Investment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4808/all en-US 9 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Robo-Adviser http://www.wisebread.com/9-questions-you-should-ask-before-hiring-a-robo-adviser <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-questions-you-should-ask-before-hiring-a-robo-adviser" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_laptop_thinking_59984612.jpg" alt="Woman asking robo-adviser questions before hiring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many experts predict that robots will soon take over jobs across many industries. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/robots-will-take-over-these-5-jobs-soon-is-one-of-them-yours?ref=seealso">Robots Will Take Over These 5 Jobs Soon &mdash; Is One of Them Yours?</a>)</p> <p>And this trend is certainly evident in the financial industry, where robo-advisers (an automated online service that provides algorithm-based portfolio management without any involvement of human financial advisers) are already taking over a substantial portion of investment management. By the end of 2015, U.S. robo-advisers managed an estimated <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/robo-advisers">$50 billion in assets</a>. That value is expected to rise to $2.2 trillion by 2020.</p> <p>With major investment fund firms, such as Vanguard and Fidelity, deeply in the robo-advice game, many individual investors will need to decide whether to hire the services of a robo-adviser. So, let's review nine key questions you should ask before you trust your money to a &quot;bot.&quot;</p> <h2>1. Am I Eligible for a Robo-Adviser?</h2> <p>While robo-advisers are gaining in popularity, not every single retirement plan or investment house is offering them as an option. Some retirement plan advisers eschew automated portfolio management to differentiate themselves from the competition. This means that your current employer-sponsored retirement account or investment account may not offer robo-advisers.</p> <p>Even when a robo-adviser is available, you may not be have enough money in your investment account or nest egg to make use of them. Depending on your preferred broker, robo-advisers require a minimum investment balance of anywhere from $1 (WiseBanyan) to $50,000 (Vanguard). There are companies that don't ask for a minimum, but you should evaluate whether opening a separate investment or retirement account makes sense for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you?ref=seealso">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>2. What Services Do You Offer?</h2> <p>Just like human financial advisers, not all robo-advisers are the same. Automatic portfolio rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting (selling securities that have experienced a loss to offset taxes on both gains and income) are among the most common services. Additional offerings vary, and may include advice for retirement accounts and access to a human financial adviser. To have a clear picture of all of your options, be sure to review all the disclosures and terms.</p> <h2>3. What Are the Fees?</h2> <p>The main driver behind the shift toward automated wealth-management is the promise of lower fees. After all, hiring the professional investment management services of a human financial adviser can cost from 0.25% to 1.0% of your account balance. On the other hand, with a robo-adviser you can pay as low as 0.15% of your account balance (using Betterment) or a flat monthly fee of $5 (using blooom).</p> <p>Be aware that some robo-advisers may charge you nothing for portfolio management, but still send you a bill for applicable trading expenses. For example, WiseBanyan and Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios provide free portfolio management free of charge, but invest primarily in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with moderate to high expense ratios. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for?ref=seealso">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a>)</p> <h2>4. What Information Do You Need From Me and How Do I Update It?</h2> <p>A robo-adviser is an automated tool that makes investment decisions based on your response to questionnaires and selection of investment criteria. Your input directly affects the actions of the robo-adviser, so develop a crystal clear understanding of the intake process, set of available answers to each question, lead time to process an update, and window of opportunity to make changes. Additionally, ask who you can contact in case you don't understand a question or term.</p> <p>The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recommends checking with the company whether the questionnaire actually allows you to customize services or forces to fit you into the tool's predetermined options.</p> <h2>5. What Are the Key Assumptions?</h2> <p>This is one of those times that you must read the user's manual in full detail. Every robo-adviser operates within a set of predetermined investment guidelines and economic assumptions. For example, some may limit their trades to low-cost index funds and others may assume an inflation rate of 3% per year. Depending on the assumptions, your fund can have a very different outcome from the one that you expected. Ask for documentation regarding the investment methodology, set of economic assumptions, and list of trading guidelines. The main objective is to spot potential assumptions or guidelines that you're just not comfortable with at all.</p> <h2>6. What Are My Investment Options?</h2> <p>Just as when you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser">hire a financial adviser or financial planner</a>, check for the pay structure of a potential robo-adviser. Some investment houses may limit your investment options to only those from the same investment house, or worse, may receive kickbacks for purchasing specific financial vehicles. Still, you can have a robo-adviser that only trades with a limited set of securities and meets your unique investment needs. To be able to compare apples to apples, find out what the investment options are of any robo-adviser that you're considering.</p> <h2>7. Can the Robo-Adviser Offer Me More Later?</h2> <p>A robo-adviser can be a useful tool for individuals who are just starting to invest, have a low account balance, or have straightforward financial needs. As your account balance grows and your financial situation changes, you may need more advanced wealth management services, such as taxes, retirement planning, cash flow management, or estate planning that can be beyond the scope of your current robo-adviser. Finding out the service tiers of a robo-adviser is also an important criteria so you determine whether or not your robo-adviser can &quot;grow&quot; with you.</p> <h2>8. How Do I Terminate the Contract?</h2> <p>Understand the details of how to end a contractual relationship with the firm and how long it may take to cash out any investments if you decide to stop using the tool. For a robo-adviser involving retirement accounts, inquire about the applicable terms and conditions, if any, for a rollover to an external retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>9. How Do You Protect My Personal Data?</h2> <p>Last, but not least, remember that you're going to access an online service. Check for the steps that the company takes to protect your personal data and the policies in case of a security breach or phishing attempt. Also, ask whether or not the company shares your information with third parties. If so, ask who those parties are and how you can opt out of having your information made available to those parties.</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/9-questions-you-should-ask-before-hiring-a-robo-adviser">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract">Buying a New Smartphone Without Extending Your Contract</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/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-future-value-and-why-it-matters">How to Calculate Future Value, and Why It Matters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Technology assumptions contracts fees financial advisers personal data portfolio management robo-advisers Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Damian Davila 1796991 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons You Shouldn't Invest Like Warren Buffett http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_scared_chart_99635575.jpg" alt="Learning reasons you shouldn&#039;t invest like warren buffett" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Warren Buffett is, by most accounts, one of the most successful investors in history. The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has amassed billions of dollars (more than $65 billion, at last count) through his savvy understanding of corporations' performance and the stock market.</p> <p>But investing like Warren Buffett isn't easy, and an examination of Berkshire's holdings indicates that average investors might not necessarily benefit by following his every move.</p> <p>Here's a look at some reasons to avoid investing like Warren Buffett.</p> <h2>1. Because You Can't</h2> <p>We can all try to invest like Warren Buffett, but at a certain point it will be clear that he can do things that us mere mortals can't. Buffett has access to information that most people wish they had. He's super wealthy, so he can buy shares in much larger quantities and take risks that we simply can't. He has mountains of cash, and the reputation to cut deals that we can't make. He has access to different types of investments (preferred stock, venture capital) that are often unavailable to non-wealthy people. It's possible to follow his general approach to investing, but at a certain point it's nearly impossible to do what he does.</p> <h2>2. His Goals Aren't the Same as Yours</h2> <p>The average person should be investing with long-term growth in mind, focused primarily on building a large retirement fund. An older investor might invest for income through dividend stocks and bonds. Berkshire Hathaway's investment motives, however, are far more complex. While it is focused on building wealth over the long-term, it also makes decisions to please its shareholders in the short-term. It makes acquisitions that don't make sense immediately, but have a broader strategic value.</p> <h2>3. He's Not Very Diversified</h2> <p>Berkshire Hathaway is a large and sprawling company with investments in a wide range of industries. But most of the company's holdings are still comprised of a handful of companies. More than half of the company's value is tied up in its stakes of Kraft, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and IBM. Nearly 40% of Berkshire's portfolio stems from the consumer staples sector, while another 30% is tied up in financials. Meanwhile, the company has relatively small investments in major sectors including health care, energy, or telecommunications.</p> <h2>4. He Sometimes Invests With His Heart, Not His Head</h2> <p>Yes, even Warren Buffett is known to invest with his heart rather than his head. Not all of his investments are unemotional and purely driven by cold facts. Consider his affection for Coca-Cola. (He's known to drink several Cokes a day.) While it's true that Coca-Cola is one of the stock market's great success stories, it's actually underperformed the broader stock market over the last five years. Despite this, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has about 400 million shares of Coca-Cola, or 9% of the company.</p> <h2>5. He's Missed Out on Technology</h2> <p>When tech took off in the 1990s, Warren Buffett was not on board. No big investments in Microsoft, Apple, or Cisco. And he's also declined to invest in recent tech success stories including Alphabet (neé Google), Amazon, Netflix, or Facebook. He is a big investor in IBM, but bought shares late in the game and the company has had several years in a row of declining revenues.</p> <p>Buffett has said he hasn't invested in tech because he doesn't understand it. While it's wise to avoid investing in something you don't understand, it also means he's missed out on some big gains over the years.</p> <h2>6. You're Better Off With Mutual Funds and ETFs</h2> <p>Warren Buffett is a great stock picker. His Berkshire Hathaway is a sprawling firm with investments in a wide range of companies in various industries. But for most people, it's foolish to try to invest in individual companies and expect to beat the broader stock market. It takes a lot of work to assemble a well-balanced portfolio if you're buying individual stocks. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds offer the ability to invest in the broader stock market without worrying about share prices of individual companies.</p> <h2>7. He's Too U.S.-Centric</h2> <p>There's nothing wrong with betting on America and its companies. But a well-diversified portfolio should also have a good amount of international exposure, and Warren Buffett has tended to invest heavily in U.S.-based companies while ignoring the potential growth from overseas firms.</p> <p>The suggested amount of exposure to international and emerging market stocks varies depending on the investor's age and goals. But Morningstar's Lifetime Allocation Indexes are one possible guide. These indexes, which offer a mix of investments appropriately balanced for a person's retirement age, have between 10% and 40% invested in non-U. S. stocks. Morningstar suggests holding more international stocks the further you are from retirement.