Investment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4808/all en-US Is Dollar Cost Averaging the Right Strategy for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_money_and_banking_for_finance_concept.jpg" alt="Saving money and banking for finance concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've just received a bonus or an inheritance, and you know that investing your money in stocks and bonds is one of the best ways to create long-term wealth. But you're also worried that your investments might lose value instead of gaining it.</p> <p>It's a common struggle: You want the financial rewards that can come with investing, but the potential risk of losing money nags at you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-over-these-5-scary-things-about-investing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get Over These 5 Scary Things About Investing</a>)</p> <p>An investing strategy known as dollar cost averaging might be the answer.</p> <h2>What is dollar cost averaging?</h2> <p>In dollar cost averaging, you invest just a small chunk of money at a time. This differs from the more traditional approach to investing, in which you'd invest all the money that you've targeted for stocks, bonds, or real estate at the same time.</p> <p>Say you've inherited $6,000. You'd like to invest that money in the stock market so that it will grow over time. If you were investing in the traditional way, you'd invest that money all at once. With dollar cost averaging, though, you would invest more gradually, perhaps investing $500 each month throughout the course of a year. That way, you'd buy more stocks when prices are low, and fewer stocks when they're high. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-investing-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Investing Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a>)</p> <p>The main benefit of dollar cost averaging is that it reduces your financial risk. Say you invested all that money in stocks at once. A market crash three months later would then impact all your money. But if you'd just invested, say, $1,500 before the market crashed, you'd still have $4,500 of your original $6,000 left untouched by the financial turbulence.</p> <h2>Paycheck contributions versus lump sum investing</h2> <p>If you contribute the same amount to your 401(k) every paycheck, that's equivalent to dollar cost averaging. By default, most people have the same amount deducted from their paycheck each month, so there is no choice to make. Dollar cost averaging, however, usually refers to a choice the investor makes when they've got a lump sum of money, such as an inheritance, royalty check, or bonus. If you don't have a windfall of some sort, you usually don't have to worry about whether or not to do dollar cost averaging.</p> <h2>Pros and cons</h2> <p>The main advantage of dollar cost averaging is the reduced risk of losing as much money in a market downturn. But there's another advantage, too: Dollar cost averaging makes it easier for reluctant investors to enter the market.</p> <p>If you're hesitant about investing, you might find it easier to take the jump if you are investing a smaller amount of money. And that's a good thing: Over time, the stock market has tended to increase in value. If you don't invest, you won't get the chance to take advantage of this.</p> <p>Anything that encourages you to invest &mdash; such as dollar cost averaging &mdash; is a positive.</p> <p>There is a drawback, though, to this approach: By limiting your risk, you are also limiting the potential size of your financial rewards.</p> <p>Because the stock market has historically increased in value over time, the odds are that you'll make more money if you invest a larger sum all at once. The sooner you invest the money, the more time it has to grow. By contrast, if you invest smaller bits of money over time, you will tend to see smaller returns in what has historically been an upward-trending market.</p> <p>A recent study by Vanguard illustrates this. Vanguard studied whether people would see higher returns by <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/pdf/ISGDCA.pdf" target="_blank">investing a large sum of cash</a> all at once or in smaller doses over a six-month period into a portfolio of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds. They found that investing the lump sum of cash all at once produced higher returns about two-thirds of the time. The longer the investment period, the higher the chance that the lump sum investment would outperform the dollar cost averaging strategy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <p>You'll have to decide whether the reduced risk outweighs the potential of losing out on bigger returns.</p> <p>Of course, it's most important that you do invest your money over the long term. And if dollar cost averaging, and the reduced risk that comes with it, is what encourages you to do this, then it might be the best approach for you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment dollar cost averaging growth inheritances lump sums returns risk stock market Mon, 24 Jul 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986884 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Boomers and Millennials Are Creating Winners on the Stock Market http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_with_adult_daughter_in_park_together.jpg" alt="Mother With Adult Daughter In Park Together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may not seem like millennials and baby boomers have a lot in common, aside from the fact that they make up a huge chunk of the U.S. population. But the two generations do share some similar traits when it comes to spending and investing. This is already having a significant impact on the economy and the stock market, and will continue to do so.</p> <p>Here are some key ways that baby boomers and millennials are impacting business and the markets.</p> <h2>Health care will be huge</h2> <p>There's a lot of noise related to the Affordable Care Act and a possible replacement. How things will shake out on Capitol Hill is anyone's guess, but there's no doubt that Americans will be spending more on health care. Baby boomers make up an increasing percentage of the U.S. population, and will require more medical attention as they age. This means big profits for pharmaceutical firms, but also biotech companies, hospitals, and manufacturers of medical equipment. The S&amp;P 500 Health Care Index has seen annualized returns of more than 16 percent over the last five years, and is up nearly 12 percent in 2017. Expect the upward trend to continue.</p> <h2>Health consciousness is also big</h2> <p>Millennials are aware of the obesity problem in America, and many of them are making lifestyle choices to counteract that. We've seen a push for more natural and organic food items, and a desire for less sugar and fat. This also means a continued expansion of fast-casual restaurants that offer healthier options, perhaps at the expense of traditional fast food chains. Baby boomers will help fuel this push to health as well simply by following doctor's orders to eat healthy as they age.</p> <h2>Investing costs will go down</h2> <p>Boomers have no interest in seeing their retirement savings cut down by high expense ratios and commissions, and millennials are becoming more savvy about the impact these costs have on their portfolios. These two demographics have led the charge against fees, and we've seen some brokerages respond. In February, Charles Schwab and Fidelity cut their online trade commissions to a mere $4.95, and many brokerage firms have expanded their offerings of commission-free exchange-traded funds (ETFs).</p> <p>Meanwhile, investing in low-cost index funds has ballooned; nearly half of all assets placed in mutual funds and ETFs are indexed rather than in actively-managed accounts, according to Morningstar.</p> <h2>Investing in individual stocks will decline</h2> <p>Aging baby boomers can be expected to withdraw their investments or at least shift their portfolios to more conservative investments like bonds and cash. Meanwhile, millennials are wary of the markets in general after living through the stock market declines of the early 2000s and 2008. Millennials have also learned that trying to beat the market by investing in individual stocks is generally a fool's game. This shying away from individual stocks could impact the overall returns in the stock market over time.</p> <h2>Popular brands aren't a sure thing</h2> <p>There has long been a common thought among investors that big, popular brands will always be surefire investments. Investors have long banked on the notion of brand loyalty as a driver of investment returns. But there have been several recent reports that millennials are not as brand-loyal as their predecessor generations. Millennials will go for value and quality, and aren't going to stick with a single brand out of stubbornness. This may have implications for stocks that have performed well over the years in part due to brand recognition.</p> <h2>Brick-and-mortar retail will go south</h2> <p>We're already seeing retail chains struggling, with H.G. Gregg, Gymboree, Rue 21, and several other brick-and-mortar outlets declaring bankruptcy in recent months. Meanwhile, online retailing giant Amazon just reported a 23 percent increase in sales, to $35.7 billion. Millennials don't mind shopping online, and baby boomers are less likely to go out on long shopping trips as they get older.</p> <h2>Experiences over objects</h2> <p>Millennials don't really care about owning things. Instead, they get satisfaction from experiences like fitness classes, travel, or eating well. To the extent that they need items such as music or movies, they prefer to obtain them through streaming services such as Netflix (one of the hottest tech stocks in America) or Spotify. Meanwhile, baby boomers are getting older and aren't in the habit of acquiring more &quot;stuff,&quot; either.