Financial Services Funds For A Down Market

Buying into a financial services fund may not seem like the best idea, especially with the amount of instability in financial markets right now. But many experts and investors are saying that now is the time to invest in these kinds of funds. With prices so low, they are only going to grow from here on out as the financial climate of the nation continues to be repaired.Financial services funds are a type of mutual fund that is specifically focused on banks, lending institutions and other financial services companies. Mutual funds allow investors to get into the stock market without spending a lot of money on one type of stock. With a mutual fund, you are technically pooling your money with other parties and buying stocks as a group. The manager of the mutual fund will choose the stocks or bonds that will offer the best return for the category.Financial services funds offer a better deal than investing in financial services directly. When you use a mutual fund such as this, you get a number of different advantages. Your money is diversified across many different companies and institutions. If one financial institution has trouble, you aren’t left up a creek without a paddle. The rest of your mutual fund portfolio should balance out the hits that the individual company is taking.Another benefit of investing in the financial sector with mutual funds is that you get professional management of your funds. The financial services fund’s manager has the experience necessary to be able to determine when to buy and when to sell specific stocks and bonds. Their experience will help your money grow.Pooling your money also allows you to have more cost efficiency. If you have $5,000 to invest, you may be able to buy shares in two to three companies. However, when you invest in a mutual fund in the financial services sector, your money will be spread out far more equally. Mutual funds can contain stocks and bonds for up to 100 different companies. When you invest this way, you’ll be able to spread your money over a wide variety of companies which can act as a measure of protection.In late 2008 and early 2009, financial services funds were fairing too well. Based on the trouble with banks and lending institutions due to the stock market slumps, it’s easy to see why many people would shy away from investing in this sector. However, history shows that after a financial crisis the financial services industries have been boosted up in the following years. After the early 1990s recession, financial services funds rose 30% in 1992 giving investors a nice profit. Purchasing a financial services fund, or any fund for that matter, is not something that should be gone into lightly. Before you place your money in a fund, you should research the history of the fund, the company that runs the fund and even the fund managers. Once you evaluate this information you can figure out if investing in financial services through mutual funds will be your best bet.

Some Of The Most Popular Card Games For Kids

It may surprise you to hear that kids can be entertained by products other than high-tech, high-dollar video game systems, DVDs, and television. They don’t have to spend their game-playing time blasting aliens, swinging digital golf clubs, and blowing up buildings. Amazing as it may sound, kids really do enjoy traditional games like board games and card games. Card games are a great way for you to spend more time with your children and get them away from the television. In addition to being fun, card games can be educational.

One such fun, educational card game for children is CardWord. The CardWord deck consists of cards with letters on them instead of numbers. The object of the game is to spell words. It’s challenging and educational.

Another fun, thought-provoking card game for kids which you’ve probably played yourself is Concentration. This can be played with a conventional deck or you can purchase specially made decks which feature fun pictures, words, numbers, etc. The cards are laid out face-down and the object is to find the matching cards. This game, of course, develops concentration, and almost every kid loves it.

Some other old favorites are Old Maid or Go Fish. Probably the most loved of all card games for kids is War. Kids of all ages can learn the simple rules to this game which can keep them occupied for as long as any video game.

One of the more acclaimed card games for kids is Apples to Apples Jr. This game consists of cards that on one side have red or green apples on them, and on the other side they have a word with its definition. The object of the game is to match the word on one card that best fits with the word on another. For example, if the word “beach” is laid down, then the winning card will likely be “sun” or “ocean”. The winner is determined by a player acting as judge. This allows for a lot of leeway.

Uno is a game almost everybody has played. Uno is great because it can be tailored to suit children of all ages. If your child is very young and not able to comprehend complex rules, you can ignore the cards which involve skipping turns, drawing extra cards, and you can ignore the wild cards. With older children, you can utilize the entire deck and you’re likely to find yourself in quite the Uno battle with your progeny. Be assured that even if you’re playing your best, you’ll lose to your kids sometimes, and they’ll love it!

Card games provide a wealth of educational and entertainment possibilities for children. Even at their most formative stages, children can learn about words and numbers from card games. Card games will improve their concentration and enhance their logical reasoning abilities.

Easy Card Games To Entertain

My own experience makes me feel that every child will benefit from playing card games.

It is a healthy experience for a child to play with grownups as an equal; and to play with other children without noticing difference in age.

It is good for the child’s character to get practice in losing without squawking and in winning without crowing. (Many adults could use some of this practice too!)

