Investment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4808/all en-US 8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coins_growing_plants_67145371.jpg" alt="Finding money moves to make before you start investing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a staunch advocate for investing &mdash; especially if the alternative is piling up money in a savings account just to have &quot;savings.&quot; Savings are great, but you only need so much in that offensively low-interest account. Put the excess to work, hopefully making even more money out of your investment. Before you take that plunge, however, there are a few financial matters you need to mind.</p> <h2>1. Organize Your Budget and Expenses</h2> <p>If you're considering making an investment &mdash; whatever it may be &mdash; you should have a solid handle on how much money is coming in and going out on a monthly basis. You want to make sure you can afford the investment without teetering on the edge of debt, but this also is a good time to find any weak spots in your budget so you can address them accordingly. Online money-tracking services like Mint.com can make this task much easier on you, and help you stay on track over the long term.</p> <p>&quot;When you know where your money goes, you are in control and can be thoughtful about aligning spending with priorities,&quot; says Carla Dearing CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service. &quot;Mint, for example, gives you complete access to your data through the website and your mobile device, whether you use iOS or Android. Better yet, Mint keeps an eye on your money for you. It even sends alerts to remind you to pay your bills or when you go over budget.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Get That Emergency Fund in Order &mdash; Stat!</h2> <p>In almost every &quot;money moves&quot; article I write, the &quot;emergency fund&quot; usually pops up somewhere. That's because it's a critical and indispensable part of your overall financial picture. You should have a sizable cushion in the bank to cover life's little mishaps, and that &quot;should&quot; becomes a &quot;must&quot; when you add investing to the equation. If you don't have an emergency fund, you have no business investing &mdash; bottom line.</p> <p>Just how much dough are we talking for an emergency fund to be considered satisfactory? Six times your monthly expenses, according to Dearing.</p> <p><strong>&quot;</strong>Be disciplined about saving a little every month until your emergency fund is where it needs to be, even if it means sacrificing little luxuries once in a while,&quot; she says. &quot;Remember to replenish the account every time you use it. Having your cushion ready whenever you need it will give you a great sense of security and freedom. It will also free you up to work on other savings goals without getting derailed by unexpected expenses.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your High-Interest Debts</h2> <p>You don't need to be completely out of debt before you start investing. Many financial advisers argue that you should be debt free before you start investing, but that's just not true. Most people don't pay off their homes for up to 30 years, and you wouldn't want to wait that long before you start a retirement fund.</p> <p>You should, however, pay off your high-interest debts. They'll drag you down faster than the Titanic.</p> <p>&quot;Whether it's a credit card or student loan, it doesn't make any sense to invest and make a market average return of 7% annually while you're paying 20% on credit debt,&quot; says Nick Braun, founder of a pet insurance company. &quot;Pay off your high-interest debts first, then start using excess income to save for the future.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">Fastest Way to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>4. Contribute to Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>Retirement savings <em>is</em> an investment. It may not seem like it now, because what you're funding seems so far away &mdash; but you'll see it as such when you reach retirement age. Which is why, before you start throwing money at other investment opportunities, you need to invest in yourself. If you don't have a retirement account set up yet, make that a priority. If you have one currently, like a 401K, for instance, take advantage of free, pretax contribution opportunities where available, like matching funds from your employer. Then max those contributions out so you don't miss a single cent.</p> <h2>5. Contribute to an HSA</h2> <p>If you have a health insurance policy that comes with a qualifying Health Savings Account, take full advantage of it and fully fund it.</p> <p>&quot;Most contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals to pay qualifying medical expenses &mdash; at any time in life &mdash; are tax-free,&quot; explains Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Freedom Financial Network in Phoenix. &quot;These accounts are essentially emergency funds devoted to health care costs, and so savings have a double benefit of tax relief and savings.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Refinance Your Student Loans</h2> <p>Are student loans holding you back from building your savings or investment accounts or from making other types of investments? Free up some of your budget by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=internal">refinancing your loans</a> for a lower monthly payment.</p> <p>&quot;The average Class of 2016 graduate owes more than $37,000 in student loan debt,&quot; says financial expert Michael Blattman, professor at University of Maryland. &quot;With 43 million borrowers nationwide, Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Individually, this crushing debt delays borrowers' life decisions, such as getting married, investing in the stock market, buying a house, or having children. Collectively, it's hampering the U.S. economy.&quot;</p> <p>You don't, however, have to be part of these statistics. Take back some of your financial freedom by making a call to your loan provider(s) to discuss refinance options that are right for you.</p> <h2>7. Get Started on a Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>After you've maxed out your retirement accounts, Dearing suggests starting a taxable investment portfolio. You can get started investing with just a few simple steps.</p> <p>To get set up, call one of the high-quality, low-fee money management companies, like Vanguard, Fidelity, or T. Rowe Price, tell them about yourself, and ask them to tell you what type of account or fund you need, and what minimum investment requirements apply. These companies, which are the gold standard in the financial services industry, are extremely knowledgeable and committed to serving their clients (who, in the case of Vanguard, are also their shareholders).</p> <p>&quot;Companies like this get you started with a comprehensive, diversified, low-cost fund that will serve you well as a beginning investor,&quot; says Dearing. &quot;Follow their recommendations and you won't go wrong.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Set Savings Goals for Your Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>Once you have your taxable investment portfolio established, set goals &mdash; $10,000, then $25,000 and, eventually, $100,000.</p> <p>&quot;When you are just starting out, choose one or two tax-advantaged funds, like the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF or the Vanguard Small Cap Index ETF, or similar index funds,&quot; Dearing suggests. &quot;These passively managed funds do a minimum amount of buying and selling &mdash; what the industry calls 'churning' &mdash; which translates into significantly less taxable investment income for you to deal with each year. They also tend to outperform most actively managed mutual funds over time.&quot;</p> <p>Revisiting the goal aspect of this equation, it helps to have a contribution target in place so you have a solid idea of what you're trying to achieve. Likewise, make sure that it's a goal that you <em>can</em> achieve. $10,000 may take a while to reach, but you can do it. If that goal is too steep for you right now, start smaller. There's no harm in that. The most important part of this is that you set the bar just high enough to accomplish it and be motivated by your success to continuing striving further.</p> <p><em>Do you have additional suggestions on money moves to make before investing? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-weirdest-etfs-you-can-buy">The 10 Weirdest ETFs You Can Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-financial-news-sites-for-investors-in-a-hurry">The 6 Best Financial News Sites for Investors in a Hurry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice emergency funds health savings account money moves Paying Off Debt portfolio retirement savings stock market student loans Wed, 17 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1771628 at http://www.wisebread.com With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_phone_93826397.jpg" alt="Woman using micro-investing and getting her phone to pay her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Approximately two-thirds of Millennials do not have any money invested in the stock market due to concerns about risk, putting them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to retirement. Without regular returns and compound interest, young professionals will need to sock away a much larger amount of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">money to retire</a>.</p> <p>But new, micro-investing apps can help Millennials dip their toes into the stock market. Because the invested amounts are small, and the apps make investing accessible, young adults are more likely to start contributing money and earning returns.</p> <h2>What Is Micro-Investing?</h2> <p>Micro-investing, where users invest tiny amounts of money on a regular basis, allows people to start investing with relatively small sums. Some brokerages have investment minimums as high as $1,000; for those just starting out or battling debt, coming up with that first $1,000 can be overwhelming.</p> <p>With micro-investing, your account is linked to your debit card or bank account. Every time you make a purchase, such as your morning coffee, the apps round up the purchase and the difference is invested in stocks. While the amounts are negligible and you are likely not even going to notice the withdrawals from your account, small investments build over time and help you develop the habit of saving and investing.</p> <p>These innovative apps and platforms make investing simple and easy to do, even if you are new to financial management.</p> <h2>Acorns</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26166697&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Acorns</a>' name is derived from the saying &quot;From little acorns mighty oaks grow.&quot; Its goal is to empower people to build a large nest egg from small, regular investments. The app links to any credit card or debit card. When you make a purchase, the app rounds up and deposits your change into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There are different portfolios available depending on your risk tolerance, from conservative to aggressive. If you do not know where to begin, Acorns also provides recommendations based on your age and target retirement date. There are no minimum account balances or commission fees, but there is a monthly cost of $1 and a management fee of 0.5%.