</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/heres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rate-of-return-can-help-you-invest-smarter">Here&#039;s How Rate of Return Can Help You Invest Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment baby boomers brand loyalty eating well Food Health health care millennials retail stock market Mon, 24 Jul 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1986883 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Rate of Return Can Help You Invest Smarter http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rate-of-return-can-help-you-invest-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-rate-of-return-can-help-you-invest-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bussiness_growth_new_life_growing_before_blackboard.jpg" alt="Business growth:new life growing before blackboard" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At first glance, judging an investment's past performance would seem to be a fairly simple exercise. For most stock market investments, such as individual stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds, a lot of performance information is readily available online.</p> <p>However, the sheer quantity of information that's out there can make understanding it all somewhat overwhelming. And some of the terminology can be confusing.</p> <p>So, let's make sure you understand a couple of key metrics and how to put them to use &mdash; whether you're evaluating the performance of an investment you already own, or you're thinking about making a new investment.</p> <h2>Annual return and average annual return</h2> <p>Two of the most fundamental ways of looking at an investment's results are how well it performed in a specific year and what its average annual return has been over multiple years.</p> <h3>Annual return</h3> <p>This is how an investment performed in one particular year. Let's use Vanguard's 2030 target-date mutual fund [VTHRX] as an example. If you go to Yahoo Finance, enter that ticker symbol in the search box, and then click on the fund's Performance tab, you can see how the fund performed each year going back to 2006. For example, in 2016, it generated a return of 7.85 percent.</p> <h3>Average annual return</h3> <p>To see an investment's average annual return over multiple years, look on the same Yahoo Finance page under Trailing Returns (%) vs. Benchmark&quot; (&quot;trailing&quot; just means &quot;looking back&quot; &mdash; we'll get to the &quot;benchmark&quot; reference in a minute). You can see that VTHRX's average annual return for the past five years was 9.9 percent.</p> <p>On their own, such metrics aren't very useful. However, when used together, they can provide helpful insight. For example, a 9.9 percent average annual return may seem attractive. But when you examine the past five years individually, you can see how unrealistic it is to expect that return each and every year. In 2015, the fund even suffered a loss.</p> <p>When looking for meaning in performance numbers, context is king.</p> <h2>What's a &quot;good&quot; return?</h2> <p>To properly judge how well an investment has performed, you have to choose the right benchmark. Many investors make the mistake of comparing a specific investment or their entire portfolio to &quot;the market.&quot;</p> <p>It's fine to do that if you're investing in an S&amp;P 500 index fund, which is designed to mirror the market. However, sticking with our previous example, VTHRX isn't designed to perform like the market.</p> <p>It's designed for people who have less than 15 years until retirement. According to the basic rules of asset allocation, as you get older, the percentage of your portfolio that's invested in stocks should decrease and the portion invested in bonds should increase.</p> <p>That's exactly how target-date funds, such as VTHRX, are designed. This particular fund holds a 72 percent/28 percent mix of stocks and bonds. Plus, it's diversified across U.S. and foreign stocks and bonds.</p> <p>If you compared VTHRX's performance over the past five years to the S&amp;P 500 (through the end of June), you might be disappointed. The S&amp;P 500 has delivered an average annual return over that time period of 14.6 percent whereas VTHRX has averaged 9.9 percent.</p> <p>But again, that's an apples-to-oranges comparison. A better comparison would be how VTHRX has performed against <em>other </em>2030 target-date funds, and the same Yahoo Finance page referenced earlier tells you that as well.</p> <p>The table showing the fund's average annual returns over various time periods also shows how its performance has compared with the &quot;category&quot; &mdash; in this case, the average 2030 target-date fund. As you can see, it has done a good job of outperforming its category.</p> <h2>Should past performance impact which investments you choose?</h2> <p>The prominent display of historical performance information can give the impression that it's what's most important in choosing investments. However, how an investment has performed in past years has virtually nothing to do with how it'll perform in future years.</p> <p>What's more important is designing a portfolio around your optimal asset allocation &mdash; the mix of stocks and bonds that's appropriate for your investment time frame and risk tolerance. Then, if you're using a target-date fund, choose one with that asset allocation, keeping mind that funds with the same target date may be designed with very different asset allocations.</p> <p>Even more importantly, use an online calculator to develop an investment plan &mdash; how much you need to have in your investment accounts by the time you retire, how much money you need to invest each month, and the average annual rate of return you need to achieve.</p> <p>Such a plan would serve as the best possible benchmark because it's based on what you need to achieve in order to meet your long-term investing goal.</p> <p>On its own, investment performance data isn't very helpful. But with the proper context &mdash; how an investment performed versus other similar investments, and most importantly, how your investments performed compared to the rate of return you're trying to achieve &mdash; can be very helpful indeed.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-rate-of-return-can-help-you-invest-smarter&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520Rate%2520of%2520Return%2520Can%2520Help%2520You%2520Invest%2520Smarter.jpg&amp;description=Heres%20How%20Rate%20of%20Return%20Can%20Help%20You%20Invest%20Smarter"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20How%20Rate%20of%20Return%20Can%20Help%20You%20Invest%20Smarter.jpg" alt="Here's How Rate of Return Can Help You Invest Smarter" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rate-of-return-can-help-you-invest-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks">Is It Finally Time to Invest in Marijuana Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment asset allocation ETF financial news mutual funds performances rate of return stock market target date funds Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Matt Bell 1985090 at http://www.wisebread.com Cash Might Make You Happier, But Investments Will Make You Richer http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggybank_125143864.jpg" alt="Woman getting richer with investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a stash of cash feels great. Liquid wealth makes you feel more secure, because you can predict how you will handle whatever life throws your way. The feeling of satisfaction is real, but ultimately, the rewards of keeping your wealth in your checking or savings account are much less satisfying. If it's long-term wealth you're after, you need to start investing.</p> <h2>You're losing money</h2> <p>In the battle between interest and inflation, inflation wins when you keep your cash in a typical savings or checking account. You'll get very little in interest from a bank account intended for day-to-day use: typically, 0.01 percent to 0.03 percent for a checking account, and up to 1 percent for a savings account. Meanwhile, the average annual inflation rate is 3 percent. So your stash is losing value every year, as inflation climbs faster than interest grows your money.</p> <p>The numbers work out pretty grimly in that scenario. Imagine you put $100,000 in a savings account with a 1 percent interest rate, and add $500 every month. Every year, you'll gain that 1 percent interest but lose 3 percent of the value, due to inflation &mdash; meaning you come out 2 percent <em>behind </em>annually. In 10 years, you'll have $173,522 but it will only be worth $129,117.17.</p> <p>On the other hand, the return on stock and real estate investments is staying stable at 7 percent. That's the real rate of return, meaning it's adjusted for inflation. After 10 years, your $100,000 investment, with the monthly $500 addition, will have an actual value of $267,357.54.</p> <p>Why wouldn't you immediately put your money into a higher-yield investment? For most people, the hesitation comes from fear of taking a big risk with money.</p> <h2>What's the big risk?</h2> <p>Humans tend to be risk averse. This risk aversion has done a lot for us, in an evolutionary sense.</p> <p>Risk aversion is also helpful in finances in many instances. When it comes to getting high-interest return on your savings, however, risk aversion can hinder you. To maximize your savings, you need a high return that will outrun inflation and exponentially add financial value to your nest egg.</p> <p>High-return investments, unfortunately, are also higher risk investments. If you're unfamiliar with the stock market, investment portfolios, and the like, these types of high-return investments can feel terrifying. But you can overcome that fear.</p> <p>First, start a relationship with a financial investment professional. