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How Fleet Management Could Help your Business

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Fleet management can be a big job. Fortunately, there are plenty of services and companies that can help you manage your company’s fleet of vehicles and make it easier to keep track of.

Managing your company’s fleet can be a large and sometimes difficult job. Fleet management involves purchasing or leasing, maintaining and keeping track of vehicles used by your company. Fortunately, there are companies and programs that can help you with fleet management and free you up to spend more time focusing on your business. Several ways exist to manage your fleet and there are pluses and minuses for all of them.

An important benefit of working with a fleet management program is the ability to keep track of your vehicles and know where they are at any given time. These tracking programs usually use GPS or a cellular triangulation system to tell you where your vehicles are at all times. This is a great way to make sure that your vehicles get to where they need to go on time.

In addition to knowing where your vehicles are at all times, you can also keep track of how fast they are moving. This is a great way to ensure that employees are not speeding or otherwise breaking any laws for which your company might be liable.

In addition to having locating services, many fleet management programs also have vehicle diagnostic capabilities. These vehicles have on-board computers which allow you to monitor the fuel consumption and mileage. This allows you to determine which vehicles work best for your company and are the most cost effective. It also allows you to plan routes that are the quickest and use the least gas in order to improve efficiency.

Many fleet management programs have security features that allow you to make sure that your fleet vehicles are safe. These security features allow you to disable your vehicles while they are not in use, which is particularly useful in the event that the vehicles are stolen. You can use the fleet management software to slow the vehicle down or even disable the engine to keep it from starting. These features also give you the ability to safely stop the vehicle while it is still in motion. Some security systems also include a remote panic function as well as an emergency notification system.

Many fleet management systems also monitor your vehicles for any mechanical issues that may arise such as low tire pressure or other issues. They can also monitor the ages of your vehicles and tell you when you need to replace or service them.

In addition to using fleet management software to monitor your company vehicles, there are also companies that can provide people who do the actual monitoring for you. These people pay attention to what’s happening in your fleet, manage it, and alert you to any issues.

Fleet management services are important and very helpful for running your company. If you have a large fleet, these services can help you save money and be more efficient. They can provide security and help you in vehicle-related emergencies. There are a number of excellent benefits to using fleet management services.

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Written by moneymatey

November 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Business

The Strange Story Of Bitcoin

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We are used to currencies being the preserve of governments or government sanctioned bodies, what if though somebody tried to create their own?

That scenario, a whole new currency, is what the creation of ‘Bitcoin’ was an attempt to bring about. It started in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, when there was a lot of talk of ‘quantative easing’ – the printing of money to pay debts. This created a lot of fear about the future of funds kept in conventional currencies, and created a hunger for something else. The start was a research paper.

The man who wrote the paper that set forward the proposal for a new currency called himself Satoshi Nakamoto, more on him in a little while. The idea was to build a virtual currency based on cryptography. The principle being that as an incentive for users running the software that would keep track of bitcoin transactions would be awarded bitcoins themselves. This would increase the number of bitcoins in circulation according to an algorithm. According to the plan the amount of bitcoins in circulation would rise according to a set pattern to a maximum in 2140.

Bitcoins, in principle, began to gain support. The way in which they worked is difficult to understand, but the keeping of a public ledger was seen as being an efficient solution for preventing fraud. The algorithmic method of preventing devaluation due to oversupply was much more than any central bank would commit to.

The first bitcoins were created, or “mined” in bitcoin jargon by Satoshi Nakamoto on 3 January 2009. Bitcoins began to be traded by cryptography enthusiasts, and as interest in the project grew, so did the value of the bitcoins. With bitcoins on the upward curve many people decided that they should get in on the action.

I order to spend bitcoins users need to first download the bitcoin app to their computer or smartphone. There are a small number of retailers who are prepared to accept bitcoins, and some of these began to attract a lot of media attention.

The story that brought bitcoins to the attention of the wider world was bitcoins being spent in a murky corner of the online world known as ‘Silk Road’. Silk road is a site that can only be accessed via anonymising   proxies. Emboldened by this and the apparently anonymous nature of bitcoins, users  felt free to buy and sell all kinds of illegal drugs and even firearms.

When the story of this new online currency that was being used in all these illegal activity broke, suddenly everybody was talking about bitcoins. People wondered how they worked, and whether they could be a good investment . The dollar price of a bitcoin rose sharply.

