Emerging Market Funds

by Administrator11. July 2013 18:05

Kalamazoo July 11, 2013 - During the last few weeks, the Emerging Market stocks/funds have lost a lot of their value. People have been pulling their investments out of these. Emerging Market includes China, Brazil, Russia, India, Egypt and some other countries in Asia. If you owned any of these, it is a bad news for you. But if you don't then a good opportunity has presented itself. There have been many such crashes in the emerging markets in the past. But in the long term, all these just become a blip and countries get over these setbacks. The only way to make money in the market is to "buy low and sell high". So, we now have an opportunity to put some money in the emerging market at low valuations and hope to see them grow over time. But there are no guarantees and only calculated risks.

What can one do? Specific country funds or ETF's are too risky. We have to spread the risk. I personally favor No Load Emerging Market Mutual Funds. Why? Becasue they allow me to start an investmment plan with low initial capital and invest a fixed small amount regularly every month at no commission. Since we cannot know how this market will perform in the next few years, if we purchase shares in one of these funds at regular intervals, we benefit from the "Dollar Cost Averaging" principle. If the market is down, we get more shares from a given amount. If it goes up, we get fewer shares. So we take the short term market risk out or minimize it.

There are many such funds. How to choose one? At this time I like "Driehaus Emerging Markets Growth Fund (DREGX)". I think that it best to invest in it in your IRA account. You can invest in this fund with an initial investment of $2,000 and subsequent investment of $500. So, you must have a capital of $8,000 ($2,000 initial + 500/mo for 12 months = $6,000). In non-IRA account, the initial investment is $10,000 and subsequent is $2,000.

It is available from Schwab with no transaction fee. I just took a position in it and will do monthly investment of $500 for at least one year.


 

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Detroit Passport Agency

by Administrator17. May 2013 16:38

1. Detroit Passport Agency (Click here for the webpage)

We live in Kalamazoo (MI) which is almost halfway between Chicago and Detroit. So, to visit the nearest Passport agency office to apply for a passport in person, we had a choice between Chicago and Detroit. I am glad that we chose Detroit. This office does not require you to have a travel itinerary for getting the passport quickly. The website says that “you will not be admitted more than 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment time”. We got there almost one hour before our appointment time. We just went up to the second floor to check the setup. The girl at the security desk asked us “Do you want to go in?” I said, “Not yet. We have the appointment at 12:30”. She was very nice and told us that we can go in. The place was not crowded at all. The lady at the “Appointment Check-in counter” was also very friendly. She checked our papers and gave us a number. We were called in a very short time. The other lady was also very friendly. At the window, the fee schedule is clearly printed. It shows that you can even pick up the passport in person when ready or have it mailed to you either by regular mail (no charge) or by USPS Express mail ($12.72).

It was a very pleasant experience to visit this office (something you can’t say about many government offices). We received our passports in 2 days!

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