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It used to be easy to know the amount of money circulating in the US economy: look into the US money supply. Today, it’s not that straightforward anymore. It is also difficult to measure the effects of the Federal Reserve monetary policies as well as those of the other central banks as well. In the 1980s, it was easy to understand the explanations of Milton Friedman on how inflation and economic fluctuations are affected by money supply. But it’s different today.

The reason why it’s too difficult to learn about the effects of money supply is that banks altered their way of doing business. It became difficult to monitor the movements of money. In the 1960s, bank deposits like savings, time, and checking make up 95% of the credit market of credit unions, savings and loan associations, and commercial banks. In the 1990s, such deposits only make up 72% of the said credit market. In 2007, the percentage dwindled to 55%. When the financial crisis began in 2008, there was a significant rise in the percentage primarily because people no longer want to risk their hard-earned cash.

It is also interesting to note that there are non-banking institutions which have started lending and borrowing which were once the domains of banks. According to Deloitte, the estimated amount of this shadow-banking system is about $10 trillion while the Financial Stability Board estimated it to be about $24 trillion in 2010. The measurement is only available after 3 months of each quarter. With the latest move by the Federal Reserve to buy bonds plus the financial-stress index which includes bank stock market prices, options prices, and credit spreads, the US economy may be seeing a better tomorrow for the next months.

Along with the moves to control the monetary policy, the stock market has also reached a new high in about 5 years. However, investors are not really jumping into the bandwagon. The primary reason is that they are afraid that they won’t generate profit from the attempt. Some investors would want to wait until next year or when the presidential election is over. Some investors may also be waiting for some bills to be passed by Congress. However, according to Nicole Seghetti of The Motley Fool, there are only 2 reasons why people shouldn’t try investing in the stock market. One, they have no money. Two, they can’t leave the money for a long time in the stock market.

So, how do you know if you have the money for the stock market? Normally, you must have saved many months of living expenses in a savings account. You must also have saved for any short term financial goal or for emergencies. If you’ve saved for both living expenses and emergencies and you still have excess money then it’s time to invest the excess in the stock market. If you have any midterm or long-term financial goals, you must invest in the stock market because no other investment schemes will be able to outpace inflation in a period of time.

With the encouraging development in the monetary policy, investors shouldn’t be afraid investing in the stock market. Outside forces may be able to pull down the stock market temporarily but it will eventually right itself. What matters most is that investors have the money which they can leave in the stock market for a long time.

With the current happenings in the world of IT and the impending release of Windows 8, Microsoft may be able to jump up and eventually keep at pace with its competitors. As it is, the publicly listed company is lagging behind giants like Apple, Samsung, and Google. However, since Microsoft is not seen to take a slice of the Android platform, developers are inclined to take the company as a possible alternative, especially since the Bill Gates firm is not in any way connected with the ugly fight for the Android market.

Microsoft had already taken a slice of the tablet pie by offering its own Surface tablet. Although its competitors are waiting for it to fail, stock market investors are waiting for the effect of Windows 8 release. As always, the pessimists believe that Windows 8 is a massive failure although it hasn’t even been released yet. But, investors will have to decide even before Windows 8 is released. If they don’t see any value in the new Windows 8 operating system, stock market prices will surely fall. Currently, the price has risen by as much as 19% this year but it failed in comparison to Apple’s 60% increase in the same period.

Experts are predicting that Samsung and Google will suffer losses in terms of market share and there’s a possibility that the new Windows 8 will rake in a conservative $8 to the company’s stock market price, which represents a 26% increase in share price. But with the impossibility of foretelling the future, no one really knows how Windows 8 will fare. However, there are signs that it will be the company’s best OS since Windows 95. Microsoft is also to set to conquer smartphones and tablets. Windows 8 is said to be the OS of choice for Microsoft’s Surface tablet and will compete against Apple’s iPad and similar devices from Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Aside from the effect of Windows 8 on the company’s share price, it is also interesting to note that Microsoft has huge $29 billion free cash on its coffers. It is expected that the 2.6% dividend yield will also increase by fall. With this, the value of Microsoft’s share price and value will also increase. The free cash is really not unexpected because Microsoft does have large gross margins.

