Investment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4808/all en-US 5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/investment-portfolio-bonds-Dollarphotoclub_1800313.jpg" alt="investment portfolio bonds" title="investment portfolio bonds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Be honest: How much do you actually know about bonds? If you're stammering for an answer, here's your chance to raise your bond IQ. For starters, bonds are an essential tool in every investor's toolkit. They can provide stable returns to help offset volatility in other parts of your portfolio. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-reasons-to-start-investing-in-bonds-now?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Reasons to Start Investing in Bonds Now</a>)</p> <p>Depending on how old you are, you may not own many bonds right now, but you likely will someday, so it's important you at least understand the basics.</p> <h2>1. A Bond Is an I Owe You</h2> <p>Shakespeare famously wrote, &quot;Neither a borrower nor a lender be.&quot; Apparently, he knew a lot about personal finance (it's definitely best to go easy on the borrowing), but not so much about investing. When you buy bonds, that actually makes you a <em>lender</em>, and this form of lending can be a very good thing, especially as we get older.</p> <p>When a corporation or government (the two most common issuers of bonds) sells you a bond, it promises to repay the money at a specified future date (known as the bond's &quot;maturity date&quot;). Along the way, it also promises to pay you a fixed interest rate at regular intervals.</p> <p>Bond issuers use the tool to raise money for their operations. For example, when a local government needs to put in a new $3 million sewer system, it might sell $3 million worth of bonds to pay for the pipes. In essence, it's a way for them to borrow money, possibly for a longer time frame and at a lower interest rate than would be available to them through other means.</p> <p>You, as a buyer of the bonds, get a fairly safe investment with a known interest rate that is typically higher than you could get through <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">other low-risk investments</a>, such as CDs.</p> <h2>2. Bonds Are Relatively Aafe</h2> <p>If you read past Shakespeare's more famous phrase, you'll find this warning, &quot;&hellip;For loan oft loses both itself and friend.&quot;</p> <p>As safe as they may be, bonds do come with a risk of financial loss. The two main risks are credit risk and interest rate risk.</p> <h3>Credit Risk</h3> <p>A bond issuer's promise to repay is only as good as the issuer's financial strength. U.S. government bonds are safe as can be. If our country gets in financial trouble, it can just print more money. A start-up company's bonds? Not nearly as safe.</p> <p>If the issuer of the bond you bought goes out of business, you'll be out the money. That's what's meant by credit risk. You can manage this risk by buying highly rated bonds. Two companies rate the financial strength of bond issuers: Moody's and Standard and Poor's. Bonds from the most credit-worthy organizations carry a AAA rating. Those with the worst ratings carry a C rating. The better the rating, the safer the bond. The downside is that the interest paid by the safest bonds is typically less than that paid by the lowest rated bonds.</p> <h3>Interest Rate Risk</h3> <p>The other type of risk associated with bonds is interest rate risk. When interest rates rise, the value of an already-issued bond falls. Think of it this way: If newly available bonds are offering a higher interest rate than your bond, why would someone buy yours? You'll have to offer it for less than you paid for it in order to attract a buyer. Of course, for buyers of individual bonds, this only matters if you plan to sell the bond before it matures. Otherwise, you'll still get back what you paid for your bond when it matures as well as the promised interest.</p> <h2>3. Bonds Exist to Lower the Risk of Your Portfolio</h2> <p>One of the most important principles in successful investing is <em>asset allocation</em>. This refers to how you divide your investment dollars across different asset classes, and the two most important asset classes are stocks and bonds. Stocks tend to be riskier than bonds, and over time they tend to generate better returns. When you're young, you have time to ride out the market's ups and downs, so an all- or mostly-stock portfolio is usually the way to go. As long as you can handle the ride, it will typically generate a better long-term return than a more conservative portfolio. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-investing-concepts-everyone-should-know?ref=seealso">2 Investing Concepts Everyone Should Know</a>)</p> <p>As we get older, we can't afford to take as much risk, so it's best to reduce the amount of stocks in our portfolio, replacing them with lower-risk investments, such as bonds. Bonds are designed to lower the risk of your portfolio, smoothing out the ups and downs. The trade-off is they will also typically lower your overall returns.</p> <h2>4. The Easiest Way to Buy Bonds Is Through a Bond Fund</h2> <p>You can buy individual bonds, but it takes time to research the best ones and build an adequately diversified bond position in your portfolio. A much easier way is to buy bond mutual funds. Such funds are inherently diversified.</p> <p>All of the major fund companies offer bond funds, and you'll find many different types to choose from. There are corporate and government bonds; short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term bonds; domestic and foreign bonds, and more.</p> <p>You can also buy funds that contain a mix of stocks and bonds, such as target-date funds, which have become a common and popular option in 401(k) and other workplace plans. Such funds come with preset stock/bond allocations, based on how long an investor has until he or she plans to retire.</p> <p>They also automatically change that allocation over time, shifting away from stocks and toward bonds as the investor gets older. Target-date funds are far from perfect, but they do offer one of the easier ways to manage the use of bonds in your portfolio.</p> <h2>5. Boring Can Be Beautiful</h2> <p>Some people think of bonds as boring, and owning bonds certainly isn't as exciting as owning Tesla stock. But the older we get, the more the steady, low-risk income produced by the bonds become a thing of beauty.</p> <p><em>Do you own bonds? Why or why not?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">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/your-401-k-is-not-an-investment">Your 401(k) is not an investment</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/2-investing-concepts-everyone-should-know">2 Investing Concepts Everyone Should 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/why-invest-in-the-stock-market">Why invest in 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/how-to-turn-25-a-week-into-almost-7000-in-5-years">How to Turn $25 a Week Into Almost $7000 in 5 Years</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/best-asset-allocation-for-your-portfolio">Best asset allocation for your portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment asset allocation bond fund bonds investing stocks Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:00:07 +0000 Matt Bell 1317214 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-stock-broker-exchange-office-Dollarphotoclub_15934091.jpg" alt="stock broker" title="stock broker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's be honest &mdash; losing money in the stock market isn't fun. Plus, prolonged stock under-performance can undermine your investment strategy. But often, investors really don't know when to sell or when to hold and wait out a storm. Market volatility makes it necessary for every investor to have an exit strategy. Here's how to know when to dump an under-performing stock. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-quick-ways-to-decide-if-a-company-is-worth-your-investment?ref=seealso">4 Quick Ways to Decide if a Company Is Worth Your Investment</a>)</p> <h2>1. Watch Out for Bubble Territory</h2> <p>Unusually high returns could mean a stock is headed for bubble territory. True, some stocks (Apple, anyone?) are just perennial winners. Typically, however, the party doesn't last forever, and what goes up must eventually come down. At the end of the year, consider selling off shares of exceptionally well-performing stocks to rebalance your portfolio's asset allocation and return it to its original allotted positions.</p> <h2>2. Value the Company &mdash; Sell Overvalued Stocks</h2> <p>Before you dump a stock, check its Price Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). The PE Ratio will reveal investor confidence in a company's stock and what they are willing to pay relative to the company's actual earnings. To <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/price-earningsratio.asp">calculate</a> the PE Ratio &mdash; divide the company's stock price by its earnings per share. The standard PE Ratio is anywhere from 15-30. Over 30 is an indicator the company might be overvalued. The PE ratio can be found on websites like <a href="http://www.morningstar.com/">Morningstar</a> and <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/">Marketwatch</a>.</p> <p>Another way to value a stock is by calculating the company's <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/ocfratio.asp">Cash Flow Ratio</a>. To do this, simply divide the cash flow from operations by its current liabilities. The cash flow should be consistent with that of similar companies. If it's higher, it's probably overvalued. Some say this is a better performance measure. This information usually can also be found on the aforementioned financial websites.</p> <h2>3. If the Stock Underperforms for Consecutive Years</h2> <p>If a stock experiences prolonged losses for a number of consecutive years, it may be that Wall Street knows something that you don't. It might be time to sell.</p> <h2>4. Monitor New Management</h2> <p>Mutual funds sometimes hire new fund managers may who may have a different investment philosophy than the previous fund manager. At the end of every year, take a look a the assets within your funds. If you notice shifts to its asset allocation &mdash; such as being weighed more heavily to large cap stocks than before &mdash; this could indicate a change to the fund's strategy. If you're uncomfortable with any changes because they are out of alignment with your investment goals, dump the fund.</p> <h2>5. Offset Capital Gains</h2> <p>When your capital losses exceed your capital gains, it may make sense to dump an under-performing stock. You can deduct up to $3,000 a year against your income and carry over up to $3,000 into following years. But do wait to make a decision until the end of the year. And be mindful of the &quot;<a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/washsalerule.asp">watch/sell</a>&quot; rule that prohibits investors from purchasing the stock or similar investments 30 days before or after the sale.</p> <h2>6. Volatility Is Keeping You Up at Night</h2> <p>Some market conditions are almost unbearable to withstand. Sharp fluctuations are not worth the gamble if they affect your health, or if your investment goals are short-term &mdash; such as for those relying on income from their investments.</p> <p><em>How do you decide whether to sell a stock or fund?