Monthly Archives: December 2020

Windscreen Wiper Water May Cause Pneumonia and Here’s How to Prevent It

Legionnaires’ disease, a rare disease, is a severe bacterial infection affecting respiratory tract (pneumonia). The organism involved in this condition is Legionella pneumophila that usually founds in mist from hot tubs, air-conditioning units and showers. Transmission occurs by breathing in mist from water that contains these bacteria. General symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle pain and headaches.

Windscreen wiper may cause Legionnaires disease A recent study found that “Windscreen wiper water may be the cause of 20% of cases of Legionnaires’ disease and adding screen-wash to wiper fluids could save lives”. This finding is based on a case-control study which surveyed the driving habits and known risk factors of the Legionnaires’ disease. They study was conducted after an unusual high number of cases were reported in England and Wales and around this time it was well established that professional drivers were five times more likely to get Legionnaires’ than people from other lines of work. The study was aimed to further explore the possible reasons for the difference between the occupations.

The researchers contacted the 75 surviving cases who had acquired Legionnaires’ disease and also included 67 control people without the disease. The participants were provided with a questionnaire asking about their driving habits, other recognized risk factors and possible illness sources in the vehicles. They were asked what kind of vehicle they drove, its age, car service history, content of the wiper fluid tank and whether their driving was for societal or occupation reasons.

The results showed that two factors were associated with a high likelihood of being infected: driving all the way through industrial areas and driving or being a traveler in a motor vehicle that used windscreen wiper fluid with no screen-wash. The researchers calculated that about 22% of infections in people could be due to driving or being a traveler in a car that did not use screen-wash in the windscreen wiper fluid. The detected a firm link between people who do not use screen-wash and the danger of Legionnaires’ disease. Although because of case-control nature of study it cannot confirm causation, the investigators state there is a reasonable biological connection. They believe it is plausible that the bacteria grow in the sluggish water of the wiper’s fluid tank that can become an aerosol when it is sprayed onto the windshield.

Though not proved causal relation, until more conclusive results comes, it is advisable to add screen-wash to your car’s wiper fluid as it can limit the transmission of bacterial causing Legionnaires’ disease.

Ring Worm

Ringworm, also termed tinea corporis, is an infectious skin disease caused by mold-like fungi called Dermatophytes. This disease usually transmits through direct contact with ringworm-infected animals or with humans by sharing combs, clothing or by touching infected areas. Despite its name, there are no worms involved at any phase of the ringworm process. It used to be believed that a worm caused or was a symptom of ringworm, but now people know better. However, the name stuck.

The common symptoms for ringworms are itching, burning, dryness, or circular flaky rashes on the skin. Though, in the case of animals, the primary symptom is temporary hair loss in affected areas, itching or scratchiness in a specific body part.

A primary cause of ringworm is direct contact with infected animals or humans.

Ringworm is common among pets especially dogs and cats, who carry this disease from contaminated soil, kennels or from rodent burrows.

Ringworm thrives in moist conditions and commonly affects the scalp, toes, feet, thighs and genital area. Prevention requires that these areas be kept dry and clean to avoid infection, and pets should have regular veterinary checkups.

Ringworm is easily curable and there are several treatments available. At the first sign, see your doctor who can prescribe mediation to treat and cure ringworm within 2-3 weeks. Ringworm may not show up right away upon the time of contraction. In other words, it can exist as a contagious disease for a time before it can be detected. So do not blame others if their ringworm shows up before yours; you may have been the carrier in the first place!

What Causes Yeast Infections in Women – 3 Things That Will Shock You

What causes yeast infections in women? The answer may surprise you. This is one of the most common health issues that women experience. Tens of thousands of women are treated by doctors for this uncomfortable and embarrassing condition every day.

Yeast infections know no bounds of race, age, or geographic location. Any woman is susceptible to them. While there are a lucky few who are never bothered by this problem, most women will experience at least one yeast infection on their lives.

Once you learn what causes them, you’ll have a better idea of how they can be prevented.

1. Yeast infections can happen anywhere on your body. While the vagina is the most common location for these infections in women, problems can also happen in the blood, on the skin, and in the mouth. Dark, wet, and damp conditions cause yeast infections, so places on or in your body that have these conditions are breeding grounds for yeast.

In the blood, these infections manifest themselves as such things as PMS, depression, arthritis, and ADHD. On the skin, yeast causes rashes, and in the mouth, it causes thrush. Babies who get diaper rash are suffering from yeast infections (after all, a wet diaper is the perfect place for yeast spores to grow).

