Golf in Greece As an Investment Opportunity

Upon getting information about an upcoming school science fair and the need to consider a topic of interest, many students will typically have no idea where to get started. While the science fair is typically a common occurrence in any school at any grade level, there are different types of topics that should be taken a look at depending on the age of the student. After first taking a look at the many different categories of science projects, you will be able to locate a suitable choice of topic to take to the next level.There is a wide variety of categories that fall under the types of science projects that can be chosen for a school science fair. These include biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, biochemistry, medicine, environmental, mathematics, engineering, and earth science. While you may not have yet learned very much in any of these categories, don’t be afraid to see what each one entails. Taking a good look at your interests will allow you to focus on the right direction to take.Many resources are also available for those who are unsure as to the topic they are wanting to use to create their science projects. If you take a look at the topics that fall under the biology category, you will likely notice that there are topics that deal with plants, animals, and humans. For those who are in 2nd grade or 3rd grade, an interesting topic may be to determine if ants are picky over what type of food they eat. While this topic might not be of interest to an 8th grader, it is certainly something in the biology category that an elementary school student would enjoy.Along with the biology category, a high school student may want to take a look at diffusion and osmosis in animal cells as this would be a more appropriate topic for the grade level. A student in 6th grade would be more advanced than an elementary school student, but not as advanced as a high school student. At this middle school grade level, a topic of how pH levels effect the lifespan of a tadpole may be of interest.Whichever resource is used to locate a topic for science projects, it is always a good idea to consider the grade level of the student prior to making a selection. It is always assumed to be best to have a project at an appropriate level in order to keep the attention of the student and provide a fun and enjoyable learning experience.

Mutual Fund Investing 101: How You Make Money

How do you make money investing in mutual funds? There are basically two ways to make money and two ways to lose money investing in mutual funds. Let’s get down to basics.There are thousands of funds to choose from and the vast majority of them will fall into one of four categories based on where they invest money (your money). They are called: equity (stock), bond, money market, and balanced funds. In all of the above you open an account, invest money, and this buys you shares. You make money investing based on the number of shares you own. The same goes if you lose money investing.Let’s start with the most popular and the riskiest category called EQUITY FUNDS, which invest money in stocks, which are also called “equities”. Why invest money here? The primary objective is growth, with dividend income as a secondary objective. You make money investing here when the share price goes up, and from dividends. You lose money when the share price goes down. The dividends come from the stocks in the fund portfolio and are passed on to you. They (like all dividends) are yours to keep. The primary attraction of equity funds: the potential for high returns.BOND FUNDS have one primary objective: higher income in the form of dividends. They are also called INCOME FUNDS, and are generally safer than the equity variety. You invest money here to earn higher dividends than you can get elsewhere. The dividends come from the interest earned in the fund’s bond portfolio. You can also make money investing when the share price goes up; and lose money when the share price falls. Normally, there is considerably less price fluctuation than you’ll find in the equity or stock category.BALANCED FUNDS are a happy medium between the two above, because they invest money in both stocks and bonds. Hence you make money from both rising share prices and dividends, and lose money investing when share prices tumble. Here you have moderate risk.MONEY MARKET FUNDS are the safe alternative and you make money investing in them in only one way: dividends. They invest money and earn interest in high quality, short-term IOUs (in the money market). This interest they pass on to you in the form of dividends. Share price is pegged at $1 and does not fluctuate. Very rarely do investors lose money investing here.Most people invest money in mutual funds as a long term investment. So, in most cases they simply allow the fund company to reinvest all dividends (and other distributions) to buy more shares. Distributions (like capital gains from the sale of stock) are a bit technical. Don’t worry – if you have them coming, you’ll get your share. And you’ll also receive periodic statements showing the activity in your account.In the beginning we said that there are basically two ways to make money and two ways to lose money investing in mutual funds. What’s the second way you can lose money? Let me give you an example, and as a former financial planner I’ve seen this happen time and time again. Joe Blow decided to invest money in mutual funds through a “financial planner” (not me). He put $20,000 into a stock fund, and about a year later he looked at his latest statement and it showed a total value of $19,000.The stock market in that year showed a modest gain. How did he lose money investing? Answer: $1000 came off the top to pay for sales charges called “loads”. About $300 went to yearly fund expenses, and another $300 to extra fees. Joe claims that he didn’t know anything about these charges and fees.It is not necessary to pay big bucks when you invest money in mutual funds. Had Joe gone with NO-LOAD funds, he could have invested for a total cost of about $200 a year, for expenses. You can make money investing in mutual funds as a long term investment. Just don’t work against yourself by losing money to high charges and fees.

