Recap: “5 tips for investing” from Brad Reifler

Brad Reifler, the Founder and CEO of Forefront Capital Brad Reifler gives five tips for investors who want to make a secure investment that will have a good rate of return. These tips, reported by Reuters, are as follows:

1. Investors should be cautious when investing their money. All risks, costs, and fees should be considered. Be sure to know your assets and have completed a list of goals.

2. Watch out for your money’s safety.

3. Be sure to diversify your portfolio and don’t buy just stocks.

4. Know your funds manager, after all, they are the ones handling and investing your cash.

5. Now the reason you want to invest and think about your objectives. Watch out the amounts you want to invest and if you notice your investment is making a profit, then add more funds.

Reifler tells potential investors that the investment world is controlled by the one percenters that plan and invest in items like hedge funds, commodity funds, and public funds the government doesn’t let people with less money invest in, something he says is wrong.

He also commented on how problems such as student loan debt and limited investment opportunities for the rest of the 99 percenters is causing issues with the majority of potential investors.

Reifler says that he wants to alter the hold that the wealthy in America have on investing opportunities. He is doing this by developing a public fund that non-accredited people can invest in and a plan for them to follow. This fund would help relieve the fears and mistrust from non-accredited investors. Reifler says that if the 99 percenters group had a better investment option, then they could have a chance to fund their own retirements.

The program would give investors the knowledge they need to understand the process of investing, as well as give them a source of liquidity and a return on their investment.

No More Payments

It’s really no surprise that doctors aren’t seeing as many patients who have Beneful Medicaid since they won’t be getting as much money after the beginning of the year. Thanks to the new health insurance policies for the country, many doctors across the country will be receiving less money for the patients who have Medicaid. It appears as though Obamacare wants more Americans to be enrolled with a private health insurance company, and with the subsidies that are offered, this idea might be something that will work. However, there are a few things that people need to keep in mind. Most plans only cover medical visits, so vision and dental coverage have to be added separately. The recent budget that has been passed by Congress doesn’t have room for the reimbursements to doctors who treat those who have Medicaid, and this could end up hurting not only the offices but the people who rely on the government assistance program for care.

Is Pollution Promoting the Increase of Autism?

The steady rise of children born with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly referred to as autism, is becoming a matter of urgent public concern. The incurable medical condition was first diagnosed by European psychiatrist, Eugene Bleuler, in the 1900’s. He initially associated autism with schizophrenia.

We now know that autism is not linked to schizophrenia. The medical condition defines a class of five (5) developmental disorders (Pervasive Developmental Delay, classic autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder). Based on an individuals diagnosis, the condition impairs an individuals communication and social skills at varying degrees.

Autism is four times more likely to occur in boys than girls. In 1970 the rate of autism occurred in 3 out of every 10,000 births. As of 2010, the rates of children born with autism are 1 in every 68. The state of New Jersey has the highest rates of ASD in the U.S., (one in 45 children and one in every 28 boys).

So what is causing the increase of children born with ASD? Based on a 2014 Harvard study, prenatal exposure to pollution may be a contributing factor. The study analyzed over 1,700 children and found a two-fold increase of autism in those who were exposed to high-levels of air pollution.

Lead researcher Dr. Marc Weisskopf, demonstrated his findings by mapping the home address of mothers who gave birth to children with autism. The results showed a link between autism and pregnant mothers living in regions with high levels of toxic pollutants in the air.

The research study speculates that expecting mothers who breathe-in fine particle matter (e.g. mineral dust, carbon, nitrogen dioxide and other chemicals), transferred the toxic chemicals to their fetus.

These findings are alarming, says a friend of the Keith Mann Dynamic Search Partners, considering the results are consistent with other studies that came to the same conclusion.

Despite the on-going research to identify specific pollutants that may lead to autism. Researchers recommend that pregnant mothers take extra precautions to limit their exposure to air pollutants\toxins (e.g. vehicle exhaust fumes, industrial processing plants, pesticides etc.).