As always happens in a bubble, investors are attracted by the lure of sure fire easy profits. They are willing to buy at any price because they feel certain that what they have bought will be worth more tomorrow.  It is impossible for this to carry on for ever, when the price of something is being driven ever upwards to speculation the point will eventually be reached where the bubble bursts.

Today bitcoins are worth nothing like what they were worth at their peak, trading at less than $2.50, at the peak of bitcoin fever this was as high as $30. At the start of 2011 the price fell to just thirty cents however, meaning that they have still been a successful gamble for some traders. At these kinds of prices however it is becoming uneconomical to produce new bitcoins in terms of the computing power it requires.

The bitcoin market as it currently is can be wholly shaped by a very small number of transactions. By dumping a large amount of the crypto-currency it is easy to engineer a price crash. Was this the plan all along? An elaborate long form ruse to create a situation that has been compared to how the stock markets were before regulation on insider trading and other practices, or as some have suggested a ‘pyramid scam’?

It is telling that the individual behind bitocoin, ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ has vanished from the public eye. His name is in inverted commas as really the identity, or even existence of this individual is unknown.

What do we know about Satoshi Nakamoto? Before the publication of the 2008 paper no record can be found of the individual. He is supposedly Japanese, but his email address was supplied by a German service. In his writings he uses idiomatic English suggesting he is a native speaker, and spellings that indicate he is not American.

Nakamoto communicated on technical issues via the bitcoin forum. These interactions became fewer and  fewer. The last public message was on 12 December 2010. For a time bitcoin’s lead developer was able to contact him through email, but in time even this ceased. Nobody has ever met Satoshi Nakamoto.

There is speculation about whether Nakamoto was actually a front for some other organisation, some secret project by an organisation that did not want their name to be linked to it. Speculation and conspiracy theory is however all there is.

Perhaps with bitcoin what we are seeing is a microcosm of other aspects of the financial system. Certainly the workings of many markets are opaque, to the uninitiated anyway. That is why the firms that charge for private wealth  management are able to, because the independent investor with  only what they read on the internet to guide them are nothing more than chumps, marks who get  taken for all they have.

Written by moneymatey

November 25, 2011 at 10:52 am

Posted in General, Investments

Financial Planning Week

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From the 17th to 23rd of October this year it was Financial Planning Week in Canada and I think it is something that should be spread out all across the globe and I would love to see Britain partaking in this next year.

The week was there to raise awareness and as a call to action for people to collaborate and try to get meaningful change for the benefit of all Canadians. Similar weeks are already being held in the U.S. and Quebec.

This is what the site itself says about the week:

THE HEART OF FINANCIAL PLANNING WEEK: VISION 2020

Imagine if, by the year 2020, Canada becomes a nation of organizations, a regulatory environment and a populace that:

  • Values financial planning and its role in the betterment of people’s lives
  • Shares responsibility for ensuring the financial planning needs of Canadians are well served
  • Has a viable, trusted and respected financial planning profession that provides competent, ethical financial planners for all Canadians in need of professional advice

Financial Planning Week uses the following items as guiding principles for its activities and discussions. By the year 2020, we hope to see that:

  • every high school graduate has experienced some introductory financial planning curriculum and thus can make better-informed decisions about their finances, ultimately putting them on the path to a better financial future in later years;
  • there is a regulatory environment that provides the support and landscape to encourage the various stakeholders such as industry, employers and individuals to adopt the values and associated behaviors of financial planning.
  • industry responsibly promotes financial planning and clearly distinguishes financial planning from  product advice
  • Canadians understand the distinction between product and financial planning advice and recognize the value and appropriate place for each
  • there are a sufficient number of duly licensed financial planners  across Canada whom all Canadians  who seek professional financial planning advice can count on to help them meet their  life goals;
  • Canadians see value in financial planning and are incorporating more of it in their lives;

They also have a section with 10 things to do to help celebrate the week that include things such as reflecting on your life goals, what do you want to aim towards, talking to your partner about family planning and simple things such as creating a monthly budget.

With the state of the economy at the moment I think we could all take a leaf out of the Canadians books and try to get this happening over here as well. Financial planning is an important part of life and the more help and better we get with it the better the country does as a whole.

The video below has more information.

Written by moneymatey

October 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Banking, General

Should You Risk The Stock Market?

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The economic climate of the early 2010s is worrying to say the least. Gloomy headlines and stories stare out at us from our newspapers and TV news channels every day. So with all that’s going on, should you be investing in stocks and shares?