Eliminate these conditions, and you’ll be putting up a strong barrier against yeast.

2. Sugar feeds yeast. People who eat sugary diets are prime candidates for yeast infections. If you don’t consume a lot of sugar, it’s unlikely yeast will grow into much of a problem, even if you’re exposed to it. However, the more cookies and cake you eat, the worse your infection will become.

3. Yeast can be sexually transmitted. Men can be contaminated with yeast, but not have any symptoms. They can then pass it to their sexual partners without knowing it. The women get yeast, and pass it back to their partners in turn, creating a never-ending cycle of   transmission .

Attacking yeast at its roots is the best way to get rid of it for good. Even if you keep your body clean and dry, avoid sugar, and have protected sex, if you’ve already had an infection in your life, the yeast could still be there, lying dormant.

You’ve got to kill it all to ensure it won’t come back. There is a way to do this, and it’s safe and natural. Learning what causes yeast infections in women is easy, and getting rid of them for good can be easy as well, if you know what to do.

Investment and Its Importance

Investment is important from many points of view. Before doing investment, it is essential to understand what is investment and its importance?

“Investment is an act of investing money to earn the profit. It is the first step towards the future security of your money.”

Need of Investment

The investment can help you in the future if invested wisely and properly. As per human nature, we plan for a few days or think to plan for investment, but do not put the plan into action. Every individual must plan for investment and keep aside some amount of money for the future. No doubt, the future is uncertain and it is required to invest smartly with some certain plan of actions that can avoid financial crisis at point of time. It can help you to bring a bright and secure future. It not only gives you secure future, but also controls your spending pattern.

Important Factors of Investments

Planning for Financial investment – Planning plays a pivotal role in all fields. For the financial investment, one must have a pertinent plan by taking all rise and fall situations of the market. You should have a good knowledge of investment before planning for financial investment. Keen observation and focused approach are the basic needs for successful financial investment.

Invest according to your Needs and Capability- The purpose behind the investment should be clear by which you can fulfil your needs from the investment. In investment, financial ability is also a component that can bring you satisfaction and whatever results you want. You can start investment from a small amount as per your capability. You should care about your income and stability to choose the best plan for you.

Explore the market for available investment options – The investment market is full of opportunities, you can explore the market by applying proper approach. You can take help from financial planners, managers who have thorough knowledge about investment in the market. Explore the possibility of investment markets and touch the sublime height of success by the sensible investment decisions.

By taking help from an experienced, proficient financial planner and traders can also give you confidence to do well in the field of investment. Now the question strikes the mind that what are the types of investments?

Types of Investments

Mutual Funds- Basically the mutual fund is a managed investment fund in which money is pulled from the investors to buy the securities.

Commodity Market- In India, it is a popular place of traders to invest their money. The commodity market comprises of MCX (Multi Commodity Exchange) and NCDEX (National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange) both. In Multi Commodity Exchange market, you can invest in crude oil, precious metals as gold, silver and base metals as copper, aluminium, nickel, zinc and many more. While in National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange market, you can invest in all agricultural commodities as guar, soya bean, cotton, sugar cane and many more.

Stock Market- It is the place where various people trade globally and earn the maximum return on investment. However, it is essential to know the bull and bear of the stock market for investing in it. The Stock market for investment also includes the equity market and nifty market. You can invest in equities and nifty market and get good amount profit by focused approach and keen analysis of market trend.

Bonds – It is the best ways to gain interest on your principal amount. The interest and period of time depends on the agreement. In this, a holder lends a particular amount to the issuer (borrower) for a fixed period of time. At this time, you will get the interest from the borrower and after completing that fixed period of time borrower will return back your money. A long term tool for financial investment.

Fixed Deposits – The Fixed Deposit (FD) service is provided by various banks that offers investors a higher rate of interest on their deposits as compared to a regular savings account. Fixed deposits have the maturity date to gain the return on investment.

Real Estate- One can also invest in the real estate and deal with the residential and commercial property. This is also a trending way to earn a good return on investment.

There are various financial planners, financial managers, trading tips provider who can give you numerous options for investment in the market. But it is essential to choose the options wisely.

Legal Protection for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Nigeria

For healthy and continuous in flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to Nigeria, the country has over the years put in place friendly legal framework for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) protection.

In this Foreign Investors’ Guidelines for Doing Business in Nigeria Series, we shall be examining the legal mechanisms put in place for the purpose of encouraging an increasing FDIs inflow and ensuring foreign investors’ confidence in the country.

