returns http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/222/all en-US 7 Fastest Ways to Recover From Holiday Overspending http://www.wisebread.com/7-fastest-ways-to-recover-from-holiday-overspending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-fastest-ways-to-recover-from-holiday-overspending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/busy_santa_woman.jpg" alt="Busy Santa woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Consumers said they planned to spend an average $967 during the 2017 holiday season, according to research from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights &amp; Analytics.</p> <p>That's a lot of money, and you can bet that plenty of holiday shoppers blew their budgets in the process. But here's some good news: Even if you were overly generous this season, you can take steps to recover financially from all that holiday overspending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a>)</p> <h2>1. Return what you don't want</h2> <p>If you were generous with others this holiday season, they might have been equally generous with you. This means you might have plenty of holiday gifts sitting around &mdash; maybe some gifts you don't even want or need.</p> <p>If you have the receipts, by all means, return them. Hopefully, you can get cash in exchange. But even if you can't, you'll probably be able to turn your unwanted gifts into store credit. You can then shop at that store on someone else's dime without dipping into your own wallet.</p> <p>Don't worry about hurting someone's feelings here. The main point is to get back on your feet financially, and every little bit helps. (Besides, you don't have to tell Aunt Julia that you aren't going to wear that sweater.)</p> <h2>2. Use those gift cards</h2> <p>The odds are high that you received gift cards this year. The National Retail Federation estimated that 2017 holiday shoppers each planned to purchase around four gift cards with an average value of $45 per card.</p> <p>Too many people throw them in a drawer or tuck them in a wallet and then forget about them. If you got gift cards, <em>use them</em>. Again, these handy cards will let you purchase clothing, electronics, or restaurant meals without you having to spend your own cash. Then, send the dollars you're saving on those splurges toward paying down credit card or other high-interest debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-unwanted-gift-cards-into-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Turn Unwanted Gift Cards Into Cash</a>)</p> <h2>3. Pay more than the minimum on your credit cards</h2> <p>You might not want to think about credit card debt right after the holidays, but it's important to not ignore it. Whatever you do, don't only make the minimum required payment. If you do, it can take you years, and cost loads of interest, to pay off that debt.</p> <p>Say you owe $7,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 18 percent. If you make the 4 percent minimum required payment each month, it will take you 147 months &mdash; or more than 12 years &mdash; to pay off that debt. You'll also pay a total of more than $11,000 on the card. And that assumes you don't make any additional purchases with it.</p> <p>Your goal is to pay off <em>more</em> than the minimum every month. Otherwise, you'll be paying off those holiday mittens and scarves for years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-post-holiday-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Dealing With Post-Holiday Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Stop adding to your debt</h2> <p>Of course, you'll struggle to ever pay off your holiday debt if you don't first stop adding to it. Make a resolution to stop using your credit cards to pay for items. Instead, use your debit cards or cash for your purchases.</p> <p>This will require planning, and maybe a bit of sacrifice. You might have to wait to buy that new laptop until you've saved up enough to pay for it in cash. But you'll be thankful as you watch that credit card debt steadily disappear.</p> <h2>5. Start an emergency fund</h2> <p>If you've resolved to pay down your holiday debt, you'll need savings. What if your water heater bursts or your car conks out? If you don't have any money saved up, you'll have to put those repairs on your credit cards, adding more to your debt levels.</p> <p>A better move is to start creating an emergency fund. As the name suggests, an emergency fund is a stash of cash that you stow in a safe place, like a savings account. You withdraw from the fund to cover any unexpected emergencies.</p> <p>You'll eventually want an emergency fund that has from six months' to a year's worth of daily living expenses in it. That may sound intimidating, but you can start slowly. By investing at least $200 a month in an emergency fund, you'll have $2,400 by the time a year passes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <h2>6. Make some sacrifices</h2> <p>The more money you have to devote to your holiday debt, the better. Start the new year by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. All those trips to restaurants and the movies add up. If you cut down on your discretionary spending, you might have $200 or more extra each month to put toward reducing your holiday debt.</p> <h2>7. Get in selling mode</h2> <p>Maybe you received plenty of stuff during the holiday season &mdash; you might even have too much stuff. If so, sell some of it off, either online or through a yard sale. The extra money you make by selling a Crock-Pot or tablet that you no longer need can bring in some much-needed extra cash that you can use to pay down that mountain of debt.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-fastest-ways-to-recover-from-holiday-overspending&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Fastest%2520Ways%2520to%2520Recover%2520From%2520Holiday%2520Overspending.jpg&amp;description=7%20Fastest%20Ways%20to%20Recover%20From%20Holiday%20Overspending"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Fastest%20Ways%20to%20Recover%20From%20Holiday%20Overspending.jpg" alt="7 Fastest Ways to Recover From Holiday Overspending" 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/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fastest-ways-to-recover-from-holiday-overspending">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/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</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-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge">How to Bounce Back From Your Holiday Splurge</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-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bouncing back Christmas credit card debt emergency funds gifts Holidays overspending returns shopping Tue, 02 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2070211 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Pick Your First Stocks and Funds http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cartons_of_financial_investment_products.jpg" alt="Cartons of financial investment products" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you need to start investing, but you&rsquo;re not sure where to begin. There are a million different investments, so how can anyone determine which to start with?</p> <p>There is no real wrong way to begin investing, but it helps to start in a familiar place and educate yourself about some of the most common stocks and mutual funds. Follow this advice, and you&rsquo;ll be well on your way to building a great investment portfolio.</p> <h2>Pick something you know</h2> <p>When just getting started, it helps to have some familiarity with the company you are investing in. So go with a company whose products or services you use every day. Maybe it&rsquo;s Starbucks, or Walmart. Perhaps it&rsquo;s Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Do you have an iPhone? Investing in Apple might make sense for you. By starting out with something you know, you&rsquo;ll have a greater interest in tracking the stock&rsquo;s movements and paying attention to the company&rsquo;s operations.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also fun to know that when you buy something from the company, you may be indirectly boosting the stock price. Moreover, if you invest in something well known, it&rsquo;s likely to be an established company with some track record of success. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Buy Your First Stocks or Funds</a>)</p> <h2>Listen to your grandfather</h2> <p>You may tune out when your granddad starts espousing the virtues of shopping at Sears. But there are many companies that were huge 40 years ago that are still big today. Think Coca-Cola, General Motors, General Electric, IBM, or McDonald&rsquo;s. These are still &ldquo;blue chip&rdquo; stocks that have shown consistent, solid shareholder returns over time.</p> <p>In many cases, these companies don&rsquo;t even do what they originally did when your grandfather was your age. But that&rsquo;s OK. If your granddad has invested in a stock for decades and is living comfortably in retirement, it&rsquo;s probably a solid stock. Following your grandfather&rsquo;s advice is a great way to familiarize yourself with &ldquo;large cap&rdquo; stocks that include some of the world&rsquo;s biggest companies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a>)</p> <h2>Go after growth</h2> <p>The entire point of investing is to see your money grow, right? So it&rsquo;s a good idea to familiarize yourself with growth stocks. These are stocks that represent companies poised to see strong earnings growth over time, and are often in fast-growing industries, such as technology. Growth stocks will often have earnings and cash flow that are higher than the average company, and will often have some sort of competitive advantage that gives it an edge in the marketplace.</p> <p>Famous tech companies including Apple, Netflix, and Alphabet are well-known growth investments. Smaller companies can offer great growth stocks as well, because their size allows for rapid increases in share value. Keep in mind, however, that growth stocks can often carry higher risk than other investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-growth-stocks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Are Growth Stocks?</a>)</p> <h2>Find a good dividend stock</h2> <p>When learning to invest, it&rsquo;s important to know that stocks cannot only grow in value, but provide you with some income along the way. Many stocks will pay out a portion of their income to shareholders in what is known as a <em>dividend</em>. Getting your first dividend payment can be very exciting. This is real money that a company gives you each quarter simply for being a shareholder. And many companies will shell out dividends at a rate much higher than interest from the bank.</p> <p>When researching the best dividend-producing companies, look up how much the company will pay quarterly for each share of stock. That amount relative to the company&rsquo;s stock price is known as the <em>dividend yield</em>. A good dividend yield, coupled with solid financials and some growth in share price, can make for a great company to invest in.</p> <p>To find good dividend stocks, research the list of &ldquo;dividend aristocrats.&rdquo; These are companies that have managed to increase their dividend payments for 25 years or more. They include Procter &amp; Gamble, Exxon-Mobil, and AT&amp;T.</p> <h2>Invest in &ldquo;The Market&rdquo;</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re confused about what stocks or funds to purchase, why not invest in everything? Or at least a small piece of everything. There are many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that are designed to mirror the performance of the broader stock market or major indexes like the S&amp;P 500. You won&rsquo;t necessarily &ldquo;beat the market&rdquo; with these investments, but you&rsquo;ll see your investments move with the overall stock market, and get exposure to a wide range of companies in various industries.