Investment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4808/all en-US 5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-470145114.jpg" alt="buy these stocks if you love the earth and money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Socially responsible investing (SRI) isn't a new concept, but it's an increasingly popular one in a world focused more on sustainability. The &quot;green&quot; subsection of SRI is environmentally-conscious investing, geared towards investment in companies that promote environmental stewardship. Think clean energy, sustainable resources, infrastructure, waste management, even consulting services.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rolling in green doesn't have to mean a choice between fields or bills. You now can do both, all at once if you prefer. We picked five funds that successfully blend environmentally-conscious investments with performance.</p> <p>(A note on tracking the performance of your &quot;green&quot; investments: Different sectors often use specialized indices to benchmark performance within their niche. Keep that in mind when choosing how to allocate your portfolio.)</p> <h2>1. Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund [MUTF: PGRNX]</h2> <p>Beloved by the environmental community and investors alike, the Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund focuses on long-term growth in sustainable investing. The fund evaluates financials along with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis on its holdings, carefully balancing a stringent set of criteria to evaluate investments. And it's paid off. The fund has outperformed global market benchmarks, has an average five-year return of <a href="http://paxworld.com/funds/pax-world-mutual-funds/global-environmental-markets-fund" target="_blank">10.77 percent</a>, and Morningstar gives it a <a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/PGRNX/quote.html" target="_blank">three-star rating</a>. Plus, it's fossil-fuel free.</p> <h2>2. Guggenheim Solar ETF [NYSEARCA: TAN]</h2> <p>Guggenheim Investments' Guggenheim Solar ETF (with a very easy to remember ticker symbol) is an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exchange-traded-funds-the-low-fee-investment-option-you-dont-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">exchange-traded fund</a> perfect for the investor who loves solar energy. The fund invests in solar energy-related segments across the industry, from supplies and lighting to raw materials and installers.</p> <h2>3. Pattern Energy Group Inc Class A [NASDAQ: PEGI]</h2> <p>Pattern Energy Group focuses on independent energy producers, with a specialization in wind and solar renewable energy. Pattern's newest wind farm is an impressive 150 acres, and it's not just the size that's impressive. The wind farm will generate 100 percent of the electricity for Amazon Web Services. PEGI outperformed its peers over a three year period. A lackluster 2014 for the independent energy sector overall hurt performance stats against the S&amp;P 500, but the gains since then are impressive, and PEGI's potential for future earnings looks bright.</p> <h2>4. Etho Climate Leadership U.S. ETF [NYSEARCA: ETHO]</h2> <p>Here's an ETF that focuses on industry leaders with small carbon footprints. ETHO is &quot;the first diversified index ETF that <a href="http://www.ethoetf.com/fund/" target="_blank">avoids fossil fuel companies</a> and the first public investment product to select equities based primarily on an assessment of an equity's carbon footprint.&quot; Etho Capital, the fund manager, also provides the Etho Climate Leadership Index [ECLI], a performance benchmark for companies with the smallest carbon footprints in their industries.</p> <h2>5. Ameresco [NYSE: AMRC]</h2> <p>Ameresco focuses on asset sustainability and renewable energy resources, providing performance contracting and consulting. Helping government entities reduce energy bills helps in part to pay for the work, and they're growing rapidly. Ameresco surged past earnings predictions for 2016, and the company plans to build on that in 2017. A growing demand for services should help them on their path.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/erin-c-oneil">Erin C. O&#039;Neil</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth">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-11"> <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/socially-responsible-investing-goes-green">Socially Responsible Investing Goes Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">5 Easy Ways to Start Green 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/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">A Simple Guide to Socially Responsible Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-planet-work-at-home">Save the Planet: Work at Home</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/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Investment clean energy Earth day eco-friendly stocks environment renewable energy socially responsible investing solar SRI Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Erin C. O'Neil 1928276 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-500538951.jpg" alt="Man learning how to invest like a pro without a financial adviser" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing can be intimidating. There's a unique language, with expense ratios, ETFs, and dollar-cost averaging &mdash; oh my! And there's a lot at stake, like your retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <p>However, at the risk of sounding like a home repair store commercial, you can do this and we can help. With the following five keys, you'll be well on your way toward becoming a confident, successful, do-it-yourself investor.</p> <h2>1. Commit to the market</h2> <p>The stock market has been on a tear. Since bottoming out in March 2009, it nearly tripled in value by the end of 2016. And since the start of this year, it has only climbed higher. Unfortunately, for many people, it doesn't matter. According to a recent Gallup poll, about half U.S. adults are not investing in the market.</p> <p>Some waffle. They're in when it seems safe; they're out when trouble strikes. But pros don't waffle. They're in it for the long haul because they know that as a long-term investment, the U.S. stock market has delivered average annual returns of nearly 10 percent.</p> <h2>2. Know your goal</h2> <p>The most common investment goal is retirement. It that's your goal, make it as specific as possible. How much money do you want to have? By when? And how much do you need to invest each month in order to get there? These questions can feel overwhelming at times, but you need to answer them in order to get a clear picture of your path to a secure retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Determine your optimal asset allocation</h2> <p>While many of the headlines in the investment press are about which investments to choose, there's a different factor that'll have an even greater impact on your investing success. It's making sure you've determined your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>.</p> <p>Asset allocation refers to how you divvy up the money you invest between asset classes, with the two most important ones being stocks and bonds (preferably, stock and bond mutual funds, since mutual funds enable you to hold a diversified &quot;basket&quot; of stocks and bonds).</p> <p>Generally, when you're young, your portfolio should tilt more toward stocks. Yes, your portfolio will experience sharper ups and downs, but you should have the time to ride them out, and a higher-risk portfolio should lead you to higher returns. As you get older, you would be wise to reduce stock exposure and increase your allocation to bonds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <h2>4. Choose an investment selection process</h2> <p>Pay no attention to headlines touting &quot;This Year's Top Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Why You Must Own Gold Now.&quot; And tune out all hot tips from your brother-in-law or coworker. What you need is a trustworthy investment selection <em>process</em>.</p> <p>You could keep it super easy by choosing a target-date mutual fund. These funds have years as part of their name, such as the Fidelity Freedom 2040 fund. Just choose the fund with the year closest to the year you intend to retire. Its stock/bond allocation will be what the mutual fund company thinks is the appropriate mix for someone with that much time until retirement, and that allocation is automatically made more conservative over time. Target-date funds aren't perfect, but they get a lot of the big picture decisions right.</p> <p>If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you could do your own research and choose <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=internal" target="_blank">index funds</a> to build a portfolio that reflects your optimal asset allocation.</p> <p>Or, you could subscribe to an investment newsletter, some of which cost far less than the fees charged by financial planners. Investment newsletters usually offer a number of different strategies and then tell you what to invest in. You're still a do-it-yourself investor. You maintain your own account and make your own trades, but you follow the investing process outlined by the newsletter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Understand the terrain ahead</h2> <p>One of the most important roles a financial adviser plays is seen during market downturns. That's when the best become therapists, speaking calm words of wisdom into the lives of frightened clients. You could serve the same role for yourself with a little understanding of how the market works.</p> <p>If you hear that the market turned in a great performance in a certain year, it's easy to make the mistake of assuming this wonderful result came about through a smooth, yearlong, upward ride. It doesn't usually work that way.</p> <p>Expecting some turbulence can help calm your fears and keep you from selling when the market gets wobbly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Taking all of the steps above will get you headed in the right direction. You have a plan. Now put your plan into action and stay with it. The longer you invest, the more confidence you'll gain and the more comfortable you'll become at being a do-it-yourself investor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-you-need-to-do-to-start-investing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Only 4 Things You Need to Do to Start Investing</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment asset allocation diy investor Do It Yourself goals investment selection retirement planning stock market Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1928275 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525331477.jpg" alt="Learning which stocks your kids would love to own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When taking a look at your 401(k) or investment accounts, you may often daydream about how cool it would have been if you started investing earlier. That way, maybe you could have jumped on investments that turned out to be home runs, such as Apple [Nasdaq: APPL] and Berkshire-Hathaway [NYSE: BRK].</p> <p>If you have children, you're blessed with the opportunity of granting them the greatest gift any investor could want: time. Let's take a look at some companies whose shares would make a great gift for your kids to not only help them learn about investing, but also get them excited about money and business in general.</p> <h2>1. Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP]</h2> <p>Do you know what's cooler than a million dollars? $3.4 billion, which is how much money the parent company of Snapchat raised in its March 1, 2017 initial public offering (IPO). Since it has been estimated that <a href="https://blog.hootsuite.com/snapchat-demographics/" target="_blank">60 percent of Snapchat users</a> are under age 25 and nearly one in four hasn't finished high school, there's a very good chance that your children use this popular social media app.</p> <p>Leverage their interest in the app to keep them focused on tracking a stock price and keeping abreast of the effects of company announcements, such as <a href="http://www.recode.net/2016/9/24/13039900/snapchat-spectacles-google-glass-spiegel" target="_blank">Snap's Spectacles</a>, on the valuation of a publicly-traded company. Bonus: You could use Snapchat to send them their monthly allowance, keep a digital record of when you made that money available, and check how long it lasts them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-ways-to-send-money-to-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Modern Ways to Send Money to Your Kid</a>)</p> <h2>2. The Walt Disney Co. [NYSE: DIS]</h2> <p>&quot;Do you want to buy a stock share? Come on let's go and trade!