stock market http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1549/all en-US Is It Finally Time to Invest in Marijuana Stocks? http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/marijuana_leaf.jpg" alt="Marijuana leaf" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Politics aside, there's a lot of green to be made in the burgeoning legal marijuana market. As more states move toward legalization, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-legal-marijuana" target="_blank">potential to profit</a> grows higher and higher. But in many cases, it's still just potential.</p> <p>While the industry is worth watching for investment opportunities, there are also some very real downsides to investing in cannabis right now. Read on for our roundup of the pros and cons of investing in weed.</p> <h2>Cannabis industry growth is soaring</h2> <p>According to cannabis research group ArcView, legal marijuana sales in North America increased by 34 percent to $6.9 billion in 2016. A prediction from investment firm Cowen &amp; Co. puts the U.S. market at $50 billion by 2026. More than half of all U.S. states have already legalized the use of medical marijuana, while eight states and counting have legalized recreational use for adults.</p> <p>Another triumph is the story of cannabinoid group GW Pharmaceuticals, whose stock has skyrocketed nearly 1,300 percent in value in less than four years. What's more, a growing percentage of Americans are supportive of marijuana legalization. Public support for legal cannabis has grown to 60 percent, according to a 2016 poll by Gallup. All of this makes for fertile grounds for further cannabis industry growth.</p> <h2>Marijuana could become the next dot-com bubble</h2> <p>When it comes to cannabis stocks, Canada is leading the scene. Unburdened by the depth of <a href="http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/04/21/jeff-sessions-marijuana-legalization-impact/77938/" target="_blank">opposition</a> that recreational marijuana has raised from the U.S. Attorney General and many in the U.S. Republican party, Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF &mdash; one of the first cannabis ETFs in North America &mdash; started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in April, almost instantly becoming one of the month's most popular funds. Propelling the marijuana ETF toward further success is a rise in investor enthusiasm sparked by the legislation recently introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to legalize cannabis across Canada. (The plan is expected to pass.)</p> <p>For a new fund, this level of accomplishment is rare. But experts caution that the marijuana market remains dicey. Canada's landmark marijuana ETF has 14 members, some of which include drug companies whose profits largely draw from sources outside marijuana research. Add to that a 0.75 percent management fee &mdash; higher than the norm. The bottom line is Canada's marijuana stocks are still largely speculative, so investors should be cautious.</p> <h2>Marijuana businesses are hampered by a cash-only economy</h2> <p>Marijuana businesses are completely shut out of traditional financial services, which means the industry is forced to operate in a cash-only environment. Banks and credit card companies have largely been unwilling to work with cannabis firms, even in states where marijuana use is legal, because federal law still prohibits them from taking marijuana money.</p> <p>Whenever a business is forced to deal in cash, there are security risks that its stockholders inevitably have to shoulder. Working in a cash economy, for example, means that a business is more susceptible to robbery or employee theft. It's also a growth inhibitor.</p> <h2>Penny stocks still dominate the cannabis trade</h2> <p>Most marijuana stocks on the market are penny stocks. Translation: They're pretty much one big gamble. With a share price of $5 or less, these stocks are unpredictable, and getting accurate and timely financial stats about them can be difficult. Of course, even a penny stock can experience explosive gains. But at this point, experts say it's little more than a coin toss.</p> <h2>Despite impressive growth, most marijuana stocks are losing money</h2> <p>What do most marijuana stocks have in common? They are losing money. Just two cannabis companies in operation can claim a positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), which is an operating performance-focused metric commonly used by investors to guide their investment decisions.</p> <p>Those companies are the Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. and Aphria. As for GW Pharmaceuticals and all the others? Shut out from traditional banking and tax deductions, they are operating in a completely experimental world where they're left to learn as they go.</p> <h2>Don't go chasing unicorns</h2> <p>Experts warn that some marijuana companies are little more than a sham. Without a sound business plan, they are roping investors in based on an idea rather than substance or experience to put that idea into action. Don't get roped in. Be skeptical and do your homework. If a company or investment opportunity appears too good to be true, it probably is.</p> <p>Marijuana news websites that only praise a company, for example, might be getting paid to do so. &quot;Check financial websites like Yahoo Finance to see if management is selling any of their shares,&quot; Barry Clark, CEO at cannabis company FlowerKist, recently told Forbes. &quot;If they believe in the company, they won't be selling their shares.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-legal-marijuana">5 Ways to Profit From Legal Marijuana</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bubble cannabis ETF legalization marijuana new industry pot profits speculation stock market weed Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1959136 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up? http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/surging_business_0.jpg" alt="Surging Business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people were taken by surprise when the stock market reached new highs after the 2016 election, with the Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) breaking 20,000. But the recent record highs are only the latest in a long trend of stock market growth extending back well over 100 years.</p> <p>The average rate of return for the DJIA since 1896 is about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation. Looking at a broader representation of the overall stock market, the average rate of return for the Standard &amp; Poor's (S&amp;P) 500 index since it's inception in 1928 is about 10 percent per year.</p> <p>Of course, if you pay attention to the stock market, you know that stocks do not move steadily up all the time. Sometimes there are sudden market declines, such as the crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression, or the 2008 collapse that led to the Great Recession. Sometimes there are long periods of market stagnation when stock prices do not go up much at all, such as during the 1970s. But over time, the long-term trend has been that stock values keep on pushing up, even after setbacks, and routinely go on to break record highs.</p> <p>What makes stock values keep going higher and higher?</p> <h2>Investors <em>think </em>stocks will go up</h2> <p>Investors who decide to put money into the stock market select individual stocks and stock funds based on the financial performance of the businesses in the portfolio. Ultimately, investors weigh the potential for a stock to go up versus the risk that it will go down during their investment window.</p> <p>Sometimes &quot;irrational exuberance&quot; seems to play a big role in driving stock prices. In a hot housing market, investors will pay essentially any price to buy a property if they are confident the price will go up, even if the price is not rational. Investors sometimes buy stock for the same reason &mdash; simply because they think someone else will pay more for it when they want to sell and they don't want to miss an opportunity to make a big gain. In some extreme cases, such as hot initial public offerings (IPOs), stock valuation seems to be driven by speculation without much solid financial basis.</p> <h2>Businesses have figured out how to make products for less</h2> <p>One way that businesses have become more valuable, and therefore garnered higher stock valuation, is by increasing productivity and efficiency. If a business can produce its goods and services at a lower cost, higher profits can be achieved.</p> <p>Businesses boost their efficiency by using automation, optimizing product designs and reuse, and merging or partnering with other companies with complementary resources and capabilities. The continuous effort by businesses to reduce their costs and run their business more efficiently keeps driving stock prices up over time.</p> <h2>Fancy new products (with higher profit margins)</h2> <p>Innovation and technological advances result in new products with higher profit margins than established products. Consumers will pay a premium to get the latest technology and newest capabilities. When a new type of product is launched, there is a window of time when little or no competition is available in the market. This is why the introduction of new products keeps driving stock values up.</p> <h2>Growing consumerism</h2> <p>In the old days, it was common for people to grow their own food, make their own clothes, and craft other household items such as soap and even furniture. When people were more self-sufficient and made most things for themselves, opportunities for businesses to sell products to customers at a profit was limited.</p> <p>Fast forward to today. The population has increased significantly, and most people buy products instead of making things themselves. As the number of consumers grows, and the demand by consumers for more and more products increases, so does profit for businesses that make and sell products.</p> <h2>Why did stocks unexpectedly go up after Trump was elected?</h2> <p>After an initial tumble in stock futures following the 2016 election, the stock market rallied during the following months and hit a record high, with the DJIA reaching 20,000 for the first time ever on January 25, 2017. Why did the stock market go up after the election of an unpredictable new leader?</p> <p>Markets typically react negatively to uncertainty, and that is what happened when the S&amp;P 500 and DJIA market futures fell around 4 percent on the night of the election. But soon, stock prices started rising again. Investors apparently feel that the new president will follow traditional Republican strategies of lowering taxes on businesses and reducing environmental, safety, and consumer protection regulations, resulting in higher potential profits. Also, the possibility of increased military spending and spending on huge infrastructure projects raises expectations for short-term economic growth among investors.</p> <h2>Will the stock market keep going up?</h2> <p>Stepping back and looking at the potential for stock market growth over the coming decades, the elements for continued stock market growth seem to be forthcoming.</p> <p>New levels of automation promise to drive productivity and reduce the cost to produce and deliver products to consumers. Technical innovations such as renewable energy, virtual reality, augmented reality, and medical breakthroughs appear poised to result in highly profitable new products. New consumers are likely to enter the marketplace as developing economies grow, increasing overall demand for manufactured products and driving business profits higher.