7 Simple Tips For Investing Success

Wouldn’t it be great to have great Investing Success without any risk, I certainly think so, although the simple reality with investing is that there is a risk. However with a plan, knowledge and in time experience this risk can be minimised and the overall outcome is a very effective means of achieving your financial goals. The type of plan to adopt is really dependent on what suits you best, you may like to have an aggressive strategy with possible greater returns and more risk, or maybe a less aggressive strategy with lesser returns and lower risk, or even anywhere in between. Also you may like to have investments that mostly look after themselves and only require attention every now and again, or you may prefer to be more involved in your investments and know exactly what your money is doing all the time. There is no real perfect plan or any real secret to investing however these simple tips may assist in your investing success.

Tip 1: Set Motivating Goals

Goal setting is a very effective when investing, it provides the means to set a target for yourself, gives you direction and is helpful in motivating you to do the things to achieve your desired result. Setting motivating goals is completely dependent on personal preference, you may be motivated by the goal of returning enough money from your investments to buy a luxury yacht or you may be motivated by the goal of having 20 investment properties in your portfolio. There is no right or wrong goal as long as it gives you direction, gives you something to aim for and motivates you, then you’re on the right track.

Tip 2: Do your Homework

With the potential risk involved with any type of investment, doing your homework is an essential process. You wouldn’t go to a car yard with no particular car in mind and purchase the first one you see, you would do your homework first wouldn’t you. For example you would have some criteria set out and you may be looking for a car that is reliable, performs well, appeals to you, basically a car that just ticks all the right boxes. The same goes with investing, you would most likely not get the best result by investing in the first shares you come across or the first property that you inspect. For the stock market, doing your homework may involve searching news articles or press releases for a particular company you have an interest in and checking the history of the stock price. While for a property you may do a check on the surrounding suburb, find out the previous sale price, get building and pests inspections done on it. There are countless things you can do to ensure that you are making a wise investment decision, make sure you do your homework and you’ll do better than most.

Tip 3: Invest Regularly

Investing is not a get rich quick scheme to be truly successful at investing you need to do it regularly. The best chance to acquire measurable wealth lies in developing the habit of adding to your investments regularly and putting the money where it can do the most for you. You can put $10,000 into a share account returning an average of 20% per year, and if you take all of that return out every year in ten years time you may have earned $2,000 every year but you’ll still have only $10,000 in that account minus account keeping fees and the loss in inflation, tax etc., giving a total net worth of $30,000. However if you reinvested that $2,000 every year, in ten years time you’ll have a total net worth of about $62,000. That’s $62,000 in your share account now with the potential to earn you $12,400/year at 20%, as opposed to the $2,000 you would still be earning with the other scenario. Now this may not included potential losses in either case, but the idea is to highlight to you the benefit of regularly fuelling your investments?

Tip 4: Keep an Investment Diary

Keeping a record of your investments can be a great learning tool to determine the strategies which work best for you and can be an insight into why an investment worked so well or why it didn’t work so well. Having the right information which you can always look back on will lead to wiser investments in the future, therefore minimising risks, increasing the potential returns and thus greater investing success. Information that may be helpful to keep a record of includes:

The research done to find the investment
The investments you turned away and why you turned them away
Why you chose the particular investment
The plan you had in place prior to making the investment
In the case of an investment property you may take note of the agents used, renovations done and renovation contractors used.
In the case of a share market investment you may take note of the stop loss margin, profit margin and stop profit loss margin used and whether they can be adjusted to reduce risk and increase potential profit.
Tip 5: Diversify
Diversity is in old old wooden ship, joking (Anchorman reference for those that haven’t seen it), diversifying your investments in an effective means of managing your risk and increasing returns. The type of diversification strategy should be dependent upon your age, income and investment goals. For example, if you were young and just beginning you investments you have the opportunity to have more increased risk and may benefit from putting your assets into stocks that have long-term potential, and stocks with greater risk and potential returns. While if you were approaching retirement you may benefit more from shifting your assets into income producing investments such as bonds or utility stocks. Your diversification strategy could involve setting up a portfolio consisting of equal parts of different investment vehicles such as, bonds, local stocks, foreign stocks, and real estate. Once a year, you could then adjust each vehicle to maintain the same asset distribution by taking the gains in your winning investments and spreading them amongst your losing investments.