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">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/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</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-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</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/2-investing-concepts-everyone-should-know">2 Investing Concepts Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing losing stock stocks and bonds Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:00:08 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1316910 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Social Media Is Still a Smart Investment http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-social-media-is-still-a-smart-investment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-social-media-is-still-a-smart-investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/twitter wall street.jpg" alt="twitter stock market" title="twitter stock market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to the heyday of the social media stock. Not only is the value of shares in companies like LinkedIn and Facebook soaring, but experts also say these companies have got lasting power and major growth potential, making them good long-term investments. Sure, these companies have seen their fair share of challenges. Last year <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/20140715_mprfullreport.pdf">the Federal Reserve called their valuations &quot;stretched&quot;</a> and Twitter's stock value <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/05/06/twitter_s_stock_crashed_after_its_post_ipo_lockup_period_expired.html">slumped to an all-time low</a>. But these companies have lived and learned from their fumbles. Advocates say they've ironed out many of the kinks, making them better poised for a bright future than ever. Here are five reasons to favorite social media in your portfolio.</p> <h2>1. Social Media Is Overtaking Search</h2> <p>Businesses are always looking for better ways to promote themselves and connect with customers, and <a href="http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2014.pdf">social media is overtaking search</a> as one of the most sure-fire, influential ways of doing so. Over 90% of marketers now say that social media is important to their business. That's a strong indicator of social media's import and staying power, both in the business world and on the market.</p> <h2>2. New Revenue Streams Are Emerging</h2> <p>As more and more people take to using social media, the companies that own these networking sites are devising new ways to generate revenue. Twitter, for example, just created a brand new revenue stream by purchasing Niche, a sponsored content generator that connects social media stars with brand names. Facebook is making massive investments in satellite and aerospace technology, which advocates say could prove to be incredibly valuable down the road.</p> <h2>3. Big Data Is an Untapped Cash Cow</h2> <p>Social media companies own massive amounts of raw data that could reveal valuable information about things like how people make purchase decisions or what goods and services they may require in the future. Indeed, Facebook ingests approximately 500 times more data each day than the New York Stock Exchange does. &quot;Facebook is sitting on <a href="http://moneymorning.com/2014/04/10/the-two-best-social-media-companies-to-invest-in-now/">a hidden goldmine</a> if it can figure out a way to monetize the user data of its over one billion user base,&quot; tech sector specialist Michael A. Robinson told Money Morning.</p> <h2>4. The Growth Potential Is Huge</h2> <p>For every four minutes spent online, one is spent using social media. And, particularly with mobile device usage on the rise, experts say there's lots of room for growth. Bruno Del Ama, CEO of Global X Funds, says social media is one of the fastest-growing segments in global capital markets. In fact, there are very few companies growing as fast as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yelp. &quot;I think one of the most interesting things about these companies that's misunderstood is these are actually very defensible business models,&quot; Del Ama told CNBC. &quot;It's very, very difficult to go after, say, a Facebook or a Twitter. Once they build these networks, it's very difficult to displace them once you have&hellip; billions, in the case of Facebook, of users in your network.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Mark Cuban Says They're Solid</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/101867483">Social media stocks are not in a bubble</a>, billionaire investor Mark Cuban told CNBC. &quot;It's not 1999 all over again by a long shot,&quot; said the Dallas Mavericks owner, who made his fortune as an Internet entrepreneur. Yes, social media companies have large valuations. But unlike the '90s, they have good business models and strong revenue growth, too. That makes them solid long-term investments.</p> <p><em>Are you investing in social media stocks? Why or why not?</em></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/5-reasons-social-media-is-still-a-smart-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-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-gambling-away-your-investments">How To Avoid Gambling Away Your Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/survive-the-bear-market-10-steps-to-ride-the-downturn">Survive The Bear Market: 10 Steps To Ride The Downturn</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/who-cares-about-where-the-stock-market-is-headed">Who Cares About Where The Stock Market Is Headed?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-purchase-like-its-1999">It&#039;s Time to Purchase Like It&#039;s 1999</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing social media stock market Mon, 02 Mar 2015 22:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1314958 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-man-finances-Dollarphotoclub_70307056.jpg" alt="senior man finances" title="senior man finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>401(k)s are very important to Americans' retirements &mdash; so important, in fact, that they represent nearly <a href="http://www.ici.org/policy/retirement/plan/401k/faqs_401k">18% of the $24.0 trillion</a> in U.S. retirement assets.</p> <p>But those trillions of dollars aren't reaching their maximum earning potential due to dumb mistakes made by 401(k) owners. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-boost-your-401k-returns?ref=seealso">4 Ways to Boost Your 401(k) Returns</a>)</p> <p>Here are five pitfalls that you should avoid in order to maximize your 401(k) nest egg.</p> <h2>1. Not Exploring Investment Options</h2> <p>401(k) participants spend more time researching options for a new car or vacations than researching their 401(k) investment choices. According to a survey, while 55% of people spend more than five hours conducting research before buying a car, only <a href="http://aboutschwab.com/images/uploads/inline/deck_2014-Schwab-401(k)-Participant-Survey.pdf">11% of those same people</a> spend that much time before making an investment choice for their 401(k).</p> <p>Part of the problem may be that people don't understand their 401(k) investment options. About half of those people surveyed find 401(k) investment materials more confusing than health care benefits materials. Instead of doing it on your own, consider that <a href="http://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/articles/documents/13-0245%202013_empbenefits_fnl.pdf">over half of retirement plans</a> have individual investment advice offered on a one-on-one basis.</p> <h2>2. Borrowing From a 401(k)</h2> <p>An average of 13,000 people take a loan each month out of their 401(k)s for a <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2014/06/09/the-risks-of-taking-a-401-k-loan">median loan of about $4,600</a>. Borrowing from your 401(k) is bad idea for several reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Loaned funds miss out on earnings potential, often for many years;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you lose your job, your full loan balance becomes due;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>By failing to make quarterly payments or paying back the full balance within five years, the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-FAQs-regarding-Loans#4">loan becomes taxable income</a>;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>401(k) participants under age 59&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 22.1000003814697px;">&frac12;</span>&nbsp;that fail to pay their 401(k) loans are subject to an additional 10% early distribution tax;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Once a remaining 401(k) loan balance becomes taxable income, that money can't be rolled over into any eligible retirement plan.</li> </ul> <p>There are very few acceptable instances to borrow from a 401(k), and you should leave your retirement account as a last resort option for financing. Taking loans from your 401(k) can quickly turn into a bad habit. In a one-year study of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/your-money/one-dip-into-401-k-savings-often-leads-to-another.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">180,000 borrowers from 401(k) plans</a>, 25% of them took out a third or fourth loan, and 20% of them took out five or more loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>3. Taking Cashouts When Switching Jobs</h2> <p>When you leave your job, you typically have to choose between taking a cash-out or rolling your 401(k) into a qualifying individual retirement account (IRA). While the first option is taxable, the second one is not.</p> <p>Taking cashouts when switching jobs is a dumb mistake for three reasons:</p> <ul> <li> <p>If you're under age 59 &frac12;, you're liable for both income tax and a 10% early distribution tax;</p> </li> <li> <p>You may not get as much as you think. Some 401(k) plans have a vesting period for employer contributions. Pay special attention if your plan has a cliff-vesting schedule for employer contributions, which means that you only become eligible for employer contributions after a specified date.</p> </li> <li> <p>There is a limit to how much you can contribute to your 401(k) every year. In 2015, the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-401k-and-Profit-Sharing-Plan-Contribution-Limits">maximum contribution limit</a> to a 401(k) is $18,000. This means that once you cashout monies, they may never make it back to your nest egg, without forfeiting part of your future contributions.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If you already took a cashout, still have the money, and are within 60 days from the cashout date, you still have time to roll the money over to an IRA. Don't waste time and avoid taxes!</p> <h2>4. Not Taking Advantage of the Retirement Saver's Credit</h2> <p>This is one time that you want to call up the tax man.</p> <p>Even though you may feel that you're not making much money, you're still very diligently contributing to your 401(k) or other qualifying retirement plan. Uncle Sam would like to reward your hard work by providing you a tax break through the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-Retirement-Savings-Contributions-Credit-(Saver&rsquo;s-Credit)">retirement saver's credit</a>.</p> <p>In 2015, the retirement saver's credit provides a tax credit based on your adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, a married couple filing jointly receives a tax credit that is:</p> <ul> <li>50% of 401(k) contributions when AGI is under $36,500;</li> <li>20% of 401(k) contributions when AGI is between $36,501 and $39,500; and</li> <li>10% of 401(k) contributions when AGI is between $36,501 and $61,000.</li> </ul> <p>Married couples filing jointly can receive up to $4,000 ($2,000 for all other filers) in retirement saver's credit. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Depending on your AGI, you can take advantage of tax breaks such as this. Plus, you can always defer taxes until retirement, when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket.</p> <p>Less taxes, more retirement savings, now that's a great money resolution for any year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a>)</p> <h2>5. Self-Employed: Not Having a Solo 401(k)</h2> <p>Independent contractors, freelancers, and small business owners may think that they're not eligible to open a 401(k). They'd be wrong. They <em>can</em> open a <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/One-Participant-401(k)-Plans">solo 401(k)</a>, also known as an one-participant k or uni-k.