returns http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/222/all en-US The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538027758.jpg" alt="Man learning mediocre investing advice is best" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My investing success made it possible for me to quit working a regular job 10 years ago, at age 48. Even so, I have written very little about investing compared to what I've written about other personal finance topics. There's a reason for that: I'm a mediocre investor.</p> <p>Over the course of my career as a software engineer, I saved and invested, earning a mediocre investment return. Since becoming a full-time writer, I've continued to earn investment returns &mdash; which although still mediocre, have been enough to supplement my income from writing.</p> <p>As a mediocre investor, I have hesitated to hold myself out as an investment adviser, even if my results have met my own needs in a very satisfactory way. I figured people would quite legitimately compare me to superior investment advisers, and it was a comparison that I didn't think would put me in the best light. And yet, I'm going to overcome my hesitation, because looking for superior investment advisers is probably a mistake.</p> <p>There are two big reasons why mediocre investment advice is the better choice: It's adequate, and it's cheap.</p> <h2>Mediocre Investing Advice Is Adequate</h2> <p>The purpose of your investment portfolio is to support your goals in life, and a mediocre return will do the trick. A mediocre return &mdash; just a few percentage points over inflation &mdash; will turn a modest flow of savings into a portfolio large enough to let you buy a house, send your kids to college, and fund a retirement (even an early retirement).</p> <p>Trying to get a better-than-mediocre return requires taking financial risks that put all your life goals at risk.</p> <p>If you have plenty of money available for investing, you can do both. You can cover your basic life goals with a portfolio invested for mediocre returns, and then you can direct your surplus investible funds into a portfolio that shoots for superior returns.</p> <p>It can be fun if you enjoy that sort of thing. I did some of that. Looking back, I'd probably have been better off just going for mediocre returns on the whole thing.</p> <h2>Mediocre Investing Advice Is Cheap</h2> <p>Superior investing advice tends to be expensive. It's expensive because it's worth it &mdash; but it's really only worth that much to the truly wealthy.</p> <p>Think about it. Let's say really good advice can boost your average annual return by five percentage points. On a $100,000 portfolio, that's an extra $5,000 a year. On a $1 billion portfolio, it's an extra $50 million a year. If someone can really earn that kind of extra return, they won't be working for you. They'll be working for the 1%.</p> <p>And it's not only getting superior advice that's expensive. Just following it is expensive. Following any financial advice &mdash; good or bad &mdash; costs money, but not only is getting mediocre advice cheap, following it tends to be cheap as well. And that cost savings turns out to support your investment returns better than even pretty good advice does.</p> <h2>Go With Mediocre</h2> <p>Just looking for superior financial advice is fraught. Most people who say they're providing superior investment advice are wrong. Some are simply deluded, others are flat-out lying. Either way, you really don't want to follow their financial advice &mdash; following bad financial advice can easily cost you your life savings.</p> <p>Fortunately, it's easy to tell the difference: Bad financial advice costs money, while mediocre financial advice tends to be free (or nearly so).</p> <p>Where can you get mediocre financial advice? Lots of places. You might start with two books I reviewed here on Wise Bread years ago that provide just the sort of mediocre financial advice I'm talking about:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-little-book-of-common-sense-investing" target="_blank">The Little Book of Common Sense Investing</a> by John C. Bogle: A perfect capsule of mediocre investment advice. It's also really short, because you can say about all there is to say about mediocre investing in a really short book.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-only-investment-guide-youll-ever-need?ref=internal" target="_blank">The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need</a> by Andrew Tobias: A slightly longer book that also covers basic personal finance stuff &mdash; so, not just investing your money, but also earning, spending, and insuring it.</li> </ul> <h2>How to Know It's Mediocre</h2> <p>It's easy to tell if the advice you're getting is the sort of mediocre advice you want. There are two characteristics to look for:</p> <ol> <li>It's free &mdash; or, available for no more than the cost of a book.</li> <li>It doesn't claim to be better than mediocre.</li> </ol> <p>If somebody charges money for their advice &mdash; or, more importantly, charges a commission, or a percentage of your assets for their advice &mdash; then it's probably not mediocre financial advice. (Charging a small fraction of 1% to cover the costs of running an investment fund is fine. It's charging extra on top of that for advice that's the danger sign.)</p> <p>If somebody claims that their advice is superior investment advice, or in any way better than mediocre financial advice, then it probably isn't mediocre financial advice.</p> <p>If you spot any of those warnings signs, I suggest that you avoid those advisers. It doesn't really matter whether they are people who genuinely think they're providing superior financial advice, or people who are just playing on your hopes for superior financial advice. If you follow their investment advice, I can confidently predict that your long-term investment returns &mdash; after expenses &mdash; will be crappy. And crappy returns mean a lower standard of living, less security, no chance to retire early, and maybe no retirement at all.</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-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">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/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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</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-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam">How to Protect Yourself From an Investment Scam</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/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice early retirement financial advisers mediocre returns success Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:30:26 +0000 Philip Brewer 1892846 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Return Items Through Your Credit Card If the Store Refuses http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-return-items-through-your-credit-card-if-the-store-refuses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-return-items-through-your-credit-card-if-the-store-refuses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-527894190.jpg" alt="Return Items Through Your Credit Card if the Store Refuses " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the greatest conveniences that shoppers have is the ability to return purchases for a refund. Retailers' return policies allow you to make a purchase knowing that you can <em>always </em>take it back if it doesn't work out or you change your mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a>)</p> <p>But what if the deadline for a return has passed? Or the store rejects it on some other grounds? This is where your credit card may be able to help. Some cards offer return protection programs (also known as return assistance or return guarantee) that will get your money back, even when the retailer refuses.</p> <h2>How Return Protection Policies Work</h2> <p>Return protection policies are meant to be a backup plan for store returns, not your primary defense. To qualify, you have to make the purchase with your card and if you're dissatisfied with the item, you need to try to return it to the store first. Only if the place you bought it refuses your return can you then try the card's return protection policy.</p> <p>There is some fine print to keep in mind. Usually, you won't get a refund on shipping and handling costs if you made your purchase online. You may have to mail the item to the card's benefits administrator (often at your cost) in &quot;like-new&quot; and good working condition. If you've damaged it, there are other credit card policies such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">theft and accidental damage coverage</a> that you may be able to use instead.</p> <p>Lots of purchases are excluded from return protection coverage, so read the policy carefully. Among those we found in different issuers' policies: tickets of any kind, jewelry, food, plants, animals, computer software, motor vehicle parts, items bought overseas, and customized items.</p> <p>Credit card policies typically give you 60-90 days to contact them to file a claim. Then you'll usually have another 30 days to submit the claim, along with a receipt for the item, and sometimes other documentation, such as a copy of the store's return policy.</p> <p>Here are some examples of the return protection coverage offered by major card issuers as of the writing of this article.</p> <h2>American Express<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/american-express-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews?ref=internal" target="_blank">American Express cards</a> come with return protection.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Coverage limit per item: </strong>$300</li> <li><strong>Coverage limit per year:</strong> $1,000</li> <li><strong>Extra features:</strong> Cost of shipping the item for return is reimbursed.</li> </ul> <h2>Barclaycard<strong> </strong></h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barclaycard-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews?ref=internal" target="_blank">Barclaycard</a> accounts that are part of the World Elite MasterCard program offer return protection.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Coverage limit per item: </strong>$500</li> <li><strong>Coverage limit per year:</strong> $1,000</li> </ul> <h2>Chase<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews?ref=internal" target="_blank">Chase cards</a> offer a return protection policy.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Coverage limit per item: </strong>$250</li> <li><strong>Coverage limit per year:</strong> $1,000</li> <li><strong>Extra features:</strong> Items purchased with Chase rewards points are also eligible.</li> </ul> <h2>Citi<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citi-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews?ref=internal" target="_blank">Citi cards</a> offer a return protection policy with the following features.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Coverage limit per item: </strong>$300</li> <li><strong>Coverage limit per year:</strong> $1,000</li> <li><strong>Extra features:</strong> Items purchased with Citi ThankYou points are also eligible.</li> </ul> <h2>Discover<strong> </strong></h2> <p>All <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews?ref=internal" target="_blank">Discover cards</a> offer a return guarantee policy.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Coverage limit per item: </strong>$500</li> <li><strong>Coverage limit per year:</strong> $2,500</li> <li><strong>Extra features:</strong> Items purchased with rewards points or miles are also eligible.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-return-items-through-your-credit-card-if-the-store-refuses">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-6"> <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/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</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-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft">How Credit Cards Protect Your Purchases From Damage or Theft</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-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards">How Free Extended Warranties Work on Credit Cards</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/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn&#039;t Know About</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/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping credit card perks purchase protection returns Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:00:15 +0000 Jason Steele 1885691 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Expensive Stocks That Are Totally Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_84113845_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="these expensive stocks are worth the cost" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you want to buy shares of stock from a familiar company, but are surprised to realize that shares are selling for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars. As it turns out, some of the priciest stocks may also turn out to have the best value in the long run.