How to Invest in the Stock Market Safely

Everybody understands how important it is to save money for your retirement, and these days it can be more important than ever. The problem is, the stock market is very difficult for the ordinary investor to understand completely and with this massive recession we seem to be in at the moment, the stock market seems crazier than ever.

The alternative used to be to purchase government bonds or certificates of deposit from the bank but with the recession the way it is and the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates and near zero, it doesn’t make any sense to invest in those type of safe havens anymore. If you calculate for inflation they actually pay out a negative interest rate!

Which brings us back to the stock market. Unfortunately I think everybody has had experience personally or have at least known somebody who has lost their life savings in the dramatic market drop recently, and it’s so very hard to climb back on the horse and invest in the stock market but you have to do something!

What’s the solution then? Well I think I have one…

My strategy harnesses the power of math and the law of averages. Here’s how it works; set aside a certain amount of money that you would normally invest in your retirement account every month. Set up a system to direct deposit that amount of money, either directly from your paycheck or directly from your bank account into your retirement investment account with instructions to invest it in an S&P 500 index fund (the same fund every month).

Be sure to set up this scenario through a mutual fund or retirement company of some sort so that you don’t have to pay a fee every time you make a contribution to the account.

So what exactly does this strategy accomplish?

Over time historically speaking the market has increased 7 to 8% per year and that’s held true over the last 50 odd years. But it only holds true for the entire market as a whole, not individual stocks and that’s where people get into trouble.

When you invest in individual stocks you can easily lose your money but if you invest in a broad stock market index fund it is virtually impossible to lose your money. The entire market would have to tank in order for you to lose and if that was the case civilization would be over anyway and you’d probably already be dead.

Having the money directly deposited automatically every month means that you will take advantage of the stock markets dips and rises mathematically. Some months you’ll purchase when the stock market is up and some months you’ll purchase when the stock market is down and this is where the law of averages works to your benefit.

History shows that the stock market always comes back and this recession is no different. The secret is to keep investing as I have described in this article today and you should be okay in the long run.

What Online Marketers Know About You

We live in a world where privacy is becoming an increasingly foreign concept. The Internet, which on one hand still perpetuates a sense of anonymity, has actually been the biggest catalyst for loss of privacy. I don’t mean to embark on a Big Brother rant, but I do want to point out what online marketers know about you as a consumer, so you can be better informed. Because knowledge is power, right?

First, let’s talk about your digital footprint. Every website on the Internet runs on a Web server somewhere. Whether that server resides in a fancy data center halfway across the world or in some guy’s basement down the street, the Web server is essentially just an application running on a computer that is connected to the Internet. The server has a unique IP address, which is associated with a domain name. Whether you browse to that domain name or enter its URL directly, your computer makes a connection with that server.

As soon as you make the connection, you see the Web pages that reside on that server, and the server starts recording information about your computer. It records the IP address of your computer, the date and time of when you “landed,” where you came from (either the URL of the site you just left, or that you came in directly from typing the URL in the address bar), and what type of a search string you typed if you came from a search engine. It also records your computer’s operating system and the Web browser you are using.

Once you are at a site, the server will keep track of your movements within that site as you click from page to page. Once you leave the site, it will record the time you left, the last page you visited on the site, and the URL of the website you jumped to. It also records what country you are in, which it knows by your IP address, as well as whether you came in from an educational, non-profit or business environment, based on the domain extension on your network.

Although it won’t know your exact location, it gets fairly close geographically based on your IP address. Unless you own your own IP address, which most home consumers don’t, you’ve been assigned an IP address by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If your ISP is in the next city to you, you’ll probably see some ads giving you offers in that city.

Many websites also drop a cookie on your computer when you visit their sites. Where the previous information about your computer got stored on the Web server (which you have no access to and therefore can’t control), cookies stay on your computer only for a specific amount of time, and you can delete them just like you can delete any file on your computer. Each website decides whether to drop a cookie, as well as the duration of that cookie.