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-purchase-like-its-1999">It&#039;s Time to Purchase Like It&#039;s 1999</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-ways-to-invest-during-a-weak-market">5 Creative Ways to Invest During a Weak Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment businesses consumerism djia dow jones industrial average Economy production rate of return s&p 500 stock market Wed, 07 Jun 2017 09:01:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1959368 at http://www.wisebread.com Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market? http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-485863805.jpg" alt="Learning if we&#039;re headed toward a bull or bear market" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The stock market has been on a roll over the last year. Since the winter of 2016, investors have enjoyed a delightful bull market that has seen the S&amp;P 500 index rise by more than 25 percent.</p> <p>Whenever there is a lengthy run-up like this, investors always want to know how long it can last. Are we due for a big correction or even a record-breaking crash? Or will we see the markets continue to rise?</p> <p>Trying to time the market's movement is a fool's game, but it's always smart to look at the various indicators that may foreshadow future performance. With the current market, there is evidence to back up both bullish and bearish predictions.</p> <h2>Indicators of a bull market</h2> <p>The good times won't end anytime soon.</p> <h3>Most economic indicators are strong</h3> <p>For the most part, the American economy is stable. Unemployment is at its lowest point in a decade. Inflation is not out of hand. Manufacturing output is up, along with consumer confidence. There are some concerns about overall growth and productivity, but nothing that spells immediate doom for American investors at this point. Generally speaking, if the underlying foundations of the economy are sound, a sudden drop in stock prices is unlikely.</p> <h3>Interest rates are still historically low</h3> <p>We've seen interest rates creep up a bit, but they are still very low by historical standards. If you're placing money in a bank account, don't expect to receive much in the way of income. Bond yields are also very low. Thus, there's a good chance we'll see people continue to invest in stocks, as they have recently offered much better returns than most other options. As long as interest rates remain low, demand for stocks will be high.</p> <h3>Technical analysis supports it</h3> <p>Many analysts and financial planners prefer to examine a technical analysis of the stock market's performance, which looks at long-term trends that have historically repeated themselves. Most observers of these trends believe we are halfway through a growth cycle that began around 2010 and will continue another five to 10 years.</p> <h3>Corporate earnings are good</h3> <p>The stock market has been known to take a dive when stock prices are high, based on the underlying earnings of companies. In other words, when stocks are overvalued, the market will eventually find out, and you'll see a big correction. Recent earnings reports suggest that the stock market growth is justified. Earnings reports for the first quarter of 2017 look to be among the best in more than five years, so there's no indication that stocks are generally overvalued as a whole.</p> <h3>Lawmakers are pushing pro-business policies</h3> <p>President Trump was elected in part because of promises to lower corporate taxes and reduce business regulations, and he has the majority support of Congress. These are policies that are generally favored by the business community, and investors have responded positively. As long as businesses remain optimistic about policy changes, the stock market will be propped up.</p> <h2>Indicators of a bear market</h2> <p>On the other hand, maybe the good times are about to end.</p> <h3>Companies are heavily leveraged</h3> <p>U.S. companies have more debt than ever, and a lot of it comes due in the next few years. Moody's Investors Services estimated that a record $2 trillion corporate debt will come due between now and 2021, and warned that the market's ability to absorb all of these maturities is &quot;below average.&quot; Few analysts are predicting a massive wave of corporate bankruptcies, but an inability to refinance debt could curb corporate profits and cause stock prices to fall.</p> <h3>There's a possible epidemic of auto loan defaults</h3> <p>When the stock market last suffered a big crash in 2008, it was largely due to a flurry of defaults on mortgage loans. Many Americans obtained home loans that they ultimately could not afford, and ended up in foreclosure when home values dropped.</p> <p>These days, it appears that there may be a similar concern facing the quantity and quality of auto loans. It may not be as big a crisis as the housing bubble, but Americans ended 2016 with a record $1.2 trillion in auto loan debt, an increase of 9 percent from the previous year. Nearly one-fourth of these outstanding auto loans are considered subprime, and the delinquency rate from these loans is at its highest in seven years. This doesn't pose the same systemic risk as the mortgage crisis, but the auto industry is a key part of the American economy.</p> <h3>Europe is facing uncertainty</h3> <p>The United Kingdom is in the process of leaving the EU. There are rumors that other countries (France?) may follow suit. There are lingering concerns over terror attacks in the region. On one hand, economic trouble in the EU may benefit U.S. companies, but many American firms operate in Europe and are impacted by geopolitical uncertainty anywhere.</p> <h3>Political concerns</h3> <p>President Trump and members of Congress have been pushing pro-business policies, but eventually, they will have to deliver the goods. Their struggles in passing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been viewed as a sign that they may not have the wherewithal to accomplish big things, such as tax reform. A failure to follow through on any of these major promises could eventually cause a pullback in the markets.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-stocks-to-buy-before-black-friday">6 Stocks to Buy Before Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-purchase-like-its-1999">It&#039;s Time to Purchase Like It&#039;s 1999</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-stay-calm-when-the-market-tanks">8 Reasons to Stay Calm When the Market Tanks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bankruptcy bear market bull market businesses corporations crash Crisis Economy Europe politics predictions stock market Mon, 15 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1942751 at http://www.wisebread.com How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516182744.jpg" alt="Learning how a mediocre investor prospered after the market crash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know" target="_blank">mediocre financial advice</a> I've offered in my last few posts boils down to this: Use low-cost funds, establish an appropriate asset allocation, and rebalance it annually.</p> <p>It's not new advice. My own portfolio was strongly influenced by it back in the early 1980s. By the 1990s, it was pretty much the standard advice you would get anywhere. Many studies at the time showed that a very simple portfolio &mdash; just an S&amp;P 500 index fund, plus a long-term bond fund &mdash; tended to outperform managed funds, especially after the costs of the managed funds were taken into account.</p> <p>I haven't seen as many studies in the years since the financial crisis, so I thought I'd take a quick look at how this sort of basic asset allocation held up in the aftermath.</p> <p>Most people date the financial crisis from 2008, but I tend to date it from June of 2007, because that's when I found out that I'd be losing my job. For that reason, the graphs below run from then through the latest data available as of March 29, 2017.</p> <p>As it turns out, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best" target="_blank">mediocre portfolio</a> held up pretty well.</p> <h2>Criteria for success</h2> <p>To decide whether a particular style of investing is a success, it helps to know what your goals are. Most people would include &quot;maximum return&quot; as at least part of their goal, but instead, I suggest that your portfolio provide an investment return that supports your specific life needs.</p> <p>A portfolio that comfortably beats inflation is part of that. It's also a plus if the portfolio doesn't swing wildly in value &mdash; in case your circumstances require you to cash out a significant amount on an emergency basis. It's nice, too, if the portfolio provides a mix of income and growth, so that if changes in what's in fashion among investors push one category of stocks up or down, the overall value of your portfolio doesn't take too big of a hit. (Personally I've always had a sneaking preference for income, even though tax policy has often favored growth.)</p> <p>With those criteria in mind, let's look at how some of the pieces of a mediocre portfolio have done.</p> <h2>Pieces of a mediocre portfolio</h2> <p>The most basic mediocre portfolio is just an S&amp;P 500 index fund and a long-term bond fund, with the ratio between those two gradually shifting from mostly stocks (for a young person) toward mostly bonds (for someone who has already retired).</p> <h3>Stock market investments</h3> <p>The value of an S&amp;P 500 index fund dropped dramatically during the crisis itself, but it hit bottom well before the end of the recession, recovered all of its losses by 2013, and is now about 50 percent above where it started &mdash; meaning that on stock price alone, you've got an annual return of well over 4 percent. With dividends reinvested, your annual return comes to nearly 7 percent (take a look at the 10-year average annual return of your favorite S&amp;P 500 index fund).</p> <p><iframe src="//fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/graph-landing.php?g=dyOc&amp;width=605&amp;height=340" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="overflow:hidden; width:670px; height:525px;" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></p> <p>(Source: <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=dbdN" target="_blank">St. Louis Federal Reserve</a>)</p> <h3>Bond market investments</h3> <p>There isn't an exact bond-market equivalent for the S&amp;P 500 index fund, so it's a little hard to say how your investments would have done during the crisis and since. (I poked around at a few major mutual fund companies and found average annual total returns on various long-term bond funds for the past 10 years ranging from 3.6 percent to 6.1 percent, depending on the fund.)</p> <p>The return on a bond fund depends on interest rates. If you buy a bond that pays X percent and rates go up, your old bond is worth less (because otherwise people will just buy the new bond that pays more). Conversely, if rates go down, your old bond is worth more.</p> <p>With that in mind, here's a graph of the interest rate paid on a U.S. government 10-year treasury bond:</p> <p><iframe src="//fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/graph-landing.php?g=dyOf&amp;width=605&amp;height=340" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="overflow:hidden; width:670px; height:525px;" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></p> <p>(Source: <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=dbfK" target="_blank">St. Louis Federal Reserve</a>.)</p> <p>Long-term interest rates dropped steadily before and during the recession. They rebounded modestly as the recession wound down, but then plummeted as it became clear that the economy needed, and would continue to need, extraordinary support from the Federal Reserve. Even now, long-term rates are about half what they were before the crisis began.</p> <p>The upshot is that the value of bonds purchased before the crisis would have soared during the crisis. Bonds purchased during the crisis would also have gone up. Bonds purchased in the aftermath might be up or might be down, depending on exactly when they were bought.</p> <h2>Rebalancing</h2> <p>If you'd just had a portfolio of stocks or bonds, you'd have done ok. Your stocks would have gone down a lot, but they'd have eventually recovered. Your bonds would have gone up a lot, and would have since eased off. But the mediocre asset allocation is more than that. The essence of a mediocre asset allocation is annual rebalancing.