&quot; If you started reading that in Princess Anna's voice, then you're a Disney parent and your kiddos spend a lot of time singing along to similar tunes. Keeping interested in this stock is easy because your kids will read about movie productions, toy developments, theme park construction, and other family entertainment projects.</p> <p>Disney is a great stock to hold onto for the long run, which is a maxim that you want to instill in any young investor. If you were to have held Disney stock from March 1, 2007 to March 1, 2017, you would have seen the stock price go from $34.39 to $111.04 (a 222.88 percent increase!). Plus, it's a dividend-paying stock, giving you a segue to introduce the concept of fixed income securities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Are Income Stocks?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Amazon.com, Inc. [Nasdaq: AMZN]</h2> <p>Parcel-delivering drones, robots that work in warehouses, and voice-activated speakers that can control other home devices. It'll never be dull moment chatting with your kid about recent news from the Seattle-based ecommerce giant.</p> <p>If you have the budget, Amazon.com is one of those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it" target="_blank">expensive stocks that are totally worth it</a>. Just when you think that the stock can't hit new heights, an uptick during the early November and December holiday season gives the stock price another boost. Time your gift well before the holiday season and provide immediate gratification to your kids from a stock price bump.</p> <h2>4. Foot Locker, Inc. [NYSE: FL]</h2> <p>On the other hand, here's one stock to develop in your children an appreciation for delayed gratification. If your kid is a sneakerhead or sports jock, they'll include a new pair of athletic shoes in their Christmas list. With a current stock price close to $75 per share, one share of Foot Locker goes for about the same as a brand-new, high-quality pair of athletic shoes meant to last at least one year.</p> <p>Give your child the option of the shoes or one share of Foot Locker, Inc. (Or pick another company that better matches the price of the shoes that they want, including Nike Inc. [NYSE: NKE] or Skechers USA Inc. [NYSE: SKX].) When your child chooses the stock over the shoes, they'll realize that they'll have more available after a one-year period. If they're still unconvinced, ask them to try selling a pair of old, smelly shoes after one year of (ab)use from a tween.</p> <p>Setting a strong foundation for delayed gratification will boost your child's ability to save for retirement and build an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tesla Inc. [Nasdaq: TSLA]</h2> <p>The concept of saving for retirement is completely foreign to most individuals under age 18, maybe even for some under age 25! Getting somebody to plan about 40 to 60 years ahead is a difficult task. One way to get your kid thinking about the future with a fun and optimistic tone is to gift them stock from Tesla, because this company is in the business of electric cars, energy storage batteries, and solar panels.</p> <p>Plus, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is so cool as to inspire the way actor Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark in all Marvel films. By following the decisions of a cool and smart CEO, your child could gain further interest in business and entrepreneurship.</p> <h2>How custodial Roth IRAs can help with investing education</h2> <p>If your kid is under age 18 and makes some money on their own, such as through a hobby or during the summer, consider opening a custodial Roth IRA for them. This is a great way to educate your child about investing and providing a &quot;sandbox&quot; in which to make real-life decisions with investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a>)</p> <p>In 2017, your kid could contribute up to $5,500 to a custodial Roth IRA and watch those contributions grow tax-free forever. Many financial institutions require an account minimum of $100 to open a custodial Roth IRA. You could start with some stocks from this list or other stocks that your kid is interested in and eventually move on to index funds and mutual funds. To minimize fees, just keep post-contribution transactions at a minimum.</p> <p>Gifting your child stocks paired with several years of retirement savings could be one of the best gifts you could ever give them for a brighter financial future.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid&#039;s College Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment children fun stocks gifts kids money lessons Roth IRA stock market stocks young investors Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1925374 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171280980.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When doing your research on what stocks to invest in, you will undoubtedly hear analysts and financial pundits mention something called a P/E, or price-to-earnings, ratio. This is one of the key numbers in a stock table, and one you'd be wise to brush up on. Let's review what the P/E ratio shows, how investors use it to evaluate a stock, and some guidelines to make the most of it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <h2>What is the P/E ratio?</h2> <p>It's the ratio of a stock's market value per share to its earnings per share (EPS). Generally, the EPS is from the last trailing 12 months (TTM). However, some financial analysts may use an EPS figure from a shorter trailing period, such as one or two quarters, or a future period, such as over the next six to 12 months.</p> <p>This is why it's important to pay attention to whether a P/E ratio calculation is using historical or projected numbers. Estimated numbers are subject to a margin of error and will be updated as new data becomes available.</p> <p>A P/E ratio tells you how much investors are willing to pay to receive $1 in return for investing in a stock. Historical data suggests that on average, investors are willing to pay $15 for every dollar of earnings (a P/E ratio of 15). However, P/E ratios can vary across industries and particular companies. On March 10, 2017, the P/E ratios of Facebook Inc. [Nasdaq: FB], McDonald's Corporation [NYSE: MCD], and Toyota Motor Corp. [NYSE: TM] were 39.95, 23.36, and 10.70, respectively.</p> <h2>How investors interpret the P/E ratio</h2> <p>The main appeal of the price-to-earnings ratio is that it provides a single, standardized metric to an investor evaluating whether or not a stock is worth buying (or selling).</p> <p>However, any P/E ratio is open to a lot of interpretation.</p> <h3>High P/E ratio</h3> <p>On one hand, a high P/E ratio could indicate that investors are expecting a company to grow its future earnings. On the other, it could be a signal of &quot;irrational exuberance&quot; &mdash; a term coined by former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan to refer to unsustainable investor enthusiasm. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-alan-greenspan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Alan Greenspan</a>)</p> <p>With a P/E ratio of 331.23 (no, that's not a typo!) as of March 10, 2017, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is open to both interpretations. One investor could argue that the future of media is online streaming and that this company is making all the right moves to become a leader in this industry. Another could argue that this market valuation is a bit out of whack.</p> <h3>Low P/E ratio</h3> <p>While one investor may think that a low P/E ratio indicates that a stock has seen better days, another investor may interpret that same low P/E ratio as a chance to snap up some shares at a low price.</p> <p>Shares of Apple Inc. [Nasdaq: AAPL] provide a great example of this scenario. With a P/E ratio of 16.66 as of March 10, 2017, some investors may think the performance of Apple is just slightly above average (remember the long-term average of 15). Other investors may think that this is just a slow period and that it has room for growth since <a href="https://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/pe_ratio" target="_blank">its maximum P/E ratio</a> for the last five years is 18.51.</p> <h2>How to make the most out of the P/E ratio</h2> <p>Now that you know what it is, let's turn to putting it to work.</p> <h3>1. Don't rely solely on the P/E ratio</h3> <p>Due to the math behind the P/E ratio, publicly traded companies that are losing money don't have a P/E ratio at all! For example, the hottest talk of the investing world right now, Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP], doesn't have one. So for now, their P/E ratio is irrelevant, and you should rely on an alternative valuation metric, such as the price-to-sales ratio.</p> <h3>2. Put the P/E ratio in perspective</h3> <p>It's a smart practice to measure a stock against a group of comparable peers. For example, you could compare the P/E ratio of Marriott International Inc. [Nasdaq: MAR] against that of Hyatt Hotels Corporation [NYSE: H], Wyndham Worldwide Corporation [NYSE: WYN], or the average of the ones from several others within the same industry.</p> <p>Another way to put that P/E ratio into context is to use its historical average, maximum, and minimum. By taking a look at these numbers and evaluating the decisions from management, you can have a better understanding of the current ratio.</p> <h3>3. Pay attention to the P/E ratio with buy recommendations</h3> <p>If you receive recommendations from your friends, relatives, or favorite TV pundits that you should buy a particular stock because it's &quot;going places,&quot; pay attention to the P/E ratio. If a stock price rally is a rocket, the P/E ratio is the fuel that helps it take off &hellip; and keep rising. Without a high enough P/E ratio, a rally will be short-lived or, even worse, turn the other way around.</p> <h3>4. Beware accounting shenanigans</h3> <p>Companies with one-time events, such as selling off a major division or cutting down employee benefits, can alter their earnings and, as a result, their P/E ratios. Dramatic ups and downs in the P/E ratio would render this ratio useless and you'll have to use an alternative stock valuation metric.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea to keep an eye on current (also known as trailing) and forward P/E ratios. A big difference between these two P/E ratios is a sign that there was a one-time event. Analysts suggest that when there are too many instances of these gaps, investors should pay closer attention to the cash flow statement on company filings.</p> <h2>P/E ratio is no silver bullet</h2> <p>While the P/E ratio can be a useful metric to select stocks, it's no silver bullet. This is why it's important to continuously educate yourself about the inner workings of the stock market and seek the advice of a financial adviser whenever appropriate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment how to metrics p/e ratio price to earnings ratio stock market stocks valuations Tue, 11 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1923859 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-465649794.jpg" alt="Learning why Warren Buffett says you should invest in index funds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About nine years ago, Warren Buffett <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/columnist/2017/03/08/buffetts-best-investment-tip-everyone-index-funds/98525306/" target="_blank">made a $500,000 bet</a>. He wagered that a simple index fund would outperform an actively managed hedge fund run by expert investors. Which would you pick?</p> <p>Before you decide, here is some additional information about the fund contenders:</p> <ul> <li>Index funds buy a mix of stocks in a proportion that represents the overall stock market or a particular market segment. Index funds are typically managed automatically by a computer algorithm, and management fees for this type of fund are usually very small &mdash; around 0.1 percent or sometimes even lower.