How to Join or Form an Investment Club

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Let’s face it, it’s important as a woman to think about your finances and your retirement, regardless of your marital status. Many women don’t know the first place to start, or how to even begin investing in stocks, mutual funds, or even real estate. One way to overcome this hurdle, and educate yourself in the process, is to join or form an investment club. Investment clubs offer you a fabulous way to build a portfolio and enjoy time with women who share similar interests. In fact, the National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC), says that over 500,000 women are already members of investment clubs.

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What is an Investment Club?

An investment club is a small group of people who pool their own money to invest, traditionally in the stock market. You can choose the number of people (usually less than 15) and whether or not you want it to be a women-only investment club, which generally perform better than male-only clubs! You can meet however often you like, typically on a monthly basis, to learn about investing and make decisions as a group as to the investments you will make.

How Does an Investment Club Get Started?

You can start by asking around to see if any of the women you know show any interest in forming an investment club. Ask at work, your parenting organizations, and your friends. Once you have a core group of people, you will need to set the club up legally, typically establishing a partnership through the IRS. You’ll then determine how much each person needs to contribute initially, and then on a monthly basis. You’ll want to determine your meeting format (in person or online) and it’s best to conduct your meetings in a formal manner, taking minutes and voting on investments and investment strategies.

Running the Investment Club

Once the club is established you’ll want it to continue to run smoothly. Make it a point to set up established procedures for introducing new members and for when existing members want to leave the group. You’ll probably want to elect officers so that people within the investment club have specific roles. The club should insure that proper financial documentation is kept for all purchases and sales. Chicks Laying Nest Eggs provides sample documentation for Operating Procedures, Minutes, Rules, and the IRS.

Most of all, make your investment group fun! Your primary goal is to make money and work toward a secure retirement, but there’s no reason not to make it a social situation as well. Bring desserts and share personal stories with your investment partners!

Diamond Investment 101: Getting Started to Invest in Diamond

Diamond Investment

Diamond investment is relatively less popular compared to other investment vehicles like stocks, properties or even gold. While the real reason of why it does not get as much attention as the rest of the mainstream investments is largely unknown, most people feel that diamond investment is some kind of ‘rich men’s game’ and stay away from it. It is true that diamonds are very expensive, nevertheless, as with other investments, you can start small.

Diamond Investment

Diamond Investment

As with any other investment, it is important to set your expectation right to avoid any regrets in the future. First of all, diamond falls under the category of collectibles, like paintings. Hence, the price is not linear as with commodities like gold. For example, the price of two 100 grams gold bar with be the same as a 200 grams one, if all other attributes remains equal (purity, etc.). However, it is very unlikely that you can exchange two 0.5 carat diamonds for a 1 carat diamond, even they are of equal quality. In short, try to aim for quality instead of quantities.

Another factor that you should consider before investing in diamond is liquidity. Unlike gold and stocks, diamond exchange is not readily available. That translates to longer time for you to liquidate your diamond if you need some cash. The lack of exchange also means that you may not be able to sell your diamond at a fair price since you have access to very few buyers who are mostly retail stores. So, a rule of thumb is only invest with the excess money that you have.

With such limitations, it seems that investing in diamond is not a very wise choice. Nevertheless, bear in mind that diamonds have very high value per unit weight. This makes it a viable choice as a emergency disaster fund, as it is very easy to carry around. Also, unlike stocks that have very volatile price, diamonds are less sensitive to economy crisis. And as with other collectibles, you get to admire the beauty of diamond from time to time.

Once you have your expectation and budget set right, the rest is relatively easy. While we try to keep our cost low as an investor, it is strongly recommended that you buy your diamonds from reputable source. That almost translate to reputable retail stores. Unlike buying a diamond as a gift, tell them that you are after quality. It is nice to state your budget to help you narrow down your choices faster.

Diamond Chart

Diamond Chart

Once you decided on your diamond, make sure it is certified. There are different grading laboratories, with the more prominent being the International Gemological Institute (IGI) ; the Gemological Institute of America (GIA); the American Gem Society (AGS); the European Gemological Laboratories (EGL) and GemEx Systems. It is one of the best ways to protect your investment by letting the experts verify your investments.

As you keep adding more diamonds to your collections, remember to learn more about it. Do not rely on the Internet alone. There are books and seminars that cover different topics in a more systematical manners. If you do that, you will become and more knowledgeable person; and with some luck, possibly a richer one.

Gold as a Secure Investment

gold-investment

With the uncertainty of the stock market in the recent years and the ups and downs in the trading market, a smart investment for anyone is always gold! Even in the event of market declines, an increasing national debt, inflation, war and social upheaval; gold almost always retains its market value. Since April of 2001, the price of gold has more than tripled the value of the U.S. Dollar.

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Gold is measured in “troy ounces.” A troy ounce, originated from the Roman monetary system, is a unit of measure used to gauge the weight and price of precious metals. One troy ounce is equal to 31.1034768 grams. Late in 2009, the price of gold spiked to $1226 per troy ounce. Financial commentator, Jim Rogers, predicts gold will reach US$2000 per troy ounce.