</p> <p>At the end of 2007, and again at the end of 2008, you would have sold some of your bonds &mdash; which would have jumped a great deal as interest rates fell ahead of and during the recession &mdash; and shifted that money into depressed stocks to restore your asset allocation.</p> <p>New stocks purchased on the last day of 2008 would have been bought with the S&amp;P 500 at 891 (down from close to 1,500 when you started). At the recent price of 2,359, those shares are up 165 percent. At the same time, you would have harvested much of the gains in your bond portfolio.</p> <p>Really, the rebalancing is where the magic is.</p> <h2>Success</h2> <p>As I mentioned at the beginning, the criteria I'm using as indicators of success are return, stability, and providing a mix of income and growth.</p> <p>The mediocre portfolio did a fine job of providing a return &mdash; especially if you rebalanced annually, thereby automatically buying stocks when they were at their lows.</p> <p>Stability is always a problematic goal, because it's almost the opposite of growth &mdash; the most stable portfolio would be one invested 100 percent in cash, which would show no growth at all. The point here, just as it is with return, is not maximum stability, but rather a degree of stability that supports your life goals. Here again, the mediocre portfolio did fine, especially for older people with a larger bond portfolio, which is where it is most important.</p> <p>Finally, the mediocre portfolio did a fine job at balancing income with growth. An S&amp;P 500 index fund has produced a pretty good yield, especially compared to cash and bonds during this period of historic lows in interest rates. Annual rebalancing will have automatically shifted money out of bonds as interest rates fell (reducing the fraction of the portfolio invested where income is low) and future rebalancing will be shifting money back into bonds as interest rates rise.</p> <p>I would hesitate to call its performance better than mediocre, but that's really the point: A mediocre investment portfolio, providing mediocre performance, is all it takes to support your life goals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401-k-is-not-an-investment">Your 401(k) is not an investment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment asset allocation bonds financial crisis low-cost funds mediocre investments performance s&p 500 stock market Tue, 02 May 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Philip Brewer 1938294 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-500538951.jpg" alt="Man learning how to invest like a pro without a financial adviser" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing can be intimidating. There's a unique language, with expense ratios, ETFs, and dollar-cost averaging &mdash; oh my! And there's a lot at stake, like your retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <p>However, at the risk of sounding like a home repair store commercial, you can do this and we can help. With the following five keys, you'll be well on your way toward becoming a confident, successful, do-it-yourself investor.</p> <h2>1. Commit to the market</h2> <p>The stock market has been on a tear. Since bottoming out in March 2009, it nearly tripled in value by the end of 2016. And since the start of this year, it has only climbed higher. Unfortunately, for many people, it doesn't matter. According to a recent Gallup poll, about half U.S. adults are not investing in the market.</p> <p>Some waffle. They're in when it seems safe; they're out when trouble strikes. But pros don't waffle. They're in it for the long haul because they know that as a long-term investment, the U.S. stock market has delivered average annual returns of nearly 10 percent.</p> <h2>2. Know your goal</h2> <p>The most common investment goal is retirement. It that's your goal, make it as specific as possible. How much money do you want to have? By when? And how much do you need to invest each month in order to get there? These questions can feel overwhelming at times, but you need to answer them in order to get a clear picture of your path to a secure retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Determine your optimal asset allocation</h2> <p>While many of the headlines in the investment press are about which investments to choose, there's a different factor that'll have an even greater impact on your investing success. It's making sure you've determined your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>.</p> <p>Asset allocation refers to how you divvy up the money you invest between asset classes, with the two most important ones being stocks and bonds (preferably, stock and bond mutual funds, since mutual funds enable you to hold a diversified &quot;basket&quot; of stocks and bonds).</p> <p>Generally, when you're young, your portfolio should tilt more toward stocks. Yes, your portfolio will experience sharper ups and downs, but you should have the time to ride them out, and a higher-risk portfolio should lead you to higher returns. As you get older, you would be wise to reduce stock exposure and increase your allocation to bonds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <h2>4. Choose an investment selection process</h2> <p>Pay no attention to headlines touting &quot;This Year's Top Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Why You Must Own Gold Now.&quot; And tune out all hot tips from your brother-in-law or coworker. What you need is a trustworthy investment selection <em>process</em>.</p> <p>You could keep it super easy by choosing a target-date mutual fund. These funds have years as part of their name, such as the Fidelity Freedom 2040 fund. Just choose the fund with the year closest to the year you intend to retire. Its stock/bond allocation will be what the mutual fund company thinks is the appropriate mix for someone with that much time until retirement, and that allocation is automatically made more conservative over time. Target-date funds aren't perfect, but they get a lot of the big picture decisions right.</p> <p>If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you could do your own research and choose <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=internal" target="_blank">index funds</a> to build a portfolio that reflects your optimal asset allocation.</p> <p>Or, you could subscribe to an investment newsletter, some of which cost far less than the fees charged by financial planners. Investment newsletters usually offer a number of different strategies and then tell you what to invest in. You're still a do-it-yourself investor. You maintain your own account and make your own trades, but you follow the investing process outlined by the newsletter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Understand the terrain ahead</h2> <p>One of the most important roles a financial adviser plays is seen during market downturns. That's when the best become therapists, speaking calm words of wisdom into the lives of frightened clients. You could serve the same role for yourself with a little understanding of how the market works.</p> <p>If you hear that the market turned in a great performance in a certain year, it's easy to make the mistake of assuming this wonderful result came about through a smooth, yearlong, upward ride. It doesn't usually work that way.</p> <p>Expecting some turbulence can help calm your fears and keep you from selling when the market gets wobbly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Taking all of the steps above will get you headed in the right direction. You have a plan. Now put your plan into action and stay with it. The longer you invest, the more confidence you'll gain and the more comfortable you'll become at being a do-it-yourself investor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-you-need-to-do-to-start-investing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Only 4 Things You Need to Do to Start Investing</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks">Is It Finally Time to Invest in Marijuana Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment asset allocation diy investor Do It Yourself goals investment selection retirement planning stock market Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1928275 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525331477.jpg" alt="Learning which stocks your kids would love to own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When taking a look at your 401(k) or investment accounts, you may often daydream about how cool it would have been if you started investing earlier. That way, maybe you could have jumped on investments that turned out to be home runs, such as Apple [Nasdaq: APPL] and Berkshire-Hathaway [NYSE: BRK].</p> <p>If you have children, you're blessed with the opportunity of granting them the greatest gift any investor could want: time. Let's take a look at some companies whose shares would make a great gift for your kids to not only help them learn about investing, but also get them excited about money and business in general.</p> <h2>1. Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP]</h2> <p>Do you know what's cooler than a million dollars? $3.4 billion, which is how much money the parent company of Snapchat raised in its March 1, 2017 initial public offering (IPO). Since it has been estimated that <a href="https://blog.hootsuite.com/snapchat-demographics/" target="_blank">60 percent of Snapchat users</a> are under age 25 and nearly one in four hasn't finished high school, there's a very good chance that your children use this popular social media app.</p> <p>Leverage their interest in the app to keep them focused on tracking a stock price and keeping abreast of the effects of company announcements, such as <a href="http://www.recode.net/2016/9/24/13039900/snapchat-spectacles-google-glass-spiegel" target="_blank">Snap's Spectacles</a>, on the valuation of a publicly-traded company. Bonus: You could use Snapchat to send them their monthly allowance, keep a digital record of when you made that money available, and check how long it lasts them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-ways-to-send-money-to-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Modern Ways to Send Money to Your Kid</a>)</p> <h2>2. The Walt Disney Co. [NYSE: DIS]</h2> <p>&quot;Do you want to buy a stock share? Come on let's go and trade!&quot; If you started reading that in Princess Anna's voice, then you're a Disney parent and your kiddos spend a lot of time singing along to similar tunes. Keeping interested in this stock is easy because your kids will read about movie productions, toy developments, theme park construction, and other family entertainment projects.</p> <p>Disney is a great stock to hold onto for the long run, which is a maxim that you want to instill in any young investor. If you were to have held Disney stock from March 1, 2007 to March 1, 2017, you would have seen the stock price go from $34.39 to $111.04 (a 222.88 percent increase!). Plus, it's a dividend-paying stock, giving you a segue to introduce the concept of fixed income securities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Are Income Stocks?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Amazon.com, Inc. [Nasdaq: AMZN]</h2> <p>Parcel-delivering drones, robots that work in warehouses, and voice-activated speakers that can control other home devices. It'll never be dull moment chatting with your kid about recent news from the Seattle-based ecommerce giant.</p> <p>If you have the budget, Amazon.com is one of those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it" target="_blank">expensive stocks that are totally worth it</a>. Just when you think that the stock can't hit new heights, an uptick during the early November and December holiday season gives the stock price another boost. Time your gift well before the holiday season and provide immediate gratification to your kids from a stock price bump.