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Category Archives: Financial Independence

Unexpected Financial Planning Lessons From My Dog – Kiplinger – Kiplinger Personal Finance

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 4:30 am

Given the right training, dogs (and their owners) can do almost anything. Heres what my dog, Gopher, helped me learn about finances.

What does a dog have to do with financial planning? As a proud dog owner, I can confirm that animals are often far more effective teachers than books, classes and neighbors combined. Their lessons include the importance of choosing wisely, being patient and understanding that we all start out as beginners all of which applies to financial planning.

Three years ago, I was visiting my family in rural Minnesota. It was October, frigid and lacking any big-city entertainment. One day, I decided to go look at puppies. There I was: freezing, without Internet, and thinking that I have been considering getting a dog for some time now. The stars were aligned.

The outcome of that day was entirely predictable. If you are looking at puppies, chances are you will get one. In my case, the winner was a 3-pound ball of fuzz and energy, an accidental mix of cocker spaniel and pincher. Given his Minnesotan roots, the name Gopher fit him perfectly. With some food, a leash and a carrier, the pup was ready for his trek to the sunny shores of Southern California.

I adored my new puppy. They say that pet owners take more pictures of their pet than their family members, and that certainly applied to me. Along with my pet duties, I also had a demanding job. The two factors combined to produce the perfect storm. In retrospect, it is clear that I had set myself up for a no-win situation. At the time, all I could do was shut my eyes and keep moving forward.

I was at work all day. Little Gopher did not know what to do with all his spare time. A bored puppy in an empty apartment was a recipe for disaster. One day, he chewed off the window blinds. Over the next few months, I went through eight phone chargers. I was at a loss for what to do. Giving the dog up was never an option, but I had to wonder how many more sets of blinds and chargers I would have to replace.

Eventually, I enrolled Gopher in obedience classes. Fitting weekly training sessions into my packed calendar was tough, but the effort paid dividends. Our trainer, Lynn, opened the first day of training with a bit of advice. "We as humans would do so much better communicating with our animals if we just shut up," she said. I took that to mean actions speak louder than words, so Gopher and I got to work.

Taking the trainers words to heart, Gopher surprised us with his progress. I always knew he was a smart dog, but he really blossomed through training. We completed the basic obedience classes, then the Canine Good Citizen training course. Currently we are doing agility training. I cannot imagine stopping. Our bond is stronger than ever, and my blinds and phone charges are safe at last.

Now what does this story have to do with financial planning? I learned three critical lessons from Gopher that are rather applicable in our own financial lives.

Remember the risks of looking at cute puppies? Chances are, you will get one. The situation parallels your search for a financial adviser. Plenty of professionals will try to "sell" you, so its important to be clear on your wants and needs.

People who work with dogs for a living often put a puppy or an adult dog through an assessment prior to adoption. Is this dog motivated by treats or toys? Is he calm and friendly with strangers? Does he show aggression? The goal of the assessment is not to label the dog as good or bad but to help evaluate a dozen of parameters that describe him. What is his temperament, prey drive, degree of focus on the handler? There is no right or wrong dog, but there are better and worse fits for everyones situation. A Navy Seal K9 candidate will be far different from your standard family pet.

Just as there are dozens of pups in your local rescue shelter, there are dozens of financial advisers in your area. Some specialize in a niche, while others offer broad expertise. Each adviser has a unique mix of communication style, approach to planning and personality. Knowing what you need is critical for finding your perfect fit.

An apartment safe from puppy teeth, Gophers Canine Good Citizen award and our stronger bond were all made possible by our amazing trainer. She took stock of our situation, found a way to teach us better habits and inspired us to be better versions of ourselves. I cannot thank her enough for her contribution to the relationship between Gopher and me.

A financial planner can have the same impact. Your relationship with money is meant to be mutually beneficial, yet so many of us are terrified to open credit card bills and dont keep good saving habits. An independent professional can point out your blind spots, tune your spending patterns and help put you back in charge of your financial situation.

Our trainer was wonderful, and still Gopher and I had to start with the simplest of basic steps. Sit. Stay. Leave it. The lack of instant progress was downright frustrating. In a way, early training days with Gopher were very similar to working toward a major financial goal, like saving for a vacation or retirement.

The lesson to learn here is that everyone starts out as a beginner. Some start earlier than others, but no one gets to skip the basics. As you master the first steps toward financial independence, you can expand your habits and make your way to the top. We all want to be comfortable with money, and its important to remember that big goals take patience along with time and effort.