</p> <p>Warren Buffett hasn't eschewed international investing entirely, as Berkshire Hathaway does have holdings in European insurance companies and recently bought a German motorcycle accessory manufacturer. And some Berkshire holdings, including Coca-Cola and IBM, do have a significant overseas presence. But many of Berkshire's top holdings, including U.S. Bancorp, Wells Fargo, and Charter Communications, offer very little international exposure.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-your-retirement-by-avoiding-these-10-risky-investments">Save Your Retirement by Avoiding These 10 Risky Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-best-investments-for-lazy-investors">The 4 Best Investments for Lazy Investors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Berkshire Hathaway ETFs funds Oracle of Omaha retirement stocks strategy venture capital Warren Buffett wealthy Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1796994 at http://www.wisebread.com Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_newspaper_66002597.jpg" alt="Man learning how to read a stock table" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've thought about investing, you've undoubtedly considered stocks. And for good reason: During the period of 1928&mdash;2015, the Standard &amp; Poor's 500 index averaged an annual return of 11.25%.</p> <p>But getting started can be confusing, and even making sense of stock tables and the information in all the columns can be daunting.</p> <p>Fear not, however &mdash; here's a basic primer for novice investors on how to read stock tables and better understand the information in each column. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds?ref=seealso">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a>)</p> <h2>Let's Imagine That You Search for Apple Stock</h2> <p>Given that Apple Inc. [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/AAPL">AAPL</a>] is currently the publicly-traded company with the largest market capitalization, at some point you'll probably want to learn more about its stock price.</p> <p>If you were to start researching Apple's stock, you might find something like this on Yahoo! Finance:</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-09-20%20at%2012.35.53%20PM.png" width="605" height="310" alt="" /></p> <p>First, take note of the market in which the public company trades, since it'll yield important clues about the stock. For example, Apple trades in the NASDAQ, which is an electronic marketplace for buying and selling securities mostly in the U.S. technology sector. On the other hand, more traditional companies like General Electric Company, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Target Corporation trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). And keep an eye out for stocks traded on foreign exchanges. Some investment accounts may limit you to only stocks traded on U.S.-based exchanges or charge you high fees to invest in foreign stocks.</p> <p>Let's break down the meaning of these numbers.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-09-20%20at%2012.36.07%20PM.png" width="605" height="149" alt="" /></p> <h2>Key Measures of Stock Price</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-09-20%20at%2012.36.18%20PM.png" width="605" height="371" alt="" /></p> <p>On the left side of the summary table of our example, you'll find a list of key measures of the stock price. Let's review these measures, starting from the top.</p> <h3>Open Price and Previous Close</h3> <p>This the price at which a stock first trades upon the opening of an exchange on a given trading day. Both Nasdaq and the NYSE open at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.</p> <p>The previous close is the final price at which a security is traded on a given trading day. If the opening price is dramatically different from the previous closing price, you have a signal that investors reacted to an important piece of news, such as an earnings call, industry regulation, or a downgrade or upgrade from an investment firm.</p> <h3>Bid and Ask</h3> <p>The bid is the price in the market to buy a stock, while the ask is the price a seller in the market is willing to accept. The difference between the bid and ask price is a measure (referred to as &quot;spread&quot;) of the demand and supply for stock. The smaller the spread, the easier and faster is to conduct a sale or purchase of a stock. Given a bid-ask spread of just $0.05, your transaction order for Apple stock would be cleared quickly.</p> <p>The number following the bid or ask price represent the number of pending trades in lots of 100 at the given bid and ask price. In this example, there were 10,000 pending purchase orders at $107.70 per share and 30,000 pending sale orders at $107.75 shares. Any pending orders that aren't processed on the same trading day are carried on to the next one.</p> <h3>Day's Range, 52-Week Range, and One-Year Target Estimate</h3> <p>These figures provide an idea of the volatility of a stock price. While the 52-week range gives you the minimum and maximum price of Apple stock during a trailing 52-week period, the day's range gives you the same values for the most current trading day.</p> <p>In our example, Apple stock is currently trading below its 52-week high. Given that the consensus among analysts is that the one-year target estimate price of Apple stock is $124.11, the price of Apple stock appears to have upside potential (it's price will go up). Keep in mind that this is just a consensus of estimates, meaning that different analysts may have different targets and that all of these numbers are just predictions. In the stock market, anything can happen!</p> <p>Paying attention to the price volatility of any stock's price is important to put those ups and downs in context.</p> <p>Now let's take a look at the right side of this stock table. The next set of measures are a bit more advanced, but they are also useful even to the newbie investor.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-09-20%20at%2012.36.32%20PM.png" width="605" height="362" alt="" /></p> <h3>Market Capitalization</h3> <p>Also referred to as &quot;market cap,&quot; this is the total dollar market value of a company's outstanding shares. This value changes constantly and is often used to rank the size of publicly-traded companies. On this date, Apple stock still held onto the number one spot on the list of companies ranked by market capitalization.</p> <h3>P/E Ratio</h3> <p>P/E ratio is short for price-earnings ratio and is calculated by dividing a stock's current share price by its earnings per share (EPS) for the last trailing 12 months (TTM). The P/E ratio provides you a guide as to how much you can expect to invest in a company in order to receive one dollar of that company's earnings. In our example, you can expect to pay $12.56 to get a $1 in return for investing in Apple.</p> <p>By following the investing maxim &quot;buy low and sell high,&quot; you would want to buy stocks when P/E ratios are low and sell when P/E ratios are high. Still, there are stocks with low P/E ratios that have tanked even more and stocks with high P/E ratios that have turned out to be great investments.</p> <h3>Beta</h3> <p>This is a measure of volatility of the stock price compared to that of the market. The market has a beta of 1.0, so stocks with a beta below that benchmark move less than the market and stocks with a beta above that benchmark move more than the market.</p> <p>Given the beta of 1.38, the price of Apple stock fluctuates a bit more than that of the market, meaning that you can't expect wild fluctuations. If the market were to tick up a bit, you would expect this stock to tick up just a bit more, and vice-versa.</p> <p>Generally, investors with very low tolerance to risk avoid stocks with high beta. Otherwise, those investors could end up with too many sleepless nights.</p> <h3>Volume and Average Volume (Three Months)</h3> <p>The volume tracks the total number of transactions for the stock for a trading day. The average volume tracks the average number of transactions per day within a specified period, such as three months in this example. A high trading volume indicates that a stock is very liquid (transactions clear quickly).</p> <h3>Dividend and Yield</h3> <p>The dividend indicates the annual dividend payment per share and its yield indicates the percentage return on the dividend (annual dividends per share divided by price per share). When the stock table provides no dividend and yield numbers, the company doesn't currently pay out dividends.</p> <h3>Earnings Date</h3> <p>This is the date on which you can expect the company to release an official public statement of a company's profitability for a specific time period, typically a quarter (<a href="https://www.sec.gov/answers/form10q.htm">Form 10-Q</a>) or a year (<a href="https://www.sec.gov/answers/form10k.htm">Form 10-K</a>). Expect analysts to release their own estimates of those numbers close to that date and correct those estimates shortly after the official statement from the publicly traded company.</p> <p>Depending on the nature of the announcements made on an earnings date, you can expect a small or big reaction from the stock market and a reflection of that reaction in the price of a stock.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>You can find stock tables both in print and online. This guide is a useful primer to interpret the data. Keep in mind that printed stock tables may not include all of this data. Another advantage of searching stock tables online is that you will access the latest information. Still, stock tables available in yesterday's newspaper are still useful to have a snapshot of how your equities are performing. Warren Buffett said it best: &quot;If you aren't willing to own a stock for 10 years, don't even think about owning it for 10 minutes.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>To buy or sell a stock, always check against your holding period, tolerance to risk, target investment fee for a period, and overall retirement strategy.</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/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-to-avoid-dividend-stocks">8 Times to Avoid Dividend Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment dividends earnings how to guide market capitalization NASDAQ new investors nyse stock market stock tables volatility Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1796591 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Times Cash Is Not King http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-cash-is-not-king" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ben_franklin_money_74660439.jpg" alt="Learning when cash is not king" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's often said that using cash can be a powerful way to control spending and avoid debt. But cash can be highly overrated. It doesn't grow much in value, it's annoying to carry, and it's hard to track.</p> <p>Here are some times when cash is not all it's cracked up to be.</p> <h2>1. When Interest Rates Are Historically Low</h2> <p>It makes sense to build up an emergency fund of three to six months' worth of living expenses. But when interest rates are super low, like they have been in recent years, any additional cash isn't going to do much for you. Why sit on a pile of cash earning a paltry interest rate and merely racing against inflation, when you can invest and earn a much healthier return? Even billionaire investors like Warren Buffett agree. In a 2014 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, he wrote that over the long term, cash is actually a riskier investment than stocks, due to the potential of inflation wiping away any gains.</p> <h2>2. When a Company Has Too Much of It On Hand</h2> <p>A company with cash is not necessarily a bad thing, but investors can get ornery when there's too much. If you're a shareholder, you want to see that cash returned to you in the form of a dividend, used for acquisitions or stock buybacks, or reinvested to grow the company's businesses. Apple, which consistently has more than $100 billion in cash on hand, began issuing dividends after facing criticism from investors.</p> <h2>3. When You Want to Track Each Dollar You Spend</h2> <p>For those looking to curb spending and stay out of debt, using cash can be the way to go, as you can only spend what you have in your wallet. The downside, however, is that it's harder to keep meticulous records of everything you've purchased. A big part of money management is understanding your spending patterns, and it's easier to track purchases when you use a credit or debit card and receive statements, either online or on paper. Using cards also makes it easier to use online tools like Mint.com, which can categorize your spending and help you create budgets. Unless you are very conscientious about saving receipts or writing down each purchase, using cash won't help you understand your spending habits.