Stocks, bonds, bank accounts or IRAs? How do you choose?

With several types of investments to choose from and also thousands of sub-categories under them, finding the most suitable investment choice can be a daunting task.

First off, the main consideration in any long-term investing decision is the rate of return expected from it. At times though, investing in short-term investment can enhance your wealth even if the returns are not as high as you want them to be. You can select from among these common short-term savings vehicles:

Short-term savings vehicles

Bank savings account: The most resorted to savings medium availed of by people, which provides small returns but better than keeping your money at home where it could be stolen or spent easily.

Our company is partial to stocks as investment vehicles over the rest of the long-term choices since stocks have statistically provided the best rate of return in an investment. The most common long-term investing vehicles are as follows:

Long-term investing vehicles

Bonds: There are various forms of bonds. Also known as "fixed-income" securities, bonds generate a “fixed” or set income value each year when it is sold.

Stocks: Stocks allow an individual to own a portion of a company or business. A single stock share represents an investor’s proportional stake or share of ownership in a business.

Mutual funds: Mutual funds are vehicles which allow investors to combine their money to buy bonds, stocks, or any vehicle the fund manager considers viable.

Retirement plans

Several special plans are intended to build retirement savings; and many of these plans permit an individual to transfer money directly from his or her paycheck prior to taxes. In support for this plan, companies sometimes match the amount transferred, or even a small portion of that amount, as their goodwill contribution to their employees’ future.

Individual retirement account (IRA): This type of plan lets you invest some money into a tax-deferred retirement fund – which means you will not be taxed unless withdrawals are made or before the fund matures.

Roth IRA: Unlike the previous IRA plan, this type of retirement account requires no tax payments up-front on contribution. Rather, it provides full exclusion from federal taxes when cash is withdrawn to purchase a first home or pay for retirement.

401(k): Employers provide this retirement savings vehicle, whose name is taken from the section of the Internal Revenue Code which allows it.

403(b): This is the nonprofit version of a 401(k) plan. Local and state governments also provide a 457 plan.

Keogh: A specialized form of IRA that serves simultaneously as a pension plan for a self-employed individual, who has the capacity to pay substantially higher contributions permitted for an IRA.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan: This is a special type of Keogh-individual retirement plan designed to allow small businesses to provide retirement plans (for their employees) that are slightly easier to manage compared to conventional pension plans. Either the employer or the employees can participate in a SEP.

Investing in stocks

Stocks deserve a closer look as they have been known in the past to offer higher returns compared to bonds and other vehicles. As mentioned, the investor becomes a part-owner of a company.

Common stock

The most common type of stock is, as expected, the common stock. The common stock provides an ideal vehicle for most individuals, since anyone can participate – whether you are young, old, discriminating or easy-go-lucky. There is practically no restriction imposed against anyone who wants to buy a common stock.

Different types of stock

Sometimes, companies can opt to focus the voting privilege of a company to cover only a particular type of stock, limiting the majority of shares to only a select group of investors. As an example, a family business seeking to raise capital by selling equity might create a second type of a stock which they already control and has, for instance, 10 votes for each share, while they release to others another type of stock that allows only a single vote per share.

What happens from now on?

That is about all you need to know for now about the fundamental classes of investment options available to you. You can start impressing some of your friends and relatives about your newfound knowledge on stocks. Use the basic terminology as well as the essential principles of becoming a shareholder of a company to tell them how they can also join in the experience of investing. Most of all, tell them of the potential rewards you and they can expect from buying stocks while reminding them of the greater risks they will encounter compared to merely keeping their money in a bank. In the end, what you will decide to do with your new knowledge will be up to you.

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Planning a cookout for Memorial Day? That’s a great idea: Grilling is a naturally healthy way to prepare food, says Jessica Palumbo, RD, a dietitian at Glen Cove Hospital -- as long as you take a few simple precautions and make smart choices about the menu.

For summer celebrations that are safe, nutritious, and, of course, delicious, take these easy steps when you fire up your grill.

1. Marinate your meats.

Marinating steaks and poultry for at least 30 minutes before grilling has several pay-offs: First, it adds flavor and helps tenderize meat, so you can choose a leaner cut. And second, it seems to act as a barrier against the grill’s high heat. That’s important, because the char that can form on well-done meat, poultry, or seafood contains chemicals that have been linked to cancer. (A chemical reaction between animal proteins and high heat seems to be to blame.) “Just be sure to discard any marinade that was in contact with raw meat,” says Palumbo. “Don’t use it to baste your food while it cooks.”

