Financial Aid for Adult Students (Never Late to Learn)


Financial aid for education is no longer reserved for the young, the bright, and the poor. Greatly increased amounts of money are becoming available to the thousands of adults who are streaming back to the class room to upgrade job skills, complete a degree, change careers, or, as with many women, preparing to reenter the work force. Today, one out of every five adults is enrolled in some kind of post-secondary education or training program. One-third of all college students are over the age of 25.
Who is eligible for financial aid? According to a publication of the College Board, Paying for Your Education: A Guide for Adult Learners, “Your chances are good for some aid, even if your income is high… “But for most programs you do have to show financial need. Most money is available only to students enrolled in degree or certificate programs on at least a part-time basis. It is harder, though not impossible, to find aid for noncredit courses or for less than part-time enrollment.
Sources of aid
The best bet for many adults lies in the many thousands of special aid pro grams for adults that are designed to help special groups such as workers, women, tax payers, the elderly, the unemployed, or the handicapped. Most of these programs are not tied to financial need. They are flexible about the kind of courses that may be taken and about less than part-time enrollment. Examples:
Workers. Many employers make generous funds available to employees for education as part of the worker’s fringe-benefit package. Programs vary widely in the kind of education covered and the type of financial aid available, but many are very flexible. Only a small fraction of the available funds is used each year.
Women. Many colleges now offer special aid programs for women who want to enter or reenter the work force. A number of organizations such as the Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges, 1818 R St., NW, Washington DC 20009, provide information on national aid programs available to women.
Taxpayers. The federal government allows as an income tax deduction costs incurred for education needed to maintain or improve job skills in the taxpayer’s current job. A full-time student with a working spouse and children under age 15 may deduct expenses for baby sitting, nursery school, or a day-care program. Many states also provide some tax benefits for education expenditures.
Elderly. Several states allow adults: sage 60 or older to attend public colleges and universities free of charge or at greatly reduced tuition.
The federal government provides student aid. Policies for awarding aid are more restric tive than most special aid programs in degree of financial need required and kind of study programs covered. But many adults can qualify.
Most colleges and universities have financial-aid programs designed primarily for younger students, but increasingly they are being opened up to adults.
Save money by reducing the time it takes to get a degree and cutting expenses at the same time. Possibilities:
Credit by examination. Many colleges offer up to two years of credit toward a degree for successfully passing examinations such as those of the College Level Examination Pro gram of the College Board and the College Proficiency Examination Program of the New York State Education Department.
Credit for prior learning. Formal courses in the military service or in places of employment are being credited by a growing number of colleges.
Nontraditional degree programs are sponsored by many colleges and universities for both undergraduate and graduate students. They require only limited classroom attendance. Credit can be picked up through examinations and transferring credit from other colleges. They offer flexible time schedules too.

More information
For sources and a guide to organizing a campaign to obtain aid see Paying for Your Education: A Guide for Adult Learners, College Board Publications Orders, Box 2815, Princeton, NJ 08541.

How to Use the Daily Stock Charts

Daily Stock Charts

Use the daily charts of major market averages published in The Wall Street Journal and many local newspapers to forecast stock market reversals. Major clue: A gap between the bar line of one day’s trading and the next, an area where no trading took place. We also wrote on Run Personal Finances Like a Business.
The gap represents an area through which prices are likely to move on the next market dip or rise. If the most recent gap was formed during a market advance, there is a good chance the gap will be filled during a subsequent market decline. If a gap was formed during a recent market decline, it will probably be filled during a subsequent market advance.
If a gap occurs following an advance or decline that has already lasted for several days, and the market then pauses, expect an immediate market reversal back through the gap. Gaps formed on the first day of a market reversal often signify a strong move.

