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In my view, some of the best stocks are the ones that have strong underlying companies and exceptional growth possibilities. They are the kinds of stocks that you could comfortably invest a large amount of money in with confidence that you will likely make market-beating returns in the future.

Here are two of my picks for the best stocks you can invest $10,000 in right now.

1. Nvidia

Find the strongest players in the quickest-growing areas. That is usually a great way to find the best stocks to purchase. There is no question Nvidia should be in this group.

One of those fast-growing areas is gaming. The company’s GPUs are the gold standard for powering gaming computers. The business seems likely to have a very big winner with its new RTX350 entry-level graphics card that will soon be released. Nvidia is also going to release a monster graphics card for the higher-end market segment.

The company’s GPUs are also more suited for AI apps running on servers located in data centers. This is actually an even faster expanding market for Nvidia than gaming is.

Then there is the metaverse. Nvidia already released Omniverse, its platform for 3D design and collaboration. CEO Jensen Huang believes that Omniverse Avatars has an addressable market of around $40 billion. The opportunities out there for Nvidia’s GPUs in the metaverse are even better.

Those are not Nvidia’s only potential drivers of growth, though. Its self-driving car tech might make the company a lot more cash over the next ten years and beyond.

2. MercadoLibre

Unlike Nvidia, MercadoLibre did not deliver great gains in 2021. Its shares dropped nearly 20%. But that helps make the stock’s valuation a much more attractive one considering its high growth prospects.

MercadoLibre’s terrible performance this last year was not due to underlying issues with its company. The company’s net earnings soared 72.9% on a constant-currency basis in Q3 of 2021. Earnings increased more than sixfold. And Q3 was a difficult quarter for year-over-year comparisons.

The future seems to be a bright one for the company. MercadoLibre’s e-commerce platform has been attracting new buyers. Retention levels are rising. The e-commerce penetration level in Latin America might double by 2025.

Don’t think of MercadoLibre as just an e-commerce business, though. Its Mercado Pago fintech and Mercado Envios logistics companies are rocking as well. The fintech opportunity should be highly attractive in light of the large amount of people in Latin America without any banking services.

Author: Steven Sinclaire

While the returns on some cryptos can be extremely high, the industry is rife with schemes and scammers.

With the value of ether up by almost 200% since this past year, investing in crypto can seem like the best choice.

But as anyone that has been around a lot of crypto bros could tell you, it comes with high volatility and high risk: crypto is the asset class that has posed the largest risk to investors.

“Before you hop into the crypto craze, think about the cryptos and other financial products that might be nothing more than the public facing Ponzi schemes,” said Joseph Rotunda.

The reason has to do with the regulatory rules that have a difficult time catching up to the high number of new cryptos (often released by people with zero finance background) releasing onto the market. The success of BTC and ether are usually used to produce a type of craze around a new concept that is still misunderstood by a lot of people.

A crypto advocate, Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis has proposed a bill that would set clear guidelines on crypto regulation and taxation in December.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are used to receive ownership of online content. NFTs are another cryptocurrency subcategory currently getting a lot of investor attention — while more popular ones such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club could sell for millions, but fake ones are appearing online already. (Based predominantly on the ETH network, most NFTs are selling for ether.)

Other high-risk trades include anything that has to do a popular Self-Directed personal Retirement Accounts scheme, promissory notes, and social media investment offers.

To minimize your risk, the agency suggests people do their own research on founders, carefully study domain names (there are scammers that will copy a popular site by adding only one letter) and usually avoid grandiose promises to “make a million dollars” tomorrow.

“Investments in crypto trading programs, interests in cryptocurrency mining pools, securitized coins and crypto depository accounts should be seen for what they truly are: very risky speculation along with a high risk of loss,” said Rotunda.

Author: Blake Ambrose

When the Covid pandemic took hold in March of 2020, Keith Arnold and his wife, Stephanie Bonin, co-owners of a restaurant in Denver, worried they might face financial disaster.

The crisis forced them to close Duo Restaurant, which serves a farm-to-table contemporary American cuisine.

There was no plan as to what might happen next, as federal and state support addressing the pandemic wasn’t implemented at that time.

They temporarily laid off 12 of their 15 employees.

At the time, Bonin knew she and her husband wouldn’t get unemployment checks. While their staff would receive the benefits, it wouldn’t match their weekly tips and paychecks.

“Their livelihood depended on us,” Bonin said. “That was keeping us up most nights.”

“How are we going keep them working?”

Bonin started a Change.org petition asking for $2,000 each month in aid to every American during the pandemic.

Today, that online call to action continues to draw support, having just over 3 million signatures. Change.org has created a video of personal testimonies of individuals who say they are in need of more federal help.