I believe that animals can be our best teachers. My dog taught me about the importance of making good choices, hiring the right professional and being patient without saying a word.

As with obedience training, financial planning is all about creating the right outcomes. Approach your choice of financial planner thoughtfully. Through good advice and a foundation of constructive habits, our trainer worked a miracle for Gopher and me. Imagine what the right financial planner could do for you!

William Rassman is a Certified Financial Planner and Vice President Wealth Adviser for the independent investment and insurance firm Centric Capital Advisors. He began his career in NYC at Smith Barney in 2008.

Comments are suppressed in compliance with industry guidelines. Click here to learn more and read more articles from the author.

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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Solutions 4 Financial Independence: 8/22/17 – WDTV

Posted: at 4:30 am

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV)- Question: My dad recently passed away. He had a Roth IRA as well as a 401(k). As a non-spouse beneficiary, can I roll over the accounts into my personal Roth IRA and 401(k) accounts?

Answer (John Halterman, Beacon Wealth Management): "Let's start with, can you roll the money over into your personal account? That answer is actually no. Only spouses can roll over a Roth IRA into their own Roth IRA and a 401(k) can be rolled over into your own Ira. But in this type of situation since you are not a spouse, what do you need to do is what we call an inherited Roth IRA or an inherited IRA. So both of those can be rolled over into an account, it's going to be in your name, just not going to be in your personal Roth IRA and 401(k)."

Q: How with the taxes affect me?

Answer (John Halterman, Beacon Wealth Management): "The Roth IRA, because it's a Roth IRA, it's actually going to be tax-free in the future to him. When you rollover money into an inherited, you do have to take what we call the required minimum distribution. But in the Roth portion, because of the tax for account there will be no taxes. Now for the 401(k), because it's going into an inherited IRA, and you have to take required minimum distributions, those will be taxed as ordinary income. One's tax-free and one's going to be taxed."

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How to Invest Smart and Dream Big! – HuffPost

Posted: at 4:30 am

My Stock Market Dream- How to Invest your Money Smarter in Stocks and Bonds.

Sadly I know that when a crash happens (you can define a crash for yourself some people freak at drop of 1%, 10%, 20% or when there is actually a full blown crisis like we had around 2008) more people will get cold feet and pull money from the market. Basically doing the opposite of what will help you build wealth: Buy High, Sell Low.

As a fiduciary financial planner my goal is to help people make smarter financial decision today and tomorrow, with that in mind to help them avoid the mistakes that leave many people just one missed paycheck away from financial ruin.

If day in and day out ignoring the apocalyptic headlines from the 24 News Cycle and making smart financial decisions were easy people may actually get better results, and feel happier with their investment choices. If that wasnt bad enough we are not deluged with an onslaught of fake news via social media like Facebook and Twitter.

My favorite part of my job is when Im helping clients make smarter financial decisions. I say smarter: this is time when we are choosing between a few options that all have benefits (and potential drawbacks) and are moving them towards their personal financial goals. Sadly, many people are fighting against making dumb financial decisions. If it was a multiple choice question all four answer you can choose from are bad for your finances. Not a great position to be in.

If I had to guess Id say 95% of working adults in America need to be saving more (anything is more than ZERO), and 99.99% could benefit from smarter financial decisions along the way. You dont have to be perfect to achieve financial independence but you do have to be proactive. Am I perfect financially my husband would say no hes too cheap. I prefer Money Maximizer (aka frugal) I know I tend to hoard money, am getting better at taking my own advice to LIVE FOR TODAY, BUT SAVE FOR TOMORROW. Get started now- the first million is the hardest.

Volatility is written into the DNA of the market. In fact, volatilityisthe market. The market may be up today, and down tomorrow or vice versa. As a financial planner Im here to tell you that volatility is par for the course when investing. Temporary declines can only be turned into permanent losses if you make some of the big investor mistakes. Embrace volatility and be aware that it is by no means the same as investment risk.

I liken speculating to gambling, you are hoping that some stock will go or down some amount over the short term. Day Traders are speculating. They often boast of amazing results when time are good, and more likely to be decimated when times are bad.

Investing is more like being the Casino. You diversify your risk across a portfolio and dont need to win on every single hand all the time. Past performance is not indicative of results, but the stock market has trended up over the long term. Bottom line, dont treat you investments or financial plan like a drunken weekend in Vegas, or you may end up with a rough Financial Hangover.

