand, about 70 percent of millennial travelers prefer culinary-focused travel experience as a top motivation in taking their own luxury trips.

Nevertheless, the likes of Santorini, the Cayman Islands, Maldives, and other “expensive” islands remain to be the top choices amongst affluent travelers, given their reputation and the superiority of hospitality services. Just last year, popular offshore investments center and luxury destination Bermuda has hosted the America’s Cup, a racing competition for sailing yachts that attracts not only the world’s top sailors and yacht designers but also wealthy entrepreneurs and sponsors.

Top business films that will spark your entrepreneurial spirit

Inspiration can come from different places and in different forms, and films are one of its greatest sources. Whoever you are and whatever you do, movies have the power to change your perspective and transform how you see the world – even if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur.

Here are some examples of the most motivating and inspiring business-themed films that will keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive:

  1. The Founder

First released in 2017 in the United States, “The Founder” is a biographical drama film that portrays the journey of one of the world’s largest fast-food chain, McDonald’s. The story revolves around how traveling salesman Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton, met the original McDonald’s brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, and built the fast food empire that we now know today.

  1. The Social Network

The Social Network is a 120-minute American movie adaptation of the 2009 book, “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook”. It was released in 2010, raking in over $220 million from the Box Office. The film portrays several revealing stories of early stages of the now-influential social networking giant, Facebook – but it’s not your typical success story, for the movie depicts several challenges and betrayals that came along with the company’s rise to popularity. Its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is played by Jesse Eisenberg.

  1. The Intern

The movie has a star-studded cast that includes Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. It’s an American comedy that features the chance meeting of a rising start-up founder (Hathaway) and a retired business-owner (De Niro). In the movie, Jules Ostin is the workaholic CEO of a booming fashion website. As part of her company’s “senior internship” initiative, she hires a widower and a former business owner, Benjamin Whittaker – and it was the start of an unusual yet inspiring friendship.