To Save Or To Invest? That Is The Question

If you are in the fortunate position of being in a buoyant financial situation with a steady wage, a small mortgage, minimal debt and a healthy nest egg, you might be wondering how best to make your money work for you more aggressively. You’re not keen on risking it all in some lucrative high stakes poker game, but at the same time, you don’t want to spend time sitting on your hands as you watch the money in your savings account accruing minimal interest. Amateur investors all over the world are becoming more savvy when it comes to sourcing avenues down which to put their funds.

In the twenty-first century, the Internet has made the financial world a smaller and less scary place for people with a decent amount of disposable income. Nowadays all you have to do is ask Siri if you want tips about how to get into Forex trading or you need to know how the property market is looking for the next five years in your local area. Take a look at how you can make your money work in a more effective way for you.

Property

Bricks and mortar have been the lifeblood of amateur property investors everywhere. There are a number of strategies that you may wish to employ if you fancy taking a little foray into the housing market. Firstly, you must ensure that your numbers stack up. Sure, you have a hefty deposit but have you worked out renovation costs, rental yields and mortgage repayments? Do you have a sound financial objective and do you know how long you want to keep the property?

Many people choose to ‘flip’ a dwelling. They go to a local auction, purchase a home, venture inside and see it hasn’t been lived in for a decade, strip it, fill it with new fixtures and fittings, give it a lick of paint, sell it, and make a handsome profit, all in the space of three months. That’s the dream plan anyway. More often than not, renovations take longer, all sorts of problems can be uncovered along the way, and you are left going over budget. However, if your calculations are astute and you have a well thought out contingency you can make a success of this form of short-term investment property developing.

Alternatively, you might be looking for a longer term investment. By renting out a property, you can cover your mortgage repayments with the rent you achieve. If you are fortunate to have near full occupancy while you own the property, you will have very little financial outgoings and could see your asset increase in value. You need to make sure you stick to landlord legislation and treat your tenants fairly. If you are not letting out your property because you cannot find a tenant or you are doing some renovations, you need to make sure that you can cover the mortgage in the meantime. You may even choose more than one extra property to add to your investment portfolio. By entering into the property developer world, you could see a much more lucrative return on your cash than if you left your nest egg to languish in a savings account.

Stocks And Shares

While the NASDAQ and Dow Jones stock markets were once the domain of the wealthy, the professional investment bankers and the hedge fund managers, novice would-be investors are now trying their luck. While it’s not as simple as heading to the stock exchange after doing your research and trying to buy some shares, there are avenues to explore if you want to get a piece of the action.

Make sure you go through a qualified financial professional with a good reputation for looking after investments. This could be a hedge fund manager, an online stockbroker or a financial adviser. These are the people who can invest your money on your behalf as well as giving you relevant financial advice. Ensure that you opt for a broker who utilizes a FIX engine protocol so that transactions can be completed swiftly and securely online rather than over the telephone. Together with your broker, you can formulate a short term or long term plan based on the amount of risk you wish to take on. The more risk you take on, the more money you stand to make, but also the more you have to lose. If you are planning for your future, follow a low to mid risk option to try and mitigate the possibility of financial losses.

Wine

If you’ve never thought about ploughing your money into alcohol, now might be the time to take a closer look. Investing in wine doesn’t mean heading to the local vineyard, sampling a few grape varieties and then taking a case home. Instead, you should be looking a vintage wine from the finest vineyards across the globe. Chardonnays from South Africa, Rieslings from Germany and Beaujolais from France all have specific years where the quality of the grape was outstanding. Being a quality vintage year means that wine becomes collectable. By investing your money in a couple of cases and storing it in a central facility, you are in effect, investing in an antique of the future. As the wine becomes rarer, the value increases. As a long-term investment, you will see a greater return on your nest egg than if you left it in your savings account.

Investing money down a new avenue can be exciting, exhilarating and thrilling. However, it’s also daunting and not for the faint-hearted. You mustn’t opt for just one means of investment, and instead, you need to hedge your bets. Spreading your investment means spreading the risk. An ideal investment portfolio may consist of a buy to let property, a case of wine, a few low-risk share options and a nugget of a nest egg remaining in the highest interest savings account you can source. By investing wisely now, you can secure a healthy financial future for your twilight years.

Firefox Captive Portal Spam in Burp Suite

About a year ago, Mozilla added “captive portal” support to Firefox in an attempt to enhance usability when connecting to free WiFi portals, such as at an airport or a hotel. You have probably interacted with captive portals in the past, and if you are a Firefox user, you may have wondered why you had to open Chrome or IE or Safari to be able to log into the WiFi system, as you could only get the “Sign In” page to pop up in one of those browsers before getting access to the full Internet.

Firefox added support for these “Sign In” pages about a year ago, so that you don’t need to use a (shudder) different browser. That is all well and good, except for when it comes to using Burp Suite as a proxy for Firefox. If you are a pentester, you are probably used using Firefox (especially on Kali Linux) for your traffic proxying through Burp, as they make it easier than any other browser to set up and disable the proxy.

