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Since the advent of the space program, the realm of space exploration and science has been almost completely government-led. But those days are over with a number of new ventures, including Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, Amazon's Blue Origin and of course Elon Musk's SpaceX company. Private funding has greatly advance rocket science, leading to reduced launch costs and reusable vehicles. NASA has even begun using private companies like SpaceX's Dragon capsule to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. There's a big push for returning to the moon, exploring asteroids and even going to Mars. That leaves investors with one question – is space profitable? Don't start booking a flight to Mars just yet The only real exposure investors have had to space over the past years has been through defense and communications companies. But with many new entrants in the space exploration business, it's only a matter of time before investors will be able to directly invest in space endeavors. Other than scientific pursuits, defense and communications satellites, some are now looking to asteroids as the next big economic… Read more

Investing in the markets is a bit of a double-edged sword. The higher the potential for gain, the greater the risk becomes. It works the other way too – the less risk you take on, the fewer gains you're likely to have. Striking the right balance is essential for building the ideal portfolio. Taking on more risk than you're able to handle is just as bad as taking on too little and ending up with a smaller investment than you planned for. Some advisers place investors in one of two risk categories – aggressive and conservative. But in reality, there are many shades of risk tolerance that need to accounted for. Knowing what your own risk tolerance is and how to build a portfolio that meets those expectations is critical to long term successful investing. Gauging your risk tolerance One of the first things to consider when assessing your risk tolerance is how far away your investment time horizon is. The further away it is, the more risk you can take on since there's more time to recoup from economic… Read more

Successful investing requires more than just picking winning stocks. It takes planning and strategy to incorporate all assets in a portfolio in order to accomplish a goal. Some investors prefer growth stocks, while others like value stocks more. But there are other kinds of strategies that don't require a lot of thought or analysis to work. One of the oldest methods is known as “buy and hold.” It's exactly what it sounds like. Investors pick a handful of stocks and keep them for years – many times over a decade. The idea is that the stock market trends higher over time, so holding stocks over the long term eliminates short term fluctuations in value. The problem with this plan though, is it doesn't take into account the very real possibility of picking poor stocks that never pan out as expected. One strategy allows for annual changes to stay on top of things, but doesn't require more effort than simply checking yearly gains on a list of 30 stocks. A method to the madness The “Dogs of the Dow” is a… Read more

Most investors are familiar with investment vehicles like mutual funds, stocks, bonds, ETF's and even commodities, but few are knowledgeable about futures. A basic futures contract is simply an agreement between a buyer and seller to buy or sell a particular asset at a specified price on a specified date. Futures were originally designed for farmers who wanted to be able to hedge their bets against price changes in the crops they grew. Between the time a crop is planted and the time a crop is harvested, the price of that commodity could change for the worse. Instead of risking loss on a crop, a farmer can instead trade a futures contract that locks in an earlier price where a profit will be guaranteed. Of course, if the price of the crop goes up the farmer will miss out on the opportunity to sell at the higher price. While futures started as agricultural commodities, they now cover oil, natural gas, metals, interest rates, foreign currencies, bonds and even stock indexes and are available to anyone to trade. Dipping your feet… Read more

Regardless of whether you're an active trader or just someone with internet access, you've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin. The crypto-currency can't seem to avoid the headlines right now and it's because of the incredible growth its undergoing. In the past three months, Bitcoin has risen nearly 400 percent, going from around $4,000 per coin to roughly $19,500 per coin. That kind of explosive growth has investors reeling, wondering if they missed the boat or if they can still hop on now. But with quick gains comes extreme volatility, with Bitcoin rising and falling more than 10 percent over the course of any given 24 hour period. As crypto-currencies become more popular with offshoots like Ethereum and Litecoin already following in Bitcoin's footsteps, investors need to understand what these types of currencies are and what their real worth is. The idea of value One of the biggest criticisms of Bitcoin is the fact that it only exists as computer information – there is no physical or tangible asset to hold. But many fail to realize that the U.S.… Read more