Fewer Americans Investing In a College Education While More Are Saving For Retirement

retirement savings

More Americans saving for retirement instead of investing in a college education.

Rising tuition and an uncertain economy could be casting doubts over the value of investing in a college education, according to a COUNTRY(R) Financial survey. The number of Americans who think college is a good financial investment plunged to 64 percent, down 16 points from last year and 17 points from 2008.


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Indian Railways – Backbone of India’s Socioeconomic Growth Plans Improvements to Rail System


Commuters stand in the doorways of a crowded local train as it leaves Churchgate railway station in Mumbai

Investment is needed to improve track, rolling stock and delivery times. At present passenger trains manage an average of 50 kph, while freight just 22 kph. Indian Railways has long been regarded as the backbone of the socioeconomic growth of India. The country has the world s fourth largest rail network and the second largest in Asia after China. Indian Railways has recently attracted immense global media and corporate attention due to its turnaround to profitability, and has been consistently recording buoyant growth rates over the last few years as India’s population continues to increase. According to India Railways, the cash surplus before dividend and net revenue were estimated by the government at US$6.17 billion and US$4.53 billion, for 2007-08 respectively. This places Indian Railways in a better position than many Fortune 500 companies.


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Airport Authority of India Planning to Upgrade Over 500 Airports Within Next 12 Years


Jammed airports are a way of life in India, but the government is finally getting serious about improving the rickety transportation infrastructure.

India has a total of 454 airports (including grass runways), of which 16 have international status. Of these, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) owns and operates 97. The AAI has stated it aims at upgrading all of these as well as adding new locations to better unify the country within the next 12 years. This requires infrastructure investment in terminals, runways and related construction to full operational and passenger capability at over 500 airports. The government has stated several times its intention to attract private investment into this sector, and many domestic and multinational players have been showing interest in the projected growth of India s aviation sector. Much of this is within airport development and management. Some of these include India s private airlines, among them Jet, Sahara, Kingfisher, Deccan, and Spicejet, who collectively account for about 60 percent of India s domestic passenger traffic.


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China: Hot Money Influx Raises Concerns

hot money 374

Hot money going out, even hotter coming back in

In September 2008, China witnessed a massive exodus of hot money due to the global financial crisis. However, with the Chinese economy showing signs of improvement in the second quarter of 2009, the situation reversed with a rush of hot money returning to China.
In late June 2009, China’s foreign reserves increased sharply to $2.13 trillion, making China the world’s largest foreign reserve holder with its foreign reserves accounting for about 30 percent of the world’s total.
Since then, China has maintained foreign reserves larger than the combined total of those ranking No 2, 3, 4 and 5 – i.e., Japan, Russia, Taiwan and India.
China’s foreign reserves jumped by $177.87 billion in the second quarter of this year, up 2,200 percent in terms of the amount of growth compared to the previous quarter’s $7.71 billion growth.
Given China’s strict control on capital accounts, the change in foreign reserves, in general, was caused mainly by the change in trade surplus or foreign direct investments (FDI).
However, the recent sharp increase in China’s foreign reserves was attributed to the increase in speculative funds rather than an increase in trade surplus or FDI.
The investments by both QFII (qualified foreign institutional investors) and QDII (qualified domestic institutional investors) are subject to strict government screening. Considering that QFII and QDII investments each stood at below $50 billion this year, the impact of these financial investments on China’s foreign reserves was insignificant.
China’s trade surplus and FDI totaled $38.79 billion in April-May 2009, which represented only 28.6 percent of the $135.75 billion growth in the nation’s foreign reserves during the period. The influx of hot money into China is estimated at $30 billion to $40 billion in the first half of this year.
External factors behind the return of hot money include the financial easing policies taken by major countries. Along with the collapse of market trust resulting from the financial crisis, large financial institutions increased the amount of cash they held while dumping such financial assets as bonds, causing a slowdown in currency circulation in the global financial system.
Western countries cut interest rates to get the economy back to normal. As a result, they secured financial liquidity, leading to a sharp increase in the reserve base.
As the global financial system shows signs of stabilization, a massive amount of “low cost” funds are being transformed into hot money and injected into the rapidly recovering emerging markets.
China’s capital market regaining vigor, thanks to its economic recovery, is yet another factor behind the influx of hot money.
The stable recovery of the real economy and the revival of the financial market also contributed to bringing hot money back to China.
Unlike the influx of hot money in 2006 and 2007, when market expectations for a possible appreciation of the renminbi played a key role, today’s inflow of hot money does not seem to have any close relationship with expectations of a yuan appreciation, which is expected to remain unchanged unless exports improve further.
Given that China’s exports in the first half declined by 21.8 percent from the previous year, the possibility is low that the yuan will appreciate.
The influx of hot money contributed to the expansion of credit loans and the rebounding of asset value. However, it remains to be seen how long its effect will last.
The return of hot money generated a favorable anti-deflation effect by facilitating the expansion of credit loans and the resurgence of asset value.
If the influx of hot money continues even after the economy stabilizes in the third quarter of 2009, the inflationary pressure could escalate due to an excessive expansion of credit loans and a bubble in asset value.
The impact of hot money up until now is estimated to be at a negligible level. Considering the scale of capital outflow since September 2008, the current level of hot money in China is similar to the level of early 2008.
Given that China runs a strict financial management system, chances that a massive movement of hot money will incur a financial crisis in Asia is slim.
Other factors include the fact that the current influx and outflow of hot money remains within a controllable range and China maintains an appropriate level of foreign reserves.
The influx of hot money is expected to generate a temporary and limited influence on China’s credit loans and capital market.
The return of hot money has contributed to the expansion of credit loans and the rebound in asset values, thereby exerting a favorable influence on the Chinese economy. The inflow of hot money is expected to continue in the second half of 2009.
To offset a decline in exports, the Chinese government will likely acquiesce and allow the influx of a certain level of hot money. However, if the influx of hot money expands too much, the government may strengthen its control to secure financial stability.