</p> <p>These investments are often available with very low fees, as well. Good examples of these kinds of investments include the iShares Core S&amp;P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF [NYSE: ITOT], Vanguard Total Market ETC [NYSE: VTI], or T. Rowe Price Equity Index 500 Fund [NYSE: PREIX].</p> <h2>Look for value</h2> <p>One of the most basic pieces of investment advice you&rsquo;ll receive is to &ldquo;buy low and sell high.&rdquo; At its core, this means it&rsquo;s smart to find investments that are undervalued and have a strong potential to grow and make you a profit over time. These &ldquo;value&rdquo; stocks aren&rsquo;t always easy to find, but they have driven the portfolios of some of the world&rsquo;s most successful investors, including Warren Buffett.</p> <p>There are several key things to look for when searching for value stocks. First, it&rsquo;s important to understand why a stock may have a low price. Often, it&rsquo;s because the company is not doing well financially. But sometimes, a stock price can fall for reasons that have nothing to do with company performance, in which case it may be poised to rebound.</p> <p>A company&rsquo;s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is another thing to consider. You can determine this ratio by dividing a stock's earnings by its stock price. A low P/E ratio compared to other stocks may indicate it&rsquo;s undervalued. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio</a>)</p> <p>If you are unsure of what value stocks to buy, consider mutual funds that zero in on value stocks. Popular options include the Vanguard U.S. Value Fund [NYSE: VUVLX] and the T. Rowe Price Value Fund [NYSE: TRVLX].</p> <h2>Understand competitive advantage</h2> <p>There are some companies that are just kicking butt. Their edge over their competitors is as vast as the Pacific Ocean, and they are practically synonymous with the industries they are in. Some investors refer to this as a &ldquo;moat.&rdquo; A company with a wide &ldquo;moat&rdquo; is often viewed as having a large enough competitive advantage to withstand any operating hiccup or economic downturn.</p> <p>Think Amazon in the e-commerce sector, or Facebook in the area of social media. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, also leaves most of its competitors in the dust, and Walmart dominates the traditional retail sector.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re looking to buy one of your first stocks, consider any company that seems to be just crushing the competition. You may not be able to get shares on the cheap, but you&rsquo;ll be getting ownership in a company poised to make you money over time.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Pick%2520Your%2520First%2520Stocks%2520and%2520Funds.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Pick%20Your%20First%20Stocks%20and%20Funds"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Pick%20Your%20First%20Stocks%20and%20Funds.jpg" alt="How to Pick Your First Stocks and Funds" 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return">Don&#039;t Be Fooled by an Investment&#039;s Rate of Return</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-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-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 advice dividends growth stocks mutual funds new investor returns stock market value stocks Tue, 19 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 2073021 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Be Fooled by an Investment's Rate of Return http://www.wisebread.com/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/investor_compares_quotes_from_newspaper_and_tablet.jpg" alt="Investor compares quotes from newspaper and tablet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you invest, you are looking for return. You want your money to grow over time, preferably at a rate that will allow you to achieve your financial goals.</p> <p>An investment's rate of return can be a deceptive thing, however. The amount of money that an investment has made in the past isn't a guarantee of future returns. Moreover, these returns by themselves don't tell you a whole lot about what you are investing in.</p> <p>Learning how to analyze an investment's returns &mdash; and understanding its limitations &mdash; will help you on the path to financial freedom. Just remember these key facts about an investment's return when examining it.</p> <h2>Short time frames don't tell you much</h2> <p>&quot;Hey, this mutual fund went up 29 percent last year! Woo hoo!&quot; That's great, but what did it do the year before? And the year before that? How has it performed over the last decade? Looking at the rate of return for a single year is not particularly useful, as any investment can have a hot 12 months. To get a sense of how an investment may perform in the future, it helps to have a long record of performance to examine. Fortunately, most brokerages and financial websites have comprehensive information on historical returns, so you're not simply looking at the performance of the last year.</p> <h2>It offers no information on the type of investment</h2> <p>It's great if an investment has a solid rate of return, but that should not be the only consideration when looking to buy shares. If you are buying a stock, you need to ask yourself key questions aside from just looking at performance. What industry does the company operate in? How big is the company? Does it operate internationally? If you're talking about a mutual fund, what is the investment mix? Answering these questions will help you understand whether you already own similar investments, and whether it makes sense to add them to your portfolio.</p> <h2>It's almost useless without context</h2> <p>Let's say you come across a mutual fund that earned a 9 percent return last year. You might think that is pretty good, right? Well, it doesn't look so good when you consider the S&amp;P 500 returned 11.96 percent. Information on returns is only meaningful when it is paired with information about the broader stock market, comparable investments, and specific indexes. A small cap ETF, for example, should be examined alongside the Russell 2000 index. A mutual fund focused on technology should be compared to prominent technology indexes. Fortunately, most brokerage firms and financial websites do provide this, so it's important to analyze market returns using that context.</p> <h2>It does not always factor in all costs</h2> <p>If you purchase a mutual fund or ETF, a certain portion of your investment is taken in expenses and fees. While mutual fund returns are usually reported net of expenses, not every cost is included in this calculation. Many funds have sales charges and commissions (also known as loads) that you pay when buying and selling. Your brokerage firm may also charge a commission to execute the trade. This can reduce your overall return. The good news is that there are many good no-load mutual funds out there, and many can be traded without a commission, depending on the broker.</p> <p>One more caveat regarding costs. Capital gains taxes will also reduce your balance when you sell. Be sure to factor in these costs when examining an investment's rate of return.</p> <h2>It does not offer detail on volatility</h2> <p>Let's say you have a stock that rose in value from $50 to $90 in five years. The annualized return on that stock is 16 percent. But that does not tell you whether the stock's performance has been consistent or wildly up and down.</p> <p>For example, during that five-year period, that stock may have risen 20 percent, then dropped 25 percent, then risen 44 percent, dropped 10 percent, and finally rose 53 percent. That's pretty volatile, and may be outside the comfort zone of many investors even though the overall return is good. To get a better picture of the investment's performance, you need to look at the returns from each individual year, but even that offers no insight into price swings within any given year.</p> <h2>It can't answer the question &quot;Why?&quot;</h2> <p>An investment's rate of return may be the crucial piece of information you need to know before investing, but there's a lot that it doesn't tell you. Perhaps most importantly, it does not offer any insight into <em>why </em>an investment's price moved up or doing during a certain period.</p> <p>Investment values go up and down for a variety of reasons, not all of them related to company performance. Perhaps a retailer saw its shares fall sharply during one quarter due to a series of natural disasters. Perhaps another company saw shares rise dramatically because of hype over its Super Bowl commercial. Returns on investment are crucial to know, but if you are an investor, it's important to do your own homework to understand why a price went up or down. Doing so will help you better understand how an investment may perform in the future.</p> <h2>It gives you no information on fundamentals</h2> <p>An investment's historical rate of return can give you insight into how it might perform in the future. But the company's actual financial performance may be even more important. It's not enough to just examine an investment's return. You should also look at company balance sheets, analyze earnings reports, and look at things like cash flow, debt, and price-to-earnings ratio. This will help you understand whether an investment's price is justified. Examples abound of companies that saw share prices skyrocket based on speculation although earnings weren't there to support it.</p> <h2>It tells you nothing about taxes</h2> <p>Let's say you invested $1,000 in a company stock and it earned an annual return of 9 percent a year over five years. That means you'll end up with $1,450 when you sell, right? Well, not exactly. Remember that unless you are investing in a tax-advantaged account such as a Roth IRA, the government takes its share when you sell. Assuming that you'll be taxed at the long-term capital gains rate of 15 percent, suddenly, that 9 percent annual return became something closer to 7 percent. Keep this in mind when trying to calculate how much money you'll actually walk away with.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDont%2520Be%2520Fooled%2520by%2520an%2520Investments%2520Rate%2520of%2520Return.jpg&amp;description=Dont%20Be%20Fooled%20by%20an%20Investments%20Rate%20of%20Return"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Dont%20Be%20Fooled%20by%20an%20Investments%20Rate%20of%20Return.jpg" alt="Don't Be Fooled by an Investment's Rate of Return" 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return">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/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-risk-averse-can-get-into-the-stock-market">How the Risk Averse Can Get Into the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment balance sheet bonds fees mutual funds rate of return returns roi s&p 500 stock market stocks volatility Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 2068609 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Skill Really Matter in Stock Market Investing? http://www.wisebread.com/does-skill-really-matter-in-stock-market-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-skill-really-matter-in-stock-market-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_with_a_rocket_on_his_back.jpg" alt="Man with a rocket on his back" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My young son once expressed concern when I told him I had money invested in the stock market. Perhaps he had seen stories about <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/rickferri/2012/12/20/any-monkey-can-beat-the-market/#40f9d684630a" target="_blank">blindfolded monkeys throwing darts</a> picking better stock portfolios than &quot;expert&quot; traders.</p> <p>&quot;Buying stocks is just like gambling,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;No, it isn't,&quot; I explained.