Impact Investing: Will Your Business Pay for Success?

Pay for Success (PFS) is an innovative new funding mechanism that is used to finance social-benefit projects with high-quality impact metrics. PFS projects are popping up in every sector from homelessness, to healthcare, to education. New models prove that PFS projects can be used to stimulate investment in commodities, as well as workforce development. What impact will this have on the private sector? Will your business Pay for Success?

Peruvian Commodities:

The Common Fund for Commodities unveiled a Development Impact Bond (DIB) to modernize cocoa and coffee production in Peru’s Amazon region, the Ashaninka. This first standing commodity-sector DIB breaks into a new frontier of Pay for Success (PFS) possibility.

DIBs follow the main principles of PFS projects, but they feature a third-party end payer, rather than a government. In this case, the Common Fund for Commodities has agreed to repay the investor, the Schmidt Family Foundation, once pre-determined target outcomes are successfully achieved.

Rainforest Foundation UK is the service provider for the project, and the organization has already started experimenting with leaf-rust resilient coffee strains. Last year, the leaf rust disease plagued almost 70% of coffee production areas in the Ashaninka.

Due to global recognition as a top-notch commodity, Peruvian cocoa has experienced a substantial demand increase among foreign consumers. Driving supply to meet demand, higher-efficiency cocoa production methods are being implemented right on time.

This Peruvian coffee and cocoa project raises the question of whether DIBs can be used to modernize other types of commodity production. Could a DIB be used to supplement exports of quinoa, corn, and salt from the Peruvian Andes?

Sustainable Tech and Water:

During the Social Entrepreneurship at UVA Pay for Success Conference, one participant raised the question of whether or not PFS projects could be used to fund sustainable technologies and water conservation. The possibility exists. Based on the Peruvian model, a fund for California commodities could pay an investor when a non-profit produces wide-spread adoption of sustainable planting methods. Would you invest in California’s water conservation?

What about climate change? A clean energy fund could pay an investor, contingent on service providers spreading the adoption of sustainable technology. PFS projects are all about aligning interests, so as long as you have a problem, partners, and payable outcomes PFS possibilities exist.

Entrepreneurship and Art:

To successfully complete a PFS project, you need a fund, a fiduciary and a non-profit service provider. Venture capital funds could act as end payers, investing in non-profit entrepreneurship accelerators. If the accelerator achieves a certain measure of success, private investors, potentially well-connected angels, will get paid. Success could be measured in the number of companies to meet a prerequisite rate of growth, target revenue, or social-impact metric.

Dual-incorporated businesses with a non-profit branch may be able to experiment in-house with the PFS model. Village Capital, which consists of a non-profit and stand-alone fund, could essentially structure an in-house DIB. If private investors wanted to invest in the non-profit, they could enter into a PFS agreement with VilCap Investments.

From an art accelerators standpoint, they could scale their operations with a PFS project, similar to entrepreneurship accelerators. If art investors wanted the McGuffey Art Center to expand its artistic co-op model, the investors could provide up-front cash, and a fund, even local government, could step in as an end payer. This PFS model could easily be piloted in Charlottesville, VA if art-backing investors step-up to the plate.


What Are The Advantages of Investing In Platinum Coins?

As a pure precious metal, platinum is whitish in color and malleable. For many years, platinum has been used in emission controlling devices, jewelry and in electronics. As a precious metal, platinum can be both collected and invested in. The rarest of the precious metals, platinum has a much shorter history in the financial sector in contrast with gold and silver. Platinum is steadily becoming one of the most proficient hedges against inflation in the marketplace. Platinum metal investing comes in a variety of types including coins, exchange traded products on the New York Mercantile Exchange and Swiss Bank accounts that offer the investor immediate buying and selling of platinum as a form of currency. Platinum coins have become more popular in recent years over its gold and silver counterparts. While platinum is one of the scarcer precious metals and comes in many different forms, there are some advantages of investing in platinum coins and owning them.

1. Combination – platinum coins provide a prosperous avenue to platinum commodity market participation and owning a collectible coin as well. Platinum is now eligible to be included in IRA retirement accounts as well for the investor seeking to have stable retirement. By investing in platinum coins, you gain a smart way to build both short and long-term wealth, as well as own something that is collectible. Platinum coins are a solid and financially unwavering investment.