</p> <h2>4. When You Are Traveling</h2> <p>There are some advantages to using cash when on a trip. Cash can be used to tip cabdrivers and bellhops, and is handy for when you shop or eat at places that do not take credit cards. Using cash in a foreign country can also help you avoid fees on debit and credit cards, and it's good to have some for an emergency. But cash is not replaceable. If you lose your wallet with hundreds of dollars in it, you're usually up a creek. And using cash won't get you any reward points on things like hotels, rental cars, or restaurants. Additionally, if you are traveling to multiple foreign countries, it's annoying to accumulate sums of foreign currency that you'll have to exchange back once you get home.</p> <h2>5. When You Loan Someone Money</h2> <p>Cash doesn't leave a record. That's great if you're Walter White and need to launder some money. But if someone borrows money from you, it's best to write a check, or use an electronic transfer that leaves a record. You may be unable to collect a debt if you have no proof that you lent someone money in the first place.</p> <h2>6. When You Get Paid</h2> <p>There may come a time in your life when someone offers to pay you &quot;under the table.&quot; This means that the employer is simply giving you cash for work without consideration of paying taxes. In theory, you can make more money if an employer doesn't pay payroll taxes, but it's also illegal in most cases.</p> <p>When you are paid in cash, you lose out on certain protections and benefits. You have no access to retirement benefits, for example. There's no record of your employment, which means you'd be unable to collect unemployment benefits if you lose your job. A person paid in cash would also not be eligible for disability or workers' compensation benefits. And if they're not paying payroll and other taxes, it can be illegal, which we entirely urge you to avoid.</p> <h2>7. When You Are the IRS or Law Enforcement</h2> <p>According to The Wall Street Journal, the use of cash to evade taxes costs the federal government about $500 billion in revenue annually. Cash, the newspaper notes, helps facilitate &quot;racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism.&quot; Cash is super for those who are up to no good, but a nightmare for those looking to catch the bad guys.</p> <h2>8. When You Can Use an App</h2> <p>I was out to dinner with friends recently and we needed to split the check. Some of us had no cash. Some did, but only in big bills. It was a nightmare. Luckily, we were able to settle things by using smartphone apps that allow you to transfer money with little more than an email address. Apps such as PayPal and Venmo prevent the need to carry lots of cash, and can even prevent you from stiffing your friends with too much of a dinner bill.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king">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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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/money-metaphors-you-wouldnt-punch-a-kitten-would-you">Money Metaphors (You wouldn&#039;t punch a kitten, would 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/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Investment Shopping borrowing budgeting cash loaning money racketeering spending taxes tracking under the table Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1793093 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_texting_newspaper_79438675_0.jpg" alt="Millennial man not being afraid of the stock market" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a Millennial who's interested in investing? Then stop being afraid of the market. Sure, the Great Recession wiped out market fortunes during your early adulthood, but in the years since, it's roared back. Those who held steady during the market tumult made their money back &mdash; and then some. And those who were smart enough to invest when the market was at its bottom? Well let's just say we should all be a little jealous of their foresight (and earnings).</p> <p>So, don't be a slave to your stock market fears. Here are seven reasons why you should be investing in equities, too.</p> <h2>1. You Have Options When Deciding to Invest</h2> <p>There are different investment options available that match your goals and time horizon. For instance, you can invest more conservatively if you're trying to save for a down payment on a house in a few years, versus investing for retirement 30 years down the road. And with increased diversification, you can maximize your investment returns while taking smaller risks.</p> <p>&quot;The more risk you take, the longer you should be willing to wait before it pays off, but you can match your investment objectives with your time horizon,&quot; says Ryan McGuiness, founder of the wealth management firm CTR Financial. &quot;I invest my clients in a diverse portfolio of 12 different index funds to provide maximum diversification at the lowest cost, and match their risks to their goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. You can try to learn what to do on your own or work with an adviser, but there are plenty of options out there.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Market Volatility Is Normal</h2> <p>Hands down, everyone's biggest fear in investing in the stock market is that it's going to crash and you'll lose your life savings. While that scenario <em>can</em> happen, a crash is not as likely as you think. In fact, it's uncommon. And even when markets crash, they inevitably come back. So, if you invest for the long term, this volatility should be much less of a concern.</p> <p>Of course, Millennials are more on edge about this particular setback than other generations, because they may have experienced the financial crisis firsthand in the late 2000s with parents losing their jobs or &mdash; even worse &mdash; their homes due to the global meltdown. As a result, you probably equate the stock market with extremely high risk, but that isn't usually the case.</p> <p>Lori Pinkowski, co-founder of the Pinkowski-Allen Financial Group, explains.</p> <p>&quot;A 2008-type crash occurs very infrequently; however, a 10% market correction happens on average once a year, so stock volatility is normal,&quot; she says. &quot;Market volatility also creates opportunity to purchase good companies at a lower price. With an active management strategy, their investment portfolios shouldn't simply rise and fall with the market like they do with a buy and hold management style. It's important to raise cash and get defensive at times but then be ready to deploy that cash once risk levels improve.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Investing Has Never Been Less Expensive</h2> <p>You don't have to be rich to invest &mdash; all you need is a little bit of disposable income. Many online brokers offer low-cost or even free trades, a prospect that was unimaginable just a few years ago. You also don't have to go broke by hiring a financial adviser to navigate you through the process, which is recommended. While the cost prospect of the latter is a deterrent for some Millennials, investment adviser Jeremy Torgerson details an inexpensive &mdash; and automated &mdash; solution:</p> <p>&quot;While many investors still want the assistance of a human financial adviser to help them figure out what to invest in and when to hold their hand during market corrections, it's no longer necessary to use and pay for a human adviser,&quot; he explains. &quot;The technology is incredible, and the robo-adviser is on duty, 24 hours a day. Or if you want a human adviser, the ability to shop for exactly the right one, in terms of service, expertise, and cost, has never been easier.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Investing Protects Your Money From Inflation</h2> <p>Think about this sobering fact for a second: The money you're earning and saving today will be worth less in the future if you keep it in a bank &mdash; guaranteed. The amount may not change, but over time, thanks to inflation, the value of your money will go down if it's left sitting in a bank account. As Pinkowski puts its, &quot;Inflation is approximately 2% and your bank savings account generates less than inflation, which means you have actually negative real growth. If you want healthy growth above inflation over time, stocks are the best choice.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Relying on Yourself Is a Better Bet Than Relying on the Government</h2> <p>The simple reality of our current fiscal situation includes underfunded promises to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and prescription drug benefits to the tune of $121 trillion and counting.</p> <p>&quot;Millennials will, in many ways, be 'stuck with the check' in later years for all the spending that's already happened, which will mean a later retirement age for Social Security, higher tax rates and inflation in the future, and, likely, reduced benefits from these entitlement programs,&quot; Torgerson says.</p> <p>Considering this potential, you owe it to yourself to prepare for a government that's less able to provide for you in retirement. Of course you should be contributing to a 401K, and taking advantage of matching contributions from your employer if they offer it. But investing separately in the stock market also can fortify your ability to retire at a decent age, if not sooner.</p> <h2>6. Reinvested Growth Can Pay Off in the Long Run</h2> <p>Many stocks pay dividends, and reinvesting those dividends as well as any capital gains will benefit you over the long run. For example, if you're 25 today and invest $10,000, earning on average 6% annually, you will see your investment grow to just over $100,000 by the time you reach 65 &mdash; and that's only with a $10,000 investment today. Consider that the S&amp;P 500 has averaged 9.6% annual returns over the last 25 years, which includes the tech bubble and 2008 credit crisis, and the growth you could enjoy might be even higher.</p> <h2>7. Time Is on Your Side</h2> <p>Of course, let's not forget that you're young, Millennials, and you have a several decades of saving and investing ahead of you &mdash; and that's a benefit that older investors don't have which can be used to your advantage.</p> <p>&quot;If Millennials are saving for retirement, their time horizon is much greater than someone older,&quot; says Pinkowski. &quot;They have time to wait out blips in the stock market and can focus on the long term. They also won't need to withdraw any income, thus allowing the investments to grow over many years. The power of compounding can be astonishing. Albert Einstein once said, 'Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it.' Give your money a job and make it work for you!&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you afraid of the stock market?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Reading a Stock Table</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/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment compound interest fear growth inflation millennials retirement returns stock market volatility young investors Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1787551 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clock_money_94923537.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to protect her money from inflation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in January 1980, when Jimmy Carter was President and Michael Jackson led the music charts with &quot;Rock with You,&quot; Americans were experiencing one of the periods of highest inflation in modern history. In January 1980, inflation was over 13.9% per year and peaked in April 1980 at 14.76%.</p> <p>With the consumer price index (CPI) at <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm">0.8% in July 2016</a>, many Americans have never experienced the dramatic increase in prices that other generations have. But even though inflation is low these days, it still eats away at your savings and investments. Let's review four (nearly) foolproof strategies and investments that will reduce the hit.</p> <h2>1. Invest in an S&amp;P 500 Index Fund</h2> <p>The average annual inflation rate since the U.S. government began tracking it in 1913 is <a href="http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Long_Term_Inflation.asp">about 3%</a>. To combat inflation's effect on your money, you need investments that provide greater average returns than the inflation rate.</p> <p>Since its inception in 1928, the S&amp;P 500 has provided an <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">average annual return of 11.25%</a> until 2015, making this stock market index a leading choice to protect yourself from inflation. For the greatest ease and cost-efficiency, invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that mirrors the S&amp;P 500's performance.</p> <p>Not only are the average returns of passively-managed S&amp;P 500 index funds higher than those of actively managed funds, but also the expense ratios of S&amp;P 500 index funds are lower than those of actively managed funds. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX?p=VFINX">VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.16%, which is 84% lower than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings.</p> <p>Of course, this approach isn't actually foolproof, since both the rate of inflation and market returns vary from year to year. But when considering long-term averages, it's a fairly safe bet.