We shall be discussing foreign investors’ protections ranging from certainty of arbitral proceedings and other dispute resolution mechanisms in the country.

The fact with modern economic systems is that no country can be an island economically; Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) protection is very essential to the successful attainment of foreign investors’ business objective(s) and economic development of any economy.

There are steps that host countries can lawfully take in the exercise of their sovereignty and power can lead to depriving foreign investors of reaping the fruits of their investments.

Host government actions that can affect foreign investment adversely includes nationalization; the act of a government taking control of a private enterprise and converting it to state or public ownership.

Expropriation; the act of a government taking possession of or otherwise meddling with privately held assets or property for the use and benefit of the public, or in the public interest.

The legislative and administrative acts of the government as government action can also have adverse effects on foreign investors’ businesses in Nigeria.

This is the indirect or creeping form of expropriation. The only difference is that, it mode of operation shifted attention from the physical and actual taking-over of an investor’s assets to the legislative and administrative acts of the government.

While not depriving a foreign investor of the ownership of an asset in this type of government control, it is capable of significantly reducing the value of properties and investments of the foreign owner.

Foreign investors don’t like investing in country’s with risk such as arbitrary revocation of a license; permit or a concession after the investor has made the requisite investments.

The advancement and expansion of international business relationships and the importance of foreign direct investment to the economic development of Nigeria has made the country to put in place some foreign business protection laws for the purpose of encouraging foreign investors.

Nigeria has performed greatly in providing protections to potential foreign investors.

Investment Treaties

In spite of the provisions of Section 12 of the Nigerian Constitution, investment treaties entered by the country are binding on, and enforceable against Nigeria upon ratification under the principle of ‘pacta sunt servanda’.

Also, by a literal application of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which provides that a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in agreement with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty.

Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs): Nigeria entered into its first Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Germany in 1979 which came into force in 1986.

According to finding from my investigation Nigeria has entered into 28 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between 1986 and November, 2015.

Of the total number, 13 are currently in force, 14 are signed and 1 repealed. The Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) currently in force are the ones entered into with Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.

The 14 BITs which have been signed by Nigeria but are yet to enter into operation were signed as far as back as 1996.

In addition to the usual investment protection standards, these BITs provide that a contracting state shall not damage by irrational or unfair means the maintenance, management, disposal of investment in its territory of nationals or companies of the other Contracting Party.

And the same recompense for losses suffered due to a safety event made to a domestic investor shall be allowed to the investor from the other contracting state.

These BITs also provide for the right of subrogation allowing foreign investors to obtain suitable investment insurance and for these investment insurance providers to seek remedy on their behalf from Nigeria.

The BITs that are presently in force have also made satisfactory requirements for the standard investment protection. These include fair and equitable treatment, umbrella clauses, most favoured nation status, national treatment, obligations against arbitrary and discriminatory measures and security.

Multi-lateral Investment Treaties (MITs): Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) treaty is one of the famous MITs Nigeria have entered. The ECOWAS treaty was signed on 28th May 1975; it came in into force on the 20th June, 1975.

The treaty currently has 15 signatories who are member states of ECOWAS.

Article 2 of the Treaty gives ‘Community Enterprise’ status to businesses whose equity capital is owned by two or more member states, and citizens or institutions of the Community.

Article 16 of the Treaty provides that Community Enterprise shall be accorded favourable treatment with regards to incentives and advantages, and shall not be nationalised or expropriated by the government of any member state except for valid reasons of public interest, and subject to the payment of prompt and adequate compensation.

Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) investment treaty is another MIT Nigeria has entered into in relation with providing favourable conditions for foreign investments in the country.

OIC is a treaty with an Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments among Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which came into force in September, 1986.

Chapter 2 of the Treaty mandates all member states of the Organization of Islamic Countries to provide adequate security and protection to the invested capital of an investor who is a national of another contracting member state.

The terms of protection specifically include the enjoyment of equal treatment, undertaking not to adopt measures that may directly or indirectly affect the ownership of the investor’s capital or investment and not to expropriate any investment except it is in the public interest and on prompt payment of adequate compensation.

Host states are further obligated to guarantee free repatriation of any capital and returns due to an investor.

Conventions to which Nigeria is a Signatory:

The country is signatory to a number of Conventions which have been entered into for the purposes of protecting foreign direct investment.

The most significant convention in this regard is the Convention for the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention).

