mutual funds http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7708/all en-US Is There Such a Thing as a "Safe" Investment? http://www.wisebread.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-safe-investment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-safe-investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_umbrella_coins_516182744_0.jpg" alt="Man learning if there&#039;s such a thing as a safe investment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Safety. We all look for it in our investments, while also seeking out the highest return. As we get older, safety becomes more important as we get closer to retirement age.</p> <p>Is there such a thing as a truly &quot;safe&quot; investment? The short answer is that no investment is 100% safe. But there are certainly some investments that are better than others at protecting your hard-earned savings.</p> <p>Let's examine some of the most common &quot;safe&quot; investments and learn how good they actually are at shielding you from financial losses.</p> <h2>1. Cash</h2> <p>You may not be able to stomach the ups and downs of the stock market, and don't want your money tied up in bonds or other fixed-income investments. So you just hold on to large quantities of cash in a basic savings account, a money market account, or certificates of deposit.</p> <h3>Why It's Safe</h3> <p>Cash won't dive in value if the stock market crashes. You can get a predictable return from interest by keeping it in a bank account. And you can access it any time you need it.</p> <h3>Why It's Not</h3> <p>If you have a lot of cash, you can actually <em>lose </em>money in the long-term if there is inflation. But most importantly, putting too much of your investment portfolio in cash will make it hard for you to accumulate the kind of wealth you'll need for a comfortable retirement. Cash is also easy to access, which means it's too easy for you to spend.</p> <h2>2. Dividend Stocks</h2> <p>Dividend stocks are generally issued by companies that don't usually see a lot of volatility, but will pay out a healthy percentage of their income back to shareholders. Dividend stocks are often used by older investors or anyone looking to boost income without a lot of risk.</p> <h3>Why It's Safe</h3> <p>Good dividend stocks will pay out a consistent amount to shareholders each quarter, and it's usually a better return than bonds. By nature, dividend stocks won't go way up and down in price like other stocks, so they aren't as vulnerable to big market downturns.</p> <h3>Why It's Not</h3> <p>They are still stocks, and any stock is potentially vulnerable to market swings. Even dividend stocks will lose value in a down market, so it's still possible to lose money. On the flip side, dividend stocks won't rise in value like other investments when the market goes up. Moreover, dividends are never guaranteed; a company can cut its dividend at any time if its revenues drop.</p> <h2>3. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)</h2> <p>TIPS are popular investments because they allow you to invest in bonds while seeing the value of the investment rise along with the rate of inflation. They are a common part of many retirement portfolios and can be helpful in diversifying holdings.</p> <h3>Why It's Safe</h3> <p>Investing in U.S. treasuries is about as safe a bet as you can get, as the U.S. government has always paid its obligations. And TIPS have the added benefit of rising in value along with consumer prices, so you're never at risk of losing your investment due to inflation. You are protected even if there is deflation, because in that case, the price at maturity will revert to the price at purchase.</p> <h3>Why It's Not</h3> <p>TIPS aren't great investments for building wealth. There are other, better investments that offer a combination of safety and growth. TIPS are also vulnerable to interest rate moves, just like most bonds.</p> <h2>4. Gold</h2> <p>We've seen gold hailed as a &quot;safe&quot; investment because it's considered a hedge against inflation and a protection against a major economic disaster. History has shown that those who held on to gold during times of crisis held onto their wealth.</p> <h3>Why It's Safe</h3> <p>Gold can protect against inflation and historically has been known to retain its value even during disastrous times. That's why gold became a popular investment during the recent debt crisis in Europe, for example.</p> <h3>Why It's Not</h3> <p>Many financial experts note that gold's reputation as a hedge against inflation is often overstated, and gold has been known to lose value. It is also no less volatile than stocks, and generally does not have the same return on investment. In other words, it's not as &quot;safe&quot; as you think, and you won't necessarily get wealthy by holding onto it.</p> <h2>5. REITs</h2> <p>A real estate investment trust (or REIT) allows individual investors to own shares of real estate without the hassle of being a landlord. REITs trade like stocks, and can also be included in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.</p> <h3>Why It's Safe</h3> <p>REITs are generally pretty stable investments, especially if the company has many long-term leases. REITs also usually pay out a hefty dividend.</p> <h3>Why It's Not</h3> <p>Real estate can still drop in value, especially if the REIT you buy is focused on one sector of real estate. Moreover, because REITs don't have to pay corporate-level income tax, dividends from REITs are taxed at the normal income rate, not the dividend rate paid out by other stocks.</p> <h2>6. Target Date Mutual Funds</h2> <p>Most brokerages offer mutual funds that start off with an aggressive investment mix and then get more conservative as the investor ages. These are a popular &quot;hands off&quot; part of many portfolios.</p> <h3>Why It's Safe</h3> <p>These funds are designed to build value during your younger years and protect your retirement nest egg as you get older. When properly managed, you'll be able to hold onto more of your money when you are close to retirement, even during down markets.