stocks http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2959/all en-US 7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50 http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_sitting_on_floor_with_piggy_bank_under_money_rain.jpg" alt="Man sitting on floor with piggy bank under money rain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Conventional investing wisdom says that as people age, they should put less of their money in stocks and more into stable investments such as bonds and cash. This is sound advice based on the idea that in retirement you want to protect your assets in case there is a major market downturn.</p> <p>But there are still strong arguments to continue investing in stocks even as you get older. Few people recommend an all-stock portfolio, but reducing stock ownership down to zero doesn't make sense, either.</p> <p>Consider that many mutual funds geared toward older investors still comprise hefty doses of stocks. The 2020 Retirement Fund from T. Rowe Price, for example, is made up of 70 percent stocks for retirees at age 65, and is still made up of 25 percent stocks when that same retiree is past 90 years of age.</p> <p>Why does owning stocks make sense even for older investors? Let's examine these possible motivations.</p> <h2>1. You're going to live a lot longer</h2> <p>If you are thinking about retirement as you approach age 60, it's important to recognize that you still may have several decades of life remaining. People are routinely living into their 90s or even past 100 these days. Do you have enough savings to last 40 years or more? While it's important to protect the assets you have, you may find that higher returns from stocks will be needed in order to accrue the money you need.</p> <h2>2. You got a late start</h2> <p>If you started investing early and contributed regularly to your retirement accounts over the course of several decades, you may be able to take a conservative investing approach in retirement. But if you began investing late, your portfolio may not have had time to grow enough to fund a comfortable retirement. Continuing to invest in stocks will allow you to expand your savings and reach your target figure. It still makes sense to balance your stocks with more conservative investments, but taking on a little bit more risk in exchange for potentially higher returns may be worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>3. Other investments don't yield as much as they used to</h2> <p>Moving away from stocks was good advice for older people back when you could get better returns on bonds and bank interest. The 30-year treasury yield right now is about 2.75 percent. That's about half what it was a decade ago and a third of the rate from 1990. Interest from cash in the bank or certificates of deposit will generate a measly 1.5 percent or less. The bottom line is that these returns will barely outpace the rate of inflation and won't bring you much in the way of useful income.</p> <h2>4. Some stocks are safer than others</h2> <p>Not all stocks move up and down in the same way. While stocks are generally more volatile than bonds and cash, there are many that have a strong track record of steady returns and relative immunity from market crashes. Take a look at mutual funds comprised of large-cap companies with diversified revenue streams. Consider dividend-producing stocks that don't move much in terms of share price, but can generate income. To find these investments, search for those that lost less than average during the Great Recession and have a history of low volatility.</p> <h2>5. Dividend stocks can bring you income</h2> <p>Dividend stocks are not only more stable than many other stock investments, but also they can generate cash flow at a time when you're not bringing in other income. A good dividend stock can produce a yield of more than 4 percent, which is more than what you'll get from many other non-stock investments right now. This will help ensure the growth of your portfolio is at least outpacing inflation.</p> <p>If you are unsure about which dividend stocks to buy, take a look at a well-rated dividend mutual fund. The T. Rowe Price Dividend Growth Fund [NYSE: PRDGX], for example, has a three-year total return of more than 10 percent, outpacing the S&amp;P 500. Its overall returns also dropped less than the S&amp;P 500 during the Great Recession.</p> <h2>6. Busts are often followed by bigger booms</h2> <p>A person who retired 10 years ago would have stopped working right when the market crashed, and there's a good chance they may have lost a significant chunk of their savings. That's bad. But it's important to note that in the decade since, the S&amp;P 500 has gone up every year at an average of more than 8.5 percent annually. In other words, someone who lost a lot from the crash of 2007&ndash;2008 will have gotten all of their money back and much more if they stayed invested in stocks.</p> <p>This is not to suggest that older investors should be unreasonably aggressive, but they should be aware that a single bad year or two probably won't completely wipe you out financially. If your retirement is long, you may see some market busts, but you'll also see some long stretches of good returns.</p> <h2>7. You may still be helping out your kids</h2> <p>When you're retired, you're supposed to be done with child rearing and helping out your kids financially, right? Unfortunately, it seems that older Americans are continuing to lend a hand to their children even as they grow into adulthood and have children of their own.</p> <p>A recent survey from TD Ameritrade said that millennial parents between the ages of 19 and 37 receive an average of more than $11,000 annually in the form of money or unpaid child care from their parents. With these additional costs on the horizon, those approaching retirement age may still want to invest in stocks to build their nest egg further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-ruining-your-retirement-by-spoiling-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Ruining Your Retirement by Spoiling Your Kids?</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%2F7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Reasons%2520to%2520Invest%2520in%2520Stocks%2520Past%2520Age%252050.jpg&amp;description=7%20Reasons%20to%20Invest%20in%20Stocks%20Past%20Age%2050"></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%20Reasons%20to%20Invest%20in%20Stocks%20Past%20Age%2050.jpg" alt="7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50" 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/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</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/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-safe-investment">Is There Such a Thing as a &quot;Safe&quot; Investment?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement">9 Threats to a Secure Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement adult children bonds cash dividend stocks giving money to kids income late starters life span living longer risk saving money stocks yields Thu, 05 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2031342 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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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/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-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 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 8 Surprising Ways Confidence Can Hurt Your Investments http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-confidence-can-hurt-your-investments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-surprising-ways-confidence-can-hurt-your-investments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/strong_man_self_confident_young_entrepreneur.jpg" alt="Strong man, self confident young entrepreneur" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There may come a moment when you feel like you have this investing thing all figured out. You've made some great stock picks and your portfolio is going gangbusters. But are you letting your confidence get the best of you and your investments?</p> <p>Being confident is OK. You need some confidence in yourself to invest in the first place. But being too cocky can lead you to make bad investment choices, and have a blind spot to your own weaknesses. Here are some of the ways confidence may actually hurt your investments.</p> <h2>1. You develop a selective memory</h2> <p>Maybe you bought shares of Facebook when they were trading below $25, and have made a killing on the investment since. You like to hold up that one purchase as proof of your genius as an investor. But are you forgetting about the other investments that didn't do so well? On balance, are you really any smarter than anyone else out there?</p> <p>Don't let your memory of one great decision delude you into thinking you have a special gift as an investor. Doing so can make you believe that every stock will eventually turn out to be a winner, even if there's no rational basis for your confidence.</p> <h2>2. You have too much faith in the market</h2> <p>While it's true that history shows the stock market has gone up consistently over time, it's still important to protect your investments against a possible downturn. As you get older and approach retirement age, consider shifting some investments into less volatile instruments, such as bonds, even if you believe the market will continue to go up.</p> <p>It's also important to avoid being too optimistic about markets in the short term. If you're investing money that you need in a year or two, the stock market may not be the best place to put it. Having faith in the market is crucial to building wealth over time, but protecting your investments against a down period is also part of the formula for success.</p> <h2>3. Your portfolio is not properly balanced</h2> <p>So you've had some great success with some of your investments, and decide to buy more shares of those that have done the best. There's nothing wrong with buying a lot of something if it performs well for you, but it's important to keep your overall portfolio from getting out of whack. This means not being too heavily invested in one particular stock or group of stocks.</p> <p>Ideally, your portfolio should have a nice mix of stocks from various industries, sectors, and asset classes. Depending on your retirement age, mixing in some bonds and dividend stocks may also make sense. You may fall in love with a certain investment, but you should not let it dominate your portfolio. Diversification is key to mitigating risk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <h2>4. You're taking on too much risk</h2> <p>Investing is not without risk, and you must be comfortable with that if you plan to accumulate wealth over time. But don't be too tempted to take on extra risk just to chase higher returns. It's one thing to invest heavily in stocks, but it can be financial suicide to go after notoriously volatile investments, or to engage in risky practices like trading on margin or buying and selling options.</p> <p>The best approach is to build a portfolio that roughly performs in line with the whole stock market, ensuring that you'll likely make money over time but will avoid catastrophic downturns that wipe out your whole savings.</p> <h2>5. You never check up on your investments</h2> <p>For most people, it's not necessary to check your investments every day and obsess over every movement in the markets. But you don't want to completely ignore your investment accounts, either. Even if you are invested in simple, reliable things like index funds, an occasional check-in is usually a good idea. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-best-investments-for-lazy-investors?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 4 Best Investments for Lazy Investors</a>)</p> <p>Without a checkup, you may be unaware that certain investments are underperforming. You might allow your portfolio to become unbalanced, leaving you under- or over-invested in some areas. You may be left unaware of company sales or mergers that result in changes to your investment mix. Don't get cocky; the stock market has gone up reliably over time, but your investments still need some tending to from time to time.</p> <h2>6. You trade too often</h2> <p>Let's face it: Buying and selling stocks can be fun. And when you feel confident in your stock picking abilities, you'll feel the urge to trade stocks frequently. You may even feel like you can &quot;time&quot; the market. But trading frequently has financial consequences.