Investing in 2012 – Best Alternative Investments? | investing

When we think about investing we normally picture in our minds a variety of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. It is crucial to remember however that limiting ourselves to these common investments can be the biggest risk one can take in these harsh and uncertain economic times.It is always important to add diversity to your investment portfolio, and since different investments behave differently under varying economic conditions, it is always a good idea to have such investments that can support and even temporarily replace those investments that tend to wither in the worst of situations.The answer then to a risky situation lies in expanding your investment options and seriously looking at including a few alternative investments in your portfolio; this may be the best way forward for you in 2012 and beyond.What are Alternative Investments?Many alternative investments are thought to lack liquidity and are generally a bit more complicated for inexperienced investors. Usually you will find only wealthy individuals and investment corporations focusing on them.In the majority of cases, these types of investments require a much higher minimum investment and the associated fees can be also be higher when comparing to ETFs for example. They are often a bit harder to market based on the fact that you cannot as easily measure performances.They do however have less associated regulations attached to them and this has ensured a pronounced increase in alternative forms of investment in recent times.Alternative investments are becoming popular and the point to remember is that they do not in most cases share the same kind of predictable returns as that of standard investments. In fact they can prove to be very profitable indeed under the right circumstances.Perhaps this is the reason why many high net worth individuals and larger financial funds have allocated reasonable percentages as light as 10% of their portfolios to alternative investments like hedge funds. Other alternative investments include real estate and certain precious metals.Investment OpportunitiesSo what are the best alternative investments that you should be eyeing in 2012? Well – Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs offer an investment option that has a much wider appeal than either real estate or precious metals.For one thing they are easier to get involved in and do not present the usual risks attached to alternative investments. Again the best approach is to diversify and in addition to an existing portfolio, ETFs can and do represent profitable assets that can be moved and sold when you need to. It is also very easy to monitor and track their value within a given time.With exchange traded funds you have the flexibility of trading within the market or you can hold on to your investment for any duration you like even over the longer term.Other exciting opportunities include and are not limited to investing in art, wine and renewable energy.
Now is the time to keep your options as wide open as possible. By including alternative investments into your portfolio you have a healthy blend of diverse investments that will effectively help you to cover all your financial bases in years to come.