</p> <p>High prices may be intimidating, but there's no need to fear them. Let's take a look at some of the most expensive stocks, and outline why they may still be worth buying.</p> <h2>1. Alphabet [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/googl">GOOGL</a>]</h2> <p>Just one share of the company formerly known as Google will set you back more than $800. But don't look away from a company that has seen shares rise 16% in the last year, and now rivals Apple for the largest company on Earth. Alphabet's price-to-earnings ratio is 30, which is on the high side, but not outlandish for a company with strong revenue growth.</p> <h2>2. Priceline [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/pcln">PCLN</a>]</h2> <p>Years ago, Priceline shares underwent a reverse split in order to avoid being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Now, shares are nearly $1,500 a pop. The popular travel booking company also owns Booking.com and Kayak, among others. Shares are up 12% this year, with analysts indicating the price could top $1,700 a piece.</p> <h2>3. NVR [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=NVR">NVR</a>]</h2> <p>At more than $1,500 a share, this homebuilder has one of the highest stock prices around. But shares are actually down about 10% just in the last three months, so a rebound may be in order. The consensus from analysts is that NVR could trade closer to $1,700 by year's end.</p> <h2>4. Amazon [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/amzn">AMZN</a>]</h2> <p>The world's leading online retailer consistently gets called out for its small profits, and is often deemed overpriced by analysts who look at its eye-popping price-to-earning ratios. But these proclamations have historically been followed by significant run-ups in share price. At more than $800, a share of Amazon isn't cheap. But would you bet against Amazon entering the holiday shopping season?</p> <h2>5. Berkshire-Hathaway [NYSE: <a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=4376">BRK</a>]</h2> <p>Do you have $210,000 laying around that you'd like to invest? That's what a <em>single </em>one of Berkshire's Class A shares will cost you. Class B shares are available for mere mortals like us for a mere $144. Is Berkshire too expensive? Buffett has missed some bets over the years, but shares are up about 9% this year, and have averaged a more than 11% annual gain in the last decade.</p> <h2>6. Apple [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/aapl">APPL</a>]</h2> <p>At more than $117 a share, Apple isn't cheap. And many observers do wonder about the company's path in the post-Steve Jobs era. But this is still the company that makes the most popular smartphone in the world, and no company has a larger market capitalization.</p> <h2>7. Chipotle [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/CMG?p=CMG">CMG</a>]</h2> <p>There has been a lot of negative press around Chipotle after e-coli and norovirus outbreaks that sickened hundreds of people. The news sent share prices reeling, but but the company is working its way back. The company is trading at about $395 per share, a relative bargain compared to a year ago, when shares were well above $700. USA Today reported in September that there was &quot;still plenty of upside left in the stock.&quot; Assuming the company has a handle on its food safety issues, there may be a profit opportunity with Chipotle.</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-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it">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-7"> <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/6-stocks-to-buy-before-black-friday">6 Stocks to Buy Before Black Friday</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/10-stocks-every-recent-grad-should-own">10 Stocks Every Recent Grad Should 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/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/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</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/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Invest Like Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Amazon apple Berkshire Hathaway chipotle expensive stocks Google priceline profit returns shares value Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1818053 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_texting_newspaper_79438675_0.jpg" alt="Millennial man not being afraid of the stock market" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a Millennial who's interested in investing? Then stop being afraid of the market. Sure, the Great Recession wiped out market fortunes during your early adulthood, but in the years since, it's roared back. Those who held steady during the market tumult made their money back &mdash; and then some. And those who were smart enough to invest when the market was at its bottom? Well let's just say we should all be a little jealous of their foresight (and earnings).</p> <p>So, don't be a slave to your stock market fears. Here are seven reasons why you should be investing in equities, too.</p> <h2>1. You Have Options When Deciding to Invest</h2> <p>There are different investment options available that match your goals and time horizon. For instance, you can invest more conservatively if you're trying to save for a down payment on a house in a few years, versus investing for retirement 30 years down the road. And with increased diversification, you can maximize your investment returns while taking smaller risks.</p> <p>&quot;The more risk you take, the longer you should be willing to wait before it pays off, but you can match your investment objectives with your time horizon,&quot; says Ryan McGuiness, founder of the wealth management firm CTR Financial. &quot;I invest my clients in a diverse portfolio of 12 different index funds to provide maximum diversification at the lowest cost, and match their risks to their goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. You can try to learn what to do on your own or work with an adviser, but there are plenty of options out there.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Market Volatility Is Normal</h2> <p>Hands down, everyone's biggest fear in investing in the stock market is that it's going to crash and you'll lose your life savings. While that scenario <em>can</em> happen, a crash is not as likely as you think. In fact, it's uncommon. And even when markets crash, they inevitably come back. So, if you invest for the long term, this volatility should be much less of a concern.</p> <p>Of course, Millennials are more on edge about this particular setback than other generations, because they may have experienced the financial crisis firsthand in the late 2000s with parents losing their jobs or &mdash; even worse &mdash; their homes due to the global meltdown. As a result, you probably equate the stock market with extremely high risk, but that isn't usually the case.</p> <p>Lori Pinkowski, co-founder of the Pinkowski-Allen Financial Group, explains.</p> <p>&quot;A 2008-type crash occurs very infrequently; however, a 10% market correction happens on average once a year, so stock volatility is normal,&quot; she says. &quot;Market volatility also creates opportunity to purchase good companies at a lower price. With an active management strategy, their investment portfolios shouldn't simply rise and fall with the market like they do with a buy and hold management style. It's important to raise cash and get defensive at times but then be ready to deploy that cash once risk levels improve.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Investing Has Never Been Less Expensive</h2> <p>You don't have to be rich to invest &mdash; all you need is a little bit of disposable income. Many online brokers offer low-cost or even free trades, a prospect that was unimaginable just a few years ago. You also don't have to go broke by hiring a financial adviser to navigate you through the process, which is recommended. While the cost prospect of the latter is a deterrent for some Millennials, investment adviser Jeremy Torgerson details an inexpensive &mdash; and automated &mdash; solution:</p> <p>&quot;While many investors still want the assistance of a human financial adviser to help them figure out what to invest in and when to hold their hand during market corrections, it's no longer necessary to use and pay for a human adviser,&quot; he explains. &quot;The technology is incredible, and the robo-adviser is on duty, 24 hours a day. Or if you want a human adviser, the ability to shop for exactly the right one, in terms of service, expertise, and cost, has never been easier.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Investing Protects Your Money From Inflation</h2> <p>Think about this sobering fact for a second: The money you're earning and saving today will be worth less in the future if you keep it in a bank &mdash; guaranteed. The amount may not change, but over time, thanks to inflation, the value of your money will go down if it's left sitting in a bank account. As Pinkowski puts its, &quot;Inflation is approximately 2% and your bank savings account generates less than inflation, which means you have actually negative real growth. If you want healthy growth above inflation over time, stocks are the best choice.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Relying on Yourself Is a Better Bet Than Relying on the Government</h2> <p>The simple reality of our current fiscal situation includes underfunded promises to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and prescription drug benefits to the tune of $121 trillion and counting.</p> <p>&quot;Millennials will, in many ways, be 'stuck with the check' in later years for all the spending that's already happened, which will mean a later retirement age for Social Security, higher tax rates and inflation in the future, and, likely, reduced benefits from these entitlement programs,&quot; Torgerson says.</p> <p>Considering this potential, you owe it to yourself to prepare for a government that's less able to provide for you in retirement. Of course you should be contributing to a 401K, and taking advantage of matching contributions from your employer if they offer it. But investing separately in the stock market also can fortify your ability to retire at a decent age, if not sooner.</p> <h2>6. Reinvested Growth Can Pay Off in the Long Run</h2> <p>Many stocks pay dividends, and reinvesting those dividends as well as any capital gains will benefit you over the long run. For example, if you're 25 today and invest $10,000, earning on average 6% annually, you will see your investment grow to just over $100,000 by the time you reach 65 &mdash; and that's only with a $10,000 investment today. Consider that the S&amp;P 500 has averaged 9.6% annual returns over the last 25 years, which includes the tech bubble and 2008 credit crisis, and the growth you could enjoy might be even higher.</p> <h2>7. Time Is on Your Side</h2> <p>Of course, let's not forget that you're young, Millennials, and you have a several decades of saving and investing ahead of you &mdash; and that's a benefit that older investors don't have which can be used to your advantage.</p> <p>&quot;If Millennials are saving for retirement, their time horizon is much greater than someone older,&quot; says Pinkowski. &quot;They have time to wait out blips in the stock market and can focus on the long term. They also won't need to withdraw any income, thus allowing the investments to grow over many years. The power of compounding can be astonishing. Albert Einstein once said, 'Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it.' Give your money a job and make it work for you!&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you afraid of the stock market?</em></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/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-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-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/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/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</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/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All?</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment compound interest fear growth inflation millennials retirement returns stock market volatility young investors Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1787551 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clock_money_94923537.