Two Alternatives to Getting Cash for Coins

Exchange kiosks at big stores often provide cash for coins poured into the machine. While many people appreciate the opportunity to convert their piggy banks and mason jars of spare pocket change into paper bills, others see different kinds of value in metal currency.

Metal Exchange

From the dime to the quarter, many denominations have ridges on the outside edge. The reason for this design feature is a common scheme for making money throughout history. Back in the Roman and Medieval eras, when the currency was stamped in a way that left uneven blobs of metal around the edges, enterprising criminals could shave off the outer surplus from the edges. The shavings from those pieces minted in gold and silver quickly amounted to a sizable profit.

Modern American versions rarely contain anything as valuable as gold or silver, yet the copper in pennies has risen high enough to rival the value of the individual coins. Over the decades, as the worth of copper increased and supplies were cut short during wartime, many different materials were used to mint the tiny Abe Lincolns. Bronze, brass, and steel have been used to make pennies in various periods in the past. Since the 1980′s, pennies have been made of 97.5 percent zinc, though it’s still possible to find older pennies in circulation. When the copper market hit a high point in 2011, a 95 percent copper penny (like many of those from before zinc was used) was worth three times its face value.

Assembling Collections

A popular hobby among children and adults alike, coin collecting provides hours of entertainment and rewards attention to detail. Collectors acquire cardboard displays or booklets, which they use to arrange quarters from every state or collections along other themes. As an affordable alternative to collectible cards, children can be encouraged to collect pennies minted in all the different years. Special pennies were minted for the Lincoln bicentennial in 2009, and it can be interesting to note how the wheat cent was replaced by the Lincoln Memorial and later the Union Shield.

People who travel internationally or have an interest in foreign cultures may also enjoy collecting money from other parts of the world. Seeing the figureheads, shields, and symbols chosen by other countries provides a window into different cultures. After a period of time overseas, it may not be possible to get American cash for coins from other nations, at least not at a fair rate of exchange. The monetary leftovers from last-minute purchases tend to become souvenirs for that practical reason.

Whether you appreciate the metal in a coin or its historical value, it’s worthwhile to take a second look at the pocket change that many people take for granted. For those who are living on tight budgets, simply getting cash for coins at the bank may be the best option. Many banks provide paper rolls so that you can organize stacks of quarters and dimes, etc. Even when that practical route is necessary, it’s worth considering whether any older coins may be of greater value to collectors.

The New-Age Investment – Alternative Investment

Alternative Investment implies investing in assets other than the traditional methods such as stocks, bonds, cash, etc. These could be private equity, hedge funds, real estate, commodities, precious metals, wine, art, etc. These type of investments are held by high net worth individuals, or institutional investors. The addition of this type of investment to the portfolio allows diversification, reduces risks and enhances returns.

The performance of assets used in alternative investments is relatively lower when compared to those in the traditional methods. They are relatively more difficult to value. They are also less liquid when compared to traditional methods.

Some popular types of alternative investments being widely used are:

Private Equity:

This can be defined as investing in private companies such as start-ups, venture capital, and financing throughout phases of the company’s growth. This investment is done in companies that do not issue public stocks. These firms raise funds through capital invested by institutional and non-institutional investors.

Direct Investment in Private Companies:

This implies investing in a start-up or a private company directly instead of the equity. This is a high risk and high return proposition.

Real Assets:

This implies investing in physical assets which are of high value. Examples of such assets are precious metals, real estate, oil, wine, art, jewelry, etc.

Hedge Funds:

In this case, funds are collected from a number of investors to form a common pool of funds. These funds are invested using different types of strategies to earn the return on investments. They have the advantage that they need less SEC regulations than other funds.

Managed Futures:

This is similar to Hedge funds where a common pool of investor’s funds is created. These funds are invested in various financial instruments such as commodities, currency and interest rate markets.

Financial Derivatives:

A financial derivative is an arrangement where the investor is promised a payment when a certain asset reaches a certain level. These securities include futures, options, forwards and swaps.