</p> <p>I am not sure my son was convinced by my explanation, and I began to doubt it myself. What made me so confident that my process of choosing stock market investments was better than random chance?</p> <h2>How lucky stock picks can beat the market</h2> <p>People tend to overrate their investment skills as their portfolio grows. Over the years, the stock market tends to go up and the value of anyone's portfolio &mdash; even a portfolio picked by a monkey &mdash; would likely go up. But the measure of a successful investor isn't merely getting a positive return on investment. Real success is beating the market by getting a return that is better than the market average. This is where the skill comes in &hellip; or does it?</p> <p>Let's consider randomly selected stock portfolios drawn from the broader stock market. Most such randomly selected portfolios will perform near the overall rate of return for the market. Some of the stocks may perform better than average and some worse, but the ups and downs across the portfolio tends to work out to about average. But by pure luck, some portfolios will end up with more winners than losers and beat the market average. Sometimes these randomly selected portfolios do a <em>lot</em> better than the market average.</p> <p>For some specific examples, let's simulate <a href="http://www.moneychimp.com/articles/randomness/skill_luck.htm" target="_blank">portfolios randomly drawn from a market</a> with 10.5 percent return and a standard deviation of 20 percent after 20 years. Under these conditions, the average return portfolio value based on the broader market is $7,366. Here were my &quot;returns&quot; from eight randomly selected portfolios after 20 years:</p> <ol> <li> <p>$4,330</p> </li> <li> <p>$34,603</p> </li> <li> <p>$19,572</p> </li> <li> <p>$9,971</p> </li> <li> <p>$10,925</p> </li> <li> <p>$1,482</p> </li> <li> <p>$8,482</p> </li> <li> <p>$3,460</p> </li> </ol> <p>You can see that five of our eight randomly selected portfolio beat the expected value of $7,366 from average market returns over 20 years. One portfolio (#2) beat the market significantly, achieving an annualized return of 19.4 percent and growing 4.5 times that of an average portfolio. This portfolio was selected by pure chance, but the performance looks like something that would take a financial genius to achieve. If you were lucky enough to put this portfolio together, people would probably be lining up to ask for your investment secrets to learn how you beat the market. And since you were so successful, you might believe you had actually figured it out!</p> <p>Our simulation results show that by pure luck, an investor could end up with a portfolio that greatly beats the market. A dart-throwing monkey could pick a great set of stock picks by chance. Random picks can result in underperforming portfolios too, but people tend to notice the big winners.</p> <p>We have seen how you can end up with a high performing stock portfolio by pure chance. Does this mean that successful investors are just lucky?</p> <h2>The argument for investing skill</h2> <p>As we have seen, it is possible to get lucky and beat the market. But some investors seem to beat the market <em>consistently</em>. It's one thing to get lucky once in awhile, but is someone like Warren Buffett just really lucky, or is there more to it than that?</p> <p>From reports over the years, we can see that Berkshire Hathaway beat the market 39 out of 49 years, earning more than the market average rate of return. A 2015 <a href="https://www.significancemagazine.com/business/119-warren-buffett-oracle-or-orang-utan" target="_blank">paper by James Skeffington</a> uses some simplifying assumptions to analyze the probability that such a run of success would occur by chance. In a simulation with randomly drawn portfolios of 500 companies to represent the S&amp;P 500, Warren Buffett turns out to be luckier than the luckiest of the simulated portfolios by a factor of about 100x.</p> <p>While this analysis does not conclusively prove that Warren Buffett has exceptional skill as an investor, it does indicate that luck alone is not likely to be the secret of Mr. Buffett's success as an investor.</p> <h2>Should you throw darts to pick stocks?</h2> <p>The conclusion that skill &mdash; not just blind luck &mdash; likely played a big role in Warren Buffett's investment success means you could potentially study up and make informed investments or find a fund manager that can consistently beat the market through skill. If you want a piece of Warren Buffett's action, you could buy Berkshire Hathaway at a premium or a similar fund at a discount. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-berkshire-hathaway-and-other-blue-chip-stock-for-17-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway and Other Blue Chip Stock for 17% Off</a>)</p> <p>But in general, past performance does not predict future performance. If you see a fund that is advertising good recent performance, it does not mean the fund will stay hot. It is impossible to know if a fund manager is good or lucky, and investment strategies that work now may not keep working forever.</p> <p>You could follow Warren Buffett's advice and go with index funds with low expense ratios that take away some of the risks, expenses, and inefficiencies of actively managed funds. As Warren Buffett's famous $500,000 bet showed, a low expense index fund can beat an actively managed fund. This investment strategy allows you to be successful without luck or skill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdoes-skill-really-matter-in-stock-market-investing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDoes%2520Skill%2520Really%2520Matter%2520in%2520Stock%2520Market%2520Investing_.jpg&amp;description=Does%20Skill%20Really%20Matter%20in%20Stock%20Market%20Investing%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Does%20Skill%20Really%20Matter%20in%20Stock%20Market%20Investing_.jpg" alt="Does Skill Really Matter in Stock Market Investing?" 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/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-skill-really-matter-in-stock-market-investing">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-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/how-to-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds">How to Pick Your First Stocks and Funds</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/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you">Is Dollar Cost Averaging the Right Strategy for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment luck market performance returns skill stock market stock picks Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2066564 at http://www.wisebread.com Think Outside the Index When You Rebalance Your Investment Portfolio http://www.wisebread.com/think-outside-the-index-when-you-rebalance-your-investment-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/think-outside-the-index-when-you-rebalance-your-investment-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_using_tablet.jpg" alt="Businesswoman using Tablet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As the year winds down, it's common for investors to examine their portfolios and consider some rebalancing. This means looking at your investments to make sure you're not over-invested or underinvested in certain areas.</p> <p>Many investors will simply buy shares of a mutual fund that mirrors the performance of the S&amp;P 500. You can do well with this simple approach, but you will lack exposure to many smaller or midsize companies, and will be heavily invested in some industries (such as technology) but not others.</p> <p>Here are some sectors and asset classes that you can invest in to make your portfolio truly diverse.</p> <h2>1. Utilities</h2> <p>They aren't the sexiest investments, but this sector contains many great dividend stocks that can boost your income while offering the stability your portfolio might need. Consider that during the market tumble between 2007 and 2009, the S&amp;P 500 lost about half its value, while the Dow Jones Utility Average index lost about one third.</p> <p>Right now, utilities make up around 3 percent of the S&amp;P 500, so many investors don't have much exposure. Consider mixing in some utilities by investing in mutual funds like the Vanguard Index Utilities Fund [VUIAX] or ETFs such as the iShares Global Infrastructure ETF [IGF].</p> <h2>2. Materials</h2> <p>This is another underappreciated sector that deserves more love from investors. What are &quot;materials&quot; in stock market lingo? This refers to companies that discover and process raw materials. Think of steel manufacturers, mining companies, or chemical producers. The materials sector also makes up about 3 percent of the S&amp;P 500, but has outperformed the broader stock market over the last year. Materials also outperformed the S&amp;P 500 during the Great Recession.</p> <p>Well-performing materials mutual funds include Vanguard Materials Index Fund [VMIAX] and the Fidelity Select Materials Portfolio [FSDPX].</p> <h2>3. Telecommunications services</h2> <p>This sector includes companies such as Verizon, AT&amp;T, and T-Mobile. Companies like these have not been the best performers in recent years, but they can bring stability to your portfolio and offer a very healthy dividend yield. Investors might earn an annual dividend of 5 percent or more with these stocks, which is helpful income during this time of low interest rates. Older investors who are willing to sacrifice growth for income and stability may want to take a hard look at telecom services, which currently make up about 2 percent of companies in the S&amp;P 500.</p> <h2>4. Energy</h2> <p>This sector comprised more than 10 percent of the S&amp;P 500 as recently as three years ago, but that's down to about 6 percent now. That's a shame, because the sector includes some very strong companies including ExxonMobil and Chevron. It's been a very volatile few years for the energy sector due to the tumble in oil prices, but there are bargains to be had, and the world is not going to cease demanding energy, especially from developing countries. Investing in green energy can offer some growth opportunities, and you'll be helping the planet in the process. Energy stocks can also offer higher dividend yields than many sectors.</p> <h2>5. Consumer staples</h2> <p>This sector likely has some of the most familiar stocks you can think of. Currently making up over 8 percent of the S&amp;P 500, consumer staples includes firms like Coca-Cola, Procter &amp; Gamble, Unilever, and Walmart. And yet, this sector is somewhat underrepresented in the S&amp;P 500. This sector is considered a safe haven for investors, because it often performs better than other sectors during times of market uncertainty. That's because even during the worst of times, we all still need basic household products. This sector also has an average dividend yield of nearly 3 percent, making it attractive to income investors.</p> <p>To get more exposure to consumer staples, take a look at ETFs such as the iShares Consumer Goods ETF [IYK] and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF [VDC].</p> <h2>6. Small cap stocks</h2> <p>When you invest in the S&amp;P 500, you're investing only in the largest companies. These companies may offer solid returns, but it's never good to be invested too heavily in companies of a similar size. To build a truly diversified portfolio, it helps to invest in a healthy dose of smaller companies as well. Small cap stocks are generally those with market capitalization between $300 million and $2 billion. These firms tend to be more volatile, but their gains can be more dramatic. Consider that the T. Rowe Price Small Cap Fund [OTCFX] has averaged a return of around 20 percent over the last year, compared to about 16 percent for the S&amp;P 500. Small cap value stocks &mdash; comprised of small companies generally considered undervalued by fund managers &mdash; have performed even better over the last year.