High Risk, Moderate Risk and Low Risk Investments

For those looking to invest, you should know that many investments can be categorized as being high risk, moderate risk and low risk. Investing is not difficult, but you should always put lots of thought and planning into it. It is also extremely important to educate yourself about the many different investments available to you so you can find those that fit best with your specific situation and lifestyle. Here are some tips regarding the three categories of investing.

Low Risk Investments

While low risk investments are usually very low key and rarely are extremely glitzy or publicized, they do offer conservative investors a way to save money for the short or long term without the risk involved that you find in other forms of investing. Low risk investments usually pay the lowest yields, but are far less volatile than many other types of investments. Low risk investments include money market funds, certificate of deposits and some types of bonds. Low risk investments are perfect for those that want to make sure there money remains safe and secure. While low risk investments don’t offer high returns, they do offer stability and security for those that can’t afford to lose money or would just like to avoid as much risk as possible. Expect low risk investments to pay out yields of 1% to 5% annually.

Moderate Risk Investments

Moderate risk investments are perfect for those that are interested in investing for the long term and would like to earn moderate yields. Moderate risk investments are usually certain kinds of stocks, bonds and mutual funds that pay handsomely over the long term. While generally riskier than saving money in a bank, for those that are looking to invest for the long term, historically speaking you will grow your money quite nicely. Moderate risk investments usually use the power of compound interest and time to create a nest egg from 10 to 40 years with regular savings. For instance, saving 1K per year at an interest rate of 10% for 30 years can return close to 200K. Moderate risk investments usually return yields of 5% to 12%.

High Risk Investments

High risk investments are those investments that if you are lucky can return huge yields, however the downturn is that they can be extremely volatile and in many cases instead of getting rich off your investment, you find yourself losing some or all of it. High risk investments include penny stocks, international stocks, some types of Forex trades, etc. The sky is the limit for returns, but many high risk investments- if considered a winner should return yields that range from 10% to 30%++.

How to Protect Yourself From Laptop Theft

For most people owning a laptop is all about convenience. Being able to sit where your want to work, wander around from office to office, sit in front of the television or even brows the web in bed are the reasons why laptops have become so popular.

It has also become much more than a work tool. For many people it is the place where you keep all the things that are important to you: your email and financial information, business secrets, personal writings, even irreplaceable media like photos, film, and writings.

So if your laptop were stolen from you tomorrow, what would it do to your life?

Even worse, if a laptop belonging to your business were stolen that contained the personal data of customers or clients, it could put all of them at risk of identity theft and you could be held liable.

This crime draws both the common thief and the more sophisticated identity thief alike, and it's on the rise in England. Last year, a laptop belonging to the Nationwide and containing the personal information of over 11 million customers was stolen and never recovered. In London, laptop theft is up 15% on last year, with over 6500 laptops stolen in 2006 (not including laptops stolen out of homes and offices). Other metropolitan areas in Britain have similar statistics: over 2000 in Edinburgh with a 31% increase, and a 15% increase in Manchester.

Having a laptop stolen is personal nightmare if it is your own machine, but so much worse if you lose information that compromises your friends, co-workers, and clients. At Marks & Spencer's, a laptop lost in 2007 contained sensitive data about 26,000 employees, including their national insurance numbers and other personal identifying information. That cost Marks & Spencer's free credit checks for all employees and a promise to cover them for any damages if their identities were compromised. In the Nationwide case above, the company was fined just under a million pounds.

And even if you get the laptop back, even if the laptop was only "borrowed" its data can be copied off in minutes, putting any data on it at risk even after the machine is returned.

Two simple steps protect yourself against losing your personal computer?

The First Step: Protect Yourself

Laptops are at risk due to the very portability that makes them useful. It takes only seconds for someone to carry off your unguarded laptop, along with all its precious contents. The first thing to do is not leave it unprotected, even for a minute; Keep it in sight. Get good security on your wireless connections while you're at it, and carefully choose the places where you use that connection.

