Christian Apps: Worshipping Anytime And Anywhere

Vector Bible app icon with black bubble speech. Eps10According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 91 percent of American adults use their smartphones for activities, in addition to phone calls. People use smartphones everywhere, including church. Worshippers use smartphones to access Bible apps as a way to follow along during service or take notes on the sermon. Some people use their smartphones to pay tithes and offering. From studying scripture to listening to your favorite Christian music, there are a variety of great apps available for Christians.

Do you need a quick dose of encouragement? Perhaps you need to pray. Maybe you just need to hear an uplifting song. There are several faith-based apps to feed your spirit no matter where you might be and often without any data limits, depending on your service provider.

YouVersion Bible App

YouVersion provides users with hundreds of Bible versions in various languages. Studying is easy with this tool. Highlight your favorite scripture in your favorite color. You can bookmark passages and make notes about what you’re studying. There are also Bible Plans that you can subscribe to that cover the whole Bible or focus on specific topics. Once you choose a plan, you will find a Bible selection waiting for you every day. Your notes, bookmarks, highlights, and plans are automatically synced across all of your devices.

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Is Wall Street Rigged?

Is Wall Street out of control?

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Main Street and Wall Street are abuzz over Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, the new book from Berkeley-based journalist Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball and The Blind Side, London School of Economics graduate and former bond salesman).

Flash Boys makes a couple of bold conclusions, which the media have had a field day with. One, Wall Street is rigged. Two, the little guy can’t win. To put it less sensationally: high-speed traders have a marked advantage on Wall Street, one that the little day trader (and even the astute money manager) can’t equal.

Can the individual investor still win? If you define “winning” in terms of day trading, maybe not; if you’re in the market for the long run, it is still quite possible to grow wealth through equity investing. Millions of Americans have, and in all probability millions more will.

To seasoned investors, much of what Flash Boys has to say is hardly revelatory. While the financially semi-literate are hailing the book as a confirmation of all they suspected, the fact is that high-speed trading may have some benefits for investors (which even Lewis concedes).

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I Can’t Believe You “Liked” THAT on Facebook!

Our Values & Choices Reflect Who We Are

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”Matthew 12:20

likeThe other day someone I hardly knew called me to the carpet on Facebook.  They were questioning something I “liked” and how could I justify that as a Christian.  Now this wasn’t a matter of life or death or even something financially or even business related for that matter, but it definitely was about character and choices. It made me really think about whether this page I “liked” really reflected my values…

After some deliberation, I came to the conclusion that I had made a mistake of judgment and clearly was in the wrong. Sometimes the truth hurts and it takes an outsider’s observations to see how far we are from where we started. Sometimes even when we have the purest of motives in a situation, we can cross a line to accomplish goals and justify the means. And to top it all off, we often expect God to bless the results.

In your life, you may have started something with the purest of intentions but somewhere along the way you too crossed a line in the sand. Instead of stopping and turning back, you kept on going. How did that work out?

Now when it comes to investing many of us make the same mistake. We long to multiply all that God has provided yet we compromise our biblical values when we invest. We invest in companies that clearly oppose God’s Word. Yet we expect God to bless our choices.

We may have had the purest of intentions yet crossed a line in the sand. Sometimes we were unaware of the choices we made or options available but what happens when you realize there are other choices?   Do you keep on moving forward as if you never knew or do you look for a way to change going forward?

For me it’s about getting right with God and asking for His forgiveness. It is about building stronger character and making better choices that glorify Him in all that I do. And even though this choice I made was small and probably pretty insignificant in the greater scheme of God’s plan for my life, it was big enough that my conscience told me I needed to quickly turn back and that I was on the wrong path with this situation. It is more about the little choices we make when no one is looking that truly reveal who we are and what we stand for…

Please let me know how I can help you in your pursuit of faith-based investing…

Check out this FREE Resource on “How to Screen Your Investments“.

Ways to Protect Against Identity Theft

Guarding Against Identity Theft

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Take steps so criminals won’t take vital information from you.

America is enduring a data breach epidemic. As 2013 ended, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics released its 2012 Victims of Identity Theft report. Its statistics were sobering. About one in 14 Americans aged 16 or older had been defrauded or preyed upon in the past 12 months, more than 16.6 million people.

Just 8% of those taken advantage of had detected identity theft through their own vigilance. More commonly, victims were notified by financial institutions (45%), alerts from non-financial companies or agencies (21%), or notices of unpaid bills (13%). While 86% of victims cleared up the resulting credit and financial problems in a day or less, 10% of victims had to struggle with them for a month or more.

Consumers took significant financial hits from all this. The median direct loss from cyberthieves exploiting personal information in 2012 was $1,900, and the median direct loss from a case of credit card fraud was $200. While much of the monetary damage is wiped away for the typical victim, that isn’t always the case.

Tax time is prime time for identity thieves. They would love to get their hands on your return, and they would also love to claim a phony refund using your personal information. In 2013, the IRS investigated 1,492 identity theft-linked crimes – a 66% increase from 2012 and a 441% increase from 2011.

E-filing of tax returns is becoming increasingly popular (just make sure you use a secure Internet connection). When you e-file, you aren’t putting your Social Security number, address and income information through the mail. You aren’t leaving Form 1040 on your desk at home (or work) while you get up and get some coffee or go out for a walk. If you just can’t bring yourself to e-file, then think about sending your returns via Certified Mail. Those rough drafts of your returns where you ran the numbers and checked your work? Shred them. Use a cross-cut shredder, not just a simple straight-line shredder (if you saw Argo, you know why).