Tip 6: Have a Plan and Stick to it

The journey to investing success can have many distractions and obstacles that can lead you off course, the way in which to overcome these and maintain the right path is to have a plan and stick to it. Whether it starts off being extremely basic with just basic goals, milestones, strategies etc. the idea is to know where you’re going and work out what is required to get there, once you get more involved you will be adjust and fine tune your plan to be more effective. For example your goal may be to own 5 investment properties in 5 years time, you may work out that in order to achieve your goal you need to work an extra 5 hrs of overtime a week, cut back on some expenses and get training or obtain the knowledge to learn how to go about it effectively, this would be your plan. Your milestones may be to ensure you have at least one investment property every year. Now if it so happens that you miss one of your milestones it’s not the end. You just simply need to go through your records work out why you didn’t achieve your milestone and re-adjust your plan accordingly. If you do achieve your milestone this doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement, although you should reward yourself, let yourself know that you’re doing well and rewards are a great motivator as well.

Tip 7: Manage your Risk

You can effectively manage your risk by following the above mentioned tips such as doing your homework, having a plan and sticking to it, and diversifying. Additionally risk can be managed by first identifying what your risk are, the most common risk with investing is obviously losing your money. What is it however that causes you to loose your money? Just for example with stock market investing there is a risk of a stock doing the opposite of what you indeed it to do or you selling to early and losing potential profit, with property investing the risk are that the value of the property won’t increase as intended or you may not be able to rent it out. Once you’ve identified what are the potential factors that can cause you to lose money in a given investment you can begin to work out a plan to manage the identified risk. Strategies to manage your risk could be to avoid the risk altogether and look for something else, try and reduce the risk or simply accept the risk. Whatever your plan may be just ensure that the risk is monitored and constantly look for ways in which to minimise the risk.

Conclusion

In summary investing success may be obtained by using a combination of the above mentioned tips, however don’t limit yourself to these, it is a constant learning process, no investor out there knows everything there is to know about investing. Find what best works for you then just get out their have a go and achieve your investing success.

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How to Invest in a Broadway Show

I get a lot of questions from readers, all over the world, expressing interest in investing in a Broadway or an Off-Broadway show. Usually they are unsure about how to get involved and, more importantly, they want to know how to pick their first show. Since this seems to be such a hot topic, I thought I’d dispel a few of the nasty rumors associated with investing in Broadway or Off-Broadway shows, and also give you my checklist of how to choose shows to invest in. First let’s tackle the rumors, and then the checklist.

Broadway Investment Rumor #1: Investing in Broadway Shows is Only for the Super-Rich.

Because Broadway capitalizations can range from $2 million for a Play up to $20 million for a Broadway Mega-Musical, many people fear that the “entry point,” or the amount of money required for an initial individual investment, must be astronomically high. Not true. While the average small investment in a big Broadway show is probably about $25,000, I have seen many shows where investors were able to get in for as little as $10,000, and even a few where the entry point was only $5,000! There are a lot of publicly traded mutual funds that don’t allow you to get in at that level. Lower investment thresholds are particularly common in the Off-Broadway arena. What determines the lowest investment level? Here’s how it works.

Capitalizations are divided into ‘units,’ just like stock shares, and what defines each unit is up to the Producer. Some Producers like to have a round 100 units per show, regardless of the capitalization. Some like to pick the lowest amount they can accept as an investment (since some shows are limited to the number of investors they can have). And some just make it up arbitrarily. Regardless of how the unit is determined, here’s a tip: If you’re considering a show and get sticker shock when you hear the price of one unit, ask for a partial. Splitting units ain’t like splitting an atom. It can be done with ease. Depending upon a variety of circumstances (including how hot the property is, who the producer is, and whether or not other investors took “round units”), it may be possible for you to invest in a smaller amount than the “ask.” The key, of course, is to never be pressured into investing more than you’re willing to lose. If the entry point on one project is too high, don’t worry, there will be others.