Many people often confuse these two. If you hear a hot stock tip at a party and rush out and buy it, you are most likely speculating. If you have a diversified portfolio and are putting away money on a regular basic you are more likely investing for some future goal.

Investments are just a tool to help drive a financial plan. If you are working with a Fiduciary Financial Planner you may be presented with different investment choices made for different financial goals with different taxation and time frames.

We all want great returns, but that can be relative. I often use risk based portfolios for my clients, if you are saving for a house in a few years you would most likely want to take much less risk in that portfolio that you would in your accounts for retirement that may be decades away.

Bottom line, a financial plan is road map of often simple action steps to take to get you on track for your various financial goals. Including things like investing, tax planning, estate planning, protection planning and even sometime fun stuff like spending plans. We have to have money to travel right?

Face your Financial Fears:

Procrastination is one of the biggest issues keeping people from Financial Success. The day to day movements of the stock dont really mean much for your odds of achieving financial success. If you arent invested at all they really mean nothing to you.

Not doing anything is a choice as well. Save ZERO dollars, and having ZERO dollar grow by ZERO percent will leave you with ZERO income from those investments regardless of how fabulous or successful you have been, or even how long you have delayed retiring.

Make 2017 the year you get your financial house in order, and more importantly keep it that way. Sit down with a fiduciary financial planner like David Rae to make sure you have a plan in place to stay on track for your various financial goals.

DAVID RAE, CFP, AIF is a Los Angeles-based retirement planner with DRM Wealth Management and Independent Registered Investment Advisor. He has been helping friends of the LGBT community reach their financial goals for over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the Advocate Magazine, Investopedia (named 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors) and Huffington Post as well as the author of the Financial Planner Los Angeles Blog. For more information visit his website

#investin #speculation #fiduciary #financialplanner

The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only. They are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual and do not constitute. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial professional. Please remember that investment decisions should be based on an individuals goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. Investment in stocks will fluctuate with changes in the market conditions and indices are unmanaged measures of market conditions. It is not possible to invest directly into an index nor does past performance guarantee future results. Diversification help you spread risk throughout your portfolio, so investments that do poorly may be balanced by others that do relatively better. Neither diversification nor rebalancing can ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Article Originally Published on the Financial Planner LA Blog.

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Could this miner help you secure financial independence faster than … – AOL UK

Posted: at 4:30 am

With its story capturing the imagination of so many private investors, it's no real surprise that 1.2bn cap polyhalite producer SiriusMinerals(LSE: SXX) remains one of the most traded stocks on the London Stock Exchange.

Last week's interim results made reference to "excellentprogress" being made on the company's Woodsmith Mine and associated infrastructure with development progressing on time and on budget.

Having completed all highways and enablement works and most of the preparations at the site, CEO Chris Fraser stated that the company now eagerly anticipated the commencement of shaft sinking activities. He also reported that Sirius was continuing to engage with commercial partners around the globe and that interest in the company's POLY4 product "remainsstrong".

Of course, there's still a very long way to go and many hurdles to overcome before the mine becomes operational, which probably explains why the share price is still struggling to stay above the 30p mark. Nevertheless, I remain bullish on Sirius and its ability to grow its investors' wealth steadily over the next few years, particularly with the company now comfortably occupying a space in the relatively stable FTSE 250 index following its move from the junior market.

For those who simply can't wait for next four years to elapse however, there may be an alternative.

It may be a minnow compared to Sirius butBluejayMining(LSE: JAY) is quickly winning friends thanks to the potential of its relativelylow-cost Pituffik Titanium project in Greenland --independently verified as being the highest grade ilmenite mineral sand deposit in the world.

According to today's interim results, Bluejay's work programme for the year is now "welladvanced" with managementaiming to begin constructing the mine plant in early 2018 and a full exploration licence expected during H1.Offtake discussions with potential customers are progressing and likely to conclude within the next 3-6 months.

Thanks to the levels of visible ilmenite concentrations being so great, Bluejay's proof-of-concept bulk sampling programme is also "exceedingexpectations" to such an extent that stockpiling is now forecast to begin far earlier than planned assuming production rates can be maintained. This puts Bluejay in an excellent position to begin selling its product as soon as the relevant licence is received.