Recently, the company has received a lot of flak for its decision to write down a Quantive’s value by $6.2 billion. It can be remembered that the online advertising agency was bought by Microsoft for $6.3 billion in 2007. However, its purchase of Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion may have been a better decision.

With about $70 billion in revenue and $22 billion in operating income for the 2012 fiscal year which ended in June, investors are expecting more than the usual 80 cents dividend per year. Therefore, with solid cash in Microsoft’s coffers, experts are predicting that even if Windows 8 doesn’t perform above par, the money generated by Microsoft due to its high gross margins is enough for investors to be confident about their earnings from the company’s stocks.

As the old saying goes, money makes the world go round. It may be a cliché but it does hold a lot of truth about the importance of making money. A lot of people are not knowledgeable about personal finance thus they often find themselves deep into their financial problems without seeing any light at the end of their dark tunnel. Some of them have to restructure their debts while some people file for bankruptcy. If only they are careful with their money, they wouldn’t have encountered a lot of difficulties.

At any point in your life, making money must be one of your priorities because it will pay your daily living expenses, emergencies, and other financial needs. Before you start making money, you have to examine your spending habits last month so that you’ll know how you spend your money. By knowing your expenditures, you’ll be able to decide which expenses you have to cut back in order to add to your savings. There are some banks which provide money tracking online for free and there are also money-tracking tools from various websites.

Part of your making money strategy is finding out how much money you need for retirement. As a rule of thumb, you can multiply your present annual salary by 12. You have to ensure that you save that amount of money before you retire. You have to plan how you’ll be able to raise the needed amount of money. Also, you have to check investment fees your current retirement accounts are charging you. You may opt to transfer your money to a retirement account which offers low fees as part of your making money strategy.

Another strategy in making money is to take advantage of every tax breaks made available to you. IRAs and 401(k)s provide various tax advantages. You may also ask your HRD head if there are employee benefits which you may not be fully taking advantage of. Every quarter, you also have to check your portfolio because your risk appetite may change. For those in their 30s, their financial portfolio may include 70% stocks and 30% bonds or other conservative investments. For those in their 60s, their financial portfolio may be reversed. Eventually, people will need to change their lifestyle in order to increase their rate of personal savings.

For people in their 20s and 30s, it is important to have a will as well as healthcare proxy documents and power of attorney. Part of personal finance is ensuring that each individual has a life insurance especially when there are dependents involved. Making money at this age involves increasing the rate of savings until the personal goal percentage is reached. A 20-year-old individual may opt for a 20% savings rate. Debts must be put at bay and paid on time. In case there is a huge credit card debt, a person must ensure that he is aggressive in paying the debt off as part of his making money strategy.

Personal finance for people in their 40s and 50s include analysis of the kind of support given to family members, especially to adult children and parents, because such support may have a negative impact of the person’s making money ability and financial security. It may make sense to find other ways to support the family members. For those with at least $50,000 assets, it may be best to take a long-term care insurance so that a nursing-home care or assisted living can be taken advantage of when needed.

Even individuals at least 60 years old can still have their own making money strategies. They may purchase an annuity as a way of making money even in old age. The annuity can offer additional financial security, especially for those without pensions. Making money during old age may include continuously working even in retirement. As much as possible, benefits from Social Security must be delayed in order to maximize the payments.

With the recent technological advancements, cell phones have evolved from being functional devices for voice calls to being exceptional portable computers. With the introduction of smart phones to the market, a person can send SMS, surf the internet, play video and music, and do video conferencing. With the changes brought about by technological innovation, people now spend more money on cell phone services. If you’ve been using the mobile phone for the last 10 years, it would be easy to notice the change in your budget for mobile phone services.

The Growing Mobile Phone Bills

During the early 2000, an average American typically spent $210 annually on mobile phone services. Today, the average American spends about $760 annually. According to statistics released by Bureau of Labor Statistics, mobile phone services increased by at least 15% annually for the first 10 years of the new century. Such increase is considered significant considering that during the same period the average increase in annual household expenditures was pegged at 2%.

