Amazon just became the most valuable public company in the U.S. taking Microsoft’s place.
Amazon stole Microsoft’s spot as the most valuable publicly traded U.S. company Monday morning with a market capitalization of $790 billion versus its competitor’s $785 billion, CNBC reports.
The change marks the latest shake-up for the top spot, which until recently was occupied for years by the iPhone maker Apple, and underscores the shifting competitive landscape in the tech industry.
Adding insult to injury, this shift in rankings came the same day that Microsoft announced a new partnership with Kroger to create futuristic, digitally savvy grocery stores. This is a direct challenge to Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods in 2017 and has been rolling out brick-and-mortar, cashierless retail stores across the country.
In recent months, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon have been battling to be the world’s most valuable public company after years of dominance by Apple. November marked the first time that Microsoft had surpassed Apple in eight years amid concerns by investors about Apple’s growth.
Apple has come upon tough times as market saturation slows sales of smartphones, a phenomenon that appears to be taking a particularly big toll on the company’s premium-priced iPhones. Apple shocked Wall Street last week when it warned that its quarterly revenue would come in at least $5 billion below its expectations.
A business turnaround at Microsoft, led by CEO Satya Nadella, has rekindled growth at the software company, raising investor confidence and boosting Microsoft’s share price. But even as Microsoft’s fortunes have rebounded, Amazon has steamed ahead.
Amazon has recently come off great holiday sales, but can it stay on top? Only time will tell.
Working for Yourself: Pros and Cons
Most of the people who leave their jobs and start a business of their own do this on an impulse. The reason is simple. Working in an organisation means you are answerable to the people higher up the success ladder. Often due to office politics, even the right decisions by you aren’t appreciated.
It is always fun to think that you are working for yourself. You do not have any fixed schedules to adhere to. You do not have anyone to dominate you or fire you. The independence that a personal venture brings along with it is always thrilling.
Yes, there sure are countless benefits of working for yourself. Here we have listed out a few prominent benefits that usually lure people to starting their own venture.
Advantages of working for yourself
1. You Do Not Have Boss Above You:
The most annoying aspect of a job is a boss who is there to dominate you. If you have a good and understanding boss, you are lucky. But most often bosses tend to be bullies who exploit their juniors and extract maximum work from them. People who are under such bosses would surely prefer to have their own venture.
When you start your own business or startup, you can work on your own will. You do not have to abide by anyone’s orders. This is particularly good for people who do not possess the knack of diplomacy. People who do not know how to handle different types of people or convince others in a gentle fashion should opt for a personal business or venture.
2. You Can Opt For Flexible Schedules:
Many people complain that their office schedule is so hectic that they do not get ample time with their loved ones. This is one problem you won’t face if you have your personal venture. You can schedule your work such that you get ample time with your near and dear ones.
There is no restriction regarding the time you should reach office or the time you should leave office premises.
This lack of restriction in a personal venture allows you sufficient flexibility to balance personal and professional lives. It also helps to reduce the level of stress that is very common in job life.
3. You Can Explore and Experiment:
Most creative and thoughtful people despise their jobs because the job gives them very little opportunity to explore and experiment. An age-old organisation with a set reputation will never bear the risk of experimentation from an employee. Most employees thus experience stagnancy after 2 or 3 years in a certain organisation.
This is not the case when you start your own venture. You need to be alert all the time. You need to come up with new strategies and ideas that help to increase growth of the organisation. These aspects of a business make it much more interesting than a job.
4. You Can Avoid Office Politics:
There are many individuals who are not good at tackling office politics. They do not enjoy going with the flow if they think the decision is wrong. This attitude can jeopardize their job in the long run.
A person who starts his own venture does not have to go through the ordeal of convincing the people ongoing ahead with wrong decisions out of peer pressure. You have the freedom to take the right decisions. You also have the freedom to make choices. This way you can completely avoid the politics part of the work management and ensure work gets done without wastage of time.
5. You Are The Boss:
The best part is that you are the boss when you start your own venture. You get to meet people at higher positions. You get special benefits as a businessman. You get respect in your family and social circles. No one has the right to rule over you. You have the complete control over your situation.
Disadvantages of working for yourself
Everything that has a good side has a bad side too. While there are many benefits of working for yourself, you cannot completely ignore the disadvantages. The risk is elevated in the case of a personal business. It may not be a good idea for you personally to start your own venture.
You need to possess the courage to take such risks. You also need to possess the foresight to predict the growth of the business. There are some major drawbacks of working for yourself. Here we have listed these out for your knowledge and reference.
1. You Need to Have a Strict Code of Discipline:
A high level of maturity is essential to ensure that you prosper and grow in your business. This means that you need to have a fixed set of personal etiquettes and a proper code of discipline. These are necessary to ensure that your business grows and expands.
People who lack a strict discipline may misuse the funds from the business for their personal needs. This can eventually lead to the failure of the firm and organisation. Individuals who have strong principles are capable of controlling their urges.
They make sure that they set aside a certain amount as business funds and use the rest to grow their business. They tend to use just about 20% for their own personal needs.
2. Any Failure Could Mean Monetary Loss To You:
In the initial stage of the business, any loss could mean that you need to put money from your pocket. You need to have some backup money to handle such situations. Usually traditional families are not very supportive in case of businesses.
You may not have family support and if you are not confident about your venture, their words could demotivate you. People who are capable of foreseeing such possibilities and tackling them smartly can start ventures and succeed.