</p> <h2>4. Foot Locker, Inc. [NYSE: FL]</h2> <p>On the other hand, here's one stock to develop in your children an appreciation for delayed gratification. If your kid is a sneakerhead or sports jock, they'll include a new pair of athletic shoes in their Christmas list. With a current stock price close to $75 per share, one share of Foot Locker goes for about the same as a brand-new, high-quality pair of athletic shoes meant to last at least one year.</p> <p>Give your child the option of the shoes or one share of Foot Locker, Inc. (Or pick another company that better matches the price of the shoes that they want, including Nike Inc. [NYSE: NKE] or Skechers USA Inc. [NYSE: SKX].) When your child chooses the stock over the shoes, they'll realize that they'll have more available after a one-year period. If they're still unconvinced, ask them to try selling a pair of old, smelly shoes after one year of (ab)use from a tween.</p> <p>Setting a strong foundation for delayed gratification will boost your child's ability to save for retirement and build an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tesla Inc. [Nasdaq: TSLA]</h2> <p>The concept of saving for retirement is completely foreign to most individuals under age 18, maybe even for some under age 25! Getting somebody to plan about 40 to 60 years ahead is a difficult task. One way to get your kid thinking about the future with a fun and optimistic tone is to gift them stock from Tesla, because this company is in the business of electric cars, energy storage batteries, and solar panels.</p> <p>Plus, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is so cool as to inspire the way actor Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark in all Marvel films. By following the decisions of a cool and smart CEO, your child could gain further interest in business and entrepreneurship.</p> <h2>How custodial Roth IRAs can help with investing education</h2> <p>If your kid is under age 18 and makes some money on their own, such as through a hobby or during the summer, consider opening a custodial Roth IRA for them. This is a great way to educate your child about investing and providing a &quot;sandbox&quot; in which to make real-life decisions with investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a>)</p> <p>In 2017, your kid could contribute up to $5,500 to a custodial Roth IRA and watch those contributions grow tax-free forever. Many financial institutions require an account minimum of $100 to open a custodial Roth IRA. You could start with some stocks from this list or other stocks that your kid is interested in and eventually move on to index funds and mutual funds. To minimize fees, just keep post-contribution transactions at a minimum.</p> <p>Gifting your child stocks paired with several years of retirement savings could be one of the best gifts you could ever give them for a brighter financial future.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-baseball">8 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Baseball</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment children fun stocks gifts kids money lessons Roth IRA stock market stocks young investors Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1925374 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171280980.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When doing your research on what stocks to invest in, you will undoubtedly hear analysts and financial pundits mention something called a P/E, or price-to-earnings, ratio. This is one of the key numbers in a stock table, and one you'd be wise to brush up on. Let's review what the P/E ratio shows, how investors use it to evaluate a stock, and some guidelines to make the most of it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <h2>What is the P/E ratio?</h2> <p>It's the ratio of a stock's market value per share to its earnings per share (EPS). Generally, the EPS is from the last trailing 12 months (TTM). However, some financial analysts may use an EPS figure from a shorter trailing period, such as one or two quarters, or a future period, such as over the next six to 12 months.</p> <p>This is why it's important to pay attention to whether a P/E ratio calculation is using historical or projected numbers. Estimated numbers are subject to a margin of error and will be updated as new data becomes available.</p> <p>A P/E ratio tells you how much investors are willing to pay to receive $1 in return for investing in a stock. Historical data suggests that on average, investors are willing to pay $15 for every dollar of earnings (a P/E ratio of 15). However, P/E ratios can vary across industries and particular companies. On March 10, 2017, the P/E ratios of Facebook Inc. [Nasdaq: FB], McDonald's Corporation [NYSE: MCD], and Toyota Motor Corp. [NYSE: TM] were 39.95, 23.36, and 10.70, respectively.</p> <h2>How investors interpret the P/E ratio</h2> <p>The main appeal of the price-to-earnings ratio is that it provides a single, standardized metric to an investor evaluating whether or not a stock is worth buying (or selling).</p> <p>However, any P/E ratio is open to a lot of interpretation.</p> <h3>High P/E ratio</h3> <p>On one hand, a high P/E ratio could indicate that investors are expecting a company to grow its future earnings. On the other, it could be a signal of &quot;irrational exuberance&quot; &mdash; a term coined by former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan to refer to unsustainable investor enthusiasm. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-alan-greenspan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Alan Greenspan</a>)</p> <p>With a P/E ratio of 331.23 (no, that's not a typo!) as of March 10, 2017, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is open to both interpretations. One investor could argue that the future of media is online streaming and that this company is making all the right moves to become a leader in this industry. Another could argue that this market valuation is a bit out of whack.</p> <h3>Low P/E ratio</h3> <p>While one investor may think that a low P/E ratio indicates that a stock has seen better days, another investor may interpret that same low P/E ratio as a chance to snap up some shares at a low price.</p> <p>Shares of Apple Inc. [Nasdaq: AAPL] provide a great example of this scenario. With a P/E ratio of 16.66 as of March 10, 2017, some investors may think the performance of Apple is just slightly above average (remember the long-term average of 15). Other investors may think that this is just a slow period and that it has room for growth since <a href="https://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/pe_ratio" target="_blank">its maximum P/E ratio</a> for the last five years is 18.51.</p> <h2>How to make the most out of the P/E ratio</h2> <p>Now that you know what it is, let's turn to putting it to work.</p> <h3>1. Don't rely solely on the P/E ratio</h3> <p>Due to the math behind the P/E ratio, publicly traded companies that are losing money don't have a P/E ratio at all! For example, the hottest talk of the investing world right now, Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP], doesn't have one. So for now, their P/E ratio is irrelevant, and you should rely on an alternative valuation metric, such as the price-to-sales ratio.</p> <h3>2. Put the P/E ratio in perspective</h3> <p>It's a smart practice to measure a stock against a group of comparable peers. For example, you could compare the P/E ratio of Marriott International Inc. [Nasdaq: MAR] against that of Hyatt Hotels Corporation [NYSE: H], Wyndham Worldwide Corporation [NYSE: WYN], or the average of the ones from several others within the same industry.</p> <p>Another way to put that P/E ratio into context is to use its historical average, maximum, and minimum. By taking a look at these numbers and evaluating the decisions from management, you can have a better understanding of the current ratio.</p> <h3>3. Pay attention to the P/E ratio with buy recommendations</h3> <p>If you receive recommendations from your friends, relatives, or favorite TV pundits that you should buy a particular stock because it's &quot;going places,&quot; pay attention to the P/E ratio. If a stock price rally is a rocket, the P/E ratio is the fuel that helps it take off &hellip; and keep rising. Without a high enough P/E ratio, a rally will be short-lived or, even worse, turn the other way around.</p> <h3>4. Beware accounting shenanigans</h3> <p>Companies with one-time events, such as selling off a major division or cutting down employee benefits, can alter their earnings and, as a result, their P/E ratios. Dramatic ups and downs in the P/E ratio would render this ratio useless and you'll have to use an alternative stock valuation metric.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea to keep an eye on current (also known as trailing) and forward P/E ratios. A big difference between these two P/E ratios is a sign that there was a one-time event. Analysts suggest that when there are too many instances of these gaps, investors should pay closer attention to the cash flow statement on company filings.</p> <h2>P/E ratio is no silver bullet</h2> <p>While the P/E ratio can be a useful metric to select stocks, it's no silver bullet. This is why it's important to continuously educate yourself about the inner workings of the stock market and seek the advice of a financial adviser whenever appropriate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youd-held-these-10-stocks-instead-of-sold-youd-be-rich-now">If You&#039;d Held These 10 Stocks Instead of Sold, You&#039;d Be Rich Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment how to metrics p/e ratio price to earnings ratio stock market stocks valuations Tue, 11 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1923859 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-585490666.jpg" alt="Person learning why loss aversion is worse than FOMO" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine the following scenario:</p> <p>You can either pocket a guaranteed $500, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you get $1,000. If you get tails, you get nothing.</p> <p>Now, imagine this second scenario:</p> <p>You are given $1,000 &mdash; woohoo! But you have to decide whether you'll lose $500 of it outright, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you lose nothing. If you get tails, you lose $750.</p> <p>Chances are, in scenario one, you chose to pocket the money, whereas in scenario two, you chose to flip the coin.</p> <h2>How did you know that!?</h2> <p>That's because we feel the pain of losing money so much more than we feel the joy of earning a reward. This trend is called &quot;loss aversion,&quot; but, in everyday terms, you might find it a bit familiar to FOMO: the fear of missing out.</p> <p>FOMO tends to describe the pain of seeing your friends on social media doing fun things and achieving their goals while you're left out. In a way, loss aversion is similar because you're afraid to lose out, but the pain might be a bit deeper with money.</p> <p>It might sound ludicrous that we hurt more when we lose money than we feel joy in earning it. But studies have shown we feel the heartbreak of a financial loss <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/~kahneman/docs/Publications/prospect_theory.pdf" target="_blank">twice as strongly</a> as we feel gaining the same amount of money. So, if you get a $500 bonus from your boss, you'll only be half as emotional as you would be losing that same amount on the stock market.</p> <h2>How might this affect me?</h2> <p>Loss aversion can be both good and bad. For starters, it might lead you to make &quot;safe,&quot; low-risk investments. This turns out to be helpful for investments you <em>have </em>to make, such as your retirement fund. Sure, you could put your life savings into a high-risk scheme, potentially multiply it several times over, and retire in riches &mdash; but you might also lose it all. It's often better to choose something with a low rate of risk so you have a healthy sum of money to live off one day.