</p> <h3>Why It's Not</h3> <p>Generally speaking, targeted mutual funds come with higher fees than many other funds, and that can cut into your overall earnings over time. And while the funds are comprised of more conservative investments as you approach retirement age, they are still prone to the ups and downs of the stock market in the earlier years.</p> <h2>7. Peer-to-Peer Lending</h2> <p>In recent years, companies such as Lending Club and Prosper have allowed individual investors to profit from the debt of other regular people. These platforms match investors up with those looking to borrow money. Individuals can invest based on their own risk tolerance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-with-peer-to-peer-lending-service-prosper?ref=seealso">How to Make Money With Prosper</a>)</p> <h3>Why It's Safe</h3> <p>The most popular peer-to-peer lending sites report a fairly low default rate on loans. This means that those who purchase debt are likely to generate a solid return. Lending Club reports that the median adjusted net annual return is 5.1% for those who have purchased at least 100 notes.</p> <h3>Why It's Not</h3> <p>There's always a risk of loans defaulting, especially if you don't buy quality loans. Buying risky loans, or failing to diversify your loan portfolio, can lead to less-than-stellar returns.</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/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-safe-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-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-reasons-to-start-investing-in-bonds-now">The 5 Best Reasons to Start Investing in Bonds Now</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-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds cash dividend stocks mutual funds peer to peer lending REITs safe investments tips Mon, 12 Dec 2016 11:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1850785 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Invest When You're In Debt http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/plant_tree_stump_462868653_0.jpg" alt="Learning ways to invest when you&#039;re in debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you need to begin investing to save for the future, but you still have some debt to pay off. It is possible to take care of both at the same time?</p> <p>The short answer is that yes, you can pay down debt and invest at the same time. In many ways, this is a personal choice. If you despise debt and sleep better at night knowing that you're paying it off as quickly as possible, that's fine. But if you can tolerate paying off debt at a slower rate and investing some money, you may end up ahead of the game financially over the long-term.</p> <p>Here are some things to consider when deciding how much to invest and how much debt to pay off.</p> <h2>1. Minimum Payments First, Then Invest</h2> <p>While it's certainly possible to pay down debt and invest at the same time, it's never a good idea to invest if you can't make your minimum payments first. If you don't make minimum payments, you'll be on the hook for higher interest, late fees, and penalties. Not to mention that your credit score will take a big hit. Consider investing your money only if you know you can set money aside and still make at least the minimum payments on debt.</p> <h2>2. Tackle the High Interest Debt</h2> <p>If your debt is tied up in credit cards and other things that come with high interest rates, you may want to hold off on investing until that's under control. Credit cards have interest rates in the double digits, and you're unlikely to generate an investment return that outpaces that. Once that high-interest debt is down to zero, then investing becomes much more possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Use Your 401K Plan</h2> <p>If you work for an employer that offers a 401K plan or something similar, it's worth taking part even if you have some debt. That's because most employers will match contributions up to a certain amount. So it's like getting free money. Any contributions you make to a 401K are deducted from your taxable income, so there are great tax advantages for taking part. Invest what you can while still paying down your debt. Then, when your debt is paid off, increase your contributions.</p> <h2>4. Look at Low-Cost Mutual Funds and ETFs</h2> <p>If most of your debt is tied up in low-interest things like student loans or mortgages, it's okay to set aside some money to invest in things that will generate a good return. In fact, there are many financial planners that argue against paying off low-interest loans early if market returns are higher than interest rates. Over time, stocks have averaged returns of about 7%, which is much higher than interest rates these days. To get this type of return, consider looking at mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that have low fees and are designed to track the performance of the overall stock market.</p> <h2>5. Find Investments That Trade Without a Commission</h2> <p>If you're trying to invest and pay down debt at the same time, there's a good chance you may only be able to invest a little at a time. That's okay, but it's important to be aware of the fees and commissions you pay every time you buy and sell. If you're only buying a few shares of a stock but paying $8 in a commission, for example, that fee is cutting into a sizable percentage of your investment. Fortunately, many discount brokerages allow you to trade certain types of investments without paying a commission. Fidelity offers fee-free investing on all iShares ETFs, ETrade offers many commission-free ETFs from WisdomTree and Global X, and TD Ameritrade offers more than 100 ETFs with no transaction fees.