Investment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4808/all en-US How to Make Sure You Don't Run Out of Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An annuity is a stream of fixed payments that's guaranteed, often for as long as you live. Having an annuity can make retirement more secure, but it's hard to recommend them as investment vehicles, because almost every annuity on the market is a terrible investment. They tend to be sold by salesmen, so they're often loaded with fees. And, because being upfront about the fees would make them hard to sell, these fees are obscure (often outright hidden) and are typically different for every product, making it especially hard to comparison shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Get an Annuity?</a>)</p> <p>But my experience these past few years &mdash; helping older relatives with their finances, and starting to take the little pension I earned as a software engineer &mdash; has given me a new perspective on annuities. Having an annuity is more than just nice: It's wonderful! It's just <em>buying</em> them that's usually terrible.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a few that are worth buying. You don't hear about them often, because they don't siphon off a big chunk of your investment to pay a salesman, so salesmen don't push them.</p> <h2>Why annuities are great</h2> <p>It used to be that anyone with a good job retired with an annuity in the form of a pension. This is how I've gotten my recent experience with just how great it is to have an annuity: All my older relatives are now receiving pensions.</p> <h3>You never outlive your income</h3> <p>The main thing that's great about an annuity is that having one means you're never going to be broke. Even if you overspend and run down your savings, even if the stock market crashes or you make terrible investment decisions and your investment portfolio takes huge losses, you'll still get that monthly check for as long as you live.</p> <p>You don't <em>need</em> to have an annuity to arrange that &mdash; you can live off capital in a way that makes it last the rest of your life &mdash; but an annuity makes it much easier.</p> <h3>They can raise your income</h3> <p>The other thing that's great about an annuity is that it can, at least potentially, be more money to live on. See, the only safe way to live off capital is to just spend the income from your investments. But that's not much money (especially these days).</p> <p>If you knew how long you were going to live, you could spend down your capital so that you'd die with just enough money to pay off your last month's bills. But since you don't know how long you're going to live, you have to make a conservative estimate, holding back enough capital so that you won't go broke even if you live to 100. (Of course even that might not be enough. What if you live to 114?)</p> <p>The company that provides your annuity has a much easier job. They don't need to know whether you'll live to 97 or kick the bucket at 67. They count on the fact that the average person will live an average life span. They can arrange the terms of the annuities so that the payouts don't exhaust the total pool until the last person dies. The fact that some people die the month after their pension starts means that there's enough money to pay for the people who go on to live for decades.</p> <p>Offset against that is the fact that the company that's providing your annuity needs to make a profit, and it also needs to hold back a reserve against the possibility that it'll get unlucky and a bunch of their customers will live longer than average &mdash; but both of those factors are relatively small.</p> <h2>Annuitize, but how much?</h2> <p>If you accept the idea that you probably ought to have an annuity of some size, the next question is: How big should the annuity be?</p> <p>At one extreme, you could just annuitize all your money &mdash; take all your savings and investments (except your checking account and your emergency fund) and buy an annuity. Then you'd know what your income would be for the rest of your life and you could budget for it.</p> <p>I recommend against that. There are many reasons why it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital" target="_blank">worth having some capital</a>. Your capital earns an investment return and it also provides a measure of safety as a backup to your emergency fund. It makes it possible to fund expenses beyond your bare-bones budget. Perhaps most important, having some capital saves you money in all kinds of different ways &mdash; because you have funds on hand, you can take advantage of deals, you can avoid high-interest borrowing, and you have money to put down a large security deposit in cases where that will save you money.</p> <p>At the other extreme, you could annuitize none of your money and just live off your capital. I've just explained the downsides to that.</p> <p>You want to be somewhere in the middle. With a modest annuity, you're protected from running your income down to zero, and yet you can preserve some amount of capital.</p> <p>My advice is this: You should annuitize <em>enough to cover your rock-bottom expenses</em>, the lowest amount you could live on indefinitely. That way, you're putting yourself in a position where you can be sure you can get by no matter what happens to your investments, while preserving enough of an investment portfolio to fund your other life goals &mdash; travel, making a major purchase, leaving an estate to your heirs, etc.</p> <p>Before you start shopping for annuities, be sure to take into account any annuities you already have. But unless you're old, and even then only if you had a pretty good job at a pretty big company for many years, you probably aren't going to have a great pension. (If you're only kind of old, and worked at a pretty big company for a few years before they all phased out their traditional pensions in the early 2000s, maybe there's a small pension waiting for you. If so, that's great. Even if it's not enough to live on, it's a very positive contribution to your retirement income.)</p> <p>However, most people reading this probably won't get a good pension.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an annuity you very likely do have.</p> <h2>The annuity you already have</h2> <p>You almost certainly already have an annuity in the form of a national pension scheme, such as Social Security. The amount of Social Security you will get depends on your own employment history. For most people, it will provide a large fraction of the &quot;rock-bottom expenses&quot; I recommend you cover with an annuity, but you can generally expect there to be some gap.</p> <p>If you have an employer-sponsored pension, even a small one, it may well cover the gap. If you don't, I recommend that you cover it with an annuity that you buy.</p> <h2>How to buy an annuity</h2> <p>As I said at the beginning, most of the annuities you can buy are terrible investments, but there are good ones. It is possible to buy an individual annuity and get an OK deal. It's just hard because the companies that sell them make it virtually impossible to compare one annuity to another.</p> <p>This is especially true for the sorts of annuities that are most like a pension: The ones set up so you make a payment every month starting in your 30s or 40s, then get a check every month starting when you're 65.</p> <p>Those are called deferred annuities (because you defer getting your money until age 65), and they're always terrible. They always have what are called &quot;back-end&quot; fees &mdash; money that the salesman gets to keep when you figure out that you've made a terrible deal and want to get (some of) your money back. The rules on back-end fees are always different.</p> <p>To make it even harder, these sorts of annuities are usually bundled with some sort of life insurance (supposedly so that if you die before you retire your estate won't &quot;lose&quot; all the money paid into the annuity) &mdash; and of course the details of those insurance policies are always different as well.</p> <h3>Comparison shopping</h3> <p>It is possible to buy an annuity in a way that does allow you to compare them. Don't buy one with monthly payments. Instead, save and invest the money in the stock market yourself during your working years. Then, when you're ready to retire, buy what's called a &quot;single premium immediate annuity&quot; &mdash; you put up a big chunk of money today, and then start receiving monthly payments immediately that last for the rest of your life. (The monthly payments, of course, should equal the gap you identified between your Social Security and your rock-bottom budget.)</p> <p>That is something that's easy to compare: How much do you have to pay today for a stream of income that starts next month and lasts the rest of your life? You can get a few quotes and pick the best deal.</p> <p>These sorts of annuities usually don't have the life insurance policy that supposedly protects against your dying before you start taking payments, because the payments start immediately. That's good. Bundling in life insurance just makes it harder to compare prices. If you need life insurance, buy a life insurance policy separately.</p> <p>Be very careful of letting them include any sort of survivor benefit, because that can also make the annuities harder to compare (although as long as the rules are exactly the same, it is at least possible). One alternative, if you need a survivor benefit, is to buy a life insurance policy that will pay off enough for your spouse to buy his or her own annuity.</p> <p>As an aside, let me mention that the annuity salesmen among you are going to jump in and point out that you're giving up an important tax advantage if you only consider an immediate annuity. This is technically true, but in fact is pretty unimportant. Let me just say this: If you are maxing out your 401(k), <em>and</em> your IRA, <em>and</em> your Roth IRA, there is an opportunity to tax shelter a bit more money through an annuity contract. In practice, I'm willing to bet that the tax advantage will never equal the fees you're going to end up paying.</p> <p>If you do save your money in a 401(k) or IRA, there are tax rules for using that money to buy your annuity. Follow the rules and you won't owe any taxes when the money is used to buy the annuity. You will, however, pay taxes on the annuity payments when you receive them (just like you would if you'd taken distributions from the tax-deferred plan directly).</p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Pretty much any life insurance company will sell you an annuity, but I only know of two places to get a good one: Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. (There used to be a third, but Berkshire Hathaway got out of the business a few years ago.)</p> <p>The main problem with buying directly from an insurance company is just that their annuity sales operations are organized around their annuity salesmen, who will immediately start trying to sell you something that's more profitable (to them) than a single premium immediate annuity &mdash; that's the step you avoid by going through Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (They also have enough buying power to get especially good rates, because they bring in large numbers of customers.)</p> <p>If you're sure you can bear up under the sales pressure, there's no reason not to get quotes directly from the insurance companies. (Just because I don't know of any other good places to buy one doesn't mean there aren't any.) Insurance companies that sell annuities will be very easy to find &mdash; just do an internet search for information about annuities and you'll get a dozen ads for them and for online tools to compare their offerings.</p> <p>You're handing over a large fraction of your wealth and counting on the insurance company to be around for the rest of your life, so you want to have considerable confidence in the financial soundness of the company you pick. I would not consider any company rated less than A by the insurance grading firm A.M. Best, and I'd be happier with one rated A+.</p> <h3>Buy when rates are high</h3> <p>To buy an annuity, you have to put up a pretty sizable chunk of cash. (Vanguard quotes the cost today to a 65-year-old male buying a single premium immediate annuity of $1,000 a month for the rest of his life as being $180,052.)</p> <p>Unless you're rich, the cost of an annuity that covers your rock-bottom expenses is going to be a large fraction of your entire retirement savings &mdash; which is OK, because it's going to be a large chunk of your entire retirement income.