Gold might not bring you a huge return on your investment dollar as would stocks and bonds. However, stocks and bonds perform best during a stable political environment. In 2005, Rick Munarriz of Motley Fool.com posed the question, “Which is a better investment, a share of Google or an ounce of gold?” On January 4th of 2008, that gold had beaten the share price of Google by 30.77%, gold closing at $859.19 per ounce and Google shares closing at $657 on the U.S. Market Exchange.

gold-bullion

People generally invest in gold because they believe the price of gold will continue to rise or as a stable investment in the face of political or economic unrest. The price of gold is controlled by supply and demand, much different than many other commodities. Most of the gold ever mined is still in existance and potentially able to come back into the market. The price is further determined by “disposal or hoarding” of gold. It is estimated as of the end of 2006, the total amount of gold ever mined equaled 158,000 tonnes. The World Gold Council has report production in the last few years to be approximately 2,500 tonnes.

Your main consideration for your investment dollar is, do you want a stock with a fast return or one that will hold it’s value during economic uncertainty? The best choice may be splitting your investment dollar between gold and stocks. There are several methods of investing in gold for those interested in obtaining a secure investment for their money. Gold can be bought directly through bullion or coin ownership, purchased through gold exchange funds, or purchased as certificates or shares. The current gold price as of this writing is 1095.90 currently down. 0.50. Many people look for a low point to enter the gold market with an expectancy for the price to rise.

Silver Coins and Bullion as Investment

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Silver…shiny, reasonably soft as metals go, conductive, sterile, pretty and very valuable. What of all the talk about adding precious metals to one’s investment and retirement portfolios? Why silver? What’s so good about it?

Silver is a unique commodity. It conducts electricity. It is impervious to the elements but for some tarnish. It has been used as the basis for nations to mint coinage since well before Rome. And it is sold at very reasonable prices and is a perfect investment vehicle for anyone to own. Unlike gold that is trading at almost $1500.00 USD per ounce, silver closed at $43.01 per ounce Friday evening. The silver/gold ratio is about 34 and that’s important to keep in mind…I’ll tell ya why later.

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Silver Coins and Bullion as Investment

Silver has history. It has been used since time immemorial as a tender for trade. Silver is valued everywhere. And what of the possible collapse of the trust in the American economy and our money were to decline drastically? A Greenback is a representation of the US. But for the promise of the US to honor it, it is worthless green toilet paper and not much good for that either. Our paper is only good because of the reputation of the US but if our fortunes decline as they seem to be our money will decline in value. It’s known as inflation…more Greenbacks chasing the same number of goods. Printing them only devalues every single Greenback in existence. Have readers heard world leaders have been meeting to discuss taking the world off of the US Dollar as the planet’s reserve currency and standard for all international trade?

Silver bullion and coins have exploded in value of late. For example, but for the Hunt brothers of Texas trying to corner the world silver market in 1980, from at least the mid 1970’s until 2004 silver traded at about $5.00 per ounce. In 2004 silver took off in price and Friday evening silver bullion closed at $43.01 per ounce…an all-time high but for the 1980 effort of the Hunts and the brief spike to almost $50.00 per ounce. Nothing, including gold, Wall Street or real estate have experienced an 800% increase in value in these 7 years.

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Silver is attractive because it is a limited quantity. It cannot be made out of thin air. It is used in tons and tons of industrial and commercial applications. It’s what backs the glass of a mirror for one to see reflections. It’s used of course for coinage as well as nation’s wealth reserves. It is far cheaper to purchase than is gold, yet it tracks gold in it’s value, albeit only 1/34 the value of the same quantity of gold at present. That 1/34th is the ratio I mentioned earlier.

Silver to gold ratio has historically held firm at between 10 to 1 up to 13 to 1. Today that ratio is 34 to 1, meaning gold has outstripped silver in price increase but as we can see now silver is leaping in gain percentages. In the last 6 months gold is up 8.33% whereas in the last 6 months silver is up 75.37%. The trend is undeniable and predicted to keep trending in this direction. Much speculation exists that silver will have to eventually return to its historical ratio to gold. It can do so by either going up to meet gold; gold can fall to meet silver or more likely a combination of the two. If silver climbed to an even 15 to 1 ratio with gold at $1500 per ounce silver would trade for $100 per ounce. I AM NOT making such a prediction, merely explaining the speculation as to ratios.

Silver has another intrinsic value beyond gold at today’s prices and the likely higher prices in future. Silver, as it is worth so much less is better positioned to serve as tender or money. Today an ounce of “junk” silver is worth $43.00. Basically it’s a $43 dollar coin. An ounce of gold would be a $1500 dollar coin. How many items does one purchase that costs $1500? See the point? Junk silver rounds and bullion could and in fact most definitely would be used as currency. Not so much for $1500 ounces of gold bullion.

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I buy silver by the ounce because it’s easy to buy and store. Any firm selling or trading in collectible paper and hard currency will sell junk silver rounds by the one ounce weight and ingots in one, five, ten, one kilo (2.2lbs) 100 and even 1000 ounce sizes. My advice is to stick to the ounces or if you must, the ten ounce sizes. At today’s price a 100 ounce bar of silver bullion is worth $4300 bucks and again, how many things does one buy that cost that much? For silver to serve as emergency currency, and that is why I buy it in one ounce sizes, it needs to be in popular and easily traded and represented amounts and dollar values.

Many pawn shops also trade in silver and gold bullion, “junk rounds” and coin. Next up is an explanation of the difference between “junk rounds and ingots” of gold and especially silver, versus gold or silver coins that are legal tender or collectibles and the pros and cons of each for the purposes of collecting to stash wealth or for future currency as well as investment vehicles for retirement, etc.