</p> <p>Solo 401(k) plans enable the self-employed to save up larger sums for retirement. If you're a sole proprietor and have no employees, you can contribute to your solo 401(k) as employer and employee.</p> <p>For example, let's imagine that you have an S-corporation and earned $40,000 in 2014. You can contribute the maximum $17,500 allowed to your solo 401(k), and your S-corporation can contribute an additional 25% to the plan (an additional $10,000). The total contributions to your nest egg for 2014 would be $27,500.</p> <p>This example shows how a solo 401(k) is a powerful way to catch up in the race for retirement. The IRS allows total contributions to a solo 401(k), not counting catch-up contributions for those age 50 and over, of up to $52,000 for 2014, and $53,000 for 2015. If your spouse earns income from your business, then you can <em>double</em> those contribution limits.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to boost your 401(k) plan? Please share in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">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/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place">You May Be Putting Your Retirement Money in the Wrong Place</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-will-get-you-to-1-million-tax-free">This One Thing Will Get You to $1 Million (Tax-Free!)</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-ways-investing-sucks-and-why-you-should-do-it-anyway">7 Ways Investing Sucks (and Why You Should Do It Anyway)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-investments-smart-people-make">5 Dumb Investments Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-silly-reasons-people-dont-invest-but-should">9 Silly Reasons People Don&#039;t Invest (But Should)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401(k) investing retirement saving Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1309065 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Reasons Why Apple Is Still on a Tear http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-apple-is-still-on-a-tear <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-why-apple-is-still-on-a-tear" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/apple store_0.jpg" alt="apple store" title="apple store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when people were wondering if Apple had lost its mojo? Following the loss of Steve Jobs, the maker of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad went a bit adrift, and investors were left wondering if the company would ever return to form.</p> <p>Now Apple is hotter than ever, as evidenced by its most recent quarterly earnings report, which showed the best results of any corporation in history. Apple recorded a profit of $18 billion in its most recent quarter, with revenue of $74.6 billion. That's a gain of about $1 per share over the same quarter the year prior. Shares of Apple [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/aapl">NASDAQ: AAPL</a>] have risen about 8% in the last month.</p> <p>Apple is back, and there are plenty of reasons to believe it will remain one of the world's best-performing companies through 2015 and beyond. Here are 10 of the main drivers of Apple's success now and down the road.</p> <h2>1. The Brand</h2> <p>Last year, Apple was named <a href="http://fortune.com/worlds-most-admired-companies/">the world's most admired company</a> by Fortune magazine. There's little reason to think it won't be high on the list again this year. <a href="http://interbrand.com/en/best-brands/">Interbrand's rankings of best global brands</a> also slotted Apple at number one, valuing the brand at $118.9 billion, a 20% rise over 2013. When you have a brand as well-known and popular as Apple, your products practically sell themselves.</p> <h2>2. The iPhone</h2> <p>Apple sold a staggering 75.5 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2014, surpassing even the most optimistic estimates of many analysts. The iPhone now has a 15% global share and is the best-selling phone in China.</p> <h2>3. The iWatch</h2> <p>Smart watches aren't new, but consumers have been waiting patiently for Apple's entrance into the category. The <a href="https://www.apple.com/watch/films/#film-reveal">iWatch was first revealed last September</a> to considerable buzz and is expected to go on sale this spring. It has an estimated price tag of more than $300, making it another high-margin product that could revolutionize a category and immediately be a formidable competitor to FitBit, Jawbone, and Nike Fuelband.</p> <h2>4. The Mac</h2> <p>The company reported 5.5 million sales of its computers in the last quarter, representing a 14% year-over-year increase. The company is not as dependent on Mac sales as it once was, and the <a href="http://www.netmarketshare.com/">Mac operating system makes up about 5% of the market</a> compared to more than 90% for Windows. But Mac computers are high-margin products and very helpful to Apple's financials. Expect good results from a new line of MacBook Air laptops this year.</p> <h2>5. The iPad</h2> <p>Sales of the Apple tablet slid by about 15% in 2014, and analyst projections for this year aren't great. But the iPad <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150202005241/en/Worldwide-Tablet-Shipments-Experience-Year-Over-Year-Decline-Fourth#.VNkpnLDF-ey">was still the top tablet on the market in 2014</a>, comprising a 27.6% market share. The decline in iPad sales was largely due to a decline in tablet sales overall, and competitors Samsung and ASUS saw their sales drop even more than Apple's. It's possible that the iPad will comprise a smaller chunk of Apple's revenue moving forward, or the company could blow consumers away with its next version. Don't count out the iPad's role in Apple's well-being just yet.</p> <h2>6. The Apple Television</h2> <p>There have been <a href="http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/apple/apple-television-itv-hdtv-tv-set-release-date-rumours-3375319/">rumors of this product for a while</a>, and it's anyone's guess as to when (or even if) it will be produced. But Apple's success with the retina display on computers and tablets has many consumers salivating over a potential high-definition, Internet-enabled television from Apple. Given Apple's success in creating great consumer products for computing and music, one can expect an Apple television set to be high-quality, easy to use and with a healthy margin. Even the speculation about an Apple television is probably helping the company's stock price a few points.</p> <h2>7. The Beats Music</h2> <p>No one is entirely sure what Apple plans to do with its billion dollar acquisition of Beats Electronics, but the company has been praised for recognizing the potential of a streaming music service. Sales of media from Apple's iTunes have been sagging, but Beats' offers the avenue for Apple to compete with the likes of Spotify and Pandora, which offer streaming music for a monthly fee. And Apple is so well capitalized that <a href="http://9to5mac.com/2015/02/04/apple-beats-cheaper-android-ios/">we should not be surprised if Beats streaming service is priced better than competitors</a>, at least initially. Beats also has a high-end headphone business that should bring in additional revenue.</p> <h2>8. The Mountain of Cash</h2> <p>Apple has nearly $180 billion in cash or bonds, which is larger than the market capitalization of some big companies, including Amazon and Disney. Analysts and investors love to guess what Apple plans to do with all its money, but anything the company does will probably be helpful to investors. It could spend it on research and development, which would benefit the company down the line. It could perform a share buyback or distribute a nice dividend. Or it could make some strategic acquisitions.</p> <h2>9. The International Growth</h2> <p>The United States makes up less than 5% of the world's population, so it makes sense to look outside our borders to find customers. Apple said that 65% of its revenue in the most recent quarter <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/27/apple-q1-sales-in-china-pass-16b-up-157-on-q4-70-on-a-year-ago/">came from international sales</a>. That's up from 60% in the fourth financial quarter last year and 59% the quarter before that. Revenues were up 70% over the year in China, 20% in Europe and 8% in Japan, according to TechCrunch.</p> <h2>10. The Mess at Amazon</h2> <p>One of Apple's chief competitors is Amazon, the online retailer that has also made entries into the smartphone and tablet space. By most accounts, Amazon's launch of the Fire Phone was a disaster, and <a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-takes-170m-charge-on-fire-phone/">the company reported a $170 million charge in the third quarter</a> due to its lack of sales. Amazon also saw its tablet sales drop 66% in 2014. Amazon's products aren't bad, but they haven't been selling, and that's good news for Apple.</p> <p><em>Do you own Apple stock?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-apple-is-still-on-a-tear">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-media-software-for-your-windows-pc">Get Free Media Software for Your Windows PC</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-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment apple computers ipads iphones Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1302502 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Great Investments That Sounded Really Stupid in the 2000s http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/yelp lunchbox 2.jpg" alt="yelp lunchbox" title="yelp lunchbox" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ridicule and high return are often positively correlated.</p> <p>In the 1970's, there was the <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VhBXAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=V0MNAAAAIBAJ&amp;pg=4238%2C2999792">pet rock craze</a>, which reportedly made $15 million in its first six months. Now fast forward to 1989 &mdash; would you have invested in the penny stock of a homebrew computer maker? Well, a <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/1999/dec/28/business/fi-48388">$5,000 investment in Dell</a> that year would have made you $4.5 million by the end of 1999.</p> <p>History tends to repeat itself. Here are four investments that sounded really stupid in the 2000s, yet ended in big paydays for their early investors.</p> <h2>1. Santa Mail</h2> <p>If you're a fan of the TV show <a href="http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank">Shark Tank</a>, you know that it takes a bold pitch with big numbers to impress the sharks.</p> <p>Well, how's this for a pitch? &quot;New York City's Operation Santa responds to about <a href="http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/holidaynews/2014/holiday_santa.htm">500,000 letters to Santa</a> every year for free. However, every year millions of American children write to Santa hoping to get a reply. My plan is to capture some of that market and charge parents about $10 for a personalized letter from the big guy himself! Are you ready to invest, sharks?&quot;</p> <p>This investment proposition sounded really stupid back in 2001 and it probably still does today. However, entrepreneur Byron Reese stuck to his guns and sold <a href="http://www.wattpad.com/51055043-we-all-need-heroes-santa-mail">10,000 letters</a> in his first year of operation. His company Santa Mail has delivered over <a href="http://www.santamail.org/aboutus/">350,000 personalized Christmas letters</a> since then. With over $3.48 million in revenue over the years, he's surely having a Merry Christmas now!</p> <h2>2. Lucky Break Wishbone</h2> <p>After Christmas, Thanksgiving may be the second most important holiday in the U.S.</p> <p>For those of us who love to enjoy a turkey on that day, we often have to fight for a chance to take a crack at the lone wishbone. In 1999, <a href="http://www.luckybreakwishbone.com/ourstory.php">Ken Ahroni</a> thought there had to a better way than fighting over the dinner table for choice turkey.