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hedge funds put money into alternative investments that can go up if the stock market goes down. Of course, hedge funds also try to provide maximum returns and beat the stock market if possible. Hedge funds may invest in real estate, commodities, business ventures, and other opportunities that fund managers think will hedge against potential stock market losses and produce good returns. These funds are actively managed and have high management fees of around 2 percent or more.</li> </ul> <p>Buffett picked a simple S&amp;P 500 index fund for the wager. He bet against an investment manager who picked a set of five hedge fund portfolios. After letting these investments play out for nine years, Buffett announced the results of this wager in the chairman's letter in this year's annual report for the holding company he controls and runs, Berkshire Hathaway: The index fund outperformed the actively managed funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>Buffet's experience mimics numerous studies that have shown that index funds consistently beat the results of actively managed funds. Why does a simple and essentially automatic investment strategy (the index fund) outperform sophisticated investment funds managed by active expert investors?</p> <h2>Low fees</h2> <p>Fund fees, also known as expense ratios, are much lower for index funds than for actively managed hedge funds or mutual funds. You can find index funds with fees under 0.1 percent, while actively managed hedge funds can have fees of 2 percent or more.</p> <p>Although the wager Buffett made concerned hedge funds with high expense ratios, the same principle applies when comparing index funds to actively managed mutual funds, which can have fees as high as 1 percent. Higher fees mean that actively managed funds have to outperform the market significantly to offset them. Over the long run, actively managed funds may not consistently outperform the market by enough to make up for the higher fees.</p> <h2>Investment errors</h2> <p>Another reason actively managed funds can fall behind index funds is investment errors. In active funds, someone is making investment decisions and moving money around trying to get higher returns. Sometimes an investment manager can outperform the market and get higher returns, but this doesn't always work out. It only takes one mistake to wipe out a lot of investment gains. In an index fund, the only investment decision is to adjust the ratio of holdings to match the market segment of interest.</p> <p>Index funds accurately reflect the performance of the market they are mirroring. The investment strategy is simple, and there is no opportunity for investment error. If you invest in an index fund, you will reliably receive similar returns to the market that your index fund represents.</p> <h2>How to buy an index fund for your portfolio</h2> <p>During my research for this article, I moved around $10,000 of my own investment funds from actively managed funds into index funds with much lower fees. I figured if index funds are good enough for Warren Buffett, they are good enough for me!</p> <p>You can log in to your investment account website and view the expense ratios for your current investments and for other available funds. I found that my investment choices had expense ratios ranging from 0.02 percent to 0.83 percent &mdash; a difference of more than 40-fold. This is definitely a big enough difference to worry about.</p> <p>A good first step is to check your own investment funds and find out how high the fees are. You may be happy with what you find, or you may decide you want to move to index funds with much lower fees.</p> <p>Of course, when choosing your investment funds, you shouldn't look only at the expense ratio. You should balance your portfolio to include a strategic mix of large cap, medium cap, and small cap investments and an intentional balance of foreign and domestic stocks to meet your investment goals.</p> <p>When I moved my investment money into index funds with very low fees, I picked funds that made sense to balance my portfolio. For example, I moved some funds from a mid-cap growth fund with a 0.3 percent expense ratio into a mid-cap index fund with a 0.07 percent expense ratio &mdash; over four times lower fees. In the long run, I think this is a bet that will pay off.</p> <p>Even if you don't have $500,000 to wager, you might as well minimize what you are paying in fees by moving from actively managed funds to index funds. You'll keep more of your money working for you instead of having it go to work for someone else.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment actively managed funds expense ratios fees hedge funds index funds mutual funds portfolio returns stock markets Warren Buffett Mon, 10 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1922477 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things Small Investors Should Know About Big Corporate Mergers http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-small-investors-should-know-about-big-corporate-mergers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-small-investors-should-know-about-big-corporate-mergers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-468340908.jpg" alt="Learning what small investors should know about corporate mergers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a daily reader of financial news, you know there's always a big story about two companies looking to merge. The latest news has Kraft Heinz pulling out of a whopping $143 billion deal with Unilever.</p> <p>Usually, when news of these potential deals emerge, company executives will use buzzwords like &quot;synergies&quot; and &quot;profit acceleration&quot; to tout the virtues of an acquisition. But what do these mergers mean for shareholders?</p> <p>Here are some key things you need to know about the flurry of corporate buying and selling activity.</p> <h2>1. Sometimes they're great</h2> <p>There are some mergers that will go down in history as tremendous success stories for both the companies and their shareholders. In an ideal world, the two merging companies complement each other perfectly, and shareholders benefit as revenues and profits take off. The ExxonMobil merger in 1999 is perhaps the best example from recent history of two companies getting together and making it work. SiriusXM Radio, Disney-Pixar, and JPMorgan Chase also worked out great for most parties involved.</p> <h2>2. Sometimes they're awful</h2> <p>We all remember the epic disaster that was the merger of AOL, the internet and email provider, with cable company Time Warner. The $164 billion deal took place in 2000, but things quickly went south after the dot-com bubble burst a year later. The promised &quot;synergies&quot; &mdash; you hear that word a lot when people talk about mergers &mdash; never materialized, and Time Warner finally spun off AOL back into its own company in 2009.</p> <p>Other bad mergers include Sears-Kmart, Daimler-Chrysler, and Quaker Oats' doomed purchase of Snapple.</p> <h2>3. You can end up with shares or cash or both</h2> <p>Mergers and acquisitions can happen in different ways, with different impacts on the investor. If you already own shares of Company X, and that company buys Company Y, you can end up with shares of the new combined company. This is known as a &quot;stock for stock&quot; deal. If you own share of the company being acquired, you may receive shares or end up with cash in exchange for your shares.</p> <h2>4. Talk of mergers can boost stock prices</h2> <p>Sometimes you'll see shares of a company shoot up based on mere speculation about a merger. If investors think a company may be sold at a premium, they may flock to buy shares to take advantage. Shares may shoot up immediately if the actual details of a proposed sale are made public. For example, let's say Company X is trading at $25 per share. Now let's say Company Y is willing to pay $35 per share for Company X. Investors will usually see the share price jump close to the proposed sale level.</p> <h2>5. Mergers can lead to spinoffs</h2> <p>Occasionally the combining of companies can often mean the creation of new ones. Sometimes a company will agree to buy another if one portion of the company can be &quot;spun off&quot; into a separate firm. Often, this is done because certain operations may not fit in with the merged company's core business, or to satisfy regulators.</p> <p>Tyco is one company that got big in part due to mergers, then spun off its electronics, health care, and fire safety and security divisions into three separate companies.</p> <p>When this happens, shareholders will often end up with some shares of the newly merged company and the spinoff. And investing in spinoffs can be quite lucrative. One study from Vanderbilt University showed that these companies have <a href="http://www2.owen.vanderbilt.edu/alexeiovtchinnikov/Predictability%20of%20long-term%20spinoff%20returns.pdf" target="_blank">consistently outperformed the market</a> over the last 36 years.</p> <h2>6. Investors have a say</h2> <p>You may think mergers happen simply because executives get together and hammer out a deal. But the reality is that shareholders of public companies get to vote on whether a merger happens. This can usually be done by mail, on the internet, or by phone, and your broker will notify you of any upcoming votes.</p> <p>Every planned merger requires the support of the majority of shareholders, who can evaluate a deal to see if it's in their best interests. This is why some companies are willing to pay a premium per share to make an acquisition happen. It's worth noting, however, that most shareholders will vote based on what management recommends.</p> <h2>7. The government gets a say</h2> <p>Mergers don't just happen because companies want them to. Government regulators will examine every proposed merger to determine what impact it will have on consumers. There are many cases in which mergers and acquisitions have been outright rejected on the grounds that it would lead to a decline in competition. One of the most high-profile rejections was the proposed merger of DirecTV and Dish Network that would have merged the two largest satellite television providers in the U.S.</p> <h2>8. Some mergers are hostile takeovers</h2> <p>The truth about mergers is that there are very few true &quot;mergers&quot; and a lot more acquisitions, in which one company is actually taking over another. And sometimes, these acquisitions happen against the will of the company being acquired. In this case, the company looking to make a purchase goes directly to shareholders, who will have their say. In this case, as an investor, you may get a letter or other notification from a solicitation firm with information about the proposed takeover. Sometimes, the acquiring company will urge shareholders to vote out management in order to make a takeover easier.</p> <h2>9. Determining cost basis can be a headache</h2> <p>If you own shares of a company for a long time, you can see the company be acquired, sold, split into parts, and merged again. So when it's time to sell your shares, it's very difficult to determine how much you actually earned over the years. Your purchase price, known as &quot;cost basis,&quot; is important to know in order to pay the right amount of capital gains taxes. But this can be difficult to calculate when there's a flurry of mergers and spinoffs. In this situation, companies often provide guidance on cost basis, but it's important to keep your own meticulous records. When in doubt, hire an accountant to help you figure it all out.</p> <h2>10. You may end up with shares of a company not based in the U.S.<strong> </strong></h2> <p>One day you may wake up and realize you own shares of a company based in Ireland. Or Bermuda. Or the Netherlands. This is because many countries overseas have lower corporate tax rates than in America, so it's become common for U.S.-based companies to be acquired by companies based elsewhere.</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-things-small-investors-should-know-about-big-corporate-mergers">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/8-times-to-avoid-dividend-stocks">8 Times to Avoid 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/8-investments-that-may-soar-during-trumps-term">8 Investments That May Soar During Trump&#039;s Term</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s">How Are People Retiring in Their 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/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth">5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment acquisitions companies financial news mergers shareholders spinoffs stock prices synergies Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1921001 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-585490666.jpg" alt="Person learning why loss aversion is worse than FOMO" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine the following scenario:</p> <p>You can either pocket a guaranteed $500, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you get $1,000. If you get tails, you get nothing.