5 Things You Should Know About Bitcoin

5 Things You Should Know About Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies have erupted over the past year.

 

These currencies are nothing new.

 

For years, people used these coins to trade goods and services (mostly illegal drugs) on the Dark Web in places like the late Silk Road.

 

Those days are gone, dozens of new cryptocurrencies emerge every day.

 

While many people rushed to purchase crypto when the Bitcoin price skyrocketed in November, most don’t understand the risk and many other factors.

 

As the price crashes, many people find themselves asking “wait, what is Bitcoin (BC) and how does it work?” It’s too late for some of them. Advocates will tell you now is the time to buy – but is it?

 

Here’s what you should know about the Bitcoin value, Ethereum price, and cryptocurrencies in general.

 

  1. What Is Bitcoin Exactly?

BC is what’s known as a cryptocurrency. Unlike traditional monies, BC and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized (well, kind of) through the use of technology called blockchain.

 

Blockchain is an interesting system created by a notorious – and elusive – figure named Satoshi Nakamoto. No one knows much about Satoshi or if he (?) really exists. It’s generally understood that Satoshi is, rather, a concept for the group of people who created blockchain.

 

Confused yet? It gets worse.

 

Blockchain is a series of blocks or digital records which are all linked in some way. Cryptography ensures these blocks stay secure through a special form of encryption.

 

Crypto-currency: get it? What is Bitcoin? A specific type of cryptocurrency secured using blockchain technology.

 

  1. Where Does Bitcoin Value Come From?

That’s a great question. Unfortunately, there isn’t one correct answer.

 

Crypto advocates will tell you that since BC is independent from the global dollar system, it’s value is determined by this decentralized network: users determine the value.

 

This is somewhat true, but what defines value?

 

In one sense, the only value that BC holds is as a method of exchange.

 

But what is being exchanged? Traditional fiat currencies which you’ve acquired through labor and other methods – all of which rely on the global dollar system for their value.

 

There are two ways to acquire BC and cryptocurrencies: purchase them with “real” money, or mine it. In order to mine BC, you need a heavy-duty computer system that solves complex puzzles (this is an over simplification).

 

Most people purchase BC with their country’s traditional currency. Although advocates tout crypto as a competitor to the global dollar system, these currencies are measured against fiat like the U.S. dollar. Plus, in order to purchase crypto, you need a standard bank account to transfer funds.

 

In fact, cryptocurrencies are very reliant on governments and economies for determining their number values. When governments impose regulations or large corporations announce they will accept BC, this makes the value fluctuate – and drastically.

 

  1. Beyond Just Bitcoin Price: Transaction Fees are Completely Unaffordable for Both Users and Businesses

If you’ve never purchased Ethereum, BC, Litecoin, or any other cryptocurrency, you may not realize how much it actually costs.

 

An average transaction fee costs $28 – average.

 

Want to upload fiat funds to your digital wallet? Pay a fee. Want to purchase BC with funds from your digital wallet? Pay another fee. Is it time to sell because the price skyrocketed? Yep, another fee.

 

Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase charge a lot of money for moving even small amounts of monies. In many respects, this is holding back potential progress in the industry.

 

It’s almost impossible for businesses to offer cryptocurrencies as a payment method for this reason.

 

  1. Think Income Inequality is Bad? The Cryptocurrency World Isn’t Better

In the “real world,” 1% of the population control more wealth than the entire 99% combined. In the cryptocurrency world, 1,000 people control 40% of all BC. Keep in mind that it’s difficult to calculate exact figures for inequality so this is more of an estimate.

 

This inequality doesn’t help the argument that BC is “decentralized.”

 

Combined with other factors, those 1,000 people can drastically influence the value of cryptocurrencies. If all 1,000 decided to sell everything tomorrow, the price would plummet. This would leave folks who invested their last $500 (or sold their home to purchase BC) out in the cold.

 

  1. The Ethereum Price is Low, Could This Make You Money?

Perhaps. Ethereum is one of the up-and-comers of the cryptocurrency world along with BC Cash and Litecoin.

 

If the Ethereum price is low, you could buy a little, but don’t invest your life’s savings. At the time of writing this, Ethereum costs $530 – down about 40% for the month.

 

If you’re looking to make money in crypto, you’re better off buying something like Ethereum and riding it out. However, there are dozens of cryptocurrencies: nearly every state government and major company is developing their own.

 

Deciding which one to purchase is just as much – if not more – risky than the traditional stock market.

