The Convertible Craze Brightens The Future Of Equities

The Convertible Craze Brightens The Future Of Equities

Convertibles are stealing the show with their safe investment image in today’s “protective” market. They seem to be overshadowing the stocks and bonds, and this holds true for the mediocre issuers.
A convertible bond, as the name suggests, can be converted into a company’s common stock. The bonds are a source of additional profit for the investors. Although investors are particular about short-term performance of stocks, they’re upbeat about a long-term, fixed-income instrument that gives them profit on converting to common stock, if the stock price soars within a range of 20 to 40 percent.
Why the sudden craze for convertibles? The chief reason is the strong desire of the investors for “safe” instruments to lock up their precious life savings into. And the issuers have been smart enough to grab this lucrative opportunity. A few years back, liquid issuers—considered to be the stalwarts of the market—were ruling the roost in the convertible bond market, with the average size of a convertible issue touching $300 million to $350 million. But today, nearly nine convertibles have a whopping size of $1 billion and one has even crossed the $3 billion mark. The fall in stock prices and the frequent quivers in the credit markets have created a strong wave of demand for convertibles.
A convertible bond is issued at a strike price, 25 to 40 percent higher than the market price of the general stock issued by the company. The convertible bond has a 7-year maturity period and can be called after three years. The issuer can call the bond, if the market price exceeds the strike price. But if the strike price manages to remain high till maturity, the investors have two options: they can either get back the par value of the bond, or convert it to common stock. However, in case of a mandatory convertible, there is no choice—the bond has to be converted to common stock.
Convertible bonds are legally debt securities, which are above all equity securities in a default situation. Similar to other bonds, their value is also influenced by the existing interest rates and the credit worthiness of the issuers. However, convertibles have opened two ways for the investors to earn dollars. One way is by selling the convertible bond when its price soars in the market, and the other way is by converting the bond to common stock and selling the shares.
The best way for an individual investor to indulge in the convertible bonds business is buying a mutual fund. This is because convertibles are complex securities and, unlike common stocks, it’s not easy for beginners to get all the information about them. Hence, the investors should check out certain things before buying a convertible bond. These are: the interest rate and yield of the bond, the number of years prior to maturity, the common stock price during conversion of the bond, the features of the bond that make it different from a usual bond, the negative aspects of the bond, and the benefits while converting to a common stock.
Besides this, the investors should also inquire about the company that is issuing convertibles. Any bond, either convertible or the general one, is a loan. Hence, the investors should ensure that their issuer has the capability to pay back what they owe. Therefore, going for a convertible bond demands an extensive homework on the part of the investor.
When we compare convertible bonds to convertible preferred stocks, the former are safer. There are two reasons for this: the interest on convertible bonds is paid before any stock dividends, and, if the company suffers a loss, the investors of convertible bonds have an upper hand over the investors of stocks while claiming the money.
However, it’s not prudent to get carried away by the benefits of convertibles. Firstly, convertible funds happen to be costlier than domestic stock funds, as the former come packed with sales charges. Secondly, a majority of the convertibles are issued by companies involved in technology and telecommunications, which are characterized by unpredictable markets. And lastly, convertible bonds don’t guarantee a risk free investment just because they are convertible.

Why You Should Use A Mortgage Calculator To Understand The Mortgage Amortization Process

Why You Should Use A Mortgage Calculator To Understand The Mortgage Amortization Process

Mortgage amortization is often a mystery to the consumer. After all, they oftentimes watch as loan officers whip out their calculators and spill out complicated numbers in record time.
But most consumers, unless they work in an industry related to the home buying and mortgage lending process, do not understand how loans are amortized. That’s okay—as a consumer it’s really not necessary for you to fully understand the amortization process and how your monthly mortgage payments are determined.
However, it is important, if you are seeking a home mortgage loan or if you already hold one, to have a general understanding of mortgage amortization and how to figure monthly payments.
In short, by having a general comprehension of mortgage amortization, you will be a more informed mortgage consumer.
What Does It Do?
When a mortgage loan is amortized, the amortization schedule is what will calculate the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. A normal, or standard, mortgage amortization will allow for the monthly mortgage payment to cover all interest accrued on the loan in the last thirty days since your last payment as well as a portion to be applied to the original principal balance of the home mortgage loan.
By following the mortgage amortization schedule, the borrower is paying off the balance of the mortgage loan principal, a little bit each month, and building equity into his home.
It is not necessary for the mortgage consumer to know the mathematical formulas that are used in mortgage amortization in order to be able to answer common mortgage questions.
What is important is that you have a general understanding of mortgage amortization

