Embracing Uncertainty

If you ask investors, they will tell you one thing that they dislike. It is inexainty. Investors always fear uncertainty. In fact, they hate uncertainty. If you ask further, everyone will give different answers but the main reason why they hate uncertainty is that they do not like losing money.

That is right. Losing money is what we as investors want to avoid. However, avoiding uncertainty is not the answer. You see, life is always full of uncertainty. Therefore, taking risks is necessary in investing no matter what your background is. Tell me what kind of assets with no uncertainty at all. One common answer is placing your money in Certificate of Deposit. (CD). The proponent of this investment claims that your money will always accrue interest no matter what happens to the economy, oil price and other things affecting stock investment. But is that so?

Let me answer your question with another question. Why do different banks give you different interest rate for your CD? Sure, it is affected partly by their money supply and demand. If a bank can take in more money than it can loan, it will generally give lower interest rate. However, do you notice that larger established banks generally give lower interest rate than say, an internet CD from e-trade? The answer is uncertainty. Big banks are less likely to fall and therefore, investors are willing to accept lower return investing in their CD. On the other hand, internet banks are more uncertain to survive ten years from now. Thus, the higher interest rate. You see, when you embrace uncertainty, you will earn a higher return on your investment. How about risk? The risk here is that when you invest in small unestablished banks, it may go bankrupt and bring your money down with it. Sure, in theory, your money is protected up to $ 100,000 from FDIC. If you loan your money to a friend, he or she will always say that they will pay your money back, no matter what. But banks are not your friend. In fact, you friends who borrow money from you, can default on their payments.

That is the risk of investing in CD. While, the risk seems remote, it always exists. On the opposite side, investors who fear accidently will probably stuff their money in the mattress, approaching little or no money. This is an extreme example but as you see, getting rid of uncertainty does not look that good here.

Embrace accidently does not mean investing your money blindly. To get a higher return, you need to embrace uncertainty and be educated to minimize your risk. In our CD investment case, what should investors do? Well, for example, you can research the trustworthiness of your bank to sites such as bankrate.com. Once you are comfortable about the status of your bank, you can then invest in CD which offers higher interest rate. A little bit of your time will earn you quite a bit. This is what I called embracing uncertainty. You accept that uncertainty is part of investing but you need to be aware of the risks that you take in any kind of investment. From there, you can weigh your risk and reward and decide which the additional risk is worth investing or not.

Similar case can be applied to stock investing. It is full of uncertainty and there is no way around it. However, by being educated in the stock market, you can minimize your risk and can earn additional return in the process.

Turnaround investing validates this concept. You can choose to invest in a well-run companies with seemingly no trouble in the horizon. Or … you can choose to invest in companies with short-term trouble and wait for them to turnaround. In these two cases, investing in turnaround companies will give you greater return. This is due to the uncertainty of investing in companies with short-term trouble. As always, you have a decision to make. Life is full of choice. Would you rather invest in CD and avoid uncertainty even? Or embracing uncertainty and reap a higher return on your investment?

How to Save Money on Your Calls While You Travel

1) PLAN AHEAD

If you know you will be traveling in the near future, start planning for it. Many calling providers have special plans for use abroad . If your provider does – you might want to use it. Typically, they offer an add-on for a small charge a day. If you are the type of person that spends a lot of time on your phone, it is probably worth it to go for that add-on to your regular plan. Just remember to stop it when you get back, you do not want to be paying that extra charge forever.

If you provider does not have an international add-on or you do not want to use it, there are still plenty of other options to call your home town while you are abroad at a cheaper rate.

Consider buying a local SIM when you are abroad. This is an excellent solution if you travel to the same place often or if you are going to stay in the same place for a long time. When you buy a local SIM card in the place you are visiting, you will usually pay for a bundle of minutes and the price will probably work out a lot cheaper than using your regular phone plan plus you will not need to pay roaming (in Most countries).

If you have a locked phone, you will not be able to use a foreign SIM card without unlocking your phone first.

You can also buy a local calling card which you can then use to call from hotel phones, pay phones … Calling cards are not that popular anymore these day, but if you need a solution for cheap international calling then they are a good option . Also here you have the advantage that there are no roaming costs.