</p> <h2>7. Mid-cap stocks</h2> <p>Not too big and not too small, mid-cap stocks include some very well-run companies in a wide range of industries, and they can bring growth and stability to your portfolio. If you want to invest in midcaps, forget the S&amp;P 500 and go with the S&amp;P 400, which includes the top mid-sized companies and routinely outperforms the smaller and larger asset classes.</p> <p>The Vanguard MidCap ETF [VIMSX] has seen a 10 percent annual return since 2004, and the T. Rowe Price Midcap Growth Fund [RPMGX] has seen a 13 percent annual return since the early 1990s.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthink-outside-the-index-when-you-rebalance-your-investment-portfolio&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThink%2520Outside%2520the%2520Index%2520When%2520You%2520Rebalance%2520Your%2520Investment%2520Portfolio.jpg&amp;description=Think%20Outside%20the%20Index%20When%20You%20Rebalance%20Your%20Investment%20Portfolio"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Think%20Outside%20the%20Index%20When%20You%20Rebalance%20Your%20Investment%20Portfolio.jpg" alt="Think Outside the Index When You Rebalance Your Investment Portfolio" 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-outside-the-index-when-you-rebalance-your-investment-portfolio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments">Bookmark This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing 401(k) Investments</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/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-risk-averse-can-get-into-the-stock-market">How the Risk Averse Can Get Into the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment diversification mid-cap stocks portfolio rebalancing returns s&p 500 sectors small cap stocks Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 2054955 at http://www.wisebread.com It's So Simple: 6 Steps to a Stable Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_dancing.jpg" alt="Senior couple dancing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are new to personal finance, you might find yourself thinking that reaching retirement is sort of like reaching a mythical place like Hogwarts. In both cases, the process required for entry is never adequately explained &mdash; and getting there yourself feels more like fantasy than reality.</p> <p>While it's unlikely that an owl will ever arrive to welcome you to a magical school, retirement is actually attainable for each and every muggle. In fact, the rules for reaching a stable retirement are relatively simple and require absolutely no financial wizardry on your part,</p> <p>Here are the only six things you need to do to achieve a stable retirement &mdash; no magic wands required.</p> <h2>1. Always spend less than you earn</h2> <p>No matter how much you make, you need to live on less than you earn. This is the kind of so-simple-it-feels-obvious advice that many personal finance experts take for granted, but keeping your expenses below your income is the cornerstone of saving for a stable retirement. Many people assume that they need to make a certain level of income before they can afford to start saving for retirement, but that's not true. As long as you always spend less than you earn, you can always save toward your retirement.</p> <p>If you're not sure how to go about reducing your expenses so that you're no longer spending everything that comes in, start by tracking your spending. This will help you better understand where your money is going so you can cut back on unnecessary spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-and-spend-less-by-increasing-your-mental-transaction-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save More and Spend Less by Increasing Your &quot;Mental Transaction Costs&quot;</a>)</p> <h2>2. Max out your retirement contributions</h2> <p>Both your employer-sponsored 401(k) and your individual retirement account (IRA) have yearly contribution limits that you should strive to meet every year. The 2017 contribution limits are $18,000 for 401(k) plans (plus an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions if over age 50), and $5,500 for IRAs ($6,500 if over age 50). The traditional versions of these investment vehicles are tax-deferred, which means you are funding your accounts with pretax dollars. Roth 401(k) plans and IRAs are funded with money you have paid taxes on, but they, like the traditional vehicles, grow tax-free.</p> <p>Many people can't afford to meet the full contribution limit for their 401(k) plan, plus maxing out an IRA as well. However, getting as close to the maximum contribution as you can for both of these vehicles will put you well on your way to retirement stability. In addition, many employers offer a 401(k) contribution match &mdash; and not maxing out this kind of matching program is akin to leaving free money on the table. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Work at least 35 years</h2> <p>While retiring early is a common dream among many workers, leaving the workforce before putting in 35 full years of employment could damage your bottom line in retirement. That's because your Social Security benefits are calculated using the 35 highest earning years in your career. If you have less than 35 years of work experience, the Social Security Administration uses zeros to create your benefit calculation, lowering your average earnings and your payout. If you don't have 35 years of employment history, it's a good idea to keep working to get those zeros replaced in your Social Security calculation.</p> <p>Doing whatever you can to increase your monthly benefit will make a big difference in your bottom line once you retire. The most important increase you can make is to work at least 35 years total &mdash; although waiting as long as you can to take Social Security benefits is also an important strategy for increasing your monthly Social Security check. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>4. Avoid debt</h2> <p>We live in a society that tells us we can have it all right now and pay for it later. The problem is that we <em>will</em> indeed pay for it later &mdash; with an impoverished retirement. While it may be possible to finance the lifestyle you want with debt, you will have no money available to save for retirement or otherwise invest. In addition, the added interest expense of borrowing money to pay for your lifestyle just makes it that much more expensive and unsustainable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Invest for the long-term with index funds</h2> <p>While the movies show investing as a kind of game that you win by figuring out when to buy low and sell high, the best way to make sure your money grows is to follow a long-term buy-and-hold strategy.</p> <p>A 2016 DALBAR study on investment behavior revealed that investors routinely underperform the market despite solid annualized returns. For example, at the end of 2015, the S&amp;P 500 was averaging a return of 8.19 percent. That same year, investors saw returns top out at a measly average 4.67 percent &mdash; and this pattern is not new. Why such a discrepancy? Simple; rather than employing a buy-and-hold strategy, investors routinely try (and fail) to time the market. Year after year, their returns suffer as a result.</p> <p>You can use statistics and a long investment term to your advantage by investing in index funds. These funds aim to replicate the movement of specific securities in a target index, which means an index fund is going to do about as well as the target securities will do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <h2>6. Take care of your health</h2> <p>Your health can have an enormous impact on your financial stability in retirement. That's because health care costs are a major concern in your older years, especially since this is one aspect of your retirement budget that you may not have control over. According to a 2016 Fidelity study, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2016 will need about $260,000 to cover their medical and health care costs for the rest of their lives.</p> <p>While kale smoothies and daily kettlebell workouts cannot ensure your good health in retirement, taking good care of yourself throughout your life does improve the odds that you'll stay healthier as you age. You can consider each jog and healthy meal as an investment in your future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-poor-health-kill-your-retirement-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Let Poor Health Kill Your Retirement Fund</a>)</p> <h2>Reaching retirement, one step at a time</h2> <p>Achieving a stable retirement doesn't require any magic. Instead, it's a matter of following some simple rules that will ensure you have the money you need to retire comfortably.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fits-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIt%2527s%2520So%2520Simple_%25206%2520Steps%2520to%2520a%2520Stable%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=It's%20So%20Simple%3A%206%20Steps%20to%20a%20Stable%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/It%27s%20So%20Simple_%206%20Steps%20to%20a%20Stable%20Retirement.jpg" alt="It's So Simple: 6 Steps to a Stable Retirement" 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement">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/8-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-retirement">8 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Moves for Retirement</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/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</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-things-you-should-know-about-your-401k-match">7 Things You Should Know About Your 401(k) Match</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder Today</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/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Retirement buy and hold contributions debt health care index funds investing returns social security benefits stable retirement Tue, 31 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2041362 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Types of Investors — Which One Are You? http://www.wisebread.com/8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman_reading_a_newspaper.jpg" alt="which type of investor are you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you tend to invest in a particular way? Identifying which type of investor you are can help you understand the potential pitfalls of your investment approach &mdash; and how to improve your chances for better investment returns. Which type of investor are you?</p> <h2>1. Automatic investor</h2> <p>The automatic investor is all about convenience. Everything related to investing is set on autopilot. Automatic contributions to investment funds come out of every paycheck or are withdrawn from the bank account on a certain day of the month. This type of investor doesn't spend much time or effort thinking about investing, and doesn't need to since everything is automatic. They don't have to remind themselves to invest; it's checked off their financial to-do list.</p> <p>The potential downside for the automatic investor is losing touch with where investment funds are going and how the investment portfolio is performing. If you are not paying attention, you may not have investment selections that meet your current goals, and you may not identify and remove low performing investments or funds with high fees. If you don't check in at least occasionally, this hands-off approach may cost you. Rebalancing your portfolio once or twice a year by transferring funds to maintain your desired proportions of stocks to bonds should be sufficient to keep your investment portfolio on track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-important-thing-youre-probably-not-doing-with-your-portfolio?