Like Sirius, Bluejay's project has been warmly received by the local community as well as many government and environmental agencies. June's oversubscribed placing -- allowing Bluejay to boast a net cash balance of 5.8m at end of H1 -- also means the company's popularity among institutional investors (including Prudential plc) continues to grow.

The shares have climbed over 200% since last August, leaving the company with a market cap of 136m. Based on comments from CEO Rod McIllree however, the coming months could be "equallytransformative". In time, he believes that the Pituffik project could completely transform the titanium industry. All this before Bluejay's wider asset portfolio in Greenland and Finland is even considered.

While mining projects carry significant risk, both Bluejay and Sirius could be excellent medium-to-long term investments for those determined to become financially independent. That said, while the North Yorkshire Moors are a far more hospitable environment than that faced by Bluejay, it could be that the latter's relatively simple production model could reward holders a lot sooner.

With their ability to generate huge capital gains for investors, it's no surprise that mining stocks appeal to those investors keen to secure financial independence sooner rather than later.

Despite this, there are also far less risky ways of obtaining financialfreedom, some of which are outlined in a BRAND NEW special free report from the Motley Fool's analysts.

The Foolish Guide to Financial Independence is available completely FREE of charge and comes without any obligation.

Grab your copy here.

Paul Summers owns shares in Sirius Minerals. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes

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App to help women escape domestic violence through financial … – The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Since time immemorial, women have stayed with violent partners because they can't afford to leave.

Clearly, there's been progress. In our society women have full economic rights, though we don't yet have full financial equality. We can hold a job, we can open a bank account, we can own property in our own right, and increasingly we do all of these things. We're also more likely to get a fair share of joint assets in the case of a break-up.

Though women are arguably freer to leave a violent relationship than ever before, it remains challenging for anyone in that situation. Andmoney remains a key factor .

Before we go on, I want to acknowledge that men and people who identify as non-binarycan be victims of domestic violence. There are helplines at the bottom of the article for victims of any gender.

Yet for many reasons, domestic violence is an issue that overwhelmingly affects women and children. I'm not going to pretend otherwise.

There's alsofinancial abuse", by whichanother person controls your access to money or other property without your consent or by manipulatingyour decision-making.Elderly people are often victims of this, with "inheritance impatience" of adult children a key driver.

Angela Lynch, the chief executive of the Women's Legal Service Queensland, says financial abuse is nearly always present in violent relationships.

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"Financial abuse is really quite common in domestic violence, some studies say 80-90 per cent of women who are victims of domestic violence are also subject to financial abuse," Lynch says.

"It's getting increased attention because we know that if women are driven into poverty, there's more chance they'll go back to the perp after they separate, which is of course why he does it, he knows it's effective."

Domestic violenceis usually not about the perpetrator losing theirtemper, it's about their desire to control another person. So it makes sense that controlling the purse strings comes with the territory.

This is why Lynch's organisation, with seed funding from Financial Literacy Australia, has developed an app for victims of domestic violence with the specific goal of helping them secure financial independence. The app, called Penda, will launch early next month.

The app prompts the user to complete steps to protect themselves financially that could ultimately help them if they want tomove on from a violent relationship. Such steps include changing passwords, opening their own bank account for wages or social security to be paid into, and keeping an eye on their credit rating in case their abuser is increasing levels of debt in the family.

It also includes legal and general safety information, such as how to get an apprehended violence order.

Lynch says the most important financial advice for anyone leaving a violent relationship is to talk to a financial counsellor. An increasing number of financial institutions now have policies around domestic violence and a financial counsellor can help negotiate a payment plan.

Lynch says some women don't get a choice about when they leave, but others may be better off planning their escape so they have some financial resources and independence as soon as they walk out the door.

The target demographic is women living in Australia aged 18 to 55,those with low incomes post-separation, and also young women and those in rural, regional and remote areas who face higher barriers to getting help.

Bearing in mind that women may be using the app while still living under the same roof as theirpartner, discretion is the name of the game. The app will be advertised nationally on thedoors ofwomen's toilets, thanks to a grant from Credit Union Australia. It has an ambiguous name and an innocuous floral logo.

The developers have included many safety features such as the ability to return quickly to the lock screen and set a password to open the app. However, Lynch says some women still at risk may be safer getting a friend to download it and feed the information to them.

All this secrecy makes me slightly uncomfortable to be writing about it but I checked with Lynch and she's keen for publicity in thelaunch phase.