</p> <h2>Robin Hood</h2> <p><a href="https://www.robinhood.com/">Robin Hood</a> is one of the few apps that offers zero-commission stock trading. It features a simple and intuitive design and allows you to connect to your bank account and make recurring deposits. You can shop for specific stocks or sell shares directly from your phone. Each day, the menu will show you how much you have earned on the market. Once you are ready to withdrawal money, the funds are easily transferred to your bank with the touch of a button.</p> <h2>Stash</h2> <p><a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/">Stash</a> is one of the newest apps on the market. Their motto is if you have $5, two minutes, and a phone, you can be an investor. It is a tool that allows you to buy fractional shares, rather than having to pay the entire amount for a single share yourself. You can pick investments based on what is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">important to you</a>, such as clean energy or fair trade. Stash is free for the first three months, then charges $1 a month with no commissions.</p> <p>For Millennials spooked by the stock market and traditional stock market investments, micro-investing apps can be a useful tool to help them test the waters and get used to regular investing. These apps enable users to start investing with just small amounts, eliminating one of the main barriers to entering the stock market. With regular contributions and patience, over time, these small amounts can grow to substantial amounts of money.</p> <p><em>Are you a micro or macro investor?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier">3 Ways Technology Makes Personal Finances Easier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Technology fractional shares micro-investing millennials retirement savings rounding up spare change stock market Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Kat Tretina 1771547 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways Your Cash Rewards Can Make You Rich http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_70878579_LARGE.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit card rewards can be a nice way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">earn a free vacation</a> or extra cash. But you may not have considered using your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">cash back rewards</a> for more than just a little extra padding for your budget.</p> <h2>How Cash Back Rewards Can be Turned Into Wealth</h2> <p>By choosing cash back over points, miles, and other types of credit card rewards, it's possible to create a small nest egg that grows over time. The most competitive reward credit cards can offer as much as 2% cash back on all purchases, but the key to actually creating wealth from these rewards is <em>to save and invest your returns</em>, rather than spending it. Due to the nature of compounding interest, investing 2% of your discretionary income will grow over decades and result in more money than you might have thought possible. This is especially true if your rewards are deposited in a tax deferred retirement or education savings plan.</p> <p>Here are three reward credit cards that can help you to use your cash rewards toward investment and retirement savings.</p> <h2>Fidelity&reg; Rewards Visa Signature&reg; Card</h2> <p><img width="154" border="0" height="97" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/wisebread/cc/cardart/fidelityrewardsvisasig.jpg" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" /><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=124&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xcardbutton" target=" rel=" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=124&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname">Fidelity&reg; Rewards Visa Signature&reg; Card</a>&nbsp;offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases when your rewards are deposited in a qualifying account. For example, you can choose from a brokerage account, Fidelity&reg; Cash Management Account, 529 College Savings plan, or a retirement account. The idea is that the rewards are automatically placed in your investment account, so you don't have to do anything and you can't use the funds unless they are withdrawn. In addition, this card is part of the Visa Signature program which includes numerous travel and shopping discounts as well as a 24-hour complimentary concierge service. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=124&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Fidelity&reg; Rewards Visa Signature&reg; Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Upromise&reg; World MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><img width="154" border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" alt="" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/upromise-world-mastercard-061615.png" /><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=" http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=122&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcardbutton" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>One of the most reliable ways to become rich is to invest in your education. The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=122&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname">Upromise&reg; World MasterCard&reg;</a>&nbsp;allows you to do that by offering rewards that are deposited in a 529 college savings plan that offers tax free withdrawals. Many states offer these plans to help residents invest in college for themselves, their children, or someone else. This card offers 5% cash back on eligible online shopping made through Upromise.com as well as 2% cash back at department stores and movie theaters and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Other benefits include a complimentary monthly FICO credit score and a $100 cash back bonus after the first eligible purchase within 90 days of account opening. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=122&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Upromise&reg; World MasterCard&reg; today!</a></strong></p> <h2>BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card</h2> <p><img width="154" border="0" height="97" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/BoA_Cash_Rewards.jpg" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" target="_blank" title="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card" alt="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card " rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=106&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=106&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; credit card</a>&nbsp;rewards card offers 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% cash back on gas on a total of $2,500 in combined purchases of grocery, wholesale club, and gas purchases each quarter, with 1% cash back on all other purchases. Better yet, you receive a 10% customer relationship bonus on the cash back received if you redeem your rewards into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account. Further, you can even enroll in the Preferred Rewards program when you have an eligible Bank of America personal checking account and 3-month average combined balances of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America&reg; banking accounts. The Preferred Rewards program offers numerous benefits including a 25% rewards bonus instead of just 10%.</p> <p>Receive a $100 cash back bonus after using the card to make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. You also receive 12 months of interest free financing on new purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=106&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp; BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Tips for Using Your Credit Card to Save and Invest</h2> <p>As with any rewards credit card, these cards are best used by those who avoid interest charges by paying off each month's entire statement balance in full. Those who carry a balance should focus on paying off their debt as quickly as possible and using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">card with a lowest interest rate</a>, which typically isn't a rewards credit card. You will always end up paying more in interest than you earn in rewards if you chase rewards while leaving a balance on your card.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards">The 5 Best Secured Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Investment best credit cards Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:30:19 +0000 Jason Steele 1761687 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/74801987.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most effective ways a person can build wealth over the long term is by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" target="_blank">investing in stocks</a>.</p> <p>When you own a share of stock, you own a portion of a public company. And when those companies do well, investors make money. In fact, stocks are considered essential for those looking to save for retirement or achieve other long-term financial goals.</p> <p>It's possible to invest in groups of stocks through vehicles such as mutual funds or exchange traded funds. But you may also want to consider investing in shares of individual companies. There are more than 4,000 companies that are publicly traded on America's two largest stock exchanges.</p> <p>But how do you know if a stock is worth investing in? What makes a stock good or bad? Here are nine things to consider.</p> <h2>1. Price</h2> <p>The first and most obvious thing to look at with a stock is the price. How much will it cost to buy a share of this company?</p> <p>Now, it's important to note that prices should only be viewed in context. Many companies will &quot;split&quot; shares once they reach a certain level, thus reducing the price but increasing the number of shares available. Other companies never split, so a single share could go for several hundred dollars or more. But the price &mdash; especially when matched against historical prices &mdash; will determine how many shares you can purchase with the money you have. When you evaluate stocks, knowing the price of shares and their history will help you determine if you're getting a good value when buying.</p> <h2>2. Revenue Growth</h2> <p>Share prices generally only go up if a company is growing. And one of the few ways a company can grow is by increasing its revenue. Revenue is often referred to as the &quot;top line,&quot; and it's a major indicator of whether a company has been successful. It's important to not look at revenue in a vacuum. Instead, look at the increase or decrease in revenue from one quarter to the next and one year to the next. A positive trendline bodes well for the stock price, but if revenue is flat or declining, it's important to find out why before investing.</p> <h2>3. Earnings Per Share</h2> <p>How much money does the company have leftover at the end of each quarter? Take that figure, divide it by the number of shares it has sold, and you get the earnings per share number, or EPS. For example, if a company made $40 million in profits last year and has 24 million shares, the EPS is $1.66.</p> <p>EPS can be a driver of stock prices, as investors generally don't want to overpay for a stock. Generally, the higher the EPS, the better shape the company is in. But there is often debate about the best range for EPS, and companies can manipulate it by buying back shares, thus boosting EPS without actually increasing profits.