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust, who are not struggling financially. Second, don't invest all your money in one high-yield investment. Diversify; if one investment doesn't grow as predicted, it won't topple your entire savings plan. Third, you don't have to invest all your money in what feels riskiest. You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering" target="_blank">set up a CD</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-5-bond-funds" target="_blank">invest in bonds</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate" target="_blank">invest in real estate</a>. All require some investigation to understand the risk and potential return.</p> <p>Get professional insight on the options that appeal to you and make a well-informed decision. It's never about eliminating risk; that's not quite possible. It is about minimizing risk and maximizing return. You do both by investigating, seeking <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser" target="_blank">expert insight</a>, and diversifying the way you save your money.</p> <h2>Save yourself from hasty decisions</h2> <p>Keeping your wealth in a less-liquid state helps you financially by delaying your financial decisions. If your main funds are tied up, for example, you can't immediately invest in Cousin Jimmy's startup. Even if you really, really want to.</p> <p>Maybe Cousin Jimmy is a genius, and you do want to invest; still, it's good to have to think and compare numbers. Can an investment in a family business give the same high-interest return on investment? What's the risk, compared with the risk you're already taking? How long before you'll see a return?</p> <p>Having time to think will help you avoid hasty decisions you might regret. Whether it's investing in a family member's venture or purchasing that dilapidated house in an up-and-coming area, time is on your side.</p> <h2>But I still want to feel happy</h2> <p>A recent National Center for Biotechnology Information study shows that higher levels of happiness are linked to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27064287" target="_blank">keeping cash on hand</a>. Happiness is great! We all want more of it. But you can get the happiness that cash brings while also setting yourself up for long-term financial rewards.</p> <p>Having money at the ready contributes to feeling secure. You can get that financial security by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball" target="_blank">reducing high-interest debt</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;setting up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-automate-your-savings" target="_blank">automated savings </a>so that you can&nbsp;keep a reasonable amount of cash at the ready. Experts recommend having three to six months' worth of living expenses; but you can be smart about how you save that cash reserve, as well, by keeping it in an interest-bearing savings account or a short-term CD. When your reserve grows over your emergency-fund amount, invest it rather than hoard it.</p> <p>Remember, you'll want to feel financially secure later in life, too. Smart financial moves now contribute to your happiness in the present and the future.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCash%2520Might%2520Make%2520You%2520Happier%252C%2520But%2520Investments%2520Will%2520Make%2520You%2520Richer.jpg&amp;description=Cash%20Might%20Make%20You%20Happier%2C%20But%20Investments%20Will%20Make%20You%20Richer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Cash%20Might%20Make%20You%20Happier%2C%20But%20Investments%20Will%20Make%20You%20Richer.jpg" alt="Cash Might Make You Happier, But Investments Will Make You Richer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/while-waiting-for-rates-i-bonds">While Waiting for Rates: I-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/7-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment cash inflation interest rates liquid savings money goals returns rich risk aversion wealth building Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Annie Mueller 1986108 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/latin_american_woman_saving_in_a_piggybank.jpg" alt="Latin American woman saving in a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're unemployed, saving for retirement may be the last thing on your mind. It may seem impossible to save for the future when you have no steady income to even pay basic bills.</p> <p>But depending on your situation, it may still be possible to build your nest egg even if you're not working full-time. Here are some tools and suggestions for keeping an eye on the future during a period of joblessness.</p> <h2>Familiarize yourself with IRAs</h2> <p>Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are great for people who don't have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k) accounts. A traditional IRA is similar to a 401(k), in that any contributions are deducted from whatever taxable income you have. With a Roth IRA, on the other hand, earnings are taxed up front, but any gains you have won't be taxed when you withdraw money at retirement age.</p> <p>IRAs are useful for people who are self-employed, or who earn money inconsistently through part-time or freelance work. So if you're not employed full-time but still have some earned income, these accounts can help you save.</p> <h2>Think of retirement savings as a necessary expense</h2> <p>When you're unemployed, it's important to get a handle on all of your expenses so that you know where you need to cut. You may find that there are a lot of costs (luxury purchases, eating out, cable TV) that can be taken out of your household budget, while other expenses (food, electricity, debt payments) are more necessary. If you think of retirement savings as a necessity, you will be forced to cut spending elsewhere.</p> <h2>Roll over your old 401(k)</h2> <p>If you've been laid off from a job, you will no longer be able to contribute to the 401(k) you may have had from your employer. But the account will still exist and the money is still yours. You can let the old 401(k) account sit, but it's better to roll it into a traditional individual retirement account (IRA). The IRA will give you more flexibility and investment options, and may also have lower fees. And you can begin contributing to it once you have any earned income at all.</p> <h2>Focus on rebalancing</h2> <p>You may not be able to add much to your retirement accounts, but you can work to make sure they are optimized. This means making sure you have the right mix of investments based on your retirement date, and getting the optimal blend of stocks in various industries and asset classes. It's always smart to examine your portfolio to ensure you are not over- or underinvested in any one area.</p> <h2>Look for higher bank interest rates</h2> <p>If you're not taking in much income for the time being, you need to have your cash savings working for you. That means any cash savings you have should generate as much income as possible. Interest rates are still quite low, but many online banks offer interest rates on CDs and savings accounts that are higher than average.</p> <h2>Avoid the temptation to cash out</h2> <p>It may be tempting to take money out of your retirement funds, but you should avoid it if at all possible. One of the best ways to see your retirement savings grow is to let your investments do their thing. You can see a meaningful increase in your retirement savings just from market gains, even if you're not contributing for the time being.</p> <p>Withdrawing from retirement accounts, however, has consequences. First, any money you take out has no chance to grow and help you expand your overall retirement savings. Second, there are penalties and taxes associated with taking money out of retirement accounts early. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>Continue to focus on growth, if you can</h2> <p>If you are unemployed and have some investments in a taxable brokerage account, you may be tempted to shift them to dividend stocks or other income-producing investments. This can give you extra income at a time when you may need it. But making this kind of adjustment could have a long-term negative impact on the overall growth of your portfolio. If dividends, bonds, or other income-focused investments will help you keep the lights on, fine. But it's best to focus on finding other sources of income, or reduce your spending first before going this route.</p> <h2>Reinvest dividends, if you can</h2> <p>If you do have dividend stocks already, you can still contribute to your retirement portfolio by reinvesting any dividend income you get from stocks. You may be tempted to use that investment income to pay bills and help get through your unemployed period, but if you can get by without it, direct the dividends to buy more stocks and other investments instead. Even small contributions added to your retirement accounts can add up to considerable savings over time.</p> <h2>Get your spouse involved</h2> <p>Perhaps you never thought to include your spouse in retirement planning because you felt it wasn't necessary while you were working. Now his or her income can be directed to help you save. This may be a challenge, since they are now also working to help pay more of the bills. But there are some ways to use your spouse's income for your own retirement accounts. If you have a traditional or Roth IRA, your spouse's earned income can go toward your account. (Note: This is only allowed if you file your taxes jointly.)</p> <h2>Plan to pay into accounts later</h2> <p>If you are unemployed but expect to be working in short order, you can postpone contributions to your IRA and add money later, even if it's after the end of the year. In fact, you can contribute to an IRA all the way up until April 15 of the following year. So for example, let's say you planned to max out your IRA by making monthly payments. (This would be about $458 monthly for a total of $5,500 for the year &mdash; the maximum amount allowed by the IRS for people under 50.) But let's say you are out of work from August through October of that year. You can hold off on contributing during that time and make up the difference in later months, even the first few months of the following year, if necessary.