2. Short and long-term benefits – with platinum coins, an investor can see a quick return on their investment along with a long-term investment potential. Platinum volatility is what drives this particular advantage. While platinum will diversify your portfolio or collection of precious metals, investing in it can be expensive. The cost of platinum coins, while on the high-end of the precious metal spectrum, can be a lucrative investment. Despite the high spot price that platinum has and the fact that is more unpredictable than gold or silver, platinum can provide rapid profitability for the investor seeking a sound pecuniary investment.

3. Market fluctuations – while gold and silver do not fluctuate as much, platinum is considered to be profitable due to its market fluctuation. Platinum prices can significantly ebb and flow. This will ultimately affect the spot price. Since platinum coins are considered to be one of the more expensive types of precious metals investments, knowing the spot price before purchase can save a lot of pitfalls and problems later on.

4. The Strong Demand – in rising markets, platinum develops a noteworthy fiscal premium over other precious metal. Since this precious metal is used in many consumer goods, demand for it rose significantly making it a worthwhile investment.

5. Rarity – more rare than gold or silver, platinum, maintains its rare qualities such as costly fees, and differences with every type of platinum coin. Platinum coins are truly precious as over 90% of the platinum used comes from countries such as Russia and South Africa. Platinum is also an eco-friendly metal, which is a driving catalyst in its rarity.


Apartment Building Investing – Find Motivated Sellers

As the creator of the “Buy Your First Apartment Building E-Course” I have many potential students and beginning investors ask me, “How do I find motivated apartment building sellers?”

There are many ways that investors use to find motivated sellers, however, what I see happening many times with beginners is that they start looking for properties to purchase before they thoroughly understand how to identify a truly profitable opportunity. Here are my recommendations for how to begin learning about multifamily investing and then how to find motivated sellers.

Begin by learning what makes mult-family property profitable by taking these steps:

  1. Study and learn about what makes an apartment building profitable.
  2. Read as many books about real estate investment and apartment building investment as possible. It is a lot easier to learn from other people’s mistakes. There is no need to reinvent to the wheel.
  3. Find a reputable real estate investment club in your geographic area and meet with the commercial investor members. These “old hands” are a valuable source of market information.

After the aspiring multi-family property buyer has received a thorough education by reading books, industry magazines and networking with other commercial real estate investors then he or she is ready to begin the process of searching for an actual property to purchase.

Contacting Commercial Realtors

A great reference source for finding well educated commercial real estate agents is the CCIM website. The CCIM is a professional designation that qualifies a commercial real estate professional as capable and knowledgeable in the field. You can also find commercial real estate agents using a simple search on the web.

When searching for a commercial real estate agent take these steps:

  1. Speak to a number of commercial realtors in the area and ask about “pocket listings”. Pockets listings are apartment building owners that the experienced realtor might know who are serious about selling their building but they have not listed the property yet.
  2. Find a commercial realtor who specializes in multi-family investments. A good commercial realtor who specializes in multifamily properties should have a great knowledge of what apartment buildings have sold for recently.

Alternative Strategies for Finding Apartment Building Deals:

  1. Place an ad on Craigslist stating what you are looking for:
  2. “Looking To Sell Your Apartment Building? I am a commercial real estate investor interested in buying multi-family property in Philadelphia between 5 and 100 units. I am looking for owner financing over five years with 5% down or will buy with a 20% down payment and a bank loan.”

    Or, here is an ad that I copied directly from Craigslist this morning:

    Moving? tax benefits run out? call me for a offer.

  3. You can also place the same ad in the commercial real estate section of your local newspaper but be prepared to pay a handsome sum for the ad and also be ready for unsolicited calls for real estate agents. Newspaper ads do work but you are better off using free or more direct methods like direct mail.
  4. Another strategy is to contact the owners of commercial real estate directly. This can be done in a number of ways. Multi-family owners can be located by researching the tax records of a metropolitan area. Usually, the owner of record will be listed along with his or her or contact information. The next step is to write a letter that explains who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. The purpose of letter to have many interested apartment building owners contact you. You should leave your phone number, mailing address and email address for sellers to contact you. You should make it very easy for the sellers to get a hold of you. Remember, you will need to look at dozens of deals and sellers before you find the one that fits your investment criteria. You can also contact owners directly by telephone. Keep in mind that multifamily property owners are usually very busy so you might want to write a script or have talking points written down so you are able to get right to the point and get your message across accurately.