Smythe Adapts to Working from Home

As the world around us continues to adapt to a new sense of normal in light of COVID-19, we at Smythe LLP (Smythe), recently sat down (virtually) with Kendall Hanson from CHEK News to discuss how we’re adapting to working from home and what is means for us as a firm, as well as the communities we live and work in.

Although we may be smack dab in the middle of our busiest time of year, things at Smythe are still business as usual – with a few notable exceptions.

The first, and probably most obvious, is that nearly all our staff have now transitioned to working from home.

“The first week of office closures and having everyone work from home was definitely a week of transition, but I think everyone’s really quickly adapted to it and gotten used to it and a lot of people are really enjoying it,” said Partner, Trevor Topping.

During a time where our offices would normally be a buzz with client visits and meetings, our offices are now closed to the public and a skeleton crew has been put in place to ensure clients are able to safely drop off necessary files and mail is being received and sent out.

To read the full article and to hear what Trevor had to say about Smythe’s new normal, click here.

For more information on our response to COVID-19, or to learn what support is available to you, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre, or reach out to your Smythe Partner directly.

Cash Flow Management

Given the current economic uncertainty, effective cash flow management will be critical for the success of many businesses. This will likely involve a combination of:

Managing working capital levels
Managing discretionary expenses
Obtaining additional financing

Working capital management can take the form of:

Implementing Credit Policies
By implementing credit policies with your customers you can speed up the collection process. This could include requiring upfront deposits, reducing the credit terms or offering incentives for early payment. Always ensure you follow-up on overdue accounts.
Utilizing a Just-in-Time Inventory System
Unless it will hurt your ability to sell, don’t carry extra inventory.
Using Credit Terms to your Advantage
Unless they are offering worthwhile incentives, don’t pay your suppliers until it is necessary.

A tool that should be utilized to help with managements’ decision making, is a cash flow forecast. This will help you assess the impact of working capital and expense management decisions, as well as determine whether additional financing will be required.

If you decide that you need to obtain financing (see below), it is likely that the lender will require a forecast as part of the application process.
Obtaining Additional Financing

As part of the economic stimulus package, the Government of Canada is working to ensure businesses have access to traditional financing, from both the government and private lenders.

Among the products being targeted to COVID-19 relief are:

Working Capital Loans
Funds to provide working capital for the operations, and cover general operating expenses, as opposed to capital purchases or expansions. There are currently programs in place where loans can be approved within 48 hours or maybe available without any payments for the first six months. BDC loans of up to $100,000 can be applied for online.
Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
As part of the Business Credit Availability Program, EDC is partnering with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new loans or credit requests up to $6.25 million for small and medium-sized enterprises. Financing is meant to be used for operating costs and is available to exporting and non-exporting companies. The idea behind the program is to encourage additional funding from banks as the EDC provides a re-payment guarantee of 80%. This program is now available through your bank or credit union.
Bridge Financing Program
Offered through BDC Capital, this special program may match (with a convertible note) a current financing round being raised through qualified existing and/or new investors made into eligible Canadian start-ups. This program is best suited for high-potential companies that have venture capital investors willing to support them. BDC will then invest alongside these groups. There are separate criteria for both companies and investors who wish to take advantage of this program – for full details, click here.
Term Loan and Lease Payment Relief
Ability to delay payment of principal for up to six months on existing loans.
Increases to Existing Line of Credit
Financial institutions are providing increases to the borrowing limits on existing lines of credit.
Purchase Order Financing
Flexible terms are being offered to ensure existing and future orders can be fulfilled.
Buyer Financing
Export Development Canada is providing buyer financing and direct financing for international sales to ensure Canadian businesses are able to participate in international trade opportunities.

If your business requires cash flow management or additional financing, please contact your Smythe Partner directly as additional reporting may be required. Our team can match your business with the appropriate product and guide you through the process and provide financial information to the lending institutions.

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