Omega 3 Foods: Four Great Recipes

Omega 3 fatty acids are critical to brain health. Our brains are made up primarily of fat and much of that fat is of the Omega 3 variety. Omega 3 fatty acids are critical to health health as well and help us fight inflammation. We should incorporate these foods into our diets. We provide quick recipe ideas for four foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids.

The United States Department of Agriculture compiles a database of the nutrient content of foods, including Omega 3 fatty acids. At the top of the USDA list are the following foods:

  • Salmon
  • Cisco
  • Herring
  • Sardine
  • Anchovy
  • Sablefish
  • Oyster
  • Whitefish
  • Tuna
  • Halibut

Fish and seafood are abundant sources of Omega 3 fatty acid and should be a key part of our diet. Incorporate a few of the simple recipes below.

Tuna or Salmon Salad
A long-time favorite for convenience and flavor, the tuna sandwich includes Omega 3 fatty acids as well. Make salmon salad as you would tuna: open the can of salmon (remove the larger bones, a factor that does not come into play with the tuna), put the salmon in a bowl and separate it as you do with tuna. Add mayonnaise to taste and finely chopped dill pickle and onion if desired. Eat with crackers, as a sandwich, or enjoy on top of a bed of green lettuce.

Toasted Sardine Canapes
Start with finger-sized pieces of stale bread and have them ready to toast. For each piece of bread, prepare a sardine. Dip a sardine in melted butter and then role it in a mixture of equal parts cooked ham finely chopped, fine bread crumbs, and grated cheese. Place the sardine on the toast and broil until very hot. Serve garnished with parsley.

Baked Oysters
Arrange 24 oysters on the half shell on rock salt in a dripping pan and bake at 350 degrees until the edges begin to curl.

Cover the oysters in a sauce made with three tablespoons of melted butter mixed with one tablespoon lemon juice, a few drops of Tabasco sauce, one teaspoon of fresh copped parsley, and paprika to taste.

Broiled Halibut
Brush a slide of halibut with melted butter. Broil until brown on one side, turn and brown on the other side. At the same time, broil green peppers, halved with seeds removed. Remove to a hot platter and surround with potato balls and spread with piquante butter.

For the piquante butter, cream four tablespoons of butter and add one tablespoon of chopped pickle, one teaspoon of chopped parsley, granulated onion, one-half tablespoon of lemon juice, and a splash of cayenne.

Omega 3s Over the Life Cycle
Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for a developing baby. As the brain is forming, Omega 3s are a key building block. As we age, diseases of the brain are associated with low levels of Omega 3. From birth until death, this is a critical nutrient for our health. We must seek to add more Omega 3-rich recipes to our diet.

An American Royal Hotel Offers Access to World’s Best Agricultural Celebration

No one does a celebration quite like Kansas City, and American Royal is the city’s three-month celebration of agriculture and the cowboy culture. With so much to see and do, you should consider staying at a fine American Royal hotel so you can enjoy several days of fun. Each of the host hotels is just minutes from Kemper Arena and the legendary stockyards, two areas sponsoring a multitude of Royal events.

A parade in late September kicks off the event and draws millions of visitors to Kansas City, but the fun continues for weeks with rodeos, horse shows, auctions and a variety of dining experiences guaranteeing fun for the adults. Families will also find plenty of excitement for the kids with petting zoos, children’s rodeo events and educational and exploration booths set up to teach youngsters all there is to know about agriculture, livestock and the great American West. Also, concerts provide great music and the opportunity to dance a bit in a variety of settings from come-as-you-are casual to black tie elegance.

American Royal Dining Adventures

Some of the best events at American Royal involve food. On October 1-4, the world’s largest barbeque contest takes up twenty acres of the Stockyards District. Over five hundred barbeque experts from around the world gather to compete in four competitions to earn the right to call themselves American Royal Barbeque Champions. An American Royal hotel will be the perfect place to unwind after sampling miles of barbeque beef, pork or lamb. So be sure to book a room where you can relax and take a nap between lunch and dinner. There’s no way to get through all of the barbeque stands in one meal!