Tips for Selecting and Contracting a Home Remodeling General Contractor

Tips for Selecting and Contracting a Home Remodeling General Contractor

Are you considering a home remodeling project for your property? Most remodeling projects involve either structural or aesthetic aspects which might require several specialized technical skills. If this is the case, you may want to enlist the services of a general contractor.

A general contractor negotiates a contract for the entire remodeling project, and either completes the specialized work with his own crew, or sub-contracts to other various house remodeling contractors. Some of the specialized areas might include planning/architecture, concrete, plumbing, electrical, roofing, dry wall, cabinetry, or painting.

The Planning

To get an accurate bid from a potential general contractor, it is very important to plan carefully, with much thought and consideration. You may want to involve an architect or draftsman to generate the blueprints for your project. Remember that any home remodeling features not included in the plans will not be included in the bid.

Once you have detailed plans for your project, you need to start the selection process for a general contractor. Canadian residents can go on-line to Handy for a list of qualified, licensed contractors.

The Contractor

It is a rule of thumb to get at least 3 bids from separate remodeling contractors. Provide each with an identical set of plans. Be upfront about your expectations, and request they be realistic about time, cost, and interruption factors. It is wise not to make a selection based on price alone; other considerations are equally important.

Before you accept a bid from a contractor ask questions: What experience and references do they have from projects similar to yours? Will they be working on other projects simultaneously with your own? If they will not be personally working at your site, how much time each day will they spend supervising? Will they use their own crew for some or all the work? How available will any sub-contractors be? What licenses and insurance do they carry? And what is the time line of the project, start to finish? These are questions any reliable, qualified general contractor should answer and outline in the contract.

The Contract

When negotiating the contract for your home remodeling project, be thorough and accurate. Include complete names and addresses of both parties, a detailed job description, material specifications, start and finish dates, any warranties on work or materials, and payment options.

It is fairly common for a general contractor to ask for 10-33% of the estimated cost in advance; most contracts provide for payment as work progresses.

A reliable, reputable contractor will agree to contract terms which help protect the interests of both parties.

By being thorough in your research, planning, and contracting process, you can look forward to enjoying the results of your home remodeling project for many years to come!

Selling General Goods on Ebay

Selling General Goods on Ebay

General goods are products that we use every day. Selling these items on Ebay might not sound as exciting as selling collectibles or antiques, but it is possible to make a good, constant income from selling general goods. Tools, bulk consumables, and hobby supplies are examples of items which are always “in season”. Someone will need them year-round. This makes general goods a steady market for Ebay sellers.

This is not to say that the market for such items never fluctuates; it does. But the rises and falls happen over much longer periods of time and tend to be less dramatic. One pitfall for sellers of general goods is market saturation. If someone is browsing Ebay and notices that bulk yarn is fetching a decent price, they will be tempted to list yarn of their own. Others will follow suit, and soon the bottom will fall out of the yarn market. This will happen over time rather than overnight. Still, it can be frustration to lose revenue due to market saturation. If you decide to sell general goods on Ebay, do frequent searches for items similar to those you’re selling. If you see too many, start listing different goods until some of the competition is gone. You don’t want to have to sell off your inventory at a loss.

One good way to undercut competitors’ prices is selling used or refurbished items. You can often get these products for low prices, then sell them for a profit on Ebay. As long as the items are in top condition, buyers will appreciate the lower listing price and buy the items from you rather than a higher-priced listing. Quality and honesty are key when dealing with used items. List all flaws in the item’s description, and document spots, tears, or scratches with photos. The last thing you want to is send a worn item to a buyer who was expecting something pristine and perfect. Be forthcoming about item quality, or risk negative feedback and a bad reputation.

