Saturday, March 7, 2015

What To Do With Your Money In 2015

Most of the world's major economies are in deflation territory this makes it a bit difficult for investors to find ways to get returns.  India was one of the best performers last year their inflation rate is at 5%.  I went to a conference a few weeks ago and the speaker stated that the outside world was in a state of deflation as if we were not at risk, we have been experiencing low inflation December rates were 0.8% and January actually had negative inflation -0.1%.  In these cases you may be better off just leaving your money in the bank for the short term.  With a stronger dollar plus negative inflation your dollar gets more valuable without any risk just by holding on to it.  But long term deflation is not a good thing it will stall economic growth.  Low oil prices and low mortgage rates signal a drop in prices which can be good for consumers, let's assume the U.S. does not enter bad deflation it just continues with low inflation, investors will need to find a place to leave their money.

The world is looking for yields to grow their money there are no quality investments left out there to park money, no yield to be found.  What is scaring people is the risk factor of entering the stock market if the Fed decides to raise interest rates this summer.  That concern alone brought down securities on Friday.  It is likely to happen our economy has been growing without the Fed's help.  If the Fed decides to raise rates by how much will it do so?  Most likely stocks will still remain the only way to get decent returns the market may drop a bit with the news but eventually the world will need yield and this can mean that the bull market that started in 2009 will continue for a few more years.  It has been said by analysts that we are in the middle of a secular bull market.

In deciding where to put money consider the global economy.  If inflation rates remain low then you don't need to make high returns to fight inflation.  Where are you going to get those yields from a bank CD? They are safe but will give you very little interest.  Real estate is another option the 30 yr fixed is at a low 3.99% yet a lot of people don't have the money to buy or the credit to qualify so renting is becoming more popular than ever.  If you believe that the market will crash or that it's due for a partial correction then maybe you should just put it elsewhere a business or more education perhaps. Emerging markets are cheap but don't look too attractive.  In 2012 I wrote that the stock market was the best choice for investors but now things have changed when I wrote that post the fed was not going to raise rates anytime in the near future and the dow was not at 3 times its price from the 2009 low.  Some experts state that the market is not too expensive in regards to earnings.  Financial advisers usually recommend that you put 60-70% of your money into stocks that number has recently changed to 50%.  Then there are those individuals that experienced the crash of 2000 and then again in 2007 (yikes!), they are hating this bull market because they aren't participating their money most likely is in the bank.  Invest carefully, stay informed and make educated guesses while considering your risk tolerance.

Monday, February 9, 2015

How I Stay Fit on a Budget

People think that starving is the way to lose weight it wont work it will affect your health it will make you lose muscle mass which is the opposite of what you want.  For people with slow metabolisms if you start skipping meals your body will fight back by holding on to more fat when it does get fed since it knows that it may have to wait a long time to get fed again.  So ironically you have to eat more often to lose weight just make portions smaller and more colorful.  I eat food that I enjoy which is healthy but of course not as tasty as fast food.  I don't feel too tempted over the years I have discovered tastier foods that I can consume that wont affect my body in a negative way.

At the gym I shock my body by switching my routine.  I don't stay with the same weight training exercises for too long and I jog at different speeds and switch it up with walks, stair climbing and bike riding.  Burning the last bit of fat on my abs was very hard it took a lot of reading/trial & error.  It's as if the fat around your lower abs knows that it has been there for years so it's not going away without a fight, it makes sense it took years to build it around your midsection it wont disappear in a matter of weeks.

I think people need to increase their odds of success by taking small steps and adding a bit of more exercise to their life and then little by little start tweaking their diet to a lifestyle they can transition into. You don't want to lose 20 lbs in a month by starving eating salads and dry chicken breasts with nothing but water and massive cardio.  This will result in a short lived weight loss what will most likely happen is that you will hate the change and not only put on the 20 lbs you lost but probably put on an extra 20 lbs.  Although I mostly drink water and eat lean protein, fruits and vegetables I didn't make the change overnight otherwise I would have not been able to stick with it.  When I started I didnt have the knowledge to know what food was good for me so it is essential to learn to read and understand food labels and the serving size being used.

Here is a healthy snack I like to munch on in between meals: Unsalted Dry Roasted Peanuts

I also eat unsalted cashews and almonds the point is to eat low sodium snacks so it has to be unsalted and remember that it is a snack to be eaten in moderation don't eat it all in one day.  I bought the generic type ($2.99) I am not promoting any name brand buy your favorite store name brand if available just as long as you save some money.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size 1 ounce about 40 nuts
Calories 160, total fat 14 grams 
 Mono fat is 7g,Poly Fat 4g and Saturated is 2 g
Carbs 6 grams, Sugar 1gram, Protein 7g, fiber 2 g

Mostly good fat (mono & poly) the saturated fat is what you have to watch out for!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Physical Fitness Tips

We all react differently to diets so what may work for me may not work for others it is a trial and error process.  I may be sensitive to carbs while my neighbor may not.  As a matter of fact my neighbor has a very fast metabolism so he can pretty much eat what he wants and stay lean at about 8-9% body fat.  The downside is that he has had high cholesterol since his mid twenties because he eats a lot of junk/fast food.  I live a low carb lifestyle I started out with a slow metabolism through the years I have gained more muscle mass which has helped since the more muscle mass one has the more calories you burn at rest.  Doing cardio regularly also helps to speed up my metabolism.  I also eat 3-5 times a day so my body doesnt feel like it needs to store more fat because it knows it will get fed several times through out the day.  To get my body to this state has taken years there is no magic drug no 30 minute video or an all in one exercise machine that can achieve this so save your money.

I keep my body fat at 7-8% it is very hard for me to stay like this year round the low carb consumption takes its toll.  If I go higher on my carb, fat and protein intake I can bench press 220lbs but when I stay at 7-8% with low carbs its a big change on my strength I will only be able to bench 180lbs.  That also depends on peoples bodies for me to stay very lean can be tough to handle while someone else can easily handle staying at 6% body fat with little change not feeling tired at all.

I also tend to feel more cold since I am not insulated by a thick layer of fat so I need to dress up more than most people when I'm in the cold.  I also consume less calories than the average American so this translates into less body heat.  There are days were I consume more carbs and fat it's not a good idea to cut out carbs drastically or for very long periods of time just consume the good kinds found in fruits and vegetables. Pick whole grains, fiber over white starches and refined carbs.

Here is a snack I treat myself to during the winter it is a healthy way to consume chocolate my version of hot chocolate:

Ingredients: Creamer, Natural Unsweetened Cocoa, Sugar Free Cool Whip and Equal Sweetener (I usually use Stevia but I only had Equal in the house when I wrote the post)

Nutrition Facts

Equal Sweetener - Zero calories,sodium carbs and fat
Use 2-3 packets or as you like

Cool Whip Sugar Free serving size 2 tablespoons about how much you should use:
Total fat 1gram, Carbs 3 grams, Sodium 0

Creamer Serving Size 1 Tablespoon about how much I use:
Total Carbs 1 gram, Fat 0.5 grams,  Sodium 0

Hershey's Cocoa Natural Unsweetened Serving Size 1 Tablespoon
I use about 1-2 depending on the cup size I will use
Total Fat 0.5 gram, Carbs 3 grams, Sodium 0, Protein less than 1gram, Fiber 2 grams

I like to have healthy drinks in between meals a lot of times people believe they are hungry but what they really are is thirsty this is a better alternative to a nice tall glass of warm water.

Hot chocolate sold in supermarkets is usually full of sodium I found that my version is healthier and keeps me warm in the winter while not affecting my six pack abs 

Final product! a shout-out to my coworker Vivian for the christmas mug