</p> <h2>4. Dividend and Dividend Yield</h2> <p>Many companies will return a portion of their earnings to shareholders. Investors can get a small payment for every share they own, known as a dividend. Many healthy companies will issue good dividends each quarter and the revenue from this may outpace the interest you would get from a normal bank account. Thus, dividend stocks are popular among investors looking for additional income, as well as share growth.</p> <p>It's easy to search for companies with the highest dividends, and you can also search for dividend yield, which is the dividend divided by the share price. If a company has maintained or raised its dividend, that's a sign that it's on strong footing. A cut to dividends is often a bad sign.</p> <p>Some of the most well-regarded public companies have been designated as &quot;Dividend Aristocrats&quot; for distributing and increasing their dividend for at least 25 consecutive years.</p> <p>It's worth noting that many good companies do not distribute dividends because they prefer to invest the cash back into the business. (Amazon is one high-profile example.) And many companies, such as utilities, offer dividends because they can't offer great growth in share value.</p> <h2>5. Market Capitalization</h2> <p>Bigger is not always best, but if you are looking to invest in a stock that will give you steady growth without a lot of volatility, the largest companies are often your best bet. A company's market cap is essentially the value of all its shares. Companies with large market caps are often large and diversified enough to avoid being affected by a single piece of bad news. Think of behemoths like Procter &amp; Gamble, Coca-Cola, or ExxonMobil &mdash; good, solid companies that have offered decades of solid returns.</p> <h2>6. Historical Prices</h2> <p>All companies go through rough patches. But if you are investing for the long term, you need to do more than look at a single company earnings report or current price performance. Looking at five-year, 10-year, and even 15-year returns will give you a sense of whether a company can withstand tough stretches. Historical returns are not a guarantee of future performance, but can at minimum be illustrative.</p> <h2>7. Analyst Reports</h2> <p>Many brokerages and investment banks have a staff of research analysts that issue reports and recommendations about individual stocks. Often, these reports come with &quot;buy&quot; or &quot;sell&quot; ratings, based on the analysts' judgment of a company's share price and finances. It's important to note that analysts often disagree, so it's best not to rely on a single report before choosing whether to invest.</p> <h2>8. The Industry</h2> <p>It's usually important to examine not just a stock, but the industry that the company operates in. By doing this, you may get an understanding of whether a certain type of business or sector is struggling or doing well. For instance, when evaluating a company such as McDonald's, you'll want to look at the entire fast food and restaurant sector to gain an understanding of how Americans are eating out. Looking at a stock in this context will help you understand if there are positive or negative influences that may not be immediately reflected on a company's share price or balance sheet.</p> <h2>9. Major Economic Indicators</h2> <p>No matter how hard it tries, a company can't control every single thing that might impact business. The broader economy of the nation and the world can play an outsized role in the health of a company and its share performance. Things like consumer prices, the unemployment rate, or changes to interest rates can impact how a company is doing independent of its own business. While the stock market and economy are two separate things, they are very much linked. For the most part, when the economy is doing well, companies are doing well and share growth comes with that. Likewise, share prices can lag during slow economic times or times of economic uncertainty.</p> <p><em>Anything we've overlooked? What do you look at when you evaluate a stock?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">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/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-11-dividend-stocks">Stabilize Your Portfolio With These 11 Dividend Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</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/8-reasons-to-stay-calm-when-the-market-tanks">8 Reasons to Stay Calm When the Market Tanks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investments-that-usually-soar-during-the-summer">7 Investments That Usually Soar During the Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment balance sheet dividends earnings earnings per share Economy evaluating market capitalization shares stocks Fri, 12 Aug 2016 09:00:15 +0000 Tim Lemke 1770719 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_drawing_desk_98135205.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to buy her first stocks or funds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you're ready to start investing. That's great, because it's never too early. The sooner you start investing, the more you'll be able to take advantage of the power of compound interest. Here's how to get started.</p> <h2>Open an Account</h2> <p>In order to invest, you'll need an investment account at a broker such as TD Ameritrade, Schwab, Vanguard, or Fidelity. Prominently displayed on their sites, you'll find &quot;open an account&quot; buttons.</p> <p>After clicking, you'll have to decide whether to open a taxable account or a tax-advantaged account, such as an IRA. If your purpose for investing is to build a retirement nest egg, you'll probably want to open an IRA. Keep in mind, however, that IRAs have relatively low annual contribution maximums. If you want to invest more than $5,500 per year, a taxable account would be necessary.</p> <p>After entering some personal information, you'll need to fund the account, usually with an electronic transfer from your checking account.</p> <p>Of the brokers just mentioned, only TD Ameritrade has no minimum required amount for opening an account. The others require $1,000 to $2,500, although some allow you to open an account with less if you sign up for automatic monthly contributions. At Schwab, the monthly commitment is $100. Shop around to find a broker that best meets your needs.</p> <h2>Choose Your Investment Vehicle</h2> <p>There are two primary types of stock market investments &mdash; stocks and mutual funds.</p> <p>Buying individual stocks probably sounds like a fun way to get started with investing. There's something inherently appealing about the idea of owning a piece of some of the most famous companies in the world, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.</p> <p>However, while investing in stocks might be exciting, mutual funds have some advantages over stocks. When you buy the stock of one company, your money isn't diversified at all. The performance of your portfolio is completely dependent on the performance of that one company. If the company has a bad year, your portfolio will have a bad year.</p> <p>However, if you invest in 10 companies and one has a bad year, some of the other ones will likely have good years, which may more than offset the one company's losses. That's why making sure your portfolio is diversified is so important.</p> <p>In order to be adequately diversified, you would need to buy stock in many companies. But when you're starting out, you probably don't have all that much money to work with &mdash; which is why you may want to consider using a mutual fund.</p> <p>When you buy shares of a mutual fund, your money is inherently diversified. That's because a mutual fund is a pool of money from many investors that the fund manager invests in many companies (there are also bond funds, real estate funds, etc.). Buying a single share of a mutual fund gives you instant diversification.</p> <h2>Decide What to Invest In</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to invest for your retirement is to choose a target-date mutual fund. With such funds, you just choose the one with the year of your intended retirement in its name (Fidelity Freedom 2040, for example, or Schwab Target 2035). The fund will be designed in a way that the fund manager believes is appropriate for someone with your investment time horizon.</p> <p>If you're 30 years old and plan to retire when you're 70, you would choose a 2055 fund (most target-date funds are offered in five-year intervals, so you choose the one that's closest to the year of your intended retirement). Such a fund would likely be mostly invested in stocks and a little bit in bonds. As you get older, it will automatically change that investment mix to become appropriately more conservative.</p> <p>Many mutual fund companies offer such funds. Here are the target-date offerings from <a href="http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/investment/mutual_funds/mutual_fund_portfolio/target_funds">Schwab</a>, <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/fidelity-fund-portfolios/freedom-funds">Fidelity</a>, and <a href="https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/target-retirement/#/">Vanguard</a>. TD Ameritrade doesn't have its own mutual funds, but offers target-date funds from several mutual fund companies.</p> <p>Look for no-transaction-fee (NTF) funds, which means there will not be a fee associated with buying the fund, and be sure to check the fund's minimum required investment amount.</p> <h2>Invest</h2> <p>Now you're ready for action. After logging onto your account, look for a button that says &quot;trade&quot; or &quot;buy and sell.&quot; You buy or sell mutual funds in one place, and stocks in another.</p> <p>To buy a mutual fund, you'll need to look up and then enter its &quot;ticker&quot; symbol &mdash; the four- or five-letter abbreviation for the fund's name. Then enter the amount you'd like to invest and click &quot;buy.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, there's more to know about investing and there are many different ways to invest. But this simple tutorial will get you started.</p> <p>Welcome to the world of investing.</p> <p><em>Have you gotten started investing? What are you waiting for?</em></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/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to 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/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-debate-between-buy-and-hold-vs-timing-the-market">The Debate Between Buy and Hold vs Timing The Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Fidelity first time mutual funds new investors schwab stock market stocks target-date funds vanguard Wed, 10 Aug 2016 09:30:35 +0000 Matt Bell 1767152 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking_laptop_88870639.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to tell if her 401K is good or bad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you work for a company, there's a good chance that your employer offers a 401K plan. (Some organizations offer 403b plans, which operate similarly.) These funds give you the chance to invest in a series of mutual funds and other investments, with the added benefit that any money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income.</p> <p>Not all 401K plans are the same, however, and there is a wide range in the amount of expenses and the quality of investments offered.</p> <p>It's not easy to immediately know if your 401K plan is a good one, and whether it's worth putting money into. But here are some things to examine.