Of all the types of items that can be sold on Ebay, general goods and consumables behave the most like traditional business goods. This market allows sellers to put old fashioned virtues to work. Effort, frugality, and excellent customer service will have a huge impact on a merchant’s success. The huge sales are more elusive in this market, but general goods and consumables make for a slow and steady income that is quite dependable.

Be realistic with your goals. There are true stories about sellers who made instant fortunes on Ebay. But for every overnight success, there are thousands who have to use hard work and common sense to make ends meet. Aim for a solid supplemental income, then slowly expand your business until it can be your sole endeavor. And diversify, diversify, diversify! You don’t want to depend on one item, or even a few items, to generate your income. The market can and will change, and not always in your favor. Instead, offer many different types of general goods so that one slow market won’t affect your overall income.

General goods and consumables will always have a place on Ebay. Set up an Ebay store or make frequent auction listings to showcase the diversity of your inventory. Once you’ve built up a reputation for having what everyone needs, when they need it, at a fair price, you will have a bright future as a seller of general goods.

The Whole Truth RegardingTeens With Acne

The Whole Truth RegardingTeens With Acne

Teenagers are the most common age group suffering from acne. Androgens, a hormone that begins production at puberty, is a major cause of acne. Unfortunately for males, they tend to produce more androgens and develop more severe acne than females. Extra oils that contribute to acne, are also produced at puberty. These oils mixed with dirt and dead skin cause the pore blockage which causes acne. Some females will get break-outs around the time of their monthly period. This is caused by the hormone fluctuations caused by menstruation. Fortunately for females with hormonal break-outs, birth control can help to maintain a steady level of hormones.

A common misconception about teens with acne is that they have bad hygiene or eat a lot of greasy food. This is only a myth, and proves untrue for most people. Wash your face twice a day, especially after exercise, to get rid of excess oil. Avoid harsh soaps that can irritate and damage skin. Never pick your face because this could lead to increased irritation and life-long scarring.

Stress can be a cause of acne for teens. Unfortunately, this is an inevitably stressful phase of life. Teens with acne suffer from the emotional side of acne just as much as the physical side. Your face is the first thing that most people see when they look at you. Low self-esteem is a problem that almost all teens with acne will battle with. Depression over acne can cause withdrawal from social interactions, decreased attendance in school, and general avoidance of family and friends. Some teens develop social anxiety that can interfere with every aspect of day to day life

Some teens with acne decide to purchase topical cleansers from the store when they first start to develop acne. Sensitive skin will not react well with most over-the-counter treatments. It can cause itching, redness, burning, and general worsening of the condition. If the acne does not clear up after a few weeks of usage, you should consult a dermatologist. He/She can prescribe a more effective antibiotic that is more suited to the individual problem. Everyone’s skin if different so it may take more than one try to find what is right for you.

Common treatments suggested for teens with acne are Benzoyl Peroxide and retinoids. Benzoyl Peroxide kills acne causing bacteria and is used topically. Retinoids, such as Accutaine or Roaccutane, unclog pores and helps the process of skin renewal. There are side effects with using retinoids, such as depression, so usage is closely monitored by a dermatologist.

Acne is not the end of the world. It is completely normal and so common that people really don’t look down on others for not having perfect skin. Some teens with acne grow out of it before they finish high school. Others will grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood. Almost every case of acne can be treated effectively and if acne scars happen to form, there are also treatments available to reconstruct the smoothness of your skin.

Virtual Assistance Price List: A Basic Guideline To Setting Rates For Your Virtual Assistant Business

Virtual Assistance Price List: A Basic Guideline To Setting Rates For Your Virtual Assistant Business

I’ve seen Virtual Assistants’ prices range from $15 to $70/hr depending on the VA’s experience, specialty, and the project. One of the most common concerns with a new Virtual Business is what to charge for their services.

A common mistake made by new Virtual Assistant businesses is underestimating the value of their services. The more specialized your service is the more you may be able to charge for those services. Here are some guidelines:

Peek in on your competitors

Visit other Virtual Assistants’ websites to see what they are charging for similar or the same services. Look for areas you can improve and perhaps provide a service that they don’t. Find your USP (Unique Selling Proposition or Point). In other words, what sets your business apart from others like it.