</p> <p>First, if your stocks are in a taxable brokerage account, you'll end up paying tax on any gains when you sell. Second, most brokerage firms charge a commission for every trade. These expenses can put a dent in the value of your portfolio.</p> <h2>7. You miss out on popular, but well-performing investments</h2> <p>Imagine there's a hot stock that everyone is buying. But you stay away, because you think everyone else is dumber than you. Your confidence got in the way of rationally examining an investment on its merits rather than being influenced by the decisions of others. Buying a stock just because it's popular is silly, but so is refusing to buy it for the same reason. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Everyday Things That Are Surprisingly Awesome Investments</a>)</p> <h2>8. You hold on to investments too long</h2> <p>Years ago, you bought 100 shares of OmniCorp and it netted you a massive return in the first year. You still have some of those shares, but the company has since been struggling, and may even declare bankruptcy. But still, you refuse to cut your losses and sell, because you made so much money from this stock early on. You are utterly convinced the company will turn things around, despite all evidence to the contrary. This is a dangerous mentality to have, and can cost you plenty in the long run.</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-surprising-ways-confidence-can-hurt-your-investments&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Surprising%2520Ways%2520Confidence%2520Can%2520Hurt%2520Your%2520Investments.jpg&amp;description=8%20Surprising%20Ways%20Confidence%20Can%20Hurt%20Your%20Investments"></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%20Surprising%20Ways%20Confidence%20Can%20Hurt%20Your%20Investments.jpg" alt="8 Surprising Ways Confidence Can Hurt Your Investments" 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/8-surprising-ways-confidence-can-hurt-your-investments">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-an-etf-isnt-right-for-you">8 Signs an ETF Isn&#039;t Right for 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/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</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-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment arrogance confidence fees rebalancing risk stock markets stocks taxes trading Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:00:17 +0000 Tim Lemke 1988261 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/latin_american_woman_saving_in_a_piggybank.jpg" alt="Latin American woman saving in a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're unemployed, saving for retirement may be the last thing on your mind. It may seem impossible to save for the future when you have no steady income to even pay basic bills.</p> <p>But depending on your situation, it may still be possible to build your nest egg even if you're not working full-time. Here are some tools and suggestions for keeping an eye on the future during a period of joblessness.</p> <h2>Familiarize yourself with IRAs</h2> <p>Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are great for people who don't have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k) accounts. A traditional IRA is similar to a 401(k), in that any contributions are deducted from whatever taxable income you have. With a Roth IRA, on the other hand, earnings are taxed up front, but any gains you have won't be taxed when you withdraw money at retirement age.</p> <p>IRAs are useful for people who are self-employed, or who earn money inconsistently through part-time or freelance work. So if you're not employed full-time but still have some earned income, these accounts can help you save.</p> <h2>Think of retirement savings as a necessary expense</h2> <p>When you're unemployed, it's important to get a handle on all of your expenses so that you know where you need to cut. You may find that there are a lot of costs (luxury purchases, eating out, cable TV) that can be taken out of your household budget, while other expenses (food, electricity, debt payments) are more necessary. If you think of retirement savings as a necessity, you will be forced to cut spending elsewhere.</p> <h2>Roll over your old 401(k)</h2> <p>If you've been laid off from a job, you will no longer be able to contribute to the 401(k) you may have had from your employer. But the account will still exist and the money is still yours. You can let the old 401(k) account sit, but it's better to roll it into a traditional individual retirement account (IRA). The IRA will give you more flexibility and investment options, and may also have lower fees. And you can begin contributing to it once you have any earned income at all.</p> <h2>Focus on rebalancing</h2> <p>You may not be able to add much to your retirement accounts, but you can work to make sure they are optimized. This means making sure you have the right mix of investments based on your retirement date, and getting the optimal blend of stocks in various industries and asset classes. It's always smart to examine your portfolio to ensure you are not over- or underinvested in any one area.</p> <h2>Look for higher bank interest rates</h2> <p>If you're not taking in much income for the time being, you need to have your cash savings working for you. That means any cash savings you have should generate as much income as possible. Interest rates are still quite low, but many online banks offer interest rates on CDs and savings accounts that are higher than average.</p> <h2>Avoid the temptation to cash out</h2> <p>It may be tempting to take money out of your retirement funds, but you should avoid it if at all possible. One of the best ways to see your retirement savings grow is to let your investments do their thing. You can see a meaningful increase in your retirement savings just from market gains, even if you're not contributing for the time being.</p> <p>Withdrawing from retirement accounts, however, has consequences. First, any money you take out has no chance to grow and help you expand your overall retirement savings. Second, there are penalties and taxes associated with taking money out of retirement accounts early. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>Continue to focus on growth, if you can</h2> <p>If you are unemployed and have some investments in a taxable brokerage account, you may be tempted to shift them to dividend stocks or other income-producing investments. This can give you extra income at a time when you may need it. But making this kind of adjustment could have a long-term negative impact on the overall growth of your portfolio. If dividends, bonds, or other income-focused investments will help you keep the lights on, fine. But it's best to focus on finding other sources of income, or reduce your spending first before going this route.</p> <h2>Reinvest dividends, if you can</h2> <p>If you do have dividend stocks already, you can still contribute to your retirement portfolio by reinvesting any dividend income you get from stocks. You may be tempted to use that investment income to pay bills and help get through your unemployed period, but if you can get by without it, direct the dividends to buy more stocks and other investments instead. Even small contributions added to your retirement accounts can add up to considerable savings over time.</p> <h2>Get your spouse involved</h2> <p>Perhaps you never thought to include your spouse in retirement planning because you felt it wasn't necessary while you were working. Now his or her income can be directed to help you save. This may be a challenge, since they are now also working to help pay more of the bills. But there are some ways to use your spouse's income for your own retirement accounts. If you have a traditional or Roth IRA, your spouse's earned income can go toward your account. (Note: This is only allowed if you file your taxes jointly.)</p> <h2>Plan to pay into accounts later</h2> <p>If you are unemployed but expect to be working in short order, you can postpone contributions to your IRA and add money later, even if it's after the end of the year. In fact, you can contribute to an IRA all the way up until April 15 of the following year. So for example, let's say you planned to max out your IRA by making monthly payments. (This would be about $458 monthly for a total of $5,500 for the year &mdash; the maximum amount allowed by the IRS for people under 50.) But let's say you are out of work from August through October of that year. You can hold off on contributing during that time and make up the difference in later months, even the first few months of the following year, if necessary.</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%2Fhow-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Save%2520for%2520Retirement%2520When%2520You%2520Are%2520Unemployed.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed"></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%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed.jpg" alt="How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed" 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-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">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/yes-you-can-pay-for-education-with-an-ira">Yes, You Can Pay for Education With an IRA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</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-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k">7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401(k) contributions dividends interest rates job loss loss of income rebalancing Roth IRA saving money stocks traditional ira unemployment Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:00:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1979037 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Sure You Don't Run Out of Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An annuity is a stream of fixed payments that's guaranteed, often for as long as you live. Having an annuity can make retirement more secure, but it's hard to recommend them as investment vehicles, because almost every annuity on the market is a terrible investment. They tend to be sold by salesmen, so they're often loaded with fees. And, because being upfront about the fees would make them hard to sell, these fees are obscure (often outright hidden) and are typically different for every product, making it especially hard to comparison shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Get an Annuity?</a>)</p> <p>But my experience these past few years &mdash; helping older relatives with their finances, and starting to take the little pension I earned as a software engineer &mdash; has given me a new perspective on annuities. Having an annuity is more than just nice: It's wonderful! It's just <em>buying</em> them that's usually terrible.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a few that are worth buying. You don't hear about them often, because they don't siphon off a big chunk of your investment to pay a salesman, so salesmen don't push them.</p> <h2>Why annuities are great</h2> <p>It used to be that anyone with a good job retired with an annuity in the form of a pension. This is how I've gotten my recent experience with just how great it is to have an annuity: All my older relatives are now receiving pensions.</p> <h3>You never outlive your income</h3> <p>The main thing that's great about an annuity is that having one means you're never going to be broke. Even if you overspend and run down your savings, even if the stock market crashes or you make terrible investment decisions and your investment portfolio takes huge losses, you'll still get that monthly check for as long as you live.</p> <p>You don't <em>need</em> to have an annuity to arrange that &mdash; you can live off capital in a way that makes it last the rest of your life &mdash; but an annuity makes it much easier.</p> <h3>They can raise your income</h3> <p>The other thing that's great about an annuity is that it can, at least potentially, be more money to live on. See, the only safe way to live off capital is to just spend the income from your investments. But that's not much money (especially these days).</p> <p>If you knew how long you were going to live, you could spend down your capital so that you'd die with just enough money to pay off your last month's bills. But since you don't know how long you're going to live, you have to make a conservative estimate, holding back enough capital so that you won't go broke even if you live to 100. (Of course even that might not be enough. What if you live to 114?)