2. Give your grill the brush-off.

Give your grill grates a good scrubbing before every use. Not only will this remove grease that could start a fire; it will also help remove potentially harmful bacteria that can breed in leftover food particles. Just be sure to inspect the grill if you’ve used a wire brush -- every year, a few people end up in the emergency department after swallowing bits of wire bristle that are left behind and stick to food like hamburgers. Another smart move: Check the brush before you use it, and toss it out if the bristles are loose.

3. Bring out the fruits and veggies.

“People forget that you can grill fruit,” says Palumbo. “The natural sugar in peaches and pineapples can caramelize and make them even sweeter, so they’re really delicious fresh off the grill.” Also extra-tasty: veggie kebabs, made with onions, peppers, zucchini, mushroom and tomato. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning to bring the flavor out.

4. Cook it just right.

Undercooking meat can put you at risk for a food-borne illness, but you don’t want to overcook it, either—remember those dangerous chemicals formed when meat gets charred. Flip meat every minute to reduce the chance of burning it, and check it with a thermometer before taking it off the grill. Cook chicken to 165 degrees, ground beef or pork to 160, and steaks, chops or fish to 145.

5. Store leftovers promptly.

Don’t let perishables like burgers, hot dogs and dips sit out for more than two hours, says Palumbo, and if it’s 90 degrees or hotter, put food away within an hour. This protects against bacteria that can cause food poisoning, so you can enjoy your leftovers—if you have any, that is!

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Every few years, the federal government comes out with advice about one of the most important things you do every day—eating. The new recommendations came out last month in the form of an update to the official Dietary Guidelines, and they include some big changes that are meant to help Americans make smarter choices about the food they eat in order to lower their risk of obesity and chronic disease.

“People whose diets match these guidelines stay healthier than those whose diets don’t,” says Nancy Copperman, RD, assistant vice president of public health and community partnerships for Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System). “And as our understanding of nutrition gets more sophisticated, those guidelines get tweaked based on the strongest and most recent science.”

While many of the government’s suggestions will seem familiar (yes, you still have to eat your veggies), you may be surprised by some of the other recommendations in the new guidelines. One of the most important changes: Limit added sugar.

Dietary experts have cautioned for years against eating too much of the sweet stuff, but for the first time they’ve singled out added sugar, meaning sugar that doesn’t occur naturally in whole foods like an apple or glass of milk (although milk doesn’t taste sweet, it naturally contains a sugar called lactose). Americans should consume less than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, say the new guidelines; for someone who eats about 2,000 calories a day, that’s just 200 calories.

“That’s equal to about 12 teaspoons of sugar, total,” says Copperman. “Most of us currently consume about 22 teaspoons a day, so we need to basically cut that in half.” The easiest way to do that is to read labels, she says; choose foods with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. If the label lists anything over that level, the item probably contains added sugar. “That should make you think twice about whether that snack is really worth it,” Copperman says.

Worry less about cholesterol

Research has shown that cholesterol in food isn’t a major factor in raising the cholesterol level in our body. Instead, the new guidelines suggest limiting saturated fat. How? Try reducing your intake of fatty cuts of meat, and increasing chicken, fish and plant-based proteins like beans and nuts.

Get pickier about protein

Dovetailing with the above, another of the new guidelines says that many of us—specifically, many teen boys and adult men—eat more than the recommended 26 ounces of protein from animal sources per week. The problem is, a body can process only so much protein at a time, says Copperman. Anything it doesn’t use is stored as fat.

And while the guidelines single out guys, Copperman says that most of us (of either gender) can benefit from eating less animal-based protein. “Choosing smaller portions and filling our plates with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead is never a bad thing,” she says. “That’s advice that has stood the test of time.”

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Below, you will find out about opportunities to improve your savings and results and receive a few of our tips to finance your innovation.

We wish you a pleasant reading!

PIC SCHEME

Optimize your PIC claims!

Did you know that companies can combine for YA 2013 to YA 2015 the yearly cap for each qualifying activity at S$ 400k? Companies are allowed to claim up to S$ 1,2M of eligible expenses for each qualifying activity by combining the three Years of Assessment. For example, if you haven’t claimed R&D costs in YA 2013 and YA 2014, you can claim up to S$ 1,2M of R&D costs in YA 2015. Do not miss this opportunity to optimize your savings!

