We all know the fact that the world divides between the developed and developing countries – in which, as less widely known, some of these developing countries fall so far behind in terms of the size and shape of their economies.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which in 1971 had devised a category of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); as of today, there are 135 of them. Their problems, as reported by the World Economic Forum (WEF), are ‘among the most intractable development challenges facing the international community.”

What’s even more alarming is that only four countries have “graduated” or have progressed from low-income to middle- and upper-income from the LDC status: Botswana in 1994, Cabo Verde in 2007, Maldives in 2011, and Samoa in 2014 – a poor record that had prompted the UN, in 2011, to “establish a dedicated programme of action with the target of enabling at least half of the LDCs to ‘meet the criteria of graduation’ by the end of this decade.”

But despite the challenges, some countries will shed LDC status in the coming years – such as Equatorial Guinea, Vanuatu, and Angola. Meanwhile, others have been found to be “pre-eligible” for graduation – such as Bhutan, Nepal, São Tomé and Principe, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. The great news is that these countries have shown that they have fared better or at least did not go worse.

However, still, these are far from the set target of halving the number of LDCs.

Trade and investments, for many developing countries, is where the progression of status heavily rests – successful trade provides a source of foreign currency to help balance payments, increased employment in export industries, and a way of financing imports. But it has its disadvantages and risks too that pose the following significant challenges.

The economic vulnerability has not diminished significantly.

Many LDCs are highly dependent on commodity exports. As a matter of fact, in a press release of the UNCTAD in October 13, 2017 titled “Commodity Dependence Worsens For Developing Countries”, “nine more developing economies became dependent on commodity exports between 2010 and 2015” – making a total of 91 or about two-thirds of the total number of the developing countries.

Too much commodity dependence can have negative effects on human development indicators such as life expectancy, education, and per capita income.

“…developing countries will struggle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless they break the chains of commodity dependence.”, said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

Also, aside from this, LDCs are heavily exposed to economic and natural shocks like climate change – challenges that cannot be dealt with yet by these countries all by themselves as they are far less equipped and are still unprepared.

A 2014 report from the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre finds that more than nineteen million people around the world were severely affected by the natural disasters. In developing countries where inadequate water supply and sanitation services are compounded by the strikes of natural disasters, lives of billions of people are underscored.

Many countries view “graduation” as a threat rather than an opportunity.

Transitioning from low- to upper-income status means being independent and losing unilateral preferential market access and reduction in aid levels.

Although some countries are already eligible for graduating from the LDC on the grounds of better social indicators and improved economic resilience, their dependence on international trade and investment (i.e., preferential market access) cannot be cut immediately. This is primarily because some serious risks beyond their control might happen anytime which might render them difficulties in a lot of different areas like education and healthcare.

These reasons have made the European Union, in 2008, to offer and extend the “preferential, duty-free, quota-free access” for the LDCs to the EU market for three years after graduation – as part of the preparation to facilitate a smooth transition to post-LDC status.

Besides relying heavily on trade and investments, LDC countries also reap the benefits of foreign aids – that is, from the world’s most developed countries. It was reported that in 2014, three of the world’s economic giants had donated significant amounts, with the United States and Japan contributing both 0.19 percent of their national income. Among other big spenders are United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Luxembourg, and et cetera.

However, while economic assistance is beneficial and is necessary, it could mean a lot of things and has a number of implications. First, other than the willingness to help, “the growing and continuous dependence on external funding means that the beneficiaries of such help are both economically and politically tied to the donors.” Best examples are Japan and China, which don’t like each other for a number of reasons reaching back to World War II, Nanjing massacre, and over territorial disputes – turning countries into something of an economic assistance battleground.

A lot of business owners overlook the importance of ongoing staff development and training because they see it as an unnecessary expense. After all, your workers currently do their jobs well, so why is there any need for change? Well, the benefits of ongoing training are more extensive than you may realise. Read on to discover why training and development is a necessity for any business that wants to grow and boost profit levels.

– Attract new talent to your business – The best businesses are those that have the best talent, and by offering ongoing training and development, you are bound to attract the very best. After all, most professionals today are looking for job vacancies that offer them the room for progression and bettering themselves.

– Operate with greater levels of efficiency – One of the main benefits of employee training is the fact that your employees will refine their skills, which will lead to greater efficiency and quality. Let’s take courses providing lean manufacturing education as a prime example. For manufacturing businesses, streamlining process and improving the quality of their output is a must. By giving your workers the platform to develop their lean manufacturing skills, you will be able to achieve this with greater ease, while also reducing waste in the process.

– Improve employee retention levels – It is not only about attracting new talent, but it is about holding onto your best talent. Your business will be able to increase job satisfaction levels by showing employees that you care about their professional advancement. Not only can this cause them to be loyal to your firm, but they are more likely to be motivated to work harder for you too.