</p> <p>The company that provides your annuity has a much easier job. They don't need to know whether you'll live to 97 or kick the bucket at 67. They count on the fact that the average person will live an average life span. They can arrange the terms of the annuities so that the payouts don't exhaust the total pool until the last person dies. The fact that some people die the month after their pension starts means that there's enough money to pay for the people who go on to live for decades.</p> <p>Offset against that is the fact that the company that's providing your annuity needs to make a profit, and it also needs to hold back a reserve against the possibility that it'll get unlucky and a bunch of their customers will live longer than average &mdash; but both of those factors are relatively small.</p> <h2>Annuitize, but how much?</h2> <p>If you accept the idea that you probably ought to have an annuity of some size, the next question is: How big should the annuity be?</p> <p>At one extreme, you could just annuitize all your money &mdash; take all your savings and investments (except your checking account and your emergency fund) and buy an annuity. Then you'd know what your income would be for the rest of your life and you could budget for it.</p> <p>I recommend against that. There are many reasons why it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital" target="_blank">worth having some capital</a>. Your capital earns an investment return and it also provides a measure of safety as a backup to your emergency fund. It makes it possible to fund expenses beyond your bare-bones budget. Perhaps most important, having some capital saves you money in all kinds of different ways &mdash; because you have funds on hand, you can take advantage of deals, you can avoid high-interest borrowing, and you have money to put down a large security deposit in cases where that will save you money.</p> <p>At the other extreme, you could annuitize none of your money and just live off your capital. I've just explained the downsides to that.</p> <p>You want to be somewhere in the middle. With a modest annuity, you're protected from running your income down to zero, and yet you can preserve some amount of capital.</p> <p>My advice is this: You should annuitize <em>enough to cover your rock-bottom expenses</em>, the lowest amount you could live on indefinitely. That way, you're putting yourself in a position where you can be sure you can get by no matter what happens to your investments, while preserving enough of an investment portfolio to fund your other life goals &mdash; travel, making a major purchase, leaving an estate to your heirs, etc.</p> <p>Before you start shopping for annuities, be sure to take into account any annuities you already have. But unless you're old, and even then only if you had a pretty good job at a pretty big company for many years, you probably aren't going to have a great pension. (If you're only kind of old, and worked at a pretty big company for a few years before they all phased out their traditional pensions in the early 2000s, maybe there's a small pension waiting for you. If so, that's great. Even if it's not enough to live on, it's a very positive contribution to your retirement income.)</p> <p>However, most people reading this probably won't get a good pension.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an annuity you very likely do have.</p> <h2>The annuity you already have</h2> <p>You almost certainly already have an annuity in the form of a national pension scheme, such as Social Security. The amount of Social Security you will get depends on your own employment history. For most people, it will provide a large fraction of the &quot;rock-bottom expenses&quot; I recommend you cover with an annuity, but you can generally expect there to be some gap.</p> <p>If you have an employer-sponsored pension, even a small one, it may well cover the gap. If you don't, I recommend that you cover it with an annuity that you buy.</p> <h2>How to buy an annuity</h2> <p>As I said at the beginning, most of the annuities you can buy are terrible investments, but there are good ones. It is possible to buy an individual annuity and get an OK deal. It's just hard because the companies that sell them make it virtually impossible to compare one annuity to another.</p> <p>This is especially true for the sorts of annuities that are most like a pension: The ones set up so you make a payment every month starting in your 30s or 40s, then get a check every month starting when you're 65.</p> <p>Those are called deferred annuities (because you defer getting your money until age 65), and they're always terrible. They always have what are called &quot;back-end&quot; fees &mdash; money that the salesman gets to keep when you figure out that you've made a terrible deal and want to get (some of) your money back. The rules on back-end fees are always different.</p> <p>To make it even harder, these sorts of annuities are usually bundled with some sort of life insurance (supposedly so that if you die before you retire your estate won't &quot;lose&quot; all the money paid into the annuity) &mdash; and of course the details of those insurance policies are always different as well.</p> <h3>Comparison shopping</h3> <p>It is possible to buy an annuity in a way that does allow you to compare them. Don't buy one with monthly payments. Instead, save and invest the money in the stock market yourself during your working years. Then, when you're ready to retire, buy what's called a &quot;single premium immediate annuity&quot; &mdash; you put up a big chunk of money today, and then start receiving monthly payments immediately that last for the rest of your life. (The monthly payments, of course, should equal the gap you identified between your Social Security and your rock-bottom budget.)</p> <p>That is something that's easy to compare: How much do you have to pay today for a stream of income that starts next month and lasts the rest of your life? You can get a few quotes and pick the best deal.</p> <p>These sorts of annuities usually don't have the life insurance policy that supposedly protects against your dying before you start taking payments, because the payments start immediately. That's good. Bundling in life insurance just makes it harder to compare prices. If you need life insurance, buy a life insurance policy separately.</p> <p>Be very careful of letting them include any sort of survivor benefit, because that can also make the annuities harder to compare (although as long as the rules are exactly the same, it is at least possible). One alternative, if you need a survivor benefit, is to buy a life insurance policy that will pay off enough for your spouse to buy his or her own annuity.</p> <p>As an aside, let me mention that the annuity salesmen among you are going to jump in and point out that you're giving up an important tax advantage if you only consider an immediate annuity. This is technically true, but in fact is pretty unimportant. Let me just say this: If you are maxing out your 401(k), <em>and</em> your IRA, <em>and</em> your Roth IRA, there is an opportunity to tax shelter a bit more money through an annuity contract. In practice, I'm willing to bet that the tax advantage will never equal the fees you're going to end up paying.</p> <p>If you do save your money in a 401(k) or IRA, there are tax rules for using that money to buy your annuity. Follow the rules and you won't owe any taxes when the money is used to buy the annuity. You will, however, pay taxes on the annuity payments when you receive them (just like you would if you'd taken distributions from the tax-deferred plan directly).</p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Pretty much any life insurance company will sell you an annuity, but I only know of two places to get a good one: Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. (There used to be a third, but Berkshire Hathaway got out of the business a few years ago.)</p> <p>The main problem with buying directly from an insurance company is just that their annuity sales operations are organized around their annuity salesmen, who will immediately start trying to sell you something that's more profitable (to them) than a single premium immediate annuity &mdash; that's the step you avoid by going through Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (They also have enough buying power to get especially good rates, because they bring in large numbers of customers.)</p> <p>If you're sure you can bear up under the sales pressure, there's no reason not to get quotes directly from the insurance companies. (Just because I don't know of any other good places to buy one doesn't mean there aren't any.) Insurance companies that sell annuities will be very easy to find &mdash; just do an internet search for information about annuities and you'll get a dozen ads for them and for online tools to compare their offerings.</p> <p>You're handing over a large fraction of your wealth and counting on the insurance company to be around for the rest of your life, so you want to have considerable confidence in the financial soundness of the company you pick. I would not consider any company rated less than A by the insurance grading firm A.M. Best, and I'd be happier with one rated A+.</p> <h3>Buy when rates are high</h3> <p>To buy an annuity, you have to put up a pretty sizable chunk of cash. (Vanguard quotes the cost today to a 65-year-old male buying a single premium immediate annuity of $1,000 a month for the rest of his life as being $180,052.)</p> <p>Unless you're rich, the cost of an annuity that covers your rock-bottom expenses is going to be a large fraction of your entire retirement savings &mdash; which is OK, because it's going to be a large chunk of your entire retirement income.</p> <p>The insurance company that sells you your annuity is going to invest that sizable chunk of cash in a portfolio of stocks and (mostly) bonds, and then use the dividends from those stocks and (mostly) the interest payments from those bonds to pay your annuity. Because of this, an annuity is much cheaper when interest rates are high.</p> <p>If you bought an annuity right before the financial crisis, you made out very well. If you wanted to buy one in the past eight or nine years, you probably found that they were incredibly expensive. But in the current era of rising interest rates, annuities are becoming more affordable again.</p> <p>Still, if you're approaching retirement age, understand that there is no rush. Figure out your rock-bottom expenses &mdash; and then live with that budget as an experiment. Maybe you'll find that you'll need more than that in retirement. Maybe you'll actually need less. Do some comparison shopping. Take your time. Then, when you've got a pretty good handle on the expense of your retirement lifestyle, at a time when interest rates are up a bit and you're ready to quit working, go ahead and buy that annuity.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</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-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement annuities benefits bonds fees interest rates investment vehicles life insurance pensions stocks Fri, 26 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 1953940 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503170570.jpg" alt="Woman ignoring outdated money advice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all received unsolicited financial advice, often from well-meaning relatives and friends. In many cases, this advice is useful. But a lot of &quot;classic&quot; personal finance advice simply hasn't aged well, and is now viewed as flawed. It's just not applicable anymore in today's world.</p> <p>Before you blindly accept any money advice you receive, be sure to do some additional research to find out if the advice is outdated. Here are nine examples of financial tips that may no longer apply.</p> <h2>&quot;Find a good employer and stay forever&quot;</h2> <p>Many of us know an older relative that began working at a company as a teenager and then retired from that same firm four decades later. Often, they walked away with a sizable pension and even health benefits for life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)</p> <p>This doesn't happen much anymore. Job security is not what it once was. A decline in labor unions means that guaranteed annual pay increases are a thing of the past. And a pension? Forget it.</p> <p>There's a lot of evidence now that switching jobs periodically will result in higher pay increases. And with the introduction of 401(k) plans, retirement savings are portable when your employer changes.