 

Invest wisely, just don’t lose your home.

Here’s the Secret to Saving for College

Here’s the Secret to Saving for College

College is expensive. How can you afford it?

 

You can’t pull money out of thin air or rob a bank.

 

As an adult, it’s nearly impossible to save money for school – but you have other options.

 

When it comes to kids, saving for college isn’t easy but it is very possible if you do the proper planning and budgeting early.

 

These options are as close as you can get to pulling money out of the sky.

 

Funding and College Savings Plans: What are Your Options?

 

Not all college savings plans are created equal. In fact, some can be a rip off.

 

It’s important to understand your financial situation and education goals before deciding which college savings plan is right for you.

 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

 

Before you look anywhere else, check FAFSA.

 

If you live paycheck-to-paycheck or are worried that investing in college savings plans is just not an option financially, you might be eligible for federal education funds. The level you receive is based on your personal and family financial history and college experience.

 

FAFSA has many benefits and the downsides are easy to manage.

 

  • The money is tax-free and you don’t need to pay it back.
  • The application is thorough but moves quickly and doesn’t require you to submit documents.
  • You can use the money at just about any accredited school.
  • You need to reapply every year.
  • If you’ve used FAFSA before and withdrew from your program, you may need to pay for an initial semester if you want to receive FAFSA again.
  • When you apply for FAFSA, you may also have the opportunity to receive federal student loans. (These you will have to pay back.)

 

Since FAFSA is essentially “free money” with no strings attached, check here before looking into a 529 plan or other college savings plans.

 

529 College Savings Plan

 

Not every 529 plan is the same. Deciding which one is best for you depends on your financial situation. Brokers often charge outrageous commission rates so beware.

 

  1. Prepaid Tuition 529 Plan: This allows you to pay for tuition at a two or four-year college or university upfront at the current rate. By the time the student is ready for school, their education is already paid for.
  2. 529 College Savings Plan: Earnings placed in a 529 plan are tax-deferred as they grow. Later, you can make tax-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses.

 

Every state offers different 529 plans – check with your home state first. If you find a good rate in your state, you may qualify for a yearly state tax deduction due to your investment.

 

You may, however, find a great rate in another state and that’s okay too. Check with an advisor to work out all the details.

 

Coverdells and Custodial Accounts

 

You might know Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) as their previous name: Education IRAs.

 

You can use these options for investing money for a variety of educational purposes including private elementary and high school in addition to college.

 

ESAs provide a variety of flexible investment options. Although contributions aren’t tax deductible, you can make tax-free withdrawals for tuition and other expenses.

 

The yearly contribution limit is $2,000 for an ESA if your income is under $95,000 per year.

 

Savings Bonds

 

Educational savings bonds are a great way to save tax-free money for college tuition and other qualified education expenses.

 

However, there are a few financial limits. Couples filing jointly must make under $116,300 per year while single filers need to stay under $77,550. (These numbers apply to the 2017 tax year so future investors should use this as a general idea.)

 

Although the concept seems simple, college savings bonds are anything but uncomplicated. When in doubt, talk to an advisor.

 

Scholarships

 

When people think of scholarships, they often imagine high school students playing sports or exceeding in other activities. The truth is, there are thousands of scholarships out there for all kinds of people – just like you.

 

If you have a specific degree or certification picked out, look for professional organizations in that field. The American Welding Society, for example, provides dozens of scholarships each year for students of all ages. Industrial gas distributor, Praxair, also provides scholarships to welding students.

 

Just about every industry has companies and organizations that give out substantial scholarships – many of them go unclaimed due to lack of applicants. One or two could pay for your entire tuition each year.

 

Putting it into Action

 

The hardest part about saving for college is taking the first step.

 

If you’re uncertain, look for a qualified financial advisor to help guide you through the process. Seek out second opinions: your money is important and you want to make sure it’s invested in the best way possible.

Top 9 Poorest Countries in the World in 2018

Top 9 Poorest Countries in the World in 2018

In general terms, the wealth of a country can be assessed by reviewing their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This metric is best defined as a country’s total market value of goods produced during a specified period of time. But can this be an indicator of the poorest country in the world?

This number is divided by the country’s population to provide the overall Gross Domestic Product. Of course, there are other things that contribute to a country’s wealth, but this has been a universally accepted standard in economics.

Unfortunately, this metric varies greatly from country to country. There is a ton of disparity between rich and poor, and this challenge spans the globe. While there is no clear winner when it comes to the poorest country in the world, here are a few that top the list.