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to protect her money from inflation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in January 1980, when Jimmy Carter was President and Michael Jackson led the music charts with &quot;Rock with You,&quot; Americans were experiencing one of the periods of highest inflation in modern history. In January 1980, inflation was over 13.9% per year and peaked in April 1980 at 14.76%.</p> <p>With the consumer price index (CPI) at <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm">0.8% in July 2016</a>, many Americans have never experienced the dramatic increase in prices that other generations have. But even though inflation is low these days, it still eats away at your savings and investments. Let's review four (nearly) foolproof strategies and investments that will reduce the hit.</p> <h2>1. Invest in an S&amp;P 500 Index Fund</h2> <p>The average annual inflation rate since the U.S. government began tracking it in 1913 is <a href="http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Long_Term_Inflation.asp">about 3%</a>. To combat inflation's effect on your money, you need investments that provide greater average returns than the inflation rate.</p> <p>Since its inception in 1928, the S&amp;P 500 has provided an <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">average annual return of 11.25%</a> until 2015, making this stock market index a leading choice to protect yourself from inflation. For the greatest ease and cost-efficiency, invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that mirrors the S&amp;P 500's performance.</p> <p>Not only are the average returns of passively-managed S&amp;P 500 index funds higher than those of actively managed funds, but also the expense ratios of S&amp;P 500 index funds are lower than those of actively managed funds. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX?p=VFINX">VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.16%, which is 84% lower than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings.</p> <p>Of course, this approach isn't actually foolproof, since both the rate of inflation and market returns vary from year to year. But when considering long-term averages, it's a fairly safe bet.</p> <h2>2. Increase Annual Contributions to Saving Accounts</h2> <p>Even when you leverage <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=internal">high-yield online savings accounts</a>, you'll only make between 0.75% and 1.05% per year, according to data from August 2016. With a July 2016 CPI of 0.8%, you're actually losing 0.05% and gaining only 0.25% per year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review?ref=seealso">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a>)</p> <p>Setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck or main checking account to your investment and saving accounts is a smart idea, but adjusting those contributions for inflation is an even better one. A good practice is to make an adjustment for inflation once a year. Check with your financial institution to find out if it offers the option of automatic adjustments for inflation to your contributions.</p> <h2>3. Seek Real Estate Income</h2> <p>While gold has a great reputation as an investment hedge against inflation, real estate income has proved to be a better hedge tool. A study from financial company Fidelity back-tested the performance of several assets against inflation on an annual basis during a 40-year period and found that gold and real estate income beat inflation 54% and 71% of the time, respectively. &quot;Real estate is regarded consistently as a <a href="https://www.reit.com/news/videos/wharton-professor-discusses-reits-inflation-hedging-benefits">good inflation hedge</a>, and it is&quot;, asserts Susan Wachter, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Millennials Should Invest in a Home</a>)</p> <p>While most individual investors can only afford to buy their own home, all individual investors can gain exposure to real estate income from a wide variety of properties through real estate investment trusts (REITS). Some advantages of REITs are their requirement to maintain a dividend payout ratio of at least 90% and their liquidity because they trade on major stock exchanges.</p> <p>For example, the 10-year annual average return of the Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VGSIX?ltr=1">VGSIX</a>] is 7.46%, as of June 30, 2016. In comparison, the 10-year annual average return of the S&amp;P 500 was 7.42% for the same period.</p> <p>Adding REITs provides you access to assets with inflation resistance and helps you protect against the negative of higher inflation. Still, REITs should only be a part of a well-diversified portfolio. Depending on your tolerance to risk, financial advisers suggest allocating from 5% up to 20% of your investment in portfolio in REITs. And of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Your Salary</h2> <p>If your salary were to consistently go up every year, you would not to worry about inflation to begin with! However, <a href="http://time.com/money/3657524/odds-of-getting-raise/">less than half of working Americans</a> ever even ask for a raise, and about 30% of them are uncomfortable negotiating salary.</p> <p>Start your career on the right foot by successfully negotiating the salary offer of your very first job. Three out of four U.S. employers typically have room to increase their first salary offers by 5% to 10% during negotiations, but only 38% of applicants negotiate those first salary offers. Let's imagine that your first salary offer was $38,000, that would mean that you have the potential of increasing that offer from $39,900 to $41,800. Given the historical inflation average of 3% per year, you have the potential of covering inflation for 40 months just by negotiating your first salary offer.</p> <p>And things only get better after that.</p> <p>By bumping up your salary from the start, you're increasing your chances of future raises. As your salary grows over time, so does your probability of getting a raise. For example, people making $40,000 to $50,000 have about a 40% chance of receiving that raise they requested and people making $60,000 to $70,000 have about a 50% chance.</p> <p>While there are other factors that may influence pay raises, the main one is the decision to request better compensation. From U.S. workers asking for a raise, 75% of them get something: 44% of them get what they asked for and 31% of them receive a smaller amount. Getting at least a small raise is a very smart strategy to protect yourself from inflation because inflation erodes the value of your dollars year after year.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to protect yourself from inflation?</em></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/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">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/a-simple-guide-to-series-i-savings-bonds-i-bonds">A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)</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/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</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-does-the-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-bailout-affect-you">How does the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout affect 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-investments-that-usually-soar-during-the-summer">7 Investments That Usually Soar During the Summer</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/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment consumer price index Economy hedging inflation negotiating real estate REITs returns s&p 500 salary savings stocks Fri, 02 Sep 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1784422 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Great Stocks for Back-to-School Time http://www.wisebread.com/9-great-stocks-for-back-to-school-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-great-stocks-for-back-to-school-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/colored_pencils_5143796.jpg" alt="Finding great stocks for back-to-school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The kids are heading back to school, which means there's plenty of money being spent on notebooks, computers, and three-ring binders.</p> <p>The National Retail Federation reported that it expects $75.8 billion in back-to-school sales, up from $68 billion last year. That means many companies should see good revenue and share price performance this fall as a result of the back-to-school season, and there are several other companies that seem to have a knack for great returns in the fall.</p> <p>Want to make a little bit of money as the weather cools? Here are some good back-to-school stocks for investors looking to cash in this autumn:</p> <h2>1. Wal-Mart [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WMT">WMT</a>]</h2> <p>Rest assured that millions of families will head to the massive retailer for cheap prices on spiral notebooks, pens, and whatever else kids need in the classroom. The NRF projects that the average family will spend $673, up from $630 last year. Moreover, some analysts think that Walmart is due to get a boost from its big investments in employee training and e-commerce.</p> <h2>2. Target [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=tgt">TGT</a>]</h2> <p>With nearly 1,800 retail locations, you can bet that when it comes to back-to-school sales, Target will get a good chunk of whatever Walmart fails to grab. Shares of Target fell sharply over the spring after disappointing earnings results, and from a loss of revenue following the sale of its pharmacy to CVS. But all that means is that there is potential for share growth if the company rebounds with a strong back-to-school season.</p> <h2>3. Staples [NASDAQ: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SPLS">SPLS</a>]</h2> <p>There was a lot of buzz around Staples earlier in the year after it sought to buy Office Depot/OfficeMax, but the merger got shot down by regulators. Still, the retailer intends to be a major player at back-to-school time. Staples is the third-largest online retailer, so it will land its share of e-commerce sales, but it also has physical stores that Amazon can't boast. Staples, which began its back-to-school marketing before summer vacation even got underway, is trading at just above $9, close to its 52-week low, so investors may find a bargain here.</p> <h2>4. Seagate Technology [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=STX">STX</a>]</h2> <p>This maker of hard drives and other data storage products has been one of the market's best performers during the fall in recent years. While 2015 saw a down autumn, the previous five fall seasons saw 25% share growth, on average. While overall sales of external hard drives have been on the decline due to the growth of cloud-based solutions, Seagate still has about a 40% market share. Portable hard drives remain necessary back-to-school tools for college students.</p> <h2>5. Gannett [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=gci">GCI</a> ]</h2> <p>It's not so much back-to-school sales that will help Gannett, but the race to decide the next U.S. President. As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump enter the home stretch toward the November election, they'll be spending money on advertising. And companies like Gannett, which operates more than 100 newspapers and other media properties, stand to benefit from that. Between 2009 and 2013, Gannett saw an average share price increase of 24% in the fall. Shares are trading near a 52-week low, so you may get a bargain. To be clear, Gannett may not make a great long-term investment, as newspapers have really taken a beating in recent years. But for a short-term play, this is not a bad bet.</p> <h2>6. Amazon [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/amzn">AMZN</a>]</h2> <p>Those who want to avoid the brick-and-mortar world at back-to-school time will likely head to the world's top online retailer. Customer Growth Partners reported that e-commerce sales between July and September will rise 11% this year, so expect Amazon to get a significant chunk of that. Amazon shares are not cheap, but it seems like every time analysts predict a fall, they go even higher.</p> <h2>7. TJX Companies [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=TJX">TJX</a>]</h2> <p>The NRF reports that 61% of families will do their back-to-school shopping at a discount retailer. This bodes will for companies like TJX, the owner of TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores. TJX has had a strong year, with 7% year-over-year sales growth in the most recent quarter, and investors will also benefit from a recent increase in the company's dividend.</p> <h2>8. VF Corp. [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFC?p=VFC">VFC</a>]</h2> <p>This company owns some of the most recognizable retail brands, including Vans, North Face and Wrangler. You can expect a strong quarter from VF, but more importantly, it's a steady stock to own anytime, as it's consistently paid and increased its dividend each year for more than four decades. VF's current price-to-earnings ratio suggests it's a better deal than many of its competitors.