You can also get physical barriers against using a stolen laptop. For instance, biometrics including fingerprint scanners has become increasingly popular with laptops, and key cards that you keep in your wallet or luggage separate from the laptop can be used to secure it. Computers with hard drives mated to internal workings prevent your hard drive from being removed and copied. And if your laptop is used to access the Internet after it is stolen, there are subscription services that can trace it remotely and render it unusable while it connects to the web.

The Second Step: Consider Laptop Insurance

Laptop insurance is becoming one of the fastest growing specialist insurances. With low-cost monthly premiums, having some form of insurance policy could be the one thing between you and financial ruin. Laptop insurance is cheap, and if you have used other protections for your laptop, it gets even cheaper. Many providers offer worldwide cover, accidental damage protection and a 48 hour replacement service.

Protect yourself physically with laptop security and financially with good laptop insurance. With luck, you'll never have to depend on either. But if the worst comes about, you'll be glad you did.

The Business Of Home Video

The technology of home video has it's roots in the mid 1970's with the advent of Sony's u-Matic video cassette system. What? Never hear of that? It's because it never found it's market as a home medium because it was too cumbersome and expensive. It went on to become the standard for industrial videos.

In the early 1980's, Beta and VHS were introduced as home video formats, with VHS taking a rapid lead. Even then, it appears mostly to time shifting TV shows, since the separate cameras and recorders with interconnecting wires and short battery life made portable video a chore.

By the mid eighties, camcorders had come to market, combining the camera and recorder in one compact unit (for it's day). Still rather large for most people to cart on vacation, entrepreneurs, myself included, quickly discovered a commercial use for the devices – filming weddings and corporate events.

In 1985 I opened my first video production business in Connecticut and within two years I quit my full time job in the computer engineering business and went full time into video. Back then, if you showed up on time, could hold the camera steady and keep it in focus, you could make a steady income in the video business. Camcorders were still rather expensive, and properly editing videos required equipment and talent beyond the realm of the average person.

By 1990, cameras became smaller, easier to use, and less expensive. Computer based non-linear editing was still the realm of the broadcast world, but more affordable tape based editing systems allowed event videographers to hone their finished products. No longer could simple basic skills keep you in business, you had compete with new video businesses in your market and polish your skills as an editor. Still, as the analog tape-to-tape duplicating process used for editing clipped away the undesirable footage, it caused an unavoidable loss of image clarity.

Digital video camcorders hit the consumer market in 1995. This allowed much clearer looking videos, and editing digital tape to tape avoided the loss of image quality associated with analog video editing. VHS was still the mainstay for the finished product, but now that product had the sharpness of a first generation VHS tape, and not a ragged edged copy as in the past. Computer based editing was still expensive, but was beginning to make it's way to the mainstream event video producers.

By the year 2000, cheaper, faster and less expensive computers had hard drives large enough to store feature length videos at reasonable cost. Non linear editing became the choice of nearly every video business. Clients were expecting far more from their finished product, and DVD was becoming the preferred medium for delivery of the final video. Even though videos were not yet high definition, the DVD made video look much better than VHS. More and more new event video companies were popping up as the prices of camcorders and computers continued to fall while their quality and ease of use went up. 2000 was a pinnacle year for wedding videos, as brides lined up in droves to have their weddings at the turn of the century.

By 2005, the camcorder had become so small, so easy to use, and high definition video produced such a great result it seemed that event video people were on every street corner. Anyone with two thousand dollars could start a video business and produce quality results, at least from the technical perspective. The real competition was beginning to come not only from other video businesses, but from former clients as well. Instead of continuing to pay a professional one to two thousand dollars to record their wedding video, some clients were buying their own camcorders for five hundred dollars and letting a friend or relative shoot the video.