</p> <h2>6. Automate as Much as Possible</h2> <p>Finding the balance between investing and paying off debt requires some discipline. If you have some debt but are considering investing, determine in advance what your ideal balance is. Then, set up automatic monthly transfers of money into an investment account, and automate your bills as well. If you get extra money or a raise, consider tweaking the balance accordingly. When you automate, it takes the guesswork out, allows you to stay consistent, and makes it easier to do other financial planning.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-a-debt-spiral">5 Ways to Prevent a Debt Spiral</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/beware-of-these-common-debt-consolidation-traps">Beware of These Common Debt Consolidation Traps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-an-etf-isnt-right-for-you">8 Signs an ETF Isn&#039;t Right for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Investment 401k ETFs fees interest rates market returns mutual funds saving money Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1838645 at http://www.wisebread.com What Are Income Stocks? http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-are-income-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_investments_71091499.jpg" alt="Learning the basics of income stocks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may think that investing in stocks is all about share price increases over time. In reality, you may be surprised to find out that the price of some stocks can vary little over time and still provide an ever-increasing stream of income. These types of securities are known as income stocks.</p> <p>Let's review the seven things you need to know about income stocks and their ability to provide a high payout to investors.</p> <h2>1. They Pay a Dividend</h2> <p>The defining feature of an income stock is that it pays a regular and predictable dividend, which often increases over time. For example, Caterpillar Inc. [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/cat">CAT</a>], a leading manufacturer of construction, mining, and transportation equipment, has <a href="http://www.caterpillar.com/en/investors/stock-information/dividend-history.html">paid a dividend to its stockholders</a> every quarter since 1933. For the last 22 years, Caterpillar's cash dividend has consistently increased and it stands at $0.77 per share of common stock &mdash; up from $0.35 in 1996, and without adjusting for the two-for-one stock splits of 1997 and 2005.</p> <p>A predictable, steady, and ever-increasing stream of income makes income stocks attractive to those retirement savers who're close to retirement age.</p> <h2>2. They Are Often Large Companies</h2> <p>While income stocks can be found in many industries, they are most often part of the real estate, energy, utility, natural resource, and finance industries. One example of an income stock in the energy sector is Phillips 66 [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/PSX/">PSX</a>], which has been in the news due to its spinoff from ConocoPhillips back in 2012. It doubled its stock price in the first year after the spinoff, and attracted Warren Buffett's investment (a <a href="http://www.barrons.com/articles/buffet-bets-1-billion-more-on-phillips-66-1472470538">15.2% share of the company</a> as of late August 2016). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>The Houston-based multinational energy company generated $161.2 billion in revenue in 2014, a figure that is bigger than the GDP of some nations around the world. Since its 2012 spinoff, Phillips 66 has been consistently paying a quarterly dividend that started at $0.20 per share of common stock and stands now at $0.63 per share of common stock.</p> <h2>3. They Have Been in Business for a Long Time</h2> <p>Generally speaking, the less established a company, the more likely that company can experience extraordinary growth per quarter. Think of 12-year-old Facebook or 13-year-old Tesla, whose current stock prices are seven and 10 times, respectively, their original prices after going public. Both Facebook and Tesla would be considered growth stocks. On the other hand, income stocks are those of companies with a long history. Caterpillar and Phillips 66 were originally founded back in 1925 and 1917, respectively. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-growth-stocks?Ref=seealso">What Are Growth Stocks?</a>)</p> <h2>4. They Are an Alternative to Fixed-Income Securities</h2> <p>If you have a 401K, chances are that you have a target-date fund. In 2014, 48% of 401K plan holders <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/ib/index.cfm?fa=ibDisp&amp;content_id=3347">had target-date funds</a>, which gradually lowers exposure to risk as you get closer to retirement age and helps maintain a steady stream of income during your retirement years. However, dialing back your risk doesn't necessarily mean that you will stick to municipal bonds and money market accounts from now on.</p> <p>Legendary investor Peter Lynch said it best: &quot;Gentlemen who prefer bonds don't know what they're missing.&quot; The appeal of income stocks is that they provide a steady stream of income while providing some exposure to corporate profit growth. Many investors use the yield of a 10-year treasury bond rate as a benchmark to grade the performance of income stocks. As of October 10, 2016, the yield of a <a href="http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/US10Y">10-year treasury bond</a> was 1.77% and those from Phillips 66 and Caterpillar were 3.13% and 3.48%, respectively.</p> <h2>5. They Have Modest Annual Profit Growth</h2> <p>That being said, don't expect companies behind income stocks to have ambitious goals of profit growth. Due to its long business history, some income stocks may have limited future growth options and provide only a moderate annual profit growth. However, this is the main reason why these companies are able to pay a dividend in the first place. Since there may be no need to aggressively reinvest in new infrastructure, research, or development, then the company can afford to issue a dividend every quarter to its shareholders.