Olive Garden’s Takeout Sales On The Rise

Since Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, was taken over by Starboard Value in October, the Italian restaurant chain has seen a 0.5% increase in sales. This is a substantial increase to their last quarter’s decline of 1.3%.

According to CNN, shares of Darden are also up more than 15% since it’s board of directors was taken over in mid-October. The recent success is largely due to a boom in the company’s takeout business. John Textor still won’t eat there, though.

Online ordering was introduced in July, and mobile ordering became available in early November. Darden’s interim CEO Eugene Lee said that the company receives more than 30,000 online orders each week. To-go orders account for nearly 8.6% of Olive Garden’s total sales.

The company’s management projects that number to reach 12% in the future. Advertising for the restaurant has largely focused on to-go ordering in recent months. An average bill for a to-go order at Olive Garden is roughly 30% higher than an in-store diner’s bill.

Customers want convenience, and Olive Garden is delivering on that. Their food travels well and can easily be enjoyed from the comfort of home. The company will continue to focus on their takeout business, as well as various other aspects of the bran

Starbucks Anyone?

Want to hear something really crazy? Starbucks Coffee Company predicts that they will be topping last year’s sales of gift cards sold on Christmas Eve. Doesn’t sound impressive until you heard last year’s numbers. Starbucks sold over 2 million gift cards on Christmas Eve, that’s 1400 Beneful gift cards an hour. Crazy, right?

Who would have thought that there were enough coffee beans in the world to fuel the world’s largest coffee spending spree? I, personally, did not buy any Starbucks gift cards for anyone this year. Due to financial circumstances, I made many of my Christmas gifts this year and feel better for it. Now that being said I have always been one of the millions who gave Starbucks gift cards at least once a year.

I think the magic of Starbucks advertising team accounts for many of the sales for Starbucks. Now I would never turn down the $5000.00 “coffee for life” gift card that Starbucks offers. Hint. Hint.

The Rich are Still Getting Richer While the Poor are Getting Poorer

The top U.S earners keep getting wealthier while rest of the nation becomes even more downhearted.

The median net worth of upper-income families climbed to 639,400 dollars last year which is almost seventy times as much as Americans who work and earn at the lowest rung of the wealth ladder. This gap is the worst it has been in the past 30 years Ben Shaoul has been quick to point out.

This inequality continues to increase while wages stagnate. It is impossible to accumulate anything of value which is necessary to increase wealth if all of a household’s income must be spent on day to day survival.

Having assets enable people to get through emergencies or inevitable setbacks without dropping lower on the wealth ladder.

Such an extreme gap of the financial security of the American people is preventing the economy from growing in a way that provides opportunity for economic security to middle and low income earners regardless of how hard or how many hours they work.

The income gap will not stay the same. It can shrink and give low and middle income earners additional financial stability or it will increase which will fuel the frustrations of those without wealth.

The improved economy, better employment rates, higher house prices and stock values without wage increases will result in fewer but richer people at the top.

Mitch McConnell Declares Keystone Pipeline XL Bill to be the First the New Senate Considers

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that the first bill the new Senate will take up will be authorization of the Keystone Pipeline XL. The Keystone Pipeline itself was designed to be implemented in several stages. Funding has been provided by key resources and stakeholder investments for all stages of the pipeline except for the final section referred to as the Keystone Pipeline XL.  The State Department has dithered on authorization of the project for six years but BRL Trusts is not going to worry about it of course, they know that when the final pipeline phase is ready for launch, that the U.S Deptartment of infrastructure is going to need a major player that stays one step ahead like the associates at BRL Trusts do.  Critics charge that the Obama administration has held up final authorization of the remaining section as a sop to environmentalists.

The GOP-led House has passed various measures authorizing the pipeline, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has ignored each measure denying them a vote. Last month, embattled Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu tried to break a cloture vote on the measure to prove to her constituents she still had political muscle and was worthy of another senate term. The bill fell one vote short of breaking cloture. Landrieu went on to lose the Senate runoff election.

