Discounted Cash Flow Modelling to Achieve Personal Financial Goals

A discounted cash flow or DCF model is a style of calculation linking streams of future money flows to lump sum amounts. Discounted cash flow models have a range of business-related applications, and are used extensively by economists, accountants, actuaries, engineers, business valuators, finance professionals, and others.

For example, a company may wish to finance a project if (and only if) the Internal Rate of Return exceeds 10% per year. The anticipated development costs for the project may be large for the initial year. On the other hand, significant revenues are anticipated for Year 2 onward. The company directors rely on a DCF model to help determine whether or not the project's Internal Rate of Return exceed their 10% threshold.

Discounted cash flow models also have important applications in everyday life that are often overlooked. For example, consider auto dealers who advertise low finance rates to prospective clients. From a car buyer's perspective, low finance rates are understood to be good, since they mean lower monthly payments. By using a DCF model, a buyer can determine the monetary value on the low finance rate offer.

Everyday use of a Discounted Cash Flow model would include (but would not be restricted to) the following:

  • Mortgage Refinancing: For homeowners with a fixed-rate mortgage, refinancing often debts paying a penalty. A DCF model can be used to calculate whether the interest savings exceeded the penalty cost
  • First-Time Home Ownership: First time home ownership involves many new costs, and can be intimidating to many of us. A DCF model can help by comparing long term home ownership costs against rental costs
  • Lease or Own Vehicle: A DCF model can help car shoppers in their decision whether to buy or lease a vehicle

Examples of these and other everyday applications can be viewed at the author's website.

Through the above (and other) practical applications, Discounted Cash Flow models can assist all of us in achieving our personal financial goals.

Technology in Education

Technology has moved at a fast pace over the last decade. Wouldn’t you agree? As a result, many technologies have replaced the need for human resources in some fields, and it has also impacted education drastically.

Before delving into the impacts of technology on education however, consider:

· How travel agents have been largely replaced by online reservation systems.

· In 1901, Charles Holland Duel stated that “Everything that can be invented has been invented”. This was over one century ago, where numerous inventions had yet to be patented and trademarked.

· The number one focus on this list of technological impacts, is how computers and the internet has affected lifestyles and education. Everything can be shared in an instant, and snail mail is no longer the main method of communication. In the past one had to wait a few days before receiving a message, unless a phone or fax were used.

In the 21st century, educational institutions have moved with the times by integrating technology into learning. After all, our educational systems are a critical part of societal norms.

Here are some of the key ways that technology has broadened teaching horizons:

Traditional colleges have adopted online methods of learning, which is otherwise known as online colleges. No longer do students have to relocate from thousands of miles away to get a quality education. All that’s needed is a computer and connection to the internet to plug into online learning.

This has opened up numerous doors for working adults who have previously been restricted by time and resources. The technology of online videos or recorded tutorials allows students to study on their own time, whether day or night.

A study by US News purports that nearly 6.1 million students were enrolled in online college course in 2011. This number is expected to grow as the stigma of online certification has somewhat been lifted due to its increasing popularity in the workplace.

Other ways that technology affects education include the student’s ability to research faster than ever, compared to pouring over books in the library. As an example, a study by the Pew Research Center suggests that digital technologies have helped students to become more self-sufficient researchers.

Educators too have integrated technology into learning, with the distribution of course material and online video, voice, or written tutorials for student references.

Finally, there has also been a dynamic shift in the communication between students and teachers via online, social and digital mediums.

Really Get Away From It All: The World’s Most Remote Hotels

Sometimes we all need to get away from it all; sometimes the further away the better. When you're usual holiday destination will not suffice (out of boredom or a need to put as much distance between yourself and your everyday life as possible), there are a host of hotels around the world that will meet your needs. Some of them offer extreme luxury amid exotic surroundings, while others offer entirely new experiences in locations you would never have dreamed of visiting. Read about the top five most remote hotels in the world and start planning your next holiday.

Bloomfield Lodge, Cairns, Australia

Bloomfield Lodge is located in Queensland's far north and trips guests to not one but two World Heritage Sites: the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. The lodge is recognized as one of the most exclusive luxury resorts in Australia. Only 34 guests are permitted at a time, so you can sure that your every need will be promptly met.

According to Forbes's list of remote hotels, to reach the lodge one must first charter a plane, then one has to drive through the Outback for a few hours and finally cruise some way down the Bloomfield River. When you ever arrive, however, you will find that all your troubles were worth it.

For starters, the lodge is nestled on the very edge of the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef is just across the bay. There are guided tours of the forest or you can follow some self-guided trails if you prefer. You can also go on guided bird watching tours, enjoy some relaxing fishing or more adrenalin infused tropical fishing out at sea, and laze in the seclusion of Kangaii Beach. Activities based around the lodge include an outdoor Jacuzzi, freshwater pool, spa and well stocked library with paperbacks and a selection of books and journals devoted to the ecology of the rainforest and region's local history. There is also a two-hour guided river cruise that will take you to the local Aboriginal community at Wujal Wujal, while giving you an opportunity to look out for birds and crocodiles.

Kokopelli's Cave, Farmington, New Mexico

If you want remote but do not want to travel to the ends of the earth, Kokopelli's Cave might suit you. The cave, which is not a natural formation and is privately owned, is rather difficult to reach; even the owners recommend that you only try it if you¡¯re physically fit. But if it's seclusion you're after sleeping 70 feet below the earth is ideal.