</p> <p>He devised a plastic version of the turkey wishbone and started selling them in 2004. His goal was to give folks a chance to make a wish with every single family member and friend &mdash; not only on Thanksgiving, but also the rest of the year.</p> <p>His silly idea paid off. According to Investopedia.com, within two years his Lucky Break Wishbone Corporation was generating nearly $1 million in sales. You can find his product in several retailers, including Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, and Urban Outfitters.</p> <p>Now, that's a lucky break!</p> <h2>3. Yelp</h2> <p>I bet you that you have already used or will use Yelp this week.</p> <p>While Yelp is now a household name, it wasn't always so. Back in 2004, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russell Simmons were riding high on their successful stint at digital wallet company PayPal. Jeremy and Russell decided to leave Paypal and start their own &quot;high tech&quot; company.</p> <p>What was this revolutionary idea that made them leave their cozy job? An email-based referral network dubbed Yelp. On top of its silly name, Yelp's original platform was so complicated that it <a href="http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100201/youve-been-yelped_pagen_3.html">didn't attract investors</a> beyond the co-founders' friends and family.</p> <p>However, Jeremy and Russell didn't give up and re-focused their company around a review feature. The rest is history. Yelp's user base grew from a total of 12,000 in 2005 to approximately <a href="http://www.yelp.com/about">139 million monthly visitors</a> in 2014. Despite its growing revenue throughout the years, there were still plenty of skeptics when Yelp went public in March 2012 at <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/01/technology/yelp_ipo_price/">$15 a share</a>. A $1,000 investment in Yelp then would be worth about $3600 now.</p> <h2>4. Slanket</h2> <p>When you think of sleeved blankets, you probably think of the Snuggie.</p> <p>However, that's not the original wearable blanket. That title belongs to the Slanket. Created in 1997 by Gary Clegg, the Slanket was first used as a way to stay warm while flipping TV channels late at night in a cold dorm room. This investment idea sounded so stupid that Clegg waited until 2005 before fully committing to it.</p> <p>His first run of <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/the-story-behind-the-original-snuggie/">1,200 units sold out</a> in seven weeks &mdash; a sign that he had to move really, really fast to keep the market. He enjoyed a successful run of QVC sales and was finally ready to introduce a cheaper version, called the <a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/10660101/2/snuggie-cashes-in-where-others-failed.html">Snuzzle</a>, to big box retailers. Instead, in the fall of 2008 the Snuggie aggressively entered the market and became the new king of sleeved blankets. As of 2013, Snuggie has pulled in more than <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/sapna/the-house-that-snuggie-built#.cyMmel8ZXW">$500 million in sales</a>.</p> <p>While the Slanket is still selling, it has been estimated that the Snuggie has outsold the Slanket 20-to-1. The Snuggie has been such a hit, that there's even a <a href="http://snuggiepet.com">version for dogs</a>!</p> <p>If you snooze, you lose!</p> <p>Ghandi said it best, &quot;first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they hate you, then they fight you, then you win.&quot; These four ventures are proof that dedication to your ideas, no matter how much they may be ridiculed, pays off in the end.</p> <p><em>What &quot;crazy&quot; investment from the 2000's do you wish you had jumped on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-ways-to-turn-500-into-a-better-future">12 Smart Ways to Turn $500 Into a Better Future</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-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing luck windfall Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1302125 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Most Successful Women Investors http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-most-successful-women-investors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman-investor-stocks-computers-Dollarphotoclub_15934300.jpg" alt="businesswoman stocks" title="businesswoman stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you hear &quot;successful investors&quot; who comes to mind? Maybe Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, or Ron Perelman? Often, there isn't a single woman in the bunch. This article means to change that. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett?ref=seealso"> 5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>Below are seven women who have bucked the stereotype and built enormously successful investment careers despite the &quot;old boys&quot; club of finance.</p> <h2>1. Geraldine Weiss</h2> <p>Though she was a top finance student at the University of California, not a single investment firm considered Weiss for a role beyond being a secretary. She refused to be deterred from having her say, so she started <a href="http://www.iqtrends.com/index.htm">Investment Quality Trends (IQT): For the enlightened investor</a>, a finance newsletter. When she started receiving hate mail from people who said a woman wasn't capable of giving investment advice, she began to sign her newsletter &quot;G. Weiss&quot; and soldiered on. That was 50 years ago. Today she remains one of the most successful and prolific investors, analysts, writers, lecturers, and TV personalities in the world of finance.</p> <h2>2. Muriel Siebert</h2> <p>In 1967, the NYSE was a world where no woman-owned brokerage firm had ever gone before. Siebert changed that. Despite blatant and constant attempts to keep her brokerage firm, <a href="https://www.siebertnet.com/">Muriel Siebert &amp; Co.</a>, from registering with the NYSE, she refused to take &quot;no&quot; for an answer. Unfortunately, her company remains the only woman-owned national brokerage firm on the NYSE today. Siebert passed away in 2013 leaving a rich legacy in finance and politics that continues to inspire and encourage women today.</p> <h2>3. Lubna S. Olayan</h2> <p>Saudi Arabia is known for the stifling limitations it places on women in the social, political, and business realms. Olayan didn't let that stop her. After building an illustrious career in finance rising through the ranks of <a href="http://www.olayan.com/">Olayan Finance Company</a>, a conglomerate of 40 manufacturing firms, she is now the CEO. Despite her heritage, she often faces intense criticism. She does so with grace and strength, and refuses to let the ignorance and oppression of the Saudi government limit her. She serves as a pillar of courage to women in the Middle East and all over the world.</p> <h2>4. Deborah A. Farrington</h2> <p><a href="http://www.starvestpartners.com/">StarVest Partners</a> is a behemoth in the world of venture capital, where Farrington is a co-founder. She's also served as President and CEO of Victory Ventures, LLC; Chairman of Staffing Resources, Inc; and continues to hold numerous director and committee roles at technology companies, Smith College, and Harvard (her alma maters), and a leading international microfinance organization.</p> <h2>5. Marianne Abib-Pech</h2> <p>After a successful business career that included stints at Arthur Andersen, GE, and Shell International Petroleum, Abib-Pech struck out on her own. She boldly moved to Hong Kong to write an investment book and founded <a href="http://leadthefuture.biz/">Lead the Future (LTF)</a>, a leadership consulting firm, a financial advising, and thought leadership platform rolled into one. High-profile oil and gas companies are among her diverse clients.</p> <h2>6. Kathy Xu</h2> <p>Warren Buffett is known for only investing in concepts he can understand. He doesn't jump on fads and isn't persuaded by paper-thin trends. Kathy Xu, arguably the most successful investor in China (male or female), is known for her prudence and shrewd decisions. Once she makes an investment, she's in it for the long haul. Xu started her Shanghai-based private equity firm, <a href="http://capitaltoday.com/eng/index.html">Capital Today</a>, 10 years ago and her track record is impeccable. Her latest jewel? The IPO of JD, China's second largest e-retailer.</p> <h2>7. Nehal Chopra</h2> <p>Since the last recession cycle started in 2007, hedge funds and their managers have been hammered by less-than-appealing returns. Ratan Capital Management, the firm founded by Chopra, has bucked that trend to the envy of every other hedge fund manager,often returning 20%+. At 35, she oversees $750 million in assets.</p> <p>What truly impresses me about these women is that they didn't let criticism and negativity stop them from reaching for their goals. In fact, they seemed to use it as fuel to reach higher. They're role models for all of us &mdash; women and men alike.</p> <p><em>Who inspires you to invest and save more?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than 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/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment business women investing success Wall Street Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1299816 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/george soros 2.jpg" alt="george soros" title="george soros" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're referred to as the &quot;Sage&quot; or &quot;Oracle,&quot; you know you're doing things right.</p> <p>Born in 1930, Warren Buffett is regarded as one of the most successful investors in history. The Oracle of Omaha gets a great deal of attention because he's not only down to business, but also down-to-earth. Despite his multi-billion fortune, he still lives in his modest home in Omaha, Nebraska. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-made-billionaires-investment-lessons-from-their-success?ref=seealso">Self-Made Billionaires: Investment Lessons From Their Success</a>)</p> <p>However, there are several critics that claim that Buffett's performance, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/business/the-oracle-of-omaha-lately-looking-a-bit-ordinary.html?_r=0">particularly since 2009</a>, is more myth than reality. Here are five investors who give Buffett a run for his money.</p> <h2>1. Carl Icahn</h2> <p>Just like the entertainment world has the &quot;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/edanlepucki/book-bump">Colbert Bump</a>,&quot; the world of investments has the &quot;Icahn Lift.&quot; The Icahn Lift describes the surge in stock price when Carl Icahn starts acquiring shares in a company.</p> <p>Born in New York City, Icahn has, in some ways, an arguably better record than Buffett. From 1968 through 2011, Icahn grew his original $100,000 investment in his firm at a <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/investing/T052-C000-S002-carl-icahn-better-investor-than-buffett.html">31% annual rate</a>, while Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had &quot;only&quot; a 20% annual growth rate. This statistic doesn't offer a full picture of each investor's stock picks, but it's a meaningful point of comparison.</p> <p>Despite his impressive record, there are two main reasons why Icahn is not as popular as Buffett. First, he is one of the most well known &quot;corporate raiders&quot; or &quot;shareholder activists.&quot; Picture a financial Robin Hood of sorts that steals from the greedy, inept managers to give back to the shareholders. By following this strategy, Icahn has challenged several well-known businessmen, such as former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, and received plenty of criticism from the media. Second, Icahn's quirky ways and contrarian investment strategies aren't as easy to digest for the average investor as Buffett's charming comments and no-nonsense investment style.</p> <p>But at the end of the day, money talks. And Icahn's cash is very loud!