The Effect Of Cell Phone Bills On Family Budgets

It has been noticed that mobile phone purchases have become a significant part of each household budget. A lot of people have scrimped on clothing and dining out expenses to buy new cellular phones. With such change in buying behavior, expenses related to cellular phone use have increased steadily in the family budget.

The Effect Of Cell Phone Spending On Land lines

With the increase in cellular spending, there is also a significant decrease in land line spending. Because the cell phone has met an individual’s communication needs, the land line has become insignificant. At the start of the new century, the land line bill would have taken around 75% of the total budget for telecommunication. After 10 years, an average individual was spending 65% telecommunication budget on cell phone bills.

How Africa Is Coping With The Mobile Phone Innovations

This shift in telecommunication spending is not only unique in the USA. In fact, Africa is using the mobile phone technology more than the other countries. According to Toby Shapshak of CNN.com, Africans have become creative with their use of cell phones. It is the only continent around the world with a “mobile only” policy. Because most African locations don’t have reliable sources of electricity, Africans have found old cellular phones which had been junked by most countries to be beneficial primarily because this type of mobile phones have longer battery life. It is very common to see Africans using their cell phones to listen to the FM radio.

Africans also have at least 2 SIM cards because mobile networks in the continent charge higher for interconnection fees with different networks. Thus, they just interchange their SIM cards if they want to communicate with other people who are using a different mobile network than theirs. The cell phone is also used to access the internet. According to Shapshak, South Africa records 25% of its Google searches using a mobile phone during the week. On weekends, this figure rises to about 65%. The mobile phone is also being used for money transactions. According to Gartner, mobile money transactions can reach up to $171 billion before the year ends.

The release of iPhone 5 last month had already surpassed web traffic volume of Samsung Galaxy S III. This is primarily because in such a very short time Apple had sold millions of iPhone 5. Add to that the fact that iPhone 5 is equipped with 4G browsing speeds thus escalating data usage to greater heights. In a 7-day Chikita Insights analysis between October 3 and October 5, there were 56% Apple iPhone 5 impressions as compared to 44% Samsung Galaxy S III impressions. According to Chitika, the reason behind it is that iPhone users are more active internet users.

For the last 1 year, Apple posted a $40.13 billion net income and $148.81 billion revenue. It had posted a net profit margin of +26.97% and operating margin of +35.62%. There was also a 41.16% sales growth during the recent 5 years. Apple was +74.55% ahead of its 52-week low while trailing -10.44% behind its 52-week high price. However, its 1.2% share price volatility had remained stable.

With more than 5 million iPhone 5 units sold when Apple started selling in September, iPhone 5 is now regarded as the quickest selling cell phone of all time. But analysts projected the sales to be from 7 to 10 million units on its 1st weekend. This also caused the stock market price of Apple to dip by 10% which is translated to some $60 billion market capitalization. The culprit is iPhone 5’s anodized aluminum chassis which is reported to be easily scratched. However, the decline in number of units is reported to be due to Apple’s inability to keep up with the demand. Bloomberg said that the supply issue is caused by Foxconn’s quality control crackdown to minimize the scratches issue. Foxconn is Apple’s chassis maker and assembler in China.

When asked about the issue, Apple was reported to be saying that the scuffs and scratches are normal. Without publicly admitting iPhone 5’s flaw, it has however asked Foxconn to guarantee that all the units are shipped in perfect condition. Nevertheless, ensuring top-of-the-line quality control is just a temporary solution because the units may be shipped in perfect condition but may still be easily scratched because of daily use.

Foxconn is now instituting tighter quality control. Because of this, there’s a shortage in aluminum chassis for all production lines of Foxconn to produce output. According to Bloomberg, Foxconn had even stopped its operation in some factories but the company was quick to deny it. Eventually, Apple and Foxconn will be able to resolve the anodized aluminum chassis issue but analysts still predict that Apple won’t be able to deliver a lot of units from September up to December.

iPhone 5 is believed to pressure Apple’s competitors. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu is quoted into saying that demands for Apple phone can easily go up to 45 million before the year is over. Mark Moskowitz, a JP Morgan analyst, assumed that iPhone 5 will be able to drive an upgrade cycle for the next 18 months.