If you’re interested in a gentleman’s night out with traditional top shelf drinks and dining, consider Tablesteaks. This exclusive men’s only evening features the finest whiskeys and cigars as a lead-in to a dinner of Kansas City’s finest steaks. You’ll enjoy an evening learning the secrets of fine whiskey and cigars with the leaders of American Royal while contributing to their annual scholarship fund.

For the ultimate in drinking and dining pleasure, book a room at an American Royal hotel for the weekend of the annual Black Tie and Tails Finale on November 21. You’ll want to stay late and enjoy the final night’s outstanding celebration including a black tie buffet dinner and cocktails followed by the final rodeo of the American Royal’s 2009 season. After the rodeo, a beautiful candlelight dessert and coffee bar will end the evening on a gracious note.

Bring the Children to American Royal

If you’re looking for family fun, the American Royal has a day set aside just for you. Family Fun Day is October 24, and you’ll be busy from sun-up to bedtime with activities for all ages. Rodeo University will give every little cow poke the opportunity to learn a little bit about roping and riding. Follow this up with a trip to one of the best petting zoos in the west.

Hands-on activities and demonstrations at the ADM World of Agriculture will give your children a new appreciation for all that our agricultural families do for us. The Community Stage will feature lots of music and entertainment all day long, and you can drop by the Western Marketplace for everything from jewelry to cowboy boots. One of the most anticipated exhibits each year is the K-State piglet birthing clinic, sure to elicit squeals of delight.

Pure Western Fun

Of course, one of the most popular features of American Royal is the rodeo and other competitions. Whether you love barrel racing or bronco busting, there’s always plenty of excitement and friendly competition. This year you’ll want to stay at least three or four days so you can catch as much of the action as you can.

The ultimate event is the official American Royal Pro Rodeo, running October 22-24, with over $150,000 in prize money. Bull Riding is featured on October 31 and November 1, with Women’s Barrel Racing running November 5 through the 8. The Youth Rodeo Invitational from October 19-24 features the best student rodeo participants from across the country in events like bronco busting, barrel racing and mutton busting for the youngest cowboys and cowgirls.

With so much to see and do at American Royal 2009, you can’t simply come for the day. Plan on staying for at least a long weekend, and if you really want to soak up the atmosphere, plan on making a week of it. Luxurious accommodations are waiting at an American Royal hotel to guarantee you’ll be right at home in Kansas City.

Carp, Ontario – Rich Military History, Agriculture and Drive-In Bingo

Unofficially boasting the second highest UFO sightings behind Roswell. Home to Canada’s largest nuclear bunker! On again, off again, Carp is once again host to the annual Ottawa Air Show! Annual destination for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast. A location for a Tom Clancy movie shoot staring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman.

Intrigued? Well you should be! The Historic Village of Carp has nothing to do with the fish by the same name. The seemingly sleepy rural community sits on the northwestern fringe of the city of Ottawa – just a bit ‘up the valley’ as they say in the (Ottawa) Valley. This small village, although predominantly a farming community, has some of Canada’s defined history running through its veins.

The [debatable] secret building of the four-storey nuclear fallout Diefenbunker, was a massive Federal Government construction project completed in 1961. Now part of Canadian Cold War history, a tour through this concert and steel underground fortress will stimulate your senses with the intrigue of espionage, spies and covert operations. Come prepared to walk up and down stairs.

Carp, in the 1960s and 70s, was noted for the unusual number of UFO sightings. This is not surprising, since the this military bunker was a military commissioned, secure defense communications installation. Department of National Defense (DND) personnel would cycle through a tour-of-duty for up to three months inside this bunker facility.

For about 40 glorious seconds in the Tom Clancy suspense movie “The Sum of all Fears”, the Diefenbunker was Mt. Weather, Virginia, USA. The inclined tunnel leading to the huge steel-vault-like doors and locations inside the complex were used as a backdrop for the movie, scripted around a nuclear attack on America.