The Poorest Country in the World – 9 Examples

#1. Madagascar

some poor houses in Madagascar

This African island has received some publicity for their unique biosphere and attention to tourism. However, most of the country is drowning in poverty. The country has experienced political turmoil and unrest for many years. These constant challenges have left the country with little economic leadership or direction.

Also, most of the natives are trained in agriculture and make a living through this type of work. Unfortunately, the country is severely affected by climate change, and the weather can be unpredictable. This creates hardship for the locals who rely on agriculture to survive.

#2. Malawi

some people hauling water in Malawi

Malawi is another African state that tops the list when it comes to the poorest country in the world. It has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world with over half the country living below the accepted poverty line. Unfortunately, the country has experienced loss of aid due to corruption within their local government.

Without aid, the country has experienced turmoil and has not had the funding to contribute development. This change has led to even further poverty and destruction. Similar to other African countries, the Malawi people rely heavily on agriculture and farming for survival. Massive flooding in late 2015 devastated the country and their economy, and they’re still working to recoup the losses.

#3. Guinea

a poor family in Guinea

This country has experienced wealth in the past due to their massive local mineral mining. However, recent events have contributed to the slip. The country has not enjoyed economic freedom since the 1990s, and the country’s government has engaged in a series of sociopolitical conflicts which have rapidly delayed the country’s return to independence.

In addition, the country’s laborers rely on outdated equipment and processes for farming which has proved a massive handicap.

#4. Niger

several men with cattle in Niger

Niger is swallowed by the Sahara Desert, with 80 percent of its land mass lying in the stretches of this sandy oasis. Niger has often been touted as the poorest country in the world due to its large population and limited room for expansion and growth.

The country’s rapidly growing population and reliance on small-scale agriculture place it at risk for desertion. In addition, the country has a rough past of slavery, illiteracy, and disease. Mortality rates are extremely high, and while the country anticipates some relief due to ongoing oil projects, it continues to rack up debt to complete these projects.

#5. Liberia

a destroyed school site in Liberia

Liberia earns a look as the poorest country in the world. The African nation experienced a major hit to their economy with the Ebola crisis. Ebola caused many investors to withhold their investments until the disease was better contained.

In addition, the overall economy relies on exports like rubber, iron ore, and palm oil. This means the country is at the mercy of the global commodity markets. Overall, a whopping 85 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line definitely putting it in the running for the poorest country in the world.

#6. Afghanistan

some cute children in Afghanistan

This Middle Eastern country needs no introduction. After almost two decades of war and terror, the country definitely lacks structure and lands recognition on the list as the poorest country in the world. Unemployment in Afghanistan sits around 35 percent, and almost half the population survives on less than one dollar per day. In addition, the country lacks the support of foreign investment due to the constant turmoil and instability.

#7. Ethiopia

some children outdoors in Ethiopia

This African country is extremely underdeveloped and impoverished. Over 55 percent of the country’s population lives in city slums, and the GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Ethiopia is another culture where agriculture is the foundation of the country’s economy. Unfortunately, the country regularly experiences drought making progress a challenge.

#8. Burundi

several Burundi children on a field outdoors

This community has experienced the brunt of the infamous Hutu-Tutsi ethnic conflict. The conflict has created chaos and destruction throughout the country, and the European Union has cut funding to this impoverished country because of political corruption.

Also, the crisis has driven a recession and a ban on trade with neighboring countries. This experience has contributed to inflation making it difficult for the locals to find ways to put food on the table. All of these factors have landed Burundi in the mix as one of the poorest country examples in the world.

#9. Haiti

a crowded Haiti street

This country is still recovering from the devastating effects of recent earthquake damage. While the country enjoys the advantages of a free market economy and a good relationship with the United States, there are many factors contributing to the lack of economic growth.

Over 80 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, and seven out of ten people report living on under two dollars per day. Government corruption and lack of educational resources have really hindered the country’s ability to recover.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are many areas of the world that lack the resources and economic conditions to truly thrive and prosper. Each of these countries has been labeled as the poorest country in the world at one point or another. Moreover, all of them still land on the list due to their low gross domestic product rating and high poverty levels. It’s important to acknowledge this disparity and understand the struggles that exist all over the globe.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

The Most Expensive Stocks in 2018

The Most Expensive Stocks in 2018

Each investor uses their preferred analytical method for selecting the best stocks to add to their portfolio. For example, you may focus on an analysis of earnings per share, dividend yield or other factors to make a great stock investment decision. As you compare all the options on the market, you may notice some companies that have a very high price per share. But which is the most expensive stock in 2018?

