A New Way to Invest in Property

The two most frequently asked questions by investors are:

  1. What investment should I buy?
  2. Is now the right time to buy it?

Most people want to know how to spot the right investment at the right time, because they believe that is the key to successful investing. Let me tell you that is far from the truth: even if you could get the answers to those questions right, you would only have a 50% chance to make your investment successful. Let me explain.

There are two key influencers that can lead to the success or failure of any investment:

  1. External factors: these are the markets and investment performance in general. For example:
    • The likely performance of that particular investment over time;
    • Whether that market will go up or down, and when it will change from one direction to another.
  2. Internal factors: these are the investor’s own preference, experience and capacity. For example:
    • Which investment you have more affinity with and have a track record of making good money in;
    • What capacity you have to hold on to an investment during bad times;
    • What tax advantages do you have which can help manage cash flow;
    • What level of risk you can tolerate without tending to make panic decisions.

When we are looking at any particular investment, we can’t simply look at the charts or research reports to decide what to invest and when to invest, we need to look at ourselves and find out what works for us as an individual.

Let’s look at a few examples to demonstrate my viewpoint here. These can show you why investment theories often don’t work in real life because they are an analysis of the external factors, and investors can usually make or break these theories themselves due to their individual differences (i.e. internal factors).

Example 1: Pick the best investment at the time.

Most investment advisors I have seen make an assumption that if the investment performs well, then any investor can definitely make good money out of it. In other words, the external factors alone determine the return.

I beg to differ. Consider these for example:

  • Have you ever heard of an instance where two property investors bought identical properties side by side in the same street at the same time? One makes good money in rent with a good tenant and sells it at a good profit later; the other has much lower rent with a bad tenant and sells it at a loss later. They can be both using the same property management agent, the same selling agent, the same bank for finance, and getting the same advice from the same investment advisor.
  • You may have also seen share investors who bought the same shares at the same time, one is forced to sell theirs at a loss due to personal circumstances and the other sells them for a profit at a better time.
  • I have even seen the same builder building 5 identical houses side by side for 5 investors. One took 6 months longer to build than the other 4, and he ended up having to sell it at the wrong time due to personal cash flow pressures whereas others are doing much better financially.

What is the sole difference in the above cases? The investors themselves (i.e. the internal factors).

Over the years I have reviewed the financial positions of a few thousand investors personally. When people ask me what investment they should get into at any particular moment, they expect me to compare shares, properties, and other asset classes to advise them how to allocate their money.

My answer to them is to always ask them to go back over their track record first. I would ask them to list down all the investments they have ever made: cash, shares, options, futures, properties, property development, property renovation, etc. and ask them to tell me which one made them the most money and which one didn’t. Then I suggest to them to stick to the winners and cut the losers. In other words, I tell them to invest more in what has made them good money in the past and stop investing in what has not made them any money in the past (assuming their money will get a 5% return per year sitting in the bank, they need to at least beat that when doing the comparison).

If you take time to do that exercise for yourself, you will very quickly discover your favourite investment to invest in, so that you can concentrate your resources on getting the best return rather than allocating any of them to the losers.

You may ask for my rationale in choosing investments this way rather than looking at the theories of diversification or portfolio management, like most others do. I simply believe the law of nature governs many things beyond our scientific understanding; and it is not smart to go against the law of nature.

For example, have you ever noticed that sardines swim together in the ocean? And similarly so do the sharks. In a natural forest, similar trees grow together too. This is the idea that similar things attract each other as they have affinity with each other.

You can look around at the people you know. The people you like to spend more time with are probably people who are in some ways similar to you.

It seems that there is a law of affinity at work that says that similar things beget similar things; whether they are animals, trees, rocks or humans. Why do you think there would be any difference between an investor and their investments?

So in my opinion, the question is not necessarily about which investment works. Rather it is about which investment works for you.

If you have affinity with properties, properties are likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with shares, shares are likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with good cash flow, good cash flow is likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with good capital gain, good capital growth is likely to be attracted to you (but not necessary good cash flow ).

You can improve your affinity with anything to a degree by spending more time and effort on it, but there are things that you naturally have affinity with. These are the things you should go with as they are effortless for you. Can you imagine the effort required for a shark to work on himself to become sardine-like or vice versa?

One of the reasons why our company has spent a lot of time lately to work on our client’s cash flow management, is because if our clients have low affinity with their own family cash flow, they are unlikely to have good cash flow with their investment properties. Remember, it is a natural law that similar things beget similar things. Investors who have poor cash flow management at home, usually end up with investments (or businesses) with poor cash flow.

Have you ever wondered why the world’s greatest investors, such as Warren Buffet, tend only to invest in a few very concentrated areas they have great affinity with? While he has more money than most of us and could afford to diversify into many different things, he sticks to only the few things that he has successfully made his money from in the past and cut off the ones which didn’t (such as the airline business).

What if you haven’t done any investing and you have no track record to go by? In this case I would suggest you first look at your parents’ track record in investing. The chances are you are somehow similar to your parents (even when you don’t like to admit it ). If you think your parents never invested in anything successfully, then look at whether they have done well with their family home. Alternatively you will need to do your own testing to find out what works for you.

Obviously there will be exceptions to this rule. Ultimately your results will be the only judge for what investment works for you.

Example 2: Picking the bottom of the market to invest.

When the news in any market is not positive, many investors automatically go into a “waiting mode”. What are they waiting for? The market to bottom out! This is because they believe investing is about buying low and selling high – pretty simple right? But why do most people fail to do even that?

Here are a few reasons:

  • When investors have the money to invest safely in a market, that market may not be at its bottom yet, so they choose to wait. By the time the market hits the bottom; their money has already been taken up by other things, as money rarely sits still. If it is not going to some sort of investment, it will tend to go to expenses or other silly things such as get-rich-quick scheme, repairs and other “life dramas”.
  • Investors who are used to waiting for when the market is not very positive before they act are usually driven either by a fear of losing money or the greed of gaining more. Let’s look at the impact of each of them:
  • If their behaviour was due to the fear of losing money, they are less likely to get into the market when it hits rock bottom as you can imagine how bad the news would be then. If they couldn’t act when the news was less negative, how do you expect them to have the courage to act when it is really negative? So usually they miss out on the bottom anyway.
  • If their behaviour was driven by the greed of hoping to make more money on the way up when it reaches the bottom, they are more likely to find other “get-rich-quick schemes” to put their money in before the market hits the bottom, by the time the market hits the bottom, their money won’t be around to invest. Hence you would notice that the get-rich-quick schemes are usually heavily promoted during a time of negative market sentiment as they can easily capture money from this type of investor.
  • Very often, something negative begets something else negative. People who are fearful to get into the market when their capacity allows them to do so, will spend most of their time looking at all the bad news to confirm their decision. Not only they will miss the bottom, but they are likely to also miss the opportunities on the way up as well, because they see any market upward movement as a preparation for a further and bigger dive the next day.

