We all know how frustrating it can be to watch the stock we failed to trade when the timing was right. I've had some great experiences in the market, but ever since I took a big hit in '08, I hesitate to pull the trigger even when I'm confident in a stock's fundamentals. More often than not, my inaction leads to significant opportunity costs, and pondering "if only" and "what if" can be maddening.

Now, with a new presidency on the horizon and increased consumer confidence in the economy, I'm finally taking a more aggressive approach to my market behavior. I spoke with a friend of mine who's been at one of the largest hedge funds for over a decade, and seems to always know how to take advantage of the market in any period of flux. He told me that it's natural to feel apprehensive, especially after a loss, which is why he uses Real Money, a membership-based website headlined by Jim Cramer, to gain a competitive edge for his personal portfolio as well as for his clients.

When it comes to "pulling the trigger," Jim Cramer is one of the biggest advocates. Along with a staff of over 30 handpicked investing professionals, money managers, advisors, and analysts, he provides both long and short-term actionable investment ideas. Real Money's advisors aren't just journalists reporting the news after it's happened, but a proactive community of Wall Street experts that showcase their experienced perspectives and market-tested strategies in real-time, whether the market is up or down.

On the password-protected site, investors of all levels will find exclusive stock market information, including stock ideas from specialists like sell side technicians and chartists. Real Money's in-house chartist, Bruce Kamich, has a 40-year career with several bulge bracket firms, plus extensive knowledge of commodities, interest rates, equities, and ETFs. He's spotted some huge trends he shared with us, like the gold stocks, NovaGold and Yamana Gold, both for some very big gains. More recently, he made impressive calls on Timken Steel and giants of the oil-and-gas sector including Chesapeake Energy, which has rallied around 33% for he and his followers since his recommendation in October.

One of my favorite parts of the program is the advice and the alerts I receive throughout the trading day so I can act quickly before the news breaks on public domains. Cramer also posts three times each trading day on his daily market blog, which provides useful conclusions in a breezy and readable format, so I can always keep my finger on the market's pulse. You can follow along with the Real Money Ideas section, on the homepage when you login, to see which contributors' ideas pan out so you can decide whose ideas to follow. As a member, you can even contact any site contributor via email, including chief economist for ALM Advisors, Roger Arnold, and Jim Cramer himself.

With Real Money, I realized that there's always money to be made whether the market is bearish or bullish. With advice from professionals who have spent decades in the trenches, and are transparent about their strategies, I've become a more confident investor, and act on stock ideas to stop missing out on returns.

Update: The folks at Real Money are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to get Real Money FREE for 14 days with no obligations! (It's also discounted to just $3/week if you choose to continue your membership.)

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Airbnb is a great option while traveling, but you should protect yourself from damage charges from unscrupulous hosts.

Airbnb offers an affordable option for people looking to be more comfortable as they travel.

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The traditional American Dream may be on its deathbed, but that doesn't mean a core component of the vision can't survive. It simply takes a diverse perspective. People can still believe they can attain their own vision of success in society with hard work, knowledge, and risk-taking. Investing in today's American Dream may literally mean investing money in our modern economy, starting with our infrastructure.

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Stick To a Specific Strategy or Niche

Real estate is a challenging sphere of the business world, one that requires several key skills: groundwork knowledge, networking, perseverance, and organization. True knowledge of the real estate market will come with time and experience, but it's a smart idea to select one area of the market and stick to it. This is the best way to attain in-depth familiarity with your specific niche.

First, choose a geographical area close by and then a niche strategy within it, such as house flips, rental rehabs, or residential or commercial properties. By doing so, you can become aware of current inner working conditions in the market and you'll have a better idea of how these trends may change in the future.

Be Vigilant About Viable Financing Options

While it takes money to make money, you don't have to use all your own money. A common misconception about real estate investing is that you must be wealthy to start off. This isn't straight fact, however. A majority of people can test the waters of real estate investing without a lot of initial cash in their pocket.

Aside from traditional financing options from banks and institutions, private lending options can be worthy solutions. Hard money lenders are popular, reasonable choices, and they tend to have fewer qualification requirements upfront. However, be sure to strategically choose a hard money lender to find the best possible fit.

Master the Art of Finding Good Deals

There may be hundreds of thousands of available properties for sale on the current market, but the bulk of them will never amount to the final money-making result you desire. Another great tip for new real estate investors is to use good math to estimate profit. Taking risks is part of the process, but you have the ability to analyze properties and use networking sources to find the greatest deal. You can't win every deal, but you can steadily work towards a thriving financial future.