</p> <h2>2. Increase Annual Contributions to Saving Accounts</h2> <p>Even when you leverage <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=internal">high-yield online savings accounts</a>, you'll only make between 0.75% and 1.05% per year, according to data from August 2016. With a July 2016 CPI of 0.8%, you're actually losing 0.05% and gaining only 0.25% per year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review?ref=seealso">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a>)</p> <p>Setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck or main checking account to your investment and saving accounts is a smart idea, but adjusting those contributions for inflation is an even better one. A good practice is to make an adjustment for inflation once a year. Check with your financial institution to find out if it offers the option of automatic adjustments for inflation to your contributions.</p> <h2>3. Seek Real Estate Income</h2> <p>While gold has a great reputation as an investment hedge against inflation, real estate income has proved to be a better hedge tool. A study from financial company Fidelity back-tested the performance of several assets against inflation on an annual basis during a 40-year period and found that gold and real estate income beat inflation 54% and 71% of the time, respectively. &quot;Real estate is regarded consistently as a <a href="https://www.reit.com/news/videos/wharton-professor-discusses-reits-inflation-hedging-benefits">good inflation hedge</a>, and it is&quot;, asserts Susan Wachter, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Millennials Should Invest in a Home</a>)</p> <p>While most individual investors can only afford to buy their own home, all individual investors can gain exposure to real estate income from a wide variety of properties through real estate investment trusts (REITS). Some advantages of REITs are their requirement to maintain a dividend payout ratio of at least 90% and their liquidity because they trade on major stock exchanges.</p> <p>For example, the 10-year annual average return of the Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VGSIX?ltr=1">VGSIX</a>] is 7.46%, as of June 30, 2016. In comparison, the 10-year annual average return of the S&amp;P 500 was 7.42% for the same period.</p> <p>Adding REITs provides you access to assets with inflation resistance and helps you protect against the negative of higher inflation. Still, REITs should only be a part of a well-diversified portfolio. Depending on your tolerance to risk, financial advisers suggest allocating from 5% up to 20% of your investment in portfolio in REITs. And of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Your Salary</h2> <p>If your salary were to consistently go up every year, you would not to worry about inflation to begin with! However, <a href="http://time.com/money/3657524/odds-of-getting-raise/">less than half of working Americans</a> ever even ask for a raise, and about 30% of them are uncomfortable negotiating salary.</p> <p>Start your career on the right foot by successfully negotiating the salary offer of your very first job. Three out of four U.S. employers typically have room to increase their first salary offers by 5% to 10% during negotiations, but only 38% of applicants negotiate those first salary offers. Let's imagine that your first salary offer was $38,000, that would mean that you have the potential of increasing that offer from $39,900 to $41,800. Given the historical inflation average of 3% per year, you have the potential of covering inflation for 40 months just by negotiating your first salary offer.</p> <p>And things only get better after that.</p> <p>By bumping up your salary from the start, you're increasing your chances of future raises. As your salary grows over time, so does your probability of getting a raise. For example, people making $40,000 to $50,000 have about a 40% chance of receiving that raise they requested and people making $60,000 to $70,000 have about a 50% chance.</p> <p>While there are other factors that may influence pay raises, the main one is the decision to request better compensation. From U.S. workers asking for a raise, 75% of them get something: 44% of them get what they asked for and 31% of them receive a smaller amount. Getting at least a small raise is a very smart strategy to protect yourself from inflation because inflation erodes the value of your dollars year after year.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to protect yourself from inflation?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/a-simple-guide-to-series-i-savings-bonds-i-bonds">A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investments-that-usually-soar-during-the-summer">7 Investments That Usually Soar During the Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-great-stocks-for-back-to-school-time">9 Great Stocks for Back-to-School Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment consumer price index Economy hedging inflation negotiating real estate REITs returns s&p 500 salary savings stocks Fri, 02 Sep 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1784422 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Great Stocks for Back-to-School Time http://www.wisebread.com/9-great-stocks-for-back-to-school-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-great-stocks-for-back-to-school-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/colored_pencils_5143796.jpg" alt="Finding great stocks for back-to-school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The kids are heading back to school, which means there's plenty of money being spent on notebooks, computers, and three-ring binders.</p> <p>The National Retail Federation reported that it expects $75.8 billion in back-to-school sales, up from $68 billion last year. That means many companies should see good revenue and share price performance this fall as a result of the back-to-school season, and there are several other companies that seem to have a knack for great returns in the fall.</p> <p>Want to make a little bit of money as the weather cools? Here are some good back-to-school stocks for investors looking to cash in this autumn:</p> <h2>1. Wal-Mart [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WMT">WMT</a>]</h2> <p>Rest assured that millions of families will head to the massive retailer for cheap prices on spiral notebooks, pens, and whatever else kids need in the classroom. The NRF projects that the average family will spend $673, up from $630 last year. Moreover, some analysts think that Walmart is due to get a boost from its big investments in employee training and e-commerce.</p> <h2>2. Target [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=tgt">TGT</a>]</h2> <p>With nearly 1,800 retail locations, you can bet that when it comes to back-to-school sales, Target will get a good chunk of whatever Walmart fails to grab. Shares of Target fell sharply over the spring after disappointing earnings results, and from a loss of revenue following the sale of its pharmacy to CVS. But all that means is that there is potential for share growth if the company rebounds with a strong back-to-school season.</p> <h2>3. Staples [NASDAQ: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SPLS">SPLS</a>]</h2> <p>There was a lot of buzz around Staples earlier in the year after it sought to buy Office Depot/OfficeMax, but the merger got shot down by regulators. Still, the retailer intends to be a major player at back-to-school time. Staples is the third-largest online retailer, so it will land its share of e-commerce sales, but it also has physical stores that Amazon can't boast. Staples, which began its back-to-school marketing before summer vacation even got underway, is trading at just above $9, close to its 52-week low, so investors may find a bargain here.</p> <h2>4. Seagate Technology [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=STX">STX</a>]</h2> <p>This maker of hard drives and other data storage products has been one of the market's best performers during the fall in recent years. While 2015 saw a down autumn, the previous five fall seasons saw 25% share growth, on average. While overall sales of external hard drives have been on the decline due to the growth of cloud-based solutions, Seagate still has about a 40% market share. Portable hard drives remain necessary back-to-school tools for college students.</p> <h2>5. Gannett [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=gci">GCI</a> ]</h2> <p>It's not so much back-to-school sales that will help Gannett, but the race to decide the next U.S. President. As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump enter the home stretch toward the November election, they'll be spending money on advertising. And companies like Gannett, which operates more than 100 newspapers and other media properties, stand to benefit from that. Between 2009 and 2013, Gannett saw an average share price increase of 24% in the fall. Shares are trading near a 52-week low, so you may get a bargain. To be clear, Gannett may not make a great long-term investment, as newspapers have really taken a beating in recent years. But for a short-term play, this is not a bad bet.</p> <h2>6. Amazon [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/amzn">AMZN</a>]</h2> <p>Those who want to avoid the brick-and-mortar world at back-to-school time will likely head to the world's top online retailer. Customer Growth Partners reported that e-commerce sales between July and September will rise 11% this year, so expect Amazon to get a significant chunk of that. Amazon shares are not cheap, but it seems like every time analysts predict a fall, they go even higher.</p> <h2>7. TJX Companies [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=TJX">TJX</a>]</h2> <p>The NRF reports that 61% of families will do their back-to-school shopping at a discount retailer. This bodes will for companies like TJX, the owner of TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores. TJX has had a strong year, with 7% year-over-year sales growth in the most recent quarter, and investors will also benefit from a recent increase in the company's dividend.</p> <h2>8. VF Corp. [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFC?p=VFC">VFC</a>]</h2> <p>This company owns some of the most recognizable retail brands, including Vans, North Face and Wrangler. You can expect a strong quarter from VF, but more importantly, it's a steady stock to own anytime, as it's consistently paid and increased its dividend each year for more than four decades. VF's current price-to-earnings ratio suggests it's a better deal than many of its competitors.</p> <h2>9. Under Armour [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=UA">UA</a>]</h2> <p>Under Armour got some great exposure during coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics, as it was the designer of several team uniforms and boasted a number of high-profile brand ambassadors, including swimmer Michael Phelps. Under Armour has been one of the market's biggest growth stories in recent years, with 25 straight quarters of 20% revenue growth. High-schoolers and college kids love Under Armour gear, and will buy it as they head back to class.</p> <p><em>Are you adding any fall performers to your stock-pile?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-great-stocks-for-back-to-school-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-fall-is-a-great-time-to-house-hunt">5 Reasons Fall Is a Great Time to House Hunt</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-investments-that-usually-soar-during-the-summer">7 Investments That Usually Soar During the Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment autumn back-to-school election fall returns revenue school supplies stocks Wed, 31 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1782884 at http://www.wisebread.com How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_suit_thinking_53925384.jpg" alt="Man wondering if too much investment diversity can cost him" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial experts agree that you shouldn't to put all your eggs in one basket. But just like with everything else in life, moderation is essential to truly reap the benefits of diversification. Spread out your investment funds into too many funds and you'll end up with a subpar portfolio bogged down with excessive charges and, even worse, potentially more risk than you're willing to bear. Here are four warning signs that you may have your investments in too many baskets &mdash; and how to fix it.</p> <h2>1. Paying Too Much in Investment Fees</h2> <p>The more that you branch out of plain vanilla investments, the more likely that you'll end up paying more investment charges and fees. Take, for example, the portfolio that Warren Buffett has <a href="http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2013ltr.pdf">laid out in his will</a>: &quot;Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&amp;P 500 index fund.&quot;</p> <p>Let's take a look at the potential investment fees of such a portfolio.</p> <p>Since the Oracle of Omaha prefers Vanguard and chases low fees, let's assume that both investments are in index funds. It's safe to assume that he meets the $10,000 minimum investment required for the Vanguard Admiral index funds. So, he allocates 90% of his portfolio to the Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFIAX/?p=VFIAX">VFIAX</a>], which has a 0.05% expense ratio, and 10% of his portfolio into the Vanguard Short-Term Government Bond Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VSBSX?p=VSBSX">VSBSX</a>], which has a 0.10% expense ratio. For a $10,000 portfolio, Buffett would pay $55 in investment fees.