</p> <h2>2. George Soros</h2> <p>Born in Hungary in 1930, George Soros is a renowned hedge fund manager and one of the world's greatest investors.</p> <p>Unlike Buffett's slow-and-steady approach, Soro's strategy is to take bold, yet very profitable, bets. He is best known for his September 16, 1992 transaction, when he made a single-day <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/08/george-soros-bank-of-england.asp">gain of $1 billion dollars</a> by short selling the British pound (a short sale is a bet that the value of something will drop). This successful bet earned him the nickname of &quot;the man that broke the Bank of England,&quot; and cemented his reputation as one of the premier currency speculators in the world.</p> <p>Soros continues to make headlines. For example, as of September 2014, his investment firm held a <a href="http://www.gurufocus.com/news/276957/george-soros-20-billion-bet-on-a-stock-market-collapse">$2.0 billion bet</a> that the U.S. stock market would collapse. Will he be right again and make a huge fortune? Only time will tell.</p> <h2>3. Peter Lynch</h2> <p>While you may not his name, you've heard one or more of his investment mantras:</p> <ul> <li>&quot;During the Gold Rush, most would-be miners lost money, but people who sold them picks, shovels, tents, and blue-jeans (Levi Strauss) made a nice profit.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;Know what you own, and know why you own it.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;All the math you need in the stock market you get in the fourth grade.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>Peter Lynch's books <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743200403/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743200403&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W6HQ6GUHNRFLI5YR">One Up On Wall Street</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671891634/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0671891634&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IF4BQWGOTZ36FU3M">Beating The Street</a> have sold millions of copies and are considered mandatory reading for any investor, regardless of level of expertise.</p> <p>But Lynch is not all theory. He has the business acumen to back up his investment advice. He was at the helm of Fidelity's Magellan Fund, one of the world's best known actively managed mutual funds from 1977 to 1990.</p> <p>Lynch's record is very impressive. If you had invested $1,000 in Fidelity's Magellan Fund during Lynch's tenure, you would <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/betting/pros/lynch.html">have earned $28,000</a>. During those 13 years, Lynch reportedly beat the S&amp;P 500 Index (a key benchmark of the stock market) in 11 of those 13 years. He transformed $18 million in assets into <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/peter-lynch-charlie-rose-investing-2013-12">more than $14 billion</a>.</p> <h2>4. John &quot;Jack&quot; Bogle</h2> <p>Buffett has laid out two <a href="http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/2013ar/2013ar.pdf" style="text-decoration:none;">clear instructions in his will</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Deliver cash (no shares because those will all go to charity) to a trustee for his wife's benefit; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Advise the trustee to put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in Vanguard's S&amp;P 500 index fund.</li> </ul> <p>If Buffett is willing to put 90% of the cash in his will in a Vanguard fund, then the performance of that company must be pretty darn good. When you talk about Vanguard, you have to talk about John Clifton &quot;Jack&quot; Bogle. He is the founder and retired CEO of The Vanguard Group.</p> <p>Under Bogle's leadership, Vanguard became the second largest fund company, commanding $428.4 billion, or 8.83% of all mutual-fund assets by Bogle's retirement in 1999. The number one spot that year went to Lynch's Fidelity.</p> <p>Bogle has long been a champion of low-cost index investing. He advocates sticking to index mutual funds without commision charges and with low turnover of assets. Given Buffett's lackluster performance since 2009 and decision to leave 90% of his will in a Vanguard index fund, it looks like Bogle's &quot;plain vanilla&quot; ways may have the <a href="http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article.aspx?ArticleId=3421707">last laugh</a>.</p> <h2>5. Michael Steinhardt</h2> <p>Last but not least, Michael Steinhardt is a Wall Street legend. From 1967 to 1995 (that's 28 years!) his hedge fund returned an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelnoer/2014/01/22/michael-steinhardt-wall-streets-greatest-trader-is-back-and-hes-reinventing-investing-again/">average of 24.5% annually</a>. What's even more impressive about this return is that it was possible even after Steinhardt's 20% cut of the profits.</p> <p>To put this in perspective, let's imagine that you had $10,000 back in 1967:</p> <ul> <li>If you had invested it all in Steinhardt's hedge fund, you would have ended with $4.8 million by 1995.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On the other hand, the same $10,000 in the S&amp;P 500 would have been worth $190,000.</li> </ul> <p>Steinhardt achieved his remarkable annual returns with a wide variety of financial instruments, ranging from stocks to bonds to options. Unlike other investors, he is equally proficient in short and long time horizons.</p> <p>What does Steinhart himself have to say about Buffett? &quot;He is the greatest PR person of recent times and he has managed to achieve a snow job that conned virtually everyone in the press to my knowledge,&quot; he <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-steinhardt-bashes-warren-buffett-greatest-pr-person-of-all-time-conned-everybody-2011-4">claimed back in 2011</a>. Only a man with Steinhardt's Wall Street record would have the <em>chutzpah</em> to make such a remark.</p> <p><em>Are there other investors that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors">The 7 Most Successful Women Investors</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-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing investors success winning Thu, 19 Feb 2015 14:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1290211 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gold-coins-stock-market-investment-Dollarphotoclub_50775754.jpg" alt="gold coins stock market" title="gold coins stock market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The almost six-year long bull market may be waning, as many on Wall Street predict stocks will fizzle in 2015. While the Goldman Sachs Global And Regional GDP Forecast for 2015 predicts <a href="http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/2015/">the U.S economy will grow by 3.1%</a>, many analysts project modest single-digit returns for the S&amp;P 500. Consider these ways to boost your returns in 2015.</p> <h2>1. Emerging Markets</h2> <p>Emerging markets are rewarding for international investors who are able to recognize the tremendous growth potential of developing nations. While many emerging markets have experienced something of a slowdown recently, they are nonetheless projected to grow two to three times faster than the U.S. over the next several years. But investing in foreign markets means putting some extra time and effort into doing your due diligence. Not all emerging markets are the same, and investing in them usually carries significant risk.</p> <p>The easiest and most convenient way to invest in emerging markets is through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds. (Check out ETF Database's list of the <a href="http://etfdb.com/etfdb-category/emerging-markets-equities/">top 10 emerging market ETFs.</a>) ETFs and mutual funds are also cost-efficient and can be lower-risk than many other emerging market investments.</p> <h2>2. Forex</h2> <p>Many major currencies have experienced significant fluctuations in recent months &mdash; the dramatic, <a href="http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&amp;to=CHF&amp;view=1Y">overnight appreciation of the Swiss Franc</a> in January is just the most sensational example. Though less extreme, the recent depreciation of the Euro vs the US dollar is yet another instance in which astute forex traders were able to make a killing.</p> <p>Investors who trade currency are speculating against its future value and are attempting to take advantage of market fluctuations. But investing in the Forex market makes basic knowledge of currencies and economics a must. If you're interested in currency trading, <a href="http://www.forex.com/">Forex.com</a> offers an easy to follow beginners video library and practice account to help you get started.</p> <h2>3. Commodities</h2> <p>Trading commodities is another great way to target your investments. Sure, many commodities (such as oil, of course) are having a down year, but that doesn't mean that you can't make money off of them. If you believe oil or other commodities will rise again fairly soon, this may be a great time to buy on the cheap. Exposure to commodities such as gold, agriculture, coffee, wheat, and oil can be easily had through ETFs and mutual funds or stocks of commodity mining or producing companies.</p> <p>But what if you don't believe commodities will rise anytime soon? Well, you can still make money in the sector. Inverse ETFs enable you to bet that prices will <em>decline</em>. Consider this <a href="http://www.morningstar.com/invest/categories/trading-inverse-commodities-etfs">Morningstar list of inverse commodity ETFs</a> if you're interested in placing a bet on their continued weakness.</p> <h2>4. U.S. Stock Market</h2> <p>Yes, there are still opportunities to be had in domestic stocks. Cyclic economic factors can upset and disturb certain business sectors, even while others thrive. For example, the surge in oil production in the U.S. has driven down the cost per barrel. The trickle down effect is fewer petroleum imports, lower fuel prices, and a stronger US dollar, which is expected to boost travel and all manner of domestic consumption.</p> <p>It's projected that Americans will increase domestic and international travel this year by 7% according to the U.S. Travel Association. The increase in revenue for travel and tourism companies will result in higher earnings, which should, in turn, drive up these companies' stock prices. Identifying such windows of opportunity in the U.S. market requires doing your due diligence, but they do exist and profits can still be made in 2015.</p> <p><em>How will you invest in 2015?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">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/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People 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/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</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/2-investing-concepts-everyone-should-know">2 Investing Concepts Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment emerging markets ETFs forex investing Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:08 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1289838 at http://www.wisebread.com Profit on the Oil Bust With These 10 Cheap Energy Stocks http://www.wisebread.com/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chevron corporate sign.jpg" alt="chevron sign" title="chevron sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The recent decline in oil prices has certainly been great news for motorists, who have seen gasoline prices fall to their lowest prices in years. But with crude oil prices below $50, it's hard for many companies in the oil industry to make a profit, and their share prices have declined accordingly.</p> <p>But don't run away from these stocks &mdash; many are quality holdings which are likely to rise again when oil rebounds. In fact, you might consider scooping some of these up on the cheap, turning a profit when prices climb again.</p> <p>Here's a look at 10 high-quality energy stocks and ETF's that have been hammered in recent months.