Broadway Investment Rumor #2: Investing in Broadway Shows is Only for the Super-Crazy.

Many people think that it’s bonkers to get involved with Broadway. The fact is, if you’re an individual of a certain net worth, your traditional financial advisor will probably recommend that you allocate a certain amount of your investment portfolio (usually about 10%) to higher risk instruments, or so-called Alternative Investments, in order to diversify yourself. Most Alternative Investments require investors to be considered ‘accredited,’ which in the U.S. means a net worth of at least one million dollars, or having made at least $200,000 ($300,000 if joint-income) for the past two years. Although many Broadway shows also prefer accredited investors, this is not the case with every show.

Why would Broadway, with its high risk but potentially high return, be excluded from that list? In fact, it isn’t. According to Wikipedia’s entry for Alternative Investments, they are an “investment product other than traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, or cash” and that “wine, art and antiques, Broadway shows, movies, indeed any store of value, might also be considered an alternative investment.” Alternative Investments, including Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, are undoubtedly high risk. The commonly quoted statistic is that only 1 out of 5 Broadway shows recoup their investment (that ratio is even lower for Off-Broadway shows). But this is not, by any means, the only high risk instrument on the market.

Investing in Broadway shows is a lot like investing in a restaurant or, frankly, in any entrepreneurial start-up. In fact, according to a recent article by Nick Malawskey in the Centre Daily Times: “For every 10 businesses that start, seven will cease to exist in 10 years. Two will break even. Only one will really succeed.” This puts the success rate of start-ups at the exact same percentage as I just quoted above – 20%! See, it’s not as bad as we thought. And, with proper due diligence you can increase those odds.

And remember, with big risk can also reap big rewards. Even if you do end up performing according to the stats, the goal and hope is that the 1 show out of 5 which does recoup, ends up paying for any other previous losses (it’s a marathon not a sprint), and then some. Imagine what it would have been like to invest in “Annie,” “West Side Story,”"Cats” or “Wicked.”

Broadway Investment Rumor #3: Investors in Broadway Shows Belong to an Exclusive ‘Club’ that Doesn’t Accept New Members.

While it is true that there are a lot of Broadway investors that have been in the circle for a long time, it’s not as closed door of a club as you think. While it can be hard for a new investor to get in on the hottest shows coming to town, it’s not impossible. And, Producers will sometimes let you get in on a ‘sure-thing’ (which doesn’t exist, by the way) if you also agree to come into something a bit more risky. However, it is a relationship business, and preferential treatment is often given to investors who have been doing it longer, and to those that have been faithful to the Producer. So what does a new investor do? Start the relationship. Call a Producer. Email them. Fax them. Simply state that you’re looking to invest in a specific show (if you know one that they are about to do), or ask to be put on the list to be called about their next show. It’s not a commitment for either party, and I don’t know any Producer out there who would mind putting you on a “potential” list. Just make sure you are serious about your interest.

Now that we’ve overviewed the three biggest obstacles potential investors often tell me prevent them from taking the first step and joining the ranks of Broadway and Off-Broadway investor, just how do you choose a project to invest in? Once you’ve decided that investing in a Broadway or Off-Broadway show is something you definitely want to do, you should step through my checklist of how to decide whether or not to invest in a particular show.

Broadway Investing Rule #1: Have Passion for the Project.

Broadway shows are often referred to as the “children” of Producers and Investors. Shows need the same type of care, hand-holding, and unconditional love; so much love, that even when your kid F***s up royally, you (as the parent) will still love him, right? Unfortunately, the odds are that your “kid” is going to disappoint you, so you better make sure that your bond is so tight, you won’t care either way. This theory is based a bit on famed investment guru Peter Lynch’s theory of “invest in what you know.” Peter believed you should put money into companies that make products which you see and use every day (and products that you can’t live without). I believe this can, and should, be adapted to entertainment investments as well. Invest in shows that you can’t see NOT happening. Invest in shows that you believe are important to be seen; whether that’s because it has a socio-political message, whether that’s because it features an amazing performance by an legendary actress, or whether that’s because it’s so much fun, that the audience’s day will be better just by experiencing the show. Invest in shows that you love.