</p> <h2>6. They Have Low Stock Price Volatility</h2> <p>Among the many statistics that analysts report on stock tables, <em>beta </em>is one of the most relevant ones, besides dividend and yield, to incomes stocks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <p>Since the beta of the market as a whole is 1.0, a stock with a beta below 1.0 would move less than the market, and a stock with a beta above 1.0 would deviate more than the market. Often, income stocks have betas below 1.0. For example, machinery manufacturer Deere &amp; Company [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/DE/">DE</a>] has a beta of 0.63, and retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/WMT/">WMT</a>] has one of 0.09.</p> <h2>7. They Are Available in Mutual Funds and Index Funds</h2> <p>Even though throughout this article we have only focused on individual companies, you can still buy a basket of several income stocks at the same time. You can do this through either a mutual fund or a low-cost index fund. One example of the second category is the Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VHDYX">VHDYX</a>], which holds many income stocks, such as Microsoft, Exxon, Johnson &amp; Johnson, and General Electric.</p> <p>Two advantages of using index funds to include income stocks in your portfolio are diversification (e.g. 420 holdings in the mentioned index fund from Vanguard) and low cost (e.g. 0.16% annual expense ratio for the same index fund).</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Before buying an income stock, make sure to evaluate it using your current investment strategy. While an income stock can offer you a way to get higher yields than those of treasury securities or certificates of deposit, you may be so far away from retirement age that you could afford a higher exposure to risk through value or growth stocks. Consult with your financial adviser to discuss more about your investment objectives and the appropriate ways to achieve those financial goals.</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/what-are-income-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-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-invest-in-the-worlds-biggest-companies">The Easiest Way to Invest in the World&#039;s Biggest Companies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment dividends fixed income securities growth income stocks index funds large companies mutual funds portfolio profits retirement stock market volatility Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Damian Davila 1815776 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_drawing_desk_98135205.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to buy her first stocks or funds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you're ready to start investing. That's great, because it's never too early. The sooner you start investing, the more you'll be able to take advantage of the power of compound interest. Here's how to get started.</p> <h2>Open an Account</h2> <p>In order to invest, you'll need an investment account at a broker such as TD Ameritrade, Schwab, Vanguard, or Fidelity. Prominently displayed on their sites, you'll find &quot;open an account&quot; buttons.</p> <p>After clicking, you'll have to decide whether to open a taxable account or a tax-advantaged account, such as an IRA. If your purpose for investing is to build a retirement nest egg, you'll probably want to open an IRA. Keep in mind, however, that IRAs have relatively low annual contribution maximums. If you want to invest more than $5,500 per year, a taxable account would be necessary.</p> <p>After entering some personal information, you'll need to fund the account, usually with an electronic transfer from your checking account.</p> <p>Of the brokers just mentioned, only TD Ameritrade has no minimum required amount for opening an account. The others require $1,000 to $2,500, although some allow you to open an account with less if you sign up for automatic monthly contributions. At Schwab, the monthly commitment is $100. Shop around to find a broker that best meets your needs.</p> <h2>Choose Your Investment Vehicle</h2> <p>There are two primary types of stock market investments &mdash; stocks and mutual funds.</p> <p>Buying individual stocks probably sounds like a fun way to get started with investing. There's something inherently appealing about the idea of owning a piece of some of the most famous companies in the world, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.</p> <p>However, while investing in stocks might be exciting, mutual funds have some advantages over stocks. When you buy the stock of one company, your money isn't diversified at all. The performance of your portfolio is completely dependent on the performance of that one company. If the company has a bad year, your portfolio will have a bad year.</p> <p>However, if you invest in 10 companies and one has a bad year, some of the other ones will likely have good years, which may more than offset the one company's losses. That's why making sure your portfolio is diversified is so important.</p> <p>In order to be adequately diversified, you would need to buy stock in many companies. But when you're starting out, you probably don't have all that much money to work with &mdash; which is why you may want to consider using a mutual fund.</p> <p>When you buy shares of a mutual fund, your money is inherently diversified. That's because a mutual fund is a pool of money from many investors that the fund manager invests in many companies (there are also bond funds, real estate funds, etc.). Buying a single share of a mutual fund gives you instant diversification.</p> <h2>Decide What to Invest In</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to invest for your retirement is to choose a target-date mutual fund. With such funds, you just choose the one with the year of your intended retirement in its name (Fidelity Freedom 2040, for example, or Schwab Target 2035). The fund will be designed in a way that the fund manager believes is appropriate for someone with your investment time horizon.