Hence it is my observation that most people who are too fearful or too greedy to get into the market during a slow market have rarely been able to benefit financially from waiting. They usually end up getting into the market after it has had its bull run for far too long when there is very little negative news left. But that is actually often the time when things are over-valued, so they get into the market then, and get slaughtered on the way down.

So my advice to our clients is to first start from your internal factors, check your own track records and financial viability to invest. Decide whether you are in a position to invest safely, regardless of the external factors (i.e. the market):

  • If the answer is yes, then go to the market and find the best value you can find at that time;
  • If the answer is no, then wait.

Unfortunately, most investors do it the other way around. They tend to let the market (an external factor) decide what they should do, regardless of their own situation, and they end up wasting time and resources within their capacity.

I hope, from the above 2 examples, that you can see that investing is not necessarily about picking the right investment and the right market timing, but it is more about picking the investment that works for you and sticking to your own investment timetable, within your own capacity.

A new way to invest in properties

During a consultation last month with a client who has been with us for 6 years, I suddenly realised they didn’t know anything about our Property Advisory Service which has been around since April 2010. I thought I’d better fix this oversight and explain what it is and why it is unique and unprecedented in Australia.

But before I do, I would like to give you some data you simply don’t get from investment books and seminars, so you can see where I am coming from.

Over the last 10 years of running a mortgage business for property investors:

  • We have executed more than 7,000 individual investment mortgages with around 60 different lenders;
  • Myself and our mortgage team have reviewed the financial positions of approximately 6,000 individual property investors and developers;
  • I have enjoyed privileged access to vital data including the original purchase price, value of property improvements and the current valuation of close to 30,000 individual investment properties all around Australia from our considerable client base.

When you have such a large sample size to do your research on and make observations, you are bound to discover something unknown to most people.

I have discovered many things that may surprise you as much as they surprised me, some of which are against conventional wisdom:

Paying more tax can be financially good for you.

This one took me years to swallow, but I can’t deny the facts. The clients who have managed to get into a positive cashflow position have paid a lot of tax and will continue to pay a lot of tax, whether it is capital gains, income tax or stamp duty. They don’t have an issue with the tax man making some money as long as they continue to make more themselves! They regularly cash in the profits from their properties and reduce their debt, but always continue to invest and park their money where the return is best. In fact, I can almost say that the only people who enjoy positive cashflow from their investment properties are the people who have little concern about paying taxes as they treat them as the cost of doing business.

Just about every property strategy works. It just depends on who does it, how it is done, when it is done and where it is done.

When I first started investing, I went and read many property investment books and attended many investment educational seminars. Just about every one of them was convincing and this confused the hell out of me. Just when I was about to form an opinion against a particular property strategy, someone would show up in one of my client consultations and prove that it worked for them!

After testing many of these strategies myself, I came to realise that it is not about the strategy,(which is only a tool) but rather it is about whether the person is using the tool appropriately at the right time, in the right place and in the right way.

There is no such thing as the best suburb to invest in, forever.

If you randomly pick a particular property in what you think is the best suburb over a 30 year window, you will find that there are periods during which this property will outperform the market average, and there are periods when this property will underperform the market average.

Many property investors find themselves jumping into historically high growth suburbs at the end of the period when it is outperforming the average, and then stay there for 5-7 years during the underperforming period. (Naturally this can taint their view of property investing as a whole!)

There is no such thing as the worst suburb to invest in, forever.

If you pick a property in the worst suburb you can think of from 40 years ago, and pitch that against the best suburb you can think of over the same period of time, you will find they both grew at about 7-9% a year on average over the long-term.

Hence in the 1960s, a median house in Melbourne and Sydney was valued at $10k. The worst property around that time may have been 30% of the median price for then, which was say about $3k. Today, the median house price in these cities is about $600k. The worst suburb you can find is still around 30% of that price which is say $200k a house. If you believe a bad suburb will never grow, then show me where you can find a house today in these cities, that is still worth around $3k.

Median Price growth is very misleading.

Many beginner property investors look at median price growth as the guidance for suburb selection. A few points worth mentioning on median price are:

We understand the way median price is calculated as the middle price point based on the number of sales during a period. We can talk about the median price for a particular suburb on a particular day, week, month, year, or even longer. So an influx of new stocks or low sales volume can severely distort the median price.

In an older suburb, median price growth tends to be higher than it really is. This is because it does not reflect the large sum of money people put into renovating their properties nor does it reflect the subdivision of large blocks of land into multiple dwellings which can be a substantial percentage of the entire suburb.

In a newer suburb, median price growth tend to be lower than it really is. This is because it does not reflect the fact that the land and buildings are both getting smaller. For example, you could buy a block of land of 650 square metres for $120k in 2006 in a newer suburb of Melbourne, but 5 years later, half the size block (i.e.325 square metres) will cost you $260k. That’s a whopping 34% annual growth rate per year for 5 years, but median price growth will never reflect that, as median prices today are calculated on much smaller properties.

Median price growth takes away people’s focus from looking at the cost of carrying the property. When you have a net 2-3% rental yield against interest rates of 7-8%, you are out-of-pocket by 5% a year. This is not including the money you have to put in to fix and maintain your property from time to time.

Buying and holding the same property forever doesn’t give you the best returns on your money.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely you will achieve an average growth of 7-9%. But you will be bound to hit periods where your property outperforms the 7-9% growth and periods where it under performs the 7-9% growth.

The longer you hold a property, if its growth is at or above average, the lower its rental yields will become.

The longer you hold a property, the higher the capital gains tax you will need to pay when you sell, and the less likely you will be able to sell it.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely there will be a need for an expensive upgrade of the property.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely you will forget which part of the equity actually belongs to the tax man, AND the more likely you will be to try to leverage the equity that doesn’t belong to you. This can get you into a negative equity position with a negative cashflow forever, unless you have proper financial guidance.

A Buyer’s Guide to Kids ATV

Buying a kids ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) could be a confusing task. Often, most people do not know how to go about buying the ATV. There are so many factors to consider. Size, make, price and safety are examples of factors that must be taken into account. Of course, looks too play an important part. After all, your child will not accept a kids ATV that doesn’t look cool! So, how do you buy the right bike?