</p> <p>If Buffett were to start diversifying into other types of investments, he would very likely run into higher expense ratios. For example, the Vanguard New York Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VNYUX/?p=VNYUX">VNYUX</a>] has a 0.12% expense ratio (despite its $50,000 minimum investment requirement!) and the Vanguard Interm-Tm Corp Bd Index Admiral [Nasdaq:&nbsp;<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VICSX/?p=VICSX">VICSX</a>] has a 0.25% purchase fee on top of its 0.10% expense ratio. Assuming that he were to allocate 50%, 30%, 10%, and 10% to the New York muni bond fund, S&amp;P 500 index fund, short-term government bond index fund, and the intermediate-term corporate index fund, respectively, Buffet would pay $220 on investment fees!</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Calculate your current total of investment fees across all your holdings. If the total is above what you're willing to pay (a useful rule of thumb is that anything beyond 1% of your total investment is too much), then it's time to focus your investments in lower-cost options.</p> <h2>2. Rebalancing Portfolio More Often</h2> <p>Speaking of fees, there is a higher chance that you'll run into more of them when you hold lots of investment categories. In the 90%-stocks-and-10%-bonds portfolio example, you only need to keep track of two funds. This means that figuring out when your portfolio is no longer meeting your target asset allocations is straightforward &mdash; and you may not need to do it as often. For example, you could set a target to rebalance when 80% of your portfolio is in stocks and 20% in bonds.</p> <p>On the other hand, spreading your money out too thin can complicate keeping track of asset allocations and make you trade more often. Here's an example: Assuming a target 3.5% allocation in an emerging markets index fund, big market swings could force you to buy or sell many times throughout the year, triggering many charges. From front-end loads to back-end loads, there are plenty of investments to keep an eye on. And yes this even applies to 401K accounts! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Tabulate how much you're incurring in fees on top of the regular annual expense ratios of your portfolio holdings. If that percentage is too high, or consistently increasing throughout the years, you need to consolidate your portfolio into fewer holdings.</p> <h2>3. Experiencing Diminishing Returns</h2> <p>Of course, you might be thinking that the extra returns of a very diversified portfolio may more than compensate for those additional fees and charges.</p> <p>Let's bust that investment myth.</p> <p>In a joint-study by The Wall Street Journal and Morningstar, the portfolio that generated the highest return over a 20-year period was a 70-30 mix of U.S. stocks and bonds, yielding a <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-your-portfolio-too-diversified-1408032582">9.1% annualized return</a>. A portfolio with 40% in U.S. stocks, 20% in U.S. bonds, 10% in foreign developing market stocks, 10% in international bonds, and the rest in a mix of investments, including emerging market stocks, commodities, and hedge funds, yielded only an 8.8% annualized return.</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Measure each of your funds against its respective benchmark. If an investment has been missing the benchmark for too many quarters or years, it may be time to cut that fund loose.</p> <h2>4. Owning Too Much of the Same or Wrong Type of Investments</h2> <p>Another issue with putting many eggs in many baskets is that you can unintentionally end up with more eggs than you thought in a particular basket or, worse, a wrong basket.</p> <p>Let's assume that you hold an index fund tracking the S&amp;P 500. As of August 8, 2016, that means that your portfolio would hold about 3.08% on Apple Inc, 2.40% on Microsoft Corporation, and 1.53% on Facebook Inc. Class A shares. If you were to also hold an index fund on the technology sector, you'll probably end up increasing your holding on each one of those investments. For example, the Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VITAX/?p=VITAX">VITAX</a>] has those same three stocks among its top four largest holdings.</p> <p>Additionally, if you're open to throwing more money around investments, you could end up buying some investments that fail to meet your investment objectives. Remember the late 1990s dot-com bubble? How about 2008's housing bubble? During those times, too many individual and institutional investors were buying financial instruments that they shouldn't have been purchasing. If you force yourself to allocate 5% &quot;somewhere,&quot; then you could end up with the wrong type of investment.</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>First, read the prospectuses of your mutual funds and other accounts and understand their actual holdings. Using this information, you can spot whether or not you hold too much of the same investment. Second, review your investment objective (ie; income vs growth) and evaluate whether or not your current investment funds qualify for that objective.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Holding all of your money in a single stock is definitely not a good idea because it would have a 49.2% average standard deviation (a measure of risk). At 20 stocks, your portfolio risk is reduced to 20%. However, every additional stock added to your portfolio will only further decrease your portfolio risk by about 0.8%.</p> <p>The evidence suggests that due to greater returns, very marginal risk reductions, and lower fees over time, you would be better off with simpler diversification on stocks and bonds. Some financial advisers suggest that when you have more than <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/mutual-funds/articles/2011/02/17/diversification-can-you-have-too-much-of-a-good-thing">20 stocks or mutual funds</a>, you're actually minimizing returns instead of maximizing them. So, before adding that extra holding, keep in mind that an index fund tracking the S&amp;P 500 is already splitting your investment into 500 baskets!</p> <p><em>How many different types of investments is too many?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment fees portfolio rebalancing returns risk stock market too diverse warning signs Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1778732 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coins_growing_plants_67145371.jpg" alt="Finding money moves to make before you start investing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a staunch advocate for investing &mdash; especially if the alternative is piling up money in a savings account just to have &quot;savings.&quot; Savings are great, but you only need so much in that offensively low-interest account. Put the excess to work, hopefully making even more money out of your investment. Before you take that plunge, however, there are a few financial matters you need to mind.</p> <h2>1. Organize Your Budget and Expenses</h2> <p>If you're considering making an investment &mdash; whatever it may be &mdash; you should have a solid handle on how much money is coming in and going out on a monthly basis. You want to make sure you can afford the investment without teetering on the edge of debt, but this also is a good time to find any weak spots in your budget so you can address them accordingly. Online money-tracking services like Mint.com can make this task much easier on you, and help you stay on track over the long term.</p> <p>&quot;When you know where your money goes, you are in control and can be thoughtful about aligning spending with priorities,&quot; says Carla Dearing CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service. &quot;Mint, for example, gives you complete access to your data through the website and your mobile device, whether you use iOS or Android. Better yet, Mint keeps an eye on your money for you. It even sends alerts to remind you to pay your bills or when you go over budget.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Get That Emergency Fund in Order &mdash; Stat!</h2> <p>In almost every &quot;money moves&quot; article I write, the &quot;emergency fund&quot; usually pops up somewhere. That's because it's a critical and indispensable part of your overall financial picture. You should have a sizable cushion in the bank to cover life's little mishaps, and that &quot;should&quot; becomes a &quot;must&quot; when you add investing to the equation. If you don't have an emergency fund, you have no business investing &mdash; bottom line.</p> <p>Just how much dough are we talking for an emergency fund to be considered satisfactory? Six times your monthly expenses, according to Dearing.</p> <p><strong>&quot;</strong>Be disciplined about saving a little every month until your emergency fund is where it needs to be, even if it means sacrificing little luxuries once in a while,&quot; she says. &quot;Remember to replenish the account every time you use it. Having your cushion ready whenever you need it will give you a great sense of security and freedom. It will also free you up to work on other savings goals without getting derailed by unexpected expenses.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your High-Interest Debts</h2> <p>You don't need to be completely out of debt before you start investing. Many financial advisers argue that you should be debt free before you start investing, but that's just not true. Most people don't pay off their homes for up to 30 years, and you wouldn't want to wait that long before you start a retirement fund.</p> <p>You should, however, pay off your high-interest debts. They'll drag you down faster than the Titanic.</p> <p>&quot;Whether it's a credit card or student loan, it doesn't make any sense to invest and make a market average return of 7% annually while you're paying 20% on credit debt,&quot; says Nick Braun, founder of a pet insurance company. &quot;Pay off your high-interest debts first, then start using excess income to save for the future.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">Fastest Way to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>4. Contribute to Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>Retirement savings <em>is</em> an investment. It may not seem like it now, because what you're funding seems so far away &mdash; but you'll see it as such when you reach retirement age. Which is why, before you start throwing money at other investment opportunities, you need to invest in yourself. If you don't have a retirement account set up yet, make that a priority. If you have one currently, like a 401K, for instance, take advantage of free, pretax contribution opportunities where available, like matching funds from your employer. Then max those contributions out so you don't miss a single cent.</p> <h2>5. Contribute to an HSA</h2> <p>If you have a health insurance policy that comes with a qualifying Health Savings Account, take full advantage of it and fully fund it.</p> <p>&quot;Most contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals to pay qualifying medical expenses &mdash; at any time in life &mdash; are tax-free,&quot; explains Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Freedom Financial Network in Phoenix. &quot;These accounts are essentially emergency funds devoted to health care costs, and so savings have a double benefit of tax relief and savings.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Refinance Your Student Loans</h2> <p>Are student loans holding you back from building your savings or investment accounts or from making other types of investments? Free up some of your budget by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=internal">refinancing your loans</a> for a lower monthly payment.</p> <p>&quot;The average Class of 2016 graduate owes more than $37,000 in student loan debt,&quot; says financial expert Michael Blattman, professor at University of Maryland. &quot;With 43 million borrowers nationwide, Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Individually, this crushing debt delays borrowers' life decisions, such as getting married, investing in the stock market, buying a house, or having children. Collectively, it's hampering the U.S. economy.&quot;</p> <p>You don't, however, have to be part of these statistics. Take back some of your financial freedom by making a call to your loan provider(s) to discuss refinance options that are right for you.</p> <h2>7. Get Started on a Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>After you've maxed out your retirement accounts, Dearing suggests starting a taxable investment portfolio. You can get started investing with just a few simple steps.</p> <p>To get set up, call one of the high-quality, low-fee money management companies, like Vanguard, Fidelity, or T. Rowe Price, tell them about yourself, and ask them to tell you what type of account or fund you need, and what minimum investment requirements apply. These companies, which are the gold standard in the financial services industry, are extremely knowledgeable and committed to serving their clients (who, in the case of Vanguard, are also their shareholders).