PIC Bonus: get it while you can

The PIC Bonus is a S$ 15,000 dollar-for-dollar matching cash bonus on top of the PIC cash payout and the enhanced tax deduction available for YA 2013 to 2015. The PIC scheme will remain active at least until 2018. It is still time to get the PIC Bonus by optimizing your PIC Claims for YA 2015.

PUBLIC FUNDING IN SINGAPORE

Innovation Capability Voucher (ICV)

ICV is a public financing tool for local SMEs helping them to purchase integrated IT solutions and to get access to consultancy services for innovation, productivity, HR and finance management. Local businesses can get up to S$ 40,000 with 8 different vouchers.

iSprint Funding for Intermediate Packaged Solutions

This funding program initiated by IDA for local SMEs reimburses up to 70% of the buying cost of numerous pre-approved packaged solutions up to S$ 20,000 as well as consultancy and training costs related to packaged solutions such as SaaS, PoS, Accounting Management Systems, etc.

GAC EXPERTISE

Assistance to IRAS technical queries

More and more companies have seen their claims rejected or challenged by IRAS. It requires a specific expertise to claim technical staff salaries and outsourced R&D projects under the PIC scheme. We were expecting an increase of the controls, as it happened in other countries, with similar schemes. Make sure to secure your R&D tax credits by following all regulations and expectations from IRAS to avoid troubles and delays in the process.

R&D Tax Credits

From IRAS perspective, R&D includes the notion of innovation whereas it is excluded in OECD definition. Several countries use the OECD R&D definition for R&D tax credits, such as France, England or Canada. In Singapore, the definition of R&D is broader and therefore, the notion of eligible R&D activity of the PIC is larger than scientific research and is not limited to lab work and PhDs teams. Our consultants are R&D experts with either a MSc or a PhD who successfully claimed R&D projects in different fields such as Software Development, SaaS, Energy, E-commerce, Microsystem, Healthcare, Water, Big Data, Web technologies, etc.

GLOBAL NEWS

Singapore is becoming a global IP hub

The government has been implementing effective tax measures to encourage the anchoring of intellectual property in Singapore for the past few years. By helping companies finance acquisition and registration of Intellectual Property Rights through the PIC scheme, among other initiatives, the objective of the Government is to help Singapore become a global IP hub in Asia.

Top 20 Hottest Startups

Released in the Singapore Business Review, the Singapore's Hottest Startups 2015 awards the most innovative startups in the country. Five of our clients are ranked in this top 20! This shows the strong links between GAC and the technology-oriented startups ecosystem of Singapore. We help innovative companies finance their technical projects by claiming the salaries of their technical teams through the PIC scheme.

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Art gallery, without a doubt, plays an important role in the artindustry. Many people do not possess in-depth knowledge on the role of art galleriesin our society. Here is an overview of what an art gallery is and itsimportance in our society.

Art gallery offers a striking place where visitors can view andappreciate art. Various forms of visual arts are displayed such as paintings,sculptures, relics, pottery, jewelries with historical values and much more.Art galleries display art works to promote art and artists as well as to helpand guide buyers in selecting art works that will suit their art preferences. Acertain type of art gallery like Hawkfield Gallery offers a special type ofservice to their clients – to help them hunt art works that interest them andeven help them bid at auction houses.

For those who are curious on the value of the artworks theypossess, Hawkfield Gallery and its fine art consultants provides professionaladvice on how to appraise fine artworks, antiques and collectible items. Hawkfield Gallerygained experience and expertise in determining the value and quality ofartworks by visiting auctions houses and antique shops. They use a salescomparison approach to value an artwork - comparing it to similar artworksrecently sold or currently for sale on the marketplace. They also welcomeartists to present their artworks and to help them determine its fair marketvalue. Visit the gallery’s website to know more about their services and thelist of artists they represent.

Art Consignment Agreement

Most art galleries work with artists on a consignment basis.Consignment is when you lend your artwork on the gallery and the gallery agreesto sell your artwork for a commission percentage. In some cases, engaging in aconsignment agreement comes with a lot of risks as it may cause financial orownership trouble down the road. Make sure to choose the right and trustedgallery that will represent your artwork. Hawkfield Gallery has gained anestablished reputation in the marketplace that will make you want to trust thegallery and its owner.