International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) as an arbitral institution under the World Bank Group is a fully integrated, self-contained arbitration institution that provides standard arbitration clauses, arbitration proceedings rules, arrangements for venues, financial arrangements and administrative supporting including the appointment of arbitrators to parties.

Convention for the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID) primarily provides for the settlement of investment disputes between investors and sovereign host states.

It has also taken the necessary legislative measures to make the Convention’s resolution effective in Nigeria by enacting it as a domestic legislature in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Enforcement of Awards) Decree No. 49 of 1967.

Another significant investment protection convention Nigeria has entered into is the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

New York Convention was adopted by the United Nations in June, 1958 and it mandates domestic courts in signatory countries to give effect to arbitration agreements, and to also recognise and enforce valid arbitral awards given in other signatory states.

The New York Convention in other words is particularly significant for the enforcement of arbitral awards resulting from non-ICSID investment arbitration proceedings.

In an attempt to bring into conscious awareness the legal guidelines to undertaking business in Nigeria to intended foreign investors, we shall specifically be reviewing domestic legislations and investment treaties which collectively make up the legal framework for foreign investment protection in the country.

The Domestic Legal Framework:

The notable investment legislation in Nigeria is the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act, CAP N117 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (“NIPC Act”).

The NIPC Act provides the fundamental and suitable legal framework for the protection of foreign investors in the country. Part 5 of the NIPC Act provides that foreigners may invest and participate in any enterprise in Nigeria.

They are assured unrestricted transfer of funds attributable to the investment such as profits, dividends, payments in respect of loan servicing, and the remittance of proceeds obtained from the sale or liquidation of assets or any interest in the venture through an approved dealer in freely convertible currency.

Section 25 of the NIPC Act clearly provides that no enterprise shall be expropriated or nationalised without prompt payment of compensation; the same section also provides a protection clause to an investor to claim “creeping” expropriation by establishing that the acts complained of indirectly results to expropriation or have expropriatory tendency.

Lastly, the NIPC Act provides that disputes between a foreign investor and any government in Nigeria arising from an investment shall be submitted to arbitration within the framework of any investment treaty entered into between the government of Nigeria and any state of which the foreign investor is a national.

It further provides that where there is a disagreement between the Nigerian government and the foreign investor on the mode of dispute settlement, the dispute shall be submitted to ICSID for arbitration.

Foreign investor is thus at liberty in Nigeria to institute arbitration proceedings against a government even after bringing a claim or counterclaim against the government in a court or domestic arbitration.

Another domestic legislation that provides protection to foreign investors is the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions Act) CAP F34.

Section 15 of this Act provides that any person may invest in any business venture with foreign currency or capital imported into Nigeria through an authorized dealer who will issue a Certificate of Capital Importation to the foreign investor.

Sub-section (4) of the same section in addition guarantees unconditional transferability of funds in freely convertible currency of any such monies arising from an investment made in Nigeria with foreign currency, including dividends and profits, payments in respect of loan servicing, and remittances of the proceeds of sale or liquidation of assets.

A similar provision on repatriation is also found in Section 18 of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Act, CAPN107 (“NEPZA Act”).

Section 18 of the NEPZA Act provides that foreign investors who invest in outlined businesses within an export zone shall be eligible to remit profits and dividends earned in the zone and repatriate foreign capital investment at any time with capital appreciation of the investments.

Other foreign investors’ protection laws are the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The act gives foreign investors the opportunity to determine the mode of settling disputes that may arise out of their investments without resort to litigation in domestic (Nigeria) courts.

With the anticipation that such settlement will unfailingly and efficiently protect and enforce the rights of foreign investors and their investments provides a framework for domestic arbitration it also makes provisions for international commercial arbitration which is more preferable by foreign investors.

Section 56(2) (d) defines ‘international arbitration’ to include any arbitration that the parties have expressly agreed in the arbitration agreement to treat as international arbitration. The Act provides that every arbitration award is capable of enforcement under the New York Convention.

Nigeria’s entries into these investment treaties and its enactment of the Conventions into domestic legislation have made the protection mechanism part of Nigeria’s legal framework for protection of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) friendly and convenient to actual and potential foreign investors.

Issues about Scabies Rash

Scabies rash can be identified only if it is accompanied by other symptoms of scabies. If you have a severe, persistent rash that doesn’t seem to ease up it might be caused by infestation with scabies mites. Scabies rash is characterized through itching and soreness and it tends to intensify at night. Scabies rash may also become very irritated after taking a hot shower or bath. If the skin appears to be blistery and scratched and the presence of small burrows is revealed on the surface of the skin, it is a possible sign of scabies rash and appropriate dermatological treatment is required.