Australian Coin Investing

Australian coins are not only a coin collector’s hobby but they can also be a wise means of investment, if done properly. Australian rare coins refer to those coins that were once in circulation as Australia’s currency. The British system of pounds, shillings, and pence were used up until the year 1966. The use of the British currency system stems from the fact that Australia was originally a colony of England.

These coins were made from gold, silver, and base metals. Later the decimal system was adopted and the Australian dollar was divided up into 100 cents much like the U.S. dollar is. Though withdrawn from public circulation these coins are still legal tender. These coins have become known as Pre-Decimal coins.

Investing Advantages

When one decides to invest money, one should choose an investment in an area that can provide good returns and minimal risks. From this aspect, rare Australian Coins can be a profitable and an intelligent option. This type of investment is a very different type of investing compared to investing in stocks in a stock market. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • As they are old currency coins, they have the advantage of being government approved.
  • Rare coins can be more affordable. they can be bought singley or in bulk.
  • Buying Australian rare coins can be done in private if necessary.
  • When you invest in rare coins, you are not bound by unnecessary rules and regulations.
  • When you purchase rare coins, they can be passed down to your heirs.

Establishing The Value of Australian Coins

All over the world Australian coins are much appreciated by collectors and investors. We next need to determine what factors are used to value these coin:

  • Usually, the rarer the coin, the more that coin is worth.
  • The face value is important.
  • The type of metal the coin is made of is very important.
  • The grade of the coin is one of the most important factors.
  • The year the coin was minted can add value to it.
  • The number of coins minted. Small mintage numbers often translate into rarity.
  • The condition of the coin. Uncirculated coins are valued higher than well circulated ones

Rare numismatic investing is not risk free investing. If you want to invest with minimal risk, you will need to park your money in a bank account that pays zilch interest. Of course with negative interest rates being applied to bank accounts now, you are going to have to pay the bank for the privilege of having them handling your money. For more information on how to value Australian currency click this link for an informational article:


Budgeting for Your Writing Dreams – Stop Spending and Start Investing

There is no such thing as not having enough money to invest in your career. If you're spending, that means you aren't investing; and if you have goals of being a full-time writer, then you need to invest in your career.

I hear writers complain about not having money to do what it takes to build their writing career. Things such as investing in a writing coach, editor or books that will help them when they reach the point of publishing. Even the spirit that hovers over eBooks is somewhat daunting, leading people to believe that if the price is higher than $ 2.99, the book is too expensive.

Writing is hard, grueling work. Your work should be rewarded. But how can you expect readers or someone else to invest in your writing when you won't do so?

People spend more on coffee at Starbucks in one month than they do on putting gas in their cars. Think about it? A $ 5 coffee everyday for a week is $ 100 / month. You won't ever see that cup of coffee again. Yet you fret about investing in a writing coach who can help you finish a project you've set aside for the last three years?

Look at things that you spend your money on everyday and I guarantee you, you'll find at least $ 200-500 extra dollars a month that you can save. How do I know? Because I did it years ago. Between magazine subscriptions, eating out and just spending money, I was able to account for $ 300 that I could save.

In 2010, I started making no excuses when it came to budgeting for my writing dreams. If there was an $ 85 workshop, I did whatever it took to get the money for that workshop. You know what I realized? I simply cut out things that didn't matter in the first place.

Stop spending and start investing today. Here's some things to look at when it comes to budgeting for your writing dreams:

– How much money do you spend in a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks at work, etc.)?

– How many magazine subscriptions do you have that you know you can cancel (you probably don't read the magazines)?

– Are you taking time to find coupons for the things you buy every week at the grocery store?

– When you see a sale, do you have to buy that item or are you buying it because it's on sale?

These are just a few things to take inventory of. You don't need a money article to realize that in today's economy, investing is better than spending. Are you looking to be a full-time writer over the next two to five years? Then start budgeting for your writing dream today. It'll pay off.