</p> <p>Now, imagine this second scenario:</p> <p>You are given $1,000 &mdash; woohoo! But you have to decide whether you'll lose $500 of it outright, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you lose nothing. If you get tails, you lose $750.</p> <p>Chances are, in scenario one, you chose to pocket the money, whereas in scenario two, you chose to flip the coin.</p> <h2>How did you know that!?</h2> <p>That's because we feel the pain of losing money so much more than we feel the joy of earning a reward. This trend is called &quot;loss aversion,&quot; but, in everyday terms, you might find it a bit familiar to FOMO: the fear of missing out.</p> <p>FOMO tends to describe the pain of seeing your friends on social media doing fun things and achieving their goals while you're left out. In a way, loss aversion is similar because you're afraid to lose out, but the pain might be a bit deeper with money.</p> <p>It might sound ludicrous that we hurt more when we lose money than we feel joy in earning it. But studies have shown we feel the heartbreak of a financial loss <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/~kahneman/docs/Publications/prospect_theory.pdf" target="_blank">twice as strongly</a> as we feel gaining the same amount of money. So, if you get a $500 bonus from your boss, you'll only be half as emotional as you would be losing that same amount on the stock market.</p> <h2>How might this affect me?</h2> <p>Loss aversion can be both good and bad. For starters, it might lead you to make &quot;safe,&quot; low-risk investments. This turns out to be helpful for investments you <em>have </em>to make, such as your retirement fund. Sure, you could put your life savings into a high-risk scheme, potentially multiply it several times over, and retire in riches &mdash; but you might also lose it all. It's often better to choose something with a low rate of risk so you have a healthy sum of money to live off one day.</p> <p>On the opposite side of the coin, loss aversion can cause you to make rash decisions regarding the stocks and investments you hold. For example, if you're an investor in oil-related stocks and have a meltdown every time oil prices drop, you might be inclined to sell off all your stocks and stop the loss as quickly as possible. While this may be a good decision in certain situations, it's always important to remember that what goes down will likely go up again, and holding onto your stock could mean you'll get it back later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Now, that concerns a drop to the market overall. The other potential pitfall of loss aversion is to hold onto stocks that have been underperforming for <em>way </em>too long. Many investors will sell stocks that appear to be at the top of their game, only to find out later that they've continued to grow. Meanwhile, the stocks they're waiting to see flourish continue to underperform, and they lose money in the long run.</p> <h2>How can I avoid falling into this trap?</h2> <p>One of the best ways to make sure you don't feel the pain of loss &mdash; or loss aversion &mdash; is to diversify your portfolio. In other words, don't put all of your eggs in one basket: Invest in different industries, different types of stocks, and in both short- and long-term investments.</p> <p>If you're going to make a &quot;risky&quot; investment, make sure you're ready for the challenge. Prepare yourself by building your confidence and learning more about what it means to invest in whatever you're considering. Come up with a fallback plan. You've heard it before, and it's worth repeating: risk equals reward. Yes, you might lose, and that'll hurt &mdash; but you might also gain big. If that's worth the leap, then it's time to get off the ground.</p> <p>If all else fails, talk to a professional about your options. Yes, you might have to throw him or her a bit of money in order to receive financial advice. But having a professional tell you the best, most secure way to invest your money might help ease your mind &mdash; and increase your dividends &mdash; without breaking the bank or your heart along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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 fear FOMO gains losing money loss aversion market drops risk stock market Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Anum Yoon 1921000 at http://www.wisebread.com How Are People Retiring in Their 30s?! http://www.wisebread.com/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508191870.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you think about retirement, it's generally a time later in life after you've put many working years into a career. But today, some people are retiring in their 40s, 30s, and even in their 20s! What is the secret to retiring so early?</p> <p>I reached out to several bloggers who either retired or reached financial independence by the time they reached their 30s to learn just how they did it.</p> <p>Even if you are not aiming to retire at a very young age, these strategies can still help you accelerate your retirement.</p> <h2>Secret 1: Pay down debt ASAP</h2> <p>The first step toward early retirement is to get rid of debt as soon as possible. Making payments on debt limits your ability to build your investments and grow enough assets to retire. This is how Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents got started on the path to financial independence in her early 20s. &quot;In the beginning,&quot; she said, &quot;I worked many, many hours a week so that I could pay off my debt in seven months, but it was well worth it.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>Secret 2: Take advantage of compound interest</h2> <p>The key to reaching early retirement is to save a large portion of your income &mdash; for example, 50 percent or more &mdash; and let that money compound over time. How can you put away that much on a modest income? You need to live very frugally so you can apply a large percentage of your income toward investments.</p> <p>Jeremy Jacobson, who runs Go Curry Cracker with his wife Winnie, reached financial independence in his 30s. He explained, &quot;We just used our income to buy our freedom rather than things and experiences that we would have quickly forgotten. Ironically, thanks to compound interest we can now have things, experiences, and freedom.&quot;</p> <h2>Secret 3: Multiple sources of income</h2> <p>Many of these bloggers who retired early had a traditional career for a time, and gradually built up &quot;side hustles&quot; to generate multiple streams of income. The extra cash helps get debt paid off faster and starts building your investment accounts sooner. Writing, owning income properties, selling items on eBay or Amazon, and consulting are some ideas to bring in &quot;extra&quot; money.</p> <p>One of these side projects that you enjoy could grow into enough income to one day replace your primary job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <h2>Secret 4: Commit to living differently</h2> <p>One thing I noticed is that these people are quite different from their peers. They are not concerned about fitting in and even celebrate living much differently than others their age.</p> <p>Travis Hornsby, blogger at Millennial Moola, was able to retire in his mid 20s. How did he manage it? &quot;I lived in a semifinished basement for several months because it included utilities and allowed me to supercharge my savings rate,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>Justin McCurry at Root of Good retired in 2013 at age 33 by redefining what qualified as a sacrifice. &quot;Unlike our peers, we never upgraded our starter home to a McMansion, nor did we trade in our Honda sedans for luxury cars,&quot; he said. &quot;Is that a sacrifice?&quot;</p> <p>Kristy Shen, one half of Millennial Revolution and retiree by age 31, resisted the pressure to buy a large home and settle into a traditional lifestyle. &quot;We stuck to our guns because we knew the math didn't make sense,&quot; she said.</p> <h2>Secret 5: Know when to stop</h2> <p>Many of those who retire at an early age plan to maintain a low spending rate after they retire, allowing them to leave the workforce early. But how much is enough? There are many opinions about this, but many subscribe to the 4 percent safe withdrawal rate as a rule of thumb. Simulations have shown that under a range of economic scenarios, you can withdraw up to 4 percent per year from your investment portfolio with a very low probability of running out of money during retirement.</p> <p>If your desire is to retire as soon as possible, it is important to have a specific goal for how much you need to accumulate so you don't end up spending extra years in the cubicle. For example, if you can live on withdrawing $40,000 per year from your account, then $1 million is the minimum amount you would need to fully retire under the 4 percent safe withdrawal rate. If you will have income after you retire, then you will need to withdraw less, so the balance you need to accumulate is less &mdash; and you can retire earlier.</p> <h2>Secret 6: Income after &quot;retirement&quot;</h2> <p>Many of these people who &quot;retire&quot; very early are actually still working at least part-time. Financial independence may be a better description than retirement for this lifestyle. Financial independence means that although you are still working, you don't need to do it purely for the money anymore.</p> <p>Michelle of Making Sense of Cents started her blog in graduate school a few years ago to help pay off student loans faster. As a dramatic example of income after reaching financial independence, she now makes nearly $1 million per year from her blog!</p> <h2>Secret 7: Invest for growth</h2> <p>Saving the money is the first step, but you have to invest it so it will grow. Parking your savings in a bank account at less than 1 percent interest is not going to get you to retirement very fast.</p> <p>Kristy of Millennial Revolution regrets her initial hesitation to dive into investments. &quot;I think we spent a lot more time waffling on whether we should do the investing-route or the housing-route than we should have, and that caused some missed opportunities along the way,&quot; she said. &quot;As a result, we stayed out of the market when the S&amp;P 500 bounced off the floor in early 2009 because we were still deciding whether to buy a house. As a result, we missed a 40 percent rally from 2009&ndash;2010 just sitting in cash! Fortunately by the time we decided in early 2012, there turned out to be plenty more gains to go in this bull market.&quot;</p> <h2>Secret 8: Don't sink money into a house</h2> <p>This one comes as a bit of a surprise to me since I have gone the route of investing in a home. But several folks who have reached early retirement recommend avoiding homeownership in order to reach financial independence sooner.</p> <p>Kristy and her husband Bryce felt scrutiny at their decision to forgo homeownership and continue to rent. &quot;Going against the grain is tough, but it's even tougher to do for such a long period of time while everyone around you is pointing and saying 'What an idiot. They're renting and throwing money away.'&quot; she explained.</p> <p>The advice not to buy a house makes sense if your goal really is to minimize costs. Owning a home not only commits you to a mortgage payment, but also to additional expenses such as insurance, taxes, repairs, and maintenance. Plus, if you own a home, you are more likely to spend money on furniture, landscaping, and home improvement projects. In some cases, you may be better off minimizing your expenses by renting instead of buying a place to live during your run up to early retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Rent Your Home or Buy? How to Decide</a>)</p> <h2>Secret 9: Enjoy now</h2> <p>In my experience, most people in their 20s are not focused much on retirement at all. But if you want to retire in your 30s, you will need to start working toward that goal very early in life. The earlier you want to retire, the more aggressively you will need to save money. But it is possible to focus too much on making and saving money. As you look forward to some great experiences after retirement, you don't want to miss out on unique opportunities to enjoy life along the way.