</p> <p>&quot;Companies like this get you started with a comprehensive, diversified, low-cost fund that will serve you well as a beginning investor,&quot; says Dearing. &quot;Follow their recommendations and you won't go wrong.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Set Savings Goals for Your Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>Once you have your taxable investment portfolio established, set goals &mdash; $10,000, then $25,000 and, eventually, $100,000.</p> <p>&quot;When you are just starting out, choose one or two tax-advantaged funds, like the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF or the Vanguard Small Cap Index ETF, or similar index funds,&quot; Dearing suggests. &quot;These passively managed funds do a minimum amount of buying and selling &mdash; what the industry calls 'churning' &mdash; which translates into significantly less taxable investment income for you to deal with each year. They also tend to outperform most actively managed mutual funds over time.&quot;</p> <p>Revisiting the goal aspect of this equation, it helps to have a contribution target in place so you have a solid idea of what you're trying to achieve. Likewise, make sure that it's a goal that you <em>can</em> achieve. $10,000 may take a while to reach, but you can do it. If that goal is too steep for you right now, start smaller. There's no harm in that. The most important part of this is that you set the bar just high enough to accomplish it and be motivated by your success to continuing striving further.</p> <p><em>Do you have additional suggestions on money moves to make before investing? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-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> <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/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice emergency funds health savings account money moves Paying Off Debt portfolio retirement savings stock market student loans Wed, 17 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1771628 at http://www.wisebread.com With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_phone_93826397.jpg" alt="Woman using micro-investing and getting her phone to pay her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Approximately two-thirds of Millennials do not have any money invested in the stock market due to concerns about risk, putting them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to retirement. Without regular returns and compound interest, young professionals will need to sock away a much larger amount of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">money to retire</a>.</p> <p>But new, micro-investing apps can help Millennials dip their toes into the stock market. Because the invested amounts are small, and the apps make investing accessible, young adults are more likely to start contributing money and earning returns.</p> <h2>What Is Micro-Investing?</h2> <p>Micro-investing, where users invest tiny amounts of money on a regular basis, allows people to start investing with relatively small sums. Some brokerages have investment minimums as high as $1,000; for those just starting out or battling debt, coming up with that first $1,000 can be overwhelming.</p> <p>With micro-investing, your account is linked to your debit card or bank account. Every time you make a purchase, such as your morning coffee, the apps round up the purchase and the difference is invested in stocks. While the amounts are negligible and you are likely not even going to notice the withdrawals from your account, small investments build over time and help you develop the habit of saving and investing.</p> <p>These innovative apps and platforms make investing simple and easy to do, even if you are new to financial management.</p> <h2>Acorns</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26166697&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Acorns</a>' name is derived from the saying &quot;From little acorns mighty oaks grow.&quot; Its goal is to empower people to build a large nest egg from small, regular investments. The app links to any credit card or debit card. When you make a purchase, the app rounds up and deposits your change into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There are different portfolios available depending on your risk tolerance, from conservative to aggressive. If you do not know where to begin, Acorns also provides recommendations based on your age and target retirement date. There are no minimum account balances or commission fees, but there is a monthly cost of $1 and a management fee of 0.5%.</p> <h2>Robin Hood</h2> <p><a href="https://www.robinhood.com/">Robin Hood</a> is one of the few apps that offers zero-commission stock trading. It features a simple and intuitive design and allows you to connect to your bank account and make recurring deposits. You can shop for specific stocks or sell shares directly from your phone. Each day, the menu will show you how much you have earned on the market. Once you are ready to withdrawal money, the funds are easily transferred to your bank with the touch of a button.</p> <h2>Stash</h2> <p><a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/">Stash</a> is one of the newest apps on the market. Their motto is if you have $5, two minutes, and a phone, you can be an investor. It is a tool that allows you to buy fractional shares, rather than having to pay the entire amount for a single share yourself. You can pick investments based on what is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">important to you</a>, such as clean energy or fair trade. Stash is free for the first three months, then charges $1 a month with no commissions.</p> <p>For Millennials spooked by the stock market and traditional stock market investments, micro-investing apps can be a useful tool to help them test the waters and get used to regular investing. These apps enable users to start investing with just small amounts, eliminating one of the main barriers to entering the stock market. With regular contributions and patience, over time, these small amounts can grow to substantial amounts of money.</p> <p><em>Are you a micro or macro investor?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier">3 Ways Technology Makes Personal Finances Easier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Technology fractional shares micro-investing millennials retirement savings rounding up spare change stock market Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Kat Tretina 1771547 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways Your Cash Rewards Can Make You Rich http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_70878579_LARGE.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit card rewards can be a nice way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">earn a free vacation</a> or extra cash. But you may not have considered using your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">cash back rewards</a> for more than just a little extra padding for your budget.</p> <h2>How Cash Back Rewards Can be Turned Into Wealth</h2> <p>By choosing cash back over points, miles, and other types of credit card rewards, it's possible to create a small nest egg that grows over time. The most competitive reward credit cards can offer as much as 2% cash back on all purchases, but the key to actually creating wealth from these rewards is <em>to save and invest your returns</em>, rather than spending it. Due to the nature of compounding interest, investing 2% of your discretionary income will grow over decades and result in more money than you might have thought possible. This is especially true if your rewards are deposited in a tax deferred retirement or education savings plan.</p> <p>Here are three reward credit cards that can help you to use your cash rewards toward investment and retirement savings.</p> <h2>Fidelity&reg; Rewards Visa Signature&reg; Card</h2> <p><img width="154" border="0" height="97" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/wisebread/cc/cardart/fidelityrewardsvisasig.jpg" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" /><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=124&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xcardbutton" target=" rel=" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt img-button" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=124&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname">Fidelity&reg; Rewards Visa Signature&reg; Card</a>&nbsp;offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases when your rewards are deposited in a qualifying account. For example, you can choose from a brokerage account, Fidelity&reg; Cash Management Account, 529 College Savings plan, or a retirement account. The idea is that the rewards are automatically placed in your investment account, so you don't have to do anything and you can't use the funds unless they are withdrawn. In addition, this card is part of the Visa Signature program which includes numerous travel and shopping discounts as well as a 24-hour complimentary concierge service. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=124&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Fidelity&reg; Rewards Visa Signature&reg; Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Upromise&reg; World MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><img width="154" border="0" height="97" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/upromise-world-mastercard-061615.png" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" target=" rel=" href=" http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=122&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>One of the most reliable ways to become rich is to invest in your education. The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=122&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname">Upromise&reg; World MasterCard&reg;</a>&nbsp;allows you to do that by offering rewards that are deposited in a 529 college savings plan that offers tax free withdrawals. Many states offer these plans to help residents invest in college for themselves, their children, or someone else. This card offers 5% cash back on eligible online shopping made through Upromise.com as well as 2% cash back at department stores and movie theaters and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Other benefits include a complimentary monthly FICO credit score and a $100 cash back bonus after the first eligible purchase within 90 days of account opening. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=122&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Upromise&reg; World MasterCard&reg; today!</a></strong></p> <h2>BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card</h2> <p><img width="154" border="0" height="97" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" src=" http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/BoA_Cash_Rewards-154.jpg" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" target="_blank" alt="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card" title="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card" rel="nofollow" href=" http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=106&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=106&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; credit card</a>&nbsp;rewards card offers 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% cash back on gas on a total of $2,500 in combined purchases of grocery, wholesale club, and gas purchases each quarter, with 1% cash back on all other purchases. Better yet, you receive a 10% customer relationship bonus on the cash back received if you redeem your rewards into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account. Further, you can even enroll in the Preferred Rewards program when you have an eligible Bank of America personal checking account and 3-month average combined balances of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America&reg; banking accounts. The Preferred Rewards program offers numerous benefits including a 25% rewards bonus instead of just 10%.</p> <p>Receive a $100 cash back bonus after using the card to make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. You also receive 12 months of interest free financing on new purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=225&amp;pid=106&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp; BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Tips for Using Your Credit Card to Save and Invest</h2> <p>As with any rewards credit card, these cards are best used by those who avoid interest charges by paying off each month's entire statement balance in full. Those who carry a balance should focus on paying off their debt as quickly as possible and using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">card with a lowest interest rate</a>, which typically isn't a rewards credit card. You will always end up paying more in interest than you earn in rewards if you chase rewards while leaving a balance on your card.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</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-5-best-secured-credit-cards">The 5 Best Secured Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Investment best credit cards Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:30:19 +0000 Jason Steele 1761687 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/74801987.