A young child can learn about numbers and easy arithmetic from a simple card game. A child of any age can exercise his brain by the logical thinking that is needed in the more advanced games.

Moreover, card games are fun. And this is the best of all reasons for teaching them to children.

These games are for children who are too young to think… and for grownups who would rather not think! Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the children or the grownups laugh harder!

PIG

This is a very hilarious game for children or for adults to play with children. Anybody can learn the game in two or three minutes, and one extra minute makes you an expert!

Number of Players: 3 to 13. Five or 6 make the best game.

Cards: Four of a kind for each player in the game. For example, 5 players would use 20 cards: 4 Aces, 4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks, and 4 10′s. For 6 players you would add the four 9′s.

The Deal: Any player shuffles and deals 4 cards to each player.

Object: To get 4 of a kind in your own hand, or to be quick to notice it when somebody else gets 4 of a kind.

The Play: Each player looks at his hand to see if he was dealt 4 of a kind. If nobody has 4 of a kind, each player puts some unwanted card face down on the table and passes it to the player at his left, receiving a card at the same time from the player at his right.

Each player looks at his hand as it appears with the newly-received card. If, still, nobody has 4 of a kind, each player once again passes a card to the left and gets a new card from the right.

The play is continued in this way until some player has 4 of a kind in his hand. That player stops passing or receiving cards since he is satisfied with his hand as it is. Instead of playing on, he puts his finger to his nose.

The other players must be quick to notice this, and each of them must stop passing in order to put a finger to his nose. The last player to put a finger to his nose is the Pig.

DONKEY

This is the same game as Pig, except that when a player gets 4 of a kind he puts his hand face down on the table quietly instead of putting his finger to his nose. He still gets a card from his right and just passes that along to the left, leaving his 4 of a kind untouched on the table.

As each player sees what has happened, he likewise puts his hand down quietly. The idea is to keep up the passing and the conversation while some player plays on without realizing that the hand has really ended.

The last player to put his cards down loses the hand. This makes him a D. The next time he loses, he becomes a D-O. The third time, he becomes a D-O-N. This keeps on, until finally some player becomes a D-O-N-K-E-Y.

Board Games Aimed At Teenagers

While there are board games made for every age range possible, there is a special market made for games which are geared toward teenagers. Many times, these games will be themed according to different forms of media which may be popular with teenagers of the day. The teenage years can be a time during which many children are trying to find themselves and often, they will express little interest in traditional board games. However, when there are games built around something that they are interested in, they might be more inclined to play one.

The popular High School Musical franchise has given board games a number of opportunities to base games off of the idea. It has produced a game based on a “Mystery Date,” where players must race around the board, getting ready for a mystery blind date with one of the boys from High School Musical. Not only is the person of the date in question, but whether the player can even be ready for the date in time is one of the driving forces of the game. Whichever player can race around the board and complete all of their tasks in time will be the winner.

Another High School Musical game is one in which players have to prepare and be ready for the audition. Trying out for the school play was the major theme in the High School Musical movie and in this game, players can feel the same rush of emotions as the characters of the movie did, trying to perform well and land the part. These games give teenagers a chance to experience some of the fun of one of their favorite movies while still giving them the opportunity to interact with each other in a safe manner.

Other, popular action movies can also provide the chance for some fun games to be produced. Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers have both given their images to a number of games. You could find a Pirates of the Caribbean edition of Life or a Transformers edition of Risk. These games take the excitement of the movies they are based on and allow different teenagers to feel the same thrill they might have found in the theaters in the comfort of their own home. Again, they allow teenagers the chance to interact with each other in an environment which is safe and might keep them out of trouble which they may otherwise get themselves into.

This isn’t to say that traditional games aren’t popular with teenagers as well. Monopoly and Clue can both provide a fun night for any number of people. Teenagers aren’t exempt from this; they only sometimes need an extra little push into feeling like they are allowed to simply enjoy a board game. There is a lot of pressure on teenagers to conform to certain ideas and peer pressure can be high. Playing board games isn’t usually one of those things that teenagers can be pressured into by their friends. However, when the game is something that all of the teenagers will enjoy, it is much easier to convince them to play the games.

Do Video Games Breed Violent People?

You hear it on the news, you read about it in magazines and papers, and it’s the accepted word on the street – our society is becoming increasingly violent, and this is largely due to video games. People often point at the selection of wear related, or violence related video games and in one fell swoop, tarnish all video games as causing nothing but a decrease in the moral standard of our society, and with the same sweep, tarnish all young people who play these games as either actual or potential thugs, who will do little more than hang around on street corners mugging people, or causing other distressful crimes.