Stock Market Forecasting Through Technical Analysis

What is technical analysis? A discipline that focuses on the action of the stock market, as opposed to the earnings and dividend outlook for individual stocks. Assumption: The knowledge and future expectations of all the market participants are already reflected in the price, Key goal of technical analysis: To monitor the major trends and try to identify a major reversal or end to the trend. The reason it works: Price levels reflect not what stocks are worth, but what people think they are worth.
READ ALSO: It Really Pays to Ask Questions
The strengths of technical analysis: For one thing, it allows you to make money without inside information or the input of the top research analysts. The charts of the price action of a specific stock tell all. What’s more, an individual can follow a wide range of stocks, industry groups, commodities, and foreign stock markets with the aid of technical analysis. To study the fundamentals of each one of those markets, you are limited to a few of them
By looking at the price pattern, you also get somewhat of a feel for how big a price move might be Fundamental analysis cannot do this for you. For example, The Dow Jones industrial average built a base below 1000 for 15 years. When it finally broke through, the resulting move was an extraordinarily large one, expected Technical analysis can tell you at what point to buy and sell a stock. The key: Where the stock has found support or met resistance in the past
The limitations of technical analysis: It is not a science, but an art. It doesn’t lend itself to precise formulas. Indicators work most of the time, or some of the time, but certainly not all the time.
The most frequent mistake in technical analysis: Investors anticipate a buy or sell signal before it actually happens. They lose patience and objectivity. The way to avoid this is always to let the market do the talking.
Dow signs of a breakthrough: A substantial number of stocks (at least 250 to 300 of them) hit the new-high list.
• Volume runs in excess of 60 million shares a day
• Interest rates clearly peak and head down. The action of the stocks on the Dow Jones industrial index is confirmed by strong moves in the utility and transportation averages. Source: Martin J. Pring, consulting editor, The Bank Credit Analyst, and author of Technical Analysis Explained, McGraw-Hill Inc., New York.
Please check How to Evaluate High Technology Stocks for more insight.

Four Key Indicators

In the 19 years that I have been writing the annual Stock Trader’s Almanac I’ve found a number of indicators that are among the most effective in predicting the direction of the stock market:
The January barometer: This is one of the best. If the stock market as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index goes up for the month of January, it will probably advance for the rest of the year. The January barometer has worked almost 85% of the time since the “Lame Duck” amendment and the end of Roosevelt’s lopsided majorities in Congress in 1938. In odd-numbered years it has not been wrong since the late 1930s.
However, although this indicator is effective for the direction of the market, it does not tell you about the intensity of the market’s rise. In recent years the January market moves have been much larger than in previous years. I think this is because people anticipate the rise, and the market has become dominated by institutional investors who get influxes of money and put it to work then.
The September reverse barometer: If the market declines during that month, I have found that the reverse happens for the rest of the quarter and especially for the next year. Since 1960 there have been 16 Septembers with declines. The stock market has gained 12.1% on average the year following a September decline. The two exceptions: The market showed losses in 1973 and 1962, neither of them recession-induced. The 1973 decline was caused by OPEC. In 1962 the business world was shocked when President Kennedy stared down Big Steel.
The four-year cycle: For the last 150 years, the stock market’s performance has been tied to the Presidential elections. If you take the last two years of every Presidential term going back to 1832, the cumulative return of the reelection and the election years (the total for all those 78 years) is 497%, compared with only an 8% gain for all the post-election and midterm years from 1932 to the present. In other words, the President tends to do business in the first two years of his term and then starts getting ready for the election. Good stock market performance tends to come in the third and fourth years of a Presidential term.

The October bonanza: October has become

a great buying point for investors. It comes before three of the four months that have the biggest stock market returns. Since 1950 the market has, on average, gained 4.5% from November through January. It looks as though anyone who invested around Halloween won’t be hurt.
Always remember: It Really Pays to Ask Questions.


How to Interpret Insider Trading (Plus Examples)


Interpret Insider Trading

While automotive officials were making brave and uplifting speeches about industry prospects, they were selling off stock in their own companies. We previously wrote on How to Evaluate High Technology Stocks.
When insiders like auto executives won’t leave their money where their mouths are, that’s worth knowing about. How to interpret insider action:

Insider selling

This is not as reliable an indicator as insider buying. Reason: There are all kinds of personal reasons why an insider might sell shares. However, if there is consistent insider selling, and only selling, it may be an early warning sign of poor performance.
Example: One California-based computer company’s troubles didn’t become apparent until some 18 months after considerable insider selling had been recorded.

Insider buying

It has a definite correlation to stock performance if it occurs in the open market rather than as a result of exercising options or warrants or as part of a profit-sharing plan. (However, if insiders are exercising those options, it reflects some optimism about the company.)

Watch for

Three or more insiders buy within a short period of time (several weeks). This often indicates that there are merger talks being conducted. However, it is not a confirmation of a takeover. Consistent inside chasing by officers, directors, investors, advertisers, and other affiliated groups means confidence in strong earnings potential and, therefore, a stock price that is higher.

Big block purchasers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires individuals or firms that acquire 5% or more of another company to state their purchase and purpose in a 13-D statement and record all additional purchases. Although 90% of the time the purchasers claim to be buying for investment purposes, it is frequently the first step toward a tender offer or merger. Even if a tender offer is not made, these investors usually do not buy into a company unless the underlying fundamentals warrant it.
To find out where insiders are placing their bets, you can follow their activities by using the SEC’s Official Summary and newsletters such as The Insider’s Chronicle. Both publish data three to six weeks after actual insiders’ purchases or sales are made. (The filings themselves are made 10 days after the insider trade.)
You can learn more about insider trading here.