</p> <h2>9. Under Armour [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=UA">UA</a>]</h2> <p>Under Armour got some great exposure during coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics, as it was the designer of several team uniforms and boasted a number of high-profile brand ambassadors, including swimmer Michael Phelps. Under Armour has been one of the market's biggest growth stories in recent years, with 25 straight quarters of 20% revenue growth. High-schoolers and college kids love Under Armour gear, and will buy it as they head back to class.</p> <p><em>Are you adding any fall performers to your stock-pile?</em></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/9-great-stocks-for-back-to-school-time">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-3"> <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/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-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/9-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-autumn">9 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Autumn</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-investments-that-usually-soar-during-the-summer">7 Investments That Usually Soar During the Summer</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/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment autumn back-to-school election fall returns revenue school supplies stocks Wed, 31 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1782884 at http://www.wisebread.com How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_suit_thinking_53925384.jpg" alt="Man wondering if too much investment diversity can cost him" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial experts agree that you shouldn't to put all your eggs in one basket. But just like with everything else in life, moderation is essential to truly reap the benefits of diversification. Spread out your investment funds into too many funds and you'll end up with a subpar portfolio bogged down with excessive charges and, even worse, potentially more risk than you're willing to bear. Here are four warning signs that you may have your investments in too many baskets &mdash; and how to fix it.</p> <h2>1. Paying Too Much in Investment Fees</h2> <p>The more that you branch out of plain vanilla investments, the more likely that you'll end up paying more investment charges and fees. Take, for example, the portfolio that Warren Buffett has <a href="http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2013ltr.pdf">laid out in his will</a>: &quot;Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&amp;P 500 index fund.&quot;</p> <p>Let's take a look at the potential investment fees of such a portfolio.</p> <p>Since the Oracle of Omaha prefers Vanguard and chases low fees, let's assume that both investments are in index funds. It's safe to assume that he meets the $10,000 minimum investment required for the Vanguard Admiral index funds. So, he allocates 90% of his portfolio to the Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFIAX/?p=VFIAX">VFIAX</a>], which has a 0.05% expense ratio, and 10% of his portfolio into the Vanguard Short-Term Government Bond Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VSBSX?p=VSBSX">VSBSX</a>], which has a 0.10% expense ratio. For a $10,000 portfolio, Buffett would pay $55 in investment fees.</p> <p>If Buffett were to start diversifying into other types of investments, he would very likely run into higher expense ratios. For example, the Vanguard New York Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VNYUX/?p=VNYUX">VNYUX</a>] has a 0.12% expense ratio (despite its $50,000 minimum investment requirement!) and the Vanguard Interm-Tm Corp Bd Index Admiral [Nasdaq:&nbsp;<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VICSX/?p=VICSX">VICSX</a>] has a 0.25% purchase fee on top of its 0.10% expense ratio. Assuming that he were to allocate 50%, 30%, 10%, and 10% to the New York muni bond fund, S&amp;P 500 index fund, short-term government bond index fund, and the intermediate-term corporate index fund, respectively, Buffet would pay $220 on investment fees!</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Calculate your current total of investment fees across all your holdings. If the total is above what you're willing to pay (a useful rule of thumb is that anything beyond 1% of your total investment is too much), then it's time to focus your investments in lower-cost options.</p> <h2>2. Rebalancing Portfolio More Often</h2> <p>Speaking of fees, there is a higher chance that you'll run into more of them when you hold lots of investment categories. In the 90%-stocks-and-10%-bonds portfolio example, you only need to keep track of two funds. This means that figuring out when your portfolio is no longer meeting your target asset allocations is straightforward &mdash; and you may not need to do it as often. For example, you could set a target to rebalance when 80% of your portfolio is in stocks and 20% in bonds.</p> <p>On the other hand, spreading your money out too thin can complicate keeping track of asset allocations and make you trade more often. Here's an example: Assuming a target 3.5% allocation in an emerging markets index fund, big market swings could force you to buy or sell many times throughout the year, triggering many charges. From front-end loads to back-end loads, there are plenty of investments to keep an eye on. And yes this even applies to 401K accounts! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Tabulate how much you're incurring in fees on top of the regular annual expense ratios of your portfolio holdings. If that percentage is too high, or consistently increasing throughout the years, you need to consolidate your portfolio into fewer holdings.</p> <h2>3. Experiencing Diminishing Returns</h2> <p>Of course, you might be thinking that the extra returns of a very diversified portfolio may more than compensate for those additional fees and charges.</p> <p>Let's bust that investment myth.</p> <p>In a joint-study by The Wall Street Journal and Morningstar, the portfolio that generated the highest return over a 20-year period was a 70-30 mix of U.S. stocks and bonds, yielding a <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-your-portfolio-too-diversified-1408032582">9.1% annualized return</a>. A portfolio with 40% in U.S. stocks, 20% in U.S. bonds, 10% in foreign developing market stocks, 10% in international bonds, and the rest in a mix of investments, including emerging market stocks, commodities, and hedge funds, yielded only an 8.8% annualized return.</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Measure each of your funds against its respective benchmark. If an investment has been missing the benchmark for too many quarters or years, it may be time to cut that fund loose.</p> <h2>4. Owning Too Much of the Same or Wrong Type of Investments</h2> <p>Another issue with putting many eggs in many baskets is that you can unintentionally end up with more eggs than you thought in a particular basket or, worse, a wrong basket.</p> <p>Let's assume that you hold an index fund tracking the S&amp;P 500. As of August 8, 2016, that means that your portfolio would hold about 3.08% on Apple Inc, 2.40% on Microsoft Corporation, and 1.53% on Facebook Inc. Class A shares. If you were to also hold an index fund on the technology sector, you'll probably end up increasing your holding on each one of those investments. For example, the Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VITAX/?p=VITAX">VITAX</a>] has those same three stocks among its top four largest holdings.</p> <p>Additionally, if you're open to throwing more money around investments, you could end up buying some investments that fail to meet your investment objectives. Remember the late 1990s dot-com bubble? How about 2008's housing bubble? During those times, too many individual and institutional investors were buying financial instruments that they shouldn't have been purchasing. If you force yourself to allocate 5% &quot;somewhere,&quot; then you could end up with the wrong type of investment.</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>First, read the prospectuses of your mutual funds and other accounts and understand their actual holdings. Using this information, you can spot whether or not you hold too much of the same investment. Second, review your investment objective (ie; income vs growth) and evaluate whether or not your current investment funds qualify for that objective.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Holding all of your money in a single stock is definitely not a good idea because it would have a 49.2% average standard deviation (a measure of risk). At 20 stocks, your portfolio risk is reduced to 20%. However, every additional stock added to your portfolio will only further decrease your portfolio risk by about 0.8%.</p> <p>The evidence suggests that due to greater returns, very marginal risk reductions, and lower fees over time, you would be better off with simpler diversification on stocks and bonds. Some financial advisers suggest that when you have more than <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/mutual-funds/articles/2011/02/17/diversification-can-you-have-too-much-of-a-good-thing">20 stocks or mutual funds</a>, you're actually minimizing returns instead of maximizing them. So, before adding that extra holding, keep in mind that an index fund tracking the S&amp;P 500 is already splitting your investment into 500 baskets!</p> <p><em>How many different types of investments is too many?</em></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/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">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/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</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-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</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-easiest-way-to-invest-in-the-worlds-biggest-companies">The Easiest Way to Invest in the World&#039;s Biggest Companies</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/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</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/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment fees portfolio rebalancing returns risk stock market too diverse warning signs Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1778732 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_reading_newspaper_000076745113.jpg" alt="Man buying boring investments that are surprisingly profitable" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem fun to invest in companies that excite you. But there are few things more exciting than seeing share prices rise, even if the companies themselves are a real bore.</p> <p>If you want to make money in investing, it helps to forget about the sizzle factor. Because some of the weirdest or most boring investments are often the most profitable. Consider these 10 investments that aren't too exciting, but have shown great returns over time, or have recent good results worth watching. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting?ref=seealso">4 Ways &quot;Boring&quot; Investments Make Life Exciting</a>)</p> <h2>1. Office Buildings</h2> <p>Is there anything less exciting than large square buildings or shopping centers? Think of the big malls or huge office parks that you'll often drive past in the suburbs. Boring, right? Well, if you invest in this type of real estate, you'll do okay &mdash; or better. There are many real estate investment trusts (REITs) that allow investors to buy shares, and they often pay some of the highest dividends on the market. Consider stocks like Federal Realty Investment Trust, now trading near its 52-week high and with a five-year return of nearly 90%.</p> <h2>2. Gambling Stocks</h2> <p>For a few years, casino stocks were getting crushed, in part due to problems with the gaming industry in China. But there is evidence that the industry has bottomed out and may be on the verge of rebounding. New resorts are planned in Las Vegas, Macau, and elsewhere that are expected to boost revenues for companies like Wynn [NASDAQ: WYNN], Las Vegas Sands [NYSE: LVS] and MGM Resorts [NYSE: MGM]. So if you don't have a moral objection to investing in these stocks, now may be the time to get in on the action.</p> <h2>3. Baking Soda and Condoms</h2> <p>Church &amp; Dwight [NYSE: CHD] may not be the sexiest investment out there. Or maybe it is. After all, it owns Trojan, which makes more condoms than anyone else. And it makes First Response, the popular pregnancy test (in case you forgot to use the Trojans). Church and Dwight also makes a lot of household products that Americans use every day, including Arm &amp; Hammer baking soda and OxiClean. Church &amp; Dwight reported record sales and profits in 2015. Shares are trading near a 52-week high and are up 10% in 2016.