</p> <h2>1. iShares Oil and Gas ETF [NYSE: IEO]</h2> <p>As of the first week of February, shares were down more than 12% over the past 52 weeks. This ETF includes holdings in some of the largest oil and gas companies in America, and seeks to track the Dow Jones U.S. Select Oil Exploration &amp; Production Index. Full disclosure: I bought a small number of shares back in December, assuming oil prices weren't getting much lower. It's been a good bet so far, as I've seen shares rise about 6%. But it will be a while before we see shares get back to levels from even a year ago.</p> <h2>2. iShares U.S. Oil Equipment and Services ETF [NYSE: IEZ]</h2> <p>Like the broader Oil and Gas ETF, shares have been pounded since the drop in oil prices began. Shares of IEZ are now 25% less valuable than they were a year ago, and are down more than 35% in the last 6 months. This ETF has holdings in some of the largest gas equipment companies, most of whom have seen their shares take a dive.</p> <h2>3. SPDR S&amp;P Oil &amp; Gas Equipment &amp; Services ETF [NYSE: XES]</h2> <p>This exchange-traded fund tracks the oil and gas equipment sector, and has been hammered over the last year. Shares are down 38% in the past 12 months, and dropped 20% during one brutal two-week period in November.</p> <h2>4. ExxonMobil [NYSE: XOM]</h2> <p>There was a time when ExxonMobil was the largest company in the world. Low crude oil prices have put a dent in the company's overall market cap, but it's still a huge company, with revenues of $32.5 billion in 2014. Fourth-quarter earnings were about $6.6 billion, or 21% lower than the same quarter in 2013. Shares are down about 11% since a 52-week high in July.</p> <h2>5. Halliburton [NYSE: HAL]</h2> <p>Down nearly 40% in the last year, this gargantuan oilfield services firm has not been immune to the lowering of oil prices. Halliburton is heavily involved in the extraction of shale oil, which has helped boost overall production in the U.S. But this extraction process is expensive, and peak oil flows don't last long. Thus, it may be some time before prices rebound to previous levels. Value investors, however, might get excited at the notion of buying shares of a large firm like this for near $40, and share prices did rise slightly at the end of January.</p> <h2>6. Schlumberger [NYSE: SLB]</h2> <p>Shares of this Houston-based Halliburton competitor reached as high as $118 in July of last year, but then tumbled to under $76 within six months. They've crept up a bit since, but are still more than 7% off of the 52-week high. The company announced <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/15/news/economy/schlumberger-oil-jobs/">layoffs of about 9,000 workers in January</a>, citing a slowdown in drilling activity.</p> <h2>7. Conoco Phillips [NYSE: COP]</h2> <p>In late January, the nation's third-largest oil company said it would reduce its spending on oil exploration this year. Conoco reported a $39 million loss for the fourth quarter, down from a profit of $2.5 billion the year prior. As the company fights to make money with crude oil prices so low, shares of Conoco have fallen by about 25% since July.</p> <h2>8. Chevron [NYSE: CVX]</h2> <p>One of the world's largest oil producers, Chevron is still trading above $100. But shares are down more than 11% from a 52-week high. The company reported fourth quarter earnings of $3.5 billion &mdash; still a huge chunk of change &mdash; but down from $4.9 billion during the same quarter a year prior. Chevron said <a href="http://investor.chevron.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=130102&amp;p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=2012160">it will spend 13% less in oil exploration this year</a> than in 2014.</p> <h2>9. Whiting Petroleum [NYSE: WLL]</h2> <p>This company has big oil operations in North Dakota and in the Rocky Mountains, and has had one rocky year. Whiting is one company known to have share prices correlate strongly with the price of oil, and shares have been brutalized in the last year, down a full 48% in 52 weeks and a whopping 60 points (66%) since September. Whiting completed a deal for Kodiak Oil &amp; Gas in December; the value of the all-stock deal was nearly half of its initial proposed price.</p> <h2>10. Continental Resources [NYSE: CLR]</h2> <p>Like Whiting, Continental's share prices track closely with oil prices, so it's been a tough road for the company recently. Shares are down 16% over the last 52 weeks and 40% since September. Continental <a href="http://investors.clr.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=197380&amp;p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=2001684">said it plans to operate 31 rigs in 2015</a>, down from 50 in 2014. There is some good news for Continental, as shares are up $14, or 43% since mid-December.</p> <p><em>Are you dumping oil and energy stocks, or loading up on them now that they're cheap?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-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-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People 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/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment crude oil energy stocks investing oil prices oil stocks Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1286249 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman-tablet-online-investment-finance-Dollarphotoclub_56212911.jpg" alt="businesswoman tablet" title="businesswoman tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting good investment advice is no longer a privilege of the filthy rich. The Internet has made readily available the kind of expert, personally tailored investment guidance that was once enjoyed exclusively by the likes of movie stars, monied inheritors, and CEOs. Many of these &quot;robo-advisors&quot; will not only design a personalized portfolio for your specific needs, but they'll even make the trades for you, suggest ways to minimize your taxes, and rebalance your accounts.</p> <p>But with so many web brands peddling low-cost financial advice, it can be hard to figure out where to turn. So we've done the homework for you. Read on for our pick of the top automated investment advisors on the internet. You can thank us when those big returns start coming in.</p> <h2>1. Wealthfront</h2> <p>Wealthfront was built on the principle that <a href="https://www.wealthfront.com/">you don't need a lot of money to reap big benefits from the world of investment</a>. Free for accounts totaling $10,000 or less, this automated investment service is one of the largest, claiming over $1.5 billion in client assets.</p> <p>Aside from its free-of-charge service offer for smaller accounts (accounts larger than $10,000 are billed an annual fee of .25%), what sets Wealthfront apart from other online advisors is its stable of <a href="https://www.wealthfront.com/investment-team">world-class financial experts</a>. Working under the leadership of Burton Malkiel, a renowned economist who helped trail-blaze the low-cost investing revolution, the folks at Wealthfront excel at making small money grow big. All you need to do is meet the $5,000 account balance minimum and answer a few questions about your investment goals. Wealthfront takes care of the rest.</p> <h2>2. Betterment</h2> <p>Dubbed &quot;<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/03/marketriders_betterment_and_personal_capital_three_sites_that_help_you_stop_investing_like_an_idiot_.html">the easiest investment site you'll ever use</a>&quot; by Slate, Betterment clients receive <a href="http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3839103206001/a-new-way-to-invest/?#sp=show-clips">4.3% better returns</a> on average than a typical DIY investor. CEO Jon Stein said that's why the robo-advising brand has hooked more than 50,000 clients. As Stein told Fox Business, &quot;People come to us and they tell us about their goals and then based on those goals and the time horizon, we create portfolios for them and then manage those portfolios for tax efficiency, we rebalance them automatically, and we do everything that a smart investor should do by using technology.&quot;</p> <p>What sets Betterment apart from other online advisors is something that will appeal to investment newbies: You can open an account with Betterment <a href="https://www.betterment.com/">even if you have no money</a>. However, the company recommends a monthly deposit of $100, which is just enough to waive the $3 fee per month for accounts less than $10,000.</p> <h2>3. AssetBuilder</h2> <p>AssetBuilder only accepts accounts of $50,000 or greater, which means it's <a href="http://assetbuilder.com/">best suited for the more dedicated investor</a>. The company, co-founded by widely read personal finance writer Scott Burns, uses funds inclined to earn a smidgen more than normal index funds from a firm called <a href="http://us.dimensional.com/">Dimensional Fund Advisors</a>. These D.F.A. funds are typically off-limits to individual investors, making AssetBuilder's portfolio offerings all the more attractive to folks who otherwise wouldn't hire a financial advisor. Choose from a menu of conservative, moderate, or aggressive portfolios designed to match your money with the kind of growth potential and risk tolerance you're seeking. Claiming more than $600 million in assets, AssetBuilder charges between .45% and .20% in annual fees, depending on how much is invested.</p> <h2>4. FutureAdvisor</h2> <p>FutureAdvisor specializes in retirement planning. All of it's investment recommendations are made with the goal of setting you up for the most comfortable retirement years possible.</p> <p>With FutureAdvisor, you can get your 401(k), IRA, and other accounts analyzed, plus receive recommendations on how to improve your existing investments &mdash; <a href="https://www.futureadvisor.com/">absolutely free of charge</a>. Then, if you're impressed with the results and want to hire FutureAdvisor as your investment manager, there's a monthly fee of either $9 or $19, depending on the value of your assets. Another perk is the ability to automatically sync your account into FutureAdvisor's recommended asset allocation. FutureAdvisor will perform all the trades for you &mdash; all you have to do is grant it the green light to do so. And unlike Wealthfront and Betterment, FutureAdvisor works off your existing portfolio. <a href="http://investorjunkie.com/32430/futureadvisor-review/">You never have to transfer your assets into their firms</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you used a robo-advisor? Which one and why?</em></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/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People 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/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</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/2-investing-concepts-everyone-should-know">2 Investing Concepts Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment financial advice financial adviser investing rob-adviser Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1283489 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Women Are Better Investors Than Men http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-investor-coin-stacks-Dollarphotoclub_63179113.jpg" alt="woman investor " title="woman investor " class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's no secret that the finance and investing industries are dominated by men. The <a href="http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/2013-catalyst-census-fortune-500-women-board-directors">2013 Catalyst Census</a> study, for example, found that within Fortune 500 companies, women represented only 11.4% of CFOs and 17.6% of executive level officers in finance and insurance.</p> <p>But that doesn't mean women are less successful investors. To the contrary: Some traits found more commonly in male investors, such as overconfidence, are associated with poor investment decisions and lower returns, according to a <a href="https://www.investmentphilosophy.com/uploads/cms/51d6f125f21d6.pdf">Barclays Wealth Insights</a> study of high net-worth individuals. Furthermore, the report suggested five key ways in which women might actually have an edge.