This is the first app in Australia specifically focused on the financial side of domestic violence, though there are general domestic violence apps such as Daisy and ones with a specific focus such as Re-focus (legal) or iMatter (young women). There are also websites such as Girls Gotta Know or WIRE.

Within Penda's target demographic, 44 per cent would have a household income of $40,000 after separation and one in five would earn less than $20,000.

This makes it all the more disappointing that the Fair Work Commission recently rejected a union bid to include 10 days of paid domestic violence leave in all modern awards.

The ruling did make it explicit that unpaid leave should be on offer in this situation, but that doesn't really help women who are at risk of returning to violent partners because of financial stress.

Given the stigma still attached to domestic violence, it's hardly likely that anyone would be making a spurious claim for domestic violence leave. It's not like chucking a sickie.

To find a financial counsellor, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. For anyone experiencing sexual assault or domestic and family violence, call 1800-RESPECT.

Caitlin Fitzsimmons is Fairfax's Money editorand a columnist. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Help your college student stay out of financial trouble – Miami Herald

Posted: at 6:39 pm

Miami Herald
Help your college student stay out of financial trouble
Miami Herald
But that is one of the skills they will need as an adult, and going off to college can be one of the big steps toward financial independence. Let's start with the basics, beginning with awareness. A college student should know how much money is in ...

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Help your college student stay out of financial trouble - Miami Herald

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No Need to Go Alone: 5 Considerations for Choosing a Financial Adviser – Kiplinger Personal Finance

Posted: August 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Some tasks are appropriate for do-it-yourselfers, but investing and planning for retirement may not be one of them.

We all know we need to save and invest in order to build a nest egg for retirement, but according to the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board, only 40% of Americans work with a CFP to achieve their financial goals.

That means 60% of American workers are going it alone to plan their financial futures. Why? As a Certified Financial Planner who has owned a financial planning practice for 35 years, I can only conclude that unless 60% of American workers become disciplined, lifelong learners and investors when it comes to making, growing and preserving more of their money, they may find themselves at risk of running out of money as they age.

Building wealth that will last a lifetime may sound like a daunting task, but if you begin with a financial plan in your 20s, time is on your side and you can write off the ups and down in the economy.

For those of us in our 30s and above, there is still that magical, wealth-building formula of Savings + Investing + Time + Good Financial Decisions = Confidence in your Investments and Financial Independence.

So how do you begin to make good financial decisions? By connecting with an expert and committing to learn and follow the plan you create together. Still, some people may be puzzled about the value of working with a Certified Financial Planner. After all, what can a financial adviser do that the average American cant do on his or her own?

Plenty. Here are my top five basics to consider when working with a financial adviser:

Do you want to build a million-dollar portfolio? Own a beach house? Travel the world when you retire? Or just enjoy retirement and not be a financial burden for your children as you age?

We all have dreams about how we can live our best lives. But many of us get so bogged down in working day to day that we ignore the opportunities we have to save, grow our money and lower our tax burdens. Wishing is not a plan. But sitting down with an experienced, ethical financial adviser, articulating your goals, then following through and taking action IS a plan.

Not all financial advisers are created equal, and newspaper headlines periodically point up financial scams where unethical financial advisers abscond with investors money.

An ethical financial adviser acts your behalf to invest your portfolio in financial products that will grow or produce income for you. Savvy clients understand their investments and calculate net returns against adviser fees and commissions. If you dont understand an investment, or feel coerced to invest in something youre uncomfortable with, ask your financial adviser for an investment you do understand. Or shop around for an adviser who communicates better with you.

If you own a business and plan to retire in 10 years, your financial plan will differ from someone with a spouse with a chronic disease who needs expensive medications, or someone with a special needs child. Life insurance needs differ for a single Millennial in a high tax bracket vs. two teachers with five young children. A good financial plan takes your unique situation into consideration and optimizes your opportunities to grow and preserve wealth, as well as protect your home, family and business.

Some people grow up in middle-class, conservative households where children receive a weekly allowance and distribute money into three piggy banks: one for college, one for church and one for spending. Some grow up in households where spending is emotional, scarce or nonexistent.

We all behave differently and have varying risk tolerances when it comes to saving and investing. And investors have to realize that all investments are subject to market and other risk factors, which could result in loss of principal. But your risk tolerance largely depends on your personality, life experience and investment knowledge.

A good financial adviser wont generalize about you and your investment preferences. A good financial adviser will listen actively to your needs, assess your comfort level and take the time to guide you into investments consistent with your knowledge, experience and goals.