</p> <p>The insurance company that sells you your annuity is going to invest that sizable chunk of cash in a portfolio of stocks and (mostly) bonds, and then use the dividends from those stocks and (mostly) the interest payments from those bonds to pay your annuity. Because of this, an annuity is much cheaper when interest rates are high.</p> <p>If you bought an annuity right before the financial crisis, you made out very well. If you wanted to buy one in the past eight or nine years, you probably found that they were incredibly expensive. But in the current era of rising interest rates, annuities are becoming more affordable again.</p> <p>Still, if you're approaching retirement age, understand that there is no rush. Figure out your rock-bottom expenses &mdash; and then live with that budget as an experiment. Maybe you'll find that you'll need more than that in retirement. Maybe you'll actually need less. Do some comparison shopping. Take your time. Then, when you've got a pretty good handle on the expense of your retirement lifestyle, at a time when interest rates are up a bit and you're ready to quit working, go ahead and buy that annuity.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-and-bonds-that-will-profit-from-the-fed-rate-hike">10 Stocks and Bonds That Will Profit From the Fed Rate Hike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement annuities benefits bonds fees interest rates investment vehicles life insurance pensions stocks Fri, 26 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 1953940 at http://www.wisebread.com Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market? http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-485863805.jpg" alt="Learning if we&#039;re headed toward a bull or bear market" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The stock market has been on a roll over the last year. Since the winter of 2016, investors have enjoyed a delightful bull market that has seen the S&amp;P 500 index rise by more than 25 percent.</p> <p>Whenever there is a lengthy run-up like this, investors always want to know how long it can last. Are we due for a big correction or even a record-breaking crash? Or will we see the markets continue to rise?</p> <p>Trying to time the market's movement is a fool's game, but it's always smart to look at the various indicators that may foreshadow future performance. With the current market, there is evidence to back up both bullish and bearish predictions.</p> <h2>Indicators of a bull market</h2> <p>The good times won't end anytime soon.</p> <h3>Most economic indicators are strong</h3> <p>For the most part, the American economy is stable. Unemployment is at its lowest point in a decade. Inflation is not out of hand. Manufacturing output is up, along with consumer confidence. There are some concerns about overall growth and productivity, but nothing that spells immediate doom for American investors at this point. Generally speaking, if the underlying foundations of the economy are sound, a sudden drop in stock prices is unlikely.</p> <h3>Interest rates are still historically low</h3> <p>We've seen interest rates creep up a bit, but they are still very low by historical standards. If you're placing money in a bank account, don't expect to receive much in the way of income. Bond yields are also very low. Thus, there's a good chance we'll see people continue to invest in stocks, as they have recently offered much better returns than most other options. As long as interest rates remain low, demand for stocks will be high.</p> <h3>Technical analysis supports it</h3> <p>Many analysts and financial planners prefer to examine a technical analysis of the stock market's performance, which looks at long-term trends that have historically repeated themselves. Most observers of these trends believe we are halfway through a growth cycle that began around 2010 and will continue another five to 10 years.</p> <h3>Corporate earnings are good</h3> <p>The stock market has been known to take a dive when stock prices are high, based on the underlying earnings of companies. In other words, when stocks are overvalued, the market will eventually find out, and you'll see a big correction. Recent earnings reports suggest that the stock market growth is justified. Earnings reports for the first quarter of 2017 look to be among the best in more than five years, so there's no indication that stocks are generally overvalued as a whole.</p> <h3>Lawmakers are pushing pro-business policies</h3> <p>President Trump was elected in part because of promises to lower corporate taxes and reduce business regulations, and he has the majority support of Congress. These are policies that are generally favored by the business community, and investors have responded positively. As long as businesses remain optimistic about policy changes, the stock market will be propped up.</p> <h2>Indicators of a bear market</h2> <p>On the other hand, maybe the good times are about to end.</p> <h3>Companies are heavily leveraged</h3> <p>U.S. companies have more debt than ever, and a lot of it comes due in the next few years. Moody's Investors Services estimated that a record $2 trillion corporate debt will come due between now and 2021, and warned that the market's ability to absorb all of these maturities is &quot;below average.&quot; Few analysts are predicting a massive wave of corporate bankruptcies, but an inability to refinance debt could curb corporate profits and cause stock prices to fall.</p> <h3>There's a possible epidemic of auto loan defaults</h3> <p>When the stock market last suffered a big crash in 2008, it was largely due to a flurry of defaults on mortgage loans. Many Americans obtained home loans that they ultimately could not afford, and ended up in foreclosure when home values dropped.</p> <p>These days, it appears that there may be a similar concern facing the quantity and quality of auto loans. It may not be as big a crisis as the housing bubble, but Americans ended 2016 with a record $1.2 trillion in auto loan debt, an increase of 9 percent from the previous year. Nearly one-fourth of these outstanding auto loans are considered subprime, and the delinquency rate from these loans is at its highest in seven years. This doesn't pose the same systemic risk as the mortgage crisis, but the auto industry is a key part of the American economy.</p> <h3>Europe is facing uncertainty</h3> <p>The United Kingdom is in the process of leaving the EU. There are rumors that other countries (France?) may follow suit. There are lingering concerns over terror attacks in the region. On one hand, economic trouble in the EU may benefit U.S. companies, but many American firms operate in Europe and are impacted by geopolitical uncertainty anywhere.</p> <h3>Political concerns</h3> <p>President Trump and members of Congress have been pushing pro-business policies, but eventually, they will have to deliver the goods. Their struggles in passing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been viewed as a sign that they may not have the wherewithal to accomplish big things, such as tax reform. A failure to follow through on any of these major promises could eventually cause a pullback in the markets.</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/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-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/7-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-ways-to-invest-during-a-weak-market">5 Creative Ways to Invest During a Weak 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/6-stocks-to-buy-before-black-friday">6 Stocks to Buy Before Black Friday</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-reasons-to-stay-calm-when-the-market-tanks">8 Reasons to Stay Calm When the Market Tanks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-purchase-like-its-1999">It&#039;s Time to Purchase Like It&#039;s 1999</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bankruptcy bear market bull market businesses corporations crash Crisis Economy Europe politics predictions stock market Mon, 15 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1942751 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626773718.jpg" alt="Finding stocks to buy if you love moms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Make no mistake about it: Moms are the best. They're our biggest supporters, our number one fans, and they are always there for us. So this Mother's Day, why not invest in companies that are helping both the mothers (and fathers) they employ, as well as the mothers who make up their customer base?</p> <p>Here are four stocks that anyone who loves moms should buy.</p> <h2>1. Campbell's Soup Company [NYSE: CPB]</h2> <p>The connection between moms and chicken soup alone might be enough for you to want to buy this stock. But Campbell's Soup has made this list because of one specific subset of its food empire: Plum Organics.</p> <p>Founded as a startup in 2007, Plum Organics is a mission-driven baby and toddler food company committed to offering the best sustainable nutrition to all children. In 2013, Campbell's acquired Plum Organics, and in an impressive display of integrity, Plum's president and co-founder Neil Grimmer requested that the smaller company pursue certification as a benefit corporation after the sale. For-profit benefit corporations not only create value for their shareholders, but they also have legal requirements for accountability, transparency, and purpose.</p> <p>Since then, Plum Organics has continued to try to make the world a better place for parents and children. In particular, their The Full Effect program has donated over 8.6 million organic meals and snacks to children in need. The company also works hard to reduce its environmental footprint by both reducing packaging and creating recycling programs for its packaging.</p> <p>Though Plum Organics is only a small part of the Campbell's Soup Company, the fact that Campbell's continues to encourage its child-friendly, mom-friendly, and environment-friendly mission makes it worthy of this list.</p> <p>The Campbell's Soup Company is also working to improve the lives of the mothers and fathers it employs. The company recently revamped its parental leave policy, offering 10 weeks of paid leave for a primary caregiver and two weeks of paid leave for a secondary caregiver. The fact that such a huge company is working to make life easier for new parents is definitely a great step.</p> <h2>2. Etsy [NASDAQ: ETSY]</h2> <p>You may know Etsy as the place to get creative handmade gifts, but it is also a publicly-traded company that does a great deal to support moms.</p> <p>To start, Etsy decided in 2016 to offer all employees 26 weeks of paid parental leave after birth or adoption, regardless of the employee's gender or primary/secondary caregiver designation. Etsy's generous, gender-neutral leave policy can help pave the way for other companies to recognize the importance of supporting young families &mdash; especially if we invest in Etsy by buying its stock.</p> <p>In addition, Etsy's business model has offered a manageable approach to entrepreneurship for moms who wish to straddle the line between staying home with the kids and earning an income. Supporting Etsy by buying its stock means helping to strengthen the finances of creative parents who are trying to balance working from home and child rearing.</p> <p>Finally, Etsy is a certified B Corp, meaning that it is committed to accountability and transparency within its socially responsible mission. To support that mission, Etsy created Craft Entrepreneurship, an educational program that offers creative people in low-income communities the knowledge and skills to start Etsy businesses.</p> <h2>3. Johnson &amp; Johnson [NYSE: JNJ]</h2> <p>Eight of Johnson &amp; Johnson's first 14 employees were women &mdash; all the way back when the health care company was founded in 1886.</p> <p>Women receive 47 percent of all promotions at Johnson &amp; Johnson, while only making up 45 percent of the total company employees. In addition, the company offers leadership initiatives that emphasize gender balance, as well as executive education courses that are specifically tailored to women. All of this is great news for mothers working for the corporation, which employs over 39,000 people.</p> <p>Parental leave at Johnson &amp; Johnson is relatively generous, with at least nine weeks of paid leave offered to new mothers and fathers. But the company continues looking out for families long after babies are born. It also offers six on-site day care facilities, sick-child care, backup child care, and 10 paid days of sick leave per year to look after ill family members.</p> <p>On top of that, a full 95 percent of employees use flextime, and 75 percent telecommute, while managers are specifically trained to implement and manage flexible working arrangements. Those arrangements can be particularly helpful for working parents.