Now that we’ve covered what Web servers know about you, let’s talk about what they don’t know about you. Web servers have no way of knowing what other Web sites you have visited other than the site you were on right before coming to their site, and the site you landed on right after leaving their site. Your computer will record every site you’ve visited, but like with cookies, you can at least control your history if you so choose. Web servers also don’t know your name, age, address, height, social security number, interests, etc., or any other files (like documents) on your computer. Although the Web servers don’t collect that information, that doesn’t mean the databases that integrate with those Web servers don’t.

Any time a website asks you to log in, fill out a form, fill out a profile, etc., the data you provide will populate a database owned by that site owner or a third party working with that site owner. Once you submit that information, you may never be able to completely control that information because you don’t have direct access to the server hosting that database.

When you combine the information Web servers keep on your movements and the information you freely enter into databases on websites, you end up with a lot of information that marketers can use to give you offers. The better the online marketers know you, the more customized offers they can give you.

If you enjoy classical music, for example, you may have noticed an ad for your local orchestra popping up when you log into your Facebook account. Or if you are typing a message about tennis from your gmail account, you may have noticed an ad for tennis rackets showing up. How do they do that? Easy, actually. You were the one that typed Classical Music as an interest in your Facebook profile. And since gmail owns the email servers where your emails reside, its powerful search engines match the text in your emails with the advertising offers Google’s clients pay to place.

That isn’t to say an employee of Google or Facebook is reading your emails or posts. With millions of users, they don’t have time to do that, nor do they need to. They use their technology to do the matching. So when your local symphony agrees to run ad campaigns on Facebook, they can specify that their ads show up only on the accounts of users within their targeted geographic area who have expressed an interest in certain keywords.

The Google and Facebook examples illustrate the cases where they know a lot about you because of information you’ve specifically given them. In those situations, you may actually welcome those ads because you’d rather have ads that apply to you than ones in which you have no interest.

Even where you don’t specifically offer information about you, the aggregated information collected by Web servers and cookies can still build a profile on you. Most major search engines keep a record of your IP address and everything you have searched for using that address. ( is an exception to that rule.) Although a search engine may not know your sex and age, it can make a pretty good guess that you are a woman of child-bearing years if a preponderance of searches from your IP are for baby-related items and information. And if you come back to a website that formerly dropped a cookie on your computer, the website will know you are a returning visitor. If you visit often, it might treat you differently than a visitor it assumes is there for the first time.

Merchants that sell products online use cookies and IP addresses for compensating Web publishers for sending them traffic. For example, say you are reading a skiing blog and you see a banner ad for If you hover over the ad, your browser should show you the destination of that link before you even click it. Chances are it will not link directly to Instead, it will link to the tracking server that uses to manage its campaigns. It will include a bunch of code that essentially references the campaign, the image of the ad, and where the link should redirect it. If you click the link, you’ll get redirected to, but not before it places a cookie on your computer and records the impression and click on the tracking system. If you buy something from the site, the tracking system knows the skiing site you originally came from and will credit the owner of that site with the sale. The site owner will get paid whatever commission was originally agreed upon. Even if you don’t buy right then, but go back later (up to 120 days, in some cases) and buy, the skiing site still gets credit for that sale. How? Because of the cookie that is still on your computer. When you make the purchase, a small, invisible pixel in the thank-you page’s code tells the tracking system that the sale has been completed, knows you came from the skiing site because of the cookie on your computer, and will credit the skiing site accordingly. If you ended up deleting your cookie between when it was first placed and when you bought the item, it would not be able to credit the sale to the skiing site, unless the tracking system also tracks IP addresses (which most don’t).

Online marketers also use email to track campaign effectiveness. Just about any time you sign up for something online with your email address, you’re going to end up on someone’s mailing list. Marketers use email management systems that allow them to send a single email out to thousands of their subscribers. The CAN-SPAM legislation requires that these emails have an opt-out link at the bottom of the email. If you don’t like receiving the offers, you can opt out. But until you do, the marketers can track whether you got the email messages, read them, clicked through to a website from them, and actually bought something as a result. Even after you’ve opted out, you remain in their databases with a flag that you’ve opted out.