An overwhelming number of 300 million people worldwide are diagnosed with scabies each year. Scabies can be very easily acquired by simply touching a contaminated person. Although scabies is very contagious, scabies rash can’t be transmitted from a person to another. Scabies rash usually occurs when the body develops allergic reactions to scabies mites and their feces. The only contagious aspect of scabies involves the mite infestation. If the mites responsible for causing scabies are transmitted to a person, they will quickly infest the skin and the symptoms of scabies will occur within a few days. Scabies mites can be acquired through direct contact with an infested person or by touching or wearing contaminated clothes or personal items. Scabies mites can live without their human hosts for about 3 days and therefore they can easily contaminate bed sheets, clothes, towels, etc.

The main cause of scabies in people is contamination with a particular type of mite, called Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. This microscopic mite lives only on the bodies of human hosts and an infected person can spread it to hundreds of other persons.

It is important to note that scabies rash, just like other scabies symptoms, doesn’t occur due to improper hygiene. Although in the past, when the true nature of scabies wasn’t completely understood, people considered scabies rash to be the consequence of poor hygiene, today the cause of scabies rash is clear to most people. It is true that scabies occurs mostly to people from the lower classes of society, but this has nothing to do with hygiene. The factors that facilitate the   transmission  of scabies are overcrowding and situations that involve a lot of physical contact (factory workers). Hygiene can neither facilitate the occurrence of scabies, nor prevent it.

The most common symptoms of scabies are inflammation, discomfort, pain, swelling of the skin, pustules, burrows, nodules. However, the most intense of all seems to be the scabies rash. This symptom of scabies occurs as a result of allergic reactions to the mites’ feces, secretions, eggs and larvae.

Scabies rash is among the first symptoms that occur and it is usually the last one to disappear. Even if the condition is appropriately treated with topical medications, scabies rash may persist for another few weeks! This is due to the fact that even after they die, the mites remain under the skin and continue to produce allergies that cause scabies rash. The mites’ secretions contain substances that are toxic to the human body. However, there are ways of easing the itch, soreness and pain characteristic to scabies rash. Dermatologists usually prescribe hydrocortisone and antihistamine along with the treatment for scabies. These topical medications are usually in the form of creams, gels and ointments and they ameliorate scabies rash. However, if the scabies rash persists and even intensifies after a few weeks, it is a sign that the mite infestation hasn’t been eradicated and the treatment needs to be repeated.

How to Know If You Have Male Yeast Infection

Many males will be embarrassed by the fact that they have a yeast infection and will often not seek any medical help. A yeast infection is not something to be ignored and this article should help you to at least determine whether or not you have a yeast infection.

While, it is commonly said that a male yeast infection is a minor problem that can be eliminated by maintaining proper personal hygiene, the fact is that neglected male candidiasis can lead to severe health complications up to damaging the male reproduction organs. This is why it’s obligatory to learn about the symptoms of male yeast infection and ways to initially and properly diagnose the condition.

The following 5 categories will help you to know if you have a male yeast infection:

1. Painful

Things such a jock itch, burning sensations during sexual intercourse or urination. If the pain is server it is a good idea to see a doctor or seek out treatment immediately.

2. Visual

These include dry skin which may be flaky, redness of the penis head and in extreme cases a white discharge.

3. Indigestion

These will include problems such a constipation, diarrhea, intensive gas an in extreme cases even bad breath.

4. Fatigue

A simple lack of energy and mood swings.

5. Sexual dysfunction.

The inability to get or maintain an erection without pain occurring.

6. Dietary preferences changes

Most common of which are cravings for sweets and refined carbohydrates, etc. This is a bad thing because if you have a male yeast infection these types of foods should be minimized

Note that the last four male yeast infection category symptoms are associated with almost any other yeast infection subtype as well. This fact supports the widely accepted alternative medicine philosophy that claims that candida balanitis is first and foremost an internal problem that needs to be addressed holistically rather than a local or external condition.

If you are able to identify any of these symptoms then it is very likely that you have a male yeast infection. Many men are not very forthcoming about seeking help but this is a dangerous approach because a yeast infection should be looked at and treated as soon as possible.

Investing Money in 2014 and 2015 for Retirement – An Old Pro’s Viewpoint

In 2014 and maybe 2015 and beyond, investing money will be tougher and putting together the best investment portfolio might mean investing money for safety vs. higher investment returns. The best investment ideas are slim pickings. There is very little that is normal in today’s world of finance. My reasoning and background follows.