Although at first glance it would appear that statistics offered by these people appear to bear testimony to what they say, on closer examination it becomes very quickly apparent that the truth is much farther from this portrayal of it.

It is a fact that the accident and emergency wards of hospitals see a good number of young people who have been admitted as a result of violent crime. In fact, the actual number of such cases has fallen quite dramatically in recent years, although no such decrease has been seen in the number of video games being played, or in their popularity. It is also a fact that the vast majority of these young people who have been involved in violent crime are regular players of video games.

But this statistic is woefully misleading. Since ninety percent of young boys play video games, it is always going to be the case that any random selection of boys will result in the vast majority of them being regular players of video games. It would make as much sense to identify all the young boys who volunteer for charity work occasionally, or take part in fundraising, and then identify how many of them play video games regularly. Since ninety percent of all boys play video games regularly, then these fundraising charity volunteers are going to mostly be gamers – but this is not to suggest that playing video games make you more charitable, in just the same way that playing video games doesn’t make you a violent thug.

Forty percent of girls play video games, which is to say nearly half, so again, if nearly half of all girls admitted into hospital after being involved in a violent crime are branded as being there because of video games, it makes as much sense to suggest that by not playing video games, half the girls have ended up in hospital.

These are the statistics that those who have a deep mistrust of video games like to publicise, but upon closer inspection, these claims are wildly unfounded, based on hopelessly meaningless figures and provided as only half the truth. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that playing video games makes a person become violent. The home life and upbringing has far more influence on a person’s social and moral attitudes that a computer game.

Sex Talks: Help! My Kid’s The Town Crier!

Talking to our kids about sex is challenging – for everyone, even me! You feel anxious about all kinds of things like their loss of innocence, or telling everyone and their cousin. You worry they’ll go out and try it or will think that by talking to them you’re giving them permission to do it. You worry about what other parents (and your parents!) will think if you talk to your kid at a young age.

But, you’re feeling great! You whacked up the ginger and read ALL of Robie Harris and Michael Emberley’s “It’s SO Amazing!” book about how babies are made to your 8 year old. She was a little grossed out, had some questions and seemed to understand how sex works. Whew! You are on your way to some great conversations.

You even remembered to tell her “This is a private conversation we have in our family and not with other kids or adults. Other moms and dads want to be the ones to tell their kids about this important part of life. You can always talk to me about it if you have questions or concerns.” Super! You rock!

And then…your lovely child heads straight to her best friend at school and fills her in on all the details! And then you get a call from the friends’ outraged parents and maybe even the school. Not a great moment in sex education history, but not to worry, all is not lost.

Consider this – You’ll probably spend 10 or 15 minutes on the phone with the upset parent explaining your beliefs about sex and kids and that you asked your daughter not to talk to other kids about this. You will apologize, tell them that you’ll remind her of this and then offer the parent a resource for getting more info about talking to kids.

Now consider this – You want to have open and consistent conversations with your child about sexuality, love and relationships throughout her youth, right? This is the most important part of this scenario – your relationship with your child.

When you compare the two, which is more important? The freaked out adult who now is forced into having a conversation they should be having anyway? Or your child who knows you are a trustworthy resource and will look to you for help and support for years to come?

When you start these conversations with your children I strongly recommend you tell the parents of her closest buddies, your parents and any other adult she has regular contact with. They need to know so they can step in if she starts blabbing, asks them questions or the like. It’s easier on everyone if they are prepared in advance for any little surprises.

When my son was about 3 or 4 we had read parts of “It’s SO Amazing.” He loved looking at the pictures of bodies and was very into reading this book. One day he was at my in-law’s house and he looked at my lovely mother-in-law and announced “You have a vagina!” She knew we’d been reading this book and took it in stride. We had prepared her for moments like this.

When it comes to talking to your kids about sex, you cannot worry about what the neighbors might think. The most important relationship is the one with your child. So take a deep breath, exhale, and get ready for the next conversation.

Creating A Personal Finance Spreadsheet

One of the biggest challenges we face as adults is balancing a budget. Creating a personal finance spreadsheet can be one of

the most valuable steps you can take to tackling this challenge head on. Even if you start with a simple format and a few details you can be well on your way to financial organization which can lead to financial security in the long run.

There are different methods for creating a personal finance spreadsheet and the decision on which to choose depends greatly

on your personality in general. Many people like to keep record in a computer program like Excel. This is a wonderful way to

stay organized while making a sound personal financial spreadsheet that is professional grade quality.