2) WHEN YOU ARE ABROAD

Whenever you need to make a call, think of what you want to say beforehand . This will usually make your call shorter and it will also prevent you from forgetting to say something and then needing to call back.

Text messages are cheaper than calls, so sometimes it may be worth it to send a text message instead of calling , if it is just a short message you need to give over. Remember that text messages are free to receive while calls are not. If someone needs to tell you something, ask them to text instead of call.

Beware though that a back-and-forth text conversation will probably work out the same price as a phone call.

Even if you do not call abroad, you need to pay for incoming calls – so you need to pay when people call you and also some provide make you pay if someone leaves you a voicemail while you are abroad (depending on the country you are In).

You can eliminate at least one of these problems by deciding – do you want people to be able to contact you while abroad or do you want to enjoy you holiday in peace and quiet without being disturbed by anyone calling?

If you do not want to speak to anyone, divert all your calls to voicemail . This way you will not be charged for roaming. You might have to pay if anyone leaves a message for you though.

If you do want to stay in contact with people and answer calls, then disable voicemail . This will eliminate any charges for voicemail (if applicable) and when your phone rings you will be able to see who is calling and decide if you want to answer of not. If you answer you will need to pay roaming charge and if you do not answer, there will be no charge.

Do not listen to voicemail when you are abroad unless you really have to. Calls to voicemail are charged at the same rate as regular calls so you can end up paying a lot of money for just listening to your voicemail.

3) DATA AND WIFI

For many people, high phone bills when abroad do not actually come from speaking on the phone that much, but rather from high data usage. When abroad, your provider will charge you a high rate per megabyte used. If you need to use the internet then by all means use free WiFi when possible, there are loads of places where you can get free WiFi. Some hotels offer you internet at a small charge but that will probably still be cheaper than using mobile data. Just to make sure your phone does not switch to data automatically, it is best to switch off your data for the duration of your stay.

If you are using your phone for GPS and need to download maps, do so before your trip or when you have WiFi. Many navigation programs allow you to download the map beforehand and once it is downloaded no internet is needed for the navigation itself.

4) INTERNET CALLING

Many people these days are turning to internet calling when they are abroad as it offers so many benefits. Internet calls are practically free if both end users are on the same network and provided there is WiFi. If there is no WiFi then you need to count in the cost of data. If both users are not on the same network, then there is a small charge for using VoIP but it is still a lot cheaper that using your regular phone plan.

So obviously the price is a major factor as to why people use VoIP when abroad. But also, VoIP is not connected to a physical place so it can be taken anywhere. Think of business people who want to keep the same number when traveling. With a business phone this would be impossible but with VoIP, people can call you anywhere if you have your mobile / PC with you and there is no roaming charge.

In addition, many VoIP service providers offer features that are not offered with standard phone plans. These may include video calling, sending locations, group chats, and more

There are different types of internet calling:

• Phone to phone calls – using regular phones, VoIP adapters are used to connect the phones to the internet. If both end users are on the same network – the call will be free. If they are on different networks – there will be a small charge.

Calls can also be made using IP phones instead of VoIP adapters to make the calls.

• PC to PC calls – using an app to make calls between PCs.

If the person you are calling has the same app on his PC – the call will be free. If the person you are calling does not have that app there will be a small charge.

• PC to phone calls – make calls from PC to a phone.

If you are calling a phone on the same network the call will be free. If the phone is not on the same network, there will be a small charge.

• Mobile to mobile calls – using an app to make the calls between the mobiles.

If the person you are calling has the same app on his PC – the call will be free. If the person you are calling does not have that app there will be a small charge.

Many apps also allow you to call mobile to PC and PC to mobile.

Whatever type of calling you use while abroad, if you plan a little before your trip you definitely save yourself a lot of money in the end

A Worm Farm on a Budget

Have you wanted to set up a home worm farm, but been put off by the high cost of purchasing one of the neat “designer label” multi-tiered ” vermicomposting” kits, promoted by garden centers and mail order companies? Well, let’s cut through the crap! – ITS ACTUALLY NO SECRET !!! -You can easily make your own DIY three bin kit for a just a few dollars and your worms will be as happy as little pigs in the yellow stuff, with no big bad wolf in sight. Moreover, you do not need to be an expert handyman to achieve this!