Size: When it comes to size, most parents make big mistakes. It is common for them to buy a kids ATV that is one size bigger so that their child can grow into the bike gradually. But, buying a quad bike that is bigger than the required size is dangerous. Your child should have comfortable access to the handle bars, brake and accelerator. If they cannot reach these parts comfortably, it could be dangerous. Parents must also consider the size of the engine. If the engine is too powerful, it could go out of control. 50cc engines are best suited for young children.

Quality: When you buy kids ATV, it is important to consider the quality of the bike. A quality bike equates to lesser number of break-downs, repairs and low maintenance costs. Reputed brands are highly conscious of the quality of their machines. Also, since kids grow out their ATVs pretty fast, you need to consider your re-selling options. A reputed brand fetches much more when you want to resell. If you are about to buy a brand that sounds new, find out more about warranties, guarantees and so on.

Safety: Kids ATV must keep to high safety standards. High quality quads have a large number of safety features. Some even have safety features that may not be present in adult ATVs. Examples include kill switches which help kill the engine in case of trouble. Remote controls allow parents to control the ATVs, in case of necessity. A safe engine keeps your child safe.

The ATV is also known as the quad or four wheeler. According to the ANSI (American National Standards Institute), the ATV is a vehicle that is equipped to travel on all terrains. It has four low pressure tires and a handlebar. The vehicle is legal in some countries and not allowed on the roads in other countries. Regardless, kids need to learn how to be safe on the kids ATV before they can graduate to more powerful ATVs.

Kids between the ages of 6 and 12 must always ride a kids ATV with a 70cc engine or lesser. As age and experience increase, they can opt for more advanced models. It is necessary to buy the ATV that suits your child’s physical make up. In this regard, you cannot accept any industry norms. The only way to find out is to take your child for a test drive. Your child must be able to shift gears if you intend to buy manual   transmission . Otherwise, go for the automatic ATVs.

Angina – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Angina is a term generally used to refer a kind of tightening sensation. However, there are many sub classes of angina and it all depends on the area, which is suffering from this kind of tightening discomfort. One of the well-known sub classes of angina are like Bowelgina, which is also called abdominal angina. There are also sub classes of angina, which are a threat to life. One such sub class is called Ludwig’s angina, which is caused when the floor of the mouth is exposed to some sort of infection or in other words, dental infections. However, although angina has many sub classes when looked in scientifically, generally, the term angina is commonly used to denote a sub class called angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is a serious pain that is experienced in the torso area or chest.

Symptoms of Angina

The symptoms associated with this disorder are quite difficult to distinguish, as it could range from heartburn or other kind normal chest pain to heavy heart attack. However, the good news here is that there are certain signs, which could be very much helpful in realizing the angina attack. Some people will have to face a big deal of discomfort although they are not subjected to face heavy pain. In common words, angina can be defined as burning or squeezing of torso area, torso tightening, heaviness of chest and choking sensation etc. Usually, these feelings may last not more than five minutes. However, getting an ECG is the best option to identify angina pectoris.

Looking deeper into angina, there are basically two types. The first type is called stable angina, which actually refers to symptoms demonstration after one has worked out his body with some exercises like lifting heavy weight and jogging etc. Of course, the second type is called Unstable Angina. Unstable Angina could be quite dangerous as it occurs without any kind of provocation. It is because of blood clots, which will be released from the blood vessels. In fact, angina itself is a kind of symptom of a heart disorder called myocardial ischemia. It is actually regarding the blocking, narrowing as well as tightening of the blood vessels. To be more specific, it is all about the arteries, which are busy in supplying the oxygenated blood to human heart. When the arteries are narrowed, the blood flow will be quite difficult. In fact, fat is said to be the main culprit usually causing these problems.

Treatment for Angina

The most preferred way of treating angina is aspirin. Aspirin has some blood thinning qualities, which will in turn make the blood flow easy and fast. Hence, the blood will reach all parts of human body. In addition, aspirin will also help to dissolve little blood clots, which are the reason behind angina pains. On the other hand, there are also some other treating methods like magnesium administration, which is usually recommended for mild angina. Magnesium injections are also used to treat severe angina cases. It is strictly advised to consult the family physician before going with any kind of treatment.

A Fragile Lifeline: Lessons I Learned Answering The Aids Hotline

Dial 1-800/AIDSNYC

Every Monday and Wednesday morning, promptly at 10 a.m., I leave behind

my daily life and turn to volunteering as an AIDS Hotline counselor at New York

City’s GMHC [Gay Men’s Health Crisis], the nation’s largest social service

agency for AIDS.

For the next four hours, my co-volunteers and I sit in front of a bank of

constantly-ringing telephones, talking to men, women, and teens who call in

from across the nation with urgent questions about AIDS, the ravaging disease

that has left 13.9 million people dead worldwide.

After almost 20 years, a whole generation, families are still facing the

heartache of tending the sick, while scientists continue to be confounded by

this stubborn, ravaging virus.

Although the federal government currently spends$4 billion per year on

AIDS research, and $15 billion worldwide, there is no cure in sight for the viral

infection and no vaccine available. Small wonder that the GMHC AIDS Hotline,

the nation’s first, is flooded with more than 40,000 calls each year.

Listening to callers 8 hours each week, I often think the Hotline is actually a

direct link to the soul of callers–an anonymous forum that allows each to

reveal secrets and fears that they might otherwise never discuss with anyone.

A Morning in May

This is the way it began: “Good morning, GMHC AIDS Hotline, can I help

you?”

“Yes…I have a question…[hesitantly] My son…he’s 21…and he just found

out…he’s HIV-positive [voice breaking] I’m…..alone, divorced. And I need some

help…someone to talk to…”

“Of course….happy to talk to you…it sounds like this has been devastating

for you….”

“It’s terrible. He told me two nights ago….he’s…he’s so young….I don’t

want him to die. He’s my only child….why did this have to happen?” [crying]

Her son, she explains, had sometimes neglected using condoms, convinced

he wouldn’t contract HIV infection from his female partners.

“How could he be so stupid?” she now asks angrily. “Why didn’t he know

how to protect himself? I don’t understand. What am I going to do?”

We talk for 35 minutes, and by the end of the conversation, I notice I’m

barely breathing. The distraught woman’s anguish is palpable. Her situation is

every mother’s worst nightmare.The life of her child is in jeopardy and she

feels helpless and afraid. I can’t imagine anything worse.

During the call, I do my best to employ the GMHC Hotline protocol of “active

listening,” which involves using silence, empathy and gentle probing with

open-ended questions. I’m also having my own emotional reaction to the panic

in her voice, and I’m worried about whether I’m doing enough.