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Save%2520for%2520Retirement%2520When%2520You%2520Are%2520Unemployed.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed.jpg" alt="How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/6-reasons-every-millennial-needs-a-roth-ira">6 Reasons Every Millennial Needs a Roth IRA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k">7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k)</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/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401(k) contributions dividends interest rates job loss loss of income rebalancing Roth IRA saving money stocks traditional ira unemployment Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:00:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1979037 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway and Other Blue Chip Stock for 17% Off http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-berkshire-hathaway-and-other-blue-chip-stock-for-17-off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-berkshire-hathaway-and-other-blue-chip-stock-for-17-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_woman_with_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Business woman with piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, Warren Buffett has built incredible wealth through the growth of his company Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company that includes stock of companies wholly-owned by Berkshire Hathaway, as well as positions in a number of large financial and consumer-oriented companies.</p> <p>You might be interested in buying stock in the company that Warren Buffett manages himself, but shares of Berkshire Hathaway are currently selling for around $250,000 per share [BRK-A] which is out of reach of most small investors.</p> <h2>Berkshire Hathaway for small investors</h2> <p>Fortunately, there is a way to own Berkshire Hathaway with a smaller minimum investment. In 1996, Berkshire Hathaway started issuing Class B shares [BRK-B] with limited voting rights that are currently selling for about $170. Class B shares were offered to protect small investors from pursuing Berkshire Hathaway imitation funds with high fees or other unfavorable terms.</p> <p>But Warren Buffett himself has advised against small investors buying Berkshire Hathaway stock. Berkshire Hathaway stock typically sells at a premium of 20 percent to 50 percent above the net asset value (NAV) of its holdings. Warren Buffett didn't get rich buying things for more that they are worth!</p> <h2>Berkshire Hathaway for 17 percent off</h2> <p>I decided to check out stocks with low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios trying to find a good value. While investigating, I stumbled upon an interesting fund called Boulder Growth &amp; Income Fund [BIF]. This 1.2 billion dollar fund is composed of about 30 percent Berkshire Hathaway stock (23 percent Class A shares plus 7 percent Class B shares). BIF also includes large, deep value financial and consumer companies that Warren Buffett likes to hold.</p> <p>A relevant fact about this fund is that it is selling for about 17 percent below net asset value. By contrast, Berkshire Hathaway is currently trading for about 40 percent over net asset value.</p> <p>Getting Berkshire Hathaway and other blue chip stock at a deep discount sounds like a great deal, but why is BIF trading for 17 percent less than asset value? BIF is a closed-end fund, which means that no additional shares of the fund will be issued. Only the existing shares of the fund are available to be traded. This is different from open-end funds that are more common, where new shares continue to be issued when investments are received.</p> <p>The trading price for BIF on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is subject to supply from investors wanting to sell and demand from investors wanting to buy. One downside of owning a closed-end fund is that there may not be a large pool of investors interested in buying when you want to sell. Plus, there is no guarantee that closed-end funds bought at a discount to NAV will ever converge to full market price. A drawback of BIF in particular is that the management fee is high: 1.43 percent total expense ratio in 2016.</p> <h2>Find discounted stock funds</h2> <p>If you are looking for value stocks, buying a closed-end fund at a significant discount is an alternative to other bargain-hunting strategies such as looking for stocks with low P/E ratios or following stock tips. As with any other investment, investigate to understand the goals of the fund, expenses and fees, and the financial health of the fund before buying.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-buy-berkshire-hathaway-and-other-blue-chip-stock-for-17-off&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Buy%2520Berkshire%2520Hathaway%2520and%2520Other%2520Blue%2520Chip%2520Stock%2520for%252017%2520Percent%2520Off.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Buy%20Berkshire%20Hathaway%20and%20Other%20Blue%20Chip%20Stock%20for%2017%20Percent%20Off"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Buy%20Berkshire%20Hathaway%20and%20Other%20Blue%20Chip%20Stock%20for%2017%20Percent%20Off.jpg" alt="How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway and Other Blue Chip Stock for 17% Off" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-berkshire-hathaway-and-other-blue-chip-stock-for-17-off">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/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Invest Like Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-smarter-investments-by-mastering-this-simple-ratio">Make Smarter Investments by Mastering This Simple Ratio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it">7 Expensive Stocks That Are Totally Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-food-and-beverage-stocks-that-are-having-a-good-year">11 Food and Beverage Stocks That Are Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Berkshire Hathaway blue chip stocks funds net asset value price to earnings ratio shares stock market Warren Buffett Wed, 12 Jul 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1979036 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_to_buy_a_house_or_home_savings_concept.jpg" alt="Saving to buy a house or home savings concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your house is many things: It's a place to raise your children, hold family parties, relax on weekends and, maybe, rent out for a bit of extra cash.</p> <p>But here's one thing that many economists believe it is not: an investment.</p> <p>That flies in the face of what you might believe. After all, if you buy your home for $200,000 and then sell it 15 years later for $270,000, you've made $70,000, right? That sounds like a good return on investment, but it's actually not.</p> <p>That profit doesn't include all the property taxes you've paid on your home, the interest you've paid on your mortgage loan, or all the money you've spent on maintaining your residence.</p> <p>The fact is, the only time a home might truly be a good investment is when you're downsizing or moving to an apartment after selling it.</p> <h2>Sobering numbers</h2> <p>In a 2014 interview with USA Today, economist and housing expert Robert Shiller explained why consumers should not think of housing as an investment.</p> <p>From 1890 through 2012, <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/05/10/why-your-home-is-not-a-good-investment/8900911/" target="_blank">home prices adjusted for inflation</a> did not grow at all, according to Shiller's research. During the same period, though, stocks did. Shiller found that the S&amp;P 500 increased by more than 2,000 times during those same years, adjusted for inflation.</p> <p>Shiller found that there have been long periods of time in which housing values when adjusted for inflation fell. He said that from 1890 through 1980, real home prices dropped by about 10 percent.</p> <p>Personal financial blog Observations also looked at inflation-adjusted housing prices from 1900 through 2012. According to these numbers, the average annual price for U.S. homes was just <a href="http://observationsandnotes.blogspot.com/2011/07/housing-prices-inflation-since-1900.html" target="_blank">0.1 percent a year</a> after inflation.</p> <p>These numbers make it clear: You should buy a house because it's a house, you need a place to live, and you don't want to rent. You shouldn't buy a house thinking that you're making a great financial investment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Rent or Buy a Home? Here's How to Decide</a>)</p> <h2>It's not easy to get your cash from an investment in housing</h2> <p>There are other aspects of houses that make them less-than-ideal as investments. The biggest? It's not easy to turn your home into cash.</p> <p>Sure, your home might have risen in value during the 10 years you've owned it. (Even if, as shown above, when adjusted for inflation, that appreciation might be negligible.) But accessing this appreciation isn't easy. You'll have to sell your home to get at whatever money it's made.</p> <p>Selling a home is no simple task. It's time-consuming. It's expensive, too, as you'll probably invest in everything from fresh coats of paint to major appliance repairs before you put your home on the market. And what if you don't want to sell your home? Then you won't be able to nab that cash.</p> <p>You can take out home equity lines of credit or home equity loans to tap the equity in your home. But you'll have to pay back the money you borrow, with interest, each month. If your home should lose value after you take out our home equity loan, you could end up underwater, owing more on your combined mortgage loans than what your home is worth.</p> <h2>If it's an investment, it's an expensive one</h2> <p>It's expensive to own a home. And that, too, makes housing a less attractive investment.