Nice being picked by Hollywood, but the real enticement to visit this rural Ottawa Village is its local character. Rooted in agriculture, adds that ‘country fair’ feel when in June, the Carp Airport hosts the Ottawa Air Show and again in August, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA Chapter 245 ) fly-in breakfast. Both of these Aviation spectacles boast aerial displays, vintage and modern airplanes and always a taste of aerial hot-doggin’. Although hosted on a smaller scale, rivals the big heart and excitement of the Abbotsford BC International Air Show.

It’s all morning fly-in action surrounding the Annual EAA Chapter 245 fly-in breakfast. Sometimes landing back-to-back the pilots, in their kit-built aircraft, circle, land and taxi to designated parking spots. Over 50 to 60 planes are flown in during this much anticipated event. Pilots eat a hearty breakfast, fuss over their aircraft, catch up on news from other pilots, and some then take off into the wild blue yonder. Others, like August Lehmann, veteran pilot of 49 years, flew in from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to attend the annual EAA Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast. Mr. Lehmann, who flew his custom made 2005 Cessna 230 H.P. Cyclone at an average speed of 130 mph, took the opportunity to visit with friends and relatives along his flight path to Carp, Ontario.

One plane that draws a lot of up-close attention is the prop-version replica kit of the Canadian Snowbird Team CT-114 Tutor jet, right down to the paint. One bi-plane had vintage enthusiasts crowding around for a closer look. Wow! Beautifully lacquered wood throughout the cockpit and on the wings. Lots of photo opportunities everywhere you turned. It was hard for shutterbugs to keep up.

It may start with the Carp Airport, but its charm doesn’t stop there. It has a few more unique long-standing attractions:

1) Home to Canada’s longest running drive-in Bingo as highlighted on the CBC Show ‘On The Road Again’ with Wayne Ronstad. Started in 1954 and still going strong!

2) Over 142 years of the Carp Fair, held during the last weekend in September!

3) Incredible sunsets and easy access to some of the best Snowmobiling and ATV trails in Canada!

Enough said! C’mon over! Chat with the locals. Bring your family and friends for a visit to one of Ottawa Valley’s gems.

Check out additional images of Carp Air Shows.

Autonomous Agricultural Systems using Artificial Intelligence

Currently farmers have many tools such as GPS tractors, state-of-the-art combines and self-loading, bailing and packaging systems. In the future farmer John will have autonomous agricultural equipment systems which use artificial intelligence.

Farmer John will merely say; “go check on the irrigation system and make sure the flow rates or 120 gallons per minute, if not adjust them accordingly and then check the east end of the property to make sure it is not flooded, if it is adjust the furrows.”

Sells easy enough doesn’t, sure it does? In fact large corporate farmers will need to maintain such equipment to ensure maximum efficiency. This is not all too different than the robotic factories that now build our cars. Robotic systems using artificial intelligence will be used in those businesses that are insured a strong return on investment in using such equipment.

Today with automatic lawnmowers, automatic pool sweeps and robotic in-home vacuum cleaners, it is obvious where this trend is leading. Currently DARPA has contracted with a company to build autonomous robotic striker vehicles. The commander will simply say; go find the enemy and destroy them. Such a future is in the works, and we all know that government research and military innovation finds its way into the private sector through transfer technologies within four to five years of its use in the military. So, consider this in 2006.

Utilization of Foreign Investments in Agriculture of China

As a very important role of world economy, China has made a tremendous achievement of utilizing foreign investment since the reform and opening up. China’s agriculture began to utilize foreign investment in the end of 70’s, when the reform and opening up just started. Agriculture is one of the earliest industries to utilize foreign investments. The new government has been paying unprecedented attention to agriculture due to its strategic position in the development of economy in China. Then Documents about agriculture has been issued again by the authorities in 2005. Solving the problems facing agriculture, rural areas and farmers has been the most important task for the government. Therefore, under the background that more and more attention has been paid to agriculture, it has both theoretical and practical significance to study how to expand, introduce and utilize foreign-investment effectively and efficiently to promote agricultural modernization, industrialization and internationalization.

This article is composed of four parts to discuss the central topic “Utilization of Foreign Investments in Agriculture of China”.