</p> <p>On the opposite side of the coin, loss aversion can cause you to make rash decisions regarding the stocks and investments you hold. For example, if you're an investor in oil-related stocks and have a meltdown every time oil prices drop, you might be inclined to sell off all your stocks and stop the loss as quickly as possible. While this may be a good decision in certain situations, it's always important to remember that what goes down will likely go up again, and holding onto your stock could mean you'll get it back later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Now, that concerns a drop to the market overall. The other potential pitfall of loss aversion is to hold onto stocks that have been underperforming for <em>way </em>too long. Many investors will sell stocks that appear to be at the top of their game, only to find out later that they've continued to grow. Meanwhile, the stocks they're waiting to see flourish continue to underperform, and they lose money in the long run.</p> <h2>How can I avoid falling into this trap?</h2> <p>One of the best ways to make sure you don't feel the pain of loss &mdash; or loss aversion &mdash; is to diversify your portfolio. In other words, don't put all of your eggs in one basket: Invest in different industries, different types of stocks, and in both short- and long-term investments.</p> <p>If you're going to make a &quot;risky&quot; investment, make sure you're ready for the challenge. Prepare yourself by building your confidence and learning more about what it means to invest in whatever you're considering. Come up with a fallback plan. You've heard it before, and it's worth repeating: risk equals reward. Yes, you might lose, and that'll hurt &mdash; but you might also gain big. If that's worth the leap, then it's time to get off the ground.</p> <p>If all else fails, talk to a professional about your options. Yes, you might have to throw him or her a bit of money in order to receive financial advice. But having a professional tell you the best, most secure way to invest your money might help ease your mind &mdash; and increase your dividends &mdash; without breaking the bank or your heart along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-financial-news-sites-for-investors-in-a-hurry">The 6 Best Financial News Sites for Investors in a Hurry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fear FOMO gains losing money loss aversion market drops risk stock market Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Anum Yoon 1921000 at http://www.wisebread.com Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-510572840.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you pay close attention to investment news, it'll either make you laugh or it'll drive you bonkers. Within the same hour, and on the same market news website, you will often see completely contradictory articles. One says the market is headed higher; the next says the market is about to tank.</p> <p>What's a smart investor to do? Be very careful about your information diet.</p> <h2>More Information, Less Success</h2> <p>In the late 1980s, former Harvard psychologist Paul Andreassen conducted an experiment to see how the quantity of market information impacted investor behavior.</p> <p>He divided a group of mock investors into two segments &mdash; investors in companies with stable stock prices, and investors in companies with volatile stock prices. Then he further divided those investors. Half of each group received constant news updates about the companies they invested in, and half received no news.</p> <p>Those who received no news generated better portfolio returns than those who received frequent updates. The implication? The more closely you monitor news about your investments, the more likely you are to make changes to your portfolio &mdash; usually to your detriment.</p> <p>In another study, renowned human behavior researchers Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Richard Thaler, and Alan Schwartz <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/richard.thaler/research/pdf/The%20Effect%20of%20Myopia%20and%20Loss%20Aversion%20on%20Risk%20Taking%20An%20Experimental%20Test.pdf" target="_blank">compared the stock/bond allocations</a> of investors who checked on their investments at least once a month against those who did so just once a year. Those who took in the <em>least</em> information about their portfolios made fewer investment trades and generated higher returns.</p> <h2>When Helping Hurts</h2> <p>One factor at work here is &quot;loss aversion.&quot; First quantified by Kahneman and Tversky, it's the idea that people feel the pain of loss more acutely than the pleasure of gain. The frequent monitoring of investment portfolios brings every downward market move to the attention of investors, who tend to react by moving money into less risky assets (bonds instead of stocks), thereby locking in their losses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a>)</p> <h2>Misinformation Is Not Power</h2> <p>Another factor has to do with the tales told in the investment press. Each day's market performance is reported &mdash; what happened, and <em>why. </em>The first part is factual. The market either went up or down and by a certain amount. The second part is mostly opinion. No one can say with certainty exactly what moved the market. Was it fear over the growth rate of China's economy, a contraction in the oil supply, or that XYZ company missed its quarterly earnings projection by a penny? No one really knows. But that doesn't stop the explanations from flowing across the pages of investment news sites.</p> <p>Late December and early January are especially dangerous times to read market news. That's when market forecasters spin their yarns, undaunted by their previous year's miss or economist John Kenneth Galbraith's scolding that &quot;The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.&quot;</p> <p>We pay attention to such forecasts &mdash; and even worse, we change our portfolios because of such forecasts &mdash; at our peril.</p> <h2>Selective Listening</h2> <p>You can't control the stock market or what is said about it, but there are certain factors you <em>can</em> and <em>should</em> control, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Estimate how much you need to invest each month in order to accomplish your goals;</li> <li>Determine your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>;</li> <li>Choose a trustworthy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio?ref=internal" target="_blank">investment selection process</a>;</li> <li>Add to your portfolio regularly;</li> <li>Expect market turbulence;</li> <li>Be very, very careful about what investment news you take in and how much;</li> <li>Keep moving forward.</li> </ul> <p>Of the many factors involved in successful investing, selective listening may be the most important.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds loss aversion misinformation news psychology reactions returns risk stock market Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1904508 at http://www.wisebread.com The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508414008.jpg" alt="Learning three rules evert mediocre investor must know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mediocre financial advice can earn you mediocre investment returns &mdash; and mediocre investment returns are all you need to save for a house, send your kids to college, and fund your (potentially early) retirement. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-take-investment-advice-from-a-mediocre-investor" target="_blank">Mediocre investment advice</a> is pretty straightforward. In fact, the only thing that's complicated about getting mediocre financial results is the stuff that comes before investing: Things like earning money, keeping your debt in check, finding a career, living frugally, and most crucially, building an adequate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">emergency fund</a>.</p> <p>Once you've got those things taken care of, you're ready to start investing. If you're at that point, here's my mediocre investment advice: Create a diversified portfolio of low-cost investments and rebalance it annually.</p> <h2>Diversified Portfolio</h2> <p>It's important to have diversity at several levels. Eventually you'll want diversity in investment types &mdash; not just stocks, but also bonds, real estate, precious metals, foreign currency, cash, etc. More importantly, you want finer-grained diversity especially in the earlier stages of building your portfolio. Don't let your portfolio get concentrated in just one or a few companies. (For what it's worth, don't let it get concentrated in the stock of your employer, either. That sets you up for a catastrophe, because if your employer runs into trouble, the value of your portfolio can crash at the same time your job is at risk.)</p> <p>In the medium term &mdash; after you've got a well-diversified stock selection, but before it's time to branch out into more exotic investments &mdash; you'll want to expand the diversity of types of companies. Not just big companies, but also medium-sized and small companies. Not just U.S. companies, but also foreign companies. Not just tech companies, but also industrial companies and financial companies, and so on.</p> <p>Diversity wins two ways. First, it's safer: As long as all your money isn't in just one thing, it doesn't matter so much whether it's a good year or a bad year for that thing. Second, it produces higher returns: No one can know which investment will be best, but a diversified portfolio probably has at least <em>some </em>money invested in <em>some </em>investments that will do especially well. (Of course retrospectively, there will have been one investment that does best, and risking having all your money in that would have produced the highest possible return &mdash; but that's exactly what a mediocre investor knows better than to attempt.)</p> <p>Of course, you don't want a random selection of investments, even if such a thing might be quite diverse. You want a reasonably balanced portfolio &mdash; something I'll talk about at the end of this post.</p> <h2>Low-Cost Investments</h2> <p>The less money you pay in fees and commissions, the more money you have invested in earning a return.</p> <p>Getting this right is so much easier now than it was when I started investing! In those days, you could scarcely avoid losing several percent of your money right off the top to commissions, and then lose another percent or two annually to fees. Now it's easy to make a stock trade for less than $10 in commissions, and it's easy to find mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that charge fees of only a fraction of 1%.</p> <p>Still, it's easy to screw this up. Any investment that's advertised is paying its advertising budget somehow &mdash; probably with fees from investors. Any investment that's sold by agents or brokers is paying those agents or brokers somehow &mdash; probably with commissions or fees from investors.</p> <p>All those costs come straight out of your return. Keep them to a minimum.</p> <h2>Rebalance Annually</h2> <p>Your diversified portfolio will immediately start getting less diversified: Your winning investments will become a larger fraction of your portfolio while your losers will become a smaller fraction. In the short term, that's great. Who doesn't want a portfolio loaded with winners? Pretty soon though, you start losing the advantages of diversification. Last year's winners will inevitably become losers eventually, and you don't want that to happen after they've become a huge share of your portfolio.</p> <p>The solution is to restore the original diversity. Sell some of the winners, and use the resulting cash to buy some more of the losers. It's the easiest possible way to buy low and sell high. (Maybe you don't want to buy exactly the losers &mdash; not if their poor performance leads you think there's something really wrong with them. But buy something kind of like them. Health care companies probably belong in your portfolio, even if many of them did badly this year.)