Toward the end of the clal, when she exclaims: “I don’t want my baby to

die,” my heart plummets: “I know….I understand that, but there is hope,” I tell

her. I find myself on the verge of tears.

The Bad News

This mother’s story is too common. According to the Centers for Disease

Control in Atlanta, Ga., 40,000 Americans (half of them under 25) are newly

infected with the AIDS virus each year. Unprotected sex and intravenous drug

use remain the principal modes of   transmission .

“Teenagers,” notes AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor, “are being very hard hit.”

She refers to the three million adolescents who contract a sexually-transmitted

disease annually.

“Heterosexual teenage football players who are healthy and drink milk can

get it too!” says the 71-year-old actress, who has singlehandedly raised $150

million for AIDS research. “But teens are very ignorant and feel invincible. They

believe there’s an invisible shield protecting them from the virus, when it’s

actually aimed right at them.”

Taylor believes in addressing the problem head-on: “Tell your teenage son:

‘Maybe a condom doesn’t feel as good, but if it saves your life, it’s better than

being six feet under.’ Intelligence must replace random sex.”

Although a new generation of AIDS-fighting medications is prolonging the

lives of thousands, nearly half of the 900,000 people infected with HIV in the

U.S. cannot afford these drugs. Since the virus was discovered in l981, 410,800

Americans have died from AIDS-related complications, and the disease has left

13.9 million dead worldwide.

Who Calls a Hotline?

Not long ago I took a call from a 15-year-old boy living in a small town who

said he feels guilty about his sexual attraction to other boys and is scared to

discuss this with his parents. I ask him if there’s a school counselor or relative

he might talk to, but he says he’s too afraid to confide in anyone.

Being a teenager is hard enough, I thought, without the pressure of

keeping this kind of secret. I felt angry and saddened that this child can’t

comfortably discuss his feelings with his own parents.

I encourage him to call the Gay Community Center Youth Program in a

nearby city. In the meantime, I assured him that he could call our Hotline

anytime, that we’d be there for him.

This call was typical of the many we get from teenagers,whispering from

their parents’ homes, confiding their blossoming sexual feelings and concerns.

Our Hotline also receives calls from married men who phone from their offices,

worried about extramarital sexual encounters; gay men suffering side effects

from medications; mothers caring for a sick child or grieving for one lost to

AIDS; even health care professionals themselves confused and requiring

burnout support.

One particular morning, I’m struck by the number of single women who

turn to our hotline for help. At 10:15 a.m. a distraught young woman calls,

explaining that she had been dating someone “very charismatic,” after a two-

year period of sexual abstinence.

“At first we used condoms and I was taking the pill to avoid pregnancy,” she

says. But after her partner assured her he was HIV-negative, the couple began

having unprotected sex. A few months into the relationship, she recounts, his

behavior became “unpredictable,” until he finally admitted he was sleeping with

other women and was addicted to heroin. Now she has to withstand the

“terror” of waiting 3 months before getting an HIV antibody test. To help her

cope, I give her the names of three terapists in her area. The call lasts 43

minutes.

At 11:15 a.m. I take a call from a woman who is breathing heavily.

She says that four months earlier she’d had a brief affair with a limousine

driver, “not out of passion, but because I felt lonely. This was so totally unlike

me,” she continues. “I come from a traditional Orthodox Jewish family…”

Although they used condoms, and she has since tested negative for HIV, she

feels deeply ashamed, and has stopped seeing him. And because she has both

a persistent vaginal yeast infection and a rash on her neck, she’s convinced she

must be infected by HIV.

Although rashes, high fever, swollen lymph glands, heavy night sweats, sore

throat, or other flu-like symptoms may indicate HIV, they can just as easily

accompany the common cold or flu, or other type of infection. I encourage her

to seek medical help and counseling, but the calls ends on a down note. “I

must have it [AIDS],” she moans. I’m exasperated because it doesn’t sound

that way to me, yet I can’t get through to her. The call lasts 22 minutes.

It’s 11.38 a.m. when a well-spoken woman, who says she’s an attorney,

calls from her office, asking for the names of anonymous testing sites. At first

very businesslike, she calmly takes down all the information. I ask her why

she’s considering a test. Total silence. Then she begins to cry: “I….I can’t

talk….I’m sorry…you see, I have swollen lymph glands….[crying]….And my

doctor wants to rule out HIV…I feel overwhelmed…” Then, abruptly: “Where

can I send a donation?” She thanks me and hurries off the phone after just 3

minutes.

These were one-time callers, but, as in any epidemic, an element of panic

prevails, and our hotline also attracts an army of “chronic” or repeat callers

who are intensely fearful no matter how benign their risk, many revealing

continued misconceptions and paranoia about a disease that can be effectively

prevented. We do our best to help them, but often they’re impervious to

counseling.

Most poignant are calls we get from AIDS patients, phoning from their

hospital beds, attempting to navigate the exhausting labyrinth of insurance

and health care matters. One man, in hospice care, said he craved

companionship and missed the “good old days” when he was handsome and

healthy.

That call was a tough one for me as just the day before a close friend of

mine, Joe, who had battled HIV for 16 years, had finally succumbed. Although

at the end Joe was a mere skeleton, he was nonetheless at peace. “I’ve done

what I wanted to,” he told me on our last visit. An avid gardener, he insisted

on a final trip to his country house to see his garden one last time. For a

moment the caller’s reality and the memory of my deceased friend blurred in

my mind and I was overcome. Time for a break.

Face to Face

One of the most and unique services GMHC offers is called “A-Team

Counseling,” a one-time, in-person session that’s free and anonymous.

Recently, I was on an A-Team counselling a 26-year-old HIV-infected

mother from the Midwest. She had traveled to Manhattan by bus to find her

estranged boyfriend, who, she recounted tearfully, had kidnapped her 7-year-

old son. Disheveled, painfully thin, the woman was a disturbing sight. She’s

learned that the two had already returned home where the boyfriend was, and

the child put in his grandmother’s custory. custody of his grandmother.

Meanwhile she’d run out of money for the return trip, been refused a loan by

her family, lost her ID, gone hungry and spent two nights on the street.

Fortunately, this woman was registered at a local AIDS organization in her

town. I telephoned her caseworker and persuaded him to buy her a one-way

Greyhound bus ticket for $115.00. I also gave her subway tokens, a basket of

food, juice and coffee. Smiling shyly, she thanked me for caring.