In 1971 I had my Masters in Business (finance) and knew nothing about the investment world or investing money. Actually, I found it quite embarrassing, because adults that I would meet in the business world thought that I might have the best investment ideas in my pocket – due to my education. The years that followed were not the best investment environment, and I became a stock broker in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. I learned real quick what my job was really all about: selling investment ideas… SELL the sizzle NOT the steak… I was informed by my sales manager.

Forty years later, investing money is a game that I find has changed little. It’s all but impossible to find the best investment, and the world of investing money is primarily a sales game aimed at uninformed investors (more than 90% of the investing public). I once read that NOW is always the hardest time to invest money. I’ve seen difficult times in the markets for over 40 years and I’ve NEVER repeated that phrase until now.

At this time, I am afraid that it is really true. Allison and I have three children, who are all basically 30-something and trying to make it in a difficult world. Investing money for retirement is not an option for them. It is an absolute necessity if they don’t want to work for the rest of their life. Many folks my age are covered by pension funds plus other entitlements, but that’s not the norm for 2014 and beyond. Now, let’s get down to business and talk about investing money in 2014 and beyond; and the best investment ideas I can muster as an older (but still on top of my game) retired financial planner.

If you have a 401k at work participate in it, and take maximum advantage of your employer’s matching contribution if your company offers this feature (it’s free money). Investing money here is automatic and almost painless. This is one of the best investment ideas available for accumulating a nest egg for retirement. Plus, the tax advantages will put a smile on your face each year at income-tax time.

Open a Roth IRA with a major NO-LOAD mutual fund family and start investing money each month through their automatic investment plan. Enter “no-load funds” into a search engine and you’ll see some of the biggest and best fund companies at the top of the page, names like Vanguard, Fidelity and T Rowe Price. Give them a toll-free call if you have questions – like do you qualify, how much can you invest a year, and will they send you free literature. A Roth IRA (or Roth 401k if available) is one of the very best investment ideas for accumulating money for retirement. A Roth account (IRA or 401k) is TAX FREE investing, as long as you follow the rules. Tax free is as good as it gets and difficult to find.

Mutual funds are the average investor’s best investment vehicle because they offer both professional management and instant diversification in the form of a managed portfolio of stocks, bonds, and money market securities. When you invest money in a fund, you own a very small part of (own shares in) a very large investment portfolio. There is always a cost for investing money in funds. All funds charge for yearly expenses. This can amount to less than 1% a year in NO-LOAD FUNDS, with no sales charges when you invest money and no extra ongoing management fees. Or, you can pay 5% in sales charges off the top when you invest money, 2% or more for yearly expenses and 1% to 2% in additional management fees if you work through a sales rep (financial planner, adviser, or whatever).

One of the best investment ideas for 2014, 2015 and beyond: keep your cost of investing money as low as possible. This could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the long term. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Do all that you can to learn about investing money; and especially learn about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Once you understand stocks and bonds, getting a handle on mutual funds is a piece of cake. What are the investment options inside your employer’s 401k plan? The vast majority of them are likely mutual funds – mostly stock funds, bond funds, and/or balanced funds (that invest in both stocks and bonds). There will likely also be one or two safe investment options that pay interest: a money market funds and/or a stable account.

Investing money successfully in 2014 and beyond could be very difficult due to today’s investment environment. First, record low interest rates mean that safe investments that pay interest are paying close to nothing. Second, bonds and bond funds pay more interest, but when interest rates go back up to normal levels they WILL LOSE money; that’s the way bonds and bond funds work. Third, stocks and stock funds are pricy, having gone up in value and price well over 100% since 2009. In other words, best investment ideas are few and far between.

Here’s the best investment strategy in 2014 and beyond for beginners who want to start investing money for retirement and keep it simple. In a 401k and/or Roth IRA account invest (monthly or each payday) equal amounts into a stock fund, bond fund, and money market fund. If your 401k has a stable account option use this instead of the money market fund if it pays more interest.

Mutual funds are always one of the best investment ideas for most investors – if you invest money in low-cost no-load funds. (Your 401k plan should have no loads, sales charges). When investing money for retirement in 2014 and 2015 keep three factors in mind. Two of these always apply: keep costs low and invest money across the board in all three fund types listed above. Your third factor is to give money market funds equal weight in 2014 and beyond for added safety. Normally, you would give them less weighting.