Calculate your expenses

Your price should at least cover your expenses. Expenses can include but not limited to:

1. Your Time (Yes, I said your time)
2. Office supplies, Equipment, and Software
3. Marketing (Online and Offline)
4. Rent/Mortgage
5. Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Telephone, Water, etc)
6. Taxes
7. Insurance (Business, Health, etc.)
8. Web Hosting and Web Maintenance
9. Travel and Transportation
10. Continuing Education

These are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head. Once you have calculated your expenses you will have a general idea of what you need to at least cover your expenses. Of course you don’t want to just cover your expenses, but make a profit as well.

Price your services according to your target market

Your target market is another factor to consider before setting your virtual assistance price list. If your target market is business executives or college students then naturally you could charge the business executives more than you could college students. Why? Well…college students may be on tight budgets, work part-time, and/or may still be depending on their parents for financial assistance. Business executives are pretty much established and tend to have bigger budgets. Do you catch my drift?

Price your services according to supply and demand

If you provide specialized services and the demand is high but the supply is low, not many VAs offering the same services, you can charge more for those services. However; if the supply is high you may want to consider being more competitive with your prices. If you want to lower your prices and still make a profit you will want to cut your expenses also.

After considering all of the above it should give you a general idea of how to set your virtual assistance price list. This is just a basic and general guideline so nothing is set in stone 🙂

Common Pneumonia Causes

Common Pneumonia Causes

There are many pneumonia causes and risk factors that can facilitate the development of the disease. Pneumonia is inflammation and infection of the lungs, generating symptoms like cough, headache, chest discomfort when breathing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, muscle pain, fever and a general state of fatigue. Although the symptoms of pneumonia may not appear to be serious, resembling those of flu or cold, some forms of the disease need immediate medical assistance and treatment.

Pneumonia can be developed by anyone, regardless of age and sex. Around 3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with pneumonia each year. Despite the fact that some forms of pneumonia can be very mild, other forms of the disease can actually be life-threatening. Statistics indicate that around 5 percent of hospitalized people with pneumonia die each year as a result of complication.

There are various pneumonia causes. Typical forms of pneumonia are developed due to infection with viruses (influenza, herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus), gram-positive bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes) and gram-negative bacteria (Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitides, Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Atypical pneumonia causes are numerous. Walking pneumonia is a very common form of atypical pneumonia and it is caused by infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Mycoplasmas are microorganisms that share the characteristics of both viruses and bacteria, and these infectious agents can sometimes cause severe forms of pneumonia. Another pneumonia cause is infection with microorganisms such as Chlamydia pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila.

When pneumonia is caused by viruses, the disease is usually less serious and in many cases the infection clears on itself. However, if pneumonia is caused by bacteria, the disease can become very serious. Sometimes, even neutral microorganisms can be a pneumonia cause. On the background of general body weakness, prolonged medical treatments, previous severe infections, immune system dysfunctions, recent chemotherapy or surgical interventions, some otherwise benign microorganisms can lead to the development of pneumonia. Under special circumstances, infection with neutral microorganisms can be a pneumonia cause. Infection with Pneumocystis carinii is considered to be the main Opportunistic pneumonia cause. Another common Opportunistic pneumonia cause is exposure to fungi, such as Mycobacterium avium.

Although the respiratory system is packed with natural defenses (mucus, nostril hairs, cilia), some infectious agents manage to break through these barriers and reach inside the organism. If microorganisms reach to the lungs, they quickly spread inside the alveoli (small pulmonary sacs of air), causing serious infections. Smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are very exposed to contracting the infectious agents responsible for causing pneumonia.

Pneumonia isn’t always caused by infection with microorganisms. Airborne irritants (particles of dust), exposure to chemicals, or inhalation of certain fluids can also become pneumonia causes. When pneumonia is developed due to inhalation of irritant matters, the disease is referred to as Aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia is common in very small children and elderly people and it is generally a milder form of illness.