1. The background, purpose, significance, content and methodology of this study are introduced and an overview of the past and current studies and researches is presented. Besides, the basic theories of agriculture utilizing foreign investments are summarized.

2. The characteristics of agriculture utilizing foreign investments in China are summarized according to its development, status quo and problems existing in the developing process. Moreover, the model of FDI’s contribution to agriculture economic growth is set up to analyze relations between agricultural GDP and FDI in agriculture. Also, we sets up a multivariate regression model of FDI and its influence factors such as the level of agriculture economic development, human capital, the extent of agricultural internationalization and investment climate, etc. The quantitative analysis can provide the data support for government policy.

3. Through introducing the international experiences and lessons of agriculture utilizing investment in developed countries (America and Korea) and in developing countries (Thailand, India, Brazil and Indonesia), some inspirations have been drawn for investment utilization in our agriculture.

4. Based on the theoretical and empirical analysis of the status quo, problems and the influence factors of agriculture utilizing foreign investments, learning its international experiences and lessons, we comes up with some concluding remarks and policy suggestions as follows: agriculture in China should further strengthen the development and exploit market potential; improve agricultural investment climate and upgrade the superiority of introducing foreign capital; intensify high-quality foreign investments introduction and increase the utilizing efficiency; enhance the supervision and control of both domestic and foreign markets as well as establish and consummate rules and regulations.

Four Reasons Why You Should Buy Lavazza Coffee

We could continue for ages and provide you with all sorts of musings on the joyfulness of making those steaming cups of gourmet coffee in the comfort of your own kitchen. We could (and occasionally do!) become poetic on the heavenly aroma that wafts through the air. We could prattle on about the glee of serving a great cup of coffee to family and friends, and taking those few spare moments daily to savor something truly yummy.

We could, but not now. Today we want to give you four solid reasons to buy Lavazza coffee, taking into consideration all the alternative options out there. Hold on tight, it’s going to get real in here. These reasons are not concerning the astonishing experience you get on the wonderful end of a hot cup of coffee. These are facts about Lavazza coffee, how it is grown, prepared and made, that sets the coffee above the ordinary bean. It’s about a tradition of protecting quality, and relentless attention to the particulars of the coffee production experience.

Why Should You Buy Lavazza Coffee?

Like any well-known brand, Lavazza has a particular reputation behind it, one of a long-standing commitment to the coffee drinking experience. This prestige comes from more than 100 years of quality in the business, with constant innovation in production methods and processing procedures.

These four detailed reasons for choosing Lavazza will aid you in understanding why this reputation is well earned.

1. Genuine Quality. Frequently referred to as “Italy’s preferred coffee,” Lavazza has become synonymous with gourmet coffee fineness. The quality has been built up for over more than a century in the business. Part of this tradition includes a stern quality development process that starts exactly at the source, on the coffee farms where the beans are tended. If you want to be confident that the coffee begins with the best beans, you go directly to the source. And this is one critical motivation to buy Lavazza coffee over alternative brands that may possibly source their beans from unknown or unmonitored locations.

2. The Production Plants. When you buy Lavazza coffee, you are buying coffee that’s been processed under carefully controlled conditions at one of the four Italian plants. Two of these plants have been awarded ISO 9001 and ISO 9003 certifications, which means that they scrupulously comply with industry quality standards and maintain excellence in all phases of production. In all cases, the plants operate by incorporating the traditional methods that result in great coffee, while constantly innovating and integrating current technology that enhances the coffee flavor in constantly improving ways.

3. The Heart. A company is only as solid as the people who work in it. When you buy Lavazza coffee, you aid in supporting a company that not only preaches, but lives, social responsibility. For example, they started the Tierra Project, designed to improve living standards in smaller coffee-growing communities in Colombia, Honduras and Peru. Sustainability in agricultural efforts is a vital mission to the company.

4. The Flavor. All right, we could not avoid being poetic on this one. There really is nothing quite like the rich, creamy, robust taste and heady aroma that you will know when you buy Lavazza coffee. Whether you select ground, whole bean or pre-measured, the Lavazza experience is really the elevated water mark of fine Italian coffee.