Examples of Insider Trading

  1. A lawyer representing the CEO of a company learns in a confidential meeting that the CEO is going to be indicted for accounting fraud the next day. The lawyer shorts 1,000 shares of the company because he knows that the stock price is going to go way down on news of the indictment.
  2. A board member of a company knows that a merger is going to be announced within the next day or so and that the company stock is likely to go way up. He buys 1,000 shares of the company stock in his mother’s name so he can make a profit using his insider knowledge without reporting the trade to the Securities and Exchange Commission and without news of the purchase going public.
  3. A high-level employee of a company overhears a meeting where the CFO is talking about how the company is going to be driven into bankruptcy as a result of severe financial problems. The employee knows that his friend owns shares of the company. The employee warns his friend that he needs to sell his shares right away.
  4. A government employee is aware that a new regulation is going to be passed that will significantly benefit an electricity company. The government employee secretly buys shares of the electricity company and then pushes for the regulation to go through as quickly as possible.
  5. A corporate officer learns of a confidential merger between his company and another lucrative business. Knowing that the merger will require the purchase of shares at a high price, the corporate officer buys the stock the day before the merger is going to go through.

  • Bottom line

  • Insider trading has many forms, and based on the historical evolution of those forms, insider trading will likely continue to evolve and surface in tomorrow’s business world. 
  • However, educating your company on the common ways insider trading scenarios occur can prove to be the most effective tool in preventing the tangible and intangible damages that come from insider trading


How to Evaluate High Technology Stocks

Evaluate High Technology Stocks

High technology is the last frontier in American business. Although these stocks have declined sharply during bear markets, they have outperformed other stocks, rebounding more sharply in subsequent recoveries.
Smaller companies developing new technologies, or making a breakthrough on an old one, have three things going for them.

These advantages:

Since they are small, the impact on their earnings from the new product or system can be significant.
They are generally free from government regulation because their earnings are often in a new field (except in the case of medicine, where the Food and Drug Administration reigns supreme).

READ ALSO: Spotting a Stock Market Decline Before It Starts

If the company scores a significant breakthrough, it has a chance to dominate a growing market. That’s an extremely profitable position even if the market served is relatively small.

Rules for the budding high-technology investor

Invest in a technology company only if you perceive it as serving a current social need. Some technologies are ahead of their time and are initially rejected. Example: When cable TV was introduced in the 1960s, it attracted hordes of investors but few subscribers. Today, there is a definite subscriber demand and cable TV is a far more attractive investment.
We recommend that you read this post on Spotting Low-Priced Stocks Ready to Bounce Back.
The high-technology expertise of the proposed company must be a meaningful part of the firm’s business. For instance, the largest contractor in electronic warfare is General Telephone and Electronics Corp. However, that technology accounts for a mere 1% of its earnings.

But the number four in the field, Sanders Associates, gets most of its income from its electronic warfare technology. Point: Large firms don’t always have the edge in high technology or research.
No matter how attractive a scientific breakthrough may seem, don’t buy a company operating at a deficit.

Business graveyards are loaded with firms that couldn’t deliver because of their poor financial situation. Following this rule may force you to pay a little more for your stock, but it will eliminate a good deal of the risk.

Ignore the market indexes: Companies with technological superiority are not tied to a stock market environment over time. Keep current on technological innovation. Read scientific papers, magazines, and investment guides that deal with technology.

What is the best way to invest in technology stocks?

The first option for investors is to purchase individual tech stocks, which they can do through a growing number of investment apps and platforms.

Individual tech stocks can also be purchased through traditional stockbrokers, though these are increasingly online and usually have their own apps. Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and Interactive Brokers are among them.

READ ALSO: The Rules for Getting Out Stock Market Safely

The P/E ratio, P/B ratio, PEG ratio, and dividend yields are too narrowly focused to be used as a single measure of a stock. Combining these valuation methods yields a more accurate picture of a stock’s worth. Any of these, as well as more complex ratios like cash flow, can be influenced by creative accounting.

Bottom line

While no one can guarantee that big tech stocks will not experience volatility and dips, their long-term growth may outweigh any losses. Investors looking to diversify their portfolios should seriously consider including them in their asset mix. They provide returns that are unrivaled by any other type of stock.