Shaking hands good-bye with this woman was a bittersweet farewell. What

will happen to her? I wondered will her health deteriorate or improve? Will she

gain control of her life and be able to provide for her son? I’ll never know. One

thing I do know: She’d appeared with the sorrow of a difficult life in her eyes,

but when she left, she was elated at the thought of being reunited with her

child. It seems that with faith and a helping hand, almost anything is possible.

* * * * *

10 BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AIDS AND HIV

(This list would probably be most effective when presented in a vertical chart,

the misconception on the left, the correct answer on the right.)

1)The AIDS virus can be transmitted through saliva, sweat, tears, urine or feces;

also through deep kissing.

1) HIV can ONLY be transmitted through four bodily fluids: blood, semen,

vaginal secretions and breast milk–and can also be transmitted from a mother

to her child before birth, during birth, or while breast feeding. The exchange

of saliva through kissing is no-risk, unless the saliva has blood in it and both

you and your partner are bleeding in the mouth simultaneously.

2) HIV may also be transmitted through casual contact with an infected person.

2) You can’t get infected from toilet seats, phones or water fountains. The virus

can’t be transmitted in the air through sneezing or coughing. You can’t get

HIV from sharing utensils or food or from touching, or hugging. HIV dies after

being exposed to the air. Therefore, touching dried blood on a shaving blade, a

toothbrush or a bathroom counter top is no risk. In any case, unbroken skin is

impermeable, like a rubber raincoat, and cannot absorb the virus whether it’s

alive or dead.

Blood transfusions and medical procedures in the U.S. are safe. Giving blood is

completely risk-free. The chance of getting HIV from dentists or other health

care providers is too low even to measure.You can’t get it from mosquitoes or

other insect or animal bites.

3) Oral sex is just as risky as vaginal or anal intercourse.

3) Although not 100% risk-free, oral sex is considered a low-risk

activity,except if: you have bleeding gums, recent dental work, open sores such

as a herpes lesion, any cut, blister, or burn in the mouth, or if you’ve just

brushed or flossed your teeth. Also, oral sex with an infected woman is riskier

if she is having her period, since menstrual blood can contain HIV. Overall,

latex barriers, (such as condoms or dental dams) used during oral sex reduce

the  transmission  of not just HIV, but other sexual transmitted diseases.

4) Animal skin, latex and polyurethane condoms are all equally effective in

preventing HIV infection and you can use ANY lubrication on the condom

desired.

4)Only latex or polyurethane condoms may be used, as HIV can pass through

an animal skin condom. With latex condoms, only water-based lubricants–like

K-Y jelly or H-R jelly–may be used. No lubricants with oil, alcohol, or grease

are safe.Petroleum jelly,Vaseline, Crisco, mineral oil, baby oil, massage oil,

butter and most hand creams can weaken the condom and cause it to split.

However, with polyurethane condoms, petroleum-based lubricants can be

used.

5) Women have to rely on men using condoms during intercourse to protect

themselves against HIV.

5) Women may employ the “female condom,” a plastic sheath that can be

inserted in their vaginas and used for protection against HIV. It can be inserted

up to 8 hours before sex, has rings at both ends to hold it in place and can be

lubricated with oil-based lubricants that stay wet longer. In addition, women

can carry conventional condoms for their male partners’ use.

6) If a woman is HIV-positive, her offspring will automatically be born infected

with HIV.

6) With no medical treatment taken, about 25% of HIV-positive women will

give birth to infants who are also infected. However, the use of anti-HIV

medications has resulted in a significant decrease of mother-to-child

 transmission  of HIV in utero and during delivery to less than 5%. (NYT 10/19/

99].

7) AIDS is fundamentally a gay disease contracted by white males.

7) Recent data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

indicate that young gay Hispanic and African-American men and heterosexual

women are the fastest growing segment of the population being infected with

HIV. Women now account for 43% of all HIV infected people over age 15. [NYT

11/24/98] African-American and Hispanic women account for more than 76%

of AIDS cases among women in the U.S.

8) Heterosexual men are not really at risk for contracting HIV, even if they

don’t use condoms.

8) The inside opening of the penis is composed of highly-absorbent, sponge-

like mucous membrane tissues, which can provide a route for HIV-infected

vaginal secretions or blood to enter the bloodstream. Proper condom use

protects men from infection.

9) The AIDS epidemic is largely over because new AIDS medications like

protease inhibitors and others have turned AIDS into a chronic, not a terminal

disease.

9) In the U.S., AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death for people 25-44 years

old. Roughly half of all those infected with HIV in the U.S. are not receiving any

medications or medical care. AIDS now kills more people worldwide than any

other infection, including malaria and tuberculosis.[NYT 11/24/98] In 1998

alone, 2.5 million people died of AIDS worldwide. 13.9 million people have

died since the virus was discovered in 1981.

10) If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, you can

take an HIV antibody test 2 weeks later and get an accurate result.

10) The standard “window” or waiting period remains a full 3 months. However,

because the widely-used HIV antibody tests (The ELISA and Western Blot) have

become so sensitive, about 95% of people will procure an accurate result 4-6

weeks after a possible exposure to the virus.

* * * *

[Note:The information stated above was reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr.

Todd J. Yancey, an infectious disease specialist practicing in New York City and

affiliated with New York Presbyterian Hospital, NY, Cornell Campus.]

THE CHILD LIFE PROGRAM

“Mommy takes a lot of medicine and Mommy’s really tired sometimes and she

can’t take you to the park as much as she used to. It’s not that I don’t love

you…and that I don’t want to…but Uncle Jack’s going to take you to the park

today.” –A mother living with AIDS, a client at GMHC, talking to her 6-year-

old son.

In New York City alone, 28,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS since the

epidemic began [NYT 12/13/98]

GMHC’s unique Child Life Program serves HIV-infected parents and their

children–who may, or may not, be infected with the virus. “We help families

strengthen their ability to cope, relieve the pressure of parenting with support

services, and teach parents how to talk to their kids,” says Child Life Program

Coordinator Alison Ferst. “Unfortunately, should a parent or child be sick

enough to be facing death, we also help them walk through it with grace and

dignity—as opposed to feeling alone, isolated and frightened.

“We also encourage sick parents to make stable legal plans for their

children who may be left behind,” adds Ferst, “and to have disclosure

conversations with the children in advance, so you don’t have a child standing

at her mother’s funeral, not sure where she’s going next.”