Ghana Life: Working Four Hours a Day

Ghana, like many countries in the modern world, has an unemployment problem, and the situation is particularly severe in relation to providing jobs for increasing numbers of school leavers. In modern society a job implies employment for seven or eight hours a day, five days a week, a working week being 35 to 40 hours. Many people dislike work, or at least they dislike the jobs they are compelled by economic necessity to undertake. Wouldn’t most people be happier if the hours were shorter and the available work was shared more equitably?

In his book ‘The Affluent Society’ published in 1958, the famous American economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, observed that according to anthropologists, when mankind lived by hunting and gathering, the work needed to sustain life amounted to about four hours a day. Many more hours needed to be worked after the invention of agriculture and it was no doubt during the ensuing long millennia that the idea of life dominated by work became widely accepted. However, Galbraith suggested that with modern labour-saving machines it was likely that the available work, shared out between the able-bodied willing workers, would again be reduced to about four hours a day.

In Ghana, in the last decades of the twentieth century, there was much evidence to suggest that although hours at work were long, the actual work activity filled only a fraction of the time. In Suame Magazine in Kumasi, which provides apprenticeships and employment for thousands of youth, work nominally extended throughout most of the hours of daylight, six days a week. Yet it was observed that much time was spent idly waiting for a customer to bring a job, and when a task was taken in hand there would be one man working and four men watching. Work undertaken in this pleasant and relaxed social environment comes close to Galbraith’s vision of the four hour working day, except that the worker is tied to the workplace throughout the leisure hours.

Within the span of recorded history, and almost within living memory, many Ashantis chose to earn their living as hunters. One of their main hunting grounds was in the south of what is now Brong-Ahafo Region; ahafo meaning hunters in the Twi language. If Galbraith’s anthropologists were correct, these hunters earned their livelihood working about four hours a day, even if they spent longer hours wandering in social intercourse with their companions. According to Galbraith’s theory, it might seem that their descendents working in the informal workshops of Suame Magazine had bypassed the agricultural and industrial revolutions in just a few generations, whereas the craftsmen themselves would claim to have merely preserved their traditional way of working.

Perhaps, part of the answer to providing work for all lies in preserving and extending the traditional social organisation of work. Let everyone who is willing and able, join the team and share the work as it comes to hand. The problem of an equitable sharing of the proceeds is another problem to which even Galbraith could give no final answer, although he made some useful suggestions and warned of the dire consequences if no solution was found.

The Pros And Cons Of Three, Four And Five School Term Systems

Schools are increasingly starting to look at alternatives to the conventional three-term school year as the long summer holiday is now considered a barrier to effective learning. As such, four and five-term systems are being examined to see if they could deliver better results for teachers, students and parents.

But what are the pros and cons of the three systems, and can it be said that one is more clearly effective than the other two? Some of the positives and negatives are outlined below:

Three-Term System

Traditional system with long summer break. Half-term holidays help break up the wearying effect of long school terms.

Pros

  • A proven system – The current timetable balances concentrated teaching periods with significant time to relax and recharge. Also, teaching during summer is less effective because the heat makes pupils drowsy and distracted.
  • Long summer breaks allow plenty of time for children to pursue their own interests, social activities and self-development.

Cons

  • A ‘medieval system’ – Critics argue that long summer holidays were originally designed so kids could help out with agricultural work, and that the system is a relic of older times. Also argue that the system leaves kids ill-prepared for the year-round rigours of employment.
  • Resentment of teachers’ holidays – Some people criticise teachers for their long summer break, damaging their public image. A shorter break would help to alleviate this criticism.

Five-Term System

Typically consisting of five eight-week terms, with a two-week break between them and a four-week summer holiday.