Broadway Investing Rule #2: It’s All About Who’s Driving the Boat.

Before investing in a mutual fund, Wall Street geeks will tell you to look at a variety of factors, one of the most important being who is managing the fund. You’ve got to know who is making the day-to-day decisions. What is their track record? Where did they learn to do what they do? How long have they been doing it? These are all questions you need to ask before investing in a Broadway show. Look at the Producer’s resume (you can find them all on the Internet Broadway Database ibdb.com). Have they produced shows that have recouped? How many hits do they have? How many misses? Would you have produced similar shows? Do you have similar tastes? Choosing to invest with Producers with a proven track record is one of the best ways you can reduce your risk when investing in a Broadway or Off-Broadway show.

Broadway Investing Rule #3: Just Like an Actor, You Have to Know Your Objective.

What do you want out of investing in a Broadway show? Different objectives will greatly affect what projects you choose to do. Do you want to make money? Do you want to get access to opening night parties, etc. so you can network? Are you looking to get inside access to agreements and figures, etc., so you can learn more about how to produce your own show? Do you want to support the work of a specific playwright?

One of my favorite “objective” stories is about the investor who was thinking about graduate school as a way to learn how to produce. They decided against it, and took the money they were going to spend on tuition and invested it in several shows. They thought there was more to learn by playing the game. Last I heard, they were doing pretty well and beating the odds.There are a zillion reasons to invest in a Broadway show. Make sure you have at least one.

Broadway Investing Rule #4: Don’t Try and Be a One-Hit Wonder.

We all want our first time to be perfect (I even wrote a show about it!), but often our first time out isn’t what we hope it will be. Don’t expect to knock one out of the park your first time up at bat. When signing up to invest in Broadway, imagine that you’re a baseball player playing a full nine innings. If you strike out the first time (or even the second and the third) don’t worry, you could hit a homer in the bottom of the 9th and win the game.

If your first show doesn’t make it, have a post-mortem with yourself (and with the Producer) and try and determine why it didn’t work. Learn from it, and apply those lessons to your next time up at bat. Your odds of success should get better each time. Just don’t pull yourself out of the game.

Broadway Investing Rule #5: Examine the Lay of the Land.

It’s impossible to time the market. But, in a playing field as small as Broadway, with its limited audience, it’s important to take a look at your potential competition. Are you doing a new musical at a time when six other new musicals are opening? How do your stars match up against the other shows’ stars? Are you the only classic play? Are you the only comedy? The big TV networks program their seasons so they can appeal to all of the appropriate demographics, without too much weight on one type of show. Since Producers are mostly independents, we can’t program collaboratively, but as an investor you can look to see if your show is going to get lost in a sea of other similar shows, or if it will stand out amongst a lack of competition, without having to place $125k New York Times full page ads.

So there you have it! The above are the five basic questions I first ask myself when contemplating investing in a Broadway or Off-Broadway show. There are countless others you should ask when you get into the details of the production after you examine the budget, find out who’s directing, etc., but these will get you started on the road to investing in a show.

You’ll notice that a lot of the above rules and checklists are very similar to the rules and checklists for investing in the stock market or any market (invest for the long haul, know your objectives, risk tolerance, etc.). And that’s the most important thing to remember. Too many people think investing in Broadway is a hobby ( which it can be), and in those cases you’ll probably only hit a winner on the average 1 out of 5 times. But, Broadway is big business, and should be treated as such. And if you apply the same principles you’d apply to other investment vehicles and do the due diligence, there’s no reason you can’t turn that hobby into something that is fun, educational, and yes, even profitable.

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