The cave is located near the Mesa Verde National Monument in New Mexico and if you climb to the top of the cliff you'll be able to see all four states of the Four Corners area. It is only accessible by dirt roads and they are rough. They can be traversed by ordinary cars (up to a point), but 4x4s are recommended. If you're in a conventional car you will have to park it at the upper parking lot and walk the rest of the way, 4x4s will get you quite a bit further. If you're footing it, you'll have to follow a marked trail that leads steadily downward. The way out is even more difficult because it's all uphill.

You'd be well advised to note that no meals are served at the cave, although you can arrange for special occasions to be catered. There is a fridge and some cabinets that provide breakfast things and some fruit, but you'll have to bring everything else. There are all the creature comforts you could want, including a Jacuzzi and waterfall shower, but there are only two local TV channels, so be prepared to entertain yourself.

The Andean Cottage, Peru

Staying at the Andean Cottage has been likened to a spiritual experience. Aside from a butler, who is on call 24 hours and who appears at night to light the two wood-burning chimneys, guests are truly alone. The Andean Cottage is the only one in the area and guests have the lakeside beach all to themselves. You'd better be prepared to embrace rustic living, as there are no cars and no electricity (which means no TV).

What you get is a spacious two-bedroom home with a lake all to yourself. The master bedroom boasts a super king bed size and a large bath which provides open views of the lake.

You get there via speedboat; the trip takes 4.5 hours and the boat leaves daily from the private pier at Casa Andina, Puno. On the way you stop at the Uros Floating Islands as well as the traditional Alsuno community of weavers on Taquile Island, before arriving at Suasi. Alternately, guests with their own vehicles (4x4s strongly recommended) can drive to the dock in Cambria and go the rest of the way in the lodge's Zodiac dinghy.

In terms of things to see and do, you can go on a number of nature walks, canoe on Lake Titicaca, visit the cultural hut, which serves as a museum and library, trek up Itapilluni Hill to admire the sunset and enjoy stargazing such as you will never experience in the city.

Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia

For an authentic Mongolian experience you can do no better than Three Camel Lodge, which offers a taste of a rugged nomadic lifestyle but with luxury Gers (traditional nomadic tents) and five-star dining to fall back on. The Deluxe Gers come with private bathrooms, king size beds and felt slippers and Mongolian bathrobes, as well as locally produced toilets. The more traditional Gers are furnished with wood-burning stoves, felt carpets, hand-painted wooden beds and ceilings that provide an unobstructed view of the stars.

The lodge is located in the heart of the Gobi desert and was built according to environmentally and culturally sustainable methods; electricity is provided by solar and wind power. The lodge offers guests a number of opportunities to explore the vast Gobi desert, including Bactrian camel tours, four-wheel drive excursions, hikes (which provide an intimate glimpse into the ecology of the region including its plant, animal and bird life) and overnight field explorations. It's also possible to remember dinosaur fossils, as a paleontologist from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences takes guests out to dig sites and supervises the expedition.

Getting there is an experience in itself. First you will need to take a two-hour flight from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar (alternatively there is a three-hour flight from Seoul), then you will need to board a prop-plane for a further one-hour flight to Dalanzadgad, followed by an hour-and-a-half drive on a rough dirt road. The chance to meet local nomadic tribes, dine on local produce at the Bulagtai Restaurant and bask in the stars more than makes up for the inconvenience.

Hotel Arctic, Greenland

For possibly the most extreme experience of your life, you can not beat the Hotel Arctic, which is the northernmost 4-star hotel in the world. The hotel is located on the edge of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, which is a World Heritage Site. It's not all that difficult to reach; almost all major European cities have flights to the airport at Kangerlussuaq, which is in turn a short 45 minute hop to Ilulissat, but it is actually at the end of the world.

The Ice Fjord is the region's primary attraction. It covers 3000 square kilometers and contains one of the largest and most active glaciers in the world. The glacier moves approximately 20m per day, and is described as a park full of sculptures that are constantly changing.

There is also the opportunity to stay in an igloo on the edge of the fjord. The igloos are not made of ice, mores the pity, but that means you are assured of all the modern conveniences.

Using Large Aperture Settings – Digital Photography Tips

If you want your photo to be as sharp as possible then you are going to need to learn some good information about how to use the aperture settings in your camera. Improper use of this in your camera can make for photos that are not as great as they possibly can be.

There are many different measurements in photography. The measurements are measurements mostly of light and the amount of time that the photo is exposed. The aperture is something that you really should try to understand. The aperture what controls the amount of light that is let into the camera.

In photography, light is critically important and controlling it correctly will make your photos much better. The aperture is measured in F-stops. There are different values ​​of aperture that can be large and small. A larger aperture will let more light into the camera for exposure. Because more light is let in you can expose the image faster and then use a faster shutter speed. This can really be useful when you are taking pictures of fast movement and need a fast shutter speed. Also, using a fast shutter speed will ensure you do not get the camera shake effect from your hands.

Another great tool that you can do with using a large F-Stop in your aperture is that it can make your image sharper. What the larger aperture will do is make the depth of field be much smaller. This will make whatever is out of the small depth of field be out of focus. This can make the background be very out of focus and the depth of field area will be in focus. Even if you have the object in focus slightly out of focus, since it is the only area of ​​the image that is in focus it'll look much more focused. Of course, you always want to make sure your photo is as focused as possible.

Using a smaller f-stop for your aperture will require the opposite of what the larger aperture does. Because the smaller aperture will make less light to expose the image, it will make you need to use a slower shutter speed to expose more light. What happens with a smaller opening as an aperture is that the light that is let in will be much more directed and then will make for much sharper images everywhere. A small aperture can make for very sharp images through the entire z axis. This will make the background in focus and the foreground in focus. This is great when taking landscape photos or photos of large fields like football fields where you want the entire picture in focus.