The Excel program is great because it allows you to work from a clean template. You have control of the input and you can

cater your personal financial spreadsheet to your needs. Many of us have no idea how to use this program but it really takes

just a few minutes to master and the results are great.

You can also use a program like Quicken to create a personal finance spreadsheet. This kind of program comes highly

recommended for any individual who is serious about keeping track of all of his incoming and outgoing funds. The personal

finance spreadsheet that you can produce from a program like Quicken will put your accountant to shame.

Many of us love the idea of keeping strict records of our spending habits and we really like the idea of a sound budget.

However, we don’t like to work on the computer any more than we have to. If you spend all day at work at the monitor the last

thing you want to do is go home and work on a personal finance spreadsheet on your personal computer.

There are those of us who are just not likely to keep things up to date when using this kind of personal finance spreadsheet. These individuals may embrace more traditional, hands on approach to keeping a budget record up to date. There are many items available at office supply stores to meet the traditional needs as well.

One thing to remember when it comes to your personal finance spreadsheet; if you are in a partnership or a marriage it is

crucial to keep the lines of communication open. No personal finance spreadsheet will help you become clairvoyant. Good

Video Games Becoming Addictive To Children

Parents, teachers, and adults are beginning to wonder with all the research being done on video games if children are not becoming obsessive even addictive to video games. Most of the research that has been complete have focused on video games that have more of a violent theme due to the behavior now appearing in children.

Researchers do feel that there is a connection between violent video games and violent behavior in children. It is felt that when these violent video games are played repeatedly then the children will have aggressive thoughts and become less helpful to others and less sociable as well. In video games where the goal is to kill as many characters as you possible can, then the objective turns into the violent the kills are the more points that they will collect. While a child is playing such a game ninety-nine percent of the time their heart rate will increase dramatically due to the affect the game is having on them.

A study was done by three teenagers and was put on observation at an International Science and Engineering Fair in Cleveland, Ohio that showed how video games affected children who played them. The study showed that people, not only children, or all ages had a rise in blood pressure and heart rate after they played a super violent video game. However, when the same person played a nonviolent video game did not have the the same effect as the violent video game.

Children all over the world play these violent video games every day and some play for more than three or four hours a day. There will always be a debate as to whether violent video games can actually make an individual have behavior that is of an aggressive and violent nature, but the fact is that these video games are addictive to children. It is true that playing video games can help children develop their visual skills while learning about computers, which may help them in school. In fact, studies are now showing that video games can be helpful for children.

The fact is that video games are proving to help children that labeled ADD or ADHD learn how to focus their attention. Video games are often innocent bystanders to the problems in society. Video games have the potential to inspire children to learn if it is presented in the right manner to children. Video games have already proven to have the capability of improving the coordination and visual skills of children that play them.

Children tend to choose video games that have the combination of being challenging, entertaining, and complicated. Many of these video games can take up to one hundred hours of play to complete and most children will have their concentration focused on the video game the entire time. Children that are labeled with ADD and ADHD by teachers are those children that can not sit still in school, but this might just be because they find the school work boring, because the majority of these children can spend hours trying to make it to the next level of a video game.

These same children, who professionals feel can not pay attention, can play a video game for ten straight hours if given the opportunity simply because the game focuses their attention in a way school is unable to try, which is interactive. These children are not simply sitting and watching, but are participating in what is going on and solving problems.

Chicago’s Magnificent Miracle Mile The Hottest Commercial Real Estate In The Midwest

Can you afford commercial real estate on the Chicago Magnificent Mile? If you can, your business will be in good company, and you can make a lot of money!

A festival of restaurant dining, theater and jazz experiences, shopping, hotels and entertainment, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is abuzz with activity from Spring through Fall, and those merchants and commercial vendors who are lucky and wealthy enough to rent space in Chicago’s most productive real estate market, are the fortunate recipients of some pretty hefty income.

The Magnificent Mile stretches from Randolph Street to North Avenue and from Lake Michigan to the North Branch Canal, and it is Chicago’s most expensive commercial real estate.

The landscape is flush with fancy hotels including the Inter-Continental, the Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, Omni, Le Meridian, Hyatt, Wyndham, the Westin, the famous Whitehall and many other world-renowned hotels share this prestigious real estate, and the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association manages the business district.

Within this precious Chicago real estate, street festivals, garden shows, food festivals and other events are planned, all to bring local residents and tourists to spend their entertainment dollars.

Along this stretch of expensive real estate you can also find posh, formal restaurants like Les Nomades, and NoMi intriguing international restaurants where you can find Brazilian, East Indian, French, Italian and cuisines from many countries around the world.