Small, pocket sized high definition camcorders, high definition video in camera phones and free editing software on cheap, off-the-shelf PCs have diminished the client's perceived value of the professional video by 2012. The expectation of clients is that that video professional must Be able to replicate what the client sees in the movie theater or on television. Trouble is, studios still spend hundreds of thousands or more on lighting, sound and talent. Now matter how good home equipment is, or how polished the skills of a professional event videographer, a client's stingy three hundred dollar budget is not going to buy the results that clients see on TV. Not willing to pay thousands, many clients are satisfied with You-Tube style video clips taken with the camera phones of their friends – provided it's free. And a professional can not compete with free and stay in business.

Today, as a result of the amazing small, inexpensive and high quality camcorders and free editing software, the video business is far more challenging for the event professional. There is still something a professional can offer that all your friend's camera phones can never match. That is a video that truly tells your story or deliveries your corporate message as it should be, with the look and finish close to that of an independent film. In the end, it is the knowledge and experience that are worth the cost. You can not buy that with an iPhone in the hands of a close friend.

Pets – Safety Tips at Holiday Time

The holiday season has arrived. Thanksgiving has just passed and before you know it … or usually we are ready for it … you'll be waking up to Christmas morning. Boy, does not the year fly by? Along with all the joy the holidays bring, they can also present some particular hazards to the health of your pet – and consequently, to your peace of mind. Here are some ideas that can help prevent problems so that your holiday is a happy one for all.

First, it's a good idea of ​​know your vet's holiday hours. Keep emergency phone numbers and any special holiday requirements where they will be easily accessible.

Give some thought about how you'll use plants to decorate. Birds, cats and dogs will all nibble on household plants – and many of them are toxic or poisonous, including mistletoe and poinsettias. They can make your pet very ill so be sure to keep them out of your pet's reach.

If your celebration includes having a Christmas tree you should use some caution in placing the decorations on it. Only use unbreakable decorations at the bottom of your tree so there is not any danger of your cat batting a glass ball and breaking it, or the pup chewing your grandmother's antique bubble lights. As for birds – they should not have any access to the tree, decorations, plants and such. For those of us who live with pet birds, we know what mischief they can get into very quickly … not to mention how destructive they can be. So keep your birds confined, or watch them like a hawk (so to speak) when they are out of their cage. Better to be safe than sorry.

As far as the less exotic pets go … that is, cats and dogs … how about putting some kitty baubles or doggie toys on the lower branches of the tree instead of your fragile and valuable decorations. That way, if those pets are attracted to the tree they'll find something appropriate for them. Or, here is another suggestion that has proved successful for protecting both pets and little ones. Put the Christmas tree and gifts into a playpen. That may not stop kitty, but at least the tree can not fall down as easily as she decides to climb it. Granted, it might be a little strange to see the holiday tree and gifts in a playpen, but it might just be the ticket for your situation.

Since we are on the subject of the Christmas tree, here is another safety hint. If you have a live tree placed in water wrap the base so your pets can not drink the water. Many modern live trees have been sprayed with chemicals that may be toxic to your little friends.

Be very, very careful with candles. Your bird or cat may be enticed by the flicker of the flame. Singed whiskers or feathers would certainly put a damper on holiday cheer, not to mention the horror your pet would suffer from a serious burn. Place glass "hurricane lanterns" or other attractive covers over candles to protect your home and your pets.

Give some thought to New Years Eve. Pets are typically fried by the traditional firecrackers and other noisy merriment and it's best to have a plan to keep them from becoming afraid by the noise. Some dogs may be severely traumatized by fireworks so be sure to leave them inside if you go out to celebrate.

Pets, especially birds and cats, may be stressed by the changes in household routine during the holidays, especially if you are stressed yourself. Some cats and dogs respond to stress by becoming hyper or hysterical, and some simply retreat. Plan to spend some special time with your pets to calm yourself and reassure them during this period. If your pet is especially upset with strangers visiting, prepare a refugee where he can go to escape the "maddening crowd."

And last of all, we wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday.

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