The milestone comes as the omicron variant is making some small businesses close and schools to question whether children should keep attending classes in person. Meanwhile, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are discussing what support may be implemented — particularly for businesses like restaurants.

Dems’ BBB proposal has failed to pass on Capitol Hill. That bill would have authorized additional monthly child tax credit payments, though Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has called for a more strict targeting of that support.

Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stated in an interview this weekend that even more help for Americans might be added to the upcoming federal funding bill.

Bonin and Arnold have recently closed down the Duo Restaurant for a week around the holidays after half of their kitchen staff tested positive for Covid-19.

While they lost around $30,000 in income for that week, they still had to pay about $9,000 toward their payroll because of their paid leave mandates.

If they are forced to close down again, the loss in income will add more financial strain on the restaurant.

Bonin and Arnold, who manage the restaurant virtually from Brattleboro, VM, are also grappling with other Covid uncertainties as parents to their two daughters, ages 9 and 14.

Aid through PPP, which they credit with helping keep their restaurant stay in business in the early stages of the pandemic, is no longer available. Enhanced federal unemployment benefits and stimulus checks dried up this past year. This month, the child tax credit payments stopped coming in.

The uncertainties of the pandemic during the past two years, have kept the Change.org petition popular, Bonin said.

“I think that is what 3 million people have been saying, which is, ‘We just need some certainty. We need to have something we are able to plan on each month,’” Bonin said.

Author: Blake Ambrose

Now looks like a great time to buy Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC). It currently trades at almost 40% below its all-time high, but the optimism coming from institutional investors — a group that is increasingly bullish on BTC– could be translated into 10X gains (or more) in the coming years. Here is what you should know.

The principles of supply and demand

With its release in 2009, BTC has become the first modern crypto. It wowed the entire world with blockchain tech, a record-keeping system managed by a decentralized network of crypto miners rather than a centralized institution such as a bank. To that end, BTC acts like electronic cash, letting people transact digitally without having to use a bank or use a credit card.

However, the importance of BTC’s popularity should not be overlooked. Despite being the oldest crypto, it continues to be the leading crypto, with a market capitalization of around $800 billion. That implies strong demand for the coin, which is noteworthy in light of the limited supply. Specifically, Bitcoin’s source code imposes a hard limit of 21 million coins, meaning it is a finite asset. And basic economics tell us that when demand is higher than supply, the price of an asset will increase.

Despite the recent crypto crash, I do not think the current troubles will hinder long-term demand for BTC. In fact, there is a catalyst at work that might significantly increase demand in the future.

Institutional adoption

A new study from Fidelity shows that 52% of institutional traders own digital assets, and BTC is the most popular digital asset owned by those big money managers. More importantly, the study indicated that 71% of institutional investors have plans to diversify into digital assets. Which means they are starting to become increasingly bullish on crypto.

Another report recently released indicates that 62% of institutional traders without current exposure will buy crypto in the next year, and 82% of institutional traders plan to boost exposure to digital assets by 2023. In all cases, that increasing demand for digital assets will be a tailwind for BTC, driving its price up over the long run.

As a final thought, Cathie Wood thinks institutions will eventually invest 5% of their money into crypto– a sizable number, since institutional traders now have over $100 trillion in assets under management. To that end, Wood thinks the price of BTC will reach $500,000 by 2026, implying an increase of over 1,000% from its current price. That is why now looks like a great time to purchase this cryptocurrency.

Author: Blake Ambrose

Tilly’s (NYSE:TLYS) is headquartered in Irvine, CA. Like many other non-essential companies, it was devastated during the pandemic when it had to close its doors to in-person shopping.

That being said, Tilly’s is rebounding from the pandemic stronger than ever, reporting record profits and sales. Management thinks that momentum will continue throughout this year. Here is why Tilly’s could be a surprising growth stock in 2022.

Tilly’s is thriving

In the nine months ended October 30, Tilly’s net sales were 22.5% higher than they were during the same time in 2019. That is impressive, considering the Covid pandemic is still spiking today. Tilly’s is a brick-and-mortar accessories and apparel retailer with 243 stores open throughout the U.S. but mainly concentrated in Texas, Florida and California. Its products are made for young adults and pre-teens.

Management should be commended for the excellent job they did managing the company during the pandemic and ensuing supply chain shortages that have followed. Companies worldwide are reporting difficulty securing enough supplies to meet existing consumer demands. Those like Tilly’s that have secured the inventory they need reap the benefits of supply troubles at competitors. For instance, if the industry is short on supply, there will be less promotional activities like discounting.