</p> <h2>Do You Get a Company Match?</h2> <p>Arguably the most positive aspect of a 401K plan is the ability of companies to match a certain percentage of employee contributions. Typically, a company might agree to contribute up to 5% of a worker's earnings, if the worker does the same. This match is essentially free money, so it usually makes participating in the 401K plan a no-brainer, even when the plan is otherwise subpar.</p> <p>If your company does not <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both" target="_blank">contribute to your 401K plan</a> or offer a match, you'll want to examine other characteristics of the plan to determine whether it's worth it to contribute. You may find that contributing to a traditional or Roth IRA is a better alternative.</p> <h2>Examine the Investment Options</h2> <p>A 401K plan is only as good as the investment options in them. There's no perfect menu, but a strong plan is anchored by one or two mutual funds that mirror the broader stock market. These are called &quot;index&quot; funds, because they are designed to mirror the performance of a specific index, such as the S&amp;P 500. A good plan will also have some large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap funds, and the ability to access international and real estate investments. Older investors will want to see a selection of quality bond funds.</p> <p>You'll want to look for a diverse array of investments, but there is a point at which more options aren't necessarily better.</p> <p>&quot;More funds can just confuse you,&quot; said Ralph Grauso, founder of ASC Financial. &quot;You don't need three different types of large-cap growth funds.&quot;</p> <h2>Check the Fees</h2> <p>One of the most common criticisms of 401K plans is that they often contain funds with high expenses. The best 401K plans should offer access to the lowest cost funds available.</p> <p>Management fees, plan operating expenses, and other costs can take a chunk out of your returns without you even being aware. Over time, that can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in lost earnings. A survey by AARP noted that 80% of 401K plan participants don't know what they are paying in fees. Most information on fees is available by reading plan and fund documents, but you may still have to do some digging.</p> <p>&quot;If you're investing for 30 years or more, those fees are going to take a huge chunk of your money,&quot; Grauso said.</p> <p>Grauso said it's best to find funds with expense ratios of less than 1%. Index funds are particularly low in cost because they are not actively managed, and often perform better than managed funds anyway, he said. Look for low-cost index funds from a broker such as Vanguard, and stay away from niche funds with high costs.</p> <h2>Study the Fund Performance</h2> <p>Ultimately, you want to put your money in funds that will generate a nice return and help you develop a sizable nest egg. Predicting future performance is not possible, but you can get a good sense of the quality of a fund by examining its long-term performance.</p> <p>Look at five-year and 10-year returns, and compare them to a comparable benchmark. (For example, a large-cap fund should be compared to a large-cap index.) It's also worth comparing funds to the overall performance of the stock market and the S&amp;P 500. If the fund has historically generated returns that are in line with or better than the overall stock market &mdash; especially after fees are taken into account &mdash; that's a good sign. Stay away from funds that appear to underperform the market and their respective benchmarks.</p> <h2>Who Is the Custodian?</h2> <p>When employers set up 401K plans, they partner with a company that actually manages the plans and many of the investments. Usually, it's with a brokerage firm such as Fidelity, Vanguard, or Charles Schwab.</p> <p>The best 401K plans will be managed by companies who have the expertise and ability to offer quality investment options with low fees, easy online account access, and research. It is worth noting that these custodians manage not only the plans, but many of the mutual funds in them, and that is often viewed as a conflict of interest. If it seems like the custodian is favoring their own underperforming plan in favor of a better plan from another company, that's a bad sign.</p> <h2>Look for Institutional Class Shares</h2> <p>There are many high-quality mutual funds that are unavailable to average investors unless they can meet very high account minimums. But, investors can often access these funds through their 401K plans, because companies can guarantee a sizable combined investment from their employees. Mutual fund companies will often waive fees and other expenses if certain investment levels are met. These funds are often advertised as &quot;institutional class,&quot; or &quot;premium class,&quot; and usually it translates into very low-cost funds for the investor. Fidelity's 500 Index Fund Premium class, for instance, has an expense ratio of just .045%.</p> <h2>Is There a Self-Directed Option?</h2> <p>A typical 401K plan will allow investors to put their money in any of about a dozen mutual funds. But some will offer the ability for account holders to take a more active role, through self-directed brokerage accounts. This is a good option for those wishing to have more direct control over their investing, though evidence is mixed on whether this actually results in higher returns for the investor.</p> <h2>Is It Wrapped in an Annuity?</h2> <p>Many 401K plans have an annuity option, in which earnings are disbursed in the form of monthly payments. This is a nice option to have, as it ensures a steady stream of income in retirement. However, some plans are &quot;wrapped&quot; in an annuity contract that is often expensive and with minimal benefit to the investor.</p> <p><em>How good is your 401K?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">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/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</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-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to 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/is-paying-off-your-mortgage-early-costing-you-money">Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Costing You Money?</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-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Advisor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-hidden-cost-sapping-your-retirement-savings">Is This Hidden Cost Sapping Your Retirement Savings?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement index funds investing portfolio retirement stocks Fri, 05 Aug 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1764992 at http://www.wisebread.com Insider Trading Is a Lot More Common Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_counting_cash_17235688.jpg" alt="Man learning what insider trading is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've heard the term. You've seen the headlines involving celebrities like <a href="http://coveringbusiness.com/2012/05/15/what-martha-stewart-did-wrong/">Martha Stewart</a> and <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/pro-golfer-phil-mickelson-made-1-million-from-insider-trading-w207122">Phil Mickelson</a>. It has also been a focus for movies like <em>Wall Street</em> and <em>Boiler Room</em>. But do you actually know what insider trading is, and why it is illegal? Here is a breakdown of the practice that can land people in jail, and ruin careers.</p> <h2>What Exactly Is Insider Trading?</h2> <p>To be honest, it's not something that is a black or white issue. If you Google the term, you will get a result that is something like this:</p> <p>&quot;The illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one's own advantage through having access to confidential information.&quot;</p> <p>That all seems cut and dry, until you dig into a few of the terms.</p> <p>Now, an insider can be anyone who's ownership of the company stock is greater than 10% of the firm's equity, and/or someone who has access to information about the company that has not been made public.</p> <p>The problem comes with the legality of how and when you use that information. There is no law against an insider buying and selling shares of the firm that he or she works for (that would be ridiculous, and incredibly prohibitive, if you think about it). As long as these transactions are logged with the Securities and Exchange Commission (more commonly known as the SEC, who regulates trades and monitors for illegal activity), it's completely fine.</p> <p>However, once an insider takes undisclosed, or secret, information that he or she has and uses it for monetary gain, then it becomes an illegal activity. And in this instance, an insider is not just a person working directly for that company. It can be a spouse, a relative, a friend, or a colleague.</p> <p>One of the best ways to illustrate this is from the movie <em>Wall Street</em>. Bud Fox is a young stockbroker, and his father works for Bluestar Airlines. During a casual conversation, Bud's father reveals some information about the company that has not been made public. Bud gives this information to the infamous Gordon Gekko, who buys stock in the company, and makes a sizable profit when the shares rise in value.</p> <p>If you want another example, imagine you are chatting with a friend who works at a big company that is currently involved in a lawsuit. Your friend tells you that the lawsuit is going to be settled out of court, and the company will be fine. You go and buy shares in that company, and your shares rise when the lawsuit settlement is announced. Congratulations, both you and your friend are now involved in an illegal insider trading deal.</p> <p>This, in a nutshell, is illegal insider trading. Using undisclosed, insider information to take advantage of stocks and make money. However, it is <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-difference-between-a-hot-day-trading-tip-and-i.html">not the same as a <em>hot tip</em></a>, and that can muddy the waters a little. If you hear, through rumors or gossip, that a company like Apple or Google is going to have a great quarter, and you buy shares, you are not breaking the law. This tip has not come directly to you from an insider, and is not based on undisclosed information. It's simply a tip, like the Internet reporting that &quot;More Spirit is a favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.&quot;</p> <h2>Why Is Insider Trading Illegal?</h2> <p>This has been debated among professionals in the industry for decades. After all&hellip;who really loses from insider trading? Someone who works at the company gives a friend some information, they buy shares, the shares go up, and everyone makes money. There's no specific loser in this scenario. That money was not stolen. It was created by the stock market.</p> <p>However, insider trading creates a &quot;rigged game.&quot; If corporate insiders use the information they have to make money, then it would lead to a scenario in which only a chosen few would make most of the profits from the stock market. This would lead to a lot of people running away from the markets, because they know they will not be able to make any money, and the entire system would come crashing down.</p> <p>Basically, if insider trading were made legal, the stock market would experience a catastrophic meltdown, and businesses worldwide would be ruined.