</p> <p>There are costs to rebalancing &mdash; costs in time and effort (figuring out what to sell and what to buy), and actual costs in commissions and fees. Because of that, you probably wouldn't want to rebalance constantly. You could make a case for monthly or quarterly rebalancing, but even that seems like a lot of effort for a small portfolio. Annually seems to hit the sweet spot.</p> <h2>What Goes Into a Diversified Portfolio?</h2> <p>What I'm going to suggest is that you start with a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.</p> <p>It's not that there aren't plenty of other worthy investment options &mdash; cash, gold, silver, real estate, foreign currencies, etc. &mdash; it's just that they all have complications of one sort or another, and you can get started on earning your mediocre returns without them.</p> <p>My mediocre investment advice then is that your portfolio should be a balance of stocks (for maximum growth) and bonds (for income and stability).</p> <h3>Finding the Right Balance Comes Down to Age &mdash; Yours</h3> <p>What's the right balance? An old rule of thumb was that 100 minus your age would be a good target percentage for the stock portion of your portfolio. At the start of your career, you'd have nearly 80% of your investments in stocks, and that fraction would gradually decline to about 35% as you approached retirement. The theory was that a young person can afford to take big risks, because he or she has time to wait for an eventual market rebound (and because during the early phase of building up a portfolio, even a large percentage loss is a small dollar amount). This makes a certain amount of sense. In fact, you could argue that a stock market that collapsed and then stayed down just when you started investing would be great &mdash; it would give you decades to buy stocks cheap.</p> <p>That rule of thumb isn't bad, although with people living longer these days, it probably makes sense to keep a higher portion of stocks in your portfolio during the last years before and first years after retirement. Once you hit 50, maybe only cut your stock portfolio by 1% every two years.</p> <p>When you're just getting started, feel free to keep it very simple. Perhaps just start putting money into a broad-based stock fund (such as an S&amp;P 500 index fund). You can add a bond fund right away if you want, or wait until your annual rebalancing.</p> <p>There are mutual funds that will manage this balance for you, holding stocks and bonds with a balance that shifts over time to some target date, at which point they'll hold a portfolio suitable for someone who has retired. You don't need them. In particular, they tend to have higher expenses, violating the &quot;low cost&quot; principle. You can do it easily enough for yourself. (Of course if you find that you don't do your annual rebalancing, then maybe paying a fund to do it for you is worth the expense.)</p> <p>As an alternative to mutual funds, you can use exchange traded funds or ETFs. It doesn't matter.</p> <p>Once your portfolio of stocks is large, you probably want to move beyond a single fund. Look at the other low-cost funds offered by the same fund family that provides your S&amp;P 500 index fund. Consider adding a fund that includes foreign stocks (especially if the dollar seems strong at the time you'll be buying). Consider adding a fund that includes dividend-paying stocks (especially if interest rates are low relative to dividends).</p> <p>Follow these mediocre tips, and you'll be racking up mediocre returns in no time! And remember &mdash; mediocre returns are all you need to live well and retire well.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice balancing bonds diversification ETFs mediocre investments mutual funds portfolio returns stock market stocks Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:30:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 1896815 at http://www.wisebread.com These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_money_investments_484334330.jpg" alt="Child finding small cap value investments that are on fire" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The stock market has been on a tear as 2016 comes to a close, and there's one particular investment that has performed especially well. Small cap value investments have risen significantly over the last few months, outpacing stocks and funds representing larger companies.</p> <p>Small cap value stocks are smaller companies (usually of less than $2 billion in market capitalization) that may be perceived as undervalued based on their price-to-earnings ratios. These investments appear to be benefiting from a general run-up in the stock market. But economic uncertainty overseas has further boosted small cap value investments, because they tend to be U.S.-based.</p> <p>There are countless small cap value stocks, but the easiest way to invest in them is through a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF). Here's a look at some small-cap investments that have been supercharging investment portfolios this year:</p> <h2>1. iShares S&amp;P Small Cap 600 Value ETF [NYSE: <a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=700320">IJS</a>]</h2> <p>Shares of this ETF are up more than 20% just since the start of November, and more than 34% over the last 52 weeks. Top holdings include TiVo, defense contractor CACI, and chemical company Chemours. IJS is designed to mirror the S&amp;P Small Cap 600 Value Index.</p> <h2>2. SPDR S&amp;P Small Cap 600 Value ETF [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=slyv">SLYV</a>]</h2> <p>This is another ETF designed to track the S&amp;P Small Cap 600, and it's had a great 2016. Shares are trading at about $123, up 23% in the last two months and a whopping 50% since hitting a low of $80 in January. Returns on the year are nearly triple that of the S&amp;P 500. SLYV's holdings are very similar to its iShares counterpart, though its expense ratio of 0.15% is slightly lower.</p> <h2>3. iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=iwn">IWN</a>]</h2> <p>Another strong offering from iShares, this ETF is designed to track &mdash; surprise! &mdash; the Russell 2000 Value Index. It's up 20% in the last two months and 30% over 52 weeks. IWN's top holdings include Webster Financial Corp., Prosperity Bancshares, and chemical manufacturer Olin Corp.</p> <h2>4. Vanguard Small Cap Value ETF [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=VBR">VBR</a>]</h2> <p>VBR has been on a tear recently, up about 17% since the start of November, and 24% in 2016. This is a passively managed fund designed to mirror the performance of the U.S. Small Cap Value Index. An expense ratio of .08% is another strong selling point for this ETF. Top holdings include insurance brokerage Arthur Gallagher &amp; Co., technology provider CDW, and Westar Energy Inc., the largest electricity provider in Kansas. (Disclosure: I own shares of VBR).</p> <h2>5. Schwab U.S. Small Cap ETF [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=scha">SCHA</a>]</h2> <p>With an expense ratio of a mere 0.06%, this ETF costs almost nothing extra to own. And returns have been great in 2016, with shares rising by 20% on the year and 16% in the last two months. Holdings include U.S. Steel, Pacwest Bancorp, and Coty Inc., a maker of beauty products.</p> <h2>6. Wells Fargo Special Small Cap Value Fund [NYSE: <a href="http://etfs.morningstar.com/quote?t=ESPAX&amp;culture=en_us&amp;platform=RET&amp;viewId1=3577733644&amp;viewId2=2545513703&amp;viewId3=2700073027&amp;test=QuoteiFrame">ESPAX</a>]</h2> <p>Shares of this fund are up 30% in 2016, making it one of the best performing funds of the year. It's powered by diverse holdings that include First Citizens BancShares, cement maker Eagle Materials, and metal manufacturer Mueller Industries. There are no transaction fees to buy and sell this fund through Fidelity, though there is a $2,500 minimum investment.</p> <h2>7. American Beacon Small Cap Value Fund [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q/hl?s=AVFIX+Holdings">AVFIX</a>]</h2> <p>This mutual fund has risen in value by 23% in 2016. That's not quite as good as the Russell 2000 Value index, but still outpaces most investments these days. This fund is weighted heavily toward financials and technology. Top holdings include Vishay Intertechnology Inc. and Portland General Electric Company. Note that its expense ratio of 0.82% is on the high side.</p> <h2>8. Queens Road Small Cap Value Fund [NYSE: <a href="https://www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-fund/quote/QRSVX">QRSVX</a>]</h2> <p>This well-regarded fund is up 12% since the end of October and 17% overall this year. This fund is weighted toward industrials and technology, with a good dose of consumer products and financials. Top holdings include Plantronics, a maker of wireless headsets; Hilltop Holdings, a bank and insurance company; and aerospace firm Orbital ATK. The minimum to invest in this fund is $2,500, and the expense ratio of 1.26% is on the higher side. However, those with brokerage accounts at Fidelity can trade this fund without paying a commission.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youd-held-these-10-stocks-instead-of-sold-youd-be-rich-now">If You&#039;d Held These 10 Stocks Instead of Sold, You&#039;d Be Rich Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment small cap small cap value small companies stock market stocks Thu, 05 Jan 2017 11:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1868659 at http://www.wisebread.com The Easiest Way to Invest in the World's Biggest Companies http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-invest-in-the-worlds-biggest-companies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easiest-way-to-invest-in-the-worlds-biggest-companies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/invest_money_476336804.jpg" alt="Learning how to invest in the biggest companies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's a classic way to build up an investment portfolio: Regularly invest modest amounts of money in growing companies. Do that for a few decades, reinvesting the dividends as you go along, and &mdash; if you've picked the right companies &mdash; you will end up with sizable holdings. Perhaps even real wealth.</p> <p>If you want a diversified portfolio, and you really should, there are a lot of cheap ways to get one. Any number of mutual funds will let you open an account with a modest initial deposit, and the minimums for subsequent investments are quite reasonable for even a small saver.</p> <p>But what if you don't like someone else's idea of a diversified portfolio? What if you have some strong opinions about which companies are worth investing in, and out of the thousands of mutual funds available, none of them focuses on those companies? What if you really want to invest in specific companies picked by you?</p> <p>One option would be to open an account at an online brokerage and make your purchases there. That will work great if you have ample money to invest. But what if your free cash for investing is small?</p> <p>Even small investments can add up to a lot of money, if you've got both time and a good annual return working for you. If the companies you pick can average an 8% annual return for 40 years, just $20 a week will build to a fortune of over $300,000.</p> <p>But the online brokerage solution is no good for investments that small, because of commissions. Even the cheap online brokers charge $5 on a trade, and plenty of them charge closer to $10 &mdash; there's half your investment gone right there.</p> <p>Fortunately, there's an alternative that's tailor-made for this situation: Direct Stock Purchase Plans, or DSPPs.</p> <h2>Direct Stock Purchase Plans</h2> <p>Back in my day they were called Dividend Reinvestment Plans, or DRIPs, but they're basically the same thing: Big companies hire somebody &mdash; usually the stock transfer agent &mdash; to create and manage accounts that let individuals buy small quantities of stock &mdash; usually for no commission &mdash; and reinvest their dividends.