The Evaluation Of Stocks

The Evaluation Of Stocks

In order to effectively invest your money into stocks of any kind, you must know all of your stock options so that you can efficiently earn money. Because stocks are simply small shares of a company, the more stocks you purchase to more you own of a certain company. For example, if you purchase 100,000 stocks in AutoZone, an automotive store, you would have more say in what takes place in the company that someone who only purchases 1,000 shares of AutoZones stock. There are two main types of stock in that, you, the investor should become familiar with so that you can properly purchase the stock that is right for you and your monetary situation.

Common Stock

Basically stated, a common stock is, well, common! When you hear people talking about stocks in general, it is these types of stocks in that they are referring. It is simply a piece of paper that represents some degree of ownership of a corporation as well as some form of profit from that particular company. Interestingly enough, investors in common stocks receive one vote per stock owned to elect board members, the people who oversee major decisions made for the company as a whole, for a particular company. In the long- term, this type of stock means capital growth for the investor, however, if the company is forced into bankruptcy, the investor will not get paid what they are owed until creditors, bondholders, and preferred stockholders receive their payments.

Preferred Stock

In general, preferred stock is stock that is owned by preferred stockholders in that all of the companys earnings and assets go directly to the preferred stockholders first. Because preferred stockholders are paid before common stockholders, preferred stockholders choose to give up their right to vote in the election of board members. For this reason, preferred stockholders have no right in the selection process of the company. Preferred stockholders purchase stock in a certain company for monetary gain only in that their main goal in investment is earning a return on investment. Of course, there are four variations on preferred stock investments.

Voting – Preferred stock members can opt for the right to vote in a company in that they own stock. By doing this, they ensure the power to make sure that they receive all monies owed to them because they are able to bribe people into places of management. For example, Bob is a preferred stockholder who wants to ensure that his profits are paid to him no matter what happens to the company. Bob tells Tom, a man up for board election, that he will make sure Tom wins the election as long as Tom agrees to pay Bob his profits, whether the company goes into bankruptcy or not.

Adjustable Rates – Preferred stockholders receive an agreed upon profit based on stipulations provided by the company.

Convertible Stock – Preferred stockholders have the right to convert their preferred stock into common stock, allowing the investor to lock in their profit while they potentially profit from a rise in common stock. Basically, preferred stockholders are protected no matter what types of investment decisions they make.

Participating Stock – With this type of stock, preferred stockholders not only receive a set profit, but they are eligible for a certain percentage of the companys earned profit over a set period of time.

For this reason, it may seem that a preferred stockholder position is the way to go, however, with increased power comes more headaches. If you are a beginning investor, it is better to work on common stocks for a number of years before trying to get involved with preferred stocks.

Because common stocks and preferred stocks are so different, companies are not allowed to customize either type of the stocks. The reason for this is that some companies may be corrupt and want the voting power to remain with certain investors. Companies are held under law to make sure that the voting power remains fair among both common stockholders and preferred stockholders.

It is your money and your choice, however, it is suggested that you become educated when playing with the stock market. It is important to know precisely what stocks are as well as the main characteristics of a common stock as well as a preferred stock. As with any investment, the ultimate goal is to gain a profit and this can only be done with stocks if you thoroughly understand them.

What Causes Fire Damage

What Causes Fire Damage

While some fires are caused by general causes and can occur anywhere, other causes are more specific for certain rooms.

General Causes


Don’t underestimate the fire risk from electricity just because there is no flame involved. The over warming of hot plugs and sockets and blown fuses may start a fire.


Most cigarettes related fires start because the cigarette is not put out completely. Additional common causes include falling asleep with a cigarette and using improper ashtrays.


Even a tiny candle flame can have upsetting consequences. Many candle related fires start due to draughts that lead fire to catch burnable items and tilting candles that are not placed in suitable holders.

Room by Room Causes

The Kitchen

The kitchen contains many hazards that can cause fires. The common combination of open fire, grease, electricity, and water is very dangerous. Grease fire is a common cause for fires in the kitchen is and is usually caused by fry pans. This type is dangerous as it can set the whole kitchen on fire. Additional fires are dry cooking fires and oven fires. These types are easy to control and they are not likely to cause damage. Kitchen appliances may also cause fire if not maintained well.