We read periodically of spikes or drops in specific stocks or industries when algorithms decide when to buy or sell an investment, but that kind of volatility and uncertainty can be dangerousand stressful-- for those of us who work hard every day and save one dollar at a time. A human financial adviser can guide you into a balanced portfolio that includes stocks, bonds, insurance, and stable, long-term investments.

Despite the ease of using a robo-adviser, robo-advisers do not provide counsel on issues such as estate planning, retirement or money management. A living, breathing and accountable financial adviser you know, meet with quarterly or annually and can trust is a prudent choice.

Talking with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) who acts as a fiduciary can help you articulate your dreams and evolve them into a plan. The CFP is the national certification for the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. If you want to learn how navigate the financial world and learn how to save, invest, select the right insurance products and reduce your taxes, a visit with a CFP can be the right place to begin.

Thomas P. Keller is a partner at Kehoe Financial Advisors in Cincinnati. Tom joined the firm in 1999 and became partner in 2003. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Tom is a Registered Representative and IAR with Kestra Investment Services and Kestra Advisory Services. He received his CFP designation in 2004.

Comments are suppressed in compliance with industry guidelines. Click here to learn more and read more articles from the author.

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.


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Could these investment trusts help to you achieve financial independence? – AOL UK

Posted: at 12:41 pm

Investment trusts are one of the oldest investment vehicles. For more than a hundred years investors have been using these companies to pool, protect and grow their wealth.

RIT Capital Partners(LSE: RCP) is one of the most successful investment trusts there is. Chaired by Lord Rothschild, since 1988 the company has produced an annual return of 12.9% for investors, turning 1,000 into 30,000.

Since 1990, it has returned 470%, eclipsing the FTSE 100's return of 19.5% over the same period excluding dividends.

Today RIT reported its results for the first half of the year, which showed yet another strong investment performance. Net asset value per share increased to 1,784p with a total return of 4%, from 1,730p, while pre-tax profitrose to 111.1m from 89.6m.

One of the greatest benefits of investing in RIT is that the firm is able to put its money into unquoted companies, offering a level of diversification not availableto most private investors. Indeed, today the company reported that itsnet quoted equity exposure averaged 43% during the first half and management has been looking for more private market opportunities to reduce exposure to expensive public markets. To that end, RIT has invested in US-based Social Capital LP, which it called one of "Silicon Valley's leading technology investment firms".

Overall, the investment trust is directing its exposure to "investments which will benefit from the impact of new technologies, and Far Eastern markets, influenced by the growing demand from Asian consumers," according to Lord Rothschild.

Unfortuntately, becauseRIT has generated such impressive returns for investors during the past decade, shares in the trust are not cheap. At the time of writing the shares are changing hands at 1,941p, a premium of 8.8% to net asset value. After increasing its interim dividend payout by 3.2% today, RIT is on track to pay out 32p per share to investors for the full-year, giving a dividend yield of 1.6%.

Still, even though it is trading at a premium to net asset value, if the firm can continue to produce double-digit returns for investors every year, this is one company that you can rely on to increase your wealth.

Alliance Trust(LSE: ATST) might be a better choice than RIT if you're looking for a trust that's trading at a discount. It has struggled over the past few years, which has resulted in investors avoiding the firm, but a recent shake-up has put an end to the poor investment performance.

Alliance Trust reported a net asset value total return of 12.4% over the six months to June 30. This compares with a 6.4% return from the MSCI All Country World Index over the same period. The better performance, coupled with the trust's restructuring has sent its shares higher by 22% excluding dividends over the past year, and there could be further gains ahead.

Based on the most recent figures, Alliance's net asset value per share is just under 749p, 4.6% above the current price of 417p. Management has instigated a stock buyback to try and reduce this discount. The shares support a dividend yield of around 1.8%.

Investment trusts are often overlooked by investors, but they can be an excellentaddition to your portfolio.

Using different assets and asset classes to reduce risk in your portfolio is essential if you want to achieve financial independence. If this is your goal, I recommend you check outthis brand new free report titled The Foolish Guide To Financial Independence, which is packed full of wealth-creating tips.

The report is entirely free and available for download today

Click here to download the report. What have you got to lose?

Rupert Hargreaves has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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Leaving Venezuela with just four suitcases – CNN

Posted: August 13, 2017 at 2:37 am

This is the place where she was born, where she is surrounded by her adoring family, where she fell in love, where she became a mom.