</p> <h2>4. An Old Newspaper</h2> <p>What? Investing in a newspaper? Okay, let's be clear. No one is getting rich quick by investing in the New York Times [NYSE: NYT]. But perhaps no news organization has done a better job of shifting its business model from print to digital, and its revenues show the results. The company reported $444 million in revenue during its most recent financial quarter, with a 48% increase in profit.</p> <h2>5. Botox and Viagra</h2> <p>Hey, it's easy to get rich on older people trying to stay young. Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, said last year it would merge with Allergan, the maker of Botox, to form the world's largest pharmaceutical firm. The merger has yet to be approved and has some critics, but the combined company could see a boost from efficiencies and a lower corporate tax rate (it would be based in Ireland).</p> <h2>6. Cigarettes</h2> <p>It's hard to believe that people still smoke, but Altria [NYSE: MO], the owner of Philip Morris and other tobacco-related companies, has offered strong returns to investors even as people became more aware of their product's risks. Altria has been a leader in developing e-cigarettes and other new products, and has reported growing sales and profits of more than $11 billion last year. Shares of the company are trading near a 52-week high.</p> <h2>7. Dollar Tree</h2> <p>How can you make huge profits, one dollar at a time? This company knows how. Dollar Tree [NYSE: DLTR] splurged and bought competitor Family Dollar last year, so it now owns nearly 14,000 stores in North America and is predicting more than $20 billion in sales in 2016. Investors were initially skeptical about the merger, but the company's stock price is now about $80, and some analysts think it will go above $90 by year's end as the benefits of the merger take shape.</p> <h2>8. Boxes and Packages</h2> <p>When was the last time you thought about the package an item comes in? Maybe never, right? Bemis Company has quietly served as one of the world leaders in packaging for food, electronics, and pharmaceuticals throughout North America, Central America, and Asia. It reported sales of more than $4 billion last year. Shares are up 17% to date and are trading near a 52-week high.</p> <h2>9. Paint</h2> <p>Investing in paint may seem as exciting as watching paint dry. But shares of companies that produce paint are actually quite profitable. Consider Valspar [NYSE: VAL] which just hit its highest price in a year and has been one of the stock market's most consistent performers for decades. Or Axalta, which recently got a $500 million investment from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. (Berkshire also owns Benjamin Moore paints.) Meanwhile, Sherwin Williams shares are up nearly 30% since last fall.</p> <h2>10. Environmental Testing Equipment and... Dental Technology</h2> <p>You will never hear much about what Danaher Corp. [NYSE: DHR] does, except generate good returns for investors. The company produces a wide array of industrial products including testing instruments, technology solutions for dentists, and even laser marking for product packaging. Despite a product line that won't make headlines, Danaher has been a consistently solid performer &mdash; $1,000 invested in Danaher stock 20 years ago would be worth $21,000 today.</p> <p><em>Are any of these dull, but winning, stocks in your portfolio? </em></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/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</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-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s">The 9 Best Performing Mutual Funds of the 2000s</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/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</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 boring stocks returns share prices stock market Tue, 12 Apr 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1686648 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_growing_stocks_000048414830.jpg" alt="Man learning which stocks that are having a good year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The market greeted 2016 with the worst two-week start since the 1800s. Despite the market's overall troubles, however, there are some promising investments to be made right now. Read on for our guide to the hottest stocks of the moment. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a>)</p> <h2>1. Burlington Stores</h2> <p>With 546 stores and a solid online presence, the off-price department store for coats, home goods, and clothes is growing. Burlington (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BURL">BURL</a>) closed out 2015 with a value of just under $43. As of Feb. 20, the company's stock has risen to $54. Experts expect to see the company's profits soar upward of 18% in the fiscal year that ends in January 2017.</p> <h2>2. Macy's</h2> <p>America's iconic department store closed out 2015 valued at $35 per share. Macy's stock (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=M">M</a>) has since risen to more than $40, following a 2015 in which it had returns topping 15%.</p> <h2>3. Cabot Oil &amp; Gas</h2> <p>Cabot (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=COG">COG</a>) has risen two points since closing out 2015 with a value of less than $18 per share. The independent oil and gas company has been on an upward trend after dipping to $15 in early January.</p> <h2>4. Comcast</h2> <p>Comcast (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CMCSA">CMCSA</a>) stock has risen 3% so far in 2016, though it more recently settled back down to $57 &mdash; the same value it held upon closing out 2015. In 2015, the company saw its top year for cable TV services in nearly a decade, which has forecasters predicting that the stock will do well again in 2016.</p> <h2>5. Eaton Corp.</h2> <p>The electrical systems maker Eaton Corporation (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=ETN">ETN</a>) jumped 4% in February after posting higher-than-expected earnings. Eaton is currently trading at $56.</p> <h2>6. Chipotle</h2> <p>To say that everyone's favorite burrito joint had a rough year is an understatement. Following a very public food safety scare, the Mexican grill's stock plummeted 40%, closing out 2015 just under $480. But in 2016, Chipotle's (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CMG">CMG</a>) value has risen to $511 (as of February 20). Right now the stock is generally considered to be undervalued. For the patient investor, now is the time to buy-in cheaply and wait for continued growth.</p> <h2>7. Emerson Electric Co.</h2> <p>Emerson (<a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/emr">EMR</a>) stock value has risen one point since ending 2015 valued just under $48. The stock's annual dividend payment is currently an eyebrow-raising 4.4% &mdash; another shareholder perk.</p> <h2>8. Hormel Foods Corp.</h2> <p>Hormel (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=HRL">HRL</a>) stock hasn't spiked this high in years. The food company that makes SPAM is having a good moment, rising to $43 per share from $39 since the start of 2016.</p> <h2>9. Wynn Resorts</h2> <p>The high-end hotel operator is currently valued at $78 &mdash; up from $69 at the close of 2015. January was the Macau business's &quot;<a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/13457766/1/wynn-resorts-wynn-stock-spikes-on-q4-earnings.html">best month in a long time</a>,&quot; founder Steve Wynn said on a conference call. Adding to the momentum is Wynn's (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WYNN">WYNN</a>) higher-than-expected 2015 fourth quarter adjusted earnings, released in mid-February.</p> <h2>10. EQT Corp.</h2> <p>EQT Corporation (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AwrC1Cnp289WPzcApMSTmYlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?s=EQT">EQT</a>), the largest natural gas producer in the Appalachian Basin, was valued at $52 at the close of 2015. So far in 2016, the stock has spiked to nearly $59 &mdash; a good sign for the months ahead.</p> <p><em>Are any of these stocks in your portfolio?</em></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/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">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/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock 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/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</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/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</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-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s">The 9 Best Performing Mutual Funds of the 2000s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment growth hot stocks returns stock market upturn Mon, 07 Mar 2016 11:30:06 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1666377 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_money_bags_000035094952.jpg" alt="Investing tips you wish you could tell your younger self" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes I look back on my past as a young investor and want to kick myself. I didn't really know what I was doing back then, and made a number of mistakes that cost me money in the long run.</p> <p>I did learn a lot and truly enjoy investing and saving now. But I wish I could go back in time and offer my younger self a few bits of advice. Here's <em>my </em>list of investing tips to the &quot;young me&quot; that'll hopefully spare you the same mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Understand the Value of Compound Returns</h2> <p>Retirement is one of the last things you're going to think about when you've had hardly any time in the workforce. &quot;What? Retirement? I'm only 22!&quot; As crazy as it sounds, investing money in these early years is a crucial part of having a large nest egg upon retirement. The earlier you start investing, the more time that money has to grow. And with a long time horizon, you don't have to be overly concerned about the ups and downs of the market.</p> <h2>2. Familiarize Yourself With Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>If you have some money, it may be tempting as a young person to simply open a brokerage account and begin buying and selling. But it's important first to understand the basics of retirement accounts and the advantages they offer to investors. Individual Retirement Accounts (or IRAs), along with 401K plans can allow you to save for retirement and get great tax benefits along the way.</p> <h2>3. Don't Buy That Thing &mdash; Invest Your Money Instead</h2> <p>I cringe when I think about the useless stuff I bought when I was in my teens and twenties. Articles of clothing, music, movies, computer games, expensive meals with friends... I had a lot of fun, but I could have had as much fun living more frugally, and I think about how much money I'd have now if I'd bought stocks, instead. Even a small amount of money placed in an index fund at age 18 has the potential to grow into a substantial sum. I wish I could go back and tell my young self to put at least <em>some </em>of my spending money in an account that would build value for my future self.</p> <h2>4. Reinvest Those Dividends</h2> <p>As a young investor, I used to get dividend checks from companies that I owned shares of. And frequently, I would use that money to go and treat myself: a movie, a dinner out, a trip to a ballgame, a new pair of jeans. Little did I know that I could have used those dividends to easily buy more shares of a stock. Imagine the growth in a portfolio that is not only seeing share price growth, but an increase in the number of shares. This is also a great way to practice dollar cost averaging, because you are using dividends to buy more shares as prices fall and fewer shares as prices increase.</p> <h2>5. Don't Panic</h2> <p>When you are a new investor, it can be a startling thing to see stock values drop. It's very tempting to pull your money out of the markets when you see your investments lose value quickly. But I look back now on stocks that I sold in a panic, and really wish I had held onto them, as they all would have quickly rebounded in value and made me money over time.</p> <h2>6. Stop Checking Your Investments Every Day</h2> <p>Investments go up. They go down. They go up again. Tracking them each day really serves no purpose, and will only stress you out. By checking your portfolio only once a week or so, you'll be less tempted to buy or sell based on an emotional reaction to the market movements.