</p> <p>Joe Udo of Retire by 40 emphasizes this point: &quot;If you're working toward early retirement,&quot; he said, &quot;don't forget about the present. Being miserable every day will screw up your mental health.&quot;</p> <h2>How early should you retire?</h2> <p>Very early retirement is not for everyone. Retiring early clearly requires some significant sacrifices and lifestyle adjustments. You'll have to decide if this cost is worth the reward of reaching financial freedom years (or possibly even decades) earlier.</p> <p>If you'd like to learn more and read about the journey of the bloggers mentioned in this article, check the table below.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p>Blogger</p> </td> <td> <p>Blog</p> <p>(link to their best early retirement advice post)</p> </td> <td> <p>Age at Retirement / Financial Independence</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Justin</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://rootofgood.com/zero-to-millionaire-ten-years/" target="_blank">Root of Good</a></p> </td> <td> <p>33</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Joe</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://retireby40.org/3-easy-steps-retire-40/" target="_blank">Retire by 40</a></p> </td> <td> <p>38</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Jeremy &amp; Winnie</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://www.gocurrycracker.com/how-we-saved-multi-millions/" target="_blank">Go Curry Cracker </a></p> </td> <td> <p>38, 33</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Michelle</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2016/01/early-retirement-myths-busted.html" target="_blank">Making Sense of Cents</a></p> </td> <td> <p>20s</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Kristy &amp; Bryce</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/how-i-built-a-seven-figure-portfolio-and-retired-at-31/" target="_blank">Millennial Revolution</a></p> </td> <td> <p>31, 33</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Travis</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="https://millennialmoola.com/2015/06/22/how-to-retire-in-your-20s/" target="_blank">Millennial Moola</a></p> </td> <td> <p>25</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <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/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement">These 5 Expenses Will Probably Cost You a Lot Less in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-false-allure-of-compound-interest">The False Allure of Compound Interest</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 20s 30s compound interest debt early retirement expenses income streams lifestyle retiring young saving money Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1913293 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Surprising Budget Habits of Wealthy Financial Gurus http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-budget-habits-of-wealthy-financial-gurus <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-surprising-budget-habits-of-wealthy-financial-gurus" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482951141.jpg" alt="Learning budget habits of wealthy financial gurus" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;He who will not economize will have to agonize,&quot; warned Chinese philosopher Confucius as early as the 5th Century B.C. His advice has survived the test of time and has become the mantra of many individuals in their quest for financial success.</p> <p>However, you would think that once somebody &quot;makes it,&quot; it's time to sit back and &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset?ref=internal" target="_blank">treat yourself</a>.&quot; Not so fast! Let's review five wealthy financial gurus who continue to save money in the most surprising ways.</p> <h2>1. Warren Buffett eats McDonald's every day for breakfast</h2> <p>With an estimated net worth of over $78 billion, Warren Buffett can definitely afford to sip mimosas for breakfast without sweating the bill. Still, the Oracle of Omaha revealed in a recent 2017 documentary that he sticks to a daily breakfast budget of <a href="http://time.com/money/4656662/heres-what-warren-buffett-eats-for-breakfast-every-day/" target="_blank">no more than $3.17</a> at Mickey D's.</p> <p>Buffett usually picks up his breakfast from the drive-thru of a nearby McDonald's on his way to the office. &quot;When I'm not feeling quite so prosperous, I might go with the $2.61, which is two sausage patties, and then I put them together and pour myself a Coke,&quot; Buffett deadpans. Coke for breakfast, you ask? Buffett's investment company holds <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/berkshire-hathaway-portfolio/" target="_blank">over 9 percent</a> of shares from the drink company.</p> <h2>2. T. Boone Pickens owns a pair of shoes from 1957</h2> <p>Through his success in the oil and gas sector, T. Boone Pickens amassed a fortune over the years and ventured into the financing and investment sectors. In 2012, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/profile/t-boone-pickens/" target="_blank">Pickens ranked #913</a> on Forbes' list of billionaires. Nowadays, he doesn't rank in that list at all because he has given more than $1 billion away through his philanthropic efforts.</p> <p>Despite his financial success, the author of <a href="http://amzn.to/2mYvcn7" target="_blank">The First Billion Is the Hardest</a> uses what he buys until it falls apart, which can be several decades later. &quot;If I want something, I look at it, decide what it is, but it will usually be the best product. I've got a pair of loafers that I still wear that I got in 1957,&quot; he disclosed <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2011/06/q-a-with-t-boone-pickens-057296" target="_blank">during an interview</a> in 2011.</p> <p>And it's not just shoes, Pickens limits the size of the pieces on his closet in general. &quot;People are always surprised that I don't have a closet full of suits,&quot; Pickens told Kiplinger. &quot;I buy three suits every five or so years and only own 10 total. That's all I need.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Mitt Romney hunts for cheap flights</h2> <p>While you may know Mitt Romney mostly for being a former presidential candidate, he is also the co-founder of the private equity firm Bain Capital. Through his work as a management consultant and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investments-that-arent-stocks-or-bonds?ref=internal" target="_blank">private equity</a> investor, he has a high net worth &mdash; estimated at <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2012/05/16/what-mitt-romney-is-really-worth/#783284812927" target="_blank">$230 million</a> by Forbes when he ran for office back in 2012.</p> <p>Not a stranger to the finer things in life, you would expect Romney to stick only with premium buys. While he has purchased six-figure Warmblood horses, he also loves finding bargains. According to The New York Times, he is obsessed with scoring cheap flights on JetBlue. A longtime adviser to Romney supported that claim by stating that, when asked to change a flight, Romney hesitated and responded, &quot;Well, it's a cheap flight. It's a middle seat, but I got a great JetBlue rate.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Jack Bogle eats PB&amp;J sandwiches for lunch</h2> <p>One of the few <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett" target="_blank">investors with better returns than Warren Buffett</a> is John &quot;Jack&quot; Bogle, founder and retired CEO of the Vanguard Group. If the Vanguard name sounds familiar, it's most likely because you own one of its low-cost <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?ref=internal" target="_blank">index funds</a> in your retirement or investment account. And you wouldn't be alone: Just the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX?p=VFINX" target="_blank">VFINX</a>] has $292.36 billion in assets as of February 2017!</p> <p>As the pioneer of low-cost passively managed index funds, Bogle believes that the key to making it big in investments is to aggressively minimize fees. And he sticks by this belief in life as well. Many publications have recounted that his go-to lunch food is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He began bringing a PB&amp;J sandwich and an apple when he first started Vanguard because he refused to pay the prices charged in his own cafeteria. And when he does have to order there, he sticks with a simple grilled cheese sandwich.</p> <h2>5. David Cheriton cuts his own hair</h2> <p>A common daydream of individual investors is to uncover the next Microsoft, Facebook, or Apple, become the first one to invest in that moneymaker, and be set for life. Stanford professor David Cheriton happens to be one of those investors that hit the jackpot when in 1998, he wrote a check for $100,000 to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Today, that investment makes up the bulk of his estimated $4.2 billion net worth.</p> <p>As of 2012, the &quot;Billionaire Professor&quot; had invested over $50 million across 17 startups and companies, and continues to invest. To this day, he continues to plunk down checks in several other companies, such as AISense and ThreatSTOP.</p> <p>With such an investing pedigree, you would think that he wouldn't mind splurging a bit on a nice haircut once a month. For over three decades, Cheriton prefers to cut his hair himself. &quot;It's not that I can't fathom a haircut,&quot; said Cheriton. &quot;It's just easy to do myself, and it takes less time,&quot; he confessed to Forbes. Since the professor is adept at making good calls, probably nobody would argue with him on this one.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-budget-habits-of-wealthy-financial-gurus">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/knowing-when-to-walk-away-financial-planning-for-an-unknown-ending">Knowing When to Walk Away: Financial Planning for an Unknown Ending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Invest Like Warren Buffett</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-disappearance-of-real-america-my-guest-post-at-zen-habits">The disappearance of real America - my guest post at Zen Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-beloved-books-of-successful-millionaires">10 Beloved Books of Successful Millionaires</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-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s">How Are People Retiring in Their 30s?!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Lifestyle budget buys cheap finance gurus inspiration live within your means saving money vanguard Warren Buffett wealthy Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1911600 at http://www.wisebread.com Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-510572840.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you pay close attention to investment news, it'll either make you laugh or it'll drive you bonkers. Within the same hour, and on the same market news website, you will often see completely contradictory articles. One says the market is headed higher; the next says the market is about to tank.</p> <p>What's a smart investor to do? Be very careful about your information diet.</p> <h2>More Information, Less Success</h2> <p>In the late 1980s, former Harvard psychologist Paul Andreassen conducted an experiment to see how the quantity of market information impacted investor behavior.</p> <p>He divided a group of mock investors into two segments &mdash; investors in companies with stable stock prices, and investors in companies with volatile stock prices. Then he further divided those investors. Half of each group received constant news updates about the companies they invested in, and half received no news.</p> <p>Those who received no news generated better portfolio returns than those who received frequent updates. The implication? The more closely you monitor news about your investments, the more likely you are to make changes to your portfolio &mdash; usually to your detriment.