</p> <h2>4. Netflix [NASDAQ: NFLX]</h2> <p>Any mother of a newborn can attest to the lifesaving power of Netflix in the middle of a long sleepless night. But Netflix is not just supporting overtired parents with middle-of-the-night TV binges. It is also a leader in providing excellent parental leave to its employees.</p> <p>As of 2016, salaried Netflix employees are permitted <em>unlimited </em>paid parental leave for their child's first year of life. The policy is the same for salaried employees who adopt children. This incredibly generous policy is a great step forward in recognizing that new parents are often the best judges of how much time they need before returning to work.</p> <p>Netflix has also made sure to take care of hourly employees who become parents. Hourly workers receive paid parental leave at 100 percent pay. The amount of time off that they receive depends upon which arm of the company they work for, with Streaming hourly employees receiving 16 weeks, DVD employees receiving 12 weeks, and customer service employees receiving 14 weeks. In all cases, the parental leave is for maternity, paternity, and adoptions.</p> <h2>Putting your money where your mom is</h2> <p>We all talk about how much we love and respect mothers, but it can feel like lip service if our actions don't reflect those feelings. One of the best ways to show your love and respect for Mom is to support the corporations that make it easier for all mothers to take care of business &mdash; at work and at home.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day">6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investment-allocation-by-age-birth-to-10-years-old">Investment Allocation by Age: Birth to 10 Years Old</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-mothers-day-gifts-moms-will-love">5 DIY Mother&#039;s Day Gifts Moms Will Love</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/158-free-investment-classes-from-morningstar-earn-rewards-while-you-learn">158 Free Investment Classes From Morningstar: Earn Rewards While You Learn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Investment b corp companies moms Mother's day parental leave stocks supporting women Tue, 09 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1940330 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-649699796.jpg" alt="Learning about the easiest way to save for retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a 401(k), chances are you've been given the option to invest in a &quot;target-date&quot; fund. This is a balanced mutual fund that gradually changes its investment mix depending on how close you are to retirement. It's designed to hold a higher percentage of riskier, growth-oriented investments like stocks when you're young, and increase the proportion of more conservative investments, such as cash and bonds, as you age.</p> <p>Many brokerage firms offer target-date funds, which come with names like Fidelity Freedom 2050 or Lifepath Index 2045. The idea is to pick one associated with the year you expect to retire.</p> <p>There are advantages to these funds, especially for those who don't want to spend a lot of time managing their investments. But there are some drawbacks, too.</p> <h2>Pros</h2> <p>Let's start with the upsides.</p> <h3>1. They automatically rebalance</h3> <p>Target-date funds are designed to build wealth while you're working, and protect it as you approach retirement. They accomplish this by gradually and automatically changing the investment mix over time, which is referred to as rebalancing. Because it's not particularly easy for the average investor to make these kinds of changes on their own, a target-date fund offers the convenience of &quot;set it and forget it,&quot; saving you time and extra work.</p> <h3>2. They are easy to select</h3> <p>Picking which mutual fund is right for you is tricky, because there are often so many choices. There are funds for specific industries, funds for growth, and others for income &mdash; it can be overwhelming. When choosing which target-date fund is right for you, though, all you need to do is pick one that lines up best with the year you expect to retire. So if you are now 30 years old and plan to retire at age 63, you would pick a fund labeled with the year 2050.</p> <h3>3. They offer diversification</h3> <p>Most target-date funds are essentially &quot;funds of funds.&quot; In other words, they are comprised of a mix of mutual funds, which are already made up of a blend of stocks and bonds. Thus, investors are hardly at risk of placing too much of their money in any single investment.</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p>All that convenience comes at a price.</p> <h3>4. They have high fees</h3> <p>If you invest in target-date funds, you can expect that fund managers and brokerage firms will take a bigger chunk of your money than they would for basic index funds. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the average expense ratio on more than 2,200 target-date funds was more than 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, there are many basic index funds that have ratios of less than 0.1 percent.</p> <p>An expense ratio measures what it costs an investment company to run a mutual fund, and is calculated by the fund's annual operating expenses divided by the average dollar value of its assets under management. Those operating expenses are taken out of the fund's assets and lower the return for investors. Over time, a higher expense ratio could impact your overall investment balance by thousands of dollars.</p> <h3>5. They aren't one-size fits all</h3> <p>Not everyone generates the same amount of income during their lifetime, and expenses in retirement can vary wildly. Thus, the right mix of bonds, stocks, and other investments will differ depending on the investor. Target-date funds don't take this into account. One investor may be able to retire comfortably with a portfolio of bonds and cash, while another might need more growth stocks to meet their retirement goals.</p> <h3>6. Funds with similar names may actually be quite different</h3> <p>There are thousands of target-date funds out there. Many of them have very similar names and similar goals, but differ in their investment mix. For example, the Fidelity Freedom 2035 fund is currently comprised of 64 percent U.S. stocks, 31 percent international stocks, and 5 percent bonds. The Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 fund, however, is 48 percent U.S. stocks, 32 percent international stocks, and about 20 percent bonds. Thus, the performance and risk of these funds may vary even if their names and goals are very similar.</p> <h3>7. They may not be aggressive enough for some older people</h3> <p>On one hand, you probably don't want to be investing in all stocks when you are approaching retirement age. But if you become too conservative, you might miss out on big returns. There are some financial advisers who argue that it's OK to stay aggressive in retirement as long as you have enough saved to endure a possible downturn. In fact, one 2013 study argued in favor of a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2324930" target="_blank">counterintuitive approach to retirement saving</a> &mdash; more conservative investing when you're young, and more aggressive investing as you get closer to retirement.</p> <p>If you think you want a more aggressive fund than the target date that corresponds with your projected retirement age, you can always choose one with a later target date. For instance, if you're planning on retiring in 15 years, but want a fund that's more aggressive now, you might choose a 2040 or 2050 target date fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401-k-is-not-an-investment">Your 401(k) is not an investment</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-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-important-thing-youre-probably-not-doing-with-your-portfolio">The Most Important Thing You&#039;re Probably Not Doing With Your Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-invest-in-the-stock-market">Why invest in the stock market?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401(k) aggressive bonds conservative risks stocks target date funds Tue, 09 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1940329 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Best Short-Term Investments for Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-best-short-term-investments-for-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-best-short-term-investments-for-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_money_bag_491918598.jpg" alt="Finding best short-term investments for your money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on the best short-term investments, how to make extra money during spring cleaning season, and ways to stay motivated while paying off debt.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/best-short-term-investments-right-now-for-your-money/">The 11 Best Short Term Investments For Your Money</a> &mdash; In today's unstable market, short term investing may be a safer alternative for investors. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://sidehustlehq.com/make-extra-money-during-spring-cleaning-time/">Make Extra Money During Spring Cleaning Time</a> &mdash; Spring cleaning often involves moving furniture out of the house. If you have a truck and a few people to help out, your team can get paid to do the moving. [Side Hustle HQ]</p> <p><a href="http://fortunateinvestor.com/6-ways-stay-motivated-paying-off-debt/">6 Ways to Stay Motivated While Paying off Debt</a> &mdash; As you reach money milestones, reward yourself with treats that won't cost you anything, like binge-watching your favorite show or a quick trip to the beach. [The Fortunate Investor]</p> <p><a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Useful-Products-43500382">14 Useful Products That Will Make You Say &quot;I Need This in My Life!&quot;</a> &mdash; A waterproof notepad and pencil are exactly what you need to jot down your best ideas in the shower. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/smart-money/money-saving-guide-to-diy-wedding-invitations/">The Ultimate Money-Saving Guide to DIY Wedding Invitations</a> &mdash; Get the most out of each sheet of cardstock! A 12&quot;x12&quot; sheet can make four 5&quot;x7&quot; invitations. [The Penny Hoarder]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.needmoney.com/2017/05/five-ways-to-start-investing-your-money-as-a-complete-beginner/">Five Ways to Start Investing Your Money as a Complete Beginner</a> &mdash; Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your portfolio! [Need Money]</p> <p><a href="https://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/creative-healthy-snacks-adults/">Creative Healthy Snacks for Adults</a> &mdash; Minty pea dip is easy to prepare and goes great with pretzel chips. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://www.asianefficiency.com/productivity/profitably-productive-just-crazy-busy-10-tips-impactful-work/">Profitably Productive or Just Crazy Busy? 10 Tips to Impactful Work</a> &mdash; Pay attention to the time you spend on calls and video conferences. Can you cut the conversation shorter? Do you have to field every incoming call, or can some go to voicemail? [Asian Efficiency]</p> <p><a href="http://www.productivesuperdad.com/ultimate-guide-deal-stress/">The Ultimate Guide to Deal with Stress at New Job</a> &mdash; In times of stress, remember why you wanted this job in the first place and how it can benefit you. [Productive Superdad]</p> <p><a href="http://productivitytheory.com/health-psychology-tips/">7 Health Psychology Tips To Live Your Best Life</a> &mdash; Pay attention to your body. If there's something wrong or missing from your life, your body will tell you. [Productivity Theory]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-best-short-term-investments-for-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">A Simple Guide to Socially Responsible 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/8-investments-that-may-soar-during-trumps-term">8 Investments That May Soar During Trump&#039;s Term</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear 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/fidelity-rewards-credit-card-review">Invest Your Rewards With the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-etfs-suck">Why ETFs Suck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment best money tips short term investments Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Amy Lu 1940411 at http://www.wisebread.com How These 8 Company Stocks Fared Following Scandal http://www.wisebread.com/how-these-8-company-stocks-fared-following-scandal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-these-8-company-stocks-fared-following-scandal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-499752910.jpg" alt="Friends learning how company stocks fared after a scandal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From bad business decisions to PR nightmares (looking at you, United Airlines), negative news can crush a company's bottom line and send investors fleeing. But not all scandals &mdash; or their fallouts &mdash; are the same. Some companies rebound quickly, while others spend years recovering &mdash; or go out of business altogether.