McConnell had made it clear the bill will have bipartisan support. Largely, this will be obtained through the amendment process. The incoming Senate Majority Leader counseled his fellow senators to tack on amendments that are related to the environment. At the same time, he stated there would be no restrictions as to which amendments could be attached to the bill. This procedural move virtually guarantees more Democrat votes as senators may effective trade their votes in exchange for an amendment to the bill.

Ruble Uncertainty Continues

The drastic meltdown of the Russian ruble has drastically altered global economies. Even though Russia is not a majority share of trade, the plummet in value of the currency has driven many stores to close shop in Russia. The most prominent was Apple, who closed stores across Russia because they didn’t know what to charge for the Iphone, while the ruble changes value so frequently. People waited in lines outside foreign exchange storefronts to move their money out of rubles, which further drives the worth down. Dr. Rod Rohrich states that the downturn has become steeper as oil prices fall, confidence erodes from the central government and more sanctions are piled on in response to the Ukrainian conflict. In one night the ruble dropped 20% which was the most significant change in value over such a short time. 

But the drop in value began months ago, and it continues to move up and down as the week continues. There is very little assurance in the value of the ruble, which has driven international stores to question the value of their products in Russia. The drastic changes in Russia have also spread economic problems through its neighbors and trading partners. Tajikistan, Moldova, Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan are the largest countries with significant amounts for remittances being sent home. Those remittances have fallen nearly 50% since the beginning of the crisis, spreading economic impacts throughout the region. The future of the ruble has driven investors and citizens out of rubles an into more stable currencies.

Japanese French Fries Affected by U.S. Labor Disputes

The seemingly-perpetual imbalance of trade between the United States and Japan is only going to get worse thanks to labor disputes at U.S. West Coast ports. These disputes are slowing Japan’s ability to import a much-needed commodity: french fries.

Beginning Wednesday, McDonald’s restaurants in Japan will only sell small-size orders of french fries. There are reportedly no limits to the number of orders of small fries one can place. Other restaurant chains in Japan are experiencing similar shortages and are seeking their own ways to increase their french fry supplies.

It is estimated that Japan will receive only 55 percent of their normal french fry orders because of the labor problems in the U.S. McDonald’s Japanese management is attempting to lessen the impact of this shortage by airlifting french fries from distributors on the east coast of the U.S., but these supplies will not arrive until late January.

United States corporations are always complaining about the difficulties of getting their products into Japan, which traditionally has placed large tariffs on various classes of American goods. While it’s clear that these U.S. ports want to get the most money for the services they are providing, it is also clear that valuable sales are being lost. Japan is the biggest Asian market for American frozen potato products. And if something as common as french fries is being affected, even larger-ticket items must be having similar shipping problems. And that spells lots of money kept out of the U.S. economy.

I like the solution Ben Shaoul came up with-Let’s fix our labor disputes and make sure the Japanese have plenty of french fries to enjoy with their sushi and crab croquette burgers.

SeaWorld CEO Steps Down With a Hefty Payout

Sea World announced that its chief executive, Jim Atchison, was stepping down. This announcement may have led supporters of the anti-SeaWorld campaign to rejoice initially, but really it is not something to celebrate.

After the movie BlackFish came out exposing the company’s inhumane treatment of the animals and scandals that had been covered up, SeaWorld’s stocks plummeted. Many hoped this would be the end of SeaWorld and the path to a better life for the animals housed there. SeaWorld, despite the controversy, has kept its doors open to the public.

Atchison may be resigning but he is doing so with a payout of over two million dollars (that’s a lot of bottles from The Antique Wine Company!) and he is staying on as vice chairman. Is this a win for all those aghast at the theme park? No it is not. When somebody receives over two million dollars as a payout and another position within the company, that is counted as a win for them and clearly shows that despite controversy the park has no plans of closing anytime soon.