 

The case for investing in the stock market

The bottom of any dip in share prices is the best time to invest, as here you can buy your shares at the cheapest price and see their value rise. Unfortunately predicting exactly the lowpoint of any dip is very difficult, if share prices are low, will they fall further or begin to rise? But the most successful investors are often the ones who can correctly predict the way the markets will go.

The media may be full of gloomy news on the economic front, but some of the world’s emerging economies have continued to grow. Investing in the Far East or Latin America for example must still be considered a high risk investment, but it could also result in the value of your funds growing massively.

There is still a wide range of stock market investments available, and there is likely to be one that suits you somewhere. You can invest in funds that specialise in almost any region of the world, or in many industry sectors. If you are worried about the volatility of your investment, look for a cautious managed fund or similar investment services.

Investment in stocks & shares should be considered as a medium to long term investment.  This means that short-term fluctuations in prices should not cause undue alarm provided the long-term trend of the value of your investment is upwards. The value of your investment may have fallen over a short-term period, but in reality this is only a paper loss. Which is better – to cash in your investment now, in which case you will definitely lose out; or to leave your money invested in the hope that the value will rise again? Over any 30 year period in history, the stock market has always yielded better returns than deposit accounts.

Should you decide to invest in safer areas, such as deposit accounts, due to the economic worries, your capital will indeed be protected from falls in value. But interest rates on these accounts are often very low at present, meaning your returns from these products could be very low, and given the current rate of inflation, the value of your funds could well fall in real terms.

 

The case against investing in the stock market

We truly are living in very uncertain times. In the past decade alone there have been several major events that have caused significant falls in share prices, such as the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 banking crisis and the debt problems experienced by several countries in 2011. No analysts can predict with confidence that further stock market falls will not follow the most recent of these slumps, and it is very difficult to know which region of the world will experience difficulties next. Some of the eurozone economies such as Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain have experienced particularly severe difficulties recently. Faced with a daily diet of worrying news stories, it is totally understandable that many people do not wish to invest in risky areas.

Investing in high-risk areas is even more risky if it involves your pension fund and you are close to retirement. If your pension fund falls due to a fall in share prices, it may be well after your retirement until it recovers, and then it will be too late. Hence it is normally recommended that while there is nothing wrong in principle with saving for retirement via higher risk areas, that you move your fund into more cautious investments as you near retirement age.

You should never invest all of your capital in risky areas – you should always retain an emergency fund in a deposit account or similar. Before deciding on a course of action, you must decide what your capacity for loss is, i.e. you should not make an investment if you would be likely to suffer financial hardship if that investment performed badly. Direct investment in the shares of start-up companies might be amongst the most risky investments, with the investor incurring the risk of almost total loss of their funds, and this should not be done if you would suffer financial hardship in these circumstances.

Written by moneymatey

September 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Investments

Live Right Now – Greece Debt Crisis

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Click here to read the debt crisis talks update live on The Telegraph.

“Markets in Europe and Asia slide on concern Greece will fail to meet the terms set by its international rescuers to receive the next chunk of its bailout money, while the crisis puts Chancellor Merkel under pressure from voters in Germany.”

Written by moneymatey

September 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Banking, General

Lloyds Tim Tookey Quits

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The Lloyds Banking Group is looking for a new finance director after Tim Tookey quits to join the insurance company Friends Life.

This could be interesting, read more here

Written by moneymatey

September 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Posted in Banking

Coutts And Internet Entrepreneurs

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There has been a growth in business in the north west for the private bank, Coutts and Co, thanks to budding young entrepreneurs who are selling of their businesses and raking in the big money.

Coutts, which deals with investment management, has recruited 10 specialist staff to help deal with the extra business including Glyn Thomas, who is the first senior investment consultant in the north west region. He will be advising the young entrepreneurs on the best way to invest their new found riches.

Around 80% of Coutts’ clients are business related with the rest being taken up by sports stars, entertainers, lottery winners and people who have inherited money. This new generation of young businessmen has come from web based companies, social media and renewable energy businesses.

They are seeing this business from people selling up because normally someone who sells a company has worked for a long time to get it where it is and then retire with the proceeds but these younger people are making money very quickly and when they sell up they are still too young to retire so they want to reinvest in new business.

A spokesman for Coutts said that often money goes back into a new business with some saved back but other popular options for younger people with money include second properties abroad, often in ski resorts, boats and cars such as Aston Martins or Bentleys.

Written by moneymatey

July 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Business, Investments