IF – The Wonders of Investing

If it seems as if all investors are selling, who is buying?

If trading has become entertainment for you, it may be time to refocus on profits.

If your stock has reached an annual low, can it go any lower?

If your stock has reached an annual high, can it go any higher?

If all the television analysts jumped off a bridge, would anyone care?

If your portfolio is based solely on fundamental analysis, perhaps it is time to learn technical analysis.

If I said you had a beautiful portfolio, would you hold it against an index?

If you are tired of losing value on the long side, perhaps its time to learn both sides of the market.

If you do not have a written financial plan, you should.

If you could put aside $205 at the beginning of each month for thirty-five years, with an 11% annualized return you may save over $1 million.

If you have stopped looking at your portfolio statements, does that mean your game plan is off?

If a fool and his money are easily separated, who introduced the two?

If buy and hold is your philosophy, why do you need a broker?

If a tree falls in the forest, does it ruin the stock market for the day?

If someone invented a computer program for investments that proved 100% correct all the time, we would never know about it.

If you think the market capitulated, you are not in a state of selling hysteria.

If 1,000,000 lemmings jump, can they all be wrong?

If you want to know what Greenspan thinks about economics, count the times he smiles.

If you expect nothing of your portfolio, you will not be disappointed.

If you are a rational investor, can you benefit from an irrational market?

If you managed your money like the government, you would take money from your neighbor and spend it on stock options that expire this week.

If you are confused with the opinions of the media, create your own.


Tips And Advice For Wise Stock Market Investing

Whether you would like to work from home, supplement your income or put your finance degree to use, investing in the stock market has many benefits for anyone who chooses to participate. Read this article for some great tips on how to pick stocks and make the most profits with investments.

Consider getting some good software that specializes in investment management. It really does not cost that much and it will help save you a ton of time trying to learn how to properly do things. Look into getting one that can help you with profits and losses and one for tracking prices.

Do not invest money that you might need to access in a hurry, or that you cannot afford to lose. Your emergency cushion, for instance, is much better off in a savings account than in the stock market. Remember, there is always an element of risk with investing, and investments are generally not as liquid as money in a bank account.

Pay attention to cycles, and wait for the bull market to emerge. You must be ready to pounce when things are on the upswing. If you do your homework, you will learn to recognize when a bear market is about to do an about-face and head in the other direction.

A great tip that most investors could use is to make a rule where you automatically sell off your stocks if they go down in value by about 8% of the original stock price. Lots of times’ stockholders are praying for a rebound that never comes, and they end up losing even more money.

Keep an interest bearing savings account stocked with at least a six month reserve so that you are prepared if a rainy day should come about. This way, if something crops up like an unexpected medical bill, or unemployment, you still have some money to take care of your mortgage/rent and have cash on hand to live on in the short-term.

Investing through a brokerage has become very affordable over the past few years; however, it is still important for you to shop around. When deciding which brokerage to use, you should compare the fees that are assessed for trading, along with other fees such as account maintenance fees. You should also take into account the research tools that are available, the convenience of using their interface, and the level of customer support offered.

Aim for investing in stocks from companies that are financially sound and have earning growth that are above the market average. There are over 6,000 publicly traded companies in the United States stock markets, available to choose from. However, applying these criteria reduces your target pool of stocks to just around 200 choices to invest in.

When considering company stocks to invest in, consider any past negative surprises. Similar to the idea that one pest is typically indicative of more pests in your home, one blemish on the company record typically indicates more in the future. Choose businesses with the best reputations to avoid losing money on your stocks.

When it comes to investing, make sure you’re educated. Learn the basics of accounting and stock market history. If you’re not educated, you won’t be able to make money and you’ll look like a fool. You don’t need a four year accounting degree or anything fancy, but take the time to learn the necessary information.

Stock Market

When the stock market takes a dip, do not distress. Instead, look at the fall as an opportunity to purchase stocks at bargain prices. Many smart investors have made fortunes this way, because the market will inevitably rise again. Being able to see past the doom and gloom can be very profitable.

Many people who are just starting with stock market investments purchase mutual funds. Mutual funds are usually low risk investments due to their diversification. The beauty of mutual funds is that you obtain a nice range of stocks, and you have a professional who is conducting all the research on the different companies in your investment portfolio.