</p> <h2>7. Don't Try to Pick Stocks</h2> <p>Admittedly, it's fun at first to pick a company you are familiar with, buy some shares of stock, and watch how they perform. It's actually not a bad way to get comfortable with how the stock market works. But if you want to make money long-term, trying to create a portfolio of individual stocks will ultimately be ineffective and perhaps even frustrating. You're much better off as a young person placing the bulk of your money into an index fund that tracks the S&amp;P 500 or total stock market. This will generate solid returns for years to come, and will require a lot less work.</p> <h2>8. Know What You're Investing In</h2> <p>I remember when I first began putting money in a 401K, and had the option to invest in a number of different mutual funds. I spread my money evenly across most of them, believing that it was a path to diversification. After some time, I began to research the holdings of each fund, and realized that many of them invested in the same big companies. It turns out that I wasn't &quot;diversifying&quot; at all. The lesson I learned is that before you invest your money, have a good idea of what you are investing in. Learn how to read mutual fund prospectuses and earnings reports.</p> <h2>9. Learn About Commissions, Fees, and Taxes</h2> <p>When I first began investing, I opened an eTrade account, invested in a few stocks, and left the account alone. About a year later, I got $50 deducted from my account for &quot;inactivity.&quot; Then I exacerbated the problem by selling the stocks in a panic and then incurring short-term capital gains taxes. Brokerage companies try to be transparent about fees and expenses, but it's up to the investor to understand that it costs money to buy and sell stocks. Mutual fund managers will take a cut of every dollar you invest, and there are tax implications every time you sell. None of this should be a deterrent to investing, but young people must have a good grasp of how it impacts the performance of their investment portfolio.</p> <h2>10. Take All of the Company Match</h2> <p>At my very first job, I invested money in the company 401K plan, but didn't feel like I was earning enough to reach a full company match. (The company matched contributions of up to 5% of salaries at the time.) Looking back, I realize that I probably left thousands of dollars on the table because I was too conservative. A company match is <em>free money </em>&mdash; you should always take it if you can. Those extra dollars could add up to a significant amount of money in your retirement account over time. Plus, the match encourages you to save more of your own money, and that's never a bad thing.</p> <h2>11. Don't Get Too Excited About Company Stock</h2> <p>Many companies offer company stock as part of their retirement plans. This is a nice perk, but young people in particular must understand that it's dangerous to put too much stock in their portfolio. Consider the plight of many Enron employees who lost nearly all of their retirement savings when the company went bankrupt in 2001. It's okay to keep some company stock, particularly if it's provided to you for free or you are allowed to buy it at at a discount. But make sure it comprises just a fraction of your overall portfolio. Having too much of your savings tied up in one stock &mdash; particularly one that is already responsible for your financial wellbeing &mdash; is dangerous.</p> <p><em>What investing lessons would you tell your younger self?</em></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/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">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/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</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-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-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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fees mutual funds returns stocks younger self Tue, 16 Feb 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1654016 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Best Stock Markets in the World in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/global_economy_000050748806.jpg" alt="Finding the best stock markets in the world in 2015" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems sensible to invest primarily in U.S. stocks, because of their generally reliable returns, familiarity, and a sense of patriotism. But sometimes, getting big investment gains requires thinking more globally.</p> <p>Despite global economic problems, the stock markets of many countries have been on a tear. Which markets are seeing the biggest gains? Here are 10 to examine, along with a couple of honorable mentions.</p> <p>(Note that there are many countries that would have been on this list were it not for a large global selloff in August, triggered by concerns over the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-invest-in-china">growth of China's economy</a>.)</p> <h2>1. Argentina</h2> <p>It's a little strange, because Argentina's economy is not in particularly good shape, but the stock market in Buenos Aires is up more than 30% this year, in part due to optimism that October elections will help the country with its economic woes.</p> <h2>2. Hungary</h2> <p>This European nation has been in the headlines recently due to its response to the refugee crisis, but a series of economic reforms and some tax changes have helped spur the Hungarian economy faster than any other nation in the European Union. The <a href="https://bse.hu/">Budapest Stock Exchange</a> is up 27% since the start of 2015.</p> <h2>3. Jamaica</h2> <p>The small island is home to some of the fastest sprinters &mdash; and one of the fastest-growing economies, after years of tepid growth and debt problems. The nation has also been helped by a campaign to urge Jamaicans living elsewhere in the world to invest in the Jamaican stock market. The <a href="http://www.jamstockex.com/">Jamaica Stock Exchange Market Index</a> is up more than 27% this year.</p> <h2>4. Iceland</h2> <p>It's been hailed as one of the better economic turnaround stories in recent memory. The nation that was burned by the financial crisis is now back, with a 26% rise in its stock market this year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the devaluing of currency during the financial crisis actually helped Iceland recover faster.</p> <h2>5. Denmark</h2> <p>The Danish currency has fallen in value, so stocks are up due to the ease of selling Danish products abroad. The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/KFX:IND">Copenhagen 20 Index</a>, which tracks the top Danish blue chip stocks, is up 25% this year.</p> <h2>6. Ireland</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.ise.ie/Market-Data-Announcements/Indices/">Irish Stock Market Overall Index</a> has seen a 22% bump in 2015, thanks to a surging economy that has seen more than 6% growth in gross domestic product in each of the first two quarters of the year.</p> <h2>7. Botswana</h2> <p>This landlocked African country has been hailed as a model of economic growth, with money coming from diamonds, minerals, tourism, and now even retail. The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/BGSMDC:IND">Botswana Gaborone Index</a>, which tracks companies based in Botswana, is up 13% in 2015.</p> <h2>8. France</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/CAC:IND">CAC 40 Index</a>, which tracks top French stocks, was doing tremendously up until the middle of August, when the most recent global downturn took place. The Index was up nearly 40% but fell back to its current level of about 9% growth in 2015.</p> <h2>9. Russia</h2> <p>Despite sanctions and war, the Russian economy has grown in 2015, and investors have made out well. The nation's <a href="http://www.micex.com/marketdata/quotes">MICEX Index</a> showed a 23% rise since a low point at the start of the year.</p> <h2>10. Pakistan</h2> <p>If you like roller coaster rides, you'll enjoy the performance of the Karachi <a href="http://www.kse.com.pk/">KSE100 Stock Exchange</a>. The market lost 20% of its value in February and March, but rebounded to give investors a solid 5% return on the year.</p> <h2>Honorable Mentions</h2> <p>These two markets didn't quite make the cut, but they've done well, too.</p> <h3>Portugal</h3> <p>If you began investing in Portuguese stocks at the start of 2015, you got in at a good time. The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/PSI20:IND">PSI 20</a>, which tracks the main Portugal-based companies, hit a trough in January and was up 30% by April. It's come back to Earth a bit since, but is up 4% this year.</p> <h3>Vietnam</h3> <p>The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/VNINDEX:IND">Ho Chi Minh Stock Index</a> has been up and down in 2015, rising 18% in the first half of the year before dropping in the last two months. It's still up 4% this year.</p> <p><em>Do you invest in any of these booming markets? How has your portfolio performed?</em></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/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-international-vacation-destinations">5 Cheap International Vacation Destinations</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/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Asia Europe foreign stocks global stock markets market growth returns South America Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:00:54 +0000 Tim Lemke 1570305 at http://www.wisebread.com Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_nest_egg_000006292825.jpg" alt="Learning which 401K fees to look out for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter how diligent you are at socking away money into your 401K, you could still be contributing less than you think, thanks to hidden fees and plan costs. According to a study from AARP, about three in five Americans are unaware of how much they're paying in <a href="http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/econ/401k-fees-awareness-11.pdf">401K plan fees</a>.</p> <p>Excessive 401K fees can eat away your returns. Let's assume that a worker invests $5,000 every year over a 35-year period in a 401K plan with an annual return of 4.9%. She would end up with $423,000 at the end of period assuming an annual fee of 0.5% of the total balance, and with $345,000 at the end of the period assuming an annual fee of 1.5% of the total balance.</p> <p>To claim back control of your retirement account, here are five 401K&nbsp;fees to look out for.</p> <h2>1. 12b-1 Fee</h2> <p>Owing its name to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 12b-1, a 12b-1 fee is a charge from a mutual fund to cover marketing, distribution, and administration expenses.</p> <p>The original intent with this rule was to encourage mutual funds to invest in marketing so that more people would buy into the mutual fund. In theory, the more assets that a mutual fund can buy, the better the economies of scale. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence from the SEC shows that mutual funds with 12b-1 fees have higher expense ratios than those without those fees, and that the services rendered to earn the fees don't enhance the fund's performance.</p> <p>By law, 12b-1 fees can range between 0.25% and 1% of a fund's net assets. Given that these fees have shown no benefit to investors, you should try to choose funds that don't charge 12b-1 fees at all. If all your available investment options charge such a fee, go with the one that charges closest to the minimum 0.25%.</p> <h2>2. Redemption Fee</h2> <p>A front-end load is one of many sneaky <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">investment fees to watch out for</a>. Front-end load funds have such a bad rap that many investment firms have started advertising no-load fund options.</p> <p>However, there can be a catch. While no-load funds won't charge you for loading shares, those funds can charge you a fee for unloading your shares too soon. Known also as an exit fee, back-end load, or contingent deferred sales charge, a redemption fee is applied to an investor that exits a fund too soon. How soon is too soon? The minimum holding period ranges from 30 days to one year, so make sure to check your fund's prospectus.</p> <p>Here are two useful rules of thumb when evaluating redemption fees:</p> <ul> <li>The average minimum holding period to avoid a redemption fee is 65 days, so avoid funds that require you to hold onto your fund much longer than that. While your nest egg should be a last resort fund, you shouldn't be penalized for accessing your money when in need.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The SEC limits redemption fees to 2%. However, some funds may charge as low as 0.01%. The lower the redemption fee, the better.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Exchange Fee</h2> <p>Diversification is a useful investment strategy to lower your market risk. For example, it's generally better to split your investment into three significantly different assets than to &quot;put all your eggs in one basket.