</p> <h2>&quot;Pay off all of your debt as soon as you can&quot;</h2> <p>This is not so much &quot;bad&quot; advice, it's just less than ideal. Yes, it's a fine goal to remain as close to debt-free as possible, but in the current environment, carrying <em>some </em>kinds of low-interest debt may be more beneficial for you in the long run.</p> <p>Let's say you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and were fortunate enough to lock in a low 3.5 percent interest rate. Let's also say stock market returns are averaging 7 percent per year. Over time, you're going to be better off using any extra money you have to invest in stocks rather than pay off your loan early. Generally speaking, if your investment returns outpace current interest rates, there's not much incentive to pay off debt early.</p> <h2>&quot;Technology is a fad&quot;</h2> <p>There was a time when some of the most savvy investors dismissed many tech stocks because they didn't understand them. The bubble collapse of advertising-dependent dot-com companies in the late 1990s didn't help the image of this sector. But there's no denying the fact that investing in technology companies with solid business models has been a clear path to wealth in recent years.</p> <p>All you need to do is look at the incredible returns for companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and others. A full 15 percent of companies in the S&amp;P 500 are technology companies, and they comprise most of the companies traded on the NASDAQ.</p> <p>Tech stocks are still notoriously volatile, but if you ignore the sector completely, you're ignoring some big potential returns.</p> <h2>&quot;Max out your 401(k)&quot;</h2> <p>While there's still little question that you should take advantage of your employer's 401(k) plan, people aren't quite as eager anymore to recommend that you contribute the maximum amount allowed. That's because over time, we've learned that the investment options and fees in many plans are rather lousy.</p> <p>Now, the best advice is to contribute to your 401(k) up to the amount that is matched by your employer. After that, begin contributing as much as you can into a Roth IRA, which offers tax-free growth and a wide array of investment choices.</p> <h2>&quot;Education debt is good debt&quot;</h2> <p>Attending college isn't a bad thing, but don't be cavalier about the impact that student loan debt will have on your financial wellbeing. College costs are increasing, along with stories of students and new grads being weighed down by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p>Carrying this debt can create a ripple effect that impacts your ability to save, purchase a home, or invest. And student loan debt can't be discharged in bankruptcy. Nowadays, any thought of borrowing for school should not be taken lightly.</p> <h2>&quot;Diversify your portfolio with a mix of stocks and bonds&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers have always emphasized diversification, but over time there's evidence that younger investors don't need to devote as much of their portfolio to fixed-income investments. Investing in bonds is useful for people who are nearing retirement age. But if you've got a long way to go before you stop working, you'll be best off with mostly stocks, which will offer much better returns and greater potential to meet your retirement goals.</p> <p>There is more risk and volatility associated with buying stocks, but a long time horizon will give you plenty of time to recoup any losses and then some (especially since people are living longer than ever). If you're not sure what stocks to invest in, pick a simple, low-cost index fund that mirrors the performance of the overall stock market.</p> <h2>&quot;Try to become a millionaire&quot;</h2> <p>There is an enormous amount of mystique surrounding the $1 million mark, and there's no question that saving that amount is something to be proud of. But a million dollars won't carry you as far as it once did. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Being a Millionaire Is Overrated</a>)</p> <p>If you plan to retire at age 60, keep in mind that you need your nest egg to last for 30 years or more. Will $1 million allow you to maintain your lifestyle and pay for things like long-term care? It's certainly possible to retire with $1 million, but you may still have to live conservatively to make the money last.</p> <h2>&quot;Always buy instead of rent&quot;</h2> <p>Homeownership is a powerful thing. It allows you to build equity and get some possible tax breaks while also offering you a place to live. But we've learned in recent years that it's not for everyone.</p> <p>Home prices are sky high in many areas of the country, and having a mortgage payment that's too expensive can make it hard to save for the future or even live comfortably. Remember that just because you qualify for a loan of a certain size doesn't mean that's a sensible loan size for you.</p> <p>The best advice now is to purchase a home if you believe you can make a large down payment and then comfortably make monthly payments while still saving for other future needs. If you're not quite there yet, don't fret. Renting is OK as long as you're still saving, investing, and building your net worth in other ways.</p> <h2>&quot;Buy Coca-Cola stock&quot;</h2> <p>For decades, you'd often hear investors gloat about the consistent, predictably great returns from Coke. Heck, the great <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett" target="_blank">Warren Buffett</a> owns a ton of shares and drinks several Cokes a day.</p> <p>It's still a good company, but anyone who bought Coca-Cola shares in recent years will have seen below-average market returns. Shares have risen just 18 percent in the last five years compared to nearly 70 percent for the S&amp;P 500. Quite simply, the company has had to work very hard to maintain profits in an age when people are increasingly concerned about the health impact of sugary drinks and snacks.</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-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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/millennial-millionaires-how-the-brokest-generation-can-also-become-the-richest">Millennial Millionaires: How the Brokest Generation Can Also Become the Richest</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/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</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-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 401(k) bad advice debt education investing pensions retirement saving money stocks student loans Fri, 19 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1948480 at http://www.wisebread.com Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-174631043.jpg" alt="Start planning now for when your target date fund ends" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a reason why so many people invest their retirement savings in target-date mutual funds offered within their 401(k). These funds are designed to be simple: Your money is automatically invested in a mix of stocks, bonds, and other asset types based on your age and the year you plan to retire.</p> <p>As you get closer to your target date (the year you expect to hit retirement), the managers of your target-date fund gradually ramp down your risk &mdash; moving more of your dollars away from high-risk, growth-oriented investments like stocks, and focusing instead on safer, more conservative investments like bonds or cash. This &quot;set it and forget it&quot; approach allows you to easily stash money away for retirement without constantly rebalancing the fund yourself.</p> <p>The goal is to have the right asset mix when your target-date fund hits its target. But this leads to the big question: What do you do when your target-date fund finally does reach this endpoint?</p> <h2>Reaching the target date</h2> <p>According to the Investment Company Institute, the target date isn't a date when investors should automatically cash out their entire target-date fund. It's simply an estimate of when investors will retire, and therefore stop making new investments in the fund. Most target-date funds can be kept open beyond the target date.</p> <p>What happens when the fund reaches that target date depends on whether the fund is guided by one of two basic investing approaches.</p> <p>If a target-date fund has what is known as a &quot;to&quot; glide path, the fund manager will stop adjusting the fund's asset mix once it hits the target date. In this scenario, your investment mix will remain in place until you cash out the fund.</p> <p>There's also the &quot;through&quot; glide path. In this approach, the fund manager will continue to adjust the fund's mix of investments even as the target date comes and goes.</p> <p>It's important to remember that target-date funds offer no guarantees. Your fund manager will rework your asset mix as your target date approaches to minimize your investment risk. But no manager can guarantee any set amount of dollars by this date.</p> <h2>What can you do when your target date arrives?</h2> <p>When your target-date fund hits its target date, you have three basic choices of what to do with your money.</p> <h3>1. Do nothing</h3> <p>First, you can essentially choose to do nothing. You can instead leave your money in your target-date fund after you retire. You won't be able to make new contributions to the fund, of course, but as with all 401(k) investments, your target-date fund will continue to grow on a tax-deferred basis. This will remain the case until you begin making withdrawals from the fund. You are required to begin taking your minimum withdrawals from your 401(k) by age 70 &frac12; at the latest.</p> <h3>2. Roll over funds into an IRA</h3> <p>If you want to be more hands-on with your investments, you can instead roll over the target-date fund, and any other investments in your 401(k), into an IRA. If you roll the money into a traditional IRA, you can continue to make contributions until you hit the year in which you turn 70 &frac12;. If you roll your 401(k) funds into a Roth IRA, you can continue making contributions as long as you are earning income. If you are not working, though, and not earning income, you can't contribute to a Roth no matter your age.</p> <h3>3. Cash out your fund</h3> <p>Finally, you can cash out your 401(k) (and the target-date fund within it) once you stop working for the employer who offered it to you. If you rollover your 401(k) into an IRA, you won't have to pay taxes. But if you cash out, you will owe income tax on the amount you withdraw from the plan. If you cash out before you turn 59 &frac12;, you'll have to pay income taxes and a 10 percent penalty.</p> <p>The best option of the three depends on how much time you want to spend focusing on your investments. If you prefer to let others manage your investment, the &quot;do-nothing&quot; approach might be your best move. If you'd rather have more control, on the other hand, rolling over your target-date fund into an IRA is probably the better choice.</p> <p>If you need liquid cash immediately, cashing out your fund might be necessary &mdash; but the tax hit you'll take often makes this the least attractive option.</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/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save 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/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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/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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement assets bonds investments mutual funds rebalancing rollover stocks target date funds Fri, 12 May 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1942910 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546177782.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves when her net worth is negative" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most illustrative financial figures to know is your total net worth. This is the value of all of your cash and assets, minus your debts. For many people, that figure is below zero.</p> <p>Building a high net worth should be the ultimate goal of anyone seeking financial freedom. If your net worth is less than zero, consider making these moves ASAP. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Reduce your spending</h2> <p>One of the most direct ways to end up with a negative net worth is to spend more than you earn. Cutting unnecessary expenditures is the first step in having a net positive income each month. This can mean some tough choices, like eliminating cable, eating out, and your annual vacation. It may also require more extreme measures, like getting by without a car.