The Chicago Shakespeare Company is also in residence in the Magnificent Mile of Chicago Real Estate, as are a number of jazz clubs and galleries like Kenneth Probst, Peter Bartlow and R.S. Johnson, selling fine art, antiquities and much more.

Water Tower Place, the Shops at North Bridge, Chicago Place and the North Michigan Shops also offer commercial real estate opportunities in well-advertised storefronts, malls and real estate centers.

If you are looking for commercial real estate in this area of Chicago, be sure you employ a reputable broker. Rents are high and real estate is precious. Options to extend commercial leases and expansion options to take on more space will come at a premium in this real estate market.

Upscale brokers like Gordon McAdam, Property Management companies like Zeller, and Executive Suite brokers like AMATA deal in finding and leasing commercial real estate and space to businesses in this area.

If you are looking for Chicago real estate on the Magnificent Mile, be sure you find a company that will work with you to assess your square footage requirements, and do an office or building search that will take into consideration the ideal location for your type of business.

These companies can also help you analyze the commercial lease you will be asked to sign and negotiate more favorable terms. Some have partners that offer architectural and build-out services for your real estate needs, and even move-in and utility hook-up services.

If you DO rent commercial real estate along the prestigious Magnificent Mile in Chicago, make the most of your network by joining the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association. Membership in this business and real estate district association provides you the opportunity to participate in business-to-business marketing activities and to have your logo and business identify advertised and promoted in the Magnificent Mile events and activities.

The Board of Director’s for this Chicago real estate business district and association always includes prestigious hotel managers and business managers for large commercial vendors like Neiman-Marcus, as well as business district and service vendors who provide the local transportation. These are good people to know if you want to promote your business.

Get to know the individuals who share this small square of real estate with you and leverage their connections to help you make more money and pay that steep rent bill every month.

Per square mile, this patch of Chicago real estate will produce more income for your business, but it will cost you a pretty penny to house your business here.

If you want to consider Chicago real estate with a slightly less onerous price tag, you can consider real estate in the Riverfront area, which is very near the Magnificent Mile and attracts lots of tourists. There are lots of events there and the overflow of shoppers and tourists from the Magnificent Mile is a definite advantage to renting commercial real estate in the area.

Why Real Estate Investing Will Always Be Very Profitable

In recent months there has been a lot of talk about a crash in the real estate market.

Analysts predict a housing bust. News reports indicate that home sales are declining in several markets all over the country. This paints the picture that real estate investing is no longer a lucrative business. Investors all over the country are advised to get out of the game as quickly as possible to avoid losses.

What analysts and news reports don’t tell you is that every decade for the past forty years there has been some kind of warning about a crash in the real estate market. Each time these warning come out, people begin to mistrust real estate investing.

They turn their sights to other forms of investing. Analysts to preach this gloom and doom on the real estate market also do not understand that real estate investing is much different than stock investing. The same rules and trends do not apply.

Every decade when analysts state their predictions for a real estate market crash there are some real estate investors who heed this advice. These investors eventually regret doing so once they realize that there was no cause for alarm in real estate investing. Smart investors, on the other hand, realize that there is always money to be made in real estate investing and they know exactly why.

Humans have only a few basic needs. These basic needs never change, they never go away. These needs include food, clothing, and shelter.

The constant need for shelter lies at the root of the reason that real estate investing will remain profitable. Of course, there are some other key elements, but the least you need to know is that humans will always need real estate.

Even if real estate somehow dwindles from a structure with walls and a roof to a measly hole in the ground, it is still considered shelter. Someone has to provide these holes in the ground. Some holes will end up being better than other holes. Some people will have the means to buy and sell multiple holes. Real estate investing will continue to exist.

The real estate market alone will never experience a crash. In all the years that real estate has been around, the market has never crashed. The only time you will see a negative impact on the entire real estate market is when the general market experiences a downfall as well. However, when this happens, the value of all other commodities will decrease at the same time. Even in this case, real estate investing can still prove to be profitable.

You might see a local real estate market decline as a result of another catastrophe, such as New Orleans in the case of Hurricane Katrina. Because of a natural disaster, the majority of the real estate in the area was lost. There were no properties for homeowners to purchase. A key thing to know in real estate investing is that local markets always correct themselves. The disastrous loss in the New Orleans area created a huge opportunity for real estate investing.

Although the real estate markets in various cities might fluctuate from time to time, the real estate market as a whole will never experience a serious decline. This is the reason that real estate investing will remain a lucrative form of investing.