</p> <p>Consider homeowners insurance. If you are using a mortgage loan to finance your house, you're required to invest in this insurance. Even if you're not financing your home, you should take out a policy to protect yourself. Realtor.com estimates that the average homeowners insurance premium across the country is $952.</p> <p>Then there are property taxes. The U.S. Census Bureau said that in 2017 the average household was spending $2,149 in property taxes.</p> <p>Finally, there is maintenance. This will vary, of course, but Realtor.com says that you can expect to pay from 1 percent to 4 percent of your home's value in maintenance each year. If your home is worth $200,000, that comes to between $2,000 and $8,000 a year.</p> <p>If you do sell your home for a profit, you need to factor in these costs of ownership when patting yourself on the back for making such a wise investment.</p> <h2>Housing's not bad, though</h2> <p>This doesn't mean that buying a house is a bad financial move. You do have to live somewhere, and depending on where you live, it might be less expensive to own a home than it is to rent an apartment.</p> <p>Owning a home also gives you some financial flexibility. You can rent out a portion of your home, for instance, to earn additional cash. You'll also be able to claim tax write-offs for the interest you pay on your mortgage loan each year and the property taxes you pay.</p> <p>Housing does provide this other benefits, too: shelter for your family, a gathering place for relatives and friends, and a respite at the end of a tough day.</p> <p>It's important to be realistic about housing's investment potential. If you want to invest, buying stocks or investing in mutual funds might be a better choice. Even low-interest, but safe investments such as bonds or CDs make more sense as an investment.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FStop%2520Thinking%2520of%2520Your%2520House%2520as%2520an%2520Investment.jpg&amp;description=Stop%20Thinking%20of%20Your%20House%20as%20an%20Investment"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Stop%20Thinking%20of%20Your%20House%20as%20an%20Investment.jpg" alt="Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</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/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Real Estate and Housing homeownership housing market maintenance mortgages property taxes renting return on investment selling a home Thu, 06 Jul 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1976048 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Get the Most Out of Your 401(k) http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-401k <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-401k" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/401k_savings_jar_538810408.jpg" alt="Learning how to get the most out of a 401(k)" 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 ways to get the most out of your 401(k), simple hacks that will change how you travel, and summer tax scams to watch out for.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://dyernews.com/3-tips-for-to-getting-the-most-out-of-your-401k/">3 Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your 401(k)</a> &mdash; Re-evaluate your contributions every so often, especially if your finances have changed &mdash; due to a promotion or a raise, for example. [Dyer News]</p> <p><a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Travel-Hacks-43667791">These 3 Very Simple Hacks Will Change How You Travel Forever</a> &mdash; Remember that you are a guest when you travel to foreign countries. It's your responsibility to learn about the traditions of the place you're visiting and to respect the locals' way of life. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dontmesswithtaxes.com/2017/06/irs-warns-of-four-hot-summer-tax-scams.html">IRS warns of four hot summer tax scams</a> &mdash; Robocall scammers might invoke the IRS e-payment option, EFTPS, to sound more legit. Don't fall for it! [Don't Mess With Taxes]</p> <p><a href="https://moneyaware.co.uk/2017/06/7-ways-to-save-on-your-food-budget/">7 Ways to Save On Your Food Budget</a> &mdash; Try the store brand versions of the products that you usually buy name brand, and see if you can tell the difference. If store brand works for you, start buying that instead. [StepChange MoneyAware]</p> <p><a href="http://moneypantry.com/pharmacy-rewards-programs/">11 Best Pharmacy Rewards Programs: Earn Rewards for Shopping at Your Local Drugstore</a> &mdash; These pharmacy and drugstore loyalty programs offer discounts, members-only coupons, and points that you can redeem for store credit. [Money Pantry]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2017/0622/Facebook-wants-to-shift-its-focus-to-meaningful-online-communities-and-connections">Facebook wants to shift its focus to 'meaningful' online communities and connections</a> &mdash; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants the social network to be a place where people can build communities with shared interests. [The Christian Science Monitor]</p> <p><a href="https://timemanagementninja.com/2017/06/5-tips-to-be-more-present-and-productive/">5 Tips to Be More Present and Productive</a> &mdash; Make eye contact when you are having a conversation with someone and show them that they have your full attention. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="https://lifehacks.io/when-you-start-learning-a-new-language/">These 5 Amazing Things Will Happen When You Start Learning a New Language</a> &mdash; Learning a new language opens up career opportunities that weren't available to you before. [Life Hacks]</p> <p><a href="http://www.everybodylovesyourmoney.com/2017/06/26/invest-in-yourself.html">10 Healthy and Cost-Friendly Ways to Invest In Yourself</a> &mdash; If you're not working in your field of choice, start researching how to get the job you want. [Everybody Loves Your Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cashthechecks.com/3-steps-start-investing-like-millionaire/">3 Steps To Start Investing Like A Millionaire</a> &mdash; Max out your contributions to tax-advantaged investments, like the Roth IRA, to reduce your tax burden. [Cash The Checks]</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-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-401k">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/9-silly-reasons-people-dont-invest-but-should">9 Silly Reasons People Don&#039;t Invest (But Should)</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-times-raiding-your-retirement-accounts-early-is-okay">4 Times Raiding Your Retirement Accounts Early Is Okay</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/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</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 401(k) best money tips Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:31:10 +0000 Amy Lu 1973676 at http://www.wisebread.com Is It Finally Time to Invest in Marijuana Stocks? http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/marijuana_leaf.jpg" alt="Marijuana leaf" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Politics aside, there's a lot of green to be made in the burgeoning legal marijuana market. As more states move toward legalization, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-legal-marijuana" target="_blank">potential to profit</a> grows higher and higher. But in many cases, it's still just potential.</p> <p>While the industry is worth watching for investment opportunities, there are also some very real downsides to investing in cannabis right now. Read on for our roundup of the pros and cons of investing in weed.</p> <h2>Cannabis industry growth is soaring</h2> <p>According to cannabis research group ArcView, legal marijuana sales in North America increased by 34 percent to $6.9 billion in 2016. A prediction from investment firm Cowen &amp; Co. puts the U.S. market at $50 billion by 2026. More than half of all U.S. states have already legalized the use of medical marijuana, while eight states and counting have legalized recreational use for adults.</p> <p>Another triumph is the story of cannabinoid group GW Pharmaceuticals, whose stock has skyrocketed nearly 1,300 percent in value in less than four years. What's more, a growing percentage of Americans are supportive of marijuana legalization. Public support for legal cannabis has grown to 60 percent, according to a 2016 poll by Gallup. All of this makes for fertile grounds for further cannabis industry growth.</p> <h2>Marijuana could become the next dot-com bubble</h2> <p>When it comes to cannabis stocks, Canada is leading the scene. Unburdened by the depth of <a href="http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/04/21/jeff-sessions-marijuana-legalization-impact/77938/" target="_blank">opposition</a> that recreational marijuana has raised from the U.S. Attorney General and many in the U.S. Republican party, Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF &mdash; one of the first cannabis ETFs in North America &mdash; started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in April, almost instantly becoming one of the month's most popular funds. Propelling the marijuana ETF toward further success is a rise in investor enthusiasm sparked by the legislation recently introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to legalize cannabis across Canada. (The plan is expected to pass.)</p> <p>For a new fund, this level of accomplishment is rare. But experts caution that the marijuana market remains dicey. Canada's landmark marijuana ETF has 14 members, some of which include drug companies whose profits largely draw from sources outside marijuana research. Add to that a 0.75 percent management fee &mdash; higher than the norm. The bottom line is Canada's marijuana stocks are still largely speculative, so investors should be cautious.