</p> <p>You can help yourself by tracking your spending meticulously in a budget so you know where money is going each month. Even if you think you are already living frugally, there's a chance you can find savings just by taking a closer look.</p> <h2>2. Pay off your high-interest debt</h2> <p>If your net worth is negative, it may be partially due to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">high interest credit card debt</a> and other loans. Interest can quickly pile up and eventually overwhelm your earnings, putting you in negative net worth territory. Tackling debt starting with the highest interest rate first is called the avalanche method, and this can save you a lot of money on interest payments in the long run. Sometimes, even paying off just one credit card can make a huge difference in your financial situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Bring in more income</h2> <p>If you're crumbling under a mountain of debt and you don't have enough income to pay off the debt, you must find a way to bring in more money. Start by searching for higher paying jobs or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise?ref=internal" target="_blank">asking for a raise</a> from your current employer. Consider starting a side hustle, small business, or taking an additional part-time job. It may also be worth exploring income-producing investments, such as dividend stocks or peer-to-peer lending. If you have a maniacal focus on earning more money, you will help yourself move from negative to positive in the net worth department.</p> <h2>4. Invest</h2> <p>Arguably the most important way to build net worth is through investing. If you are able to put even a small amount of your earnings into stocks or index funds that grow, you'll give your financial picture a boost over time. Obviously, investing in the stock market carries risks. But U.S. stocks have consistently risen in value over time, with long-term growth eventually surpassing losses during market crashes. The more you can invest, the better off you'll be, especially if you stay in the market for many years. You won't get rich overnight, but your overall net worth will eventually rise.</p> <h2>5. Set a financial goal</h2> <p>If you had enough money, what would you ultimately want to do with it? Would you want to buy a home? Start a family? Build a hefty retirement account? To increase your net worth, it helps to have a goal to motivate you to save. Ideally, your financial goal should be geared toward building a high net worth, not a one-time purchase like a car. Whether it's a down payment for a home, a comfortable retirement, or saving for college, your dreams can help keep you accountable.</p> <h2>6. Refinance your mortgage</h2> <p>Homeownership can be a great way to build net worth, but it can also be a drain on your finances if you have the wrong kind of mortgage. If your loan term is very long, or if you have a high-interest or interest-only loan, you may not be paying much toward the principal of the loan (or building any equity) for a while. And that could be a serious problem if you're having trouble making payments.</p> <p>If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider refinancing to a shorter term or lower interest rate. There's no sin in borrowing to buy a home, but ideally, homeowners should seek a fixed-rate mortgage with a relatively short loan term: 30 years is standard, but a 15-year mortgage offers you the ability to build equity &mdash; and thus your net worth &mdash; at a faster pace. Just be sure you can comfortably make the monthly payments.</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%2F6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520If%2520Your%2520Net%2520Worth%2520Is%2520Negative.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20If%20Your%20Net%20Worth%20Is%20Negative"></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/u5180/6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20If%20Your%20Net%20Worth%20Is%20Negative.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative" 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/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative">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/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</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-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation">7 Financial Differences Between Millennials and the Next Generation</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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management assets goals investing mortgages net worth refinancing saving spending stocks Wed, 10 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1941242 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626773718.jpg" alt="Finding stocks to buy if you love moms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Make no mistake about it: Moms are the best. They're our biggest supporters, our number one fans, and they are always there for us. So this Mother's Day, why not invest in companies that are helping both the mothers (and fathers) they employ, as well as the mothers who make up their customer base?</p> <p>Here are four stocks that anyone who loves moms should buy.</p> <h2>1. Campbell's Soup Company [NYSE: CPB]</h2> <p>The connection between moms and chicken soup alone might be enough for you to want to buy this stock. But Campbell's Soup has made this list because of one specific subset of its food empire: Plum Organics.</p> <p>Founded as a startup in 2007, Plum Organics is a mission-driven baby and toddler food company committed to offering the best sustainable nutrition to all children. In 2013, Campbell's acquired Plum Organics, and in an impressive display of integrity, Plum's president and co-founder Neil Grimmer requested that the smaller company pursue certification as a benefit corporation after the sale. For-profit benefit corporations not only create value for their shareholders, but they also have legal requirements for accountability, transparency, and purpose.</p> <p>Since then, Plum Organics has continued to try to make the world a better place for parents and children. In particular, their The Full Effect program has donated over 8.6 million organic meals and snacks to children in need. The company also works hard to reduce its environmental footprint by both reducing packaging and creating recycling programs for its packaging.</p> <p>Though Plum Organics is only a small part of the Campbell's Soup Company, the fact that Campbell's continues to encourage its child-friendly, mom-friendly, and environment-friendly mission makes it worthy of this list.</p> <p>The Campbell's Soup Company is also working to improve the lives of the mothers and fathers it employs. The company recently revamped its parental leave policy, offering 10 weeks of paid leave for a primary caregiver and two weeks of paid leave for a secondary caregiver. The fact that such a huge company is working to make life easier for new parents is definitely a great step.</p> <h2>2. Etsy [NASDAQ: ETSY]</h2> <p>You may know Etsy as the place to get creative handmade gifts, but it is also a publicly-traded company that does a great deal to support moms.</p> <p>To start, Etsy decided in 2016 to offer all employees 26 weeks of paid parental leave after birth or adoption, regardless of the employee's gender or primary/secondary caregiver designation. Etsy's generous, gender-neutral leave policy can help pave the way for other companies to recognize the importance of supporting young families &mdash; especially if we invest in Etsy by buying its stock.</p> <p>In addition, Etsy's business model has offered a manageable approach to entrepreneurship for moms who wish to straddle the line between staying home with the kids and earning an income. Supporting Etsy by buying its stock means helping to strengthen the finances of creative parents who are trying to balance working from home and child rearing.</p> <p>Finally, Etsy is a certified B Corp, meaning that it is committed to accountability and transparency within its socially responsible mission. To support that mission, Etsy created Craft Entrepreneurship, an educational program that offers creative people in low-income communities the knowledge and skills to start Etsy businesses.</p> <h2>3. Johnson &amp; Johnson [NYSE: JNJ]</h2> <p>Eight of Johnson &amp; Johnson's first 14 employees were women &mdash; all the way back when the health care company was founded in 1886.</p> <p>Women receive 47 percent of all promotions at Johnson &amp; Johnson, while only making up 45 percent of the total company employees. In addition, the company offers leadership initiatives that emphasize gender balance, as well as executive education courses that are specifically tailored to women. All of this is great news for mothers working for the corporation, which employs over 39,000 people.</p> <p>Parental leave at Johnson &amp; Johnson is relatively generous, with at least nine weeks of paid leave offered to new mothers and fathers. But the company continues looking out for families long after babies are born. It also offers six on-site day care facilities, sick-child care, backup child care, and 10 paid days of sick leave per year to look after ill family members.</p> <p>On top of that, a full 95 percent of employees use flextime, and 75 percent telecommute, while managers are specifically trained to implement and manage flexible working arrangements. Those arrangements can be particularly helpful for working parents.</p> <h2>4. Netflix [NASDAQ: NFLX]</h2> <p>Any mother of a newborn can attest to the lifesaving power of Netflix in the middle of a long sleepless night. But Netflix is not just supporting overtired parents with middle-of-the-night TV binges. It is also a leader in providing excellent parental leave to its employees.</p> <p>As of 2016, salaried Netflix employees are permitted <em>unlimited </em>paid parental leave for their child's first year of life. The policy is the same for salaried employees who adopt children. This incredibly generous policy is a great step forward in recognizing that new parents are often the best judges of how much time they need before returning to work.</p> <p>Netflix has also made sure to take care of hourly employees who become parents. Hourly workers receive paid parental leave at 100 percent pay. The amount of time off that they receive depends upon which arm of the company they work for, with Streaming hourly employees receiving 16 weeks, DVD employees receiving 12 weeks, and customer service employees receiving 14 weeks. In all cases, the parental leave is for maternity, paternity, and adoptions.</p> <h2>Putting your money where your mom is</h2> <p>We all talk about how much we love and respect mothers, but it can feel like lip service if our actions don't reflect those feelings. One of the best ways to show your love and respect for Mom is to support the corporations that make it easier for all mothers to take care of business &mdash; at work and at home.</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/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">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/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day">6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother&#039;s Day</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/investment-allocation-by-age-birth-to-10-years-old">Investment Allocation by Age: Birth to 10 Years Old</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-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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/save-your-retirement-by-avoiding-these-10-risky-investments">Save Your Retirement by Avoiding These 10 Risky Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Investment b corp companies moms Mother's day parental leave stocks supporting women Tue, 09 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1940330 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-649699796.jpg" alt="Learning about the easiest way to save for retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a 401(k), chances are you've been given the option to invest in a &quot;target-date&quot; fund. This is a balanced mutual fund that gradually changes its investment mix depending on how close you are to retirement. It's designed to hold a higher percentage of riskier, growth-oriented investments like stocks when you're young, and increase the proportion of more conservative investments, such as cash and bonds, as you age.