3. Progress Could Be Slow and Gradual:
Patience is an important quality that every businessman should possess. Business ventures do not grow in a day. They require time, effort and dedication. They require you to consistently put in efforts. Instant gratification happens only in fairytales and if you expect the same in your life, you are being foolish.
You must try to grow gradually and save a small amount as profits. This way, the profits you save can later be used for further expansion without disrupting your income.
4. There could Be Lack of Job Security:
When you are working for a firm or organisation, you have job security if the firm is doing well. When the firm is in a loss, you simply need to switch the job and if you are good in your field, you will continue to make money.
This is not the case with a business or startup. Inspite of all the research, it is not always possible to predict whether a firm will make a profit or loss. Everyone may not be capable to handle this kind of job insecurity. This simply means that you need to plan your finances properly.
5. You Need to Have a Proper Growth Plan:
You need to have a well defined growth plan when you have your own venture. You should have a clear idea how much money you wish to make at the turn of the year and how you plan to grow.
A proper plan will help you allocate funds and grow your network accordingly. If you don’t have a proper growth plan, there are greater chances of misuse of money and finances.
Extremely Useful Tips for First Time Health Insurance Buyers
There’s nothing quite as confusing and bewildering as realizing you need to buy your own health insurance. The world of insurance policies and deductibles can be an intimidating place for newbies. So we have put together a list of extremely useful tips for first time health insurance buyers which will simplify the process and guide you past making any big mistakes.
Don’t go shopping without doing your research
First time health insurance buyers, STOP. There are some things you need to know before you call that number! Make sure you familiarize yourself with common insurance terms, what they mean, and what things are best for you and your lifestyle.
Health Insurance Terms:
- Premium: the upfront amount you’ll pay each month to have health insurance
- Deductible: the amount you’ll pay for health care services before your insurance kicks in
- Co-payment: Also called a copay, it’s a flat amount you’ll pay for specific services or medication, even if you’ve reached your deductible.
- Coinsurance: Unlike a copay, which is a flat amount, coinsurance is a fee you pay that is a percentage of the cost of a covered service.
- Out-of-pocket maximum: This the the most you’ll pay for covered health services in a single year, including your deductible, your copay, and your coinsurance. In 2020, the out-of-pocket maximum is $8,150 for individuals and $16,300 for families.
- Subsidy: Subsidies are the government’s way of helping you pay for health insurance. Obamacare technically provides three subsidy types: advance premium tax credits, cost-sharing reductions and Medicaid (more on these in a minute).
Conduct a Self Check-up
Determine how much coverage you need — and what you can afford.
If you rarely get sick or injured it might be a good option to go with a higher deductible and lower monthly cost, but if your lifestyle sees you in the doctors office more often than not, look into a low deductible and a low/no copay.
Unless you have a qualifying life event, you cannot apply whenever you want
Yes, that’s right, you cannot go without health insurance for half a year before deciding you had better buy some. Unless you have a qualifying live event, such as pregnancy or turning 26, (you cannot be insured by your parents after your 26th birthday) then you must apply during open annual enrollment. Companies typically hold open enrollment in the fall, while the U.S. government begins accepting applications on Nov. 1.
There are two types of networks
Deductibles and premiums aren’t the only factors to consider when choosing a plan.
You may also need to choose between two types of networks: PPOs and HMOs. A PPO gives you access to a broader network of doctors than an HMO, but PPOs generally cost more. Research what insurance companies your primary care physician accepts before purchasing a plan so as to not lose access to your doctor.
First-time health insurance shoppers may feel lost if they’ve relied on employer-sponsored health insurance up to this point. But health insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you know what you’re looking for, where to shop, and how to keep it affordable, health insurance will be a regular part of your health – and your financial safety net.
Introduction to CFD Trading in Australia
The story of Contracts for Difference (CFDs) in Australia started in 2003 and since then it had
become an industry that outpaced the growth seen in warrants during the 90s. Before we talk
about some actual CFD brokerage companies like CMC Markets or easyMarkets, we should talk
about some of the particularities of trading these instruments for Australian residents.
What are CFDs?
Contracts for Difference (CFDs) represent a popular form of derivative trading that enables people or entities to speculate on the rising or falling prices of fast-moving global financial markets like currencies, shares, indices, and commodities.
By using these instruments, traders will not own any underlying assets and will not be able to receive dividends, but they will be able to generate returns based on price fluctuations. According to the latest statistics, there is an estimate of 40,000 Australians who trade CFD instruments on one form or another, with a value of more than $350 million.
CFD regulation in Australia
Although the CFD industry in Australia may be small in comparison to other Western nations, the Australian component of FX volume is seizable and continues to grow, with a total average daily volume across OTC (over-the-counter) markets is currently around $140 billion. For people who want to get started with CFD trading, there are many brokerage companies offering their services inside Australia. CMC Markets is the first company that entered the market, followed by IG Markets. Companies like Pepperstone, easyMarkets, markets.com, and others are also present.
We must mention that companies wanting to offer CFD trading services must hold an Australian Financial Services License (AFS), which authorizes them to advise and deal with these instruments by issuing and making markets in derivatives or foreign exchange contracts (in case the company offers CFD trading for currency pairs).
If we talk about regulation, we must also mention the main financial regulator of the country – the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) which sets industry standards and offer licenses to brokerage companies. It is known as one of the most reputable financial regulators on the planet which constantly makes adjustments to regulation.
In 2019, ASIC changed the reporting process of brokerage companies, meaning that brokerage companies will have to report CFD transactions using a “life cycle’ method, instead of an end-of-day “snapshot” method. This comes after ESMA made serious changed to European CFD trading in 2018, limiting leverage and other features for retail traders.