– Stay ahead of the competition – Nowadays, competition is fierce across most industries. You need to do all in your power to stand out, and one of the best ways to achieve this is with ongoing training and development. After all, by advancing your workforce, you are advancing your business, and this can only be a positive thing.

– Stay in touch with the latest technological developments in the industry – New technology is being developed all of the time, and it can be difficult to keep up with this. However, if your business is to operate to the highest levels of efficiency, you need to. Training and development can make sure this is the case.

– Keep abreast of any changes in the industry – No matter what industry you work in, there will be changes going on regularly. It is vital for your business to keep up with this so that it does not get left behind, be it a new industry trend or a regulation that has been introduced.

As you can see, there are many different reasons why your business should invest in employee training and development. From boosting staff retention levels to increasing the quality of what your business produces, this is one of the best ways to propel your firm to new heights.

Want to learn more about commodity trading? Get more info by reading this article. This overview will serve as a guide, especially for new commodity traders.

What Is Commodity Trading?

Commodity trading is the process of trading commodities like metals, livestock, and food. Commodities like these have values that are constantly changing as the demand for them decreases or increases. Traders don’t sell or buy commodities outright. They buy a futures contract instead. It is a contract stating that they would be buying or selling a commodity at a specific date in the future. Hence, before the date of the delivery of the commodity, they sell the contract.
The trader bets on which way the prices would move – whether the prices would fall or rise. A short contract is where the trader thinks the prices would fall while a long contract is where the trader thinks the prices would rise. The trader will make a profit if their guess is, right but if not, they would lose money instead. In case the change in the price of the commodity makes the trader’s contract value less, a trader may need to spend more money to keep the contract.
To minimize the risk in commodity trading, the traders can order an offset. This limits the losses if in case the commodity has hit a specific price point. Traders should monitor the pricing fluctuations as well to minimize the losses that the offset trades didn’t cover.

Common Commodities That Are Traded

Gold is a commodity that is often traded for the reason that its value hardly decreases. It also performs well even during economic upsets and crises. Apart from gold, traders also trade crude oil as it serves as a fuel source for different countries in the world. On the other hand, as coffee is highly consumed globally, it has also become a popular commodity to trade together with base metals that has many uses like serving as a protection to more reactive metals and lead batteries.

How The Process Works

The first thing that a trader needs to do is to contact a commodity broker, especially one who specializes in online trading. The broker needs documentation in order for them to be able to open an account. In this process, one may need to disclose financial information. The broker would be the one to identify what risks come in the trading process. After that, they would need to find a reliable trading platform. It would be best if the platform comes with useful tools like charts and strategy analysis.

Final Thoughts

After an account has been created, the next step would be to fund it. Before trading with actual money, the trader is suggested to have a well-researched plan or try out simulations first. It would also be better for the trader to learn the fundamentals of the demand and supply of the commodity they are planning to trade. After that, they can now choose their trades. The trader should avoid overtrading as much as possible.

Diversifying Your Real Estate Investments

Real estate investors focus on a large amount of information dedicated to each property investment transaction. Simultaneously, they find ways to maximize their investment opportunities. In the search for allocating better investment opportunities, you may come to find that single-family dwellings may not always be enough for your real estate portfolio.

One of the ways most real estate investors mitigate this dilemma is by diversifying their real estate assets with commercial properties. There are many benefits of diversifying and investing a portion of your assets into commercial real estate endeavors.  From limiting the initial investment risk associated with your capital injections, through a development or property management group; to substantially increasing your passive income for commercial endeavors you undertake as an individual investor or business.

Passive Income Through Single-Family Dwellings

Being informed on the benefits of property investing is just as important as knowing the hurdles you should expect along the way. In many cases, knowing the hurdles will help you more, you get to see them coming and avoid them. Investing in single family homes has both great incentives and downsides that most investors can easily live with.

  • Possible Lack of Cash Flow:
    • If you’re purchasing an investment property with a high LTV and little down payment, you can expect to wait a while before you are able to generate a considerable monthly profit from your rental. Here’s more details on LTV loan parameters.
    • On the other hand, with a good down payment and if the debt on the property is low, the monthly cash flow could be in your favor.
  • Inherent Lack of Growth:
    • A single-family dwelling carries only one tenant whom you can charge a rental fee, while carrying an array of high cost repairs that may arise in the future through wear and tear, such as a swimming pool or a roof damage.
    • However, diversifying your investments can abolish this minor problem, shift some assets into commercial real estate properties for a little equilibrium in your portfolio.
  • Management of Maintenance Cost: You have two options when managing and maintain an investment property. You can do it yourself, or you can pay a fee to have a property management company do it for you.
    • With enough down payment during purchase, the property could have enough monthly cashflow to get the work off your hands and mind to focused on the next property.
    • Otherwise, you can expect to grease your elbows from time to time to get items fixed or replaced with your own sweat equity.
  • Market Dependency:
    • In a single-family home, your growth is dependent on the real estate market in your region.
    • Commercial real estate properties on the other hand, is not dependent on the market. Instead, the property value is connected to the property’s Net Operating Income (NOI).