</p> <p>If you're 30 years old and plan to retire when you're 70, you would choose a 2055 fund (most target-date funds are offered in five-year intervals, so you choose the one that's closest to the year of your intended retirement). Such a fund would likely be mostly invested in stocks and a little bit in bonds. As you get older, it will automatically change that investment mix to become appropriately more conservative.</p> <p>Many mutual fund companies offer such funds. Here are the target-date offerings from <a href="http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/investment/mutual_funds/mutual_fund_portfolio/target_funds">Schwab</a>, <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/fidelity-fund-portfolios/freedom-funds">Fidelity</a>, and <a href="https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/target-retirement/#/">Vanguard</a>. TD Ameritrade doesn't have its own mutual funds, but offers target-date funds from several mutual fund companies.</p> <p>Look for no-transaction-fee (NTF) funds, which means there will not be a fee associated with buying the fund, and be sure to check the fund's minimum required investment amount.</p> <h2>Invest</h2> <p>Now you're ready for action. After logging onto your account, look for a button that says &quot;trade&quot; or &quot;buy and sell.&quot; You buy or sell mutual funds in one place, and stocks in another.</p> <p>To buy a mutual fund, you'll need to look up and then enter its &quot;ticker&quot; symbol &mdash; the four- or five-letter abbreviation for the fund's name. Then enter the amount you'd like to invest and click &quot;buy.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, there's more to know about investing and there are many different ways to invest. But this simple tutorial will get you started.</p> <p>Welcome to the world of investing.</p> <p><em>Have you gotten started investing? What are you waiting for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/these-8-small-cap-value-investments-are-on-fire">These 8 Small Cap Value Investments Are on Fire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Fidelity first time mutual funds new investors schwab stock market stocks target-date funds vanguard Wed, 10 Aug 2016 09:30:35 +0000 Matt Bell 1767152 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_reading_newspaper_75921495.jpg" alt="Learning if mutual funds are better than ETFs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With a market of over $30 trillion, mutual funds are some of the most popular investments. But the $3 trillion ETF (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-weirdest-etfs-you-can-buy" target="_blank">Exchange Traded Fund</a>) market is catching up quickly. So, what <em>are </em>ETFs? How do they differ from mutual funds? And are they right for you? Here's what you need to know:</p> <h2>Mutual Funds 101</h2> <p>When you invest in an individual stock, the success of your investment is completely dependent upon the success of that one company. But when you invest in a mutual fund, your money is diversified. It's pooled with many other investors' money and then invested in many companies, based on the design of the fund or the decisions of the fund manager.</p> <p>It's the same with bonds and bond funds, or real estate and real estate funds.</p> <p>Think of an exchange-traded fund as a close cousin of a mutual fund. It, too, manages a pool of money from many investors, spreading it among many investments. But there are some very important differences between ETFs and mutual funds.</p> <h3>ETFs Are Priced Throughout the Day</h3> <p>When you enter an order to purchase a mutual fund, the order will fill at the end of the day, after the value of all of its underlying assets are tallied.</p> <p>ETFs, on the other hand, can be bought and sold throughout the day like stocks. When you enter an order to purchase an ETF, your order will typically be filled very soon after entering the order at a price very close to the price you saw when you placed the order.</p> <p>That's one of the main reasons why ETFs were created. On October 19, 1987, a day now known as &quot;Black Monday,&quot; the U.S. stock market fell by nearly 23%. Mutual fund investors who wanted to sell their shares couldn't until all the damage had been done. Three years later, the first ETF was launched, giving investors all of the diversifying benefits of a mutual fund but the flexibility to buy or sell throughout the trading day.</p> <h3>ETFs Have Lower Expenses</h3> <p>Exchange-traded funds tend to have lower operating expenses than mutual funds, and that lower cost structure is passed along to investors in the form of lower expense ratios. For example, Vanguard's S&amp;P 500 index <em>mutual fund</em> (ticker symbol VFINX) has an expense ratio of .16%. If you invest $1,000 in the fund, $1.60 will go toward fund expenses. That's already very low. However, if you invest in Vanguard's S&amp;P 500 <em>exchange-traded fund</em> (ticker symbol VOO), you'll pay an even lower expense ratio of .05% &mdash; or 50 cents per $1,000 invested.</p> <h3>ETFs Have Lower Minimums</h3> <p>Many mutual funds have minimum initial investment amount requirements. Common amounts range from $250 to $3,000, but some funds require as much as $10,000.</p> <p>With ETFs, the minimum investment amount required is the cost of one share. If you wanted to invest in Vanguard's VFINX mutual fund, you'd need to come up with at least $3,000 for your initial investment. However, getting started with what, in essence, is the ETF version of the same fund, VOO, would cost only about $190 &mdash; the price of one share when this article was written.</p> <h2>Which Is Better?</h2> <p>There are three main factors that can help you decide whether to go with a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund.</p> <h3>Availability</h3> <p>You may not have a choice. Some 401K plans don't yet include ETFs in the investment options they make available to participants. If that's true with your workplace plan, you'll have to go with one or more of the available mutual funds.</p> <h3>Strategy</h3> <p>While the ETF universe is growing rapidly, there are still many more mutual funds. So, it could be that the investment strategy you're following calls for the use of a particular mutual fund and there are no suitable ETF substitutes.</p> <h3>Cost</h3> <p>If you're following an investment strategy that calls for the use of a particular fund that's available as a mutual fund or an ETF, check on each one's expense ratio. It's very likely that the ETF will cost less, making it the better choice.</p> <h2>One Last Consideration</h2> <p>Some critics say ETFs can get investors in trouble by encouraging more trading. They argue that because the funds can be bought and sold throughout the day, they'll tempt otherwise conservative investors to take undue risk and turn them into roll-the-dice day-traders.</p> <p>But that's like arguing that because <em>some </em>people get into car accidents, <em>no one </em>should be allowed to drive. If you follow the rules of the road for wise investing &mdash; if you're a long-term investor, not a short-term trader &mdash; ETFs can be a very efficient, cost-effective investment vehicle.</p> <p><em>So, which is it for you? Mutual fund or ETF?</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/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">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/the-10-weirdest-etfs-you-can-buy">The 10 Weirdest ETFs You Can Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-etfs-can-put-more-money-in-your-pocket-than-mutual-funds">8 Ways ETFs Can Put More Money in Your Pocket Than Mutual Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds commodities comparisons ETFs exchange traded funds mutual funds portfolio stock market Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:30:36 +0000 Matt Bell 1757851 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_tree_change_000067145743.jpg" alt="Learning the only rules of investing you need to know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing may seem complicated. But it really isn't once you realize that most of what you need to know can fit on a fairly small list.</p> <p>No matter what your investing goal, you can make money just by following some simple rules. Here are eight rules that will get you on the path to investing success.</p> <h2>1. Invest as Much as You Can</h2> <p>It's very simple. The more you invest, the more you end up with over time. The stock market's S&amp;P 500, which tracks the performance of the largest American companies, <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">averaged a 7.25% annual return</a> between 2006 and 2015, according to figures tracked by New York University's Stern School of Business. And it's averaged more than 9% annually since 1928. You won't get better returns on your money <em>anywhere </em>else. Even small increases in your investment contributions can make a big difference. A $5,000 annual investment would turn into $74,000 in 10 years, based on a 7% return. A $6,000 annual investment would be worth $88,000. A $7,000 investment would become $103,000.</p> <h2>2. Start Early</h2> <p>One of the most important things to know about investing is that the earlier you start, the more you'll end up with in the long run. There are many people who don't start investing for retirement until very late in life, and they end up with a far smaller nest egg than they first imagined. That's because they were unable to take advantage of the phenomenon of compounded returns. Let's say that you begin saving for retirement at age 40, putting aside $1,500 monthly. Assuming a 7% annual return, by age 60, you'll have about $789,000. But if you started at age 30, you'd end up with $1.8 million after the same period. Start at age 20, and it's a very comfortable $3.84 million.</p> <h2>3. Look Long Term</h2> <p>The stock market is volatile by nature, but as we indicated above, it generally trends upward over time. If you invest with a short time horizon of less than three years, you may not make any money at all. In fact, you might lose quite a bit. But if you extend your horizon to 10, 20, or 40 years into the future, you'll enjoy solid gains on an average annual basis <em>and</em> see the volatility smooth out.</p> <h2>4. Invest in Similar Amounts Frequently Rather Than in a Lump Sum</h2> <p>You may think you have a good sense of precisely when the markets will go up and when they'll go down. But chances are, you're guessing just like everyone else. &quot;Timing the market&quot; is not something the average investor can successfully do on a regular basis. It makes much more sense to invest a set dollar amount during regular periods, usually monthly or quarterly. This is called &quot;dollar cost averaging,&quot; and it works for investors because you end up buying more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high.</p> <h2>5. Use Tax-Advantaged Accounts, and Max Them Out</h2> <p>If you're focused on retirement &mdash; and you should be &mdash; there are great advantages to opening 401K and individual retirement accounts, due to tax laws that encourage people to save and invest. With 401K plans offered by your employer, any contributions you make are deducted from your taxable income. With a Roth IRA, your investments grow and you pay no capital gains tax when you withdraw your money when you retire.</p> <p>A 401K lets you deposit up to $17,500 annually. A Roth IRA allows up to $5,500 in annual contributions. If you can max these out, you'll be in great shape.</p> <p>There are other tax-advantaged vehicles, including 529 college savings plans and Coverdell accounts, which allow you to invest money without giving as much to the Internal Revenue Service. In some cases, money can grow tax free and you get a tax credit on top of that. Use these accounts, and your overall investment returns will be higher.