When an HIV-infected Mom arrives at GMHC to have lunch, attend a support

group, consult with a lawyer, or access the acupuncture clinic, she can leave

her children in a spacious playroom, decorated with fanciful murals and a giant

tree hand-painted by the famed children’s story writer and illustrator, Maurice

Sendak, who donated his art. [see photos] The program provides: child-

sitting, nutrition services, a food pantry, art and magic classes, and

recreational trips–church picnics, seasonal apple-pumpkin picking,

amusement parks, zoos, museums, beaches. Also: homework help sessions,

holiday parties, hospital visits, summer sports and weekly support groups for

HIV- positive parents and their HIV-negative children.

This unique program also features: Cooking classes for kids who sometimes

prepare meals for sick parents; Pediatric Buddies, GMHC adult volunteers who

play with sick children and also assist with family chores; Fun With Feelings

Support Group, Friday Evening Family Time, Birthday parties, and a Holiday Gift

Drive.

“Children infected or affected by AIDS,” concludes Ferst, “want to be like

other kids: They want to play with their friends, want to know that someone

will always take care of them, want to know they’re not alone, and often

wonder if it’s their fault when Mom or Dad gets sick.” These children need a

helping hand and any of us can provide one.

Role of Music in Human Life

Music is passion

Music is energy

Music is joy

Music is creativity

Music is eternal

Music is love

Music is soul

Music is life

Music is one of the greatest creations of human kind in the course of history. It is creativity in a pure and undiluted form and format. Music plays a vital role in our daily life. It is a way of expressing our feelings and emotions. Music is a way to escape life, which gives us relief in pain and helps us to reduce the stress of the daily routine. It helps us to calm down, an even excites us in the moment of joy. Moreover, it enriches the mind and gives us self confidence.

Music surrounds our lives at different moments of lives, whether we hear it on the radio, on television, from our car and home stereos. Different kinds of music are appropriate for different occasions. We come across it in the mellifluous tunes of a classical concert or in the devotional strains of a bhajan, the wedding band, or the reaper in the fields breaking into song to express the joys of life. Even warbling in the bathroom gives us a happy start to the day. Music has a very powerful therapeutic effect on the human psyche. It has always been part of our association with specific emotions, and those emotions themselves have given rise to great music.

The origins of Indian music can be traced back to the chanting of the Sama Veda nearly 4,000 years ago. The primacy of the voice, and the association of musical sound with prayer, were thus established early in the history of Indian music. Today, music is available for us in different forms and the choice for music varies from person to person just as the reading choices vary from one another. There is folk music, classical music, devotional music, instrumental, jazz, rock music, pop music, hindi movie songs and many more.

In the modern world, Music has gained an honourable designation of ‘HEALING WITHOUT MEDICINE’. Doctors feel that music therapy has been helping them in treating many people with problems like dementia, dyslexia depression and trauma.” Many children with learning disability and poor co-ordination have been able to learn, and respond to set pieces of music. Many people with genetic disability have found a new light in the form of music.

Dance critic Ashish Khokar cites an experiment as proof: “Music is produced from sound, and sound affects our sense perception in many ways. Even fish in an aquarium were once made to listen to different kinds of music and it was found that their movements corresponded with the beat of the music. Mind you, fish do not hear, they only felt the vibrations of the sound through water. So you can imagine what a profound effect sound and music might have on the human mind.”

Anand Avinash, founder of the Neuro Linguistic Consciousness workshop who has researched music therapy says,”the mystics and saints from ancient to modern times have shown how music can kindle the higher centers of the mind and enhance quality of life.” Mantras, or chants used in the West, repeated monotonously, help the mind to achieve a sense of balance. A combination of the sounds in Sanskrit mantras produce certain positive vibrations and elevate the mind to a higher lever of consciousness.

We all know that meditation cleanses the system of its negative energies and vibrations. And music is a powerful aid to meditation. In many meditation workshops, music is used to make people more aware of their moods and feelings. People are made to lie down and empty their minds and then listen to the music which is systematically changed so that they can fit through different emotions and state of consciousness.

Many people also believe that any music you respond to positively will work for you, regardless of its content. Thus, even pop music might work wonders for you.

Music affects all of us in some way or the other. It also is the most common interest of many people. People who love music, listen to it while traveling, reading, meditation, walking, some even have soft music while working in their busy routine. It helps them to relax and escape from the stress of our day-to-day lives. It can transport us to another time or place and it is a great feeling of seeing or doing or experiencing something different. People have special music corner for themselves and some people give importance to listening in silence and some people love to read with light music and even some people love listening to music before sleeping. Many people love listening to music in bathroom because they feel it is one of the few rooms in the home where privacy is routinely respected. Some people also love to sing in the bathroom and are called ‘bathroom singers’. Music has now become a part of our life as it serves different purposes for each one of us.

  • It serves as an entertainment tool. For instance, in an occasion or event, music plays a vital role that makes the event to be lively for the people. Similarly, it creates cordial relationship among the people.
  • Moreover, it serves as a tool for corrective measure. Music tell the people on the habit that is uncultured so that such behavior can be for better. Furthermore, it is an agent that is used to educate people. Music can easily convey message to the friends and enemies.
  • It serves as tool for settling dispute between two or more people. It often helps to put an end to disagreements after listening to related meaningful songs. Music is played for the group to show harmony among them.
  • Music also serves as a source of income to human life. It is a profession of particular classes of people like lyricist, playback singers, music directors, musicians, musical instrument players, djs etc.
  • Lastly, music serves as a message or symbol that indicates the occurrence that is going on in a particular place or event. For instance, If bad occurrence happen in a particular place the type of music played their will show the audience or listens what happened in that event. The type of music played will justify to the listeners what actually going on there.

The Motorcycle

A motorcycle is a single-track, engine-powered, two-wheeled motor vehicle. It varies considerably, depending on the purpose for which it is designed, such as sports and racing, long distance travel or off-road conditions. The first motorcycle was invented by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Germany, in 1885. This first petroleum fueled motorcycle was named after Petroleum Reitwagen. It was designed as an expedient test bed for their new engines. This motorcycle was not practical as a safety bicycle, because its steering was zero degrees axis angle with no fork offset.

The construction of a motorcycle should be done in a way that can maximize performance for the lowest cost. Motorcycles now are usually made of telescopic forks, steel, aluminum frames which hold the front wheels and disc brakes. Power engines typically consist of four cylinders and, less commonly, up to eight cylinders, coupled with a manual five or six speed sequential transmission, which drives the swing arm mounted rear wheel by a chain, driveshaft or belt. You can see the speed meter in the middle of the steering and the main headlight in front of motorcycle. The engine is fixed between both wheels and below the seat of the driver. The silencer is usually fixed on right side. There are three types of motorcycles, dual, street and off-road purpose. Dual-purpose bikes are made to go off road and are comfortable on the street as well. Street bikes are sports bikes and scooter. Off-road motorcycles are used in motor-cross and dirt-oriented racing classes.