</p> <p>Let's take a look at some of the largest corporate scandals in recent memory, and their impact on shareholders.</p> <h2>1. Tyco</h2> <p>This was one of the biggest corporate scandals in the early part of the millennium. CEO Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz were convicted of grand larceny after improperly awarding themselves millions of dollars in bonuses. Details of the lavish $2 million birthday party that Kozlowski threw for his wife made for great tabloid fodder.</p> <p>Tyco's shares took a hit in the short term, but the company's underlying business in security and fire protection systems was still sound. Over the years, Tyco has split into multiple firms, leaving patient investors with shares of a diverse array of companies &mdash; many of which have outperformed the markets. Pentair, a company that acquired one Tyco division in 2012, has seen shares rise more than 40 percent. Johnson Controls bought Tyco last year and then spun off its automotive seating business, Adient. Adient shares are up 55 percent since the spinoff in November. (Disclosure: I own some shares of Johnson Controls, Adient, TE Connectivity, and Pentair.)</p> <h2>2. Chipotle Mexican Grill</h2> <p>The burrito chain faced scandal in 2015 after an E. coli outbreak affected dozens of customers. The company's share price suffered for months as investors wondered whether it had a handle on food safety. Those issues appear to be in the past now, and shares have risen 23 percent in 2017. Still, they fail to come anywhere close to the highs of two years ago.</p> <h2>3. Samsung</h2> <p>Samsung was forced to recall <em>all </em>of its Galaxy Note 7 devices last year after reports of the phones catching fire due to battery defects. The discontinuation of the high-end phone cost the company billions of dollars. Samsung also faced bad headlines when one of its vice presidents was arrested in connection to a bribery scandal. But the markets have shrugged off these missteps.</p> <p>The company's share price is up more than 66 percent on the Korean stock exchange since this time last year, and up nearly 19 percent in 2017. Demand for Samsung devices remains high, and the company continues to battle with Apple for the top spot among global smartphone manufacturers.</p> <h2>4. Volkswagen</h2> <p>The German automaker found itself in big, big trouble after lying about emissions from its vehicles in 2015. It's now on the hook for billions of dollars in fines. Shares dropped by about 40 percent after the scandal and hit some of their lowest prices in three years. While it appears that customers haven't abandoned the company altogether, and Volkswagen's stock price rose a bit in the first half of 2017, shares are still well below where they were pre-scandal.</p> <h2>5. Exxon</h2> <p>Remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska? The oil tanker accident in 1989 led to widespread environmental damage, with 10.8 million gallons of oil spilling into Prince William Sound. The disaster meant terrible headlines for Exxon, as it was sued for more than $5 billion. (It eventually paid about $500 million.)</p> <p>One could argue that the reputation of the fossil fuel industry was damaged permanently, but Exxon rebounded over time. In fact, Exxon merged with rival Mobil 10 years after the spill and became one of the largest and most profitable companies in U.S. history.</p> <h2>6. AIG</h2> <p>Many companies were impacted by the collapse of the financial sector in 2008. AIG was uniquely hard-hit because it had nearly $60 billion worth of subprime mortgages on its books. The federal government bailed the company out, shares fell by more than 80 percent, and it was pretty much a disaster for AIG and its investors. AIG still exists as a company, but there is no remarkable comeback story to tell here.</p> <h2>7. Enron</h2> <p>The biggest scandal of the dot-com era, Enron found itself in trouble in 2001 following revelations that it had engaged in fraudulent accounting. Enron was trading above $90 per share in mid-2000, but began to fall as journalists questioned the legitimacy of some of the company's financial claims. Within a year, share value was cut in half, and by the end of 2001, the company had declared bankruptcy. Several executives went to jail, charged with a variety of crimes including conspiracy, fraud, and insider trading. And shareholders? Well, most ended up with zilch.</p> <h2>8. United Airlines</h2> <p>United's story is still being written. Shares fell around 5 percent in April, shortly after news broke about a passenger getting injured while being forcibly removed from an overbooked flight. But, shares rebounded rather quickly and are now trading at around pre-scandal levels. United has settled with the passenger it removed for an undisclosed amount, avoiding what could have been a costlier lawsuit. The question now is whether bad publicity will keep flyers away from United and impact its revenue in the coming months.</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-these-8-company-stocks-fared-following-scandal">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/10-things-small-investors-should-know-about-big-corporate-mergers">10 Things Small Investors Should Know About Big Corporate Mergers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-to-avoid-dividend-stocks">8 Times to Avoid Dividend Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-a-company-to-hear-you-talk-to-their-people">Want a Company to Hear You? Talk to Their “People.”</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/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">A Simple Guide to Socially Responsible Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bad news companies crimes headlines pr nightmares public relations scandals shareholders stock prices United Airlines Fri, 05 May 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1940325 at http://www.wisebread.com How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516182744.jpg" alt="Learning how a mediocre investor prospered after the market crash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know" target="_blank">mediocre financial advice</a> I've offered in my last few posts boils down to this: Use low-cost funds, establish an appropriate asset allocation, and rebalance it annually.</p> <p>It's not new advice. My own portfolio was strongly influenced by it back in the early 1980s. By the 1990s, it was pretty much the standard advice you would get anywhere. Many studies at the time showed that a very simple portfolio &mdash; just an S&amp;P 500 index fund, plus a long-term bond fund &mdash; tended to outperform managed funds, especially after the costs of the managed funds were taken into account.</p> <p>I haven't seen as many studies in the years since the financial crisis, so I thought I'd take a quick look at how this sort of basic asset allocation held up in the aftermath.</p> <p>Most people date the financial crisis from 2008, but I tend to date it from June of 2007, because that's when I found out that I'd be losing my job. For that reason, the graphs below run from then through the latest data available as of March 29, 2017.</p> <p>As it turns out, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best" target="_blank">mediocre portfolio</a> held up pretty well.</p> <h2>Criteria for success</h2> <p>To decide whether a particular style of investing is a success, it helps to know what your goals are. Most people would include &quot;maximum return&quot; as at least part of their goal, but instead, I suggest that your portfolio provide an investment return that supports your specific life needs.</p> <p>A portfolio that comfortably beats inflation is part of that. It's also a plus if the portfolio doesn't swing wildly in value &mdash; in case your circumstances require you to cash out a significant amount on an emergency basis. It's nice, too, if the portfolio provides a mix of income and growth, so that if changes in what's in fashion among investors push one category of stocks up or down, the overall value of your portfolio doesn't take too big of a hit. (Personally I've always had a sneaking preference for income, even though tax policy has often favored growth.)</p> <p>With those criteria in mind, let's look at how some of the pieces of a mediocre portfolio have done.</p> <h2>Pieces of a mediocre portfolio</h2> <p>The most basic mediocre portfolio is just an S&amp;P 500 index fund and a long-term bond fund, with the ratio between those two gradually shifting from mostly stocks (for a young person) toward mostly bonds (for someone who has already retired).</p> <h3>Stock market investments</h3> <p>The value of an S&amp;P 500 index fund dropped dramatically during the crisis itself, but it hit bottom well before the end of the recession, recovered all of its losses by 2013, and is now about 50 percent above where it started &mdash; meaning that on stock price alone, you've got an annual return of well over 4 percent. With dividends reinvested, your annual return comes to nearly 7 percent (take a look at the 10-year average annual return of your favorite S&amp;P 500 index fund).</p> <p><iframe src="//fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/graph-landing.php?g=dyOc&amp;width=605&amp;height=340" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="overflow:hidden; width:670px; height:525px;" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></p> <p>(Source: <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=dbdN" target="_blank">St. Louis Federal Reserve</a>)</p> <h3>Bond market investments</h3> <p>There isn't an exact bond-market equivalent for the S&amp;P 500 index fund, so it's a little hard to say how your investments would have done during the crisis and since. (I poked around at a few major mutual fund companies and found average annual total returns on various long-term bond funds for the past 10 years ranging from 3.6 percent to 6.1 percent, depending on the fund.)</p> <p>The return on a bond fund depends on interest rates. If you buy a bond that pays X percent and rates go up, your old bond is worth less (because otherwise people will just buy the new bond that pays more). Conversely, if rates go down, your old bond is worth more.</p> <p>With that in mind, here's a graph of the interest rate paid on a U.S. government 10-year treasury bond:</p> <p><iframe src="//fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/graph-landing.php?g=dyOf&amp;width=605&amp;height=340" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="overflow:hidden; width:670px; height:525px;" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></p> <p>(Source: <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=dbfK" target="_blank">St. Louis Federal Reserve</a>.)</p> <p>Long-term interest rates dropped steadily before and during the recession. They rebounded modestly as the recession wound down, but then plummeted as it became clear that the economy needed, and would continue to need, extraordinary support from the Federal Reserve. Even now, long-term rates are about half what they were before the crisis began.</p> <p>The upshot is that the value of bonds purchased before the crisis would have soared during the crisis. Bonds purchased during the crisis would also have gone up. Bonds purchased in the aftermath might be up or might be down, depending on exactly when they were bought.</p> <h2>Rebalancing</h2> <p>If you'd just had a portfolio of stocks or bonds, you'd have done ok. Your stocks would have gone down a lot, but they'd have eventually recovered. Your bonds would have gone up a lot, and would have since eased off. But the mediocre asset allocation is more than that. The essence of a mediocre asset allocation is annual rebalancing.</p> <p>At the end of 2007, and again at the end of 2008, you would have sold some of your bonds &mdash; which would have jumped a great deal as interest rates fell ahead of and during the recession &mdash; and shifted that money into depressed stocks to restore your asset allocation.</p> <p>New stocks purchased on the last day of 2008 would have been bought with the S&amp;P 500 at 891 (down from close to 1,500 when you started). At the recent price of 2,359, those shares are up 165 percent. At the same time, you would have harvested much of the gains in your bond portfolio.</p> <p>Really, the rebalancing is where the magic is.