</p> <h2>6. Be Aggressive When You're Young, More Conservative When Older</h2> <p>There's no exact consensus on the ideal investment mix, but most financial advisors suggest investing in nearly all stocks and index funds when you're young, because you're a long way from retirement and can make up and money you lose during down years. As you get closer to retirement, gradually shift your portfolio to include less volatile investments like cash and bonds.</p> <h2>7. Focus on Index Funds, Not Individual Stocks</h2> <p>It's fun to own shares of individual companies, and buying a few shares of a company you like is a good way to get started in investing. But trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-11-dividend-stocks" target="_blank">build a balanced portfolio</a> of companies is very hard, and there's very little evidence that human beings are capable of &quot;beating the market&quot; on a regular basis. That's why for most investors, it's sensible to invest in mutual funds or exchange traded funds that mirror the performance of the overall stock market. This is called &quot;indexing,&quot; and it's a surefire way to make money over time without the volatility of owning individual company shares.</p> <h2>8. Pay Attention to Fees and Commissions</h2> <p>When investing in mutual funds or exchange traded funds, take a hard look a something called an &quot;expense ratio.&quot; That's the amount of money that the mutual fund company takes before you even see a dime in returns. These expenses range from well above 1% to a minuscule .05% by some brokerage houses. One percent may not seem like much, but it can definitely cut into your returns and cost you thousands of dollars over time. Mutual funds that are actively managed, rather than those that simply track an index, generally have higher expense ratios.</p> <p>Keep in mind also that there may be fees every time you buy and sell. Discount brokerage companies will charge between $6&ndash;$10 for every transaction. That can add up if you do a lot of trading.</p> <p><em>Any rules we've overlooked? Share with us in comments!</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/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</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-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing mutual funds retirement rules stocks Mon, 23 May 2016 10:30:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1713144 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tablet_000065136353.jpg" alt="30-something learning which investment accounts she should have" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're in your 30s now. If you're finally looking to get settled in your financial life, you may want to consider ways to build wealth over the long term. But that checking account alone isn't gonna cut it. It's time to examine the options out there for someone in their 30s who finally has a little bit of money to invest.</p> <p>Here are seven essential investment accounts all 30-somethings should have.</p> <h2>1. 401K, If Available to You</h2> <p>If you're employed full-time, your company may offer a retirement plan that gives you access to a number of mutual funds and other investments, plus the great tax advantages that come with it. Under a 401K, 403B, or similar plan, contributions are deducted from your pre-tax income, and most employers will match a certain percentage of what you put in. Now that fewer employers are offering pensions, the 401K has become the primary vehicle for saving for retirement. Pumping cash into this account while you're still relatively young gives your investments plenty of time to rise in value and give you a sizable nest egg. Even better, your investment is tax-deferred until you begin making withdrawals.</p> <h2>2. Traditional IRA</h2> <p>You don't necessarily need a traditional Individual Retirement Account if you have a 401K with an employer match. But if you have 401K from an old employer, it might make sense to roll it into an IRA, because you have a much broader choice of investments to choose from &mdash; many with lower fees. With an IRA, you can invest in practically anything, including individual stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and even commodities. Traditional IRAs are also great for people who are self-employed or otherwise don't have access to a 401K. Like a 401K, your contributions are deducted from your taxable income. You can open an IRA at most discount brokers such as Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E*TRADE.</p> <h2>3. Roth IRA</h2> <p>This account is a little bit like a 401K in reverse. The tax advantage is on the back end, when you can withdraw money upon retirement without paying tax on the earnings. That's because contributions to a Roth IRA come from earnings after tax, unlike 401Ks, which draw on pre-tax income. Under a Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $5,500 annually, and you can withdraw contributions (but not your gains) before retirement age without paying a penalty.</p> <h2>4. Taxable Brokerage Account</h2> <p>While your main focus should be investing in tax-advantaged accounts that are designed for retirement, it's good to have some investments available in this type of account due to the flexibility. You don't need to wait until retirement age to access funds in this account, for one thing. That means you can use it to boost your income now, through the sale of stock or the gain of dividends. If you hold on to investments in a taxable account for a long time (generally over a year), you'll pay only the long-term capital gains tax (mostly likely 15%) when you sell.</p> <h2>5. 