</p> <p>It's a win for the investor, because they get to invest in the stock for free. It's a win for company, because they get a dependable stream of new capital, and a stable base of shareholders who are aren't likely to sell out at the first sign of bad news or to go chasing after the next hot trend.</p> <p>Besides charging no commissions, they also solve another problem for the very small investor: the cost of whole shares. Suppose you want to invest $20 out of every paycheck, but the stock you want to buy is $63 a share. It would take you four paychecks to save up enough money to buy one share. With a DSPP you'd get 0.317 shares with the first contribution, and a similar amount each paycheck after.</p> <h2>Things to Know</h2> <p>There are a few caveats.</p> <p>First, only certain companies go to the trouble and expense of offering a DSPP. Happily, as suggested by the title of this article, they're mostly the largest companies on the U.S. stock exchanges. The web has plenty of lists of companies that offer DSPPs or DRIPs. Alternatively, if you know which company you're interested in, go to the company website and look for a link like &quot;investors&quot; or &quot;shareholder information.&quot; If there's a direct investment program, you'll find the information about it there.</p> <p>Second, buying stocks this way &mdash; through numerous small purchases &mdash; may make figuring your taxes a lot more complicated in the years that you sell. (This may be less true than it used to be, now that brokers are required to track your cost basis for you.)</p> <p>Third, be aware that these sort of plans don't offer the services of a broker. They are basically just for accumulating shares in one specific company. They will probably let you shift from reinvesting your dividends to receiving them in cash, something you might want to do when you retire and will be living off your investments. They usually let you take delivery of your stock (if at some point you want to transfer it to a regular broker) or sell it (if you have found a better investment, or need the money to live on). They won't let you borrow against it, they won't have cash management tools, they won't be interested in holding any other shares you own, or selling you bonds, or advising you on other investment opportunities.</p> <p>Fourth, investing in just one company won't give you a diversified investment portfolio. You'd need a dozen carefully chosen companies to get something reasonably diversified. Of course, as an adjunct to some well-diversified mutual funds, a DSPP in a company that does very well, can provide a considerable boost to your total return, without completely unbalancing your portfolio.</p> <h2>History</h2> <p>Plans like these used to be a much bigger deal. Especially before 1975 (when minimum commissions were abolished), but continuing right up until Internet brokers got big in the 1990s, the costs to trade stocks were high enough that it was completely impractical for a small investor to gradually accumulate shares in a growing company. Investing in individual stocks was a game only for the wealthy.</p> <p>It's generally not important these days, but there's a technical difference between DRIPs and DSPPs. Back in the day DRIPs usually required that you purchase your first share from a broker (or acquire it some other way, such as by inheriting it). Then you could reinvest dividends, or even make additional cash purchases of shares, but that first share had to come first.</p> <p>Starting in the mid-1990s, the SEC relaxed some rules, making it practical for companies to offer DSPPs that could sell you your first share, as well as shares beyond that.</p> <p>It's kind of a technical point, but that's the difference between the two kinds of plan.</p> <h2>Small Versus Tiny Investors</h2> <p>With internet brokers, even a fairly small investor can buy and sell stocks. You need a certain amount of capital &mdash; a few thousand dollars &mdash; to make it possible to buy a round lot of 100 shares and to make the $5 or $10 commission a small enough percentage of your total investment.</p> <p>But if you're a tiny investor &mdash; if your investable capital is only a few hundred dollars &mdash; something like a DSPP makes it possible for even the smallest investors to accumulate sizable portfolios through frequent, modest investments made over a long period of time.</p> <p>It's what they were designed for.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-invest-in-the-worlds-biggest-companies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/slow-drip-into-investing">Slow DRIP into investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment direct stock purchase plans dividend reinvestment plans DSPP large companies portfolio small investors stock market Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Philip Brewer 1839210 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Stocks to Buy Before Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/6-stocks-to-buy-before-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-stocks-to-buy-before-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ebay_sign_93270545.jpg" alt="Finding stocks to buy before Black Friday" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thinking about playing the stock market to take advantage of the holiday uptick? Consider investing in these stocks to boost your gift-shopping budget. Or, just scrap it all and go on vacation. Merry Christmas to <em>you</em>!</p> <h2>1. UPS</h2> <p>It makes perfect sense that global-shipping giant United Parcel Service [NYSE: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE:UPS">UPS</a>] would see a surge in stock prices as the height of shipping season approaches. A recent survey conducted by comScore reveals that <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/06/08/online-shopping-increases/">online shopping will increase this year</a> &mdash; to nobody's surprise &mdash; and that only means more business for UPS. According to independent trader and investor Tela Holcomb, UPS stock has risen from early November to early December for nine out of the last 10 years. Given data that even more packages than ever before will crisscross the country this year, 2016 should be a boon for business as well. She notes, however, that stock trends are based on historical data and should not be taken as investment advice; your personal decision on whether to invest should be supported by current stock charts.</p> <h2>2. Amazon</h2> <p>Amazon [NASDAQ: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=AMZN&amp;ei=utctWImsKIW7ep7hpbAJ">AMZN</a>] has given department stores a run for their money and their stock price shows it. Like UPS, Amazon's stock has a trend of rising from early November to early December, nine out of the last 10 years, with the highest increase being over 11%, according to Holcomb.</p> <h2>3. eBay</h2> <p>If Amazon doesn't have what you're looking for when shopping for gifts, eBay [NASDAQ: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ%3AEBAY&amp;ei=vtctWKHUGM_BeuzHp8gG">EBAY</a>] probably does &mdash; which is why each of these platforms continues to perform at peak levels during the holidays. Vic Patel is a professional trader and investor with over 20 years' experience in the Stock, Futures, and Foreign Exchange Markets, and he's particularly bullish about eBay in the short term going into Black Friday.</p> <p>&quot;Last year, eBay posted a healthy 4% gain from early November leading into Black Friday; I see a similar seasonal tendency for the stock this year as well,&quot; he says. &quot;This is especially likely given that the stock has been beaten down a bit over the last few months and is ready for a bounce upwards.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Priceline</h2> <p>The holiday period has a stronghold on many industries, including restaurants, retail, and travel. Which is why it stands to reason that during the most traveled period of the year &mdash; the day before Thanksgiving through New Year's &mdash; travel sites like Priceline [NASDAQ: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=priceline&amp;ei=F9gtWNG1HdW_e8zjhtAF">PCLN</a>] start climbing.</p> <p>&quot;Analyzing changes in Priceline's stock price shows the stock has a trend of going up the last two weeks of November into the beginning of December,&quot; Holcomb says. &quot;With Thanksgiving being the day before Black Friday, it's no surprise their stock is up around this time.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Big 5 Sporting Goods</h2> <p>In a year that saw one of the biggest sporting goods store in the United States &mdash; Sports Authority &mdash; go belly up, it's a surprise (or maybe not, thanks to less competition) to see Big 5 Sporting Goods [NASDAQ: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=BGFV&amp;ei=X9gtWLmuIo29e8LPoogO">BGFV</a>] projecting gains. But the company, with an e-commerce platform and brick-and-mortars limited to the western U.S., is dazzling investors. In fact, Forward View, an investment research provider, moved the company from a sell rating to a buy rating while increasing its target price to $20, up from $15, based on new modeling.</p> <h2>6. A Few Things You've (Maybe) Never Heard Of</h2> <p>The election of soon-to-be President Trump sent the market into a tailspin leading up to the results, but the Dow bounced back to post a six-day winning streak, closing at a <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/14/us-markets.html">record high despite a tech fall</a>, according to CNBC, with Goldman Sachs [NYSE: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=Goldman+Sachs&amp;ei=vtgtWKCWA8_BeuzHp8gG">GS</a>] and UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE%3AUNH&amp;ei=1tktWJCsNYHweNWzqJgB">UNH</a>] contributing the most gains. Before the election, however, GoBankingRates predicted a few stocks poised to grow, including Applied Materials [NASDAQ: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=AMAT&amp;ei=QdotWLHgLtSne9LWh4gB">AMAT</a>], Edwards Lifesciences [NYSE: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=EW&amp;ei=YdotWInxEdSne9LWh4gB">EW</a>], ARRIS [NASDAQ: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=ARRS&amp;ei=hNotWIiyJtSIe-KahcAH">ARRS</a>], Lam Research [NASDAQ: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=LRCX&amp;ei=qNotWJGJF52ge_O4gpAP">LRCX</a>], and Northrop Grumman [NYSE: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=NOC&amp;ei=0totWNmyK9-Se6q3nOAD">NOC</a>]. These stocks represent a wide range of industries &mdash; from entertainment and communication technology (ARRS) to aerospace and defense tech (NOC) &mdash; none of which are tied to the holidays outright. It's sometimes wise to look beyond the obvious.</p> <h2>The General Consensus</h2> <p>Invest in seasonal or holiday-driven companies to make the most out of this time of year. Get in and get out.</p> <p>&quot;Chances are if you're spending more than usual during the holidays, so is everyone else,&quot; says financial expert Dustin Jacobs, VP for marketing at BrightStar Credit Union. &quot;Use this to your advantage by buying stocks in companies that are most profitable during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's like airlines including JetBlue, retailers like Target and Amazon, and transportation companies such as UPS and FedEx. Do it before the 'January Effect' kicks in and you'll be ready to ring in the New Year with a champagne toast to a temporary bull market.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-stocks-to-buy-before-black-friday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it">7 Expensive Stocks That Are Totally Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks">Is It Finally Time to Invest in Marijuana Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Amazon big 5 sporting goods black friday bull market eBay holiday season priceline stock market UPS Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1835350 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Financial Reasons 2016 Needs to Be Over ASAP http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-reasons-2016-needs-to-be-over-asap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-financial-reasons-2016-needs-to-be-over-asap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2016_money_78468345.jpg" alt="Why 2016 needs to be over ASAP" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The year is winding down, and for many of us, it can't end soon enough. From a financial standpoint, 2016 was a mixed bag, at best. Of course, there's no guarantee that next year will be markedly better. But here are a bunch of financial reasons why we're ready to put up a new calendar.