Real Estate Submarkets and Their Characteristics | Real estate

The Jamaica real estate submarketThe general market for goods and service is made up of many submarkets. When left free to operate without private or governmental interference, each submarket and the general market as a whole should theoretically regulate itself by the laws of supply and demand.One of the submarkets of the general market for goods and service is the Jamaica real estate market. While the real estate market differs in a number of distinctive ways from other markets, it acts much like all markets with respect to changes in supply and demand, but with a slower response time. It has the appearance of being a single, simple entity when in fact the real estate market is itself composed of many complex sub markets. This would include Jamaica homes for rent as well. This would be known as a parent category.Real estate is a commodity just as wheat, gold and sugar. By combining the other factors of production with land we can produce wheat, gold and sugar or buildings.Major sub markets of Jamaica Real Estate
Most authorities agree that the five major submarkets of Jamaican real estate are:
1. Residential homes for rent in Jamaica;
2. Commercial;
3. Industrial;
4. Agricultural;
5. Governmental and special – purpose propertiesEach of these five categories is further divided into minor submarkets. For example, “residential” as a major submarket can itself be divided into minor submarkets as follows:
1. Urban;
2. Suburban; and
3. RuralEach of the minor submarkets can be divided further into single-family and multifamily, which could then each be classified as owner-occupied and rental. The point is what appears to be one big, but simple real estate market is in reality, a complex structure of many individual submarkets, each of which contributes to the overall market.The characteristics of the real estate market
If the real estate market were allowed to operate without any interference or restraint whatsoever, each person could use his or her property in any way that would produce the greatest return. This could result in one person’s use of Jamaican property causing a loss in value to another person’s property. Obviously, we cannot permit land to be used for whatever purpose the owner thinks best for his or her private gain.For example, if you lived in a very fashionable up-market residential subdivision and your neighbor bought two undeveloped lots adjoining your property for use as a pig farm or for a paper mill with its offensive odors, the social costs to you and the rest of the subdivision would far outweigh the private gain to your neighbor. Therefore, the real estate market cannot be permitted to operate free of all controls and restraints.Listed below are five primary characteristics affecting ownership and sale that set real estate apart from other markets.
1. The market is local in nature; the product is immoveable.
2. It is slow to respond to change in supply and demand.
3. There is relative permanence of improvements; land is durable and fixed in location.
4. The market is not organized and is without central control; there is no standard product and no central information.
5. Governmental controls influence the market through zoning, building codes, taxes, etcLocal in Nature – The market for real estate is uncommonly local in nature compared with other markets. The reason, of course, is that land and the improvements thereon are immoveable. For example, we cannot transport sugar cane lands from Westmoreland to Kingston. If we were in the market for tomatoes we could haul our produce to the place where demand might be greatest. However, despite the demand for housing in Area A, we cannot produce an apartment complex or single-family subdivisions on land located in Area B and take it to where there is greater demand.Slow Response – The property market is unusually slow to respond to changes in supply and demand. Very often the number of houses (supply) in an area begins to fall behind the demand, however, since the design, land acquisition, site preparation and construction phases of real estate are so time consuming by the time demand responds the market becomes flooded. The equilibrium between supply and demand is thus destroyed because the supply of the town houses exceeds the demand at the time.Permanence of improvements – The characteristic referred to as permanence of improvements is also closely related to the above characteristics. The typical bungalow-housing unit has a long economic life compared to other commodities. Once we have built a block of offices we are stuck with it when perhaps we could have invested our time and money in a hotel. Therefore, the permanence of the improvements created eliminates many alternatives available to markets.Decentralized nature – Another characteristic of the real estate market is the lack of a single, central exchange for dealing with the real estate island wide. If one wishes to buy 100 shares in General Motors, California, the product will be the same as General Motors, Florida. However, if one wishes to buy 100 hectares of beachfront property in Westmoreland, Jamaica the product will be different in many respects from beachfront property in Portland. This focuses the attention on the two main reasons why there is not a central exchange for real estate.First, the product cannot be standardized. No two tracts of land are the same. Even two lots side by side on a street have different geographical locations on this earth. This concept is referred to as heterogeneity or non-homogeneity.Second, no central data bank or information source tells about all real property in Jamaica. Also, one needs to be careful when using information about properties in one area to assess properties in another. If one wants to know about real property in any location, it is best to go to that particular place and seek local information.Governmental Controls – The fifth and last of the primary characteristics of the real estate market, governmental controls, plays an inordinately important role when compared to other markets. Most people are familiar with direct controls such as zoning and building codes which govern construction and use of property.Governments also exercise indirect controls, such as the monetary policies of Central Government. For example, if Government reduces the overall money supply to slow the inflation rate, higher rates for mortgage bans turn, drives many potential buyers out of the real estate market in Jamaica. This does impact heavily on the drafting of a rent agreement in Jamaica.

Fashion Marketing – More Than Just Style | Fashion

Are you a trendsetter? Do you find yourself on the cutting edge of fashion? If so, you may find fashion marketing a perfect career fit.Fashion marketers generate interest in new styles and products, connecting the public with the world of fashion. In a nutshell, they promote fashion.On the business side, fashion marketers analyze and implement sales strategies, perform inventory control and cost analysis, and stay mindful of profits and losses. On the art side, fashion marketers are creative and innovative, they recognize good clothing when they see it, and they have the ability to sell it to the public.Typical fashion marketing responsibilities include: attending fashion shows and visiting designer showrooms; placing orders for clothing and estimating the amount of inventory needed; arranging for the receiving, storage, and display of merchandise; pricing clothes; designing visual displays and ad campaigns and promotions; consulting with fashion designers and consumers; keeping tabs on profits and losses; maintaining the physical appearance of a store; and hiring and training new employees.Ultimately, fashion marketers are the ones who figure out how to get people to buy fashion designers’ latest creations. They must move trendy items into stores while they’re truly in vogue. But fashion marketers can also create trends by heavily promoting certain looks at the right time. That’s why successful fashion marketers need a solid understanding of consumer psychology and social trends.Evidently, fashion marketing training is key to managing the many layers of this industry. Through fashion marketing programs, you’ll learn how to use textiles, color, and design to create visual merchandising campaigns. Business courses will show you how to develop, analyze, and implement effective sales strategies. You’ll learn how to use computers for cost analysis, inventory control, and other store operations. You’ll also get schooled on merchandise economics, leadership skills, manufacturing, advertising, and store planning.All told, fashion marketing programs cover everything from retail buying, window dressing, and producing fashion shows to public relations and consumer behavior. They also explore new opportunities in online retailing, electronic retailing, and catalogue development as alternatives to traditional retailing.With the right training, you’ll be prepared for an entry-level fashion marketing position with textile, apparel, and pattern manufacturers; fashion salons; high-fashion department stores and specialty shops; fashion magazines; fashion consulting firms; mail order companies; or import and export firms.