But now she's moving to an unknown land with her husband and infant daughter, packing up her entire life into a few suitcases.

"I don't really mind leaving material things behind," Wong says, as she sits in a small room surrounded by piles of clothing. "What truly hurts is leaving behind our family that loves us so much."

Stories like hers are becoming increasingly common, with more Venezuelans looking at their heritage and seeking out a citizenship and a passport from another country. Through her Peruvian mother, Wong was able to get the necessary documents to emigrate legally with her husband Jorge Salas and their 7-month-old baby, Akira. None of them have even visited Peru before.

"We are leaving in search of financial independence and to seek a better future for our baby," says Salas, 26, an artist and actor. "But we are certain we will be returning to Venezuela one day; that is the conviction we are leaving with."

The young couple recently celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary. The commemoration doubled as a goodbye party, during which dozens of friends, aunts, uncles and cousins crammed into the narrow house the couple shares with Salas' mother, Mirtha Mandarino.

Located in the capital's middle-class neighborhood of Santa Monica, the house had always been their safe haven -- until the violence and protests increased and they found themselves running into a back room after a tear gas grenade landed by their front gate.

"I had to grab the baby and rush her into the back room and put a rag on her face so she wouldn't breath the gas," Mandarino says, fighting back tears. "I'm heartbroken that they are leaving but happy to know they will be safe."

Mandarino's oldest son, Elio, is also gone. He left for Italy a year ago to study and decided to stay in Europe as long as he can. Baby Akira is her first granddaughter, and tears begin to well up as she squeezes her chubby body.

"This is the one thing I can't forgive (President Nicolas) Maduro for, he's torn my family apart," Mandarino says.

Wong's sister, 12-year-old Alexandra Ballesteros, hopes she will be able to catch up with the couple soon and move to Lima as well. As she folds her baby niece's clothing, she talks about her hopes and aspirations.

"I want to wait until I have a good plan in place in order to not waste money on an adventure," Alexandra, who speaks well beyond her years, says in a confident tone. "My dream is to go to Harvard University and study business administration or political science and be able to make a difference here in Venezuela."

During their last week in Caracas, Wong and Salas took a trek up the Avila Mountain, one of their favorite activities. As they looked out on their chaotic valley home, they vowed to return one day with their daughter in tow.

"I keep wondering, when will I see my mother again, my sister," Wong says. "I know in the end, we will find a way. Our family is like a magnet, we're bound to be together again soon."

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Leaving Venezuela with just four suitcases - CNN

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Woman wins financial independence – MyDaytonDailyNews

Posted: August 9, 2017 at 5:36 am

While the Ombudsman was visiting one of the many adult care facilities in our area, a woman told her that she does not receive enough money to pay for her personal needs and activities. The womans Social Security benefit income is managed by a representative payee agency that charges a fee. The woman would like to be in charge of her own finances but it has been a long time since she managed her own money. The woman is currently receiving $15 per month for her personal needs. If she managed her own money, and no longer paid the agency fee, she would have $40 per month.

The Ombudsman contacted the local Social Security office to learn what steps the woman needed to take to become independent of the agency. The woman needs to provide personal identification and her doctors contact information.

The woman and the adult care facility manager were not initially successful at the face-to-face appointment at the local Social Security office. The woman was told she would have to know her monthly expenses. The woman does not know that information because all of her bills go directly to the representative payee agency. In addition the woman needed to have her doctors written verification that the she can manage her own money.

The woman has a doctors appointment scheduled and believes she will obtain the verification from the doctor at that time. The Ombudsman recommended she receive a list of all expenses paid for by the representative payee agency and work with the adult care facility manager to create a budget, decide which bank she will use and how the bills will be paid.

The Ombudsman received the good news from the woman that the second appointment with Social Security was successful. The woman provided the doctors letter and demonstrated that she knew her income and expenses. The woman will be receiving her Social Security benefit check and has opened her own bank account.

The Ombudsman Column, a production of the Joint Office of Citizens Complaints, summarizes selected problems that citizens have had with government services, schools and nursing homes in the Dayton area. Contact the Ombudsman by writing to the Beerman Building, 11 W. Monument Avenue, Suite 606, Dayton 45402, or telephone (937) 223-4613, or by electronic mail at or like us on Facebook at Dayton Ombudsman Office.

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Woman wins financial independence - MyDaytonDailyNews

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