Motorcycles are one of the most affordable vehicles for transportation all over the world. There are around two-hundred million motorcycles worldwide, and most are used in Asia and the United States. As fuel prices increasing day-by-day, car owners are now moving themselves to use motorcycles instead, because they consume less fuel as compared to heavy vehicles. Motorcycles are usually two-seated vehicles, with one driver and one person sitting behind the driver. Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Bajaj are some of the most famous companies. Motorcycles are available in different powers, 70cc to 250cc. The 125cc to 250cc motorcycles are considered as heavy bikes, which commonly use two silencers, while others have only one.

Motorcycle fuel consumption varies in different models. Which power engine is used on a bike also depends on engine displacement and riding style. In developing countries, 100cc to 200cc motorcycles show a good fuel economy. An Indian company, Bajaj, offers a superior fuel economy model, the XCD125, which consumes one liter of petrol for 100Km. Now, companies have also introduced electric motorcycles, which are nearly silent, zero emission, electric-motor-driven vehicles. However, this technology is under development, because electric motorcycles have less mileage and require a high cost on batteries.

One must use some safety precautions while riding a motorcycle, because it has a high rate of accidents, as compared to automobiles. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System showed that motorcycles are involved in dangerous accidents four times more often than cars and other heavy vehicles. Proper training must be gained before riding any kind of motorcycle. Every country should create a campaign to raise awareness about motorcycle accidents. In South Africa, the Think Bike Campaign has increased motorcycle safety and the awareness of motorcycle handling on the roads.

Best Investment Ideas and Best Safe Investments for 2012

Here we list some of the best investment ideas and tackle the challenge of finding the best safe investments for 2012. What might appear to be one of the best investment ideas to the uninformed could turn out to be one of the worst.

Looking at the big picture for investment ideas in 2012, moderation in asset allocation and a balanced investment portfolio will be the most basic key to success. There are 4 asset classes, and average investors need to spread their money across at least the first three to keep their overall portfolio risk moderate. The 4 categories in asset allocation are: safe investments, bonds, stocks and alternative investments like gold and real estate (optional). Asset allocation can be simplified, because there are mutual funds available to average investors that represent each of the 4 asset classes. Now let’s get more specific about the best investment ideas for 2012 starting with safe investments.

Safe investments earn interest and do not fluctuate in price. You will need to look outside of mutual funds in 2012 to find the best safe investments because record low interest rates have taken yields on money market securities (and hence money market funds) down to just about zero. One of the best investment ideas if you have an account with a discount broker or major mutual fund company is to shop for one-year CDs paying higher rates if you can’t get competitive rates from your local bank. Do not tie your money up for longer periods just to earn a little more interest. One of these days interest rates will go back up and you will be locked in at a lower rate and face penalty charges if you cash in early.

Finding the best safe investments will be truly challenging in 2012, but here are some more investment ideas. If you are in a retirement plan like a 401k that has a fixed or stable account option do not overlook it. You can often get a much higher interest rate there (maybe 4% to 5%) than anywhere else outside of your retirement plan. If you own an older retirement annuity or universal life insurance policy, it might have a fixed account you can add money to that is guaranteed to never pay less than 3% or 4%. Remember, truly safe investments like U.S. Treasury bills and bank money market and savings accounts are paying WAY LESS than 1%!

Over the past 30 years bonds and bond funds have become a favorite with investors because they have been consistent performers and returned on average about 10% per year… basically about equal to what stocks have returned, but with considerably less risk. Many investors have fallen in love with their bonds funds and consider them to be among the world’s best safe investments. Bond funds are NOT safe investments. They have performed well since 1981 (when interest rates and inflation were at record highs) for one primary reason. Both inflation and interest rates have been falling for 30 years, which has sent bond prices higher. Loading up on bond funds now is NOT one of the best investment ideas for 2012. In fact, it is one of the worst investment ideas.

When interest rates and/or inflation turn around and head upward bond funds, especially those that hold long-term bond issues, will be losers. That’s how bonds work. One of the very best investment ideas for 2012 is to sell your long-term bond funds if you own any, and switch to funds holding bonds with average maturities of about five years. These are called intermediate-term bond funds; and average investors should have some money invested here as part of their asset allocation strategy to add balance to their investment portfolio. These are not truly safe investments, but they are much safer than long-term funds.

My best investment ideas in the stock department focus on stock funds. Do not go heavily into the more aggressive funds that invest primarily in growth and/or small company stocks. These pay little if anything in dividend income and tend to be more risky and volatile than the average stock fund. Go with funds that invest in high quality large-company stocks with excellent dividend paying histories. Look for funds that are paying 2% or more in dividends. One of the best investment ideas for 2012 and beyond: invest in no-load funds with low yearly expenses. No-load means no sales charges, and low expenses mean higher net returns to the investor.

Alternative investments include the likes of real estate, gold and other precious metals, natural resources, commodities, foreign investments and so on. One of the best investment ideas for managing a truly balanced investment portfolio is to include this fourth asset class as well. The simplest way for the average investor to add these alternatives to their portfolio is with mutual funds that specialize in these areas or sectors. My best investment ideas here: don’t go heavily into any one area, and don’t chase after a sector (like gold) just because it’s hot. Real estate and natural resources funds would be my picks as two of the best investment ideas in the alternative investments asset class.

Moderation and diversification across the asset classes will be the key to asset allocation in 2012. I have also listed some specific best investment ideas for keeping the average investor in the game and out of serious trouble should the investment scene turn ugly. Above all else memorize this: long-term bond funds are not among the best safe investments for 2012. They are not safe investments, period.

Flu Virus Research

The critical part in the research is to understand how influenza virus spread and mutate and is the key to preventing pandemics by discovering preventive, diagnostic and treatment methods.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), influenza viruses that occur in animals can infect humans, and later develop to pandemic strains. Several research areas have been outlined by the WHO relating to the animal/human influenza interface that could have a profound impact on protecting human being.

The Working Group of WHO on Influenza Research at the Animal/Human Interface was setup in 2005 to encourage basic studies into animal influenza viruses, with the aim to find out the cause the viruses can infect people.

ON-GOING STUDIES

Studies are on-going on avian influenza viruses, particularly H5N1. Researchers aim to discover the prevalence of avian influenza viruses in domestic animals and birds, understand the molecular basis of   transmission  of viruses from animals to people, assess the role of migratory birds in the  transmission  of the viruses, and evaluate the human immune response to infection with avian influenza viruses.