</p> <h2>1. Women Trade Less Frequently</h2> <p>Men traded more frequently, perhaps as a risk aversion strategy. Greater trading frequency leads to higher commissions and fees, which can erode returns and potentially undermine an investment strategy. Women are more likely to stay the course long-term.</p> <p><img width="605" height="228" alt="Image" style="border: none; transform: rotate(0.00rad); -webkit-transform: rotate(0.00rad);" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-yRhTnm1iGlxY8c3AROr6QK-L6w5TOGnIJ_HnloEc8RcLlOFlus74O2SYYT0NImHzh2gFI1cr1fU1S-ZswS4EethZfzZygeCAdTSp06-60JhEmP3btHFUOpdolOlX7x9cw" /></p> <h2>2. Women Are Inclined to Use Proven Financial Strategies</h2> <p>When faced with tough financial decisions, &quot;failures of rationality&quot; make it difficult to stick to proven financial strategies, resulting in missed opportunities, short-term financial decision horizons, buying high and selling low, and action bias (trading too often). Women were more likely to use proven financial strategies and avoid these mistakes.</p> <h2>3. Women Choose Lower Risk Investments</h2> <p>The study found that men were more likely to consider themselves financial risk takers and were more willing to choose high-risk investments in order to achieve higher returns, even when sticking to financial principles would have achieved higher gains. Women pursued a steadier course and had more stable returns.</p> <h2>4. Women Have a Greater Desire for Self-Control</h2> <p>Of the subjects studied, it was concluded that using tested investment strategies was linked to increased financial satisfaction and greater wealth. Women comprised a higher percentage of those individuals possessing a high degree of financial discipline.</p> <h2>5. Women Don't Try to Time the Market</h2> <p>Women were said to more commonly use self-control strategies &mdash; a trait that makes them less likely to react in haste to market swings. Men tried to time the market more often, exposing them to greater risk and return variability.</p> <p><em>What differences have you noticed between male and female investing styles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People 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/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing investing and gender risk women investors Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:05 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1282997 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Big Tech Stocks Offering Big Returns http://www.wisebread.com/4-big-tech-stocks-offering-big-returns <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-big-tech-stocks-offering-big-returns" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/aol sign 2.jpg" alt="aol sign" title="aol sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Linkedin.</p> <p>These days, it seems that tech analysts only have eyes for social media companies. But several companies are thriving in other tech fields &mdash; and their stocks are, too.</p> <p>Here is a list of four cool tech stocks you should consider in 2015.</p> <h2>1. Alibaba</h2> <p>You can't talk about cool tech stocks without talking about Alibaba (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BABA">NYSE: BABA</a>). The Chinese ecommerce giant was the highlight of 2014 when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-22/alibaba-s-banks-said-to-increase-ipo-size-to-record-25-billion.html">biggest ever IPO at $25 billion</a>. To put things in perspective, the previous holder of the title of largest IPO was Facebook, with a $16 billion market value.</p> <p>Founded in 1999 by Jack Ma from his apartment, the Alibaba Group focuses on ecommerce (<a href="http://www.alibaba.com/us">Alibaba.com</a>), online auction hosting (<a href="http://www.taobao.com/">Taobao.com</a>), online money transfers (<a href="http://global.alipay.com/">Alipay</a>), and other types of ecommerce (e.g. think of a mashup between Amazon.com, eBay, Groupon, and PayPal). The company had such outstanding performance in 2014, that its <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-11/jack-ma-becomes-asia-s-richest-person-on-alibaba-surge.html">founder became the richest person in Asia</a> in December of the same year.</p> <p>This Chinese online merchant can backup its high valuations with ever growing sales records. For example, during 2014's &quot;Singles' Day&quot; (invented in 2009 by Alibaba as China's anti&ndash;Valentine's Day), the company's <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/alibabas-singles-day-bigger-than-black-friday-2014-11-10">sales topped $9 billion</a>. Not only has Alibaba turned Singles' Day into the largest shopping day in the world, but the company also has the potential to spread Singles' Day to the rest of the world through its shopping portals.</p> <p>Now you have a great answer to the question: &quot;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e0n7vTLz1U">You know what's cooler than a million dollars?</a>&quot;</p> <h2>2. PayPal</h2> <p>I know what you're thinking, &quot;Silly Damian, PayPal isn't a tech stock &mdash; it's owned by eBay!&quot;</p> <p>Well, PayPal isn't a tech stock&hellip; just yet. After 12 years, <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/paypal-and-ebay-split-132256484.html">PayPal and eBay are planning to part ways</a> and start trading as separate entities this 2015. This is huge news: Over a 12-month period, <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/ebay-to-spin-off-paypal-adopting-strategy-backed-by-icahn/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=1">PayPal processes about $203 billion in payment volume and handles about 153 million active digital wallets</a>.</p> <p>Unlike newer companies, such as Square and Apple Pay, PayPal hasn't necessarily done much to innovate within the online payment industry in recent years. Still, PayPal has a lot going for it. The company currently handles $1 for every $6 spent online and holds an impressive 19% year-on-year growth rate. Also, PayPal holds two smart acquisitions: <a href="http://www.braintreepayments.com">Braintree</a>, a mobile and Web payment platform for ecommerce companies, and <a href="http://www.venmo.com">Venmo</a>, a payments company that doubles as a social network.</p> <p>The spin off of PayPal from eBay is one tech stock transaction to watch in 2015 because it may shape the future direction of the online payment industry &mdash; and your investments.</p> <h2>3. Activision Blizzard</h2> <p>Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Spyro The Dragon. You probably recognize some of those names.</p> <p>How about Activision Blizzard? Well, that's the company behind those and many more big-time video game titles. Activision Blizzard Inc. (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=ATVI">NASDAQ:ATVI</a>) has been around since the Atari era (remember <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvli9CXSqP4">Enduro</a> or <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pslbO6Fddhw">Pitfall!</a>?). If you had bought $1,000 worth of Activision stock back in 1993, <a href="http://investor.activision.com/calculator.cfm?PostBack=1&amp;initialAmnt=1000.00&amp;calc_method=amnt&amp;historic_Month=10&amp;historic_Day=22&amp;historic_Year=1993&amp;Submit=Calculate&amp;ReinvestDividends=1">your investment would be over $19,100 today</a>.</p> <p>Some analysts suggest that <a href="http://seekingalpha.com/article/2790705-why-2015-could-be-a-great-year-for-activision-blizzard">2015 could be a great year for Activision</a>:</p> <ul> <li>The company has a wide portfolio of game properties across several consoles, including Xbox One, Playstation 4, Wii U, and iPhone/iPad.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Its World of Warcraft franchise has amassed up to 12 million subscribers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the <a href="http://investor.activision.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=884070">biggest entertainment launch of 2014</a> in terms of revenue, surpassing all movie, music, and book launches.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Its newest release, Skylanders, is poised to become a <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/09/08/is-activision-blizzard-stock-a-buy-before-the-bigg.aspx">cash cow for several years</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>With its <a href="http://www.skylanders.com">Skylanders game series</a>, Activision is securing a new generation of young gamers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>According to its 2014 Q3 statements, <a href="http://investor.activision.com/reports.cfm">Activision has over $3.8 billion in cash reserves</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>4. AOL</h2> <p>Our children and grandchildren may never understand the joys and miseries that the <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/06/the-mechanics-and-meaning-of-that-ol-dial-up-modem-sound/257816/">Pshhhkkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchcch*ding*ding*ding&quot; </a>modem sound brought to our lives. Just like the Tamagotchis, the Power Rangers, and the Friends cast members, AOL used to be really hot back in the 90s. Unlike other crazy 90s fads, such as Furby or Tickle Me Elmo, AOL is still alive and kicking.</p> <p>What makes AOL (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AOL">NYSE:AOL</a>) cool is that it has a devoted user base that refuses to catch up with the times. In 2013 the company made <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/aol-is-still-the-weirdest-successful-tech-company-in-america/275673/">$168 million in subscription fees</a> for services such as AIM. This prompts two questions. First, who are these people? Second, do they want to buy my Beanie Babies and Pokemon collections?</p> <p>Nowadays, AOL is a conglomeration of websites that earn revenue by selling ad space online. Its most well known site is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/">The Huffington Post</a>, which receives <a href="http://www.corp.aol.com">about 94 million views monthly</a>. Tech analysts have mixed feelings about AOL, but they all agree that this is a company that won't go without a fight. After all, its family of sites, including TechCrunch and Joystiq, continues to connect with readers across the world.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite tech stock?</em></p> <p><em>(Disclaimer: I neither own any of these stocks nor receive compensation by the mentioned companies.)</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-big-tech-stocks-offering-big-returns">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People 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/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment internet stocks investing tech stocks Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:00:32 +0000 Damian Davila 1282593 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Investments That Do Better in Winter http://www.wisebread.com/5-investments-that-do-better-in-winter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-investments-that-do-better-in-winter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stock-traders-investment-Dollarphotoclub_74888921.jpg" alt="stock trader investment" title="stock trader investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.weatherbell.com/public-winter-14-15-forecast">This winter could be one of the snowiest</a> and most frigid in the last 50 years, predicts Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell Analytics. That's bad for our heating bills and chances of avoiding a wretched winter cold. But it's great for certain types of investments, which tend to skyrocket in the ice and gloom.</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of some of the best places to grow your money in the depths of winter. Because if your weather can't be hot, your investments might as well be.