Pros

  • Shorter summer holidays – Four-week holiday relieves pressure on parents who need to make sure their children are looked after over an extended period. Also goes some way to solving the phenomenon of ‘summer learning loss’, where a substantial part of the next school year is taken up relearning things forgotten over the long summer break.
  • More flexibility in the school curriculum – More teaching time means that more time can be given over to subjects like art, design, music or computing. These ‘fun’ subjects are a good fit for the summer months when kids are looking to relax, while still ensuring that they are learning useful skills.

Cons

  • Greater pressure on teachers – Shorter holidays and more teaching time will lead to a testing schedule for teachers. This could decrease the attractiveness of the profession and impact on recruitment.
  • Greater pressure on pupils – Long summer holidays offer an important time for kids to recharge, enjoy time with family and explore their own interests. A four-week holiday might not seem like much of a holiday at all.

Four-Term System

A compromise between the three and five-term systems, striking a balance between term and holiday length.

Pros

  • Tailored for exams – With more time for exam preparation than three-term systems and longer breaks as a ‘reward’ for completing exams than the five-term system, the system seems tailored towards greater exam performance.
  • Combats the problems of both ‘learning loss’ and short holidays which don’t allow enough time for self-development.

Cons

  • More terms mean that teaching is more frequently interrupted, whereas three-term systems allow the syllabus to be taught with more focus and in greater depth.
  • Extending teaching further into the summer could lead to distracted, irritable students who would rather be outside.

Conclusion

Clearly, each system has both benefits and drawbacks which make it difficult to pick a clear winner. However, the compromise approach of the four-term system means it may offer a solution to the problems of the other systems. The five-term system could lead to too much pressure being put on teachers and students, while the long holidays in the three-term system mean that too much revision of old topics needs to be done at the start of the next school year. While the four-term model isn’t perfect, it goes some way to alleviating these other challenges while leaving students better prepared for their examinations.

What is an Agricultural Inspector?

People who find satisfaction and pleasure in dealing with nature particularly animals, livestock and the like would definitely discover that being an agricultural inspector is a career suited for them. This is generally considered a green job because of its direct interaction and care for animals, plants and other forms of natural resources. Most important and relevant in agricultural countries or states, this job is definitely something that requires a lot of dedication, knowledge and passion for this particular craft.

The career outlook for an agricultural inspector should be plentiful. They make on average $31-$49 thousand a year.

What is an agricultural inspector?

This job is potentially endorsed and provided mainly by the Department of Agriculture as part of the agency’s advocacy for health and proper stewardship of the natural resources. In line with the nature of their work, inspectors are responsible for making sure that agri-businesses and companies strictly comply with the different regulations and laws provided by the state and federal government. These would generally be covering the safety of meat and its processes, poultry, egg, vegetable and fruits productions must likewise follow and adhere with certain standards before they would be marketed to the general public or consumers. In short agricultural inspectors are the main figures that protect the public’s welfare and health from any food-related illnesses and diseases.

Depending on the level of the inspector, there job description would differently vary from mere inspection, testing and sampling of the different agricultural products to giving of necessary supervision, training and guidance which are often delegated to senior inspectors or high level agricultural inspectors. Some of the manual works that these professionals may also do are lifting of different weights up to 100 pounds which they need to perform their tasks and obligations.

For senior agricultural inspectors, they are obliged to ensure that businesses are complying with the standards set by the department thus regular visitation and inspections must be done on these companies in an actual or ocular basis. One concrete example is when inspector would go to the actual plant where livestock products are processed and get samples for testing and quality assurance. This likewise applies to the grains and vegetable products which are also tested for quality and chemical levels.

What are the requirements for the job?

Several of the positions required for this job would look for bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges mostly leaning towards biology or agricultural science. Depending on the type of job, some are requiring four-year courses while others do not necessarily need graduates with these credentials to qualify. Furthermore, potential inspectors must undergo intensive trainings and skill development to improve their craft and knowledge about their work. This would not only include sufficient knowledge on the biological and agricultural area but also with laws and regulations regarding agriculture. Most importantly, candidates must have actual field experiences in order to support their other credentials thus working on a meat-processing plant or farm would be great additional incentives in order to get a slot in the agricultural inspection industry.