</p> <h2>Success</h2> <p>As I mentioned at the beginning, the criteria I'm using as indicators of success are return, stability, and providing a mix of income and growth.</p> <p>The mediocre portfolio did a fine job of providing a return &mdash; especially if you rebalanced annually, thereby automatically buying stocks when they were at their lows.</p> <p>Stability is always a problematic goal, because it's almost the opposite of growth &mdash; the most stable portfolio would be one invested 100 percent in cash, which would show no growth at all. The point here, just as it is with return, is not maximum stability, but rather a degree of stability that supports your life goals. Here again, the mediocre portfolio did fine, especially for older people with a larger bond portfolio, which is where it is most important.</p> <p>Finally, the mediocre portfolio did a fine job at balancing income with growth. An S&amp;P 500 index fund has produced a pretty good yield, especially compared to cash and bonds during this period of historic lows in interest rates. Annual rebalancing will have automatically shifted money out of bonds as interest rates fell (reducing the fraction of the portfolio invested where income is low) and future rebalancing will be shifting money back into bonds as interest rates rise.</p> <p>I would hesitate to call its performance better than mediocre, but that's really the point: A mediocre investment portfolio, providing mediocre performance, is all it takes to support your life goals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401-k-is-not-an-investment">Your 401(k) is not an investment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment asset allocation bonds financial crisis low-cost funds mediocre investments performance s&p 500 stock market Tue, 02 May 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Philip Brewer 1938294 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511213377.jpg" alt="Woman learning how money can support her values" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Giving to charity is an important line item in my family budget &mdash; but it's only one line. There are far more charitable organizations that I want to support than I can possibly give money to.</p> <p>But what if there were a way to support your values without having to free up more money to give to charity? In fact, there is a way. You can do the same things you always do with your money &mdash; bank it, invest it, spend it on utilities, and shop &mdash; all while providing important financial benefits to the causes you care about.</p> <h2>Socially responsible robo-investing</h2> <p>I'll never forget the stricken look on my financial adviser's face when I told him I was uncomfortable with big oil, tobacco, or firearms as investments in my retirement portfolio. He took a deep breath and told me that I would probably have to be a little flexible about that if I wanted to maintain my passive investment strategy. The only other option would be to individually choose the investments I wanted so that my money was aligned with my values. Not only would that be expensive and time consuming (someone would have to do the stock picking), but it would not necessarily grow my money.</p> <p>Passive investors like me now have the option of investing in funds that only go to companies we approve of. The new robo adviser <a href="https://www.openinvest.co/" target="_blank">OpenInvest</a> offers investors the ability to personalize the specific issues they care most about. You simply create an &quot;issue profile&quot; that narrows down the types of companies you would either like to invest in or steer clear of. The robo adviser's algorithm then creates a basket of about 60 stocks that match your values and <em>should </em>match the returns of the broader market.</p> <p>Your money grows just like it would with any investment, but you are supporting companies that reflect your values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth</a>)</p> <h2>Cellphone activism</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine life without your cellphone &mdash; which makes it an excellent tool to help support your values. Simply changing your cellphone provider can make paying your bill part of your activism.</p> <p>Whether your politics align left or right, you can switch to an activist cellphone carrier that will use a portion of their profits to fund important causes. <a href="http://www.credomobile.com/" target="_blank">Credo Mobile</a> is a mobile and long distance provider that has donated $83 million to various progressive nonprofit groups since its inception in 1985. On the right, <a href="https://www.patriotmobile.com/" target="_blank">Patriot Mobile</a> offers conservatives the opportunity to choose the organization that a portion of their monthly phone bill will be donated to.</p> <p>In both cases, the mobile carrier allows you to keep your phone and phone number when you make the switch. You are already paying for your cellphone usage; why not have the money fund causes you care about?</p> <h2>Shop your values</h2> <p>Amazon has become the most convenient way to handle shopping in the modern age, but did you know it can also be the most convenient way for you to donate to charities you love?</p> <p><a href="https://smile.amazon.com/ref=nav_logo" target="_blank">AmazonSmile</a> is exactly like the Amazon store you already know, with the exact same prices and fees, and the exact same login you already use. But when you sign on with AmazonSmile, you are allowed to choose any one of over a million 501(c)(3) charitable organizations to benefit from your shopping. Each time you make a purchase, AmazonSmile gives 0.5 percent of the purchase price to your charity.</p> <p>While not all purchases are eligible for AmazonSmile, the vast majority are. In addition, there are occasionally limited-time special promotions that increase the donation percentage.</p> <p>Once you have signed up with AmazonSmile, just make sure you start any Amazon shopping from that page to keep your donations going to your favorite charity whenever you shop.</p> <h2>#BankBlack revitalizes communities</h2> <p>You might remember seeing the rapper Killer Mike on MTV in 2016 asking 1 million people to open a savings account with a black-owned banking institution. That helped start the #BankBlack movement, which is credited with bringing $50 million in new deposits to black-owned banks over a six-month span in 2016, according to the Huffington Post.</p> <p>But banking with a black-owned financial institution is more than just a hashtag. These institutions were once the only places where African Americans could expect fair treatment when discrimination was rampant in the banking industry. Nowadays, black-owned banks offer access to necessary banking services in distressed neighborhoods, while also providing economic revitalization.</p> <p>Since black-owned banks specifically market to the African American communities that are disproportionately unbanked or underbanked &mdash; meaning they rely on check cashing services and pawnshops for their banking needs &mdash; opening an account with a black-owned bank is an excellent way to put your money to work for social justice.</p> <p>The Blackout Coalition offers a <a href="http://blackoutcoalition.org/black-u-s-banks/" target="_blank">map of black-owned banks and credit unions</a> across the United States, so you can find one near you. Alternatively, if you are not in an area with a local black-owned bank, <a href="https://www.oneunited.com/" target="_blank">OneUnited</a> is an online bank that is also the nation's largest black-owned bank.</p> <h2>Put your money where your values are</h2> <p>Not everyone has money in the budget to support the social programs they are most passionate about. But making a few tweaks to how you bank, invest, call, and shop will allow you to make the world a better place without spending any more money. You'll feel good about how your money represents your values, and your favorite causes will benefit from your choices. It's a win-win.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values">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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This 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/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-should-make-these-11-easy-donations-before-time-runs-out">You Should Make These 11 Easy Donations Before Time Runs Out</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/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive">Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive</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/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">Private foundations for ordinary folks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment activism amazon smile banking black owned businesses cellphones charity donations giving politics social causes values Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1931274 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-470145114.jpg" alt="buy these stocks if you love the earth and money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Socially responsible investing (SRI) isn't a new concept, but it's an increasingly popular one in a world focused more on sustainability. The &quot;green&quot; subsection of SRI is environmentally-conscious investing, geared towards investment in companies that promote environmental stewardship. Think clean energy, sustainable resources, infrastructure, waste management, even consulting services.</p> <p>Rolling in green doesn't have to mean a choice between fields or bills. You now can do both, all at once if you prefer. We picked five funds that successfully blend environmentally-conscious investments with performance.</p> <p>(A note on tracking the performance of your &quot;green&quot; investments: Different sectors often use specialized indices to benchmark performance within their niche. Keep that in mind when choosing how to allocate your portfolio.)</p> <h2>1. Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund [MUTF: PGRNX]</h2> <p>Beloved by the environmental community and investors alike, the Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund focuses on long-term growth in sustainable investing. The fund evaluates financials along with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis on its holdings, carefully balancing a stringent set of criteria to evaluate investments. And it's paid off. The fund has outperformed global market benchmarks, has an average five-year return of <a href="http://paxworld.com/funds/pax-world-mutual-funds/global-environmental-markets-fund" target="_blank">10.77 percent</a>, and Morningstar gives it a <a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/PGRNX/quote.html" target="_blank">three-star rating</a>. Plus, it's fossil-fuel free.</p> <h2>2. Guggenheim Solar ETF [NYSEARCA: TAN]</h2> <p>Guggenheim Investments' Guggenheim Solar ETF (with a very easy to remember ticker symbol) is an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exchange-traded-funds-the-low-fee-investment-option-you-dont-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">exchange-traded fund</a> perfect for the investor who loves solar energy. The fund invests in solar energy-related segments across the industry, from supplies and lighting to raw materials and installers.</p> <h2>3. Pattern Energy Group Inc Class A [NASDAQ: PEGI]</h2> <p>Pattern Energy Group focuses on independent energy producers, with a specialization in wind and solar renewable energy. Pattern's newest wind farm is an impressive 150 acres, and it's not just the size that's impressive. The wind farm will generate 100 percent of the electricity for Amazon Web Services. PEGI outperformed its peers over a three year period. A lackluster 2014 for the independent energy sector overall hurt performance stats against the S&amp;P 500, but the gains since then are impressive, and PEGI's potential for future earnings looks bright.</p> <h2>4. Etho Climate Leadership U.S. ETF [NYSEARCA: ETHO]</h2> <p>Here's an ETF that focuses on industry leaders with small carbon footprints. ETHO is &quot;the first diversified index ETF that <a href="http://www.ethoetf.com/fund/" target="_blank">avoids fossil fuel companies</a> and the first public investment product to select equities based primarily on an assessment of an equity's carbon footprint.&quot; Etho Capital, the fund manager, also provides the Etho Climate Leadership Index [ECLI], a performance benchmark for companies with the smallest carbon footprints in their industries.