</p> <p>In another study, renowned human behavior researchers Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Richard Thaler, and Alan Schwartz <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/richard.thaler/research/pdf/The%20Effect%20of%20Myopia%20and%20Loss%20Aversion%20on%20Risk%20Taking%20An%20Experimental%20Test.pdf" target="_blank">compared the stock/bond allocations</a> of investors who checked on their investments at least once a month against those who did so just once a year. Those who took in the <em>least</em> information about their portfolios made fewer investment trades and generated higher returns.</p> <h2>When Helping Hurts</h2> <p>One factor at work here is &quot;loss aversion.&quot; First quantified by Kahneman and Tversky, it's the idea that people feel the pain of loss more acutely than the pleasure of gain. The frequent monitoring of investment portfolios brings every downward market move to the attention of investors, who tend to react by moving money into less risky assets (bonds instead of stocks), thereby locking in their losses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a>)</p> <h2>Misinformation Is Not Power</h2> <p>Another factor has to do with the tales told in the investment press. Each day's market performance is reported &mdash; what happened, and <em>why. </em>The first part is factual. The market either went up or down and by a certain amount. The second part is mostly opinion. No one can say with certainty exactly what moved the market. Was it fear over the growth rate of China's economy, a contraction in the oil supply, or that XYZ company missed its quarterly earnings projection by a penny? No one really knows. But that doesn't stop the explanations from flowing across the pages of investment news sites.</p> <p>Late December and early January are especially dangerous times to read market news. That's when market forecasters spin their yarns, undaunted by their previous year's miss or economist John Kenneth Galbraith's scolding that &quot;The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.&quot;</p> <p>We pay attention to such forecasts &mdash; and even worse, we change our portfolios because of such forecasts &mdash; at our peril.</p> <h2>Selective Listening</h2> <p>You can't control the stock market or what is said about it, but there are certain factors you <em>can</em> and <em>should</em> control, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Estimate how much you need to invest each month in order to accomplish your goals;</li> <li>Determine your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>;</li> <li>Choose a trustworthy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio?ref=internal" target="_blank">investment selection process</a>;</li> <li>Add to your portfolio regularly;</li> <li>Expect market turbulence;</li> <li>Be very, very careful about what investment news you take in and how much;</li> <li>Keep moving forward.</li> </ul> <p>Of the many factors involved in successful investing, selective listening may be the most important.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds loss aversion misinformation news psychology reactions returns risk stock market Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1904508 at http://www.wisebread.com How "Carried Interest" May Affect Our Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/how-carried-interest-may-affect-our-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-carried-interest-may-affect-our-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508011393.jpg" alt="what is carried interest" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot has happened since now-president Donald Trump and candidate Hillary Clinton debated on October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. If you're like most taxpayers, you probably don't remember the candidates bantering about something called &quot;carried interest.&quot;</p> <p>During the debate, Trump was asked what steps he'd take to make sure that the wealthiest of U.S. taxpayers pay a fair share of taxes. Trump responded by saying that he'd eliminate carried interest. What Trump actually meant, though, was that he would change the way carried interest is taxed. Clinton, too, supported making this change. And so did former president Barack Obama.</p> <p>You can be forgiven if you have no idea what carried interest is. That's because it's something that only benefits the general partners who manage private equity and hedge funds. And most of us can't invest in these private funds because it is so expensive to do so. Investors must usually pony up at least $250,000 to make an investment in one of these funds.</p> <p>Carried interest is one way that the managers of these expensive hedge funds and private equity funds make a profit. But just because carried interest only benefits a select few, doesn't mean that it's not important to the U.S. economy. According to the Tax Foundation, if Congress taxed carried interest as ordinary income, it could <a href="https://files.taxfoundation.org/legacy/docs/TF_Options_for_Reforming_Americas_Tax_Code.pdf" target="_blank">cost the country 2,200 jobs</a>. On the positive side, the Tax Foundation said that changing how carried interest is taxed would also generate about $15 billion during the next 10 years in the form of more taxes sent to the federal government.</p> <h2>What Is Carried Interest?</h2> <p>The best way to understand carried interest is to look at your own investing habits. Say you invest some money in a stock. You hold onto that stock for five years, and its value rises. You then sell the stock and earn a solid profit.</p> <p>That profit is known as a capital gain, and you have to pay taxes on it. But the tax rate for a capital gain is lower than the tax rate for standard wages and income. In general, wages and salary income is taxed at a top rate of 39.6%. Capital gains, though, are taxed at a top rate of 23.8%.</p> <p>You can then see that income made from capital gains is even more valuable than the income you make from your salary.</p> <p>The same basic concept holds true for the managers of hedge and private equity funds. These managers are paid from fees generated by the fund. But they are also paid in carried interest, which is a share of the profits made by the fund. If the fund increases in value, the managers of the fund receive a financial boost in the form of carried interest.</p> <p>Today, carried interest is taxed as capital gain income, not as salary or wage income. Obviously, this is a nice perk to fund managers, who have to pay less in taxes on carried interest.</p> <h2>How Should It Be Taxed?</h2> <p>During the campaign, Trump said that carried interest should be taxed the same way the country taxes ordinary income. Why? Because carried interest is really part of the salary of a fund manager. So why shouldn't it be taxed that way?</p> <p>Others, though, make a different argument. The Tax Policy Center cites the common argument that fund managers should not be viewed as typical workers, but <a href="http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-carried-interest-and-how-should-it-be-taxed" target="_blank">rather as entrepreneurs</a>. Entrepreneurs are allowed to treat part of their financial returns as capital, and fund managers should be given the same tax break, according to this argument.</p> <p>Will Congress ever change the way carried interest is taxed? That's probably not a priority right now. And you can bet that most U.S. taxpayers will remain unaware of what carried interest even is.</p> <p>But the topic of carried interest might come up again whenever politicians, financial experts, and policymakers debate how the country can make its tax code fair to everyone.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-carried-interest-may-affect-our-taxes">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-10"> <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-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year</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-investments-that-may-soar-during-trumps-term">8 Investments That May Soar During Trump&#039;s Term</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-parents-give-you-a-whole-life-insurance-policy-heres-what-to-do-with-it">Did Your Parents Give You a Whole Life Insurance Policy? Here&#039;s What to Do With It.</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-surprising-budget-habits-of-wealthy-financial-gurus">5 Surprising Budget Habits of Wealthy Financial Gurus</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Taxes capital gains carried interest donald trump fund managers income tax advantages wealthy Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1904507 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Spot Lousy Investment Advisers http://www.wisebread.com/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482448336.jpg" alt="Learning about lousy investment advisers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You can easily hire people who claim to be good investment advisers. They hardly ever are. But there are several different kinds of downright lousy investment advisers, and it's worth learning how to identify them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Mediocre Advice Is Best for Investing</a>)</p> <p>I group them into three categories: The delusional, the liar, and the secretly mediocre.</p> <h2>The Delusional</h2> <p>The most common sign of the delusional financial adviser is that they can tell you about all the winning trades they've made, but they don't know the average annual return of their portfolio as a whole.</p> <p>You'll find this same trait in a lot of ordinary investors, as well &mdash; they're full of stories of their investing successes. They may also have a few self-deprecating stories of investments that went wrong. But they simply don't know what their all-in return actually is.</p> <p>For the ordinary investor, this is no big deal. But for someone selling their investment expertise, not knowing whether their advice beats what you can get following mediocre advice should disqualify them completely.</p> <p>There is one important subcategory of lousy investment adviser that might not show this sign. I call them the &quot;lucky so far.&quot; They're usually young with a pretty new track record. Typically, they're people who have a strong sense that one sector of the market &mdash; financial stocks, say, or precious metals &mdash; is the right choice for long-term investing. If they happen to get into the investment advising game right when their sector gets hot, they can produce outstanding investment returns, sometimes for a long time. Eventually the market turns against them and they lose a whole lot of their clients' money.</p> <p>Of course there are a few <em>legitimately</em> superior investment advisers out there. It's really impossible to tell one of them from one of the &quot;lucky so far,&quot; except that once they establish a record of shifting from this year's hot sector into next year's hot sector for several years in a row, somebody rich will notice and pay up to get their advice. One pretty good indication is that you won't be able to afford them.</p> <h2>The Liar</h2> <p>Just like the delusional financial adviser, there are many kinds of lying financial advisers. (Note that I'm not talking about scammers or fraudsters, just ordinary financial advisers who know their advice doesn't produce superior results, but hold themselves out as superior anyway.)</p> <p>Probably the most common are the ones who used to be delusional, but eventually figured out that they weren't actually superior. Of course the honest thing to do then would be to find another career, but delusional financial advisers can make a lot of money, and that's hard to give up.</p> <p>It's pretty easy to slip gradually into lying about your performance &mdash; just talk about your successes, and don't mention your failures.</p> <p>The clearest sign of the liar is that they claim an &quot;average annual return,&quot; but can't point to the specific trades that they or their clients made that produced this return. Instead, they'll point to lists of suggested trades &mdash; but if you have access to all the suggestions, it'll turn out that some of the bad ones don't make the list.</p> <p>Another strong clue is vague advice, such as that you buy a stock &quot;on dips,&quot; without specific numbers attached. This will make it easy for them to leave out losing trades (on the grounds that the dips were never low enough for them to enter the trade). They will also suggest that you use peaks in the market to &quot;begin to lighten up&quot; your position. If the stock continues to outperform, you'll find that they still list it in their model portfolio. Once it starts to lag, you'll see that they exited their position at the last high point.