</p> <p>Many brokerage firms offer target-date funds, which come with names like Fidelity Freedom 2050 or Lifepath Index 2045. The idea is to pick one associated with the year you expect to retire.</p> <p>There are advantages to these funds, especially for those who don't want to spend a lot of time managing their investments. But there are some drawbacks, too.</p> <h2>Pros</h2> <p>Let's start with the upsides.</p> <h3>1. They automatically rebalance</h3> <p>Target-date funds are designed to build wealth while you're working, and protect it as you approach retirement. They accomplish this by gradually and automatically changing the investment mix over time, which is referred to as rebalancing. Because it's not particularly easy for the average investor to make these kinds of changes on their own, a target-date fund offers the convenience of &quot;set it and forget it,&quot; saving you time and extra work.</p> <h3>2. They are easy to select</h3> <p>Picking which mutual fund is right for you is tricky, because there are often so many choices. There are funds for specific industries, funds for growth, and others for income &mdash; it can be overwhelming. When choosing which target-date fund is right for you, though, all you need to do is pick one that lines up best with the year you expect to retire. So if you are now 30 years old and plan to retire at age 63, you would pick a fund labeled with the year 2050.</p> <h3>3. They offer diversification</h3> <p>Most target-date funds are essentially &quot;funds of funds.&quot; In other words, they are comprised of a mix of mutual funds, which are already made up of a blend of stocks and bonds. Thus, investors are hardly at risk of placing too much of their money in any single investment.</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p>All that convenience comes at a price.</p> <h3>4. They have high fees</h3> <p>If you invest in target-date funds, you can expect that fund managers and brokerage firms will take a bigger chunk of your money than they would for basic index funds. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the average expense ratio on more than 2,200 target-date funds was more than 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, there are many basic index funds that have ratios of less than 0.1 percent.</p> <p>An expense ratio measures what it costs an investment company to run a mutual fund, and is calculated by the fund's annual operating expenses divided by the average dollar value of its assets under management. Those operating expenses are taken out of the fund's assets and lower the return for investors. Over time, a higher expense ratio could impact your overall investment balance by thousands of dollars.</p> <h3>5. They aren't one-size fits all</h3> <p>Not everyone generates the same amount of income during their lifetime, and expenses in retirement can vary wildly. Thus, the right mix of bonds, stocks, and other investments will differ depending on the investor. Target-date funds don't take this into account. One investor may be able to retire comfortably with a portfolio of bonds and cash, while another might need more growth stocks to meet their retirement goals.</p> <h3>6. Funds with similar names may actually be quite different</h3> <p>There are thousands of target-date funds out there. Many of them have very similar names and similar goals, but differ in their investment mix. For example, the Fidelity Freedom 2035 fund is currently comprised of 64 percent U.S. stocks, 31 percent international stocks, and 5 percent bonds. The Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 fund, however, is 48 percent U.S. stocks, 32 percent international stocks, and about 20 percent bonds. Thus, the performance and risk of these funds may vary even if their names and goals are very similar.</p> <h3>7. They may not be aggressive enough for some older people</h3> <p>On one hand, you probably don't want to be investing in all stocks when you are approaching retirement age. But if you become too conservative, you might miss out on big returns. There are some financial advisers who argue that it's OK to stay aggressive in retirement as long as you have enough saved to endure a possible downturn. In fact, one 2013 study argued in favor of a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2324930" target="_blank">counterintuitive approach to retirement saving</a> &mdash; more conservative investing when you're young, and more aggressive investing as you get closer to retirement.</p> <p>If you think you want a more aggressive fund than the target date that corresponds with your projected retirement age, you can always choose one with a later target date. For instance, if you're planning on retiring in 15 years, but want a fund that's more aggressive now, you might choose a 2040 or 2050 target date fund.</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</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/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401(k) aggressive bonds conservative risks stocks target date funds Tue, 09 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1940329 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother's Day http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-537871137.jpg" alt="Finding financial gifts mom will love for Mother&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mother's Day is an opportunity to let Mom know just how much she means to you, but it can be hard to find the perfect gift. You know that a World's Best Mom mug and some fancy bubble bath just won't cut it &mdash; so what should you do instead?</p> <p>This year, why not give Mom the gift of money? That doesn't mean handing over a wad of cash in lieu of a present, but instead finding a gift that will help her bottom line. Here are six gift ideas for Mom that will keep on giving financially.</p> <h2>1. Start a dream fund</h2> <p>Maybe Mom has always dreamed about a trip to a certain destination, or planting the perfect garden straight out of a magazine. These things cost money, and if there's little room in the budget, it can be hard and time-consuming to save up for them. This is where you come in: Give Mom a &quot;dream fund&quot; for Mother's Day with seed money to realize her goals.</p> <p>If Mom is a crafty or creative type, you could present the fund to her with a &quot;dream board,&quot; including relevant pictures to inspire her to keep saving. She'll love adding to the board herself. You could even add a complementary gift card (such as to a home and garden store) as a finishing touch.</p> <p>You might also consider saving up for something to do together. My mother and I have always talked about traveling to Greece, so our mother-daughter dream board would include photos of the Greek Isles, illustrations from Greek mythology (which I fondly remember her teaching me when I was a child), and photos of delicious Greek food. I would then also include a gift card to an airline or cruise line as the first step in reaching our goal together.</p> <h2>2. Buy her a share of a company she loves</h2> <p>Buying shares of a company can be a lovely way to honor your mother and give her a gift she will appreciate. You can buy her a gift-ready stock with a framed certificate, or buy shares directly from the company.</p> <p>While a gift-ready stock with certificate included will set you back more money, it does provide you with something to wrap up for Mother's Day and gives her something to display. Consider buying shares of a company whose products you know Mom absolutely loves, like Starbucks, Target, Tiffany's, Hershey, or Netflix.</p> <h2>3. Give her a subscription to a financial magazine</h2> <p>If Mom has remarked that she'd like to know more about how to handle her money, then get her a magazine subscription that can help improve her financial knowledge. Buy a copy of the current issue to wrap up for her on Mother's Day.</p> <p>As for which magazine to choose, both Kiplinger's and Money are considered excellent resources for the personal finance newbie.</p> <h2>4. Donate to her favorite charity</h2> <p>What causes are close to Mom's heart? Pick a charity that you know she supports, and make a donation in her name. Not only will Mom be touched by such a thoughtful gift, but an organization in need will benefit, too. It's a win-win. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Improve Your Giving With 5 Smart Charity Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>5. Pay a few of her bills for the month</h2> <p>Help Mom get ahead financially by offering to pay one (or a few!) of her bills for Mother's Day. This could be a mortgage payment, utility bill, medical bill, or credit card payment &mdash; anything she could use a hand with. This will take some of the budgeting burden off her shoulders, and maybe even leave her with wiggle room to treat herself.</p> <h2>6. Pay for Mom to visit a financial professional</h2> <p>Depending on what type of financial needs your mom has, you could pay for her to consult with a certified financial planner. A CFP can be an invaluable resource in helping Mom plan out her saving, investing, and retirement strategies. So how do you go about finding, vetting, and paying for such a gift? You can start by asking around your inner circle for any recommendations. If that doesn't yield any leads, you can locate a fee-only CFP (which means the planner will not be working on commission) near you via <a href="https://www.napfa.org/" target="_blank">NAPFA</a>. The fees that planners charge vary greatly, but once you have found a CFP that you like, you can ask them how much it will cost to make Mom an appointment.</p> <h2>Show mom you love her with the gift of better finances</h2> <p>Flowers fade, brunch is over all too soon, and Mom does not need yet another canister of fancy tea. For Mother's Day this year, give your mother a gift that will keep giving for years to come.</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/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</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/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms</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/mama-mia-mothers-day-gifts-that-show-you-really-care">Mama Mia! Mother&#039;s Day Gifts that Show You Really Care</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/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family accountants dream boards financial magazines gifts Mom money coaches Mother's day presents professionals shares stocks Mon, 01 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1934997 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525331477.jpg" alt="Learning which stocks your kids would love to own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When taking a look at your 401(k) or investment accounts, you may often daydream about how cool it would have been if you started investing earlier. That way, maybe you could have jumped on investments that turned out to be home runs, such as Apple [Nasdaq: APPL] and Berkshire-Hathaway [NYSE: BRK].</p> <p>If you have children, you're blessed with the opportunity of granting them the greatest gift any investor could want: time. Let's take a look at some companies whose shares would make a great gift for your kids to not only help them learn about investing, but also get them excited about money and business in general.</p> <h2>1. Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP]</h2> <p>Do you know what's cooler than a million dollars? $3.4 billion, which is how much money the parent company of Snapchat raised in its March 1, 2017 initial public offering (IPO). Since it has been estimated that <a href="https://blog.hootsuite.com/snapchat-demographics/" target="_blank">60 percent of Snapchat users</a> are under age 25 and nearly one in four hasn't finished high school, there's a very good chance that your children use this popular social media app.</p> <p>Leverage their interest in the app to keep them focused on tracking a stock price and keeping abreast of the effects of company announcements, such as <a href="http://www.recode.net/2016/9/24/13039900/snapchat-spectacles-google-glass-spiegel" target="_blank">Snap's Spectacles</a>, on the valuation of a publicly-traded company. Bonus: You could use Snapchat to send them their monthly allowance, keep a digital record of when you made that money available, and check how long it lasts them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-ways-to-send-money-to-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Modern Ways to Send Money to Your Kid</a>)</p> <h2>2. The Walt Disney Co. [NYSE: DIS]</h2> <p>&quot;Do you want to buy a stock share? Come on let's go and trade!