  • Hardware stores, supermarkets and camping outlets sell tough, general purpose black (opaque) plastic storage containers for a very reasonable price. These are usually tapered so that they can be nested to facilitate stacking on the retailer’s shelves and come with a ” snap-fit” ce lid. For your worm farm, you will need three of these tapered containers (but only one lid). For a simple home worm farm I would advise going for 12 gallon (45 liter) containers. Typically, they will be about 15 inches deep (400mm). You can go smaller, if you want.
  • In the first storage container, drill a 3/8 inch (15mm hole), centrally placed, in the side of the bin, just above the base. Insert a inch inch (12mm) cheap plastic barrel or irrigation tap (with washers) into your hole and tighten fast with lock nuts – make sure you get a good seal – test by filling the container with tap water. This container is to be the lowest one in your stack and will retain the highly nutritional ” worm tea ” leachate, that will start dripping down from the composting bins above. Worm tea is a valuable liquid organic fertilizer, that can be diluted and used directly on your organic vegetables.

The two upper bins will actually hold the worms. They are to be identified and are prepared as follows: -

  • Drill a pattern of inch inch (6mm) holes across the entire base of each container for drainage and to allow drainage and the upward migration of the compost worms, these holes should be regularly spaced at approximately two inch (50mm) centers in either direction.
  • For aeration, drill two rows of inch inch (6mm) holes at two inch (50mm) centers, in a continuous band around each of the bins. This band of holes would be about four inches (100mm) below the top rim of the bin.
  • It is not essential to drill holes in the lid, which is closed tightly over the upper bin. As you should get enough air through the sides.
  • You first set up the lower (sump) bin on bricks or blocks, allowing enough space to tap off the fluid from beneath it. Choose a shady location for the worm farm (in a shed or garage, if you are subject to frosts).
  • The second and third bins are “nested” within each other and dropped into the sump bin. To maintain a working space for the worms, and for accumulation of compost, you need a few spacers or packers of about six to eight inches height, between the two upper bins and some smaller packers of about four inches in the lower (sump) bin . You can use wood blocks or sealed food jars for packers. The packers also prevent the tapered worm bins from jamming together.
  • To prevent “nasty bugs” from squeezing in between the bins, you should close ( caulk ) the small gap between them with strips of shade cloth, or mosquito netting.

Now you are ready to go into production. Spacevents us from giving fully detailed notes here for the fine points of operating the system, such as selecting and feeding your worms, eradicating pests and maintaining the worm farm etc – you can visit our website for this information. However, just make sure that you cover the following points: -

  • Set up your worms in the top bin with a good (damp) fibrous bedding (or even shredded newspaper) and after a few days you will be ready to start feeding in your kitchen scraps. Cover the food with more bedding material to discourage pests and keep the lid closed.
  • Make sure the worm farm is never allowed to dry out, by sprinkling water over the bedding periodically, if there is not already enough moisture coming from the food scraps.
  • When the top bin has been fully productive for a while, the worms will multiply and compost will be start accumulating from the worm castings. When the quantity of compost is meaningful, stop putting feed into this bin and swap over the upper two bins by putting bin No 2 to the top of the stack, with bin No 1 now in the middle. Set up this new top bin with clean bedding, a small amount of the old castings and immediately start feeding your kitchen scraps into it. The worms will naturally migrate upwards towards the new food source, leaving the lower bin with only a few stragglers and ready for the harvesting of your compost within about three weeks after the swap.
  • All you need to do is to keep repeating the process of alternating the top two bins on a regular basis, taking out the compost, whenever it accumulates, and tapping off the worm tea from time to time. Use both products in your garden and grow delicious fully organic vegetables and stunning roses. Sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labors – your worms are doing most of the work anyway!

To see a detailed diagram of this simple worm farm, as described, and some illustrative photos, you can visit our web site at http://www.working-worms.com/

Happy worming!

Shopping for Cruises Online! How?

Are you planning a cruise vacation but do not know where to start? Have you shopped for a cruise vacation? How did you accomplish your shopping? Did you do your shopping for cruises online? Were you successful in getting the best cruise vacation for you?