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Most Important Thing You're Probably Not Doing With Your Portfolio</a>)</p> <h2>2. Daily Dow watcher</h2> <p>The Dow watcher is constantly up to speed. They know at any time if the stock market is up or down. The current market price and chart is only a tap away on their smartphone. This type of investor knows how much their portfolio is worth and worries about how much they are losing when the market has a bad day. Nothing goes over the Dow watcher's head.</p> <p>The risk for the Dow watcher is that he or she can easily get stressed out by day-to-day ups and downs in the market. They may even get discouraged when the market is going down and decide to sell stock when the price is low &mdash; the worst time to sell! It's good to be informed, especially when it comes to your investments, but if you find yourself too glued to the Dow's daily performance &mdash; it might be a good idea to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news" target="_blank">step away from the news</a> for a bit. Checking in on the stock market and your investment portfolio quarterly is probably more than frequent enough, and you can use the time you save for something more productive and enjoyable.</p> <h2>3. Active trader</h2> <p>The active trader is a studious investor. This type of investor tries to time the market by figuring out that a stock is going up before other investors realize it &mdash; and then selling when it is near the peak price before most investors figure out that it is going down. This type of investor pores over market and economic data, reads business articles, and is well-informed about business trends and news. He or she is willing to take risks for a chance at big returns.</p> <p>If you're an active trader, tread carefully; you can easily lose significant money if your timing is off. Trading fees can also get expensive if your investment approach requires making a lot of trades. You are much more likely to make money from buying good stocks and holding them for the long haul.</p> <h2>4. Conscientious investor</h2> <p>Conscientious investors put their money where their morals are. They have limits to what activities and products they are willing to be involved with in order to make a buck. For example, some conscientious investors invest only in socially-responsible or environmentally-responsible companies, and avoid owning shares in companies that promote values or products contrary to their moral principles. This type of investor is likely to exert economic influence through consumer purchasing decisions as well as through their stock picks.</p> <p>This type of ethical investing unfortunately can limit a person's investment options, which may result in lower returns. But some things are worth more than money to conscientious investors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Simple Guide to Socially Responsible Investing</a>)</p> <h2>5. Property investor</h2> <p>Not every investor owns stocks. The property investor owns real estate, collectibles, gold, and maybe even bonds. He or she wants to invest in things that they can understand and control to some extent. This type of investor may not trust Wall Street and avoids the volatility of stocks.</p> <p>Historically, however, stocks have had great investment returns compared to other investment types, so property investors who shy away from the stock market could be missing out. Large cap value stocks can be a relatively safe way to start off in stock investing for first-time stock investors.</p> <h2>6. Bargain investor</h2> <p>This is the kind of investor that pounced on GM stock when it was $1 per share in 2009. Of course there is risk that bargain stocks could become worthless, but there is potential for the stock price to bounce back. The bargain investor looks carefully at P/E ratios to check the share price relative to earnings per share when deciding what stock to buy.</p> <p>Bargain hunters should be wary though &mdash; sometimes stocks with low prices are trading at a low price for a good reason. The bigger the bargain, the more research is merited into why the price is so low before you buy.</p> <h2>7. Company loyalist</h2> <p>The company loyalist owns a disproportionate amount of stock from an individual company. This could be a trendy stock that inspires loyalty like Apple or Tesla, or the company loyalist could own a large amount of his or her own employer's stock.</p> <p>Owning a large amount of any single company stock can be risky. The company could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-these-8-company-stocks-fared-following-scandal" target="_blank">experience a major scandal</a> or product failure and the stock price could tank. Remember Enron? Owning a lot of stock in the company you work for is even riskier, because if something goes wrong you'll not only lose value in your stock fund, but you may lose your job at the same time. Some financial advisers suggest that owning more than 10 percent to 15 percent of your company's stock may be too much.</p> <h2>8. Portfolio tweaker</h2> <p>The portfolio tweaker is not really an active trader, but likes to adjust and fine tune his or her portfolio frequently by making transfers between funds to get the desired balance between large cap, mid cap, small cap, foreign, domestic, growth, value, and bond investment categories.</p> <p>While it is good to adjust your portfolio occasionally to meet your investment goals, frequently selling investments that are performing well just to meet an arbitrary &quot;balance&quot; in your portfolio may not be the best move and could hurt your overall return. As we advised the automatic investor, portfolio rebalancing once or twice per year is a good interval for most investors.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Types%2520Of%2520Investors%2520Which%2520One%2520Are%2520You.jpg&amp;description=8%20Types%20of%20Investors%20%E2%80%94%20Which%20One%20Are%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Types%20Of%20Investors%20Which%20One%20Are%20You.jpg" alt="8 Types of Investors &mdash; Which One Are You?" 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/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-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-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-the-risk-averse-can-get-into-the-stock-market">How the Risk Averse Can Get Into the Stock Market</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-simple-ways-to-conquer-your-fear-of-investing">4 Simple Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Investing</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/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment automatic company stock dow ethical investing portfolio property investors returns risk stock market stocks types Fri, 08 Sep 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2017190 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Dollar Cost Averaging the Right Strategy for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_money_and_banking_for_finance_concept.jpg" alt="Saving money and banking for finance concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've just received a bonus or an inheritance, and you know that investing your money in stocks and bonds is one of the best ways to create long-term wealth. But you're also worried that your investments might lose value instead of gaining it.</p> <p>It's a common struggle: You want the financial rewards that can come with investing, but the potential risk of losing money nags at you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-over-these-5-scary-things-about-investing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get Over These 5 Scary Things About Investing</a>)</p> <p>An investing strategy known as dollar cost averaging might be the answer.</p> <h2>What is dollar cost averaging?</h2> <p>In dollar cost averaging, you invest just a small chunk of money at a time. This differs from the more traditional approach to investing, in which you'd invest all the money that you've targeted for stocks, bonds, or real estate at the same time.</p> <p>Say you've inherited $6,000. You'd like to invest that money in the stock market so that it will grow over time. If you were investing in the traditional way, you'd invest that money all at once. With dollar cost averaging, though, you would invest more gradually, perhaps investing $500 each month throughout the course of a year. That way, you'd buy more stocks when prices are low, and fewer stocks when they're high. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-investing-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Investing Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a>)</p> <p>The main benefit of dollar cost averaging is that it reduces your financial risk. Say you invested all that money in stocks at once. A market crash three months later would then impact all your money. But if you'd just invested, say, $1,500 before the market crashed, you'd still have $4,500 of your original $6,000 left untouched by the financial turbulence.</p> <h2>Paycheck contributions versus lump sum investing</h2> <p>If you contribute the same amount to your 401(k) every paycheck, that's equivalent to dollar cost averaging. By default, most people have the same amount deducted from their paycheck each month, so there is no choice to make. Dollar cost averaging, however, usually refers to a choice the investor makes when they've got a lump sum of money, such as an inheritance, royalty check, or bonus. If you don't have a windfall of some sort, you usually don't have to worry about whether or not to do dollar cost averaging.</p> <h2>Pros and cons</h2> <p>The main advantage of dollar cost averaging is the reduced risk of losing as much money in a market downturn. But there's another advantage, too: Dollar cost averaging makes it easier for reluctant investors to enter the market.</p> <p>If you're hesitant about investing, you might find it easier to take the jump if you are investing a smaller amount of money. And that's a good thing: Over time, the stock market has tended to increase in value. If you don't invest, you won't get the chance to take advantage of this.</p> <p>Anything that encourages you to invest &mdash; such as dollar cost averaging &mdash; is a positive.</p> <p>There is a drawback, though, to this approach: By limiting your risk, you are also limiting the potential size of your financial rewards.</p> <p>Because the stock market has historically increased in value over time, the odds are that you'll make more money if you invest a larger sum all at once. The sooner you invest the money, the more time it has to grow. By contrast, if you invest smaller bits of money over time, you will tend to see smaller returns in what has historically been an upward-trending market.</p> <p>A recent study by Vanguard illustrates this. Vanguard studied whether people would see higher returns by <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/pdf/ISGDCA.pdf" target="_blank">investing a large sum of cash</a> all at once or in smaller doses over a six-month period into a portfolio of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds. They found that investing the lump sum of cash all at once produced higher returns about two-thirds of the time. The longer the investment period, the higher the chance that the lump sum investment would outperform the dollar cost averaging strategy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <p>You'll have to decide whether the reduced risk outweighs the potential of losing out on bigger returns.</p> <p>Of course, it's most important that you do invest your money over the long term. And if dollar cost averaging, and the reduced risk that comes with it, is what encourages you to do this, then it might be the best approach for you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fis-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIs%2520Dollar%2520Cost%2520Averaging%2520the%2520Right%2520Strategy%2520for%2520You-.jpg&amp;description=Is%20Dollar%20Cost%20Averaging%20the%20Right%20Strategy%20for%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Is%20Dollar%20Cost%20Averaging%20the%20Right%20Strategy%20for%20You-.jpg" alt="Is Dollar Cost Averaging the Right Strategy for You?" 