Bedroom fires are usually caused by misuse of electrical devices. Electrical fires can start due to overloading extension cords and the use of electric blankets and warmers with no lab-approval. Heaters are a concern during winter if they are recklessly placed near linen, clothes, and other flammable items

Attics, Basements and the Garage

Popular as storage areas these places usually contain fire hazards such as gasoline and other flammable liquids. Old clothes, papers and other combustible items are also hazardous and should be stored safely. Many of the electrical fire hazards are also located in these areas. Worn cords, electrical boxes and other signs of electrical trouble should be treated immediately.
Heating Devices and Fireplaces
These are planned to generate heat and may be hazardous if not maintained well. Operating the fireplace without a screen will allow sparks to fly into the room and cause fire. Other causes of fire are combustible items such as wallpaper, curtains, and clothing that are left without maintaining adequate clearance around the heater.

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Common Oral Health Problems in Adolescents

Common Oral Health Problems in Adolescents

Adolescents face many oral health problems which may require them to visit a dentist or any other healthcare professional. Irregular teeth growth is a common problem and adolescents with braces are a common sight. Another problem is wisdom teeth extraction or the removal of the third molar. Dental cavities are yet another common problem in adolescents.

Orthodontics is a specialty in dentistry which deals with correction, development and prevention of irregular teeth, jaw and bite. Orthodontics also helps to correct jaw disorders and facial abnormalities. If a general dentist feels abnormalities in the adolescent, he/she will refer the patient to an orthodontist. The American Dental Association suggests that every adolescent above the age of seven should get an orthodontic evaluation done. Problems which require orthodontic treatment are crowded or crooked teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth, under-bite, overbite, jaw joint disorder, and incorrect or misaligned jaw position.

To get braces or any other orthodontic treatments, the appropriate age is ten to fourteen years. But regardless of the age, the same physical and biological process is used in correcting and moving the teeth alignments. Braces are also known as fixed orthodontic appliances. There are three types of braces used to move and reposition the teeth. The first consists of brackets which are made out of plastic or metal. They are either of tooth color or clear and are bonded onto the teeth. The second type is the lingual type of brackets which are attached to the back teeth and cannot be seen while talking. The third type is a band. It is a metal band which covers the teeth and wraps around the last ones.

When adolescents wear braces they have to take certain precautions in order to avoid any more oral health complications. The most important precautionary measure is to brush the teeth regularly after every meal. Since the food can be easily lodged in braces, it is a good idea to brush carefully with soft bristles toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. In the morning, the adolescent must floss between the braces and teeth. Food stuffs which are sticky or hard must be avoided as they are very difficult to remove. Foods like caramel, chew candy, popcorn, and nuts must be avoided. Cleaning must be done by the orthodontist or general dentist, every five to six months.

The wisdom teeth or third molars can grow in people of the age fifteen to twenty five. These teeth cause problem, because most of the mouths are too small to adjust new teeth and hence they need to be removed. If the wisdom tooth has place to grow, without affecting other teeth, they can be left to themselves. But if the adolescent experiences pain, facial swelling, mouth infection and gum-line swelling, then they should be extracted immediately. They can also destroy the second molars and impact other tooth. Various gum and jaw diseases can be caused. There can be a tumor development; cysts development and plaque build up. Hence, a surgery is performed to remove the tooth or teeth. The gum tissue covering the wisdom tooth is removed and the connective tissue connecting the tooth to the bone is detached. The tooth is then removed and the opening is sutured. A general dentist can perform wisdom tooth surgery in the local office using anesthesia.

Five times common than asthma is tooth cavities. The tooth above the gum line is made up of enamel, the hardest tissue within the human body. The tooth below the gum-line comprise of nerves, roots and dentin. Dentin is another type of tissue and isn’t as hard as the enamel. The acid which leads to tooth decay is produced by bacteria. These acids, along with dietary sugar, attach the enamel and eat away the minerals within the enamel, until a cavity is formed. This is known as tooth cavity. The biggest prevention against dental cavities is brushing teeth twice a day and even better, after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and soft bristle toothbrush. Carbonated drinks must be avoided strictly and must be replaced with fruit juices and sugary food must be avoided. Intake of fluoridated water also helps a lot or fluoride supplements can be used as replacement.