</p> <p>Think of it like a casino. If you knew that some people at the Craps table were allowed to a play with loaded dice, would you bother taking a turn?</p> <h2>How Do You Know if You're Doing It?</h2> <p>Here's the part you need to be aware of; you do not want to end up like Martha Stewart.</p> <p>The first question to ask yourself is, &quot;Does this feel right?&quot; Really, we all know when we're doing something a little shady, and although it's very easy to justify our actions, we know when something is wrong. However, if your conscience is clear, but you still want to make sure you're doing the right thing, consider the following points:</p> <ul> <li>If you are acting on information that has not been made public, you are almost certainly breaking the law. Don't do it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you are passing on undisclosed information to someone, and they use it to make money, you are both guilty of insider trading.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you receive a tip from someone, check to see if it is based on information that has been made public. If it hasn't, you could be in trouble.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you know someone who works at a company you want to invest in, do not ask a lot of questions. You may inadvertently get them to reveal insider information, and then you will both be in a lot of trouble.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you are worried about the trade, don't do it. Or, report it to the SEC.</li> </ul> <p><em>Have you ever been tempted to use insider information to score a win on the stock market?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think">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/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays 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-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/6-ways-greed-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Greed Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment crime gordon gekko greed illegal insider knowledge insider trading martha stewart phil mickelson stock market Wed, 03 Aug 2016 09:30:44 +0000 Paul Michael 1757853 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_reading_newspaper_75921495.jpg" alt="Learning if mutual funds are better than ETFs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With a market of over $30 trillion, mutual funds are some of the most popular investments. But the $3 trillion ETF (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-weirdest-etfs-you-can-buy" target="_blank">Exchange Traded Fund</a>) market is catching up quickly. So, what <em>are </em>ETFs? How do they differ from mutual funds? And are they right for you? Here's what you need to know:</p> <h2>Mutual Funds 101</h2> <p>When you invest in an individual stock, the success of your investment is completely dependent upon the success of that one company. But when you invest in a mutual fund, your money is diversified. It's pooled with many other investors' money and then invested in many companies, based on the design of the fund or the decisions of the fund manager.</p> <p>It's the same with bonds and bond funds, or real estate and real estate funds.</p> <p>Think of an exchange-traded fund as a close cousin of a mutual fund. It, too, manages a pool of money from many investors, spreading it among many investments. But there are some very important differences between ETFs and mutual funds.</p> <h3>ETFs Are Priced Throughout the Day</h3> <p>When you enter an order to purchase a mutual fund, the order will fill at the end of the day, after the value of all of its underlying assets are tallied.</p> <p>ETFs, on the other hand, can be bought and sold throughout the day like stocks. When you enter an order to purchase an ETF, your order will typically be filled very soon after entering the order at a price very close to the price you saw when you placed the order.</p> <p>That's one of the main reasons why ETFs were created. On October 19, 1987, a day now known as &quot;Black Monday,&quot; the U.S. stock market fell by nearly 23%. Mutual fund investors who wanted to sell their shares couldn't until all the damage had been done. Three years later, the first ETF was launched, giving investors all of the diversifying benefits of a mutual fund but the flexibility to buy or sell throughout the trading day.</p> <h3>ETFs Have Lower Expenses</h3> <p>Exchange-traded funds tend to have lower operating expenses than mutual funds, and that lower cost structure is passed along to investors in the form of lower expense ratios. For example, Vanguard's S&amp;P 500 index <em>mutual fund</em> (ticker symbol VFINX) has an expense ratio of .16%. If you invest $1,000 in the fund, $1.60 will go toward fund expenses. That's already very low. However, if you invest in Vanguard's S&amp;P 500 <em>exchange-traded fund</em> (ticker symbol VOO), you'll pay an even lower expense ratio of .05% &mdash; or 50 cents per $1,000 invested.</p> <h3>ETFs Have Lower Minimums</h3> <p>Many mutual funds have minimum initial investment amount requirements. Common amounts range from $250 to $3,000, but some funds require as much as $10,000.</p> <p>With ETFs, the minimum investment amount required is the cost of one share. If you wanted to invest in Vanguard's VFINX mutual fund, you'd need to come up with at least $3,000 for your initial investment. However, getting started with what, in essence, is the ETF version of the same fund, VOO, would cost only about $190 &mdash; the price of one share when this article was written.</p> <h2>Which Is Better?</h2> <p>There are three main factors that can help you decide whether to go with a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund.</p> <h3>Availability</h3> <p>You may not have a choice. Some 401K plans don't yet include ETFs in the investment options they make available to participants. If that's true with your workplace plan, you'll have to go with one or more of the available mutual funds.</p> <h3>Strategy</h3> <p>While the ETF universe is growing rapidly, there are still many more mutual funds. So, it could be that the investment strategy you're following calls for the use of a particular mutual fund and there are no suitable ETF substitutes.</p> <h3>Cost</h3> <p>If you're following an investment strategy that calls for the use of a particular fund that's available as a mutual fund or an ETF, check on each one's expense ratio. It's very likely that the ETF will cost less, making it the better choice.</p> <h2>One Last Consideration</h2> <p>Some critics say ETFs can get investors in trouble by encouraging more trading. They argue that because the funds can be bought and sold throughout the day, they'll tempt otherwise conservative investors to take undue risk and turn them into roll-the-dice day-traders.</p> <p>But that's like arguing that because <em>some </em>people get into car accidents, <em>no one </em>should be allowed to drive. If you follow the rules of the road for wise investing &mdash; if you're a long-term investor, not a short-term trader &mdash; ETFs can be a very efficient, cost-effective investment vehicle.</p> <p><em>So, which is it for you? Mutual fund or ETF?</em></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/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-weirdest-etfs-you-can-buy">The 10 Weirdest ETFs You Can Buy</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-ways-etfs-can-put-more-money-in-your-pocket-than-mutual-funds">8 Ways ETFs Can Put More Money in Your Pocket Than Mutual Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets</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 bonds commodities comparisons ETFs exchange traded funds mutual funds portfolio stock market Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:30:36 +0000 Matt Bell 1757851 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_sunset_79384959.jpg" alt="Woman making moves after conquering debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations &mdash; you're debt free! Now what?</p> <p>The road to debt elimination was long and treacherous, but just because the black cloud of lingering bills is no longer hanging over your head, that doesn't mean your financial house is in order. It's in better shape, sure, but you've still got a ways to go. To continue working toward that goal, here are a few smart moves you should make as soon as you get out of the red:</p> <h2>1. Rearrange and Trim Your Budget</h2> <p>Your top priority when getting out of debt is to not get back into debt. To accomplish that, you'll need to make changes to your spending and savings habits. You'll also need to revisit your budget and rearrange your priorities. Now that you don't have credit card or loan payments bleeding you dry every month, you'll have more disposable income &mdash; and you need to decide what you'll do with it to improve your quality of life and set yourself up for the future. Cut out anything that's unnecessary: Maybe it's the cable that you don't watch much of, the gym membership you don't use, or subscriptions to services you can live without. Whatever is it, cut the fat and don't look back.</p> <h2>2. Get Back to Building Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you've been digging yourself out of a negative-money pit, chances are you don't have much of an emergency fund &mdash; and that needs to change ASAP. Building an emergency fund is the best way to avoid a potential debt scenario in the future. You'll be able to draw from that account to pay off life's little surprises in full, so you're not constantly treading water every time something unexpected happens.</p> <p>&quot;I recommend having an emergency fund saved up equal to six months' worth of expenses,&quot; says financial planner Russell Robertson of Alidade Wealth Partners in Atlanta, GA. &quot;This will give you time to get back on your feet if something unforeseen happens without completely disrupting everything in your life.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Check in on Your Credit Situation</h2> <p>Brace yourself. If you've been battling debt for an extended period of time &mdash; especially if you've only being sending in minimum payments &mdash; your credit situation is likely less than ideal. The good news, however, is that you're in the clear now (debt-wise, anyway), and this is the best time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent?ref=internal">start rebuilding your credit</a>.</p> <p>Having a solid credit score puts you in a strong position when you need to finance a purchase, like a house or car, or apply for a new line of credit. It's always a good idea to know where you stand with credit and take steps to improve it.</p> <h2>4. Max Out Your Matching-Dollar Opportunities for Retirement</h2> <p>Like your emergency fund, contributions to your 401K and IRA were probably low (or perhaps even nonexistent) while you concentrated on paying down your debt. With more funds freed up now, it's important to start concentrating on your future &mdash; especially your retirement goals &mdash; and that includes maxing out dollar-matching opportunities to take full advantage of free money.</p> <p>&quot;401K plans in 2016 have a contribution limit of $18,000 a year, plus an extra $6,000 for people over 50, so with no debt to pay, you might have the opportunity to reach that limit now,&quot; says financial planner and investment adviser Jaycob Arbogast of Arbogast Advisers. &quot;Similarly, an IRA has a $5,500 limit for people under 50 and a $6,500 limit for people 50-plus, so maxing out those plans might be a good idea too. For example, with a 6% return, adding an extra $5,000 each year to your retirement savings from age 50 to 60 could add an additional $65,000 to your retirement savings. That's a great boost that someone in debt might not be able to maintain.