Indeed, in its most recent quarter ended October 30, Tilly’s announced a gross profit margin of 37.2%, the highest since becoming a public company. The highest gross profit margin it had reached in the last decade was 32.2% in 2012.

Another benefit of having enough inventory when your competitors have fallen short is attracting disappointed customers. That might have played a big advantage for Tilly’s during the holidays. While Tilly’s holiday quarter figures haven’t been released yet, there is reason to believe their sales were robust. As of October 30, Tilly’s had inventories of $87 million, which is up from the $66 million it had during the same time last year. What’s more, the management team gave an update on its comparable net sales through November 30, saying it grew by 19.6% when compared to the year prior.

Tilly’s is in expansion mode

Tilly’s plans to open 15 to 20 new stores this year. That is an accelerated pace of new stores opening from 2021 when the business opened just five new stores. Tilly’s most certainly has the balance sheet to fund this expansion, with $155.6 million in securities and cash with no debt to its name. All in all, Tilly’s might be a surprise growth stock for 2022.

Author: Blake Ambrose

So, you might think you know everything you need to know about Social Security? If that’s the case, congratulations — you are part of the minority when it comes to your knowledge of the country’s biggest retirement benefits program.

A recent study published by the Nationwide Retirement Institute discovered that many Americans do not know enough about some of the most basic parts of Social Security. The new study was based on a survey that was conducted by The Harris Poll for the Nationwide Retirement Institute.

“It is indisputable that Americans in all generations need more education on Social Security,” Tina Ambrozy, stated in a media release. “Unfortunately, we are failing to close that knowledge gap and correct many of these misconceptions that could have costly consequences. Financial professionals should help their clients better understand retirement security within America and plan properly to get the most from their Social Security benefit.”

Here are five things a lot of Americans do not know about Social Security:

1 — Age of Eligibility: Two in five respondents do not know the age of eligibility to get full benefits.

2 — Payments: Just over half of those that are not already getting Social Security checks (51%) do not fully understand how much they will receive in Social Security income.

3 — Spousal/child benefits: 30% do not know that Social Security might offer benefits for children and spouses.

4 — Inflation protection: Over a third (37%) incorrectly think that Social Security benefits aren’t protected against inflation.

5 — No adjustments: 45% of Americans make the mistake of thinking that if they claim SS benefits early, their benefits will increase automatically when they are at full retirement age, or they do not know this is false.

The study discovered that many Americans are not educating themselves on Social Security because they really don’t think it will still be around when they are ready or need to claim the benefits. Seven in 10 Americans ages 25 and over worry that the SS program will be out of money sometime in their lifetimes. And this is especially true about millennials (77%) as well as Gen Xers (83%).

Author: Blake Ambrose

In November, Shiba Inu (Shib) Games project head Shytoshi Kusama said on Medium that “the future of gaming is Shib Inu.” Could Shib be a big metaverse winner?

Metaverse mania

Ever since Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta Platforms in late Oct., we have seen a type of metaverse mania. The interest shown by Investors relating to stocks that might profit from the metaverse has soared.

Gaming tokens with their own “metaverses” have also seen huge booms. Decentraland jumped more than sixfold in just a few weeks. The Sandbox went up well over 8 times.

But while these metaverse cryptos were soaring, Shib was dropping. The meme coin was completely missing out on the metaverse craze. However, it seems that this will only be a short term situation.

Kusama’s Medium article released on Nov. 26 laid out his vision for Shib’s future. He asked: “What is Shib Inu becoming? How can Shib Inu grow into more than anyone thinks possible?” And his answer was that Shib’s destination is the metaverse.

Two big steps forward

Shiba Inu has taken two big steps forward in achieving Kusama’s vision. First, William Volk was added to the team as a consultant to lead the development.

Volk boasts an impressive record of creating games. He served as VP of technology for Activision Blizzard. He was over the creation of many successful games during his time with the business. Volk has also worked with many other gaming businesses during his long career.

Kusama’s Medium article hinted that an AAA gaming studio had been lined up. On Dec.7 as well, the identity of that studio has been revealed. Playside Studios said that it had agreed to an eight-month contract with Shib Games to “create a multiplayer Collectable Card game which is planned for release on multiple platforms.”

Playside ranks as the biggest publicly traded video games creator in Australia. It has created more than 50 games, including some with major studios such as Warner Bros., Pixar, Nickelodeon and Disney.

A monster metaverse winner?

The game that Playside is creating for Shib Games will target mobile users and won’t be based on the blockchain. However, Kusama said the game will only be licensed to the Shib decentralized team to add into the Shibarium layer-2 solution that was built on the Ethereum blockchain. Ultimately, this will transform into the “Oshiverse” — Shib’s own metaverse.