</p> <h2>Marijuana businesses are hampered by a cash-only economy</h2> <p>Marijuana businesses are completely shut out of traditional financial services, which means the industry is forced to operate in a cash-only environment. Banks and credit card companies have largely been unwilling to work with cannabis firms, even in states where marijuana use is legal, because federal law still prohibits them from taking marijuana money.</p> <p>Whenever a business is forced to deal in cash, there are security risks that its stockholders inevitably have to shoulder. Working in a cash economy, for example, means that a business is more susceptible to robbery or employee theft. It's also a growth inhibitor.</p> <h2>Penny stocks still dominate the cannabis trade</h2> <p>Most marijuana stocks on the market are penny stocks. Translation: They're pretty much one big gamble. With a share price of $5 or less, these stocks are unpredictable, and getting accurate and timely financial stats about them can be difficult. Of course, even a penny stock can experience explosive gains. But at this point, experts say it's little more than a coin toss.</p> <h2>Despite impressive growth, most marijuana stocks are losing money</h2> <p>What do most marijuana stocks have in common? They are losing money. Just two cannabis companies in operation can claim a positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), which is an operating performance-focused metric commonly used by investors to guide their investment decisions.</p> <p>Those companies are the Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. and Aphria. As for GW Pharmaceuticals and all the others? Shut out from traditional banking and tax deductions, they are operating in a completely experimental world where they're left to learn as they go.</p> <h2>Don't go chasing unicorns</h2> <p>Experts warn that some marijuana companies are little more than a sham. Without a sound business plan, they are roping investors in based on an idea rather than substance or experience to put that idea into action. Don't get roped in. Be skeptical and do your homework. If a company or investment opportunity appears too good to be true, it probably is.</p> <p>Marijuana news websites that only praise a company, for example, might be getting paid to do so. &quot;Check financial websites like Yahoo Finance to see if management is selling any of their shares,&quot; Barry Clark, CEO at cannabis company FlowerKist, recently told Forbes. &quot;If they believe in the company, they won't be selling their shares.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-legal-marijuana">5 Ways to Profit From Legal Marijuana</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/heres-how-rate-of-return-can-help-you-invest-smarter">Here&#039;s How Rate of Return Can Help You Invest Smarter</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/is-dollar-cost-averaging-the-right-strategy-for-you">Is Dollar Cost Averaging the Right Strategy for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-debate-between-buy-and-hold-vs-timing-the-market">The Debate Between Buy and Hold vs Timing The Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bubble cannabis ETF legalization marijuana new industry pot profits speculation stock market weed Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1959136 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up? http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/surging_business_0.jpg" alt="Surging Business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people were taken by surprise when the stock market reached new highs after the 2016 election, with the Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) breaking 20,000. But the recent record highs are only the latest in a long trend of stock market growth extending back well over 100 years.</p> <p>The average rate of return for the DJIA since 1896 is about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation. Looking at a broader representation of the overall stock market, the average rate of return for the Standard &amp; Poor's (S&amp;P) 500 index since it's inception in 1928 is about 10 percent per year.</p> <p>Of course, if you pay attention to the stock market, you know that stocks do not move steadily up all the time. Sometimes there are sudden market declines, such as the crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression, or the 2008 collapse that led to the Great Recession. Sometimes there are long periods of market stagnation when stock prices do not go up much at all, such as during the 1970s. But over time, the long-term trend has been that stock values keep on pushing up, even after setbacks, and routinely go on to break record highs.</p> <p>What makes stock values keep going higher and higher?</p> <h2>Investors <em>think </em>stocks will go up</h2> <p>Investors who decide to put money into the stock market select individual stocks and stock funds based on the financial performance of the businesses in the portfolio. Ultimately, investors weigh the potential for a stock to go up versus the risk that it will go down during their investment window.</p> <p>Sometimes &quot;irrational exuberance&quot; seems to play a big role in driving stock prices. In a hot housing market, investors will pay essentially any price to buy a property if they are confident the price will go up, even if the price is not rational. Investors sometimes buy stock for the same reason &mdash; simply because they think someone else will pay more for it when they want to sell and they don't want to miss an opportunity to make a big gain. In some extreme cases, such as hot initial public offerings (IPOs), stock valuation seems to be driven by speculation without much solid financial basis.</p> <h2>Businesses have figured out how to make products for less</h2> <p>One way that businesses have become more valuable, and therefore garnered higher stock valuation, is by increasing productivity and efficiency. If a business can produce its goods and services at a lower cost, higher profits can be achieved.</p> <p>Businesses boost their efficiency by using automation, optimizing product designs and reuse, and merging or partnering with other companies with complementary resources and capabilities. The continuous effort by businesses to reduce their costs and run their business more efficiently keeps driving stock prices up over time.</p> <h2>Fancy new products (with higher profit margins)</h2> <p>Innovation and technological advances result in new products with higher profit margins than established products. Consumers will pay a premium to get the latest technology and newest capabilities. When a new type of product is launched, there is a window of time when little or no competition is available in the market. This is why the introduction of new products keeps driving stock values up.</p> <h2>Growing consumerism</h2> <p>In the old days, it was common for people to grow their own food, make their own clothes, and craft other household items such as soap and even furniture. When people were more self-sufficient and made most things for themselves, opportunities for businesses to sell products to customers at a profit was limited.</p> <p>Fast forward to today. The population has increased significantly, and most people buy products instead of making things themselves. As the number of consumers grows, and the demand by consumers for more and more products increases, so does profit for businesses that make and sell products.</p> <h2>Why did stocks unexpectedly go up after Trump was elected?</h2> <p>After an initial tumble in stock futures following the 2016 election, the stock market rallied during the following months and hit a record high, with the DJIA reaching 20,000 for the first time ever on January 25, 2017. Why did the stock market go up after the election of an unpredictable new leader?</p> <p>Markets typically react negatively to uncertainty, and that is what happened when the S&amp;P 500 and DJIA market futures fell around 4 percent on the night of the election. But soon, stock prices started rising again. Investors apparently feel that the new president will follow traditional Republican strategies of lowering taxes on businesses and reducing environmental, safety, and consumer protection regulations, resulting in higher potential profits. Also, the possibility of increased military spending and spending on huge infrastructure projects raises expectations for short-term economic growth among investors.</p> <h2>Will the stock market keep going up?</h2> <p>Stepping back and looking at the potential for stock market growth over the coming decades, the elements for continued stock market growth seem to be forthcoming.</p> <p>New levels of automation promise to drive productivity and reduce the cost to produce and deliver products to consumers. Technical innovations such as renewable energy, virtual reality, augmented reality, and medical breakthroughs appear poised to result in highly profitable new products. New consumers are likely to enter the marketplace as developing economies grow, increasing overall demand for manufactured products and driving business profits higher.</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-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rate-of-return-can-help-you-invest-smarter">Here&#039;s How Rate of Return Can Help You Invest Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment businesses consumerism djia dow jones industrial average Economy production rate of return s&p 500 stock market Wed, 07 Jun 2017 09:01:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1959368 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_communication_connection_people_concept.jpg" alt="Business Communication Connection People Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one goes to a financial adviser if they already know everything there is to know about retirement planning and investing. So most people will, logically, come armed with a variety of questions when they meet with an adviser, especially if it is for the first time.</p> <p>Financial advisers say they hear many of the same questions repeatedly from clients looking to build their retirement savings or live large in retirement. Most of the questions center around the ability of clients to retire, or the information needed to build wealth in the hopes of retiring comfortably.