The IRS doesn’t use unsolicited emails to request information from taxpayers. If you get an email claiming to be from the IRS asking for your personal or financial information, report it to your email provider as spam.

Use secure Wi-Fi. Avoid “coffee housing” your personal information away – never risk disclosing financial information over a public Wi-Fi network. (Broadband is susceptible, too.) It takes little sophistication to do this – just a little freeware.

Sure, a public Wi-Fi network at an airport or coffee house is password-protected – but if the password is posted on a wall or readily disclosed, how protected is it? A favorite hacker trick is to sit idly at a coffee house, library or airport and set up a Wi-Fi hotspot with a name similar to the legitimate one. Inevitably, people will fall for the ruse and log on and get hacked.

Look for the “https” & the padlock icon when you visit a website. Not just http, https. When you see that added “s” at the start of the website address, you are looking at a website with active SSL encryption, and you want that. A padlock icon in the address bar confirms an active SSL connection. For really solid security when you browse, you could opt for a VPN (virtual private network) service which encrypts 100% of your browsing traffic; it may cost you $10 a month or even less.

Make those passwords obscure. Choose passwords that are really esoteric, preferably with numbers as well as letters. Passwords that have a person, place and time (PatrickRussia1956) can be tougher to hack.

Check your credit report. Remember, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the big three agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax). You could also monitor your credit score – Credit.com has a feature called Credit Report Card, which updates you on your credit score and the factors influencing it, such as payments and other behaviors.    

Don’t talk to strangers. Broadly speaking, that is very good advice in this era of identity theft. If you get a call or email from someone you don’t recognize – it could tell you that you’ve won a prize, it could claim to be someone from the county clerk’s office, a pension fund or a public utility – be skeptical. Financially, you could be doing yourself a great favor.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

    

I Love My Dog…Now How Can I Make a Profit From Him?

Finding Companies You Can Be “Proud to Own”

One of the things I always talk about is investing in what you love… It must match your values AND it should be profitable. In fact “proud to own” investing as I have labeled it involves “screening out” companies that don’t line up with your values and  “screening in” companies and products that line up with your values.  Your investments should also have great profit potential.

While online, I noticed Doris Day is turning 90 and she plans an animal friendly bash.  She obviously loves animals.  But can you make money investing in animals? First of all what are some opportunities when it comes to animals and investing.  Yes we have bulls and bears on Wall Street, but that’s not what I’m referring to.

This past summer I bought my best friend.  Yes you still can buy friends online. The friend I am referring to is man’s best friend…a dog.   Milo Peroni has become an amazing part of our family.  He is one handsome guy…  Check out our Australian Shepherd:

 

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Milo, “the Superdog” and how I get all of my stock ideas (kidding…well sort of)

If you love dogs, check out All Things Dog. Now if you are an animal lover like me,  you can find all kinds of companies that line up with your love of animals such as:

  • PetSmart (PETM), which has a vast variety of products and services for pets, including food, toys, grooming, on-call veterinarians, training services and day care.
  • PetMed Express (PETS), a nationwide pet pharmacy. The Company markets prescription and non-prescription pet medications and other health products for dogs, cats, and horses direct to the consumer.
  • Or how about VCA Antech (WOOF), which runs about 500 veterinary hospitals and diagnostic labs around the U.S.
  • MWI Veterinary Supply (MWIV) is a leading distributor of animal health products to veterinarians across the United States of America. Products MWI sells include pharmaceuticals, vaccines, parasiticides, diagnostics, capital equipment, supplies, veterinary pet food and nutritional products.

Those are just a few that come to the top of my mind.  Of these four examples, PetSmart has averaged almost 16% a year for the past 15 years while MWI Veterinary doesn’t have as long of a track record, but has averaged over 40% a year the past 5 years.  Though we can’t just look at the past, it does show us that you can find companies that line up with your values and get good returns.

Who’s your favorite pet and what do you buy most for him or her?
As you look at investing there are many ways to profit from things you are already buying. Often that is how I find great investment ideas. Need help aligning your faith and values with your investments? I have created a special report on “How to Screen Your Investments”.

 

Why Don’t We Save More?

Why Do We Save So Little?

broken savings

 

What’s good for the economy isn’t necessarily good for our future. 

Our parents & grandparents saved much more than we do. Most people who have read up on the economy for any length of time have heard of the personal saving rate (PSAVERT), which the Commerce Department calculates as the ratio of personal saving to disposable personal income. The January personal spending report released by the Commerce Department in early March showed the PSAVERT at 4.3%.

As recently as January 2013, households were saving just 2.3% of their disposable incomes – so this can be labeled a short-term improvement. It still pales in comparison to the way Americans used to save.

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Is 2014 the Year the Bond Bubble Pops?

Will There Be a Bond Bubble in 2014?

bond bubble

 

If interest rates begin to go up, how will that impact bonds & bond funds?

This might not surprise you: 2013 went in the books as one of the worst year bond funds have ever seen. According to TrimTabs Investment Research, investors yanked $72 billion out of bond mutual funds in 2013 – all of it after May. Those net outflows alone exceeded the record of $63 billion seen in 1994.

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