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Start Investing With Long-Term Returns in Mind</h2> <p>Personally, I recommend investing in real estate, but what you invest in is up to you, so long as you're investing. Outside of your emergency fund, your money should never sit in a savings account earning fractions of pennies. Instead, you'll be better off putting that money in places that promise bigger returns over the long term, so you can meet your savings goals sooner and continue making more investments for (hopefully) a more prosperous life.</p> <p>Alternatively, Robertson recommends the stock market.</p> <p>&quot;If your budget still has room for more saving, put that money to work by investing in the markets,&quot; he advises. &quot;Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a great way to get diversified, low-cost exposure, and many online brokerages will offer commission-free ETF options as well.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Put Money Back Into the Investments You Already Have &mdash; Like Your Home</h2> <p>For many people, their homes are their biggest investments. To ensure that investment pays off the way you want and need it to, you have to maintain it. Thus, when you've paid off your debt, start thinking about home improvement projects that will increase value. Just be careful that you're not taking on projects that cost more than the house is worth. The last thing you need is to dump your savings into your home if the project doesn't enhance the house enough to make it worthwhile in the long run.</p> <h2>7. Open a Money Market Account for Higher Interest on Savings</h2> <p>If you have a substantial amount of savings in your emergency fund &mdash; and you should &mdash; that money shouldn't be in a traditional savings account. Contact your bank, or research others, to find savings accounts that offer the best interest rates, like money market accounts or high yield savings. Bottom line, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be getting the most bank for your buck, especially where savings are concerned.</p> <p>Robertson agrees, and in this particular case, rescinds his recommendation to invest in stocks.</p> <p>&quot;If there is something specific you are saving up for &mdash; a celebratory trip to Europe? A wedding? &mdash; within the next two to three years, I would recommend keeping that money out of the stock market,&quot; he says. &quot;Instead, consider a money market account or CD from an online bank. In many cases you can get close to 1% interest right now on cash that is still guaranteed up to FDIC limits (currently $250,000). In fact, this is a good idea for that emergency fund as well &mdash; something that earns interest and is separate from your everyday checking account.&quot;</p> <p><em>What else should the newly debt-free do with their money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</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/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">401K or IRA? You Need Both</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Investment 401k advice credit score emergency funds ETFs home improvements IRA money moves retirement stock market Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:00:17 +0000 Mikey Rox 1752364 at http://www.wisebread.com 401K or IRA? You Need Both http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/401k-or-ira-you-need-both" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IRA_cash_401k_27036895.jpg" alt="Here&#039;s why you need a 401K and a Roth IRA" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are two primary tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. You could contribute to a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401K plan, or open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).</p> <p>But which one should you use? In some cases, the answer may be &quot;both.&quot; Here are three considerations as you decide which plan(s) works for you:</p> <h2>1. Does Your Employer Provide Matching Money?</h2> <p>If your employer offers a 401K plan and matches some of the money you contribute, start your retirement savings there. That's the easiest money you'll ever make.</p> <p>Under a typical arrangement, your employer may contribute 50 cents to one dollar for every dollar you contribute, up to 6% of your salary. Even at the low end, that's a guaranteed 50% return on your money. So, at very least, contribute the full amount that's eligible to be matched.</p> <p>At that point, you'll probably have an important decision to make. You very likely need to contribute more than 6% of your salary in order to save enough for retirement. (Do you know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">how much <em>you </em>should save</a>?)</p> <p>If so, should you simply contribute more to your workplace plan? Or, would you be better off investing those additional dollars through an IRA? Questions two and three will help you decide.</p> <h2>2. Does Your Plan Have What You Need?</h2> <p>Does your workplace plan offer the right investment choices in order for you to follow your strategy of choice? This is especially important if your employer doesn't match contributions, since it means selecting low-cost investments likely to generate strong returns is even more important.</p> <p>If you're keeping it simple by using a target-date fund, it <em>may</em> be fine to use your 401K exclusively for your retirement savings.</p> <p>But what if you're following a more involved strategy &mdash; one that includes the use of a gold fund, for example &mdash; but your 401K plan doesn't offer the necessary investment choices?</p> <p>This would be one good reason make use of an IRA, where you'll have access to a wide range of investment options.</p> <h2>3. How Much Do the Investments in Your Plan Cost?</h2> <p>Even if you're keeping things simple by using a target-date fund offered through your 401K, check on that fund's fees. In particular, find out what its <em>expense ratio</em> is. That's the percentage of the fund's assets deducted each year to cover fund expenses, such as management and administrative costs. If your fund has an expense ratio of .5%, that means for every $1,000 you have invested, $5 is going toward these expenses.</p> <p>Expense ratios vary quite a bit from fund to fund. For example, Vanguard's target-date fund for people planning to retire in 2050 charges just .16%, whereas American Funds' 2050 target-date fund charges .76%.</p> <p>That may not sound like a big deal, but let's say you now have $25,000 in your 401K plan, contribute $500 per month, and earn an average annual return of 7% before expenses, no matter which fund you choose.</p> <p>After 35 years, if you had used the fund charging .16%, you'd end up with more than $1,080,000. If you had used the fund charging .76%, you'd end up with about $150,000 less.</p> <p>So, if the type of fund you'd like to invest in is available for a lower cost outside your 401K plan, that would be another reason to consider an IRA.</p> <h2>Final Factors</h2> <p>Keep in mind that IRA annual contribution limits are much lower than 401K plan limits &mdash; $5,500 vs. $18,000 (or $6,500 versus $24,000 for people age 50 and older). If you contribute 6% of your salary to your 401K in order to take full advantage of your employer's match and then max out an IRA, it's possible you'll still need to invest more. So, head back to your 401K plan and finish out your retirement plan investing there.</p> <p>Also, while a high income will not make you ineligible for your employer's 401K plan, there <em>are&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-announces-2016-pension-plan-limitations-401-k-contribution-limit-remains-unchanged-at-18-000-for-2016">income-based eligibility restrictions for IRAs</a>.</p> <p>There's much to be said for simplicity, but depending on how you answered the questions above, using your workplace plan <em>and </em>an IRA may turn out to be more profitable. Yes, it'll involve a little more work than investing in your workplace plan alone. But being able to follow your strategy of choice and avail yourself of investments with lower fees could pay significant dividends down the road.</p> <p><em>So, which is it for you? 401K or IRA?</em></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/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</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/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different">403B vs. 401K: How Are They Different?</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/three-easy-steps-to-take-for-a-better-401k">3 Easy Steps to Take for a Better 401k</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401k contributions employer matching individual retirement account IRA Thu, 07 Jul 2016 09:01:07 +0000 Matt Bell 1746129 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons to Stay Away From Penny Stocks http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-stay-away-from-penny-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-to-stay-away-from-penny-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/penny_stock_investment_407668.jpg" alt="Learning reasons to stay away from penny stocks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Penny stocks are inexpensive equities trading for as little as pennies per share. Because they do not meet rigorous financial reporting requirements, you won't find these stocks listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. Instead, they're traded on the over-the-counter market rather than the stock exchanges where more reputable stocks are found. You've probably heard stories about people getting rich from penny stocks, but consider these reasons to stay away. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all" target="_blank">Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All?</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Don't Know What You Are Buying</h2> <p>When I look at buying something that is really cheap, my first question is, &quot;Why is that so inexpensive?&quot; Most penny stock is in companies with few or no assets. It's also hard to know what you are getting, since the financial reporting requirements are less rigorous than for other stocks. Without audited financial reports, it is easy to be misled as an investor and buy stock in a company that is basically worthless.</p> <h2>2. Penny Stocks Can Be Difficult to Sell</h2> <p>A big consideration for any investment is your exit strategy &mdash; how will you get your cash out? Since penny stocks are not traded on stock exchanges, it can be difficult to find a buyer when you want to sell. There are just not that many investors looking for stock in companies with low asset value and less than standard financial documentation.</p> <h2>3. Penny Stock Scams and Fraud</h2> <p>Penny stocks are often associated with scams and &quot;pump and dump&quot; schemes. Some penny stock investors will buy lots of shares of worthless stock, promote it through mass email as the next &quot;hot stock,&quot; and then sell it when the stock price peaks. The stock price then goes back down and everyone who thought they were buying a hot stock is left with a loss and a stock that is hard to sell.