</p> <p>This list of common questions for financial advisers was compiled with the help of Greg Hammer of Hammer Financial Group in Northwest Indiana, and Willie Schuette, financial coach with JL Smith Group in Ohio.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Can I retire?&quot;</h2> <p>This is really the ultimate question posed to most financial advisers. Clients want to know if they can afford to stop working. And if not now, when?</p> <p>A financial adviser will help you determine how much money you have and how much more you'll need, based on your life expectancy and retirement plans. Both Hammer and Schuette said they often have to break the news to clients that they need to keep working, but that's better than telling them after they&rsquo;ve retired that their money is likely to run out.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Can you help me avoid paying taxes?&quot;</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service can take a chunk out of your earnings, and often leave you with less cash than you originally planned. Financial advisers say they get a lot of questions about how to avoid a big tax hit, especially from retirees looking to preserve every dollar they have.</p> <p>Advisers field many questions about Roth IRAs, which allow investors to invest money and withdraw it tax-free upon retirement. Many investors turn to financial advisers for advice on the tax implications of converting traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. There are also a multitude of other tax questions relating to municipal bonds, inheritance taxes, and tax deductions.</p> <h2>3. &quot;How can I preserve my money?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients are generally aware that they need to invest more conservatively as they get older to protect against market downturns, but aren't quite sure how. What's the right investment mix based on their age, their money saved, and retirement date? What's the best way to go about shifting away from stocks to cash and bonds?</p> <p>Hammer and Schuette say they get questions like this all the time, and are happy to walk clients through the best approach to keeping their retirement nest eggs secure.</p> <h2>4. &quot;When should I collect Social Security?&quot;</h2> <p>Retirees can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but will get larger monthly payments the longer they wait. Financial advisers will usually work with retirees to develop income sources that will allow them to delay collecting Social Security. But both Hammer and Schuette said their recommendations depend on the individual client's circumstances and financial needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over</a>)</p> <h2>5. &quot;What's the deal with health care?&quot;</h2> <p>With Congress working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many clients are wondering how their health care may be affected. Financial advisers have received this question from retirees who are not old enough to collect Medicare, as well as younger clients who don't get insurance through an employer. Advisers say they will walk clients through the cost of health care and the proper plans, as well as assist with setting up things like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money" target="_blank">health savings accounts</a> and emergency funds.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I know I need life insurance, but what kind? And how much?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients usually know they need some sort of life insurance to protect their families, but are often bewildered by the offerings. There's whole and term life insurance, and policies with varying sizes, lengths, and premiums. An adviser can help find the right kind of insurance for each person and their unique situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>7. &quot;My spouse just died. What do I do?&quot;</h2> <p>Many people feel confident in their financial planning, until something changes in their life that throws things out of whack. A loss of a spouse or other major change cannot only be challenging emotionally, but it can drastically change a person's financial needs. There may be a sudden loss of income when a spouse dies, and there are endless concerns about taxes, life insurance, and even real estate.</p> <h2>8. &quot;How do I take care of my heirs?&quot;</h2> <p>For most people, the main financial goal is amassing enough wealth to last their full retirement, and there's not much consideration for the next generation. After all, saving for your own several decades of life after retirement is hard enough.</p> <p>But Hammer and Schuette say there is a segment of clients seeking the best approach to passing wealth onto to their children and other relatives. Financial advisers say that in these cases, the conversation centers not only on amassing wealth, but taking into account things like inheritance taxes, and performing full, in-depth estate planning.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">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/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</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-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Advisor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement estate planning financial advisers financial planning health care life insurance questions saving money social security taxes Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1957430 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Sure You Don't Run Out of Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An annuity is a stream of fixed payments that's guaranteed, often for as long as you live. Having an annuity can make retirement more secure, but it's hard to recommend them as investment vehicles, because almost every annuity on the market is a terrible investment. They tend to be sold by salesmen, so they're often loaded with fees. And, because being upfront about the fees would make them hard to sell, these fees are obscure (often outright hidden) and are typically different for every product, making it especially hard to comparison shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Get an Annuity?</a>)</p> <p>But my experience these past few years &mdash; helping older relatives with their finances, and starting to take the little pension I earned as a software engineer &mdash; has given me a new perspective on annuities. Having an annuity is more than just nice: It's wonderful! It's just <em>buying</em> them that's usually terrible.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a few that are worth buying. You don't hear about them often, because they don't siphon off a big chunk of your investment to pay a salesman, so salesmen don't push them.</p> <h2>Why annuities are great</h2> <p>It used to be that anyone with a good job retired with an annuity in the form of a pension. This is how I've gotten my recent experience with just how great it is to have an annuity: All my older relatives are now receiving pensions.</p> <h3>You never outlive your income</h3> <p>The main thing that's great about an annuity is that having one means you're never going to be broke. Even if you overspend and run down your savings, even if the stock market crashes or you make terrible investment decisions and your investment portfolio takes huge losses, you'll still get that monthly check for as long as you live.</p> <p>You don't <em>need</em> to have an annuity to arrange that &mdash; you can live off capital in a way that makes it last the rest of your life &mdash; but an annuity makes it much easier.</p> <h3>They can raise your income</h3> <p>The other thing that's great about an annuity is that it can, at least potentially, be more money to live on. See, the only safe way to live off capital is to just spend the income from your investments. But that's not much money (especially these days).</p> <p>If you knew how long you were going to live, you could spend down your capital so that you'd die with just enough money to pay off your last month's bills. But since you don't know how long you're going to live, you have to make a conservative estimate, holding back enough capital so that you won't go broke even if you live to 100. (Of course even that might not be enough. What if you live to 114?)</p> <p>The company that provides your annuity has a much easier job. They don't need to know whether you'll live to 97 or kick the bucket at 67. They count on the fact that the average person will live an average life span. They can arrange the terms of the annuities so that the payouts don't exhaust the total pool until the last person dies. The fact that some people die the month after their pension starts means that there's enough money to pay for the people who go on to live for decades.</p> <p>Offset against that is the fact that the company that's providing your annuity needs to make a profit, and it also needs to hold back a reserve against the possibility that it'll get unlucky and a bunch of their customers will live longer than average &mdash; but both of those factors are relatively small.</p> <h2>Annuitize, but how much?</h2> <p>If you accept the idea that you probably ought to have an annuity of some size, the next question is: How big should the annuity be?</p> <p>At one extreme, you could just annuitize all your money &mdash; take all your savings and investments (except your checking account and your emergency fund) and buy an annuity. Then you'd know what your income would be for the rest of your life and you could budget for it.