Direct Sales vs. Network Marketing

A direct sales company is very similar to a network marketing company in that you are still working as an “Independent Associate” for a larger company. With direct sales however, you are not required to develop a “downline” or recruit other members. All you really have to do to make any money is sell whatever the product or service is that the company offers. It’s really no different that being one of those Avon ladies. Or selling cars. Or selling real estate.

Yes, the company will likely encourage you to recruit other associates and there are two reasons for this. One, it provides the comapny with more sales people, giving them greater exposure and making more money. Two, they will pay you better if you recruit other associates and YOU will make more money.

Once again, like network marketing, there is a system already in place for you to duplicate. This is why direct sales organizations and network marketing companies are so appealing. You don’t have to do any of the trial and error stuff to get your business going. It’s already been done for you. All you have to do is follow the system in place and you are on your way to making money.

A legitimate direct sales organization will tell you up front that you might not even make any money whatsoever. Should that put you off? No. It shows integrity in their business. They understand that some people will not follow the system, try to change the system, or simply quit the system. They also understand that some people will make money faster than others because some people will have a shorter learning curve than others.

There are numerous other reasons direct sales is more appealing than direct marekting, but we’ll get into that in more deatil later. But there are numerous other similarities and understanding them will assist you in figuring out which is better for you. Or if you should look for another opportunity altogether.

Trading Emotion-Driven E-Mini Markets

Any trader who has spent even a minimum amount of time reading about trading psychology has read, over and over, about the evils of allowing your emotions to influence your potential trading decisions. As an e-mini trader, it doubly difficult to control your emotions when the markets themselves take on a very emotional nature. It sometimes seems a doubly cruel joke when markets behave more emotionally than even the most emotional e-mini trader.

It is not particularly unusual for markets to trade in an illogical fashion; but there is generally some semi-rational explanation for moves that, at face value, don’t seem to make sense. On the other hand, we are in some unique times in the e-mini markets. In several decades of trading I have seen some dire circumstances in the United States economy: the 1987 market crash comes to mind; the meltdown of the dot.com stocks; or the sky-high inflation of the early 1980′s and Paul Volker’s dramatic inflation fighting antidote. But I have never seen a constellation of world-wide events with the potential for catastrophic consequences as we currently face. These events include problems like:

- The US housing crisis, which (in my opinion) has a good deal of correction left before we see any dramatic improvement

- The European Union is in desperate straits, with a collapse of the Euro currency a distinct possibility.

- The US employment problem, with unemployment rates hovering around an economically unsustainable level near 9%.

- Massive Central Bank intervention on a scale not seen since World War II.

In addition, there are a host of problems like wars, natural disasters, and regional conflict in the oil-producing Middle East which all contribute to an unparalleled level of economic instability.

How do trade the e-mini markets when the markets are locked into a news driven mode? The market seems to rocket upwards on the pontifications of politicians, even when the political statements make little sense and are, at times, laughable because they are unfeasible to accomplish even in the best of conditions.

The methodology, especially for the small retail trader, to trade these volatile markets is to realize the limitations of your trading style, and precise and methodical execution of your trading plan. For example:

- There have been several days in the past month that have been too volatile for the small trader to execute trades within prudent stop/loss parameters. Using the Average True Range (ATR), we have seen days when the 3-minute ATR has exceeded 25 points for extended periods of time. A smaller trader simply cannot expand his stops far enough to be economically feasible given the size of his or her account.

- In other situations, the market has reacted to news reports (often conflicting reports) to extent that any set-up is, at best, an educated guess. In e-mini trading, we like to think we are step above the educated guess style of trading. When the market pays no mind to support/resistance and moves randomly, it is unwise to trade aggressively, or even passively.

What is the answer to these problems? I turn the computer off. I am well aware of my limitations as a trader and wildly volatile, high emotion driven markets usually entail erratic and unpredictable movement. I can’t trade these markets with confidence, so I don’t.

On the other hand, we have seen volatile markets that are tradable because they tend to trend a bit, and retrace in broad strokes, but then resume the original trend.

For this type of market action, it is possible (though difficult) to execute your trading plan, but it must be done with precision.

- Take care to enter trades in the highest probability set-up configuration possible.

- Though this type of market can trend for extended periods of time. I generally set fairly modest profit targets and remain vigilant in watching for dramatic changes in market direction.

- If the trade does not begin in the fashion I had envisioned, I generally exit the trade immediately. This is not a good time to hope that Lady Luck will come to the rescue.

- Finally, my constant advice is to trade with the trend. I cannot count the number of times the trend has saved me in a mistimed trade entry.

In summary, news-driven markets are volatile and unpredictable. Know you limitations and don’t let your ego keep you trading in a market that is not conducive to your e-mini account size. If there is some order to the market, make solid entries and avoid being greedy in seeking profits. If a trade gets off to a bad start, I generally exit the trade before I get too deep into the trade. Finally, trade with the trend.

How to Find the Best Self Directed IRA Custodian and Investments

Are you searching for the best self directed IRA investments to take advantage of? Are you looking for a self directed IRA custodian to hold your IRA contributions? Since there are so many different self directed IRA investments and custodians to choose from, it can be difficult finding one that will meet your specific needs. This article will explain which self directed IRA custodian is best for you, and what self directed IRA investments are best to take part in.

First, let’s go over self directed IRA investments. You’re probably familiar with the popular kinds of securities most people ultimately invest it- stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. If you take part in an employer’s 401k plan, or if you opened an IRA at a bank or brokerage firm, these are the investments your money is most likely going towards. Some people may invest in other things, but a large majority of people invest in these kinds of assets.

Then, there is a much smaller group of investors, which accounts for less than 4% of all IRA investors. This group of people choose to hold self directed IRA investments, refusing to let their employer or a financial institution control what their funds are being invested in. These people are not only in complete control of their IRA, but they also have a much wider range of investments to choose from.

So what are the best self directed IRA investments to go with? Currently, there’s been a lot of talk about investing in real estate using a self directed IRA. And in my opinion, real estate currently acts as the best self directed IRA investments to go with. And I’ll tell you why…

Right now, the housing market is FLOODED with foreclosed property. The banks and lending companies want to get back whatever they can for the mortgages that defaulted. And as a result, some real estate properties are being sold at ROCK BOTTOM PRICES. Then, you can sell them to qualified buyers or rent them out and make rental income. If you can locate these hot deals, then get ready to make some serious tax-free returns on your investment.

Alright, onto finding an appropriate self directed IRA custodian. There are a few kinds of self directed IRA custodians. The most popular kind are custodians that will hold your funds and make sure all the necessary paperwork and reports are filed on time and the right way. However, this type of self directed IRA custodian cannot legally give you investment advice. So I encourage you to go with this kind of custodian only if you know what you’re doing.

Then there’s another kind of self directed IRA custodian. Technically, they are not really custodians; they’re really companies that specialize in certain kinds of self directed IRA investments (like real estate). They actually point you in the right direction to a custodian that will fit your investment needs- one like I described above. But, you’re able to get a lot more advice and guidance out of a company like this.

For example, with real estate, I communicate with a company that has a program that specializes in real estate IRA investing. They not only direct you towards an appropriate custodian, but they also find the best real estate deals for you to invest in. They’ll even make all the necessary repairs to the property and find you a qualified buyer to take the property off your hands. So if you don’t know much about IRA real estate investing, then this option is made available specifically for you- in light of the recent housing bubble burst.

The program that I am referring to here involves much more than just self directed IRA investments in real estate though. Not only does it benefit investors, but it also benefits working-class families and urban communities that have been neglected in the past.