</p> <h2>5. Ameresco [NYSE: AMRC]</h2> <p>Ameresco focuses on asset sustainability and renewable energy resources, providing performance contracting and consulting. Helping government entities reduce energy bills helps in part to pay for the work, and they're growing rapidly. Ameresco surged past earnings predictions for 2016, and the company plans to build on that in 2017. A growing demand for services should help them on their path.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/erin-c-oneil">Erin C. O&#039;Neil</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/socially-responsible-investing-goes-green">Socially Responsible Investing Goes Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">A Simple Guide to Socially Responsible Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-planet-work-at-home">Save the Planet: Work at Home</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-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Investment clean energy Earth day eco-friendly stocks environment renewable energy socially responsible investing solar SRI Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Erin C. O'Neil 1928276 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-500538951.jpg" alt="Man learning how to invest like a pro without a financial adviser" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing can be intimidating. There's a unique language, with expense ratios, ETFs, and dollar-cost averaging &mdash; oh my! And there's a lot at stake, like your retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <p>However, at the risk of sounding like a home repair store commercial, you can do this and we can help. With the following five keys, you'll be well on your way toward becoming a confident, successful, do-it-yourself investor.</p> <h2>1. Commit to the market</h2> <p>The stock market has been on a tear. Since bottoming out in March 2009, it nearly tripled in value by the end of 2016. And since the start of this year, it has only climbed higher. Unfortunately, for many people, it doesn't matter. According to a recent Gallup poll, about half U.S. adults are not investing in the market.</p> <p>Some waffle. They're in when it seems safe; they're out when trouble strikes. But pros don't waffle. They're in it for the long haul because they know that as a long-term investment, the U.S. stock market has delivered average annual returns of nearly 10 percent.</p> <h2>2. Know your goal</h2> <p>The most common investment goal is retirement. It that's your goal, make it as specific as possible. How much money do you want to have? By when? And how much do you need to invest each month in order to get there? These questions can feel overwhelming at times, but you need to answer them in order to get a clear picture of your path to a secure retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Determine your optimal asset allocation</h2> <p>While many of the headlines in the investment press are about which investments to choose, there's a different factor that'll have an even greater impact on your investing success. It's making sure you've determined your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>.</p> <p>Asset allocation refers to how you divvy up the money you invest between asset classes, with the two most important ones being stocks and bonds (preferably, stock and bond mutual funds, since mutual funds enable you to hold a diversified &quot;basket&quot; of stocks and bonds).</p> <p>Generally, when you're young, your portfolio should tilt more toward stocks. Yes, your portfolio will experience sharper ups and downs, but you should have the time to ride them out, and a higher-risk portfolio should lead you to higher returns. As you get older, you would be wise to reduce stock exposure and increase your allocation to bonds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <h2>4. Choose an investment selection process</h2> <p>Pay no attention to headlines touting &quot;This Year's Top Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Why You Must Own Gold Now.&quot; And tune out all hot tips from your brother-in-law or coworker. What you need is a trustworthy investment selection <em>process</em>.</p> <p>You could keep it super easy by choosing a target-date mutual fund. These funds have years as part of their name, such as the Fidelity Freedom 2040 fund. Just choose the fund with the year closest to the year you intend to retire. Its stock/bond allocation will be what the mutual fund company thinks is the appropriate mix for someone with that much time until retirement, and that allocation is automatically made more conservative over time. Target-date funds aren't perfect, but they get a lot of the big picture decisions right.</p> <p>If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you could do your own research and choose <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=internal" target="_blank">index funds</a> to build a portfolio that reflects your optimal asset allocation.</p> <p>Or, you could subscribe to an investment newsletter, some of which cost far less than the fees charged by financial planners. Investment newsletters usually offer a number of different strategies and then tell you what to invest in. You're still a do-it-yourself investor. You maintain your own account and make your own trades, but you follow the investing process outlined by the newsletter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Understand the terrain ahead</h2> <p>One of the most important roles a financial adviser plays is seen during market downturns. That's when the best become therapists, speaking calm words of wisdom into the lives of frightened clients. You could serve the same role for yourself with a little understanding of how the market works.</p> <p>If you hear that the market turned in a great performance in a certain year, it's easy to make the mistake of assuming this wonderful result came about through a smooth, yearlong, upward ride. It doesn't usually work that way.</p> <p>Expecting some turbulence can help calm your fears and keep you from selling when the market gets wobbly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Taking all of the steps above will get you headed in the right direction. You have a plan. Now put your plan into action and stay with it. The longer you invest, the more confidence you'll gain and the more comfortable you'll become at being a do-it-yourself investor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-you-need-to-do-to-start-investing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Only 4 Things You Need to Do to Start Investing</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear 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/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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 asset allocation diy investor Do It Yourself goals investment selection retirement planning stock market Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1928275 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525331477.jpg" alt="Learning which stocks your kids would love to own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When taking a look at your 401(k) or investment accounts, you may often daydream about how cool it would have been if you started investing earlier. That way, maybe you could have jumped on investments that turned out to be home runs, such as Apple [Nasdaq: APPL] and Berkshire-Hathaway [NYSE: BRK].</p> <p>If you have children, you're blessed with the opportunity of granting them the greatest gift any investor could want: time. Let's take a look at some companies whose shares would make a great gift for your kids to not only help them learn about investing, but also get them excited about money and business in general.</p> <h2>1. Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP]</h2> <p>Do you know what's cooler than a million dollars? $3.4 billion, which is how much money the parent company of Snapchat raised in its March 1, 2017 initial public offering (IPO). Since it has been estimated that <a href="https://blog.hootsuite.com/snapchat-demographics/" target="_blank">60 percent of Snapchat users</a> are under age 25 and nearly one in four hasn't finished high school, there's a very good chance that your children use this popular social media app.</p> <p>Leverage their interest in the app to keep them focused on tracking a stock price and keeping abreast of the effects of company announcements, such as <a href="http://www.recode.net/2016/9/24/13039900/snapchat-spectacles-google-glass-spiegel" target="_blank">Snap's Spectacles</a>, on the valuation of a publicly-traded company. Bonus: You could use Snapchat to send them their monthly allowance, keep a digital record of when you made that money available, and check how long it lasts them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-ways-to-send-money-to-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Modern Ways to Send Money to Your Kid</a>)</p> <h2>2. The Walt Disney Co. [NYSE: DIS]</h2> <p>&quot;Do you want to buy a stock share? Come on let's go and trade!&quot; If you started reading that in Princess Anna's voice, then you're a Disney parent and your kiddos spend a lot of time singing along to similar tunes. Keeping interested in this stock is easy because your kids will read about movie productions, toy developments, theme park construction, and other family entertainment projects.</p> <p>Disney is a great stock to hold onto for the long run, which is a maxim that you want to instill in any young investor. If you were to have held Disney stock from March 1, 2007 to March 1, 2017, you would have seen the stock price go from $34.39 to $111.04 (a 222.88 percent increase!). Plus, it's a dividend-paying stock, giving you a segue to introduce the concept of fixed income securities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Are Income Stocks?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Amazon.com, Inc. [Nasdaq: AMZN]</h2> <p>Parcel-delivering drones, robots that work in warehouses, and voice-activated speakers that can control other home devices. It'll never be dull moment chatting with your kid about recent news from the Seattle-based ecommerce giant.</p> <p>If you have the budget, Amazon.com is one of those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it" target="_blank">expensive stocks that are totally worth it</a>. Just when you think that the stock can't hit new heights, an uptick during the early November and December holiday season gives the stock price another boost. Time your gift well before the holiday season and provide immediate gratification to your kids from a stock price bump.</p> <h2>4. Foot Locker, Inc. [NYSE: FL]</h2> <p>On the other hand, here's one stock to develop in your children an appreciation for delayed gratification. If your kid is a sneakerhead or sports jock, they'll include a new pair of athletic shoes in their Christmas list. With a current stock price close to $75 per share, one share of Foot Locker goes for about the same as a brand-new, high-quality pair of athletic shoes meant to last at least one year.</p> <p>Give your child the option of the shoes or one share of Foot Locker, Inc. (Or pick another company that better matches the price of the shoes that they want, including Nike Inc. [NYSE: NKE] or Skechers USA Inc. [NYSE: SKX].) When your child chooses the stock over the shoes, they'll realize that they'll have more available after a one-year period. If they're still unconvinced, ask them to try selling a pair of old, smelly shoes after one year of (ab)use from a tween.</p> <p>Setting a strong foundation for delayed gratification will boost your child's ability to save for retirement and build an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tesla Inc. [Nasdaq: TSLA]</h2> <p>The concept of saving for retirement is completely foreign to most individuals under age 18, maybe even for some under age 25! Getting somebody to plan about 40 to 60 years ahead is a difficult task. One way to get your kid thinking about the future with a fun and optimistic tone is to gift them stock from Tesla, because this company is in the business of electric cars, energy storage batteries, and solar panels.</p> <p>Plus, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is so cool as to inspire the way actor Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark in all Marvel films. By following the decisions of a cool and smart CEO, your child could gain further interest in business and entrepreneurship.</p> <h2>How custodial Roth IRAs can help with investing education</h2> <p>If your kid is under age 18 and makes some money on their own, such as through a hobby or during the summer, consider opening a custodial Roth IRA for them. This is a great way to educate your child about investing and providing a &quot;sandbox&quot; in which to make real-life decisions with investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a>)</p> <p>In 2017, your kid could contribute up to $5,500 to a custodial Roth IRA and watch those contributions grow tax-free forever. Many financial institutions require an account minimum of $100 to open a custodial Roth IRA. You could start with some stocks from this list or other stocks that your kid is interested in and eventually move on to index funds and mutual funds. To minimize fees, just keep post-contribution transactions at a minimum.