Green jobs are indeed timely and noble careers that are potentially growing in demand and are now widely recognized. Being an agricultural inspector is one remarkable career that encompasses every passion and care for nature and protection to the consuming public.

The Best Investment Portfolio for 2014 and Beyond

If you have an investment portfolio (like in a 401k plan) take a good look at it, because it might not really be the best investment portfolio for 2014 and beyond. If you are a new investor, don’t start investing money until you are familiar with the best funds to include in your portfolio in 2014.

Your investment portfolio is simply a list showing where your money is, and for most average investors consists primarily of mutual funds: stock funds, bond funds and money market funds. Here we discuss the best funds and asset allocation to achieve the best investment portfolio in the event that 2014 and beyond becomes a tough environment for investors. You may need to make changes in your existing portfolio; and you should also be aware of the following as a new investor before you start investing money.

As an investor you should receive statements periodically which show you where your money is. The problem is that many investors do not give these statements, which clearly show you your asset allocation and your investment portfolio, the attention they deserve. That can be a problem. For example, if you had 50% of your portfolio allocated to stock funds in early 2009, you could have two-thirds of your money in these funds now. If the stock market takes a big hit, you stand to take a big loss. Let’s take a look at stock funds and the best funds for investing money there first.

The stock market and many diversified stock funds have gone UP in value about 150% in less than 5 years, and numerous financial analysts expect a correction (stock prices to go DOWN) in 2014. If your investment portfolio shows that more than half of your assets are invested in stock funds consider cutting back to 50% or less. If you are a new investor ready to start investing, allocate no more than 50% to diversified stock funds. The best funds: those that invest in high quality, dividend paying stocks vs. growth funds that pay little in the form of dividends. This is your first step in putting together the best investment portfolio for 2014, because it cuts your potential losses.

The best investment portfolio also includes bond funds, which have been good solid investments for over 30 years. Why? Interest rates have been falling, which sends bond prices and bond fund values higher. Problem: interest rates have hit all-time lows and appear to be heading higher. Higher interest rates create losses for bond fund investors. Many investors have an investment portfolio loaded with bond funds and are totally unaware of the risk involved if rates go up. If you are getting ready to start investing money you need to know this as well. When interest rates go UP, bonds and bond fund values go DOWN. That’s about the only iron-clad rule in the investment world.

Allocate no more than 25% to 30% of your total investment portfolio to bond funds to cut your risk. The best bond funds are categorized as intermediate-term funds, where the investment portfolio of the fund invests in bonds that mature (on average) in 5 to 10 years. These are the best funds now because they pay a respectable dividend with only moderate risk. The worst funds to hold now: long-term funds that hold bonds maturing (on average) in 15, 20 years or more. When you review your investment portfolio, get rid of these because they will be big losers if (when) interest rates shoot upward. New investors who want to start investing money: avoid them and allocate about 25% of your money to intermediate-term bond funds to avoid heavy risk.

Sometimes the best investment portfolio is loaded with aggressive stock funds and includes longer-term bond funds. Now, looking at 2014 and beyond, is probably not one of those times. For many years now losses in stock funds have been offset by gains in bond funds. Today the problem for investors is that even the best funds of both varieties could get hit if the economy falters and interest rates rise significantly. That makes investing money today a real challenge… one that few investors are prepared for.

So, let’s say that you start investing money with less than 50% going to the best funds in the stock department and about 25% allocated to the best funds in the bond universe… or you adjust your existing investment portfolio to these levels… where do you invest the rest of it? Even though interest rates are still historically low, you bite the bullet and invest it for safety to earn interest. In a 401k plan your best safe investment is likely the stable account, if your plan has one. Otherwise, the best fund for safety is a money market fund (even though they presently pay almost no interest). When rates go up, they should pay more. Or you can shop the banks for the best rates on short-term CDs, or savings accounts.

I expect that 2014 and beyond will be a challenging time to start investing money or to manage an existing investment portfolio. On the other hand, now you should have a handle on the best funds to consider when putting together the best investment portfolio possible. Remember, you must stay in the game in order to get ahead over the long term; but sometimes moderation is your best course of action.