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/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-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/4-simple-ways-to-conquer-your-fear-of-investing">4 Simple Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you">8 Types of Investors — Which One Are You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment dollar cost averaging growth inheritances lump sums returns risk stock market Mon, 24 Jul 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986884 at http://www.wisebread.com Cash Might Make You Happier, But Investments Will Make You Richer http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggybank_125143864.jpg" alt="Woman getting richer with investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a stash of cash feels great. Liquid wealth makes you feel more secure, because you can predict how you will handle whatever life throws your way. The feeling of satisfaction is real, but ultimately, the rewards of keeping your wealth in your checking or savings account are much less satisfying. If it's long-term wealth you're after, you need to start investing.</p> <h2>You're losing money</h2> <p>In the battle between interest and inflation, inflation wins when you keep your cash in a typical savings or checking account. You'll get very little in interest from a bank account intended for day-to-day use: typically, 0.01 percent to 0.03 percent for a checking account, and up to 1 percent for a savings account. Meanwhile, the average annual inflation rate is 3 percent. So your stash is losing value every year, as inflation climbs faster than interest grows your money.</p> <p>The numbers work out pretty grimly in that scenario. Imagine you put $100,000 in a savings account with a 1 percent interest rate, and add $500 every month. Every year, you'll gain that 1 percent interest but lose 3 percent of the value, due to inflation &mdash; meaning you come out 2 percent <em>behind </em>annually. In 10 years, you'll have $173,522 but it will only be worth $129,117.17.</p> <p>On the other hand, the return on stock and real estate investments is staying stable at 7 percent. That's the real rate of return, meaning it's adjusted for inflation. After 10 years, your $100,000 investment, with the monthly $500 addition, will have an actual value of $267,357.54.</p> <p>Why wouldn't you immediately put your money into a higher-yield investment? For most people, the hesitation comes from fear of taking a big risk with money.</p> <h2>What's the big risk?</h2> <p>Humans tend to be risk averse. This risk aversion has done a lot for us, in an evolutionary sense.</p> <p>Risk aversion is also helpful in finances in many instances. When it comes to getting high-interest return on your savings, however, risk aversion can hinder you. To maximize your savings, you need a high return that will outrun inflation and exponentially add financial value to your nest egg.</p> <p>High-return investments, unfortunately, are also higher risk investments. If you're unfamiliar with the stock market, investment portfolios, and the like, these types of high-return investments can feel terrifying. But you can overcome that fear.</p> <p>First, start a relationship with a financial investment professional. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust, who are not struggling financially. Second, don't invest all your money in one high-yield investment. Diversify; if one investment doesn't grow as predicted, it won't topple your entire savings plan. Third, you don't have to invest all your money in what feels riskiest. You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering" target="_blank">set up a CD</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-5-bond-funds" target="_blank">invest in bonds</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate" target="_blank">invest in real estate</a>. All require some investigation to understand the risk and potential return.</p> <p>Get professional insight on the options that appeal to you and make a well-informed decision. It's never about eliminating risk; that's not quite possible. It is about minimizing risk and maximizing return. You do both by investigating, seeking <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser" target="_blank">expert insight</a>, and diversifying the way you save your money.</p> <h2>Save yourself from hasty decisions</h2> <p>Keeping your wealth in a less-liquid state helps you financially by delaying your financial decisions. If your main funds are tied up, for example, you can't immediately invest in Cousin Jimmy's startup. Even if you really, really want to.</p> <p>Maybe Cousin Jimmy is a genius, and you do want to invest; still, it's good to have to think and compare numbers. Can an investment in a family business give the same high-interest return on investment? What's the risk, compared with the risk you're already taking? How long before you'll see a return?</p> <p>Having time to think will help you avoid hasty decisions you might regret. Whether it's investing in a family member's venture or purchasing that dilapidated house in an up-and-coming area, time is on your side.</p> <h2>But I still want to feel happy</h2> <p>A recent National Center for Biotechnology Information study shows that higher levels of happiness are linked to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27064287" target="_blank">keeping cash on hand</a>. Happiness is great! We all want more of it. But you can get the happiness that cash brings while also setting yourself up for long-term financial rewards.</p> <p>Having money at the ready contributes to feeling secure. You can get that financial security by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball" target="_blank">reducing high-interest debt</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;setting up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-automate-your-savings" target="_blank">automated savings </a>so that you can&nbsp;keep a reasonable amount of cash at the ready. Experts recommend having three to six months' worth of living expenses; but you can be smart about how you save that cash reserve, as well, by keeping it in an interest-bearing savings account or a short-term CD. When your reserve grows over your emergency-fund amount, invest it rather than hoard it.</p> <p>Remember, you'll want to feel financially secure later in life, too. Smart financial moves now contribute to your happiness in the present and the future.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCash%2520Might%2520Make%2520You%2520Happier%252C%2520But%2520Investments%2520Will%2520Make%2520You%2520Richer.jpg&amp;description=Cash%20Might%20Make%20You%20Happier%2C%20But%20Investments%20Will%20Make%20You%20Richer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Cash%20Might%20Make%20You%20Happier%2C%20But%20Investments%20Will%20Make%20You%20Richer.jpg" alt="Cash Might Make You Happier, But Investments Will Make You Richer" 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/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer">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/8-investments-that-may-soar-during-trumps-term">8 Investments That May Soar During Trump&#039;s Term</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/while-waiting-for-rates-i-bonds">While Waiting for Rates: I-Bonds</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment cash inflation interest rates liquid savings money goals returns rich risk aversion wealth building Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Annie Mueller 1986108 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-465649794.jpg" alt="Learning why Warren Buffett says you should invest in index funds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About nine years ago, Warren Buffett <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/columnist/2017/03/08/buffetts-best-investment-tip-everyone-index-funds/98525306/" target="_blank">made a $500,000 bet</a>. He wagered that a simple index fund would outperform an actively managed hedge fund run by expert investors. Which would you pick?</p> <p>Before you decide, here is some additional information about the fund contenders:</p> <ul> <li>Index funds buy a mix of stocks in a proportion that represents the overall stock market or a particular market segment. Index funds are typically managed automatically by a computer algorithm, and management fees for this type of fund are usually very small &mdash; around 0.1 percent or sometimes even lower.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hedge funds put money into alternative investments that can go up if the stock market goes down. Of course, hedge funds also try to provide maximum returns and beat the stock market if possible. Hedge funds may invest in real estate, commodities, business ventures, and other opportunities that fund managers think will hedge against potential stock market losses and produce good returns. These funds are actively managed and have high management fees of around 2 percent or more.</li> </ul> <p>Buffett picked a simple S&amp;P 500 index fund for the wager. He bet against an investment manager who picked a set of five hedge fund portfolios. After letting these investments play out for nine years, Buffett announced the results of this wager in the chairman's letter in this year's annual report for the holding company he controls and runs, Berkshire Hathaway: The index fund outperformed the actively managed funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>Buffet's experience mimics numerous studies that have shown that index funds consistently beat the results of actively managed funds. Why does a simple and essentially automatic investment strategy (the index fund) outperform sophisticated investment funds managed by active expert investors?</p> <h2>Low fees</h2> <p>Fund fees, also known as expense ratios, are much lower for index funds than for actively managed hedge funds or mutual funds. You can find index funds with fees under 0.1 percent, while actively managed hedge funds can have fees of 2 percent or more.</p> <p>Although the wager Buffett made concerned hedge funds with high expense ratios, the same principle applies when comparing index funds to actively managed mutual funds, which can have fees as high as 1 percent. Higher fees mean that actively managed funds have to outperform the market significantly to offset them. Over the long run, actively managed funds may not consistently outperform the market by enough to make up for the higher fees.</p> <h2>Investment errors</h2> <p>Another reason actively managed funds can fall behind index funds is investment errors. In active funds, someone is making investment decisions and moving money around trying to get higher returns. Sometimes an investment manager can outperform the market and get higher returns, but this doesn't always work out. It only takes one mistake to wipe out a lot of investment gains. In an index fund, the only investment decision is to adjust the ratio of holdings to match the market segment of interest.</p> <p>Index funds accurately reflect the performance of the market they are mirroring. The investment strategy is simple, and there is no opportunity for investment error. If you invest in an index fund, you will reliably receive similar returns to the market that your index fund represents.</p> <h2>How to buy an index fund for your portfolio</h2> <p>During my research for this article, I moved around $10,000 of my own investment funds from actively managed funds into index funds with much lower fees. I figured if index funds are good enough for Warren Buffett, they are good enough for me!