</p> <p>Gifting your child stocks paired with several years of retirement savings could be one of the best gifts you could ever give them for a brighter financial future.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid&#039;s College Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment children fun stocks gifts kids money lessons Roth IRA stock market stocks young investors Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1925374 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171280980.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When doing your research on what stocks to invest in, you will undoubtedly hear analysts and financial pundits mention something called a P/E, or price-to-earnings, ratio. This is one of the key numbers in a stock table, and one you'd be wise to brush up on. Let's review what the P/E ratio shows, how investors use it to evaluate a stock, and some guidelines to make the most of it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <h2>What is the P/E ratio?</h2> <p>It's the ratio of a stock's market value per share to its earnings per share (EPS). Generally, the EPS is from the last trailing 12 months (TTM). However, some financial analysts may use an EPS figure from a shorter trailing period, such as one or two quarters, or a future period, such as over the next six to 12 months.</p> <p>This is why it's important to pay attention to whether a P/E ratio calculation is using historical or projected numbers. Estimated numbers are subject to a margin of error and will be updated as new data becomes available.</p> <p>A P/E ratio tells you how much investors are willing to pay to receive $1 in return for investing in a stock. Historical data suggests that on average, investors are willing to pay $15 for every dollar of earnings (a P/E ratio of 15). However, P/E ratios can vary across industries and particular companies. On March 10, 2017, the P/E ratios of Facebook Inc. [Nasdaq: FB], McDonald's Corporation [NYSE: MCD], and Toyota Motor Corp. [NYSE: TM] were 39.95, 23.36, and 10.70, respectively.</p> <h2>How investors interpret the P/E ratio</h2> <p>The main appeal of the price-to-earnings ratio is that it provides a single, standardized metric to an investor evaluating whether or not a stock is worth buying (or selling).</p> <p>However, any P/E ratio is open to a lot of interpretation.</p> <h3>High P/E ratio</h3> <p>On one hand, a high P/E ratio could indicate that investors are expecting a company to grow its future earnings. On the other, it could be a signal of &quot;irrational exuberance&quot; &mdash; a term coined by former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan to refer to unsustainable investor enthusiasm. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-alan-greenspan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Alan Greenspan</a>)</p> <p>With a P/E ratio of 331.23 (no, that's not a typo!) as of March 10, 2017, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is open to both interpretations. One investor could argue that the future of media is online streaming and that this company is making all the right moves to become a leader in this industry. Another could argue that this market valuation is a bit out of whack.</p> <h3>Low P/E ratio</h3> <p>While one investor may think that a low P/E ratio indicates that a stock has seen better days, another investor may interpret that same low P/E ratio as a chance to snap up some shares at a low price.</p> <p>Shares of Apple Inc. [Nasdaq: AAPL] provide a great example of this scenario. With a P/E ratio of 16.66 as of March 10, 2017, some investors may think the performance of Apple is just slightly above average (remember the long-term average of 15). Other investors may think that this is just a slow period and that it has room for growth since <a href="https://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/pe_ratio" target="_blank">its maximum P/E ratio</a> for the last five years is 18.51.</p> <h2>How to make the most out of the P/E ratio</h2> <p>Now that you know what it is, let's turn to putting it to work.</p> <h3>1. Don't rely solely on the P/E ratio</h3> <p>Due to the math behind the P/E ratio, publicly traded companies that are losing money don't have a P/E ratio at all! For example, the hottest talk of the investing world right now, Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP], doesn't have one. So for now, their P/E ratio is irrelevant, and you should rely on an alternative valuation metric, such as the price-to-sales ratio.</p> <h3>2. Put the P/E ratio in perspective</h3> <p>It's a smart practice to measure a stock against a group of comparable peers. For example, you could compare the P/E ratio of Marriott International Inc. [Nasdaq: MAR] against that of Hyatt Hotels Corporation [NYSE: H], Wyndham Worldwide Corporation [NYSE: WYN], or the average of the ones from several others within the same industry.</p> <p>Another way to put that P/E ratio into context is to use its historical average, maximum, and minimum. By taking a look at these numbers and evaluating the decisions from management, you can have a better understanding of the current ratio.</p> <h3>3. Pay attention to the P/E ratio with buy recommendations</h3> <p>If you receive recommendations from your friends, relatives, or favorite TV pundits that you should buy a particular stock because it's &quot;going places,&quot; pay attention to the P/E ratio. If a stock price rally is a rocket, the P/E ratio is the fuel that helps it take off &hellip; and keep rising. Without a high enough P/E ratio, a rally will be short-lived or, even worse, turn the other way around.</p> <h3>4. Beware accounting shenanigans</h3> <p>Companies with one-time events, such as selling off a major division or cutting down employee benefits, can alter their earnings and, as a result, their P/E ratios. Dramatic ups and downs in the P/E ratio would render this ratio useless and you'll have to use an alternative stock valuation metric.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea to keep an eye on current (also known as trailing) and forward P/E ratios. A big difference between these two P/E ratios is a sign that there was a one-time event. Analysts suggest that when there are too many instances of these gaps, investors should pay closer attention to the cash flow statement on company filings.</p> <h2>P/E ratio is no silver bullet</h2> <p>While the P/E ratio can be a useful metric to select stocks, it's no silver bullet. This is why it's important to continuously educate yourself about the inner workings of the stock market and seek the advice of a financial adviser whenever appropriate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment how to metrics p/e ratio price to earnings ratio stock market stocks valuations Tue, 11 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1923859 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-465649794.jpg" alt="Learning why Warren Buffett says you should invest in index funds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About nine years ago, Warren Buffett <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/columnist/2017/03/08/buffetts-best-investment-tip-everyone-index-funds/98525306/" target="_blank">made a $500,000 bet</a>. He wagered that a simple index fund would outperform an actively managed hedge fund run by expert investors. Which would you pick?</p> <p>Before you decide, here is some additional information about the fund contenders:</p> <ul> <li>Index funds buy a mix of stocks in a proportion that represents the overall stock market or a particular market segment. Index funds are typically managed automatically by a computer algorithm, and management fees for this type of fund are usually very small &mdash; around 0.1 percent or sometimes even lower.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hedge funds put money into alternative investments that can go up if the stock market goes down. Of course, hedge funds also try to provide maximum returns and beat the stock market if possible. Hedge funds may invest in real estate, commodities, business ventures, and other opportunities that fund managers think will hedge against potential stock market losses and produce good returns. These funds are actively managed and have high management fees of around 2 percent or more.</li> </ul> <p>Buffett picked a simple S&amp;P 500 index fund for the wager. He bet against an investment manager who picked a set of five hedge fund portfolios. After letting these investments play out for nine years, Buffett announced the results of this wager in the chairman's letter in this year's annual report for the holding company he controls and runs, Berkshire Hathaway: The index fund outperformed the actively managed funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>Buffet's experience mimics numerous studies that have shown that index funds consistently beat the results of actively managed funds. Why does a simple and essentially automatic investment strategy (the index fund) outperform sophisticated investment funds managed by active expert investors?</p> <h2>Low fees</h2> <p>Fund fees, also known as expense ratios, are much lower for index funds than for actively managed hedge funds or mutual funds. You can find index funds with fees under 0.1 percent, while actively managed hedge funds can have fees of 2 percent or more.</p> <p>Although the wager Buffett made concerned hedge funds with high expense ratios, the same principle applies when comparing index funds to actively managed mutual funds, which can have fees as high as 1 percent. Higher fees mean that actively managed funds have to outperform the market significantly to offset them. Over the long run, actively managed funds may not consistently outperform the market by enough to make up for the higher fees.</p> <h2>Investment errors</h2> <p>Another reason actively managed funds can fall behind index funds is investment errors. In active funds, someone is making investment decisions and moving money around trying to get higher returns. Sometimes an investment manager can outperform the market and get higher returns, but this doesn't always work out. It only takes one mistake to wipe out a lot of investment gains. In an index fund, the only investment decision is to adjust the ratio of holdings to match the market segment of interest.</p> <p>Index funds accurately reflect the performance of the market they are mirroring. The investment strategy is simple, and there is no opportunity for investment error. If you invest in an index fund, you will reliably receive similar returns to the market that your index fund represents.</p> <h2>How to buy an index fund for your portfolio</h2> <p>During my research for this article, I moved around $10,000 of my own investment funds from actively managed funds into index funds with much lower fees. I figured if index funds are good enough for Warren Buffett, they are good enough for me!</p> <p>You can log in to your investment account website and view the expense ratios for your current investments and for other available funds. I found that my investment choices had expense ratios ranging from 0.02 percent to 0.83 percent &mdash; a difference of more than 40-fold. This is definitely a big enough difference to worry about.</p> <p>A good first step is to check your own investment funds and find out how high the fees are. You may be happy with what you find, or you may decide you want to move to index funds with much lower fees.</p> <p>Of course, when choosing your investment funds, you shouldn't look only at the expense ratio. You should balance your portfolio to include a strategic mix of large cap, medium cap, and small cap investments and an intentional balance of foreign and domestic stocks to meet your investment goals.</p> <p>When I moved my investment money into index funds with very low fees, I picked funds that made sense to balance my portfolio. For example, I moved some funds from a mid-cap growth fund with a 0.3 percent expense ratio into a mid-cap index fund with a 0.07 percent expense ratio &mdash; over four times lower fees. In the long run, I think this is a bet that will pay off.</p> <p>Even if you don't have $500,000 to wager, you might as well minimize what you are paying in fees by moving from actively managed funds to index funds. You'll keep more of your money working for you instead of having it go to work for someone else.