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most effective ways a person can build wealth over the long term is by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" target="_blank">investing in stocks</a>.</p> <p>When you own a share of stock, you own a portion of a public company. And when those companies do well, investors make money. In fact, stocks are considered essential for those looking to save for retirement or achieve other long-term financial goals.</p> <p>It's possible to invest in groups of stocks through vehicles such as mutual funds or exchange traded funds. But you may also want to consider investing in shares of individual companies. There are more than 4,000 companies that are publicly traded on America's two largest stock exchanges.</p> <p>But how do you know if a stock is worth investing in? What makes a stock good or bad? Here are nine things to consider.</p> <h2>1. Price</h2> <p>The first and most obvious thing to look at with a stock is the price. How much will it cost to buy a share of this company?</p> <p>Now, it's important to note that prices should only be viewed in context. Many companies will &quot;split&quot; shares once they reach a certain level, thus reducing the price but increasing the number of shares available. Other companies never split, so a single share could go for several hundred dollars or more. But the price &mdash; especially when matched against historical prices &mdash; will determine how many shares you can purchase with the money you have. When you evaluate stocks, knowing the price of shares and their history will help you determine if you're getting a good value when buying.</p> <h2>2. Revenue Growth</h2> <p>Share prices generally only go up if a company is growing. And one of the few ways a company can grow is by increasing its revenue. Revenue is often referred to as the &quot;top line,&quot; and it's a major indicator of whether a company has been successful. It's important to not look at revenue in a vacuum. Instead, look at the increase or decrease in revenue from one quarter to the next and one year to the next. A positive trendline bodes well for the stock price, but if revenue is flat or declining, it's important to find out why before investing.</p> <h2>3. Earnings Per Share</h2> <p>How much money does the company have leftover at the end of each quarter? Take that figure, divide it by the number of shares it has sold, and you get the earnings per share number, or EPS. For example, if a company made $40 million in profits last year and has 24 million shares, the EPS is $1.66.</p> <p>EPS can be a driver of stock prices, as investors generally don't want to overpay for a stock. Generally, the higher the EPS, the better shape the company is in. But there is often debate about the best range for EPS, and companies can manipulate it by buying back shares, thus boosting EPS without actually increasing profits.</p> <h2>4. Dividend and Dividend Yield</h2> <p>Many companies will return a portion of their earnings to shareholders. Investors can get a small payment for every share they own, known as a dividend. Many healthy companies will issue good dividends each quarter and the revenue from this may outpace the interest you would get from a normal bank account. Thus, dividend stocks are popular among investors looking for additional income, as well as share growth.</p> <p>It's easy to search for companies with the highest dividends, and you can also search for dividend yield, which is the dividend divided by the share price. If a company has maintained or raised its dividend, that's a sign that it's on strong footing. A cut to dividends is often a bad sign.</p> <p>Some of the most well-regarded public companies have been designated as &quot;Dividend Aristocrats&quot; for distributing and increasing their dividend for at least 25 consecutive years.</p> <p>It's worth noting that many good companies do not distribute dividends because they prefer to invest the cash back into the business. (Amazon is one high-profile example.) And many companies, such as utilities, offer dividends because they can't offer great growth in share value.</p> <h2>5. Market Capitalization</h2> <p>Bigger is not always best, but if you are looking to invest in a stock that will give you steady growth without a lot of volatility, the largest companies are often your best bet. A company's market cap is essentially the value of all its shares. Companies with large market caps are often large and diversified enough to avoid being affected by a single piece of bad news. Think of behemoths like Procter &amp; Gamble, Coca-Cola, or ExxonMobil &mdash; good, solid companies that have offered decades of solid returns.</p> <h2>6. Historical Prices</h2> <p>All companies go through rough patches. But if you are investing for the long term, you need to do more than look at a single company earnings report or current price performance. Looking at five-year, 10-year, and even 15-year returns will give you a sense of whether a company can withstand tough stretches. Historical returns are not a guarantee of future performance, but can at minimum be illustrative.</p> <h2>7. Analyst Reports</h2> <p>Many brokerages and investment banks have a staff of research analysts that issue reports and recommendations about individual stocks. Often, these reports come with &quot;buy&quot; or &quot;sell&quot; ratings, based on the analysts' judgment of a company's share price and finances. It's important to note that analysts often disagree, so it's best not to rely on a single report before choosing whether to invest.</p> <h2>8. The Industry</h2> <p>It's usually important to examine not just a stock, but the industry that the company operates in. By doing this, you may get an understanding of whether a certain type of business or sector is struggling or doing well. For instance, when evaluating a company such as McDonald's, you'll want to look at the entire fast food and restaurant sector to gain an understanding of how Americans are eating out. Looking at a stock in this context will help you understand if there are positive or negative influences that may not be immediately reflected on a company's share price or balance sheet.</p> <h2>9. Major Economic Indicators</h2> <p>No matter how hard it tries, a company can't control every single thing that might impact business. The broader economy of the nation and the world can play an outsized role in the health of a company and its share performance. Things like consumer prices, the unemployment rate, or changes to interest rates can impact how a company is doing independent of its own business. While the stock market and economy are two separate things, they are very much linked. For the most part, when the economy is doing well, companies are doing well and share growth comes with that. Likewise, share prices can lag during slow economic times or times of economic uncertainty.</p> <p><em>Anything we've overlooked? What do you look at when you evaluate a stock?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Reading a Stock Table</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/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-11-dividend-stocks">Stabilize Your Portfolio With These 11 Dividend Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-stay-calm-when-the-market-tanks">8 Reasons to Stay Calm When the Market Tanks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment balance sheet dividends earnings earnings per share Economy evaluating market capitalization shares stocks Fri, 12 Aug 2016 09:00:15 +0000 Tim Lemke 1770719 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_drawing_desk_98135205.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to buy her first stocks or funds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you're ready to start investing. That's great, because it's never too early. The sooner you start investing, the more you'll be able to take advantage of the power of compound interest. Here's how to get started.</p> <h2>Open an Account</h2> <p>In order to invest, you'll need an investment account at a broker such as TD Ameritrade, Schwab, Vanguard, or Fidelity. Prominently displayed on their sites, you'll find &quot;open an account&quot; buttons.</p> <p>After clicking, you'll have to decide whether to open a taxable account or a tax-advantaged account, such as an IRA. If your purpose for investing is to build a retirement nest egg, you'll probably want to open an IRA. Keep in mind, however, that IRAs have relatively low annual contribution maximums. If you want to invest more than $5,500 per year, a taxable account would be necessary.</p> <p>After entering some personal information, you'll need to fund the account, usually with an electronic transfer from your checking account.</p> <p>Of the brokers just mentioned, only TD Ameritrade has no minimum required amount for opening an account. The others require $1,000 to $2,500, although some allow you to open an account with less if you sign up for automatic monthly contributions. At Schwab, the monthly commitment is $100. Shop around to find a broker that best meets your needs.</p> <h2>Choose Your Investment Vehicle</h2> <p>There are two primary types of stock market investments &mdash; stocks and mutual funds.</p> <p>Buying individual stocks probably sounds like a fun way to get started with investing. There's something inherently appealing about the idea of owning a piece of some of the most famous companies in the world, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.</p> <p>However, while investing in stocks might be exciting, mutual funds have some advantages over stocks. When you buy the stock of one company, your money isn't diversified at all. The performance of your portfolio is completely dependent on the performance of that one company. If the company has a bad year, your portfolio will have a bad year.</p> <p>However, if you invest in 10 companies and one has a bad year, some of the other ones will likely have good years, which may more than offset the one company's losses. That's why making sure your portfolio is diversified is so important.</p> <p>In order to be adequately diversified, you would need to buy stock in many companies. But when you're starting out, you probably don't have all that much money to work with &mdash; which is why you may want to consider using a mutual fund.</p> <p>When you buy shares of a mutual fund, your money is inherently diversified. That's because a mutual fund is a pool of money from many investors that the fund manager invests in many companies (there are also bond funds, real estate funds, etc.). Buying a single share of a mutual fund gives you instant diversification.</p> <h2>Decide What to Invest In</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to invest for your retirement is to choose a target-date mutual fund. With such funds, you just choose the one with the year of your intended retirement in its name (Fidelity Freedom 2040, for example, or Schwab Target 2035). The fund will be designed in a way that the fund manager believes is appropriate for someone with your investment time horizon.</p> <p>If you're 30 years old and plan to retire when you're 70, you would choose a 2055 fund (most target-date funds are offered in five-year intervals, so you choose the one that's closest to the year of your intended retirement). Such a fund would likely be mostly invested in stocks and a little bit in bonds. As you get older, it will automatically change that investment mix to become appropriately more conservative.</p> <p>Many mutual fund companies offer such funds. Here are the target-date offerings from <a href="http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/investment/mutual_funds/mutual_fund_portfolio/target_funds">Schwab</a>, <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/fidelity-fund-portfolios/freedom-funds">Fidelity</a>, and <a href="https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/target-retirement/#/">Vanguard</a>. TD Ameritrade doesn't have its own mutual funds, but offers target-date funds from several mutual fund companies.</p> <p>Look for no-transaction-fee (NTF) funds, which means there will not be a fee associated with buying the fund, and be sure to check the fund's minimum required investment amount.</p> <h2>Invest</h2> <p>Now you're ready for action. After logging onto your account, look for a button that says &quot;trade&quot; or &quot;buy and sell.&quot; You buy or sell mutual funds in one place, and stocks in another.</p> <p>To buy a mutual fund, you'll need to look up and then enter its &quot;ticker&quot; symbol &mdash; the four- or five-letter abbreviation for the fund's name. Then enter the amount you'd like to invest and click &quot;buy.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, there's more to know about investing and there are many different ways to invest. But this simple tutorial will get you started.</p> <p>Welcome to the world of investing.</p> <p><em>Have you gotten started investing? What are you waiting for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Fidelity first time mutual funds new investors schwab stock market stocks target-date funds vanguard Wed, 10 Aug 2016 09:30:35 +0000 Matt Bell 1767152 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking_laptop_88870639.