Some of these stocks may be so expensive that you could only hope to one day own a share of them yourself. A closer look at the most expensive stock options in the American market can be enlightening. Keep in mind, however, that the most expensive stock shares in the world may far exceed the cost per share of the items on this list.

*The following stocks are listed by value, from the highest to the lowest one.

the NASDAQ stock market logo display

1: Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA)

When looking at the most expensive stock for 2017 in the United States, Berkshire Hathaway is at the top of the list. With a price of approximately $215,500 per share, this is by far the most expensive stock on this list. This is the company that is run by the legendary investor Warren Buffet.

While this stock may sound expensive, bear in mind that it has the lowest price per earnings ratio of any other stock on this list currently. The company has generated annualized returns of approximately 20 percent for the last 50 years.

2: Seaboard Corp (SEB)

Seaboard Corp is not a brand name company that most are familiar with, but this is nonetheless a great stock to consider. It has the least overall value of any stock on this list with a price of $3,470 per share. However, this company focuses on staple items such as transportation and agribusinesses, and it has many divisions around the world.

With this in mind, many investors who have purchased this stock have done so because it generally holds its value through recessions.

3: NVR, Inc. (NVR)

NVR, Inc. is a Virginia-based company that focused largely on residential homebuilding activities in the United States. It also has mortgage and title service branches to round out its profile. A share of NVR stock is approximately $1,624, making one of the most expensive stock choices in the country today.

This company also focuses on condos, townhomes and other types of residential construction. As you might imagine, the company’s revenue has skyrocketed over the last few years as the housing market has rebounded substantially since the 2008 recession.

a large roll of dollar bills

4: Priceline Group, Inc. (PCLN)

A share of Priceline Group, Inc. sells for approximately $1,498. This is a travel-oriented company that competes directly with Expedia, Alibaba, and others. Some of its brands or websites include Kayak.com, Agoda.com, Booking.com, OpenTable.com, and others.

The company does well domestically as well as internationally. However, because some of its revenue is derived from international markets, the value of the U.S. Dollar can impact its bottom line.

5: Markel Corporation (MKL)

Insurance may not seem like a glamorous industry to purchase stock in, but Markel stock has changed the lives of many investors. This is a Virginia-based casualty insurance company, and it garners a spot on the list of most expensive stock choices because a single share sells for $926.

This company was originally listed as an IPO in 1986 with an asking price of $8.66 per share, and its stock price has generally increased year over year since then.

6: Amazon.com (AMZN)

Amazon.com stock is not the most expensive stock on this list with a share price of $842. However, its price per earnings ratio is 207. This makes it the most expensive stock in this regard. However, if you can get past the price per earnings ratio, you will discover that this stock shot up 53 percent over the last year.

This is the largest growth stock on this list for that reason, and growth is expected to increase in coming years as Amazon.com expands into different markets.

7: Alphabet, Inc. (GOOG)

With a price of $806 per share and earnings per share of 30, Google stock is a great option for investors to consider. In fact, this company has battled head to head with Apple in the area of the most valuable stock on the market today.

If you are wondering why you should buy this most expensive stock option today, remember that Google has recently reduced costs and boosted profits through increased ad revenue and expanding into the smartphone market.

a wall street blue stock market graph

8: AutoZone, Inc. (AZO)

If you are looking for the most expensive stock that has performed well for its investors in recent years, AutoZone is a great option to consider. This is because one share of AutoZone could have been purchased in 2009 for $100, and the stock price is now at $760. This equates to 660 percent growth. The company has more than 5,500 stores on multiple continents, and it continues to dominate its market.

9: Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)

The last company on this list of most expensive stock options to purchase in 201 is Intuitive Surgical. This stock is currently selling for $718 per share, and it originally catapulted to great heights in the early part of this century when the company introduced the world to its DaVinci robotic surgery technology.

This technology has transformed the medical world in incredible ways, but the stock price seemed to bottom out up until recently. However, over the last year, shares of ISRG have increased by more than 50 percent.

Drawing to a Close

While some investors may be discouraged from buying the most expensive stock because of the incredible cost of a single share or because of the fact that none of the stocks on this list pay a dividend.