</p> <h2>4. Like Day Trading, But Worse</h2> <p>Many people who invest in penny stocks are not investing based on the value of the business, but are trying to make money from the volatility of penny stocks &mdash; buying a stock when the price is moving up, and selling it within a few days before the price goes back down. But you know that trying to time the market is always risky. Doing this with penny stocks is even riskier than with other assets, since limited financial information is available.</p> <h2>5. You Will Likely Lose Money</h2> <p>Since penny stock companies have low asset value, there is significant risk that the company could go bankrupt and leave you with worthless stock. A buy and hold strategy for penny stocks may leave you with zero value instead of growth in the stock price. Even if you don't plan to hold a penny stock for long, you are most likely to notice a penny stock while it is &quot;hot,&quot; meaning you are buying near the peak price and will probably lose money by the time you can sell it.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been burned playing with penny stocks?</em></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/5-reasons-to-stay-away-from-penny-stocks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/womanhood-microscopic-and-other-hot-stock-tips">Womanhood microscopic and other hot stock tips</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-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment day trading fraud losing money over the counter penny stocks scams stock market Mon, 04 Jul 2016 10:00:04 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1743167 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Stocks Every Recent Grad Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-every-recent-grad-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-stocks-every-recent-grad-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_grad_happy_20845110.jpg" alt="Woman buying stocks every recent grad should own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're just fresh out of college, you may be broke and not yet in a position to invest. But if you find a little extra cash, or are fortunate enough to be gifted some stock as a graduation gift, there are a number of great options that have a great track record of solid performance.</p> <p>These are stocks that have rarely let investors down over the course of decades, and they often pay great dividends, too.</p> <p>If there's a list of stocks that recent grads should consider owning, these 10 should be included.</p> <h2>Microsoft [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/msft">Nasdaq: MSFT</a>]</h2> <p>Bill Gates' old company made headlines recently when it bought the professional networking site LinkedIn. It's now a massively diverse tech firm with PCs, tablets and phones, software, and a popular video game system.</p> <h2>Coca-Cola [<a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=6550">NYSE: KO</a>]</h2> <p>Yes, we know that America is supposed to be moving away from sugary drinks. But this company has managed to sell a ton of Coke while diversifying its product line to include everything from Dasani water, to Powerade and Honest Tea. Coca-Cola shares have been in positive territory for eight straight years, and with a market cap of nearly $200 billion, it's likely a long-term winner.</p> <h2>Apple [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/aapl">Nasdaq: AAPL</a>]</h2> <p>Shares of this technology company have dipped about 20% in the last year, but that's all the more reason to consider buying now. This is still one of the largest, most influential and inventive companies out there. Chances are, if you are a recent college grad, you use Apple products. So go with what you know, and reap the financial rewards. (Disclosure: I own some shares of Apple.)</p> <h2>Facebook [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/fb">Nasdaq: FB</a>]</h2> <p>Okay, full disclosure: I bought some shares of Facebook stock a while back, and I have no complaints. Shares are up more than 40% in the last year, as the company continues to bust through earnings predictions. Facebook has 1.65 billion active users, and the company could vault to new heights with recent investments into virtual reality. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money" target="_blank">Social media</a> may be a fad, but Facebook will be here to stay.</p> <h2>Procter and Gamble [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=PG">NYSE: PG</a>]</h2> <p>Do you wash your clothes and your dishes? Do you brush your teeth? Do you use paper towels? P&amp;G sells products that people all over the world use every day. This is one of those stocks you can practically &quot;set and forget&quot; and see a very solid return nearly every year. A dividend yield of more than 3% doesn't hurt, either.</p> <h2>AT&amp;T [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=T">NYSE: T</a>]</h2> <p>Admittedly, this is not the most exciting stock in the universe. But it's reliable, with a good dividend and not much volatility. AT&amp;T recently hit a 52-week high amid reports that it's bidding for some of Yahoo's assets. But any share growth is a bonus for this company that's now dishing out a 4.8% dividend yield. (Disclosure: I own shares of AT&amp;T, gifted to me in the 1990s!)</p> <h2>Johnson &amp; Johnson [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=JNJ">NYSE: JNJ</a>]</h2> <p>Like P&amp;G, Johnson &amp; Johnson is a dividend aristocrat, meaning that it has paid out and increased its dividend every year for 25 straight years. This is a big company that's neck deep in the growing health care sector, and it sells a lot of products, including shampoo, soap, and hand lotion, that people use all the time. JNJ shares are up 18% this year, and has had just 13 down years since 1975. A 2.7% dividend yield is also a selling point.</p> <h2>Wal-Mart [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WMT">NYSE: WMT</a>]</h2> <p>When you have revenue approaching half a trillion dollars (yes, trillion with a &quot;t&quot;), you are a company worth investing in. Wal-Mart does well when the economy is doing well and folks are spending money. Wal-Mart does well in slow economic times, when shoppers are looking for low prices. There is some concern about the long-term future of brick-and-mortar retail, but Wal-Mart right now has more than four times the revenue of Amazon.</p> <h2>Sysco Foods [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SYY">NYSE: SYY</a>]</h2> <p>If you've ever eaten at a restaurant, you've probably gotten food from Sysco. This is another dividend aristocrat that has seen shares rise 19% in 2016, while boasting a healthy dividend yield of 2.5%. It's been one of the most reliable stocks for decades, and people aren't going to stop eating at restaurants anytime soon.</p> <h2>Amazon [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/amzn">Nasdaq: AMZN</a>]</h2> <p>The world's top online retailer can be frustrating, because founder and owner Jeff Bezos has always focused more on growing his company than worrying about profitability. Some shareholders got frustrated with Amazon and left last year, but now shares are up over $700, nearing an all-time high. In addition to massive online sales revenue, Amazon has made a killing from its web services subsidiary, which pulled in $604 million in profits last year. One of these days, all of Amazon's reinvestment will likely pay off with massive profits that will send shares to even bigger heights.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been gifted (or given) shares? What stocks were they?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-every-recent-grad-should-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</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-investments-that-usually-soar-during-the-summer">7 Investments That Usually Soar During the Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a></span> </div> </li> <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-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Amazon apple Coke Facebook gifts graduation market Microsoft profits stocks Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:30:19 +0000 Tim Lemke 1736531 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What Has Been Your Best Investment Yet? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-has-been-your-best-investment-yet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-has-been-your-best-investment-yet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_woman_cash_88256101.jpg" alt="Man and woman sharing their best investments yet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-has-been-your-best-investment-yet#comment-792927">Elle</a>, Martha, and Natasha for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>We make many investments throughout our lives &mdash; many require money, time, effort, or some combination of all three. The big ones are education, career, and retirement, but the small investments like a weekend getaway with your friends or weekly dinner-dates with your spouse are no less valuable.</p> <p><strong>What has been your best investment yet?</strong> What did you have to put in, and what did you get out of it? What big investments are you working on now?</p> <p>Tell us about your best investment and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_kt6a0txr" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa250" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa250/" class="rcptr">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, June 27th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 27th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <p><strong>$1,500 Giveaway!</strong> Don't forget to enter before June 30th for your chance to win $1,500 in prizes in our Rutgers Giveaway! If you are a young adult, take a quick survey on your financial decisions and you could win a $500 or one of five $200 Amazon gift cards. For more information and to enter, check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rutgers-is-giving-away-1500-to-wise-bread-readers">giveaway article</a>!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your best investment and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-has-been-your-best-investment-yet">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-8"> <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/ask-the-readers-do-you-trust-product-reviews-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Trust Product Reviews? (Chance to win $20!)</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/ask-the-readers-what-winter-savings-tip-do-you-swear-by">Ask the Readers: What Winter Savings Tip Do You Swear By?</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/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-manage-stress-and-spending-your-chance-to-win-10">Ask the Readers: How Do You Manage Stress and Spending? (Your Chance to Win $10)</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/ask-the-readers-i-used-to-but-now-i">Ask the Readers: I used to __, but now I __ to save money.</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/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Investment Ask the Readers best investment Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1733468 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Online Sites for Building Wealth http://www.wisebread.com/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smartphone_wealth_building_55483540.jpg" alt="Man finding the best sites for wealth building" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Managing your money has never been easier with the influx of countless online sites to help you build wealth. In the past, your options were limited to either hiring a financial planner, or going at it on your own and hoping you were on track to reach your goals.