</p> <p>You can log in to your investment account website and view the expense ratios for your current investments and for other available funds. I found that my investment choices had expense ratios ranging from 0.02 percent to 0.83 percent &mdash; a difference of more than 40-fold. This is definitely a big enough difference to worry about.</p> <p>A good first step is to check your own investment funds and find out how high the fees are. You may be happy with what you find, or you may decide you want to move to index funds with much lower fees.</p> <p>Of course, when choosing your investment funds, you shouldn't look only at the expense ratio. You should balance your portfolio to include a strategic mix of large cap, medium cap, and small cap investments and an intentional balance of foreign and domestic stocks to meet your investment goals.</p> <p>When I moved my investment money into index funds with very low fees, I picked funds that made sense to balance my portfolio. For example, I moved some funds from a mid-cap growth fund with a 0.3 percent expense ratio into a mid-cap index fund with a 0.07 percent expense ratio &mdash; over four times lower fees. In the long run, I think this is a bet that will pay off.</p> <p>Even if you don't have $500,000 to wager, you might as well minimize what you are paying in fees by moving from actively managed funds to index funds. You'll keep more of your money working for you instead of having it go to work for someone else.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments">Bookmark This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing 401(k) Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return">Don&#039;t Be Fooled by an Investment&#039;s Rate of Return</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment actively managed funds expense ratios fees hedge funds index funds mutual funds portfolio returns stock markets Warren Buffett Mon, 10 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1922477 at http://www.wisebread.com Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-510572840.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you pay close attention to investment news, it'll either make you laugh or it'll drive you bonkers. Within the same hour, and on the same market news website, you will often see completely contradictory articles. One says the market is headed higher; the next says the market is about to tank.</p> <p>What's a smart investor to do? Be very careful about your information diet.</p> <h2>More Information, Less Success</h2> <p>In the late 1980s, former Harvard psychologist Paul Andreassen conducted an experiment to see how the quantity of market information impacted investor behavior.</p> <p>He divided a group of mock investors into two segments &mdash; investors in companies with stable stock prices, and investors in companies with volatile stock prices. Then he further divided those investors. Half of each group received constant news updates about the companies they invested in, and half received no news.</p> <p>Those who received no news generated better portfolio returns than those who received frequent updates. The implication? The more closely you monitor news about your investments, the more likely you are to make changes to your portfolio &mdash; usually to your detriment.</p> <p>In another study, renowned human behavior researchers Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Richard Thaler, and Alan Schwartz <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/richard.thaler/research/pdf/The%20Effect%20of%20Myopia%20and%20Loss%20Aversion%20on%20Risk%20Taking%20An%20Experimental%20Test.pdf" target="_blank">compared the stock/bond allocations</a> of investors who checked on their investments at least once a month against those who did so just once a year. Those who took in the <em>least</em> information about their portfolios made fewer investment trades and generated higher returns.</p> <h2>When Helping Hurts</h2> <p>One factor at work here is &quot;loss aversion.&quot; First quantified by Kahneman and Tversky, it's the idea that people feel the pain of loss more acutely than the pleasure of gain. The frequent monitoring of investment portfolios brings every downward market move to the attention of investors, who tend to react by moving money into less risky assets (bonds instead of stocks), thereby locking in their losses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a>)</p> <h2>Misinformation Is Not Power</h2> <p>Another factor has to do with the tales told in the investment press. Each day's market performance is reported &mdash; what happened, and <em>why. </em>The first part is factual. The market either went up or down and by a certain amount. The second part is mostly opinion. No one can say with certainty exactly what moved the market. Was it fear over the growth rate of China's economy, a contraction in the oil supply, or that XYZ company missed its quarterly earnings projection by a penny? No one really knows. But that doesn't stop the explanations from flowing across the pages of investment news sites.</p> <p>Late December and early January are especially dangerous times to read market news. That's when market forecasters spin their yarns, undaunted by their previous year's miss or economist John Kenneth Galbraith's scolding that &quot;The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.&quot;</p> <p>We pay attention to such forecasts &mdash; and even worse, we change our portfolios because of such forecasts &mdash; at our peril.</p> <h2>Selective Listening</h2> <p>You can't control the stock market or what is said about it, but there are certain factors you <em>can</em> and <em>should</em> control, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Estimate how much you need to invest each month in order to accomplish your goals;</li> <li>Determine your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>;</li> <li>Choose a trustworthy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio?ref=internal" target="_blank">investment selection process</a>;</li> <li>Add to your portfolio regularly;</li> <li>Expect market turbulence;</li> <li>Be very, very careful about what investment news you take in and how much;</li> <li>Keep moving forward.</li> </ul> <p>Of the many factors involved in successful investing, selective listening may be the most important.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-simple-ways-to-conquer-your-fear-of-investing">4 Simple Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you">Is Dollar Cost Averaging the Right Strategy for 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/8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you">8 Types of Investors — Which One Are 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/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return">Don&#039;t Be Fooled by an Investment&#039;s Rate of Return</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds loss aversion misinformation news psychology reactions returns risk stock market Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1904508 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Spot Lousy Investment Advisers http://www.wisebread.com/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482448336.jpg" alt="Learning about lousy investment advisers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You can easily hire people who claim to be good investment advisers. They hardly ever are. But there are several different kinds of downright lousy investment advisers, and it's worth learning how to identify them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Mediocre Advice Is Best for Investing</a>)</p> <p>I group them into three categories: The delusional, the liar, and the secretly mediocre.</p> <h2>The Delusional</h2> <p>The most common sign of the delusional financial adviser is that they can tell you about all the winning trades they've made, but they don't know the average annual return of their portfolio as a whole.</p> <p>You'll find this same trait in a lot of ordinary investors, as well &mdash; they're full of stories of their investing successes. They may also have a few self-deprecating stories of investments that went wrong. But they simply don't know what their all-in return actually is.</p> <p>For the ordinary investor, this is no big deal. But for someone selling their investment expertise, not knowing whether their advice beats what you can get following mediocre advice should disqualify them completely.</p> <p>There is one important subcategory of lousy investment adviser that might not show this sign. I call them the &quot;lucky so far.&quot; They're usually young with a pretty new track record. Typically, they're people who have a strong sense that one sector of the market &mdash; financial stocks, say, or precious metals &mdash; is the right choice for long-term investing. If they happen to get into the investment advising game right when their sector gets hot, they can produce outstanding investment returns, sometimes for a long time. Eventually the market turns against them and they lose a whole lot of their clients' money.</p> <p>Of course there are a few <em>legitimately</em> superior investment advisers out there. It's really impossible to tell one of them from one of the &quot;lucky so far,&quot; except that once they establish a record of shifting from this year's hot sector into next year's hot sector for several years in a row, somebody rich will notice and pay up to get their advice. One pretty good indication is that you won't be able to afford them.</p> <h2>The Liar</h2> <p>Just like the delusional financial adviser, there are many kinds of lying financial advisers. (Note that I'm not talking about scammers or fraudsters, just ordinary financial advisers who know their advice doesn't produce superior results, but hold themselves out as superior anyway.)</p> <p>Probably the most common are the ones who used to be delusional, but eventually figured out that they weren't actually superior. Of course the honest thing to do then would be to find another career, but delusional financial advisers can make a lot of money, and that's hard to give up.</p> <p>It's pretty easy to slip gradually into lying about your performance &mdash; just talk about your successes, and don't mention your failures.</p> <p>The clearest sign of the liar is that they claim an &quot;average annual return,&quot; but can't point to the specific trades that they or their clients made that produced this return. Instead, they'll point to lists of suggested trades &mdash; but if you have access to all the suggestions, it'll turn out that some of the bad ones don't make the list.</p> <p>Another strong clue is vague advice, such as that you buy a stock &quot;on dips,&quot; without specific numbers attached. This will make it easy for them to leave out losing trades (on the grounds that the dips were never low enough for them to enter the trade). They will also suggest that you use peaks in the market to &quot;begin to lighten up&quot; your position. If the stock continues to outperform, you'll find that they still list it in their model portfolio. Once it starts to lag, you'll see that they exited their position at the last high point.</p> <p>Another common habit among the liars is to ignore trading costs &mdash; and the cost of their advice &mdash; when figuring the bottom line.</p> <h2>The Secretly Mediocre</h2> <p>When &quot;index investing&quot; first started getting big, financial magazines (and others who rated financial advisers) started comparing investment advisers' returns to the market averages. Lousy advisers often fell short, which was pretty embarrassing. A fair number reacted by shifting their advice to just the sort of mediocre advice I'm suggesting that you follow. That way, they'd at least match the market returns.</p> <p>These investment advisers are giving you perfectly good advice, they're just charging you money to achieve performance you could get for free on your own.