However, these companies did not get on the list of most expensive stock picks because of their lack of success. These are some of the most successful businesses in their industry, and many of these stocks continue to be great buys for various reasons.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

Top 10 most expensive dresses in the world

Top 10 most expensive dresses in the world

Have you ever anticipated that dresses can costs hundreds and millions of dollars? It may sound unattainable but there are some dresses which cost more than million dollars as they are made of precious stones and diamonds or it belongs to popular personalities. If you are eagerly waiting to know about these dresses, their price and the designers then have a look at the following list of top 10 most expensive dresses in the world.

List of 10 most expensive dresses in the world

10 # Princess Diana Dress

most expensive dress1

This unique dress was designed for Princess Diana by one of the best and leading fashion designers in the world named Catherine Walker. The designer has made many elegant outfits for Princess Diana. It costs nearly $125,000 which made it as the most expensive dress and this unique dress is made of silk chiffon. Princess wore this dress just two times at Cannes Film Festival in the year 1997 and at “Miss Saigon” in the year 1989.

Read Also: Most expensive stocks

9 # Swarovski “Dirndl Dress”

most expensive dress2

This most expensive dress in the world costs around $127,000 as it is covered with Swarovski crystals. This dress was made in Germany and in the year 2006 in Munich it came in to sight. This was designed by the medieval designs and it inspired many great people with the amazing crystal work done on it. Every women will have a wish to wear this beautiful outfit for once in their life time.

8 # Ginza Tanaka’s Golden Evening Dress

most expensive dress3

It is one of the most elegant and fascinating dress you ever seen as it is made of gold wire. This dress is estimated to costs around $245,000 and weights nearly 1.1 kilogram. Each and every woman is inspired by this Drindl dress.

7 # Ginza Tanaka’s Gold Coin Dress

most expensive dress4

This is another most expensive dress in the world designed by one of the popular Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka. This golden dress was created using more than 15,000 gold coins which was a fashionable outfit. Due to the coins used in the dress it weights around 10 kilograms. This expensive $267,948 dress was appeared for the first time at Fashion Week held at Tokyo in the year 2007.

6 # Marilyn’s “Happy Birthday” Dress

most expensive dress5

This is the 6th expensive dress in our list as it is the first outfit that costs more than million dollars. This dress was designed by an American Designer named Jean Louis Berthaulto in the year 1961 and its value was determined as 12 thousand dollars initially but now it was sold in an auction for 1.3 million dollars which was made by using diamond-sparkle sequins. This dress was created for Marilyn to attend the Birthday Party of President John F. Kennedy.

5 # Naomi Watts “The Diamond Dress”

most expensive dress6

This gown was created by Armani Prive and Neil Lane with diamonds and took around two months to make this expensive dress. The Naomi Watts was the lucky actress who wore this dress on Oscars this year. This most expensive dress in the world costs around 1.5 million dollars.

4 # Precious Dress of Maria Grachvogel

most expensive dress7

This precious dress is created using more than 2000 diamonds which made this outfit as expensive one. The cost to design this red color precious dress is estimated around 1.8 million dollars. It came into sight for the first time at Maria Grachvogel’s fashion show. The design of the dress admired almost everyone who appeared for the show.

3 # Diamond Dress by Scott Henshall

most expensive dress8

This most expensive dress in the world is estimated to cost nearly 9 million dollars which was made with more than 3000 diamonds. This is a web shaped dress that weights very light and worn by one of the popular singers named Samantha at the premiere of “Spider-Man” film in the year 2004.

You may also like: Luxury clothing brands

2 # “Abaya” Dress by Debbie Wingham

most expensive dress9

This Muslim dress named “Abaya” is the second most expensive dress in our list as it costs around 17.6 million dollars. It is designed by one of the popular British designer Debbie Wingham in Dubai. This black outfit is decorated by using more than 2000 white, black and red expensive diamonds in the world. These rare diamonds made this dress to look elegant and amazing. The designer also makes use of14-Karat gold which is another feature of this pretty and expensive dress.

1 # Nightingale of Kuala Lumpur

most expensive dress10

This is the most expensive dress in the world ever which is estimated to cost 30 million dollars. This evening dress was created by Faiyzali Abdullah using various expensive materials. It is featured with pear shaped diamond, silk, Swarovski crystals, satin, taffeta and chiffon. It was appeared for the first time at “STYLO Fashion Grand Prix KL” festival in the year 2009.

We hope you enjoyed this article and let us know your thoughts about all of these most expensive dresses in the world. Please also share your feedback in the comments section below.