Fund of Funds:

This is a means of diversifying investments. It is achieved by investing in multiple managers, asset classes or strategies.

Private Placement Debt:

Investors can receive a steady cash flow by investing in a private company through promissory notes.

As the stock market becomes volatile and unpredictable, people are seeking safe investment methods. At such a time alternative investment schemes have come to a safe secure option to private investors. Therefore, they are becoming highly popular. However, they cannot replace traditional methods completely. They should be used to complement them. This will help to increase and diversify the investment portfolio and minimize the risks of investment.

If you’re thinking about investing

If you’re thinking about investing in a fixed deposit, then you’re already on your way to securing your financial future. This is not just a smart move, but also a move where you can find a lot of returns for you.

Investing through a fixed deposit scheme have become widely popular, since they are one of the most stable methods of investing, and you’re assured of getting a return. Once you start looking into FDs, check the interest rate that your bank is offering you and see how much you stand to gain at the end of the tenure period.

Let’s take a look at why fixed deposits are one of the best methods of investment.

They’re One of The Safest Methods of Investing

If you’re thinking of investing in something like the stock market, then you know that there’s a considerable level of risk that you have to take into factor. You could stand to gain a lot, or you could lose everything that you sank in.

But that’s not the case with fixed deposits. They’re known to be one of the safest methods of investing. You can choose FD investment schemes that will always expect a return.

They’re Flexible to Your Needs

By flexible, I mean that they’re essentially tailored to have maturity periods that are suited to your convenience. You can choose to lock in a sum of money for as little or as long as you want. Keep in mind though, that you won’t be able to access the money during that period, since it is in the maturation period. Keep this in mind when you’re thinking of opening a FD account.

You can also tailor your periods so that you can qualify for fixed deposit tax benefits, saving you from having to pay taxes on your investment.

They Can be Compounded if you don’t Need your Money

After the end of the maturity period, if you don’t need the money from the fixed deposit, you can reinvest it again and gain additional interest from the total amount that you got. This compounded interest can add up to a lot of gains over time, so if you’re someone that can trust themselves to have a lot of money tied up with the bank for an extended period of time, then this is definitely something for you to consider.

Relatively Safe For Senior Citizens

If you’re a senior citizen, you’re well aware of how precious your money is. You don’t have a stable salary anymore, so you’ll have to think about managing every little bit. For senior citizens, fixed deposits can be a good way to get some extra cash through the money they already have. This means that you won’t have to spend out of your life savings to ensure that you can get through the remainder of the month.

You’ll also find that banks will offer senior citizens a higher interest rate on FD than regular customers, so you can take advantage of that as well.

You Can Save on Taxes

While in other methods of investments, you can and will be regularly taxed, fixed deposits are only taxable once they break the exemption limit. This means, if you can plan your deposits properly, tax saving methods can be all the more beneficial for you, keeping money in your hands without having to pay taxes unnecessarily.

They’re Easy

Other investment routes can be difficult, since you’ll have to do days of research and walk through complicated procedures to get started. That isn’t the case with fixed deposits. They’re relatively easy to open and easier still to maintain.

They Can be a Regular Source of Income

If you have a number of fixed deposits in a number of banks, they can also be a sizable source of income for you, meaning that you can put your other money into other investments, keeping your finances secure.

This means that you won’t have to live from paycheck to paycheck.

Fixed deposits have been around for a long time, and there’s a reason for that. If you’re looking to start investing in these, then you should check out the Fixed Deposit interest rate that your bank offers and see if there’s anyone else that can compete.

The “Experts” Are Getting Crypto All Wrong

Bitcoin peaked about a month ago, on December 17, at a high of nearly $20,000. As I write, the cryptocurrency is under $11,000… a loss of about 45%. That’s more than $150 billion in lost market cap.

Cue much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth in the crypto-commentariat. It’s neck-and-neck, but I think the “I-told-you-so” crowd has the edge over the “excuse-makers.”

Here’s the thing: Unless you just lost your shirt on bitcoin, this doesn’t matter at all. And chances are, the “experts” you may see in the press aren’t telling you why.