In September 2008, China witnessed a massive exodus of hot money due to the global financial crisis. However, with the Chinese economy showing signs of improvement in the second quarter of 2009, the situation reversed with a rush of hot money returning to China.

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The Coming Wave of Entrepreneurship

The coming wave of entrepreneurship

Businesses will be launched by former auto workers, mortgage processors and others 

Traditionally it could be predicted that for every 100 people who join the ranks of the jobless, seven will attempt to start a business. Some find business niches, others invent and still others find a better way to do something markets are craving. Ingenuity and daring often are the catalyst for setting business and commerce in motion – though nothing overcomes inertia like the lure of cash.

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Seed Capital Boot Camp – How to Find Investors for Your Business

Seed Capital Boot Camp - How to Find Investors for Your Business 

 Yes, there is still money out there for investment!

Seed capital is the early stage money needed to get most businesses off the ground. It is considered a high-risk investment, but one that can reap major rewards if the company becomes a growth enterprise. This type of funding is often obtained in exchange for an equity stake in the enterprise, although with less formal contractual overhead than standard equity financing.

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Ten-X Stimulus Projects

 Ten-X Stimulus Projects

Separating the wheat from the chaff as we invest in our future

Thomas Frey: As we begin the process of thinking through the places where we can insert the electrodes and shock new life into the global economy, I would propose a new way of reviewing proposals, allowing the best of the best to rise to the top. I propose we only consider projects that can provide at least a 10X rate of return on our investment dollars.

As most taxpayers who are watching this process unfold, the idea of borrowing today against future revenue streams becomes a contentious issue with severe implications for almost everyone. If we invest the money poorly, there will be no revenue streams in the future to pay the money back, a scenario that will not end well.

However, if the money is invested into some truly remarkable developments with the ability to not only jumpstart the economy but also pay handsome dividends in the future, we will have created a win-win situation that everyone will benefit from.

So what are these 10X projects and how do we decide if they have the explosive potential needed for the situation we find ourselves in today?

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The Wall Street Guru Ball

The Wall Street Guru Ball 

 Wall Street Guru Ball

Well so far 2009 looks, feels and tastes a lot like 2008 did. So you can color me unimpressed. But I guess a new year does give a lot of people the chance to turn over a new leaf. And if your new years resolution list happens to include “significantly increase financial well-being” then this twist on the classic 8-Ball could help. Why rely on stock brokers, bankers or even a hot tip from that guy in accounting when you can trust your assets to a multi-sided die floating in a plastic sphere?

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Business Veterans to Help Inventions Spring to Life

DaVinci Institute’s Inventor Boot Camp – 2008

It all starts with an epiphany. Every invention begins with a single “eureka moment” or some “brilliant revelation” that causes the inventor to take action.

These epiphanies become the idea seeds that will eventually get planted around the world. But we can only wish the process was as simple as adding water and fertilizer and waiting for the ideas to spring to life.

Inventions are not just patents to be hung on a wall. They are the starting point for a new business enterprise. So, not only does the inventor have to figure out how to create a working product or device, they also have to drive their invention towards a business model that will enable it to survive. And that’s where we come in.


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Blow Me: Onsite Breathalyzer Services

Blow Me:  Onsite Breathalyzer Services 

 Blow Me is an onsite breathalyzer service for your event.

Despite the overtly sexual connotation of the brand’s name Blow Me, it’s not what you think.  Blow Me is a company that has found a way to make a profit from one of the other major vices on the planet; excessive alcohol consumption.  Blow Me charges and fights the bad guys by administering onsite breathalyzer services.

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Shifting Tides Ahead After Financial Titans Fall

 Shifting Tides Ahead After Financial Titans Fall

Conspiracy theories, both real or imagined, will soon run rampant

The credit crisis shaking the global economy is forcing a dramatic reconfiguration of Wall Street, where the financial industry in recent years has been driven to take ever-greater risks on increasingly esoteric investments. The fragility of Wall Street’s architecture was exposed this week when two icons of investment banking and the world’s largest insurance company were fed into the maw as their competitors pushed for a historic government bailout to help salvage their own shaky businesses.

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