However, you may now be seeing a ton of requests like this:

Disable the detectportal.firefox.com requests

Seeing all those requests in Burp, much less thinking about all the noise they generate otherwise, is annoying. Because you probably won’t ever need to use a Captive Portal on your pentesting machine (a VM, in my case), you can completely disable Firefox’s attempts to detect them. Just browse to about:config and enter network.captive-portal-service.enabled. Double click it to change its value to “false” and you should be good to go.

That’s all, folks!

 

 

 

Great Uses Of Software That Can Double The Efficiency Of Your Business

Work work work

When you run a business, big or small, you need to make sure you’re using your resources efficiently, which means making sure all of your operations are running as smooth as can be. There’s a lot that comes into this, so it’s important you have the ability to be critical about all of your workflows. Depending on the business you are, you would be looking at different kinds of software you can use to improve on yourself, which means digging into how you look at what you do. First of all, you should look at your main income and how that money comes to be. Is it working efficiently? are you sure there’s nothing you can do to improve it?

When you run an online business, you have to consider the customers you’ll be getting at all times of the day. If you want to make sure you can serve all audiences out there, you need some kind of software that can log details and orders to make even latest of purchases as valid as any other. Not all members of your audience are going to be able to buy from your store at all times, so it’s essential for the convenience of both you and those customers, that you are able to provide that service for them at all times. You’ll be losing money otherwise! There are many different kinds of software for this, and they’re essential for all online businesses. Of course, there are some sites that require a phone call or email for these transactions, but it’s just not as effective. Especially since, if you do need people to be available at all hours, you’ll have to pay employees to be there! It’s much better to cut that part out, and give the work to the employees you already have on the payroll!

Caring for your customers is essential, which can mean many things. Mainly, customer service is the front that customers see when interacting with you, so you need to make sure it’s as reliable as possible. If you run a restaurant business, you want to make sure your customers are always satisfied. The last thing you want is a bad review or a loss of potentially loyal customers. Firstly, make sure you don’t make mistakes with reservations is vital. Many people plan their dates for days or even weeks, and having a mixup can really ruin everything for them. It’s about more than just the money and the time it took for them, it’s the sentiment of it, and they’re likely not to come back should they not get the service they want. You should check out Schedulefly if you’re worried about management issues with staff or customers; as it’s a software that can help you keep track of this, and you can avoid such issues completely!

Employees

Whether you have the best employees around or the worst; they’re still only human. Everyone is prone to making mistakes every now and then, and that’s made even more likely if they’re overworked or tired, and sometimes that’s something that can’t be helped. If that’s the case, getting a software to make up for this can save you from that risk completely. That’s not to say the software you invest in is going to replace your employees; though it could, it can be used as a support program, to bolster and enhance their workflows. It becomes even more vital for your business if your records and data are critical and sensitive information that cannot be mixed up. For example, if customers sign up to your website and order a product, you don’t want that being delivered to the wrong address, nor do you want the customer to be charged the wrong amount! It would count as shooting yourself in the foot if you did this. Either you’re not making as much as you should from the product, or you’re having to send out multiple products to make sure the customer gets what they ordered.

Overall, if you can use software to improve your operations, you really should consider investing in it. It’s not the case of whether you should replace your employees or not, it’s whether you can make better use of what resources and options you have. If you’re a business owner, you should always be looking to improve, and never be afraid of having to make sacrifices to do it; else you may find yourself struggling to grow!

Investing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

If you have decided that the time has come for you to try your hand at investing, it is important to be prepared. We all make mistakes in life, but when it comes to money matters, you will want to minimise these as much as possible. With that being said, read on to discover some of the most common investment mistakes you need to avoid.

Thinking short term – This is one of the biggest mistakes that new investors make. They see investment as a get rich quick scheme, which it is most certainly not. You will not give your investments the time they need to grow if you only think about things on a short-term basis. A long-term plan is vital.

Buying last year’s winners – You need to be on the next big thing, rather than trying to capitalise on something that has already reached its peak. You should not expect last year’s top performing stocks or funds to be successful this year. In any given year, bond funds and stock funds can be impacted by numerous different factors. This includes the likes of political issues, consumer confidence, interest rates, and economic health. There is no guarantee that history is going to repeat itself. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should overlook a fund manager with an excellent track record and past-season winner that has steady growth performance.

Failing to consider all types of investments – There are so many different types of investments to choose from. Did you know, for example, that the electric power sector accounts for 36% of annual US natural gas demand? However, this is a commodity that a lot of people would not consider investing in. It is important to consider all of your options, rather than simply going for something that is popular.

Trying to time the market – There are some investors that will stay completely invested in stock funds while there is a rise in the stock market, and then when stock values start to fall, they will jump rapidly to the money market or other cash equivalents. However, you need to know exactly when to get out of stocks if you are to make this approach work. You should consider your risk tolerance and your goals for the long-term, enabling you to stay invested.

Putting all of your eggs in one basket – Last but not least, this is most definitely one of the biggest mistakes that investors make today. Diversification is a necessity. If one of your investments does not go to plan, you will be able to fall back on the other investments you have made, which will minimise risk considerably.

If you can avoid the errors that have been discussed in this blog post, you can give yourself the greatest chance of success when beginning your investment journey. Make sure you conduct as much research as possible, go at your own pace, and consider all investment options that are available to you carefully.