</p> <p>You can spot the secretly mediocre advisers either by looking at their returns or by looking at their portfolio. In either case, it will end up looking a lot like the return or portfolio you could get from just following the indexes.</p> <h2>My Mediocre Advice</h2> <p>Genuinely superior advice from (extremely rare) genuinely superior investment advisers is generally so expensive it makes no sense to pay for it, unless you have a portfolio of millions of dollars.</p> <p>Since Wise Bread is all about living large on a small budget, I figure it's pretty likely that you don't have the multimillion-dollar portfolio that would let superior financial advice pay for itself. In that case, I suggest that you just follow the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know?ref=internal" target="_blank">mediocre advice</a> I wrote about last time. Doing that, you'll get mediocre returns &mdash; which it turns out, are good enough.</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/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds">How to Pick Your First Stocks and Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice delusional financial advisers liars mediocre returns success Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Philip Brewer 1902765 at http://www.wisebread.com The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508414008.jpg" alt="Learning three rules evert mediocre investor must know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mediocre financial advice can earn you mediocre investment returns &mdash; and mediocre investment returns are all you need to save for a house, send your kids to college, and fund your (potentially early) retirement. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-take-investment-advice-from-a-mediocre-investor" target="_blank">Mediocre investment advice</a> is pretty straightforward. In fact, the only thing that's complicated about getting mediocre financial results is the stuff that comes before investing: Things like earning money, keeping your debt in check, finding a career, living frugally, and most crucially, building an adequate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">emergency fund</a>.</p> <p>Once you've got those things taken care of, you're ready to start investing. If you're at that point, here's my mediocre investment advice: Create a diversified portfolio of low-cost investments and rebalance it annually.</p> <h2>Diversified Portfolio</h2> <p>It's important to have diversity at several levels. Eventually you'll want diversity in investment types &mdash; not just stocks, but also bonds, real estate, precious metals, foreign currency, cash, etc. More importantly, you want finer-grained diversity especially in the earlier stages of building your portfolio. Don't let your portfolio get concentrated in just one or a few companies. (For what it's worth, don't let it get concentrated in the stock of your employer, either. That sets you up for a catastrophe, because if your employer runs into trouble, the value of your portfolio can crash at the same time your job is at risk.)</p> <p>In the medium term &mdash; after you've got a well-diversified stock selection, but before it's time to branch out into more exotic investments &mdash; you'll want to expand the diversity of types of companies. Not just big companies, but also medium-sized and small companies. Not just U.S. companies, but also foreign companies. Not just tech companies, but also industrial companies and financial companies, and so on.</p> <p>Diversity wins two ways. First, it's safer: As long as all your money isn't in just one thing, it doesn't matter so much whether it's a good year or a bad year for that thing. Second, it produces higher returns: No one can know which investment will be best, but a diversified portfolio probably has at least <em>some </em>money invested in <em>some </em>investments that will do especially well. (Of course retrospectively, there will have been one investment that does best, and risking having all your money in that would have produced the highest possible return &mdash; but that's exactly what a mediocre investor knows better than to attempt.)</p> <p>Of course, you don't want a random selection of investments, even if such a thing might be quite diverse. You want a reasonably balanced portfolio &mdash; something I'll talk about at the end of this post.</p> <h2>Low-Cost Investments</h2> <p>The less money you pay in fees and commissions, the more money you have invested in earning a return.</p> <p>Getting this right is so much easier now than it was when I started investing! In those days, you could scarcely avoid losing several percent of your money right off the top to commissions, and then lose another percent or two annually to fees. Now it's easy to make a stock trade for less than $10 in commissions, and it's easy to find mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that charge fees of only a fraction of 1%.</p> <p>Still, it's easy to screw this up. Any investment that's advertised is paying its advertising budget somehow &mdash; probably with fees from investors. Any investment that's sold by agents or brokers is paying those agents or brokers somehow &mdash; probably with commissions or fees from investors.</p> <p>All those costs come straight out of your return. Keep them to a minimum.</p> <h2>Rebalance Annually</h2> <p>Your diversified portfolio will immediately start getting less diversified: Your winning investments will become a larger fraction of your portfolio while your losers will become a smaller fraction. In the short term, that's great. Who doesn't want a portfolio loaded with winners? Pretty soon though, you start losing the advantages of diversification. Last year's winners will inevitably become losers eventually, and you don't want that to happen after they've become a huge share of your portfolio.</p> <p>The solution is to restore the original diversity. Sell some of the winners, and use the resulting cash to buy some more of the losers. It's the easiest possible way to buy low and sell high. (Maybe you don't want to buy exactly the losers &mdash; not if their poor performance leads you think there's something really wrong with them. But buy something kind of like them. Health care companies probably belong in your portfolio, even if many of them did badly this year.)</p> <p>There are costs to rebalancing &mdash; costs in time and effort (figuring out what to sell and what to buy), and actual costs in commissions and fees. Because of that, you probably wouldn't want to rebalance constantly. You could make a case for monthly or quarterly rebalancing, but even that seems like a lot of effort for a small portfolio. Annually seems to hit the sweet spot.</p> <h2>What Goes Into a Diversified Portfolio?</h2> <p>What I'm going to suggest is that you start with a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.</p> <p>It's not that there aren't plenty of other worthy investment options &mdash; cash, gold, silver, real estate, foreign currencies, etc. &mdash; it's just that they all have complications of one sort or another, and you can get started on earning your mediocre returns without them.</p> <p>My mediocre investment advice then is that your portfolio should be a balance of stocks (for maximum growth) and bonds (for income and stability).</p> <h3>Finding the Right Balance Comes Down to Age &mdash; Yours</h3> <p>What's the right balance? An old rule of thumb was that 100 minus your age would be a good target percentage for the stock portion of your portfolio. At the start of your career, you'd have nearly 80% of your investments in stocks, and that fraction would gradually decline to about 35% as you approached retirement. The theory was that a young person can afford to take big risks, because he or she has time to wait for an eventual market rebound (and because during the early phase of building up a portfolio, even a large percentage loss is a small dollar amount). This makes a certain amount of sense. In fact, you could argue that a stock market that collapsed and then stayed down just when you started investing would be great &mdash; it would give you decades to buy stocks cheap.</p> <p>That rule of thumb isn't bad, although with people living longer these days, it probably makes sense to keep a higher portion of stocks in your portfolio during the last years before and first years after retirement. Once you hit 50, maybe only cut your stock portfolio by 1% every two years.</p> <p>When you're just getting started, feel free to keep it very simple. Perhaps just start putting money into a broad-based stock fund (such as an S&amp;P 500 index fund). You can add a bond fund right away if you want, or wait until your annual rebalancing.</p> <p>There are mutual funds that will manage this balance for you, holding stocks and bonds with a balance that shifts over time to some target date, at which point they'll hold a portfolio suitable for someone who has retired. You don't need them. In particular, they tend to have higher expenses, violating the &quot;low cost&quot; principle. You can do it easily enough for yourself. (Of course if you find that you don't do your annual rebalancing, then maybe paying a fund to do it for you is worth the expense.)</p> <p>As an alternative to mutual funds, you can use exchange traded funds or ETFs. It doesn't matter.</p> <p>Once your portfolio of stocks is large, you probably want to move beyond a single fund. Look at the other low-cost funds offered by the same fund family that provides your S&amp;P 500 index fund. Consider adding a fund that includes foreign stocks (especially if the dollar seems strong at the time you'll be buying). Consider adding a fund that includes dividend-paying stocks (especially if interest rates are low relative to dividends).</p> <p>Follow these mediocre tips, and you'll be racking up mediocre returns in no time! And remember &mdash; mediocre returns are all you need to live well and retire well.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return">Don&#039;t Be Fooled by an Investment&#039;s Rate of Return</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/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-risk-averse-can-get-into-the-stock-market">How the Risk Averse Can Get Into the Stock Market</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-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds">How to Pick Your First Stocks and Funds</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-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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice balancing bonds diversification ETFs mediocre investments mutual funds portfolio returns stock market stocks Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:30:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 1896815 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-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/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers">How to Spot Lousy Investment Advisers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pick-your-first-stocks-and-funds">How to Pick Your First Stocks and Funds</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/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</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. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=seealso">4 Surprising Reasons to Always Use Your Credit Card for Purchases</a>)</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/how-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft?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. There are also limits per item ($250-$500) and per year ($1000-$2500).&nbsp;</p> <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/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card">4 Surprising Reasons to Always Use Your Credit Card</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards">How Free Extended Warranties Work on Credit Cards</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