To make your stock market investing more efficient, try a good stock management software package. Tracking stock prices and trends can be mush easier when you use your software to generate the information you need. Add your own personal notes for company information and analyze your data regularly. The cost of these software products is worth the investment.

Keep your objective and time horizon in mind when choosing your stocks. If you have many years left and are saving for a retirement decade away, invest aggressively. Look at small-cap growth stocks or related mutual funds. The percentage of your portfolio in the stock market should be as high as 80%, if this is your personal situation.

Staying informed, determined and patient is very important for anyone who would like to invest in the stock market. Although it can be a very profitable venture, stubborn or inflexible people won’t do very well. Remember the tips in this article, so that you can start profiting from the stocks today!


Investing in Equestrian?

The majority of us regular Joes wish we had more money, but it seems the only way to make more money, is to actually have money in the first place, i.e. to invest.

This is not strictly true. There are many ways of investing small amounts of money, some of them you would not necessarily class as “investing” but investing by definition means – laying out money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit.

Now take betting on a horse for example, I’m sure your significant other isn’t going to buy into it when you tell them that you are investing, but by definition, you are. Every investment has an element of risk to it, betting on a horse of course, has a little more!

The other kinds of investing “Alternative Investments” are usually the area of collectors and hobbyists, but these can also generate a decent return on your money. This includes everything from art, antique furniture and wine to vintage cars, stamps and toys.

When it comes to wine, there is a convincing argument that as an investment, it produces returns comparable to equities and the cost of fine wines will keep on rising.

There are many other avenues to pursue when you are not wealthy enough already to invest your money into property and real estate. Taking a look in your attic to see what delights you may find could be a start.

The internet holds lots of information in regards to ideas for investing, there are bonds to consider, stocks and shares, gold or silver, even currency! Investing need not be for the privileged people, even us, the average Joes can start investing somewhere along the spectrum. Remember you have to start somewhere, and take your first little steps, but always think BIG.


Bestselling Books About Investing Your Money

For seventy years, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People has influenced people worldwide by teaching social skills that not only win others over but give way to personal financial success. This book is as useful today as it was when it was first published. Carnegie teaches skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel appreciated and important; thus, you can make someone do what you want them to do by learning how to see the situation in their eyes. This newly revised and updated edition teaches the ways to win people over, to change people without making them resent you, and to make people like you. It is a valuable read for anyone who wishes to stake a claim in the business world.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham provides essential information about the value of investing your money. Graham’s world-famous philosophy of “value investing” shields investors from substantial error and teaches them how to development long- term strategies. Since its publication sixty years ago, The Intelligent Investor has become known as a stock market bible. This updated version incorporated financial commentary by journalist Jason Zweig who speaks about the realities of today’s market and applies them to Graham’s philosophy. This is an indispensable book that will help you reach your financial goals.

Diana B. Henrique uncovers the shocking story of Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme in The Wizard Lies. Ever since news of the revered New York financier who swindled his friends, family, and many investors out of a great sum of money spread across the world, millions of people have been fascinated with Bernie Madoff. No reporter until now has been able to get the full story. Drawing on over one hundred interviews-some with Madoff himself-Henrique explores vivid details from government investigations and lawsuits surrounding the myths about the Madoff scheme. This true story and financial thriller is the most complete account to date about Madoff’s rise on Wall Street and his downward spiral into self-destruction.

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks, the chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, provides insightful information about market opportunity and risk. He has been sought after by investors around the worldwide, and now for the first time his valuable philosophies about investing can benefit readers like you. This book explains the keys to successful investment and warns against the pitfalls that can destroy a career. Marks honestly shares his own experiences and occasional missteps to provide essential lessons on critical thinking, risk assessment, and investment strategy.

Millions of Americans have turned to Suze Orman for financial advice. In The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream, Orman advises readers to seriously reconsider the American Dream-its promises, its need for revising, and how it fits our lives in such a way that a successful future is within our grasp. This book delivers important lessons on personal finance while addressing aspects such as home, family, career and retirement. She advises readers to be realistic and honest about their lives and to gain the confidence that what they have worked for cannot be taken away.