&quot; If one of your investments tanks, you still have two to fall back on.</p> <p>Before you fire up the online dashboard of your 401K and transfer money from one fund to another, check for applicable exchange fees within your retirement plan. Even worse, some 401K plans may tack on additional load and redemption fees when you exchange between funds.</p> <h2>4. Individual Service Fee</h2> <p>On top of your plan's administrative fee, your 401K may incur individual service fees related to features that you opted into. You may incur individual service fees when:</p> <ul> <li>Taking a loan from your 401K account;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Executing participant investment directions;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Opting for a clause to terminate a contract with your employer before the contract's expiration date; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Choosing an investment option that includes an insurance component (e.g. annuity).</li> </ul> <p>There are many other types of individual service fees. Keep in mind that some individual service fees that are paid indirectly from the investment options you have chosen may not be listed in your quarterly 401K statement.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Other&quot; Fee</h2> <p>Along with those other fees, 401K plans can have a miscellaneous fee category for listing anything that is neither a sales charge nor an account maintenance charge.</p> <p>Some examples of other fees are:</p> <ul> <li>Custodial expenses;</li> <li>Legal expenses;</li> <li>Recordkeeping expenses;</li> <li>Furnishing statement expenses;</li> <li>Toll-free telephone service fees;</li> <li>Transfer agent expenses; and</li> <li>Other administrative fees.</li> </ul> <p>Depending on the terms of your plan, another fee may be a percentage of your assets invested in the fund or a flat fee.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Do your due diligence before choosing funds within <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-your-401k-is-underperforming">your 401K plan</a>. To get a full picture of your investment options, you need to go beyond their average returns. The two key documents that you need in order to find out more about applicable fees are the Summary Plan Description and the Annual Report.</p> <h3>Summary Plan Description (SPD)</h3> <p>Upon joining the 401K plan, you receive a copy of your SPD. You will receive an updated copy every five years if there are significant changes or every 10 years if there are no changes.</p> <h3>Annual Report (Form 5500 Series)</h3> <p>Every year you should receive a copy. If not, you can examine a free copy from the <a href="http://www.efast.dol.gov">Department of Labor</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you know what fees your 401K is charging you? Are they fair?</em></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/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees">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-3"> <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-to-enjoy-retirement-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Enjoy Retirement If You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</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/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</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-times-raiding-your-retirement-accounts-early-is-okay">4 Times Raiding Your Retirement Accounts Early Is Okay</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-simple-ways-to-boost-an-underperforming-401k">5 Simple Ways to Boost an Underperforming 401(k)</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/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you">Choosing a Retirement Account: What&#039;s Available, and What’s Best for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) Hidden fees investments returns Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:00:40 +0000 Damian Davila 1568872 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Best Performing Mutual Funds of the 2000s http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_investments_000068915471.jpg" alt="Man discovering best mutual funds of the 2000s" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're looking to supercharge your investment returns, it's often helpful to look at some of the best performing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-investors">mutual funds</a> of recent years. It's a particularly fun exercise to examine the funds that have performed best since the year 2000.</p> <p>This list was compiled using historical data on annual average returns from Morningstar and Fidelity. It is heavy on biotechnology and health funds, driven by some of the biggest gainers in the stock market over the last 15 years.</p> <p>It's worth noting that there are several funds that could be on this list, but are now closed to new investors. There are also other funds that have done exceptionally well in the last 10 years, but did not make the list because of bad performance between 2000 and 2005.</p> <p>Here's to hoping these funds can give your portfolio a boost. Just remember that past performance does not guarantee future returns.</p> <h2>1. Prudential Jennison Health Sciences Fund Z [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/PHSZX/quote.html">PHSZX</a>]</h2> <p>It's hard to complain about an 18% average annual return over the last 15 years. A $10,000 investment at the start of 2000 would be worth more than $130,000 now. Top holdings are Biomarin Pharmaceutical, Shire, and Allergan.</p> <h2>2. Rydex Basic Biotechnology Fund Class A [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/RYBOX/quote.html">RYBOX</a>]</h2> <p>Founded in 2004, here's a fund that has ridden the wave of hot biotech stocks. This fund would have netted $57,000 from a $10,000 investment at the start. It boasts a 17% average annual return over the last decade, and a more than 50% return over the last year. Gilead, Amgen, and Celgene are the top holdings in this fund.</p> <h2>3. ProFunds BioTechnology UltraSector Fund Investor Class [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/BIPIX/quote.html">BIPIX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund is not for the faint of heart. It has high fees and a high minimum investment ($15,000), and uses leverage to maximize returns. But that risk has paid off for investors with an average annual 9% return since being founded in June of 2000. It's recorded a 21% average annual return in the last decade and a 63% average annual return in the last three years. Its holdings include some of the biggest names in biotech, including Gilead Sciences, Amgen, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.</p> <h2>4. Fidelity Select Biotechnology [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FBIOX/quote.html">FBIOX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund has been a solid performer for more than a decade, with an average annual return of more than 14% since the start of 2000, and more than 19% since 2005. Investors should be especially pleased with the 64% return in the past year. Anyone who invested $10,000 into this fund back in 2000 would have about $45,000 today.</p> <h2>5. Rydex Dynamic NASDAQ-100 2x Strategy Class A [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/RYVLX/quote.html">RYVLX</a>]</h2> <p>This is another fund that should probably come with a bottle of ulcer medication. Investors tough enough to endure a brutal 2008 will have seen this mutual fund rebound nicely. This fund has a 16% average annual return since being founded in 2004, and a 50% annual return since the bottom in early 2009. The goal of this fund is to double the performance of the NASDAQ-100. Top holdings include Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.</p> <h2>6. Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FPHAX/quote.html">FPHAX</a>]</h2> <p>It took a while for investors to make money from this fund, but there were solid gains between 2005 and 2007, and super performance in the last six years. We like a 9.8% annual return since its founding date in 2001, and more than 15% in average annual returns in the last 10 years.</p> <h2>7. Fidelity Select Health Care Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FSPHX/quote.html">FSPHX</a>]</h2> <p>Ronald Reagan was in his second year as president when this fund first came into being. It's been a solid performer all its life, and has generated an average annual return of 12% in the last 15 years. Current top holdings include Allergan, Medtronic, and Boston Scientific Corp.</p> <h2>8. Fidelity Select IT Services Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FBSOX/quote.html">FBSOX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund was once known as &quot;Business Services and Outsourcing,&quot; but now invests about 80% of its holdings in the information technology sector. Whatever the focus, the fund has been good to investors. An average annual return of about 11% makes this one of the best performers of the last 15 years. Top holdings include Visa, Mastercard, and IBM.</p> <h2>9. Janus Global Life Sciences Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/JAGLX/quote.html">JAGLX</a>]</h2> <p>Here's a funny thing about this fund: If you bought right at the start of 2000, you'd have been rewarded with a 70% return on your investment within two months. But if you bought in March of that year, you'd have been forced to wait 11 years to see any positive return at all. Patient investors, however will have seen an average annual return of between 11% and 12%, and a 41% average annual return over the last three years.</p> <p><em>Are you invested in any of these nine best performing mutual funds of this century? </em></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/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s">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-7"> <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/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</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-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</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/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-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/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 2000s biotech healthcare millennium mutual funds returns stock market Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:00:24 +0000 Tim Lemke 1536881 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Effectively Complain to the Manager http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4099487936_ddfbd16766_z.jpg" alt="angry woman" title="angry woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the basic tenets of business is that it&rsquo;s cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Many companies view customer complaints as a way to gauge what works and what changes they need to make to keep customers happy. Good managers take this to heart and strive to provide the most favorable solution to a customer&rsquo;s problem. However, an ineffective complaint can actually hurt your chances of getting the issue resolved. How you approach the situation can make all the difference, so using the right methods can greatly increase your chance of satisfaction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls">How to Get What You Want on Customer Service Calls</a>)</p> <h2>Remain Polite and Calm</h2> <p>Although you are likely annoyed or even angry about the situation, it&rsquo;s very important to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">keep your emotions in check</a> when you speak to the manager. People often lose their ability to empathize when they feel like they&rsquo;re being verbally attacked, and the manager can easily go into a less-than-helpful, defensive state if you come off as overly upset or aggressive.</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Point Fingers</h2> <p>People react better and are more willing to help you if they do not think you are blaming them directly for the problem. If a service rep, salesperson, or restaurant server is the problem, using a phrase such as &ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure the person in question does not represent your policies&rdquo; tells the manager that you&rsquo;re not attacking him or the company as a whole. This also keeps management from becoming defensive and less willing to resolve the matter in your favor.</p> <h2>Blunt Your Criticism</h2> <p>No one wants to hear everything they do is wrong, and this is especially true for mangers who are trying to solve a customer&rsquo;s problem. Stating what you enjoyed about the meal, product, or service and then offering your criticism softens the blow and tells the manager that he may be able to keep you as a customer. Use the company&rsquo;s desire to retain you as a customer as leverage. Say how often you visit or use the service and tell the manager that you would like to return. Failing to point out the good points about the establishment or service will make the manager think you won&rsquo;t be returning anyway, and it may make him less inclined to honor your request.