&quot; If you started reading that in Princess Anna's voice, then you're a Disney parent and your kiddos spend a lot of time singing along to similar tunes. Keeping interested in this stock is easy because your kids will read about movie productions, toy developments, theme park construction, and other family entertainment projects.</p> <p>Disney is a great stock to hold onto for the long run, which is a maxim that you want to instill in any young investor. If you were to have held Disney stock from March 1, 2007 to March 1, 2017, you would have seen the stock price go from $34.39 to $111.04 (a 222.88 percent increase!). Plus, it's a dividend-paying stock, giving you a segue to introduce the concept of fixed income securities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Are Income Stocks?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Amazon.com, Inc. [Nasdaq: AMZN]</h2> <p>Parcel-delivering drones, robots that work in warehouses, and voice-activated speakers that can control other home devices. It'll never be dull moment chatting with your kid about recent news from the Seattle-based ecommerce giant.</p> <p>If you have the budget, Amazon.com is one of those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it" target="_blank">expensive stocks that are totally worth it</a>. Just when you think that the stock can't hit new heights, an uptick during the early November and December holiday season gives the stock price another boost. Time your gift well before the holiday season and provide immediate gratification to your kids from a stock price bump.</p> <h2>4. Foot Locker, Inc. [NYSE: FL]</h2> <p>On the other hand, here's one stock to develop in your children an appreciation for delayed gratification. If your kid is a sneakerhead or sports jock, they'll include a new pair of athletic shoes in their Christmas list. With a current stock price close to $75 per share, one share of Foot Locker goes for about the same as a brand-new, high-quality pair of athletic shoes meant to last at least one year.</p> <p>Give your child the option of the shoes or one share of Foot Locker, Inc. (Or pick another company that better matches the price of the shoes that they want, including Nike Inc. [NYSE: NKE] or Skechers USA Inc. [NYSE: SKX].) When your child chooses the stock over the shoes, they'll realize that they'll have more available after a one-year period. If they're still unconvinced, ask them to try selling a pair of old, smelly shoes after one year of (ab)use from a tween.</p> <p>Setting a strong foundation for delayed gratification will boost your child's ability to save for retirement and build an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tesla Inc. [Nasdaq: TSLA]</h2> <p>The concept of saving for retirement is completely foreign to most individuals under age 18, maybe even for some under age 25! Getting somebody to plan about 40 to 60 years ahead is a difficult task. One way to get your kid thinking about the future with a fun and optimistic tone is to gift them stock from Tesla, because this company is in the business of electric cars, energy storage batteries, and solar panels.</p> <p>Plus, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is so cool as to inspire the way actor Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark in all Marvel films. By following the decisions of a cool and smart CEO, your child could gain further interest in business and entrepreneurship.</p> <h2>How custodial Roth IRAs can help with investing education</h2> <p>If your kid is under age 18 and makes some money on their own, such as through a hobby or during the summer, consider opening a custodial Roth IRA for them. This is a great way to educate your child about investing and providing a &quot;sandbox&quot; in which to make real-life decisions with investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a>)</p> <p>In 2017, your kid could contribute up to $5,500 to a custodial Roth IRA and watch those contributions grow tax-free forever. Many financial institutions require an account minimum of $100 to open a custodial Roth IRA. You could start with some stocks from this list or other stocks that your kid is interested in and eventually move on to index funds and mutual funds. To minimize fees, just keep post-contribution transactions at a minimum.</p> <p>Gifting your child stocks paired with several years of retirement savings could be one of the best gifts you could ever give them for a brighter financial future.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment children fun stocks gifts kids money lessons Roth IRA stock market stocks young investors Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1925374 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171280980.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When doing your research on what stocks to invest in, you will undoubtedly hear analysts and financial pundits mention something called a P/E, or price-to-earnings, ratio. This is one of the key numbers in a stock table, and one you'd be wise to brush up on. Let's review what the P/E ratio shows, how investors use it to evaluate a stock, and some guidelines to make the most of it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <h2>What is the P/E ratio?</h2> <p>It's the ratio of a stock's market value per share to its earnings per share (EPS). Generally, the EPS is from the last trailing 12 months (TTM). However, some financial analysts may use an EPS figure from a shorter trailing period, such as one or two quarters, or a future period, such as over the next six to 12 months.</p> <p>This is why it's important to pay attention to whether a P/E ratio calculation is using historical or projected numbers. Estimated numbers are subject to a margin of error and will be updated as new data becomes available.</p> <p>A P/E ratio tells you how much investors are willing to pay to receive $1 in return for investing in a stock. Historical data suggests that on average, investors are willing to pay $15 for every dollar of earnings (a P/E ratio of 15). However, P/E ratios can vary across industries and particular companies. On March 10, 2017, the P/E ratios of Facebook Inc. [Nasdaq: FB], McDonald's Corporation [NYSE: MCD], and Toyota Motor Corp. [NYSE: TM] were 39.95, 23.36, and 10.70, respectively.</p> <h2>How investors interpret the P/E ratio</h2> <p>The main appeal of the price-to-earnings ratio is that it provides a single, standardized metric to an investor evaluating whether or not a stock is worth buying (or selling).</p> <p>However, any P/E ratio is open to a lot of interpretation.</p> <h3>High P/E ratio</h3> <p>On one hand, a high P/E ratio could indicate that investors are expecting a company to grow its future earnings. On the other, it could be a signal of &quot;irrational exuberance&quot; &mdash; a term coined by former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan to refer to unsustainable investor enthusiasm. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-alan-greenspan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Alan Greenspan</a>)</p> <p>With a P/E ratio of 331.23 (no, that's not a typo!) as of March 10, 2017, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is open to both interpretations. One investor could argue that the future of media is online streaming and that this company is making all the right moves to become a leader in this industry. Another could argue that this market valuation is a bit out of whack.</p> <h3>Low P/E ratio</h3> <p>While one investor may think that a low P/E ratio indicates that a stock has seen better days, another investor may interpret that same low P/E ratio as a chance to snap up some shares at a low price.</p> <p>Shares of Apple Inc. [Nasdaq: AAPL] provide a great example of this scenario. With a P/E ratio of 16.66 as of March 10, 2017, some investors may think the performance of Apple is just slightly above average (remember the long-term average of 15). Other investors may think that this is just a slow period and that it has room for growth since <a href="https://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/pe_ratio" target="_blank">its maximum P/E ratio</a> for the last five years is 18.51.</p> <h2>How to make the most out of the P/E ratio</h2> <p>Now that you know what it is, let's turn to putting it to work.</p> <h3>1. Don't rely solely on the P/E ratio</h3> <p>Due to the math behind the P/E ratio, publicly traded companies that are losing money don't have a P/E ratio at all! For example, the hottest talk of the investing world right now, Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP], doesn't have one. So for now, their P/E ratio is irrelevant, and you should rely on an alternative valuation metric, such as the price-to-sales ratio.</p> <h3>2. Put the P/E ratio in perspective</h3> <p>It's a smart practice to measure a stock against a group of comparable peers. For example, you could compare the P/E ratio of Marriott International Inc. [Nasdaq: MAR] against that of Hyatt Hotels Corporation [NYSE: H], Wyndham Worldwide Corporation [NYSE: WYN], or the average of the ones from several others within the same industry.</p> <p>Another way to put that P/E ratio into context is to use its historical average, maximum, and minimum. By taking a look at these numbers and evaluating the decisions from management, you can have a better understanding of the current ratio.</p> <h3>3. Pay attention to the P/E ratio with buy recommendations</h3> <p>If you receive recommendations from your friends, relatives, or favorite TV pundits that you should buy a particular stock because it's &quot;going places,&quot; pay attention to the P/E ratio. If a stock price rally is a rocket, the P/E ratio is the fuel that helps it take off &hellip; and keep rising. Without a high enough P/E ratio, a rally will be short-lived or, even worse, turn the other way around.</p> <h3>4. Beware accounting shenanigans</h3> <p>Companies with one-time events, such as selling off a major division or cutting down employee benefits, can alter their earnings and, as a result, their P/E ratios. Dramatic ups and downs in the P/E ratio would render this ratio useless and you'll have to use an alternative stock valuation metric.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea to keep an eye on current (also known as trailing) and forward P/E ratios. A big difference between these two P/E ratios is a sign that there was a one-time event. Analysts suggest that when there are too many instances of these gaps, investors should pay closer attention to the cash flow statement on company filings.</p> <h2>P/E ratio is no silver bullet</h2> <p>While the P/E ratio can be a useful metric to select stocks, it's no silver bullet. This is why it's important to continuously educate yourself about the inner workings of the stock market and seek the advice of a financial adviser whenever appropriate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-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/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment how to metrics p/e ratio price to earnings ratio stock market stocks valuations Tue, 11 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1923859 at http://www.wisebread.com The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508414008.jpg" alt="Learning three rules evert mediocre investor must know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mediocre financial advice can earn you mediocre investment returns &mdash; and mediocre investment returns are all you need to save for a house, send your kids to college, and fund your (potentially early) retirement. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-take-investment-advice-from-a-mediocre-investor" target="_blank">Mediocre investment advice</a> is pretty straightforward. In fact, the only thing that's complicated about getting mediocre financial results is the stuff that comes before investing: Things like earning money, keeping your debt in check, finding a career, living frugally, and most crucially, building an adequate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">emergency fund</a>.</p> <p>Once you've got those things taken care of, you're ready to start investing. If you're at that point, here's my mediocre investment advice: Create a diversified portfolio of low-cost investments and rebalance it annually.