</p> <h2>1. Vail Resorts</h2> <p>Skiers behold: There's a <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=MTN">publically traded ski resort</a>, and it is Vail Mountain Resorts (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=MTN">NYSE: MTN</a>). Perhaps it should be no surprise that its stock tends to spike during winter, when skiing and other snow sports at the company's seven resort properties are in full force. The 2014-2015 winter season is looking to be a particularly good one for Vail stockholders, following the company's recent announcement of plans to build the largest U.S. mountain resort at Utah's Park City, starting with <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/vail-resorts-invest-unprecedented-50-130000891.html">an unprecedented $50 million investment</a>. With such a game-changing project in the works, <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/mtn/analyst-research">analysts are strongly recommending that investors buy Vail Resorts stock</a> this winter season.</p> <h2>2. Johnson &amp; Johnson</h2> <p><a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=JNJ">America's largest pharmaceutical company</a> (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=JNJ">NYSE: JNJ</a>) does better in the markets when the weather is cold and stormy. Why? Because people are getting sick at higher rates and their skin is getting chapped &mdash; two unpleasant circumstances that can lead to sales spikes for drugs and body lotions, two of Johnson &amp; Johnson's staple products. Analysts are forecasting an increase in the company's stock value over the course of the next 12 months, indicating <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/forecast/forecast.html?symb=JNJ">healthy growth potential</a> even well after the winter months are over.</p> <h2>3. Douglas Dynamics</h2> <p><a href="http://www.douglasdynamics.com/">The maker of snow plows and salt spreaders</a> (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=PLOW">NYSE: PLOW</a>) stands to benefit greatly from a rugged winter season. Last year was an exceptionally snowy one and therefore an exceptionally profitable season for Douglas shareholders. &quot;<a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/12523948/1/why-douglas-dynamics-plow-is-popping-after-hours.html">Record fourth quarter sales</a> signify a continued improvement in business conditions compared to last year, as snowfall levels were strong across core markets,&quot; CEO James L. Janik said in a statement. If this winter follows suit, shareholders will again be sitting pretty.</p> <h2>4. Compass Minerals International</h2> <p>Compass Minerals (<a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=688755">NYSE: CMP</a>) is one of the largest providers of highway salt in the U.S. And if this winter plays out anything like last year, it's going to be a boom for the highway salt business. Dozens of cities across the nation <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/02/17/275899324/got-road-salt-cities-across-the-country-are-running-out-of-it">ran out of road salt</a> last year as storm after storm pummeled parts of the midwest and northeast. But regardless of how much white stuff the season brings us, Compass has increased its dividend in each of the past 10 years, making it a solid investment in and of itself.</p> <h2>5. Columbia Sportswear</h2> <p><a href="http://www.columbia.com/">The maker of winter coats and boots</a> (<a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q/h?s=COLM+Headlines">NYSE: COLM</a>) stands to cash in on a season of plentiful snow storms, especially since the brand is a fan favorite among both winter athletes and the everyday consumer. What's more, the company underwent a 2-for-1 stock split in September that made its <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/article/5-stocks-to-buy-for-a-frigid-winter-cm415697">shares more affordable to individual investors</a>, according to a NASDAQ analysis. Our recommendation: Buy now and pray for snow.</p> <p><em>What are your hot investments for winter?</em></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/5-investments-that-do-better-in-winter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-benefits-of-dumping-a-losing-stock">6 Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People 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/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing weather winter winter sports Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:19 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1281736 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons to Fire Your Financial Adviser Soon http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-fire-your-financial-adviser-soon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-to-fire-your-financial-adviser-soon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-in-charge.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As&nbsp;2014 gives way to 2015, you&rsquo;ll likely be reviewing your investment results for the year, and looking ahead to this year and beyond. So here&rsquo;s a question you may want to ask: Should I fire my&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2012-08/evaluating-your-financial-advisor">financial adviser</a>?<br /> &nbsp;<br /> That may sound like a nutty question, since the stock market has been gangbusters, with a positive year for the sixth year in a row. That performance doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean your money pro has delivered enough value to justify your keeping him or her, though.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Below are five questions you&rsquo;ll want to ask to help you determine whether you should give your adviser the heave-ho sooner rather than later. If you answer &ldquo;yes&rdquo; to any of them, it&rsquo;s time to look for a replacement.</p> <p>(<strong>MORE</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2013-10/how-find-financial-advice-you-can-trust">How to Find Financial Advice You Can Trust</a>)<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <strong>Question 1: Did you receive a year-end performance report?&nbsp;</strong><br /> &nbsp;<br /> No report?&nbsp; Fire your adviser.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Real advisers provide performance reports. Financial&nbsp;<em>salesmen</em>&nbsp;don&rsquo;t. Their sales licenses do not permit them to provide this type of ongoing reporting.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <strong>Question 2:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong>Did your adviser provide a report that disclosed all the expenses deducted from your investment accounts?</strong><br /> &nbsp;<br /> No? Fire your adviser for withholding information from you. You can&rsquo;t trust an adviser who doesn&rsquo;t display full transparency.</p> <p>(<strong>MORE</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2012-08/evaluating-your-financial-advisor">Evaluating Your Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <p><strong>Question 3. At some point, the stock market will have a correction (less than a 15 percent loss and six months of duration) or turn into a bear market (more than a 15 percent loss and six months of duration). Does your adviser have a strategy for minimizing your risk of large losses?</strong><br /> &nbsp;<br /> No plan? Fire the adviser. Select one who can help you preserve your assets during a market that produces negative returns.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <strong>Question 4: Has your adviser provided a document certifying that he or she is acting in a fiduciary capacity when providing financial advice and services?</strong><br /> &nbsp;<br /> No document? Fire the adviser.</p> <p>(<strong>MORE</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2012-03/when-your-financial-adviser-guessing">When Your Financial Adviser Is Guessing</a>)<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Fiduciaries are held to the highest ethical standards in the financial service industry. They&rsquo;re&nbsp;<em>required</em>&nbsp;to put your financial interests ahead of their own. Non-fiduciaries are salesmen who are held to lower ethical standards that don&rsquo;t require them to put your interests first.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <strong>Question 5: The financial services industry is riddled with conflicts of interest. Has your adviser provided a written statement saying that his or her advice is free of any potential conflicts of interest that could damage your financial interests?</strong><br /> &nbsp;<br /> Fire any adviser who refuses to provide this statement. You don&rsquo;t have to know what he or she is hiding or why. You just have to know there&rsquo;s the potential to damage you.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Conflicts of interest are not obvious or easy to detect. In most cases, they&rsquo;re designed to achieve one goal: maximize the revenue of the seller. They are extremely dangerous because Wall Street&rsquo;s marketing experts know how to package toxic products and convince you that they are safe investments. Some banks and insurers sell inferior products with excessive expenses that maximize their revenues, profits, and share prices.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The most dangerous conflict is from an unscrupulous, but friendly adviser who develops a personal relationship with you. Once trust is established, such advisers can sell customers the financial products that make them and their firms the most money. The most frequent lament from Bernie Madoff&rsquo;s clients was: &ldquo;I thought he was my friend.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Always remember: the investment of your assets should be based on a&nbsp;<em>business</em>&nbsp;relationship, not a personal relationship. Fire advisers who want to be judged on their relationship skills, not their results and transparency.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Many of Bernie Madoff&#039;s clients said &quot;I thought he was my friend.&quot; Find out if your adviser is a friendly, but unscrupulous salesman and not the ethical adviser he should be. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><em>Jack Waymire spent 28 years in the financial services industry. He is the founder of </em><a href="http://www.paladinregistry.com/"><em>Paladin Research and Registry</em></a><em>, which provides free tools and information to investors who use financial advisers. Follow him on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/PaladinRegistry"><em>@PaladinRegistry</em></a><em> or connect with him on </em><a href="https://plus.google.com/+JackWaymire/posts"><em>Google+</em></a><em>.&nbsp;<em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.7272720336914px; line-height: 1.5;">Check out more great articles from PBS's </em><a href="http://www.nextavenue.org"><em>Next Avenue</em></a>:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2014-07/27-ways-trick-yourself-saving-money">27 Ways To Tricking Yourself Into Saving Money</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2012-07/biggest-retirement-mistake-boomers-make-and-how-avoid-it">The Biggest Retirement Mistakes Boomers Make</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2014-11/3-retirement-rules-thumb-really-work">3 Retirement Rules of Thumb that Really Work</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/next-avenue">Next Avenue</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-fire-your-financial-adviser-soon">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-15"> <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-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Advisor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out">Don&#039;t Know What Annuities Are? You Might Be Missing Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-hidden-cost-sapping-your-retirement-savings">Is This Hidden Cost Sapping Your Retirement Savings?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement financial adviser financial planning next avenue retirement Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Next Avenue 1280353 at http://www.wisebread.com