I could continue with questions regarding cruise shopping and in particular on-line cruise shopping. But that would not accomplish much without some answers to some nagging questions:

1. Where do I start to find the right cruise vacation?

2. How can I find a cruise vacation itinerary that suits me, my family, my loved one?

3. What cruise line should I consider for my vacation cruise?

4. What stateroom category would best suit my vacation needs?

5. How can I compare cruise vacation deals?

More questions. Perhaps we can answer a few of these questions and help you plan the perfect cruise vacation and purchase the best cruise deal.

Planning a vacation can be an exciting part of the vacation experience as a whole. As you explore and research, the excitation buildings. You become more and more interested in finding information – without being overwhelmed – and can get great satisfaction that you will purchase the very best cruise vacation deal.

Where to Start Shopping for Cruises Online!

One can find information on cruise vacations in many locations – newspapers, friends, "brick and mortar" travel agencies and cruise travel agencies, and on-line. The best bet is to start researching for your self. Decide on where you would like your cruise vacation to travel – should it be a warm winter vacation, a fascinating and relaxing Alaskan cruise, an interesting European vacation cruise or an exciting adventure cruise. At a1-discount-cruises.com you can find merchant links, and more importantly at the start, articles about cruises, cruise itineraries, cruise lines, cruise ships, cruise wear and more to help you plan your special cruise vacation.

The Cruise Vacation Itinerary!

You have already decided on the destination of your vacation cruise. The internet allows you the quiet time needed with all resources necessary to research your cruise vacation destination. You will have no salesmen pushing a particular cruise on you because they get a special incentive to sell that cruise. You can investigate which cruise lines travel the chosen destination and find itineraries that intrigue you. A1-discount-cruises.com offers articles regarding many cruise destinations and itineraries.

What cruise line?

This question requires you to look at your lifestyle and what you would like and expect a cruise vacation to be. Different cruise lines offer different price points, different levels of luxury (although they all offer a certain amount of luxury), and different styles.

Generally speaking, the higher priced cruise lines offer a higher level of service, cuisine, and staff per cruise passenger. This does not mean that the "high end" cruise lines are right for everyone. We've all heard Carnival's advertising – "The Fun Ships". These ships and the "Free-Style Cruising" of Norwegian Cruise Lines tend to be more relaxed and less formal than say Radisson Seven Seas. It becomes a matter of preference at this point. Specific ships can also offer different levels of comfort, formality and service.

Which magnificent stateroom?

The question of what level of stateroom is a matter of taste, preference and of course cost. If you do not plan to spend much time in your room, sometimes an interior room would be suitable. These tend to be the best price point rooms as well. An "ocean view" room provides the passenger with a window from which to look at the day before getting ready for the day's events. Our personal preference is a stateroom with a private deck or veranda. We can sit early in the morning for a few minutes and enjoy each other's company taking in the fresh sea air. And later in the day, before getting ready for the fine dining aboard the cruise ships, we can again have our private time together sipping a glass of fine wine on our deck watching the islands drift by. Sometimes a suite is more suitable. On some cruise lines, the upper level of suites offers concierge or butler service. Whatever stateroom you choose, you will surely enjoy your cruise vacation in comfort.

How to compare Cruise Deals?

Now for the "biggie". How can I compare the cruise deals to get the absolute best value for me? If you have done your research well, it will likely be a simple task. "This cruise offers the itinerary on our preferred cruise line in the stateroom of choice at a price within our budget." However, you will want to compare deals with those exact specifications. At a1-discount cruises.com, we have a number of on-line cruise merchants who are waiting for you to send a request. Do not be afraid to offer your email address when requested. This will allow dialog without pressure so that you can ask questions or get clarifications in the privacy of your home or office. Check out two or three three – or more – of the merchants to see how their pricing is and what incentives if any they have to offer you. If you are still unsure about dealing with an on-line merchant, check out your specific cruise with a "brick and mortar" cruise travel merchant and compare the value.

After you have done this, you can book your cruise knowing that you are getting the best cruise vacation. You have planned for your needs, interests and lifestyle. You have compared pricing with a number of qualified cruise merchants. All that's left to do is book your cruise on-line and get excited!

Check out some of the other informative articles relating to cruise vacations at a1-discount cruises.com. You may just find the cruise vacation deal that's best suited to you!