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Repost from Safety & Health article by Tracy Haas

Equipment reliability is imperative

Unlike personal protective equipment such as hard hats and steel-toe boots, emergency eyewashes and showers are not meant to be used every day. Ideally, a worker will never need one. But should an incident such as a chemical splash occur, it’s vital that emergency eyewashes and showers be ready for use.

Issues

Because emergency eyewashes and showers are not frequently used, their maintenance may not always be top of mind. “The two most common emergency shower misuses are not providing ANSI-required tepid water and failing to conduct weekly test activations to ensure the units are working,” said Ryan Pfund, senior product manager, emergency fixtures, for Menomonee Falls, WI-based Bradley Corp. Pfund recommends establishing a weekly inspection program to test your company’s eyewash and shower equipment to ensure it is working properly and providing tepid water instantaneously. “Manufacturers provide specially designed devices and materials to assist in testing,” he added.

Nuray Ebel, product manager at Sparks, NV-based Haws, echoed Pfund’s comment that ANSI Z358.1-required weekly testing – although crucial – is often neglected: “The most significant part of the weekly test is the validation that the equipment provides proper first aid to users – not just ensuring water is present.”

Keith Flamich, marketing manager for Chicago-based Guardian Equipment, notes that equipment reliability is imperative. “During incidents where emergency eyewash and shower units are activated, far too much is at stake to depend on equipment that is not properly tested and not third-party certified,” Flamich said.

What’s new

Emergency eyewashes and showers now have improved flow control and coverage, according to Pfund. “The newest models apply fluid dynamics technology that works with a pressure-regulated flow control to provide an integral and uniform flow of water directed at the affected area,” he said.

Flamich pointed to the increasing popularity of heat-traced freeze-resistant stations in cold-weather environments. “These units are manufactured with a heat-tracing cable wrapped around internal piping to prevent the freezing of standing water within the unit,” he said. “Once activated, a safety station first delivers the standing water before drawing from a tepid water supply.” However, he cautioned that these stations are commonly misunderstood, and people often believe the units are capable of heating a full 15-minute supply of water per the ANSI Z358.1 tepid water requirement. “The reality is that these units heat only the standing water contained within its internal piping prior to unit activation,” Flamich explained. “As such, there must be continuous source of tepid water supplying the heat-traced safety station (i.e., thermostatic mixing valve, tepid water loop, or instantaneous water heater) to meet the ANSI-required 15-minute tepid water flush.”

On a separate note, Ebel spoke of the benefits of using wireless alarm technology for emergency eyewashes and showers. “Wireless transmitters enable control and/or notification from remote areas where wiring or wire maintenance is not physically possible or economically feasible.”

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Consider an e-commerce website wants to set orders that will beshipped to certain shipping countries for manual review or reject it in orderto reduce fraud orders. In this use case, let's say every transaction that hasMalaysia set as shipping country needs to be rejected. FraudLabs Pro allows you to configureit using fraud detection rules.

1. Login to the FraudLabsPro Merchant Control Panel.

2. Click on the Rulesmenu.

3. Add the new rule "Shipping Country". Set thecondition to "Within" and pick "Enter Countries Below".Select "Malaysia" as the value.

4. Select the Rejectaction.

5. Click on the Add Rulebutton.

When there is an order that has set the shipping country asMalaysia, FraudLabs Pro will automatically filter and reject this order.

If you want to reject an order that has set Malaysia as billingcountry, you can do so by adding new rule.

1. Login to the FraudLabsPro Merchant Control Panel.

2. Click on the Rulesmenu.

3. Add the new rule "Billing Country". Set the conditionto "Within" and pick "Enter Countries Below". Select"Malaysia" as the value.

4. Select the Rejectaction.

5. Click on the Add Rulebutton.

When there is an order that has billing country set as Malaysia, FraudLabs Pro will automatically filter andreject this order.

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AlfaoneBuilders Corporation Accomplished Projects

Withseveral years of expertise in realty sector, Alfaone Builders Corporationbecame the pioneer in real estate development in Kerala, India. Our firm isreferred to as one of the well-established and successful organizations in theindustry. Our profound experience and unparalleled commitment to fulfill the interests of ourclients allows us to influence and reshape the industry in our state.

Ourfirm is the wholly owned subsidiary of Alfaone Group that is situated in Dubai.Our parent company's multinational presence and strong financial footholdgranted us the advantage of being one of the best local and regional talents toachieve most challenging projects, and acquiring exclusive houses that onewould dream of. We have received multiple recognitions because of ourhigh-quality work.