</p> <h2>1. Poor Economic Growth</h2> <p>For most of the time after World War II, Americans could count on a growing economy, usually to the tune of at least 3%, and often significantly higher. These days, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States is stuck on a slower growth path. While the economy did have a good third quarter, it's likely that growth for the year will be under 3% because of a dismal first half of the year. It's better than being in a recession, but this slower growth could have big implications on incomes, investment returns, and Americans' overall quality of life over time.</p> <h2>2. Mediocre Investment Returns</h2> <p>So far in 2016, the S&amp;P 500 has increased in value by a little over 7%. That's not bad, but many investors were hoping for a bigger jump after an increase of less than 2% in 2015. In the post World War II period, there have been only about a dozen instances when investment returns didn't average at least 5% annually over a two-year period. This will be the eighth consecutive year of positive market returns, and that's a good thing. But the last couple of years have fallen into the &quot;good, not great&quot; category, and that may force a lot of people to adjust their overall retirement projections downward.</p> <h2>3. Fewer People Working</h2> <p>America's unemployment rate is 4.9%, and that's historically quite low. So good news, right? Well, any excitement over that number is tempered by the fact that overall participation in the labor force is at one of its lowest points in the last 50 years. About 63 million people are considered part of the civilian workforce, but that's down from 67 million 15 years ago. The unemployment rate does not consider people who have voluntarily left the workforce or have been out of work for a very long time.</p> <p>There are a variety of reasons why fewer Americans are working, and not all of them are bad. An aging population means more people are retiring. More people are pursuing advanced education. The Affordable Care Act has made it easier for some people to get health insurance without the need to get it through an employer. People who choose to be out of the workforce for too long may lose skills that will make them more employable later. And a declining workforce also has a negative impact on household incomes, consumer spending, and, ultimately, economic growth.</p> <h2>4. Paltry Interest Returns</h2> <p>We've been in an ultralow interest environment for years now. Many of us have benefitted from the low cost of borrowing, but this also means that our savings accounts aren't generating much return. This is bad for anyone starting out saving and for older retirees who rely on interest income. It's also generally a sign from the Federal Reserve that the economy still needs some propping up. Low interest rates can be helpful to us in some respects, but most economists yearn for a time when rates weren't hovering near zero.</p> <h2>5. Flat Wages</h2> <p>Did you get a raise in 2016? If not, you're probably not alone. Real wage growth has been basically flat for years, and this year has been no exception. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that real average weekly earnings rose just 1% in September compared to the same month a year ago. The average worker earns just 11 cents per hour more than this same time last year, when you factor in inflation. This stubborn wage stagnation has a negative impact on the middle class, especially when you consider things like the rising cost of education. Will 2017 be better?</p> <h2>6. Brexit Reax</h2> <p>The world pretty much freaked out over the summer when people in the United Kingdom voted to have their country leave the European Union. It was a result that many believed could not happen, and sent stock markets around the globe tumbling. The British Pound lost a good chunk of its value, and overall uncertainty of what happens next has led to a drag on the economy and England and Europe as a whole.</p> <h2>7. Fumbling Phone Makers</h2> <p>In recent years, companies that make smartphones and other digital devices have been huge drivers of the stock market and the economy. Apple and Samsung certainly come to mind. But in 2016, it was a lot of bad news and disappointment.</p> <p>Samsung was forced to recall and stop production on its Galaxy Note 7, after reports that the phones were catching fire. This news virtually wiped out all of the company's profits for the third quarter of 2016.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Samsung's top competitor, Apple, hasn't exactly taken advantage. The company sold 45 million of its popular iPhone in the most recent quarter, compared to 48 million in the same period last year. And reviews of the newest iPhone 7 have been tepid. Shares of the company are up about 8% this year, which is solid growth but less than what we've come to expect from the tech behemoth. There is hope for 2017, however, as Apple says it will spend a whopping $16 billion on capital expenditures next year.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-reasons-2016-needs-to-be-over-asap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-money-goals-you-can-still-reach-by-2017">13 Money Goals You Can Still Reach by 2017</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-the-election-could-impact-your-wallet">Here&#039;s How the Election Could Impact Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt">Do we really need help with getting more debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter">How to Clear Out Financial Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 2016 2017 Economy employment finances jobs New Year news stock market wages Tue, 08 Nov 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1828890 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/growing_money_trees_84090749.jpg" alt="Finding essentials for building profitable portfolio" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money. But it doesn't have to be. Here are some of the essentials for building a successful investment portfolio.</p> <h2>1. Know What You're Investing For</h2> <p>Investing is best done with a purpose in mind. Investing for a child's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education">future college costs</a> is not the same as investing for your retirement. You would use different investment vehicles &mdash; a 529-plan account or Coverdell Education Savings Account for college, and an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">IRA or 401K</a> for retirement.</p> <h2>2. Know Your Time Frame</h2> <p>Investing is for goals you want to accomplish in five or more years. Anything shorter than that and you can't afford to take much, if any, risk, so you would be best served by a savings account.</p> <p>Still, a &quot;five or more years&quot; time horizon contains a wide range of options. Someone planning to retire in 10 years should invest quite differently than someone planning to retire in 30 years. The first person can't afford to take as much risk as the second person. By the same token, the second person can't afford the risk of playing it too safe.</p> <h2>3. Know Your Temperament</h2> <p>This has to do with how well you sleep at night when the stock market is in free fall. Vanguard has a decent <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">free assessment</a> that combines your investment time frame with your temperament to suggest an optimal asset allocation &mdash; that is, what percentage of your portfolio you should allocate to stocks and what percentage to bonds (or stock, or bond-based mutual funds).</p> <h2>4. Know How to Choose Specific Investments</h2> <p>If investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money, choosing specific investments is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of investing. Very few people have the wherewithal to do this on their own. It's helpful to acknowledge that. As Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry character noted, &quot;A man's got to know his limitations.&quot; Of course, the same is true for women!</p> <p>There's just too much to know. There are thousands of different investments to choose from. And it can be crazy confusing (and dangerous) to make these decisions based on the all-too-common articles about &quot;Last Year's Best-Performing Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Where to Invest to Take Advantage of Advances in Wind Power.&quot;</p> <p>The crucial decision you need to make is not so much about which investments to choose; it's about which investment process to use. Here are three options.</p> <h3>Go With a Target-Date Fund</h3> <p>The simplicity of such funds has made them tremendously popular. Most of the big mutual fund companies offer them. You just choose the fund with the year closest to the year of your intended retirement as part of its name (Fidelity Freedom 2050, for example). The fund is designed with what the fund company believes is the ideal asset allocation for someone with that retirement date in mind, and it even changes the allocation as you get closer to that target date, becoming increasingly conservative. It's a very simple process, but <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/target-date-funds-the-devils-in-the-details">all target-date funds are not alike</a>. So, be informed.</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Adviser</h3> <p>He or she will get to know you and your goals and then tailor an investment strategy to you. Along the way, you will typically pay 1% of the amount of money you have the adviser manage for you each year. Also, advisers usually won't work with anyone with less than $100,000 to manage. If you go this route, ask friends for referrals and opt for a fee-based adviser (as opposed to one compensated by commissions) who works as a &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser">fiduciary</a>.&quot;</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Newsletter</h3> <p>Whereas an investment adviser works with clients one-on-one, an <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/what-investing-newsletters-do-that-financial-magazines-dont">investment newsletter</a> works with investors on a one-on-several thousand (or however many subscribers they have) basis. There are hundreds of investment newsletters, each with their own investment strategies. Subscribers gain access to the strategies along with the specific investment recommendations needed in order to implement the strategies. Subscription costs range from less than $200 per year to over $1,000 per year.</p> <h2>5. Know Some Market History</h2> <p>One of the biggest threats to your success as an investor can be seen in the mirror. When the market falls, it's easy to give in to fear and sell. When the market is booming, it's easy to give in to greed, and invest too aggressively.</p> <p>Far better to understand that the market cycles between bull markets and bear markets (growing markets and declining markets). Even within a specific year, there will be ups and downs.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to have a trusted investment selection process. With a good process in place, you should have some sense as to how your portfolio is likely to perform under a variety of market situations and you should be content to stay with it in good times and bad.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice college fund financial advisers money management portfolio retirement risk stock market target date funds Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1820715 at http://www.wisebread.com