These efforts might put to rest some of the criticisms that Shib does not have any competitive advantages. Kasama claims that Shib “is positioned to be a top player in the gaming landscape this year.” That is probably a bit of a stretch, considering that the first game being created by Playside is not scheduled to be released until the first quarter of 2023.

On the other hand, Oshiverse might truly offer unique capabilities that help set it apart from its competitors. Will Shiba Inu be a big metaverse winner? Maybe eventually. But it is a waiting game for now.

Author: Steven Sinclaire

Warren Buffett might be worth billions of dollars, but unlike other financial gurus and celebrities, he prefers to live life more simply, for the most part.

The investing icon lives by what he teaches when it comes to his financial discipline, paying off debt and saving.

Buffett gave an early warning this past May about the higher prices of today when he told a livestream audience of more than 28 million during Berkshire Hathaway’s yearly meeting that “high inflation” was already hitting companies.

When an investor like Warren Buffet sends out a warning about rising prices, it is probably a good time to listen. Here are three ways Buffett’s frugality might help you spend and save money wisely.

1. He rarely takes out loans

Buffett’s Only mortgage he has ever had was on a vacation home located in Laguna Beach, CA, that he bought in 1971, although he surely had the cash to buy the $150,000-listed beach property.

He told CNBC that he had taken out the loan for the 30-year mortgage because “I thought I would probably do better with the cash than have it be locked in an all-equity purchase of the home.” He decided to use the extra money on hand for extra shares in Berkshire Hathaway — the business that made him billions.

If you do own your house today, you have options available to you to free up some of that capital by refinancing now at today’s very low rates before they increase this year, as some forecasters expect might be the case. A switch might save you thousands of dollars each year.

2. He doesn’t spend large sums of money on brands

Buffett does not much care for name brand suits or the newest iPhone model — he has depended on his $20 cell phone for years before finally trading it in for an Apple smartphone in 2020.

Buffett avoids any unnecessary spending and he once said, “Don’t save what’s left after spending, but spend what’s left after saving.”

Place your funds in a diversified investing portfolio or a high-yield savings account that will grow over time. Set aside any extra cash for retirement or an emergency fund rather than blowing it all on nonessential products.

3. He doesn’t invest with any borrowed money (anymore)

“I have never borrowed a large amount of money in my entire life. Never. Never will. I have got no interest in it,” he said to students at Notre Dame in 1991.

Although a young Buffett did once borrow 25% of his net wealth to purchase shares, he warns traders against repeating that same mistake.

Even skilled stock investors will tell you that borrowing to invest is risky. And there is no real need with investing apps that let you start investing with a small amount of cash, like the one that lets you to invest with your “spare change”.

Author: Scott Dowdy

Think longer term. That is important to remember with as much stock market volatility we have seen in recent days.

Regardless of how stocks are performing next week or even next month, there are a few areas that should be big winners in the future. One of those winners is the metaverse. If you are a long-term trader, here are three strong metaverse stocks that you should buy in 2022.

1. Nvidia

Nvidia ranks as the top artificial intelligence (AI) stock. It is a top gaming stock. And it is a top metaverse stock — both for today and the future.

While many businesses are scrambling to carve out their share of the metaverse, Nvidia has already started marketing a successful product. The Omniverse platform helps support virtual 3D design collaboration and simulation. Customers including engineering firms, manufacturers and game creators are using Omniverse.

Nvidia’s GPUs should have tremendous demand in the long term as well as when the metaverse is created. Few businesses are able to compete at the same level that Nvidia can when it comes to powering virtual reality apps.

2. Unity Software

Unity Software is a metaverse stock that I believe could realistically double this year. Its software has been used to produce over 70% of the leading 1,000 mobile games.

It will not just be programmers that create the metaverse, though. Artists will also be largely be involved in this as well. Unity is now in a great position to meet their needs after acquiring Weta Digital.

You probably haven’t heard of Weta, but you have more than likely seen its work. Unity’s platform has been used in the development of visual effects for many movies and TV shows, including The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

3. Meta Platforms

The metaverse is so vital to the future for Meta Platforms that the company has changed its name from Facebook. While its earnings from advertising on its social media platforms helps pay the bills for now, Meta has been investing large amounts of money in creating the metaverse.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly said that his company’s main goal is to help attract 1 billion people to the metaverse. He believes that this will “unlock a much larger creative economy of both physical and digital goods.”

Meta is one of only a handful of businesses that have the resources to put its focus on the entire metaverse ecosystem. Meta is creating an operating system, social platform, e-commerce architecture, and augmented virtual/reality devices that will make the metaverse a reality.

Author: Blake Ambrose

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