Understanding Opportunity Cost When Investing In Property

While most investors have got involved in property investing because they understand the opportunities to make money through leverage and capital growth or high yields, I still see and hear of many who do not fully understand opportunity cost.

Remember anyone that gets into property is usually in it to generate money or income – how many deals/properties you own is insignificant.

So what does opportunity cost mean?

Well according to the encyclopedia, “Opportunity cost is a term used in economics, to mean the cost of something in terms of an opportunity foregone (and the benefits that could be received from that opportunity), or the most valuable foregone alternative. For example, if a city decides to build a hospital on vacant land that it owns, the opportunity cost is some other thing that might have been done with the land and construction funds instead. In building the hospital, the city has forgone the opportunity to build a sporting center on that land, or a parking lot, or the ability to sell the land to reduce the city’s debt, and so on.”

So in property investing terms, if an investor decides to invest £50k in a property in for example Wales, the opportunity cost would be what he could have made by investing in Spain, Ireland or Dubai. Or similarly if an investor decides to keep equity of 50k in a property, the opportunity cost is what he/she could alternatively have invested this money in and the resultant value.

Now again this will depend on your specific strategy – and many people are not too concerned about opportunity cost, they are just keen to buy 1-2 properties that can hold onto for 15-25 years to use as a pension. That is fine if that is your strategy – but for me that is too broad a strategy, carries risks and is not maximising the opportunities available.

For me I have always had a philosophy, rightly or wrongly, that I should always be working my money hard. What does this mean? Well as soon as I feel my money has made a significant return and the returns are likely to drop off, compared to other possibilities, then I will look at realising my profits and investing elsewhere ie when I feel the opportunity elsewhere is greater than the current opportunity.

The great thing with property is this does not necessarily mean selling, as you can refinance, and invest money elsewhere.

This is no different to any other type of investing, such as buying stocks and shares – you make/lose your money depending on what price you paid, and what price you sold at – although clearly with property is good opportunity to earn a regular income as well – if hold onto for 15-25 years you should make money, but most likely will be a few scares along the way!

To be a successful investor, must know when to enter the market, and leave the market. And the people that do best buy low, and sell high!

I’ll give an example – while buying off plan has now got a bit of stick in the UK – I have done it successfully over the last few years – but the key is having a clear strategy.

For example, by doing all my due diligence I have managed to buy property at the right price in right location, but then sold on within a year of completion as I felt that was the period I would see the maximum returns in – and opportunities would be greater elsewhere over the next 3 years.

So to go through the numbers, I have just sold one that I bought off plan last year 12 months before completion. I bought at a price that was already £10k below market value based on my research in an area that had little buy to let competition. This was secured with only a £5k deposit. On completion, I put another £28k into deposit – so tied up £33k of my own money. There was no stamp duty in this area.

I then put on market on completion, now even with things slowing down in the area, I have just sold it for a £23k profit. So I tied up £5k for 1 year, and a further £28k for 6 months, to get back £56k.

Why did I sell? Did I consider refinancing?

My first choice would have been to refinance and let out, but the rental would not have stacked up. So while the rental would have stacked up at the price I paid for the property, I would have had 56k in equity sat not doing very much for me. So as I do not forecast huge capital growth in the area over the next 3-5 years, and the yield was not attractive enough for me it was best for me to release this equity and find another investment – ie I felt there were better opportunities for me to spend my £56,000 on, to generate more money.

Now clearly when are looking into the future is element of risk and speculation and are no definite answers – so you are having to forecast as well as you can with the data currently available ie how you forecast interest rates, buying/selling costs, supply and demand, employment, the overall economy and market sentiment over the next time period in the markets/regions you are investing/looking to invest in.

Although opportunity cost can be hard to quantify, its effect is universal and very real on the individual level. The principle behind the economic concept of opportunity cost applies to all decisions, not just economic ones, for example when Steven Gerrard decided to stay with Liverpool last summer, his home club and where he is captain, the opportunity cost was what he could have achieved if he had moved to Chelsea. It will be interesting to see what he decides this summer- he may now feel the opportunity cost is too great to turn down.

Hope this makes sense, and remember to consider opportunity cost when next making an investment decision.