Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Top 10 ways to invest in the new year

1. Property

With property prices at their lowest for many years, 2013 could be a good year to purchase a second property and enter the rental market. There are always risks attached to property investments: prices could fall even further or you may find yourself saddled with problem tenants. This is not a short-term investment but it could be extremely lucrative.

2. Stocks and shares

There is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from cherry-picking shares which go on to perform well. The key to success is to diversify your shareholdings or, if this option requires too much research, you could invest in a stock fund and let the fund manager do the leg-work for you.

3. Stock funds

These funds can be used to invest in a particular industry, so you can target your investment towards newer technology companies or well-established ‘blue chip’ companies. Fund managers have the benefit of specialised financial systems, such as those provided by APT.

4. Bonds

Bonds are typically a lower-risk investment as you effectively lend money to the bond issuer (normally a government or large corporation). You will receive a guaranteed interest rate for the life of the bond plus the return of your initial investment once the bond matures.

5. Bond funds and income funds

Instead of choosing to buy a particular bond, you may prefer to spread the risk over a number of different types of bond by pooling your money with other investors in a bond or income fund. Whilst generally considered lower risk, you must be aware of both interest rate and credit risk.
6. Gold

Whilst gold is a commodity, it merits a special mention due to the huge demand for gold, and the resultant increase in price. This is why so many ‘cash for gold’ type companies have appeared over the last couple of years. There is some debate over whether or not the recent price slump is serious but it could be an excellent time to buy.

7. The shale gas revolution

Despite the bad press, it looks as though ‘fracking’ is set to increase throughout 2013. Incredible as it may seem, the US could become self-sufficient in terms of energy supply and the UK is looking to follow suit.

8. Other commodities

Investing in commodities has become increasingly fashionable recently due to the huge price rise for commodities such as oil and base metals. However, caution should be exercised as the bite of the global recession can be felt in this once-lucrative market. There are still some commodities, including meat and water, which are extremely attractive to those looking to invest in 2013.

9. Investing in emerging markets

The hot topic of 2012 was investment in emerging markets and this trend is set to continue in 2013. The hub of wealth appears to be moving from West to East and it’s worth considering investing part of your portfolio in emerging markets. To help you decide which emerging market to pick, consult a market risk model which will estimate risk for different asset classes within a given market.

10. Alternative investments

If you would rather put your hard-earned cash into something more tangible then an alternative investment may suit you. When consumer prices start to climb, history has shown that there is money to be made from investing in artworks, fine wines, classic cars and other luxury items that should continue to appreciate in value.


Guardian article explaining why would-be first time buyers are being forced to rent

London Stock Exchange

A Wikipedia article on emerging markets

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The top 10 best actors from the Golden globes.

Golden Globe winning actors.

Daniel-Day Lewis unsurprisingly won the 2013 Golden globe for the best actor thanks to his masterful portrayal of the well known figure in his role of “Lincoln”.
Here is the top 10 list of Actors who have previously won this prestigious award over the past ten years.

2003 – Jack Nicholson.
Well-known actor Jack Nicholson won the award for Best Actor back in 2003, for his role as Warren Schmidt in the American comedy-drama film ‘About Schmidt’ which was loosely based on the novel by Louis Begley and directed by Alexander Payne.

2004 – Sean Penn.
Back in 2004 Sean Penn won the award for Best Actor, following his role as Jimmy Markum in the American Drama film ‘Mystic River’. This film was directed, co-produced and scored by the legendary Clint Eastwood. 

 2005 - Leonardo Dicaprio.
American biographical Drama film ‘The Aviator’ led heart-throb Leonardo Dicaprio to Golden Globe victory when he won the award in 2005 for playing the character of Howard Hughes. This film was directed by the prolific Martin Scorsese. 

2006 - Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Hoffman is another who was presented the valued award in 2006, when he was recognized for portraying the role of Truman Capote in the biographical film about Truman Capote,  a film which, directed by Bennett Miller was based on Gerald Clarke’s biography ‘Capote’. 

2007 - Forest Whitaker.
African-American actor, producer, and director Forest was awarded the globe for best actor in 2007. He earned this award thanks to his critically acclaimed depiction of character of Idi Amin, in the British Drama “The last king of Scotland”, directed by Kevin MacDonald.

2008 – Daniel-Day Lewis.
Well loved and respected Lewis features once again in this list. He received the globe for best actor in 2008 when his characterization of Daniel Plainview in the American Drama film “There will be blood” ensured him the honour of this award once again. This film was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. 

2009 – Mickey Rourke.
‘Tough guy’ Mickey Rourke was a winner of the Best actor globe in 2009. He received this award due to his work in the film “The Wrestler”, directed by Darren Aronofsky. He was cast as the leading character of Robin Ramzinski.
2010 - Jeff Bridges.
“Bad blake” , the leading role in the American drama film “Crazy heart” won Jeff Bridges the award in 2010. Crazy heart, directed by Scott Cooper received great critical acclaim, with 91% of critics rating the film as good.

2011 - Colin Firth.
British historical drama film “The Kings Speech” secured Firth the best actor globe in 2011. Directed by Tom Hooper the film was well received andiIn the UK and Ireland, the film was the highest earning film on its opening weekend.

2012 – George Clooney.

Chiselled ladies man George Clooney won the award in 2012 for his role as Matt King in the American Drama “The Descendants”. This film was directed by Alexander Payne, and is based on a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings of the same name.