These are both challenges and some solutions provided that can help you better ascertain whether investing in residential real estate homes is the right choice for you. In most cases, with the right management team by your side, you will not fail. If you’re a new or aspiring residential property investor looking to maximize your knowledge, this article “Passive Income for First Time Real Estate Investors – The Pro & The Pitfalls” may help you pick up where we are leaving off.

The Alternative to Single-Family Dwelling Passive Income

Once you become comfortable with investing in real estate properties, betting your financial future and growth on passive income; you can start taking a leap towards your next investment milestone, commercial real estate with a real estate broker like Kashmiri Realty.

When this comfort sinks in, look at shifting some of your assets into commercial real estate investments; such as high rises, malls, small plaza to lease the units, etc. You name it!

Investing in commercial real estate has benefits that can lower your overall risk, increase your profits, improve your portfolio and open new doors to relationships you could have never expected. Below we have outlined some important benefits to entrepreneurs when choosing to invest in commercial real estate.

  • Coop with Developers & Management Groups:
    • As a new investor it’s cumbersome to jump into a commercial real estate investment endeavor all by yourself.
    • Co-opting to work as a limited liability investor will help you learn the ropes before you bite off more than you can chew.
  • Mitigate Your Loses:
    • By working with a management or development group, you can limit your losses to only what you invested and no more.
  • Diversify Your Assets:
    • Even as a small investor, commercial properties provide a bigger pie to share so diversifying your assets in this market can generate a substantially larger return on investment.
  • Value of Investment is Connected to Net Operating Income:
    • As the number one reason why, commercial real estate investing is the way to go (VI -> NOI). The value of the investment is directly connected to the value of the Net Operating Income of said property.

Don’t think of investing in properties as an investment but as a business. When you focus on property investments with a business mindset, you can create a sense of urgency towards your business’ goals & overall success. Whether they’re lofty goals or not.

Another form of commercial property investment that’s outside the realm of conventional co-op and into the 21st century realm of technology; are online investment platforms like Realty Share and Fundrise. This is a bit tricky if you have not delved into this market yet. It is not a topic we will get into in this article but you can find articles related to this type of commercial real estate opportunity at this realty blog.  One we recommend will help you defer your taxes through a 1031 exchange that can keep the IRS at bay until it is time to sell and cash in.

Please leave a comment behind for input, corrections you’d like to suggest and more. We appreciate your feedback.

As a parent, your first priority is always the well being of your child. But, what do you do when you need to save for retirement but you don’t have spare change because your child is draining you financially? It can be hard to consider your future when you need to look out for your child, but here are some tips to make it easier for you.

1. Lean on Tough Parenting When You Need Too

Most often parents lead by example, guiding their kids to making proper choices and trying to educate them on their future adult lives. However, there are different times in every child’s life where they drive their parents crazy and cost them money. Elementary aged children are always begging for toys and teenagers want cars, late curfews, and credit cards. Often kids who get everything handed to them stay more dependent on their parents for longer which sure can be expensive. Coddling kids usually will lead to less responsibility and more poor choices in their personal lives. Young adults who don’t have to fend for themselves often find destructive outlets with all their free time such as drugs and alcohol. In cases like this, adding safety nets like a device from Low Cost Interlock or setting up a drug monitoring program can help them grow up but potentially save you thousands on a dui or the high cost of rehabilitation.

2. Start Investing For The Future

Whether you have kids or not, you should always invest for the future, but especially if you do have kids, they are expensive!. Accruing savings over time is the only way to plan for retirement like investing in stocks and having retirement accounts like an IRA. Some people forsake this to give extra money to their children but don’t fall into that trap. Remember that once you retire, you won’t have much of a chance to make money like you can during your younger and career years, most Americans retire and live off a fixed income for the rest of their lives. Each time you give your kid money for groceries, rent, a car payment, or even something like a vacation it can eat into your potential savings. Obviously, most parents help their adult children out when they need to but make sure to think of yourself and your future too!

3. Save! Save! Save!

One of the smartest things you can do is save. Even if you can only save $5 a day, it will help you significantly in the future. Create a savings account that can’t be touched until you retire and you’ll find yourself very happy once you do retire. Save the money for emergencies during retirement. You will thank yourself in the future. Another option is creating a savings account directly for your child. If your child is making bad decisions, invest in their future. If you do not feel comfortable cutting them completely off, put money aside for them without them knowing. This will help them in the future and it would mean a lot to them, knowing that you invested in their future when they weren’t behaving in an acceptable way.

Regardless of your situation, there are ways to save and secure yourself during retirement. Do not let your children define the lifestyle you can have by soaking up all of your money in the moment. Think about the future and everyone will benefit from it.