You can see that your movements don’t go unnoticed on the Internet. Online merchants, networks and other marketers are trying to understand you as best they can to cater their ads and offers to you. As technology continues to improve, and as major players like Google continue to run a disproportionate amount of Web traffic on their networks (and acquire companies that you have existing relationships with), online marketers will know even more about you than they do now. Whether this results in a better consumer environment by producing hyper-targeted ads, or consumer frustration through further privacy erosion, remains to be seen.

What is All the Hype About Network Marketing Education – Or is it Really Hype?

What is all the hype about network marketing education? Or is it really hype?

The fact is, if you are in search of gaining prospects to add to your downline, you have to have some form of a targeted plan that leads to more people joining your business. If you simply rely on family, friends, or fliers, your chances of long term profitability are very bleak.

I have researched many MLM companies, in an effort to see what their training program really entails. What I found is that many of these organizations do not really supply their members with a real blueprint that is absolutely needed for success.

Some of these companies often highlight how you get paid instead of focusing on how to get targeted leads for their business. On one of the MLM distributor’s sites, the message that was emphasized was how its distributors get paid. While it is good to know how one gets paid, the fact is, an independent marketing director is not going to get paid if he or she does not know how to attract the leads.

It is the same as putting the horse before the cart. Ask any successful network marketer how they became successful and they will tell you that they had a personal mentor or some sort of intense direct marketing educational training program that walked them through the specific and targeted steps that ultimately lead to their success.

If you do not have time to waste and are motivated to make your own network marketing business a success, learn from those who have already paved the way for you to follow. Just copy what those who are successful have done and you will net the same if not better results.

Direct marketing is not difficult, nor is marketing success. You just have to know where to find the education needed for your own personal success. Once you find the education and start applying the easy strategies that are taught by successful marketers, you are well on your own way to your marketing success.

Discover success through network marketing education [] and how you can improve your business now.

5 Great Offline Tips For Building Your Email Marketing List

The opt-in list is an email marketers most valuable asset. Once you build it, you will have a database of contacts made up of people with a high level of interest in your offerings. Being that it is all tied to email and the internet, some marketers believe that their strategies for growth should be limited to putting a form on a website and other online methods. The truth is that there are several ways to grow your email marketing list offline.

1. Networking

Networking has been long proven as one of the most effective ways to build relationships and improve business performance. Naturally, it is also a great method for building your opt-in list offline. When you are out networking and collecting business cards, consider how valuable these new contacts will be to your email marketing efforts. Whether it is via email or phone, get in touch, and ask for permission to add them to your list. You would be surprised at the positive responses networking can generate.

2. Offline Point of Sale

If you are retailer out in the real world, the point of sale in your store or establishment is a powerful mechanism that can be used to collect new subscribers. More than likely, you are already directly interacting with customers, so why not use that to your advantage? Simply place a sign up form at the cash register, and instruct the clerk to ask customers to provide their name and email address when checking out with their purchase. Offer some attractive incentives to sweeten the deal for signing up, and you should come out with favorable results.

3. Industry-Specific Events

Trade Shows, conferences, conventions and other industry events also present great opportunities for building your list. You can garner even more success by sponsoring some of your own events and giving potential subscribers an incentive to attend. The more of a presence your business has in the industry, the more opportunities you will have to meet new contacts and grow your email marketing list. When mingling at these events, remember that the goal is to build relationships, not make business the center of attention. Approach prospects the right way, and they will be much more willing to lend an ear via email.

4. Print Marketing

Perhaps you have the mailing addresses of some of your clients and prospects, but not their email address. If so, then print marketing would be the best way to build your opt-in list. Product catalogs, post cards, and other direct mail materials can all be used to encourage new sign-ups. Be sure to include the link to your opt-in page online, and stress the benefits of being on your list. Converting your direct mail contacts to email contacts is a move that will help you communicate more efficiently and save money in the long run.

5. Phone Communications

Some of the most successful business owners have a case of phone shyness. If you are trying to build your email marketing list offline, it is a fear you may have to get over. Using the phone is a proven way to acquire new contacts. When people call your business line to get more information, have your customer service agent ask them if they would like to receive company news, product offers, or updates via email. If so, direct them to your opt-in page and seal the deal with an incentive, or by simply illustrating the benefits of being a subscriber.