</p> <p>I recommend against that. There are many reasons why it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital" target="_blank">worth having some capital</a>. Your capital earns an investment return and it also provides a measure of safety as a backup to your emergency fund. It makes it possible to fund expenses beyond your bare-bones budget. Perhaps most important, having some capital saves you money in all kinds of different ways &mdash; because you have funds on hand, you can take advantage of deals, you can avoid high-interest borrowing, and you have money to put down a large security deposit in cases where that will save you money.</p> <p>At the other extreme, you could annuitize none of your money and just live off your capital. I've just explained the downsides to that.</p> <p>You want to be somewhere in the middle. With a modest annuity, you're protected from running your income down to zero, and yet you can preserve some amount of capital.</p> <p>My advice is this: You should annuitize <em>enough to cover your rock-bottom expenses</em>, the lowest amount you could live on indefinitely. That way, you're putting yourself in a position where you can be sure you can get by no matter what happens to your investments, while preserving enough of an investment portfolio to fund your other life goals &mdash; travel, making a major purchase, leaving an estate to your heirs, etc.</p> <p>Before you start shopping for annuities, be sure to take into account any annuities you already have. But unless you're old, and even then only if you had a pretty good job at a pretty big company for many years, you probably aren't going to have a great pension. (If you're only kind of old, and worked at a pretty big company for a few years before they all phased out their traditional pensions in the early 2000s, maybe there's a small pension waiting for you. If so, that's great. Even if it's not enough to live on, it's a very positive contribution to your retirement income.)</p> <p>However, most people reading this probably won't get a good pension.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an annuity you very likely do have.</p> <h2>The annuity you already have</h2> <p>You almost certainly already have an annuity in the form of a national pension scheme, such as Social Security. The amount of Social Security you will get depends on your own employment history. For most people, it will provide a large fraction of the &quot;rock-bottom expenses&quot; I recommend you cover with an annuity, but you can generally expect there to be some gap.</p> <p>If you have an employer-sponsored pension, even a small one, it may well cover the gap. If you don't, I recommend that you cover it with an annuity that you buy.</p> <h2>How to buy an annuity</h2> <p>As I said at the beginning, most of the annuities you can buy are terrible investments, but there are good ones. It is possible to buy an individual annuity and get an OK deal. It's just hard because the companies that sell them make it virtually impossible to compare one annuity to another.</p> <p>This is especially true for the sorts of annuities that are most like a pension: The ones set up so you make a payment every month starting in your 30s or 40s, then get a check every month starting when you're 65.</p> <p>Those are called deferred annuities (because you defer getting your money until age 65), and they're always terrible. They always have what are called &quot;back-end&quot; fees &mdash; money that the salesman gets to keep when you figure out that you've made a terrible deal and want to get (some of) your money back. The rules on back-end fees are always different.</p> <p>To make it even harder, these sorts of annuities are usually bundled with some sort of life insurance (supposedly so that if you die before you retire your estate won't &quot;lose&quot; all the money paid into the annuity) &mdash; and of course the details of those insurance policies are always different as well.</p> <h3>Comparison shopping</h3> <p>It is possible to buy an annuity in a way that does allow you to compare them. Don't buy one with monthly payments. Instead, save and invest the money in the stock market yourself during your working years. Then, when you're ready to retire, buy what's called a &quot;single premium immediate annuity&quot; &mdash; you put up a big chunk of money today, and then start receiving monthly payments immediately that last for the rest of your life. (The monthly payments, of course, should equal the gap you identified between your Social Security and your rock-bottom budget.)</p> <p>That is something that's easy to compare: How much do you have to pay today for a stream of income that starts next month and lasts the rest of your life? You can get a few quotes and pick the best deal.</p> <p>These sorts of annuities usually don't have the life insurance policy that supposedly protects against your dying before you start taking payments, because the payments start immediately. That's good. Bundling in life insurance just makes it harder to compare prices. If you need life insurance, buy a life insurance policy separately.</p> <p>Be very careful of letting them include any sort of survivor benefit, because that can also make the annuities harder to compare (although as long as the rules are exactly the same, it is at least possible). One alternative, if you need a survivor benefit, is to buy a life insurance policy that will pay off enough for your spouse to buy his or her own annuity.</p> <p>As an aside, let me mention that the annuity salesmen among you are going to jump in and point out that you're giving up an important tax advantage if you only consider an immediate annuity. This is technically true, but in fact is pretty unimportant. Let me just say this: If you are maxing out your 401(k), <em>and</em> your IRA, <em>and</em> your Roth IRA, there is an opportunity to tax shelter a bit more money through an annuity contract. In practice, I'm willing to bet that the tax advantage will never equal the fees you're going to end up paying.</p> <p>If you do save your money in a 401(k) or IRA, there are tax rules for using that money to buy your annuity. Follow the rules and you won't owe any taxes when the money is used to buy the annuity. You will, however, pay taxes on the annuity payments when you receive them (just like you would if you'd taken distributions from the tax-deferred plan directly).</p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Pretty much any life insurance company will sell you an annuity, but I only know of two places to get a good one: Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. (There used to be a third, but Berkshire Hathaway got out of the business a few years ago.)</p> <p>The main problem with buying directly from an insurance company is just that their annuity sales operations are organized around their annuity salesmen, who will immediately start trying to sell you something that's more profitable (to them) than a single premium immediate annuity &mdash; that's the step you avoid by going through Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (They also have enough buying power to get especially good rates, because they bring in large numbers of customers.)</p> <p>If you're sure you can bear up under the sales pressure, there's no reason not to get quotes directly from the insurance companies. (Just because I don't know of any other good places to buy one doesn't mean there aren't any.) Insurance companies that sell annuities will be very easy to find &mdash; just do an internet search for information about annuities and you'll get a dozen ads for them and for online tools to compare their offerings.</p> <p>You're handing over a large fraction of your wealth and counting on the insurance company to be around for the rest of your life, so you want to have considerable confidence in the financial soundness of the company you pick. I would not consider any company rated less than A by the insurance grading firm A.M. Best, and I'd be happier with one rated A+.</p> <h3>Buy when rates are high</h3> <p>To buy an annuity, you have to put up a pretty sizable chunk of cash. (Vanguard quotes the cost today to a 65-year-old male buying a single premium immediate annuity of $1,000 a month for the rest of his life as being $180,052.)</p> <p>Unless you're rich, the cost of an annuity that covers your rock-bottom expenses is going to be a large fraction of your entire retirement savings &mdash; which is OK, because it's going to be a large chunk of your entire retirement income.</p> <p>The insurance company that sells you your annuity is going to invest that sizable chunk of cash in a portfolio of stocks and (mostly) bonds, and then use the dividends from those stocks and (mostly) the interest payments from those bonds to pay your annuity. Because of this, an annuity is much cheaper when interest rates are high.</p> <p>If you bought an annuity right before the financial crisis, you made out very well. If you wanted to buy one in the past eight or nine years, you probably found that they were incredibly expensive. But in the current era of rising interest rates, annuities are becoming more affordable again.</p> <p>Still, if you're approaching retirement age, understand that there is no rush. Figure out your rock-bottom expenses &mdash; and then live with that budget as an experiment. Maybe you'll find that you'll need more than that in retirement. Maybe you'll actually need less. Do some comparison shopping. Take your time. Then, when you've got a pretty good handle on the expense of your retirement lifestyle, at a time when interest rates are up a bit and you're ready to quit working, go ahead and buy that annuity.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-stocks-to-buy-before-black-friday">6 Stocks to Buy Before Black Friday</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-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-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/7-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</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/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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-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/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </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