</p> <p>Another common habit among the liars is to ignore trading costs &mdash; and the cost of their advice &mdash; when figuring the bottom line.</p> <h2>The Secretly Mediocre</h2> <p>When &quot;index investing&quot; first started getting big, financial magazines (and others who rated financial advisers) started comparing investment advisers' returns to the market averages. Lousy advisers often fell short, which was pretty embarrassing. A fair number reacted by shifting their advice to just the sort of mediocre advice I'm suggesting that you follow. That way, they'd at least match the market returns.</p> <p>These investment advisers are giving you perfectly good advice, they're just charging you money to achieve performance you could get for free on your own.</p> <p>You can spot the secretly mediocre advisers either by looking at their returns or by looking at their portfolio. In either case, it will end up looking a lot like the return or portfolio you could get from just following the indexes.</p> <h2>My Mediocre Advice</h2> <p>Genuinely superior advice from (extremely rare) genuinely superior investment advisers is generally so expensive it makes no sense to pay for it, unless you have a portfolio of millions of dollars.</p> <p>Since Wise Bread is all about living large on a small budget, I figure it's pretty likely that you don't have the multimillion-dollar portfolio that would let superior financial advice pay for itself. In that case, I suggest that you just follow the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know?ref=internal" target="_blank">mediocre advice</a> I wrote about last time. Doing that, you'll get mediocre returns &mdash; which it turns out, are good enough.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice delusional financial advisers liars mediocre returns success Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Philip Brewer 1902765 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fiduciary Rule Is Under Review — How Will This Affect Your Investments? http://www.wisebread.com/the-fiduciary-rule-is-under-review-how-will-this-affect-your-investments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fiduciary-rule-is-under-review-how-will-this-affect-your-investments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-531215119.jpg" alt="Man learning how fiduciary rule will affect investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have money invested in a retirement plan, such as a 401K or an IRA, chances are high you'll be impacted by an executive order issued recently by President Trump.</p> <p>It centers on the &quot;fiduciary rule,&quot; one of former President Obama's initiatives that was scheduled to go into effect on April 10th. President Trump put the brakes on it by ordering the Labor Department to study the issue further.</p> <p>Whether the rule goes into effect or not, you would be wise to understand what all the fuss is about and how it could affect you.</p> <h2>Fiduci&hellip;What?</h2> <p>Financial professionals, such as financial planners, insurance agents, brokers, and others, are legally bound to adhere to certain standards of conduct, the highest of which is a fiduciary standard. Anyone working under that standard, which today includes Certified Financial Planners and Registered Investment Advisers, is required to act in their clients' best interests, detail all commissions and fees, and disclose any potential conflicts of interest.</p> <p>Others, including many brokers and life insurance agents, are held only to a suitability standard. That means if two financial products could meet a client's needs, but one would pay the financial adviser a higher commission, he or she could recommend that product to their client.</p> <p>The Obama administration estimated that biased advice steering people to needlessly high-cost, high-commission financial products and services costs investors $17 billion per year in fees and lost investment income. Its fiduciary rule would require any financial professional recommending retirement-related financial products or services to adhere to a fiduciary standard.</p> <h2>What It Means for You</h2> <p>Here are some steps you can take to help make sure your retirement accounts are run in your best interest, rather than the managers'.</p> <p>If you participate in a 401K, 403(b), or other workplace retirement plan, ask questions about how your investment options were selected. Some plans have a very limited set of choices or offer mutual funds with high fees. In particular, take a look at the &quot;expense ratio&quot; tied to the funds. That's the percentage of the money you invest in the fund that goes toward the expenses of operating the fund. For example, if you buy shares of a fund with an expense ratio of 0.73%, for every $1,000 you invest, $7.30 will go toward the fund's operating expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <p>According to Morningstar, the average expense ratio is .78% for an actively-managed mutual fund and .18% for a passively-managed (index) fund. If the funds in your plan are significantly higher than that, ask your plan administrator to explain why.</p> <p>Find out if any of the companies behind the funds in your plan participate in &quot;revenue sharing agreements&quot; in which they pay to be part of your plan. Often, these are higher-fee funds.</p> <p>A good resource is <a href="https://www.brightscope.com/" target="_blank">Bright Scope</a>, an independent evaluator of workplace retirement plans. See if it has evaluated your employer's plan, and if so, see what it says about the fees charged by your plan.</p> <p>Employees at some companies have even sued their workplace retirement plans over what they felt were needlessly high-cost investment options. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court gave employees the right to do so.</p> <p>If you work with a financial planner, insurance agent, or other financial professional, ask whether the person you work with adheres to a fiduciary standard. As awkward as it may be, ask about the commissions or other compensation they receive from the products or services you purchase through them. Before committing to working with someone, interview a couple of others and compare costs.</p> <h2>Three Situations That Warrant Extra Caution</h2> <p>Be especially careful about deferred annuities, mutual funds with a &quot;front-end load,&quot; and 401K &quot;rollovers.&quot; In each situation, you may be especially vulnerable to receiving biased advice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-step-plan-to-choosing-your-first-or-next-mutual-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3-Step Plan to Choosing a Mutual Fund</a>)</p> <p>With deferred annuities, you invest now in order to receive a stream of income in your later years. Deferred annuities usually provide salespeople with high commissions and come with especially onerous surrender charges if you decide to cancel your contract. Be very cautious. Generally, the type of annuity that makes the most sense is an immediate fixed annuity purchased around the time of retirement, and even then only with a portion of your nest egg. If someone is recommending an annuity for you and retirement is far down the road, at very least, ask lots of questions about fees, commissions, and surrender charges. And carefully weigh the comparative advantages of investing in mutual funds outside of an annuity instead.</p> <p>Some financial advisers exchange their advice for the commissions they receive by recommending mutual funds with front-end loads, or sales fees. If you put $1,000 into a mutual fund with a 5% front-end load, that means you've lost $50 right out of the gate. At a time when there are countless no-load funds available, including target-date funds that automate some of the most important steps an adviser would do for you (such as, determine and then manage your asset allocation), it's difficult to imagine a situation where it would make sense to pay such fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/commission-free-etfs-a-great-option-for-cost-conscious-investors?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Commission Free ETFs: A Great Option for Cost Conscious Investors</a>)</p> <p>When you leave your employer &mdash; whether for retirement or to move on to another company &mdash; plenty of brokers would love to have you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=internal" target="_blank">rollover your 401K money</a> into an IRA at their firm. Such rollovers often do make sense because an IRA will give you more investment options. Just be sure to ask questions. Are there account fees? Is investment advice available to you from a fiduciary adviser? Compare the costs and services of at least three brokers.</p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>No matter what happens with the fiduciary rule, it's in your best interests to require all financial professionals you seek advice from to adhere to a fiduciary standard. At very least, they should fully and clearly disclose any fees, commissions, and potential conflicts of interest.</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/the-fiduciary-rule-is-under-review-how-will-this-affect-your-investments">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <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> <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-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</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/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Investment 401k advisers brokers commissions ethics fiduciary rule insurance agents IRA trump Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Matt Bell 1901229 at http://www.wisebread.com The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508414008.jpg" alt="Learning three rules evert mediocre investor must know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mediocre financial advice can earn you mediocre investment returns &mdash; and mediocre investment returns are all you need to save for a house, send your kids to college, and fund your (potentially early) retirement. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-take-investment-advice-from-a-mediocre-investor" target="_blank">Mediocre investment advice</a> is pretty straightforward. In fact, the only thing that's complicated about getting mediocre financial results is the stuff that comes before investing: Things like earning money, keeping your debt in check, finding a career, living frugally, and most crucially, building an adequate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">emergency fund</a>.</p> <p>Once you've got those things taken care of, you're ready to start investing. If you're at that point, here's my mediocre investment advice: Create a diversified portfolio of low-cost investments and rebalance it annually.</p> <h2>Diversified Portfolio</h2> <p>It's important to have diversity at several levels. Eventually you'll want diversity in investment types &mdash; not just stocks, but also bonds, real estate, precious metals, foreign currency, cash, etc. More importantly, you want finer-grained diversity especially in the earlier stages of building your portfolio. Don't let your portfolio get concentrated in just one or a few companies. (For what it's worth, don't let it get concentrated in the stock of your employer, either. That sets you up for a catastrophe, because if your employer runs into trouble, the value of your portfolio can crash at the same time your job is at risk.)</p> <p>In the medium term &mdash; after you've got a well-diversified stock selection, but before it's time to branch out into more exotic investments &mdash; you'll want to expand the diversity of types of companies. Not just big companies, but also medium-sized and small companies. Not just U.S. companies, but also foreign companies. Not just tech companies, but also industrial companies and financial companies, and so on.</p> <p>Diversity wins two ways. First, it's safer: As long as all your money isn't in just one thing, it doesn't matter so much whether it's a good year or a bad year for that thing. Second, it produces higher returns: No one can know which investment will be best, but a diversified portfolio probably has at least <em>some </em>money invested in <em>some </em>investments that will do especially well. (Of course retrospectively, there will have been one investment that does best, and risking having all your money in that would have produced the highest possible return &mdash; but that's exactly what a mediocre investor knows better than to attempt.)