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to tell if her 401K is good or bad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you work for a company, there's a good chance that your employer offers a 401K plan. (Some organizations offer 403b plans, which operate similarly.) These funds give you the chance to invest in a series of mutual funds and other investments, with the added benefit that any money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income.</p> <p>Not all 401K plans are the same, however, and there is a wide range in the amount of expenses and the quality of investments offered.</p> <p>It's not easy to immediately know if your 401K plan is a good one, and whether it's worth putting money into. But here are some things to examine.</p> <h2>Do You Get a Company Match?</h2> <p>Arguably the most positive aspect of a 401K plan is the ability of companies to match a certain percentage of employee contributions. Typically, a company might agree to contribute up to 5% of a worker's earnings, if the worker does the same. This match is essentially free money, so it usually makes participating in the 401K plan a no-brainer, even when the plan is otherwise subpar.</p> <p>If your company does not <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both" target="_blank">contribute to your 401K plan</a> or offer a match, you'll want to examine other characteristics of the plan to determine whether it's worth it to contribute. You may find that contributing to a traditional or Roth IRA is a better alternative.</p> <h2>Examine the Investment Options</h2> <p>A 401K plan is only as good as the investment options in them. There's no perfect menu, but a strong plan is anchored by one or two mutual funds that mirror the broader stock market. These are called &quot;index&quot; funds, because they are designed to mirror the performance of a specific index, such as the S&amp;P 500. A good plan will also have some large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap funds, and the ability to access international and real estate investments. Older investors will want to see a selection of quality bond funds.</p> <p>You'll want to look for a diverse array of investments, but there is a point at which more options aren't necessarily better.</p> <p>&quot;More funds can just confuse you,&quot; said Ralph Grauso, founder of ASC Financial. &quot;You don't need three different types of large-cap growth funds.&quot;</p> <h2>Check the Fees</h2> <p>One of the most common criticisms of 401K plans is that they often contain funds with high expenses. The best 401K plans should offer access to the lowest cost funds available.</p> <p>Management fees, plan operating expenses, and other costs can take a chunk out of your returns without you even being aware. Over time, that can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in lost earnings. A survey by AARP noted that 80% of 401K plan participants don't know what they are paying in fees. Most information on fees is available by reading plan and fund documents, but you may still have to do some digging.</p> <p>&quot;If you're investing for 30 years or more, those fees are going to take a huge chunk of your money,&quot; Grauso said.</p> <p>Grauso said it's best to find funds with expense ratios of less than 1%. Index funds are particularly low in cost because they are not actively managed, and often perform better than managed funds anyway, he said. Look for low-cost index funds from a broker such as Vanguard, and stay away from niche funds with high costs.</p> <h2>Study the Fund Performance</h2> <p>Ultimately, you want to put your money in funds that will generate a nice return and help you develop a sizable nest egg. Predicting future performance is not possible, but you can get a good sense of the quality of a fund by examining its long-term performance.</p> <p>Look at five-year and 10-year returns, and compare them to a comparable benchmark. (For example, a large-cap fund should be compared to a large-cap index.) It's also worth comparing funds to the overall performance of the stock market and the S&amp;P 500. If the fund has historically generated returns that are in line with or better than the overall stock market &mdash; especially after fees are taken into account &mdash; that's a good sign. Stay away from funds that appear to underperform the market and their respective benchmarks.</p> <h2>Who Is the Custodian?</h2> <p>When employers set up 401K plans, they partner with a company that actually manages the plans and many of the investments. Usually, it's with a brokerage firm such as Fidelity, Vanguard, or Charles Schwab.</p> <p>The best 401K plans will be managed by companies who have the expertise and ability to offer quality investment options with low fees, easy online account access, and research. It is worth noting that these custodians manage not only the plans, but many of the mutual funds in them, and that is often viewed as a conflict of interest. If it seems like the custodian is favoring their own underperforming plan in favor of a better plan from another company, that's a bad sign.</p> <h2>Look for Institutional Class Shares</h2> <p>There are many high-quality mutual funds that are unavailable to average investors unless they can meet very high account minimums. But, investors can often access these funds through their 401K plans, because companies can guarantee a sizable combined investment from their employees. Mutual fund companies will often waive fees and other expenses if certain investment levels are met. These funds are often advertised as &quot;institutional class,&quot; or &quot;premium class,&quot; and usually it translates into very low-cost funds for the investor. Fidelity's 500 Index Fund Premium class, for instance, has an expense ratio of just .045%.</p> <h2>Is There a Self-Directed Option?</h2> <p>A typical 401K plan will allow investors to put their money in any of about a dozen mutual funds. But some will offer the ability for account holders to take a more active role, through self-directed brokerage accounts. This is a good option for those wishing to have more direct control over their investing, though evidence is mixed on whether this actually results in higher returns for the investor.</p> <h2>Is It Wrapped in an Annuity?</h2> <p>Many 401K plans have an annuity option, in which earnings are disbursed in the form of monthly payments. This is a nice option to have, as it ensures a steady stream of income in retirement. However, some plans are &quot;wrapped&quot; in an annuity contract that is often expensive and with minimal benefit to the investor.</p> <p><em>How good is your 401K?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-paying-off-your-mortgage-early-costing-you-money">Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Advisor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-hidden-cost-sapping-your-retirement-savings">Is This Hidden Cost Sapping Your Retirement Savings?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement index funds investing portfolio retirement stocks Fri, 05 Aug 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1764992 at http://www.wisebread.com Insider Trading Is a Lot More Common Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_counting_cash_17235688.jpg" alt="Man learning what insider trading is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've heard the term. You've seen the headlines involving celebrities like <a href="http://coveringbusiness.com/2012/05/15/what-martha-stewart-did-wrong/">Martha Stewart</a> and <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/pro-golfer-phil-mickelson-made-1-million-from-insider-trading-w207122">Phil Mickelson</a>. It has also been a focus for movies like <em>Wall Street</em> and <em>Boiler Room</em>. But do you actually know what insider trading is, and why it is illegal? Here is a breakdown of the practice that can land people in jail, and ruin careers.</p> <h2>What Exactly Is Insider Trading?</h2> <p>To be honest, it's not something that is a black or white issue. If you Google the term, you will get a result that is something like this:</p> <p>&quot;The illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one's own advantage through having access to confidential information.&quot;</p> <p>That all seems cut and dry, until you dig into a few of the terms.</p> <p>Now, an insider can be anyone who's ownership of the company stock is greater than 10% of the firm's equity, and/or someone who has access to information about the company that has not been made public.</p> <p>The problem comes with the legality of how and when you use that information. There is no law against an insider buying and selling shares of the firm that he or she works for (that would be ridiculous, and incredibly prohibitive, if you think about it). As long as these transactions are logged with the Securities and Exchange Commission (more commonly known as the SEC, who regulates trades and monitors for illegal activity), it's completely fine.</p> <p>However, once an insider takes undisclosed, or secret, information that he or she has and uses it for monetary gain, then it becomes an illegal activity. And in this instance, an insider is not just a person working directly for that company. It can be a spouse, a relative, a friend, or a colleague.</p> <p>One of the best ways to illustrate this is from the movie <em>Wall Street</em>. Bud Fox is a young stockbroker, and his father works for Bluestar Airlines. During a casual conversation, Bud's father reveals some information about the company that has not been made public. Bud gives this information to the infamous Gordon Gekko, who buys stock in the company, and makes a sizable profit when the shares rise in value.</p> <p>If you want another example, imagine you are chatting with a friend who works at a big company that is currently involved in a lawsuit. Your friend tells you that the lawsuit is going to be settled out of court, and the company will be fine. You go and buy shares in that company, and your shares rise when the lawsuit settlement is announced. Congratulations, both you and your friend are now involved in an illegal insider trading deal.</p> <p>This, in a nutshell, is illegal insider trading. Using undisclosed, insider information to take advantage of stocks and make money. However, it is <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-difference-between-a-hot-day-trading-tip-and-i.html">not the same as a <em>hot tip</em></a>, and that can muddy the waters a little. If you hear, through rumors or gossip, that a company like Apple or Google is going to have a great quarter, and you buy shares, you are not breaking the law. This tip has not come directly to you from an insider, and is not based on undisclosed information. It's simply a tip, like the Internet reporting that &quot;More Spirit is a favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.&quot;</p> <h2>Why Is Insider Trading Illegal?</h2> <p>This has been debated among professionals in the industry for decades. After all&hellip;who really loses from insider trading? Someone who works at the company gives a friend some information, they buy shares, the shares go up, and everyone makes money. There's no specific loser in this scenario. That money was not stolen. It was created by the stock market.</p> <p>However, insider trading creates a &quot;rigged game.&quot; If corporate insiders use the information they have to make money, then it would lead to a scenario in which only a chosen few would make most of the profits from the stock market. This would lead to a lot of people running away from the markets, because they know they will not be able to make any money, and the entire system would come crashing down.</p> <p>Basically, if insider trading were made legal, the stock market would experience a catastrophic meltdown, and businesses worldwide would be ruined.</p> <p>Think of it like a casino. If you knew that some people at the Craps table were allowed to a play with loaded dice, would you bother taking a turn?</p> <h2>How Do You Know if You're Doing It?</h2> <p>Here's the part you need to be aware of; you do not want to end up like Martha Stewart.</p> <p>The first question to ask yourself is, &quot;Does this feel right?&quot; Really, we all know when we're doing something a little shady, and although it's very easy to justify our actions, we know when something is wrong. However, if your conscience is clear, but you still want to make sure you're doing the right thing, consider the following points:</p> <ul> <li>If you are acting on information that has not been made public, you are almost certainly breaking the law. Don't do it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you are passing on undisclosed information to someone, and they use it to make money, you are both guilty of insider trading.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you receive a tip from someone, check to see if it is based on information that has been made public. If it hasn't, you could be in trouble.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you know someone who works at a company you want to invest in, do not ask a lot of questions. You may inadvertently get them to reveal insider information, and then you will both be in a lot of trouble.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you are worried about the trade, don't do it. Or, report it to the SEC.</li> </ul> <p><em>Have you ever been tempted to use insider information to score a win on the stock market?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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