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k">7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment actively managed funds expense ratios fees hedge funds index funds mutual funds portfolio returns stock markets Warren Buffett Mon, 10 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1922477 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things Small Investors Should Know About Big Corporate Mergers http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-small-investors-should-know-about-big-corporate-mergers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-small-investors-should-know-about-big-corporate-mergers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-468340908.jpg" alt="Learning what small investors should know about corporate mergers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a daily reader of financial news, you know there's always a big story about two companies looking to merge. The latest news has Kraft Heinz pulling out of a whopping $143 billion deal with Unilever.</p> <p>Usually, when news of these potential deals emerge, company executives will use buzzwords like &quot;synergies&quot; and &quot;profit acceleration&quot; to tout the virtues of an acquisition. But what do these mergers mean for shareholders?</p> <p>Here are some key things you need to know about the flurry of corporate buying and selling activity.</p> <h2>1. Sometimes they're great</h2> <p>There are some mergers that will go down in history as tremendous success stories for both the companies and their shareholders. In an ideal world, the two merging companies complement each other perfectly, and shareholders benefit as revenues and profits take off. The ExxonMobil merger in 1999 is perhaps the best example from recent history of two companies getting together and making it work. SiriusXM Radio, Disney-Pixar, and JPMorgan Chase also worked out great for most parties involved.</p> <h2>2. Sometimes they're awful</h2> <p>We all remember the epic disaster that was the merger of AOL, the internet and email provider, with cable company Time Warner. The $164 billion deal took place in 2000, but things quickly went south after the dot-com bubble burst a year later. The promised &quot;synergies&quot; &mdash; you hear that word a lot when people talk about mergers &mdash; never materialized, and Time Warner finally spun off AOL back into its own company in 2009.</p> <p>Other bad mergers include Sears-Kmart, Daimler-Chrysler, and Quaker Oats' doomed purchase of Snapple.</p> <h2>3. You can end up with shares or cash or both</h2> <p>Mergers and acquisitions can happen in different ways, with different impacts on the investor. If you already own shares of Company X, and that company buys Company Y, you can end up with shares of the new combined company. This is known as a &quot;stock for stock&quot; deal. If you own share of the company being acquired, you may receive shares or end up with cash in exchange for your shares.</p> <h2>4. Talk of mergers can boost stock prices</h2> <p>Sometimes you'll see shares of a company shoot up based on mere speculation about a merger. If investors think a company may be sold at a premium, they may flock to buy shares to take advantage. Shares may shoot up immediately if the actual details of a proposed sale are made public. For example, let's say Company X is trading at $25 per share. Now let's say Company Y is willing to pay $35 per share for Company X. Investors will usually see the share price jump close to the proposed sale level.</p> <h2>5. Mergers can lead to spinoffs</h2> <p>Occasionally the combining of companies can often mean the creation of new ones. Sometimes a company will agree to buy another if one portion of the company can be &quot;spun off&quot; into a separate firm. Often, this is done because certain operations may not fit in with the merged company's core business, or to satisfy regulators.</p> <p>Tyco is one company that got big in part due to mergers, then spun off its electronics, health care, and fire safety and security divisions into three separate companies.</p> <p>When this happens, shareholders will often end up with some shares of the newly merged company and the spinoff. And investing in spinoffs can be quite lucrative. One study from Vanderbilt University showed that these companies have <a href="http://www2.owen.vanderbilt.edu/alexeiovtchinnikov/Predictability%20of%20long-term%20spinoff%20returns.pdf" target="_blank">consistently outperformed the market</a> over the last 36 years.</p> <h2>6. Investors have a say</h2> <p>You may think mergers happen simply because executives get together and hammer out a deal. But the reality is that shareholders of public companies get to vote on whether a merger happens. This can usually be done by mail, on the internet, or by phone, and your broker will notify you of any upcoming votes.</p> <p>Every planned merger requires the support of the majority of shareholders, who can evaluate a deal to see if it's in their best interests. This is why some companies are willing to pay a premium per share to make an acquisition happen. It's worth noting, however, that most shareholders will vote based on what management recommends.</p> <h2>7. The government gets a say</h2> <p>Mergers don't just happen because companies want them to. Government regulators will examine every proposed merger to determine what impact it will have on consumers. There are many cases in which mergers and acquisitions have been outright rejected on the grounds that it would lead to a decline in competition. One of the most high-profile rejections was the proposed merger of DirecTV and Dish Network that would have merged the two largest satellite television providers in the U.S.</p> <h2>8. Some mergers are hostile takeovers</h2> <p>The truth about mergers is that there are very few true &quot;mergers&quot; and a lot more acquisitions, in which one company is actually taking over another. And sometimes, these acquisitions happen against the will of the company being acquired. In this case, the company looking to make a purchase goes directly to shareholders, who will have their say. In this case, as an investor, you may get a letter or other notification from a solicitation firm with information about the proposed takeover. Sometimes, the acquiring company will urge shareholders to vote out management in order to make a takeover easier.</p> <h2>9. Determining cost basis can be a headache</h2> <p>If you own shares of a company for a long time, you can see the company be acquired, sold, split into parts, and merged again. So when it's time to sell your shares, it's very difficult to determine how much you actually earned over the years. Your purchase price, known as &quot;cost basis,&quot; is important to know in order to pay the right amount of capital gains taxes. But this can be difficult to calculate when there's a flurry of mergers and spinoffs. In this situation, companies often provide guidance on cost basis, but it's important to keep your own meticulous records. When in doubt, hire an accountant to help you figure it all out.</p> <h2>10. You may end up with shares of a company not based in the U.S.<strong> </strong></h2> <p>One day you may wake up and realize you own shares of a company based in Ireland. Or Bermuda. Or the Netherlands. This is because many countries overseas have lower corporate tax rates than in America, so it's become common for U.S.-based companies to be acquired by companies based elsewhere.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-small-investors-should-know-about-big-corporate-mergers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-these-8-company-stocks-fared-following-scandal">How These 8 Company Stocks Fared Following Scandal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-to-avoid-dividend-stocks">8 Times to Avoid Dividend Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">A Simple Guide to Socially Responsible Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-we-headed-toward-a-bull-or-bear-market">Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment acquisitions companies financial news mergers shareholders spinoffs stock prices synergies Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1921001 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-585490666.jpg" alt="Person learning why loss aversion is worse than FOMO" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine the following scenario:</p> <p>You can either pocket a guaranteed $500, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you get $1,000. If you get tails, you get nothing.</p> <p>Now, imagine this second scenario:</p> <p>You are given $1,000 &mdash; woohoo! But you have to decide whether you'll lose $500 of it outright, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you lose nothing. If you get tails, you lose $750.</p> <p>Chances are, in scenario one, you chose to pocket the money, whereas in scenario two, you chose to flip the coin.</p> <h2>How did you know that!?</h2> <p>That's because we feel the pain of losing money so much more than we feel the joy of earning a reward. This trend is called &quot;loss aversion,&quot; but, in everyday terms, you might find it a bit familiar to FOMO: the fear of missing out.</p> <p>FOMO tends to describe the pain of seeing your friends on social media doing fun things and achieving their goals while you're left out. In a way, loss aversion is similar because you're afraid to lose out, but the pain might be a bit deeper with money.</p> <p>It might sound ludicrous that we hurt more when we lose money than we feel joy in earning it. But studies have shown we feel the heartbreak of a financial loss <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/~kahneman/docs/Publications/prospect_theory.pdf" target="_blank">twice as strongly</a> as we feel gaining the same amount of money. So, if you get a $500 bonus from your boss, you'll only be half as emotional as you would be losing that same amount on the stock market.</p> <h2>How might this affect me?</h2> <p>Loss aversion can be both good and bad. For starters, it might lead you to make &quot;safe,&quot; low-risk investments. This turns out to be helpful for investments you <em>have </em>to make, such as your retirement fund. Sure, you could put your life savings into a high-risk scheme, potentially multiply it several times over, and retire in riches &mdash; but you might also lose it all. It's often better to choose something with a low rate of risk so you have a healthy sum of money to live off one day.</p> <p>On the opposite side of the coin, loss aversion can cause you to make rash decisions regarding the stocks and investments you hold. For example, if you're an investor in oil-related stocks and have a meltdown every time oil prices drop, you might be inclined to sell off all your stocks and stop the loss as quickly as possible. While this may be a good decision in certain situations, it's always important to remember that what goes down will likely go up again, and holding onto your stock could mean you'll get it back later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Now, that concerns a drop to the market overall. The other potential pitfall of loss aversion is to hold onto stocks that have been underperforming for <em>way </em>too long. Many investors will sell stocks that appear to be at the top of their game, only to find out later that they've continued to grow. Meanwhile, the stocks they're waiting to see flourish continue to underperform, and they lose money in the long run.</p> <h2>How can I avoid falling into this trap?</h2> <p>One of the best ways to make sure you don't feel the pain of loss &mdash; or loss aversion &mdash; is to diversify your portfolio. In other words, don't put all of your eggs in one basket: Invest in different industries, different types of stocks, and in both short- and long-term investments.</p> <p>If you're going to make a &quot;risky&quot; investment, make sure you're ready for the challenge. Prepare yourself by building your confidence and learning more about what it means to invest in whatever you're considering. Come up with a fallback plan. You've heard it before, and it's worth repeating: risk equals reward. Yes, you might lose, and that'll hurt &mdash; but you might also gain big. If that's worth the leap, then it's time to get off the ground.</p> <p>If all else fails, talk to a professional about your options. Yes, you might have to throw him or her a bit of money in order to receive financial advice. But having a professional tell you the best, most secure way to invest your money might help ease your mind &mdash; and increase your dividends &mdash; without breaking the bank or your heart along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fear FOMO gains losing money loss aversion market drops risk stock market Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Anum Yoon 1921000 at http://www.wisebread.com