</p> <h2>Propose a Solution</h2> <p>The most effective complaints offer a specific solution. Telling the manager exactly how you want the issue to be resolved gives him a direct course of action and increases the likelihood of a positive result. It also takes away the need for the manager to guess at what you want, which can quickly turn into dickering for &ldquo;fair&rdquo; compensation instead of fully resolving the issue. If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">desire a refund</a> of a purchase or payment for a service, read your service contract or check the store policies online or on the back of the receipt to determine the refund policy and ensure that you are not out of the refund or return time frame. If you are, you may only be able receive store credit or an exchange, no matter how well you craft your complaint.</p> <h2>Be Reasonable</h2> <p>While your request should make you feel adequately compensated, demanding a free meal because your drink order was wrong will make you seem unreasonable and can make the manager less willing to help you. If a product or service you ordered was damaged or incorrect, give the manager adequate time to repair, replace, or redo it.</p> <p>Staying polite and reasonable gives you the best chance of initiating an effective complaint. Not only will you be more likely to receive the outcome you desire, you&rsquo;ll also be able to return to the store or restaurant or keep using the service with confidence.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lauren-treadwell">Lauren Treadwell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">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-3"> <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-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</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/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund">9 Times You Should Demand a Refund</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/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</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/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do">Customer Service Nightmares - What&#039;s a Good Consumerist to Do?</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-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping customer service managers refunds returns Tue, 20 Nov 2012 11:00:34 +0000 Lauren Treadwell 955448 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4133651889_26dc86174d.jpg" alt="No Refunds" title="No Refunds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That little phrase &mdash; non-refundable (or non-returnable) &mdash; is as unsettling to frugal shoppers as garlic is to vampires. Surely in this day and age, where the customer is always right and stores are willing to do anything to get your business, the very idea of non-refundable must be out of date, right?</p> <p>Well, yes it is. Kind of. There are usually ways around every problem, if you're willing to put in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-two-ceos-to-listen-to-my-complaints">a little bit of extra effort</a> and turn on the charm. Or, if charm doesn't work, the threat of further action, including legal ramifications, can work. But usually, a simple explanation of extenuating circumstances can get you what you need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">How to Complain and Get a Good Result</a>)</p> <p>So, what follows is a list of items that are often non-refundable or non-returnable, and a few ideas on how to get around the &ldquo;standard&rdquo; policy.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="Airline tickets" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/tickets.jpg" /></p> <h2>1. Airline Tickets</h2> <p>These are perhaps the biggest and best-known non-refundable purchases. We're always afraid to commit to buy because we know, even if we purchase the pointless travel insurance, that we're never going to get our money back.</p> <p>But for those with particular circumstances or some real persistence, it is possible. These are tough times for the airlines though, so these days it's even harder than ever to get any kind of refund or exchange.</p> <p>First, if you need to cancel your flight due to &ldquo;acts of God&rdquo; in the country or state you're flying to, you will most likely get a refund. These reasons are not exactly small potatoes though, and they include severe weather, political turmoil, war, pandemics, or civil unrest. It's no guarantee, of course.</p> <p>Medical problems are also taken into account when it comes to ticket cancelations. If you are struck down by a sudden illness or cannot fly due to problems that could occur (eye surgery + pressure = danger), then you could qualify for a full refund. You will need supporting medical documentation; you can't just call up with a sick note from your mom.</p> <p>If there's a death or illness in the family, many airlines will give you a refund for your ticket. Hopefully that's one reason you'll never have to use.</p> <p>And if you have just lost your job, you may be able to get a refund on that ticket. You'll really have to turn on the charm, though; most airlines have been thrown into financially choppy waters due to the economy, and a similar story on your end may not go very far.</p> <h2>2. Hotel Rooms</h2> <p>Closely related to airline tickets are hotel rooms. Many of the same reasons for canceling a flight also apply to the cancelation of a hotel room.</p> <p>Once again, you should be able to cancel your reservation and get a full refund if the hotel is bang in the middle of a country that's being hit by war, severe weather, a pandemic, and so on.</p> <p>Canceling due to illness or a death in the family is also a solid reason. However, you may not have as much luck with your own medical issues. Can't fly? Drive to the hotel. Feeling ill? Stay in your room for the trip. The hotel won't really care.</p> <p>If it's peak season or there's a conference in town, you'll have a better chance of getting a refund. In those circumstances the hotel will have no problem filling the room. But any other time, you're probably going to eat the bill unless you have a world-class excuse.</p> <p>Remember, though, if you can't get a refund, a credit for that hotel may be just as good. See if you can wrangle a stay later in the year for free. It also doesn't hurt to ask travel agents if they can help; they often have great relationships with the hotels. And always call the hotel directly; never go through the site you used to book the room. Hotels are filled with people who are in the business of making people happy with their stay. The other sites just want to sell rooms at a discount.</p> <p><img width="350" height="467" alt="Paint" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/paint.jpg" /></p> <h2>3. Custom-Mixed Paint</h2> <p>When you ask for a specific paint to be mixed, you're committing to the sale. The hardware store will print in big, bold letters NON-RETURNABLE on the top. You're stuck with it. Or are you? You may be stuck with the can of paint, but most stores will be more than happy to tint it again if it's possible. I just found this out when a tint I asked to be made turned out to be slightly too dark. The people at Home Depot showed me a selection of colors that could be made from the tint I already had and turned it that shade for me. Nice!</p> <p>Now if you're wondering how those &ldquo;oops&rdquo; paints get returned, they don't. Those are mistakes made during the tinting process that produce the wrong color, or maybe you ordered a quart and the member of staff mixed a gallon by mistake. That goes on sale because you didn't ask for that size and shouldn't have to pay for it.</p> <h2>4. Concert Tickets</h2> <p>You bought two tickets to see U2 or Coldplay at a huge stadium, but then a week before the gig your boss tells you about a last-minute conference out of state. You're now stuck with two tickets that you won't be using, and almost all concert tickets are non-refundable.</p> <p>The best way to get a refund is to sell them. It's that simple. Craigslist is the best resource in my opinion. List the tickets at face value, and you'll probably get your money back. If you want to make sure you get something for them, undervalue them a little. If the concert is sold out, don't think it means everyone is scrambling for a ticket. Scalpers and online brokers often buy up hundreds of tickets and resell them at a massive profit, but it doesn't always work out well for them (Charlie Sheen...oh dear).</p> <p>But don't go down to the box office to get a refund. You'll be laughed at 99% of the time.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="Store Sale" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/sale.jpg" /></p> <h2>5. Sale/Clearance Items</h2> <p>This one's a toughie. The bright red or yellow sticker on the box saying &ldquo;clearance, no refunds&rdquo; should make it fairly obvious that you won't get a refund on the item. But a little ingenuity can help. Many of the big stores like Walmart and Target will take back those clearance items in spite of the warning. As long as it's in the original packaging, you'll probably get your money back, or at the very least some store credit.</p> <h2>6. Bespoke Clothing</h2> <p>Now we go from tough to really, really tough. Bespoke, or tailored, clothing is very difficult to return. And the reason is obvious. The only person it fits perfectly is you.</p> <p>For a start, think about why you'd want to return it. Is it buyer's remorse? That won't fly with the tailor who sold you the suit of pair of slacks. Tough.</p> <p>You can always try and claim poverty, but that won't work either. To be honest, your best bet here is to list it on eBay. With its worldwide reach, you'll find plenty of people with your measurements, and you may even get more than you paid for it. And if that fails, donate it and write it off on your taxes.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="DVDs" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/DVDs.jpg" /></p> <h2>7. Opened Video Games, DVDs, and CDs</h2> <p>This is another rotten one to negotiate. In the past, no problem at all. But these days, with copying as easy, and as widespread, as ever, stores have to be ultra-vigilant. Personally, I don't blame them. If they gave everyone a refund who came back a week later with an opened game, they'd go out of business.</p> <p>Now, there is definitely no problem in getting an exchange for the exact same title. If you have a scratched disc and want a replacement, you'll get one. If someone got you a PS3 game and you own an XBOX 360, they should swap it out for a different platform.</p> <p>But what if you get a CD or game, pop it in, and instantly hate it? What then?</p> <p>Well, you could simply sell the item. You won't get top dollar for it, but it's better than having something around that you'll never watch, listen to, or play. Another option is to &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">regift</a>&quot; it. Of course, it should be in perfect condition if you do that; no one wants some scratched-up DVD or CD or a game covered in fingerprints and Cheetos crumbs.</p> <p>So, that's my list of the top seven items that are non-refundable and have workarounds. Did I miss one? Do you have any additional advice? Leave your sage wisdom in the comments below.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20to%20Get%20a%20Refund%20When%20Something%20Is%20Non-Refundable.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20a%20Refund%20When%20Something%20Is%20Non-Refundable" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Get%20a%20Refund%20When%20Something%20Is%20Non-Refundable.jpg" alt="How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">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/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</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/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund">9 Times You Should Demand a Refund</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/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do">Customer Service Nightmares - What&#039;s a Good Consumerist to Do?</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-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</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/a-consumerist-editor-talks-about-how-to-tackle-inept-customer-service">A Consumerist Editor Talks About How to Tackle Inept Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs customer service refunds returns Mon, 29 Aug 2011 10:36:08 +0000 Paul Michael 677748 at http://www.wisebread.com