Ourprominent projects provide a better living environment for the people tosimplify life and living. Our name has been made synonymous with premier qualityand trust due to our long-standing excellence, passion for efficiency andindomitable dedication to deliver the best services for our clients.

Amongour notable projects include Aquamarine and Lamina. Aquamarine is a 14-storeyskyscraper located in Kannur overlooking Payyambalam Beach with its golden sandfrilled by coconut greenery. It has a swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and outdoorparty area on the top floor, well equipped health club, children's play area,and indoor party hall for individuals who seeks leisure and fun.

Forthe comfort and convenience of its customers, Aquamarine provides good locationand excellent neighborhood, ample car parking, meditation and yoga space,EPABX/Intercom, 24/7 security, backup generator, common toilets for servantsand drivers, garbage chute for water disposal, standard fire safety features,and lighting arrester.

Forindividuals who enjoy indoor activities, Aquamarine offers table tennis, chessand card room, and reading room and library. It caters anything and everythingassociated with luxury.

Onthe other hand, Lamina has independent villas with ultra-modern facilities setin lush surroundings situated in Kannur. It has a heartwarming rusticbackground that brings class to your lifestyle where you can revitalize yourmemories in a verdant countryside.

Hereat Alfaone Builders, we always ensure that our clients will have an incrediblelife with their family through our professionally managed projects. We willcontinue being one of the best service providers in real estate in our country.

AlfaoneBuilders Corporation Company Profile

Alfaone Builders Corporationis the wholly owned subsidiary of Alfaone Group located in Dubai that has a multinationalpresence. We are known as the leading real estate development in Kerala, India.We provide exceptional services that include constructions at prime locationswith excellent connectivity, premier constructions, scheduled completion, and up-to-datefacilities. With years of experience in the industry, we became the topwell-established and organized organization in our region.

Our parent company'sdiverse portfolio contains residential, commercial, urban development,transportation, infrastructure, industrial projects and government services.Alfaone's strong financial position and multinational presence has enabled usto remain among the best local and regional talent to successfully completecomplicated projects, and to improve the future of the country. We provideprevalent influence to the real estate industry using our profound experienceand indomitable dedication to fulfill our client's needs.

Alfaone is dedicated indeveloping outstanding designs that could transform the dream of severalindividuals into reality. We achieved a lot of recognitions within the industryover the years because of our high-quality works and services. Our successcomes from three aspects which include our commitment to effectively fulfillthe interests of our clients, engaging with them as partners, and achieving ourgoals with integrity and excellent service. Our top priority here at Alfa oneBuilders will always be meeting our client's standards.

Our projects provide a betterliving environment for the people to facilitate life and living. Our namebecame synonymous with high quality and trust because of our commitment to excellencethat could be witnessed through our successful projects. Some of our notableprojects include the Aquamarine and Lamina.

Our firm prides itselfin having accommodating professionals that ensures the client's satisfaction.We add sophistication to their living space with a touch of expertise. We also engageour clients in all stages of construction by which we are continuing to getworldwide customers and achieving the trust of thousand clients.

We have outstandingcharacteristics that make us stand out in the realty sector, such as integrity,professionalism, responsibility, quality, and unity. We strive with all ourstrength to leave a lasting imprint in the real estate industry.

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Social media can provide a huge amount of informationabout qualified leads. A well-designed campaign using a combination of promocodes can produce a lot of detailed data, that's why most social mediaplatforms provide analytics to analyze these data for future campaigns. It'sreally important to properly manage the data when you have collected theseleads. A modern CRM (customer relationship management) software allow your teamto capture leads as well as to follow up with offers and subsequent campaigns.

Today, it's no doubt that a lot of customers choosesocial media to search for trusted opinionsof different individuals about a certain product or service since it's easierfor them to research and buy online. A well-organized social media campaignmust be an important part of your business' sales promotions because mostpeople prefer a recommendation from a friendly face than a dry impersonalsearch result.

A well-organized social media campaign can also be astrong and effective sales tool as it allows your business to get closer to thecustomer, enhance your understanding towards their interestsand develop lasting relationships with them.

Acquiring social media success often involves a longprocess, especially in small businesses, you should flourish your profiles firstand develop a genuine relationship with your business' followers in order toprovide value before easing into any type of sales promotions. The followingare some simple tips provided by Bacall Associates inutilizing social media into your sales promotions.

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