</p> <p>Of course, you don't want a random selection of investments, even if such a thing might be quite diverse. You want a reasonably balanced portfolio &mdash; something I'll talk about at the end of this post.</p> <h2>Low-Cost Investments</h2> <p>The less money you pay in fees and commissions, the more money you have invested in earning a return.</p> <p>Getting this right is so much easier now than it was when I started investing! In those days, you could scarcely avoid losing several percent of your money right off the top to commissions, and then lose another percent or two annually to fees. Now it's easy to make a stock trade for less than $10 in commissions, and it's easy to find mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that charge fees of only a fraction of 1%.</p> <p>Still, it's easy to screw this up. Any investment that's advertised is paying its advertising budget somehow &mdash; probably with fees from investors. Any investment that's sold by agents or brokers is paying those agents or brokers somehow &mdash; probably with commissions or fees from investors.</p> <p>All those costs come straight out of your return. Keep them to a minimum.</p> <h2>Rebalance Annually</h2> <p>Your diversified portfolio will immediately start getting less diversified: Your winning investments will become a larger fraction of your portfolio while your losers will become a smaller fraction. In the short term, that's great. Who doesn't want a portfolio loaded with winners? Pretty soon though, you start losing the advantages of diversification. Last year's winners will inevitably become losers eventually, and you don't want that to happen after they've become a huge share of your portfolio.</p> <p>The solution is to restore the original diversity. Sell some of the winners, and use the resulting cash to buy some more of the losers. It's the easiest possible way to buy low and sell high. (Maybe you don't want to buy exactly the losers &mdash; not if their poor performance leads you think there's something really wrong with them. But buy something kind of like them. Health care companies probably belong in your portfolio, even if many of them did badly this year.)</p> <p>There are costs to rebalancing &mdash; costs in time and effort (figuring out what to sell and what to buy), and actual costs in commissions and fees. Because of that, you probably wouldn't want to rebalance constantly. You could make a case for monthly or quarterly rebalancing, but even that seems like a lot of effort for a small portfolio. Annually seems to hit the sweet spot.</p> <h2>What Goes Into a Diversified Portfolio?</h2> <p>What I'm going to suggest is that you start with a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.</p> <p>It's not that there aren't plenty of other worthy investment options &mdash; cash, gold, silver, real estate, foreign currencies, etc. &mdash; it's just that they all have complications of one sort or another, and you can get started on earning your mediocre returns without them.</p> <p>My mediocre investment advice then is that your portfolio should be a balance of stocks (for maximum growth) and bonds (for income and stability).</p> <h3>Finding the Right Balance Comes Down to Age &mdash; Yours</h3> <p>What's the right balance? An old rule of thumb was that 100 minus your age would be a good target percentage for the stock portion of your portfolio. At the start of your career, you'd have nearly 80% of your investments in stocks, and that fraction would gradually decline to about 35% as you approached retirement. The theory was that a young person can afford to take big risks, because he or she has time to wait for an eventual market rebound (and because during the early phase of building up a portfolio, even a large percentage loss is a small dollar amount). This makes a certain amount of sense. In fact, you could argue that a stock market that collapsed and then stayed down just when you started investing would be great &mdash; it would give you decades to buy stocks cheap.</p> <p>That rule of thumb isn't bad, although with people living longer these days, it probably makes sense to keep a higher portion of stocks in your portfolio during the last years before and first years after retirement. Once you hit 50, maybe only cut your stock portfolio by 1% every two years.</p> <p>When you're just getting started, feel free to keep it very simple. Perhaps just start putting money into a broad-based stock fund (such as an S&amp;P 500 index fund). You can add a bond fund right away if you want, or wait until your annual rebalancing.</p> <p>There are mutual funds that will manage this balance for you, holding stocks and bonds with a balance that shifts over time to some target date, at which point they'll hold a portfolio suitable for someone who has retired. You don't need them. In particular, they tend to have higher expenses, violating the &quot;low cost&quot; principle. You can do it easily enough for yourself. (Of course if you find that you don't do your annual rebalancing, then maybe paying a fund to do it for you is worth the expense.)</p> <p>As an alternative to mutual funds, you can use exchange traded funds or ETFs. It doesn't matter.</p> <p>Once your portfolio of stocks is large, you probably want to move beyond a single fund. Look at the other low-cost funds offered by the same fund family that provides your S&amp;P 500 index fund. Consider adding a fund that includes foreign stocks (especially if the dollar seems strong at the time you'll be buying). Consider adding a fund that includes dividend-paying stocks (especially if interest rates are low relative to dividends).</p> <p>Follow these mediocre tips, and you'll be racking up mediocre returns in no time! And remember &mdash; mediocre returns are all you need to live well and retire well.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice balancing bonds diversification ETFs mediocre investments mutual funds portfolio returns stock market stocks Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:30:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 1896815 at http://www.wisebread.com The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538027758.jpg" alt="Man learning mediocre investing advice is best" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My investing success made it possible for me to quit working a regular job 10 years ago, at age 48. Even so, I have written very little about investing compared to what I've written about other personal finance topics. There's a reason for that: I'm a mediocre investor.</p> <p>Over the course of my career as a software engineer, I saved and invested, earning a mediocre investment return. Since becoming a full-time writer, I've continued to earn investment returns &mdash; which although still mediocre, have been enough to supplement my income from writing.</p> <p>As a mediocre investor, I have hesitated to hold myself out as an investment adviser, even if my results have met my own needs in a very satisfactory way. I figured people would quite legitimately compare me to superior investment advisers, and it was a comparison that I didn't think would put me in the best light. And yet, I'm going to overcome my hesitation, because looking for superior investment advisers is probably a mistake.</p> <p>There are two big reasons why mediocre investment advice is the better choice: It's adequate, and it's cheap.</p> <h2>Mediocre Investing Advice Is Adequate</h2> <p>The purpose of your investment portfolio is to support your goals in life, and a mediocre return will do the trick. A mediocre return &mdash; just a few percentage points over inflation &mdash; will turn a modest flow of savings into a portfolio large enough to let you buy a house, send your kids to college, and fund a retirement (even an early retirement).</p> <p>Trying to get a better-than-mediocre return requires taking financial risks that put all your life goals at risk.</p> <p>If you have plenty of money available for investing, you can do both. You can cover your basic life goals with a portfolio invested for mediocre returns, and then you can direct your surplus investible funds into a portfolio that shoots for superior returns.</p> <p>It can be fun if you enjoy that sort of thing. I did some of that. Looking back, I'd probably have been better off just going for mediocre returns on the whole thing.</p> <h2>Mediocre Investing Advice Is Cheap</h2> <p>Superior investing advice tends to be expensive. It's expensive because it's worth it &mdash; but it's really only worth that much to the truly wealthy.</p> <p>Think about it. Let's say really good advice can boost your average annual return by five percentage points. On a $100,000 portfolio, that's an extra $5,000 a year. On a $1 billion portfolio, it's an extra $50 million a year. If someone can really earn that kind of extra return, they won't be working for you. They'll be working for the 1%.</p> <p>And it's not only getting superior advice that's expensive. Just following it is expensive. Following any financial advice &mdash; good or bad &mdash; costs money, but not only is getting mediocre advice cheap, following it tends to be cheap as well. And that cost savings turns out to support your investment returns better than even pretty good advice does.</p> <h2>Go With Mediocre</h2> <p>Just looking for superior financial advice is fraught. Most people who say they're providing superior investment advice are wrong. Some are simply deluded, others are flat-out lying. Either way, you really don't want to follow their financial advice &mdash; following bad financial advice can easily cost you your life savings.</p> <p>Fortunately, it's easy to tell the difference: Bad financial advice costs money, while mediocre financial advice tends to be free (or nearly so).</p> <p>Where can you get mediocre financial advice? Lots of places. You might start with two books I reviewed here on Wise Bread years ago that provide just the sort of mediocre financial advice I'm talking about:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-little-book-of-common-sense-investing" target="_blank">The Little Book of Common Sense Investing</a> by John C. Bogle: A perfect capsule of mediocre investment advice. It's also really short, because you can say about all there is to say about mediocre investing in a really short book.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-only-investment-guide-youll-ever-need?ref=internal" target="_blank">The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need</a> by Andrew Tobias: A slightly longer book that also covers basic personal finance stuff &mdash; so, not just investing your money, but also earning, spending, and insuring it.</li> </ul> <h2>How to Know It's Mediocre</h2> <p>It's easy to tell if the advice you're getting is the sort of mediocre advice you want. There are two characteristics to look for:</p> <ol> <li>It's free &mdash; or, available for no more than the cost of a book.</li> <li>It doesn't claim to be better than mediocre.</li> </ol> <p>If somebody charges money for their advice &mdash; or, more importantly, charges a commission, or a percentage of your assets for their advice &mdash; then it's probably not mediocre financial advice. (Charging a small fraction of 1% to cover the costs of running an investment fund is fine. It's charging extra on top of that for advice that's the danger sign.)</p> <p>If somebody claims that their advice is superior investment advice, or in any way better than mediocre financial advice, then it probably isn't mediocre financial advice.</p> <p>If you spot any of those warnings signs, I suggest that you avoid those advisers. It doesn't really matter whether they are people who genuinely think they're providing superior financial advice, or people who are just playing on your hopes for superior financial advice. If you follow their investment advice, I can confidently predict that your long-term investment returns &mdash; after expenses &mdash; will be crappy. And crappy returns mean a lower standard of living, less security, no chance to retire early, and maybe no retirement at all.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers">How to Spot Lousy Investment Advisers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice early retirement financial advisers mediocre returns success Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:30:26 +0000 Philip Brewer 1892846 at http://www.wisebread.com