</p> <p>But now there are online companies for building wealth that offer many of the services that you would receive if you hired a financial planner for a fraction of the price. After all, everyone should have the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-true-source-of-wealth-creation-that-you-probably-already-have" target="_blank">opportunity to build wealth</a>, not just those who already have a lot of zeros in their bank account.</p> <h2>Betterment</h2> <p>Based off your age and your income, <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.2101559&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Betterment</a> helps you dial in your financial goals and create a solid plan around those goals. The three primary goals that Betterment helps you reach are Safety (with adequate emergency fund savings), Retirement (making sure you are on target to achieve your retirement goals), and Investing (growing and preserving your capital over time). Through the use of technology and automation, Betterment can offer very low fees to manage your money, starting at .35% annually. Most traditional investment advisers would charge fees upwards of 1% a year. Saving money in fees means that you get to put more money in your pocket, and achieve all of your awesome goals much sooner.</p> <h2>Personal Capital</h2> <p>When was the last time you took a look at your net worth? If you're like most people, you've probably never taken the time to figure out your net worth and analyze your current and future financial road map. <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26123426&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Personal Capital</a> offers an all-in-one wealth dashboard with robust financial tools to keep you informed and on track. On top of their net worth planner, Personal Capital also provides tools to analyze your investment portfolio with their Investment Checkup as well as a retirement planner and wealth management (for a fee). Signing up is free, and you can access all your information on their mobile app or desktop version. One of their most popular tools is the Cash Flow Analyzer, which gives details about your weekly, monthly, and annual spending habits so you can dive deep into what you are spending on things like eating out, entertainment, and travel.</p> <h2>GoldBean</h2> <p><a href="http://www.hellogoldbean.com">GoldBean</a> believes that investing should be easy, fun, and approachable. Geared toward the beginner investor, GoldBean uses their technology to analyze your bank statements to find investment options based around the companies that you love. They believe that you should always invest in what you know &mdash; the companies that you already love and trust. Once they've analyzed your current spending, they create a customized portfolio, provide ongoing financial advice, and offer the ability to buy funds as your experience and confidence in investing grows. Annual membership starts at $50 a year, and trading fees are low at $4.95 per trade after two month's free trading.</p> <h2>Sprinklebit</h2> <p>Stock investing can be scary for anyone, but especially a beginner. There are so many choices, and it's hard to figure out what is best for your situation. <a href="https://www.sprinklebit.com">Sprinklebit</a> believes in demystifying stock investing by using the same principles of Facebook &mdash; social sharing &mdash; and the notion that you should never trade alone. When you sign up for Sprinklebit, you have access to all the other Sprinklebit customers and their portfolios to help you make better investing decisions. You can see which stocks are performing well and which ones are the losers before you put a dime of your money into the stock. Sprinklebit doesn't just stop there. They believe in education and have created 24 chapters of in-depth material to take you through all the different steps of investing for free.</p> <p>You can also set up a mock portfolio with their Market Simulator and use $5,000 free &quot;Sprinklebucks&quot; to give a portfolio a test drive before you pony up any of your real money. With the market simulator, you have access to real-time trading data just like you would in a real portfolio. Once you get your confidence, you can move over into a live portfolio and begin trading. Each trade costs $8, and if you're more advanced, you can move up to their premium option which gives you some advanced trading tools.</p> <h2>Blooom</h2> <p>If you're one of those set-it-and-forget-it types who chose your 401K funds years ago and has never taken a second look, <a href="http://www.blooom.com">Blooom</a> is going to become your best friend. Blooom was created as an easy and affordable way to fix and manage your 401K to meet your needs. Their promise is &quot;No more pie charts, line graphs, or nausea,&quot; but simple, easy to understand knowledge, and tips about how to maximize your 401K funds. You can use their free analysis tool to find out if your 401K is positioned properly (many aren't), and then sign up and pay $1 per month for accounts under $20,000 and $15 per month for accounts over $20,000. There are no other hidden fees, and you can cancel your membership at any time. Professional advisory would cost you a lot more if you turned to an individual broker for assistance. With Blooom, you don't need to be a finance whiz create a 401K portfolio that puts you ahead of the retirement game.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite online company for building wealth?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth">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-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</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-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</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-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to 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/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401k betterment blooom online companies personal capital retirement stocks trading wealth building Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:31:25 +0000 Shannah Game 1728677 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_watering_plants_9791310.jpg" alt="Man making biggest investment risk of all" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're young, you're full of bravado. You're willing to step out on the skinny branches and take some risks. At least, that's the stereotype.</p> <p>When it comes to investing, though, it turns out that today's young adults are anything <em>but</em> risk takers. According to a recent study by UBS, Millennials (people ages 21&ndash;36) are almost as likely as people age 68 and older to describe their <a href="https://www.ubs.com/us/en/wealth/news/wealth-management-americas-news.html/en/2014/01/27/ubs-investor-watch-report-reveals-millennials.html">risk tolerance as <em>conservative</em></a>. And they're putting their money where their cautious mouths are. The average Millennial investor has more than half his or her portfolio in cash!</p> <p>The problem is, when you're young, one of the riskiest things you can do with your investments is to play it too safe.</p> <p>That's because, over time, inflation eats away at your buying power. Even in today's low-inflation environment, the cost of living is growing faster than money in bank savings accounts. You simply need to earn a better rate of return, and that means being willing to accept more risk.</p> <p>If you're young and feeling hesitant about investing, here are two factors that may be holding you back, along with some suggested solutions.</p> <h2>Lose Your Fear of Losing Money</h2> <p>In 2008, the U.S. stock market tanked by 37%. Imagine having $100,000 invested at the start of that year and ending up with a mere $63,000.</p> <p>Whether you were just a kid at the time or a young worker, that's a frightening bit of market history. But keep this in mind: Since bottoming out in March of 2009, the market came roaring back, nearly tripling in value by the end of 2015.</p> <p>The best way to overcome a fear of investing is to set your expectations by gaining some understanding about the market. Long-term, the stock market has outperformed bonds, real estate, gold, and cash. However, what many people fail to take into account is how bumpy the ride can be at times.</p> <p>To be successful as an investor, you have to expect some ups and downs. If you're a Millennial, you have time to ride out the ebb and flow of bull markets and bear markets. So you can afford to invest aggressively. What you may need to develop is the stomach to handle the ride.</p> <p>Knowing a little stock market history, and expecting some downturns along the way, will help you accept an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-investing-concepts-everyone-should-know">age-appropriate level of risk</a> in your portfolio (if you're young, think mostly equities), and then stay invested no matter what's happening in the market.</p> <h2>Develop Your Sense of Urgency</h2> <p>It's easy to think, &quot;I'm young. I can afford to wait a while before I start investing. Right now, I have other priorities, like making my student loan payments.&quot;</p> <p>But there's a high price to be paid for waiting. Consider this. If you invested $200 a month for 40 years, that would amount to $96,000. And if you earned a very realistic average annual return of 7%, you'd end up with about $525,000. That's what happens when you combine periodic investments with a decent rate of return and then allow time to work its magic through the power of compound interest.</p> <p>But what if you waited 10 years? Investing $200 a month for <em>30 </em>years would amount to $72,000. However, because of this late start, you'd end up with less than $245,000.</p> <p>Wow. You only invested $24,000 fewer dollars, but you ended up with nearly a whopping $300,000 less!</p> <p>That should motivate you to find the money to invest now. Keep your housing costs reasonable. See if you can get by without a car or, if you're a two-car family, consider becoming a one-car family. Freeing up a couple of hundred dollars a month could make hundreds of thousands of dollars of difference long-term.</p> <p>If your employer provides a match for some of the money you put into its 401K plan, that's the easiest money you'll ever make. You have to take full advantage of that. So, at the very least, invest enough to get the full match.</p> <p>Remember, if you're a Millennial or younger, you have an asset many older people wish they had. You have time. Make the most of it by getting started as a stock market investor as soon as you can.</p> <p><em>What's holding you back from investing?</em></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/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">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/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</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/youre-wasting-up-to-42532-by-not-investing-your-gasoline-savings">You&#039;re Wasting Up to $42,532 by Not Investing Your Gasoline Savings</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/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401k compound interest conservative millennials risk tolerance stock market Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Matt Bell 1730337 at http://www.wisebread.com