Studies are also being done on H1N1, a novel strain which is the causative factor of the current influenza A pandemic and researchers succeeded developed a vaccine which approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

PUTTING VACCINES TO THE TEST

The scientists from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) play an important role and work in collaboration with medical research institutions worldwide to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat seasonal and pandemic influenzas, including influenza A (H1N1).

The trial is being conducted through the NIAID-funded national network of Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs). Safety data will be collected and assessed continuously throughout the trial by an independent safety monitoring committee and investigators.

STUDYING THE NATURE OF THE FLU VIRUS

Other than vaccine research, NIAID scientists are also investigating the basic biology of influenza. The data collected will assist in designing diagnostics that are more accurate and faster, cost-effective and portable. NIAID is also investigating host immune responses to the virus in animal models and people, and studying influenza epidemiology.

For treatment, NIAID supports research being conducted to develop new and effective drug combinations and examine the mechanisms behind emerging drug resistance. This effort is supported by innovative new technologies to design drugs that target specific cellular processes and viral proteins.

SUVs Meet High End Luxury (And Are Kind to Your Wallet)

Sport Utility Vehicles (or SUVs) have become increasingly popular over the last several years, with more and more manufacturers adding their versions to the market. With their ability to function well as both on and off-road vehicles, large storage space, ability to fit several passengers as well as towing abilities, SUVs serve as a very practical solution for much of the automobile buying market. Quality SUVs also handle well, feeling much more like driving a car than a massive truck with many of the same benefits.

While SUVs have always held a certain authority and status due to their size, they are often placed in a separate, “practical” category from the truly high end luxury cars. Fortunately, a few upper-echelon manufacturers have released their own versions of the SUV, blurring the lines between practicality, performance, style, and luxury interior. These include:

– BMW X5

– Lexus GX

– Mercedes G and M classes

– Audi Q7

– Porsche Cayenne.

The BMW X5 Series is a mid-size SUV in the market since 1999. Features include all wheel drive, and V8 engines with gasoline inline. E53 and E70 are the two generations of the model. The E53 model has many features of Landrover. The E70 model is more of a Sports Activity Vehicle. Other luxuries such as high pressure headlight washers, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, leather seats, automatic climate control, automatic light control, and sun roof add to the comfort and luxury of the vehicle.

The Lexus GX can seat up to 8 passengers. It has many great features including a welded steel body, center locking permanent 4 wheel drive, built in mudguards, illuminated running boards, electronic 5-speed automatic   transmission , and the innovative, unparalleled luxury interior and amenities customary in all Lexus models. Models from 2004 and up feature additional safety modifications like tire pressure monitoring, roll-sensing, side curtain airbags, and a Dynamic Suspension System. Like most Lexus models, the GX has won several awards: 4 wheeler of the year, highest ranked luxury SUV for quality, and best resale value from sources like 4×4 Magazine, J.D Power and Associates, and Kelley Blue Book.

The Mercedes G-Class is a four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle launched in 1979, originally created for military use with a jeep-like look. The three generations of the vehicle are W460, W461, and W463, and it is hailed for its long lifespan and durability as well as off-road performance. The interior of the car is made of wood or leather. The automatic  transmission , power steering, airbag, central locking, air conditioning, engine pre-heater, electric windows, and heated seats really add to the sense of luxury.

The M-Class by Mercedes is a mid-size SUV introduced in the market in 1997, featuring stability control which helps in bringing the vehicle to a halt in case of emergency. Excellent features such as seven speed automatic  transmission , Active Curve illuminating Bi-Xenon headlights, 4-valve engines, and air suspension which can be adjusted are major attractions of the vehicle. The cars also use BlueTec Diesel engine for controlling diesel gas emissions. New front headlights, exterior mirrors, redesigned front grille, an improved interior, and front and rear bumpers add to the beauty of the car. The M class won the “Truck of the Year” in 1998 awarded by Motor Trend magazine. Also it was named “Best New Sports Utility Vehicle” in the year 2006 during Canadian Car of the Year Awards.

The Porsche Cayenne is a five-seat mid size luxury sports utility vehicle launched in 2002 with two generations. The engines in the models introduced from 2008 have direct injection technology. The main features of the car are height adjustable off-road suspension, slanted rear window, remodeled dashboard, taillights near the tailgate, lighter weight due to the usage of aluminum, and fuel efficiency. Owners love the climate control, cruise control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, power sunroof, radio control, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Features such as a rear view camera, memory system, navigation system, sound system, climate control, and CD changer make the car an excellent marriage of luxury and SUV performance.

Price of course is always an issue, but these world class SUVs can be found online at surprisingly good deals. At the time of this writing, HighEndAutoAuctions.com has multiple BMW X5s under $15,000, several Cayennes under $20,000, and several steals on each of the other models. No matter which source you choose to purchase from, these models are sure to satisfy both your practical needs and luxury desires.

Motorcycle Automatic Transmission – The Top 3

Motorcycle enthusiasts love a wild goose chase such as the famously beloved, Bigfoot. Many motorcyclists fail to believe that there is actual automatic transmission motorcycles that exist. This is not true because the knowledge isn’t out there. This is actually true because of there just aren’t to many readily available. The top three automatic transmission motorcycles really exist and the proof is found by reading on.

3. The Honda DN-01

The Honda DN-01 was introduced in 2005 as a cruiser motorcycle. This is one of the first of very few automatic transmission motorcycles ever released. The bike didn’t actually make it on showroom floors until 2008-2009. This bike is so powerful to the consumer that it is still being offered in shops as of early 2011. Missing you chance to check out the Honda DN-01 is just wrong. The Honda DN-01 is just one of those bikes you can’t miss a chance to try out for yourself.

2. The Aprilia Mana 850

The Aprilia Mana is a newer automatic transmission motorcycle that was just released last year. This bike is fast and very powerful. The Aprilia Mana 850 is a sleek sports bike that offers highlights from leather to chrome and everything in between. There is nothing better than a quick bike with the backing of being an automatic transmission motorcycle. The Aprilia Mana 800 makes its way to this top three list for being a solid bike with an even nicer ride.

1. The Honda CB750

The Honda CB750 has had many models in its series between 1969-2003. The Honda CB750 automatic transmission models is better known as the Honda CB750 Hondamatic. This model is one of a kind that has a coil ignition start and a solid inline four stroke SOHC air cooled engine. The only downfall to this model was the fact that the gear changing was not automatic. Instead, each gear was chosen by a foot-controlled hydraulic valve. This bike only sold in the North American market but can now be found all over the world.