In fact, bitcoin’s crash is wonderful… because it means we can all just stop thinking about cryptocurrencies altogether.

The Death of Bitcoin…

In a year or so, people won’t be talking about bitcoin in the line at the grocery store or on the bus, as they are now. Here’s why.

Bitcoin is the product of justified frustration. Its designer explicitly said the cryptocurrency was a reaction to government abuse of fiat currencies like the dollar or euro. It was supposed to provide an independent, peer-to-peer payment system based on a virtual currency that couldn’t be debased, since there was a finite number of them.

That dream has long since been jettisoned in favor of raw speculation. Ironically, most people care about bitcoin because it seems like an easy way to get more fiat currency! They don’t own it because they want to buy pizzas or gas with it.

Besides being a terrible way to transact electronically – it’s agonizingly slow – bitcoin’s success as a speculative play has made it useless as a currency. Why would anyone spend it if it’s appreciating so fast? Who would accept one when it’s depreciating rapidly?

Bitcoin is also a major source of pollution. It takes 351 kilowatt-hours of electricity just to process one transaction – which also releases 172 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s enough to power one U.S. household for a year. The energy consumed by all bitcoin mining to date could power almost 4 million U.S. households for a year.

Paradoxically, bitcoin’s success as an old-fashioned speculative play – not its envisaged libertarian uses – has attracted government crackdown.

China, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland and France have implemented, or are considering, bans or limitations on bitcoin trading. Several intergovernmental organizations have called for concerted action to rein in the obvious bubble. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which once seemed likely to approve bitcoin-based financial derivatives, now seems hesitant.

And according to “The European Union is implementing stricter rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing on virtual currency platforms. It’s also looking into limits on cryptocurrency trading.”

We may see a functional, widely accepted cryptocurrency someday, but it won’t be bitcoin.

… But a Boost for Crypto Assets

Good. Getting over bitcoin allows us to see where the real value of crypto assets lies. Here’s how.

To use the New York subway system, you need tokens. You can’t use them to buy anything else… although you could sell them to someone who wanted to use the subway more than you.

In fact, if subway tokens were in limited supply, a lively market for them might spring up. They might even trade for a lot more than they originally cost. It all depends on how much people want to use the subway.

That, in a nutshell, is the scenario for the most promising “cryptocurrencies” other than bitcoin. They’re not money, they’re tokens – “crypto-tokens,” if you will. They aren’t used as general currency. They are only good within the platform for which they were designed.

If those platforms deliver valuable services, people will want those crypto-tokens, and that will determine their price. In other words, crypto-tokens will have value to the extent that people value the things you can get for them from their associated platform.

That will make them real assets, with intrinsic value – because they can be used to obtain something that people value. That means you can reliably expect a stream of revenue or services from owning such crypto-tokens. Critically, you can measure that stream of future returns against the price of the crypto-token, just as we do when we calculate the price/earnings ratio (P/E) of a stock.

Bitcoin, by contrast, has no intrinsic value. It only has a price – the price set by supply and demand. It can’t produce future streams of revenue, and you can’t measure anything like a P/E ratio for it.

One day it will be worthless because it doesn’t get you anything real.

Ether and Other Crypto Assets Are the Future

The crypto-token ether sure seems like a currency. It’s traded on cryptocurrency exchanges under the code ETH. Its symbol is the Greek uppercase Xi character. It’s mined in a similar (but less energy-intensive) process to bitcoin.

But ether isn’t a currency. Its designers describe it as “a fuel for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations.”

Ether tokens get you access to one of the world’s most sophisticated distributed computational networks. It’s so promising that big companies are falling all over each other to develop practical, real-world uses for it.

Because most people who trade it don’t really understand or care about its true purpose, the price of ether has bubbled and frothed like bitcoin in recent weeks.

But eventually, ether will revert to a stable price based on the demand for the computational services it can “buy” for people. That price will represent real value that can be priced into the future. There’ll be a futures market for it, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), because everyone will have a way to assess its underlying value over time. Just as we do with stocks.

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