</p> <h2>Diversified Portfolio</h2> <p>It's important to have diversity at several levels. Eventually you'll want diversity in investment types &mdash; not just stocks, but also bonds, real estate, precious metals, foreign currency, cash, etc. More importantly, you want finer-grained diversity especially in the earlier stages of building your portfolio. Don't let your portfolio get concentrated in just one or a few companies. (For what it's worth, don't let it get concentrated in the stock of your employer, either. That sets you up for a catastrophe, because if your employer runs into trouble, the value of your portfolio can crash at the same time your job is at risk.)</p> <p>In the medium term &mdash; after you've got a well-diversified stock selection, but before it's time to branch out into more exotic investments &mdash; you'll want to expand the diversity of types of companies. Not just big companies, but also medium-sized and small companies. Not just U.S. companies, but also foreign companies. Not just tech companies, but also industrial companies and financial companies, and so on.</p> <p>Diversity wins two ways. First, it's safer: As long as all your money isn't in just one thing, it doesn't matter so much whether it's a good year or a bad year for that thing. Second, it produces higher returns: No one can know which investment will be best, but a diversified portfolio probably has at least <em>some </em>money invested in <em>some </em>investments that will do especially well. (Of course retrospectively, there will have been one investment that does best, and risking having all your money in that would have produced the highest possible return &mdash; but that's exactly what a mediocre investor knows better than to attempt.)</p> <p>Of course, you don't want a random selection of investments, even if such a thing might be quite diverse. You want a reasonably balanced portfolio &mdash; something I'll talk about at the end of this post.</p> <h2>Low-Cost Investments</h2> <p>The less money you pay in fees and commissions, the more money you have invested in earning a return.</p> <p>Getting this right is so much easier now than it was when I started investing! In those days, you could scarcely avoid losing several percent of your money right off the top to commissions, and then lose another percent or two annually to fees. Now it's easy to make a stock trade for less than $10 in commissions, and it's easy to find mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that charge fees of only a fraction of 1%.</p> <p>Still, it's easy to screw this up. Any investment that's advertised is paying its advertising budget somehow &mdash; probably with fees from investors. Any investment that's sold by agents or brokers is paying those agents or brokers somehow &mdash; probably with commissions or fees from investors.</p> <p>All those costs come straight out of your return. Keep them to a minimum.</p> <h2>Rebalance Annually</h2> <p>Your diversified portfolio will immediately start getting less diversified: Your winning investments will become a larger fraction of your portfolio while your losers will become a smaller fraction. In the short term, that's great. Who doesn't want a portfolio loaded with winners? Pretty soon though, you start losing the advantages of diversification. Last year's winners will inevitably become losers eventually, and you don't want that to happen after they've become a huge share of your portfolio.</p> <p>The solution is to restore the original diversity. Sell some of the winners, and use the resulting cash to buy some more of the losers. It's the easiest possible way to buy low and sell high. (Maybe you don't want to buy exactly the losers &mdash; not if their poor performance leads you think there's something really wrong with them. But buy something kind of like them. Health care companies probably belong in your portfolio, even if many of them did badly this year.)</p> <p>There are costs to rebalancing &mdash; costs in time and effort (figuring out what to sell and what to buy), and actual costs in commissions and fees. Because of that, you probably wouldn't want to rebalance constantly. You could make a case for monthly or quarterly rebalancing, but even that seems like a lot of effort for a small portfolio. Annually seems to hit the sweet spot.</p> <h2>What Goes Into a Diversified Portfolio?</h2> <p>What I'm going to suggest is that you start with a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.</p> <p>It's not that there aren't plenty of other worthy investment options &mdash; cash, gold, silver, real estate, foreign currencies, etc. &mdash; it's just that they all have complications of one sort or another, and you can get started on earning your mediocre returns without them.</p> <p>My mediocre investment advice then is that your portfolio should be a balance of stocks (for maximum growth) and bonds (for income and stability).</p> <h3>Finding the Right Balance Comes Down to Age &mdash; Yours</h3> <p>What's the right balance? An old rule of thumb was that 100 minus your age would be a good target percentage for the stock portion of your portfolio. At the start of your career, you'd have nearly 80% of your investments in stocks, and that fraction would gradually decline to about 35% as you approached retirement. The theory was that a young person can afford to take big risks, because he or she has time to wait for an eventual market rebound (and because during the early phase of building up a portfolio, even a large percentage loss is a small dollar amount). This makes a certain amount of sense. In fact, you could argue that a stock market that collapsed and then stayed down just when you started investing would be great &mdash; it would give you decades to buy stocks cheap.</p> <p>That rule of thumb isn't bad, although with people living longer these days, it probably makes sense to keep a higher portion of stocks in your portfolio during the last years before and first years after retirement. Once you hit 50, maybe only cut your stock portfolio by 1% every two years.</p> <p>When you're just getting started, feel free to keep it very simple. Perhaps just start putting money into a broad-based stock fund (such as an S&amp;P 500 index fund). You can add a bond fund right away if you want, or wait until your annual rebalancing.</p> <p>There are mutual funds that will manage this balance for you, holding stocks and bonds with a balance that shifts over time to some target date, at which point they'll hold a portfolio suitable for someone who has retired. You don't need them. In particular, they tend to have higher expenses, violating the &quot;low cost&quot; principle. You can do it easily enough for yourself. (Of course if you find that you don't do your annual rebalancing, then maybe paying a fund to do it for you is worth the expense.)</p> <p>As an alternative to mutual funds, you can use exchange traded funds or ETFs. It doesn't matter.</p> <p>Once your portfolio of stocks is large, you probably want to move beyond a single fund. Look at the other low-cost funds offered by the same fund family that provides your S&amp;P 500 index fund. Consider adding a fund that includes foreign stocks (especially if the dollar seems strong at the time you'll be buying). Consider adding a fund that includes dividend-paying stocks (especially if interest rates are low relative to dividends).</p> <p>Follow these mediocre tips, and you'll be racking up mediocre returns in no time! And remember &mdash; mediocre returns are all you need to live well and retire well.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> </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 Your 401K in 2017: Here's What's New for You http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-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/iStock-502449548.jpg" alt="Learning what&#039;s new for your 401K in 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There aren't many 401K rule changes to keep up with this year, but that doesn't mean you can't bring about some of your own positive changes to your retirement savings. Let's take a look at what you need to know to make the most of your 401K in 2017.</p> <h2>No Changes in the Contribution Limits</h2> <p>The amount the IRS allows you to contribute to a 401K plan this year remains as it was last year &mdash; $18,000 if you're younger than 50, or $24,000 if you're older. However, the Feds did make two changes to the retirement savings landscape, which pertain to people on either end of the income spectrum.</p> <h3>1. More May Qualify for the Saver's Credit<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Low and middle-income earners should be aware of the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-savings-contributions-savers-credit" target="_blank">Saver's Credit</a>, a tax benefit that rewards those who save for their later years through a 401K or IRA. Depending on your income and filing status, the credit is worth 10%, 20%, or 50% of up to $2,000 of contributions per person (for married couples, that means up to $4,000 of contributions).</p> <p>Married couples filing joint returns can claim at least a 10% credit as long as their adjusted gross income (AGI) is no more than $62,000. That maximum income amount is $500 more than in 2016, so more households should qualify. However, the most generous 50% credit is allowed only for those couples making no more than $37,000 &mdash; the same threshold as in 2016.</p> <p>The credit/income limits for married couples filing jointly are:</p> <ul> <li>50% if AGI is $37,000 or less</li> <li>20% if AGI is $37,001&ndash;$40,000</li> <li>10% if AGI is $40,001&ndash;$62,000</li> </ul> <p>For singles, or married couples filing separate returns, the maximum amount you can earn and still qualify for a credit is $31,000, which is $250 higher than in 2016. In order to qualify for the maximum 50% credit, your income has to be no higher than $18,500.</p> <p>Here are the details:</p> <ul> <li>50% if AGI is $18,500 or less</li> <li>20% if AGI is $18,501&ndash;$20,000</li> <li>10% if AGI is $20,001&ndash;$31,000</li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind, a tax credit is much more valuable than a tax deduction because it is a dollar for dollar reduction of taxes.</p> <h2>2. Higher-Income Earners May Get More</h2> <p>On the other end of the income spectrum, the IRS expanded the contribution parameters pertaining to the retirement plans of well-paid workers. For example, contributions &mdash; by the employee and/or his or her employer &mdash; are limited by how much an employee is paid in total. In 2017, the amount of compensation on which contribution amounts can be based was increased by $5,000 to $270,000, and the maximum total contribution amount was bumped up by $1,000 to $54,000.</p> <h2>What Changes Will You Make?</h2> <p>Even if the two changes noted above don't pertain to you, that doesn't mean you need to &mdash; or should &mdash; stay the course with your retirement savings. The start of a new year is a good time to re-evaluate your goals and see if you're on track.</p> <p>Here are two areas to review.</p> <h3>1. How Much You Need<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Do you know how much you should have saved by the time you retire? Do you know how much that means you should be saving each month right now? If not, take a few minutes to run some numbers. If you're not saving enough, consider increasing your contributions.</p> <h3>2. How You Should Allocate</h3> <p>Do you know your optimal asset allocation? That pertains to how much of your investment portfolio should be in stocks, and how much in bonds (or stock and bond mutual funds). Vanguard offers a well-designed, free <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire" target="_blank">asset allocation questionnaire</a>, so give it a try. Then try to bring your portfolio more in line with your optimal asset allocation.</p> <p>While tax credits and employer contributions are significant benefits, the most important factors that determine your investing success are the amount of money you save each month, and whether your asset allocation is appropriate for someone of your age and risk tolerance. Take the time to evaluate your individual retirement savings scenario, and see how you can make it even better for 2017.</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/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</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/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends</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-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k Adjusted Gross Income asset allocation bonds changes contribution limits employers investing saver's credit stocks Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1892607 at http://www.wisebread.com