529 College Savings Plan (If You Have Kids)</h2> <p>College is pricey, so nearly every state enables people to save for college by investing money for education in a tax-advantaged way. A 529 plan is similar to a Roth IRA, in that investments will grow tax-free until they're withdrawn, as long as they are spent on higher education. In many states, you also get a tax break from the contributions. It's possible to open a 529 for your child as soon as they have a social security number. Even if you don't have kids yet, you can designate a beneficiary now &mdash; such as a niece or nephew &mdash; and change it to your own child later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>6. High-Interest Savings Account</h2> <p>Everyone knows you need a basic bank account, but if you want to boost your savings, it's helpful to have a savings account with a higher-than-average interest rate. These days, interest rates are extremely low, but you can still find returns of above 1% in money market accounts and online banks such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-checking-accounts?ref=seealso">Best Online Checking Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>7. Peer-to-Peer Lending Account</h2> <p>In addition to making it easier to invest in stocks, the Internet age has also made it possible for individuals to invest in other people's debt. There are thousands of people who have hopped onto sites such as <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.227343&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Lending Club</a> and <a href="http://prosper.evyy.net/c/27771/27132/994">Prosper</a> and report consistently solid returns. These sites generally work in the same way as banks, except that those in need of money are borrowing from individuals, who are seeking to make money on the interest. In most cases, people can invest based on the risk level of each borrower; those who aren't as creditworthy promise a potentially higher return &mdash; but more risk &mdash; to the investor. Popular personal finance blogger Mr. Money Moustache has reported more than an 11% annualized return since 2012, and many others report similar gains. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-with-peer-to-peer-lending-service-prosper?ref=seealso">How to Make Money with Prosper</a>)</p> <p><em>How many of these accounts do you have?</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/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">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/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth">Best Online Sites for Building Wealth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Investment 30s 401k IRAs lending mutual funds retirement Roth savings accounts stocks Thu, 03 Mar 2016 10:30:34 +0000 Tim Lemke 1665768 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_money_bags_000035094952.jpg" alt="Investing tips you wish you could tell your younger self" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes I look back on my past as a young investor and want to kick myself. I didn't really know what I was doing back then, and made a number of mistakes that cost me money in the long run.</p> <p>I did learn a lot and truly enjoy investing and saving now. But I wish I could go back in time and offer my younger self a few bits of advice. Here's <em>my </em>list of investing tips to the &quot;young me&quot; that'll hopefully spare you the same mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Understand the Value of Compound Returns</h2> <p>Retirement is one of the last things you're going to think about when you've had hardly any time in the workforce. &quot;What? Retirement? I'm only 22!&quot; As crazy as it sounds, investing money in these early years is a crucial part of having a large nest egg upon retirement. The earlier you start investing, the more time that money has to grow. And with a long time horizon, you don't have to be overly concerned about the ups and downs of the market.</p> <h2>2. Familiarize Yourself With Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>If you have some money, it may be tempting as a young person to simply open a brokerage account and begin buying and selling. But it's important first to understand the basics of retirement accounts and the advantages they offer to investors. Individual Retirement Accounts (or IRAs), along with 401K plans can allow you to save for retirement and get great tax benefits along the way.</p> <h2>3. Don't Buy That Thing &mdash; Invest Your Money Instead</h2> <p>I cringe when I think about the useless stuff I bought when I was in my teens and twenties. Articles of clothing, music, movies, computer games, expensive meals with friends... I had a lot of fun, but I could have had as much fun living more frugally, and I think about how much money I'd have now if I'd bought stocks, instead. Even a small amount of money placed in an index fund at age 18 has the potential to grow into a substantial sum. I wish I could go back and tell my young self to put at least <em>some </em>of my spending money in an account that would build value for my future self.</p> <h2>4. Reinvest Those Dividends</h2> <p>As a young investor, I used to get dividend checks from companies that I owned shares of. And frequently, I would use that money to go and treat myself: a movie, a dinner out, a trip to a ballgame, a new pair of jeans. Little did I know that I could have used those dividends to easily buy more shares of a stock. Imagine the growth in a portfolio that is not only seeing share price growth, but an increase in the number of shares. This is also a great way to practice dollar cost averaging, because you are using dividends to buy more shares as prices fall and fewer shares as prices increase.</p> <h2>5. Don't Panic</h2> <p>When you are a new investor, it can be a startling thing to see stock values drop. It's very tempting to pull your money out of the markets when you see your investments lose value quickly. But I look back now on stocks that I sold in a panic, and really wish I had held onto them, as they all would have quickly rebounded in value and made me money over time.</p> <h2>6. Stop Checking Your Investments Every Day</h2> <p>Investments go up. They go down. They go up again. Tracking them each day really serves no purpose, and will only stress you out. By checking your portfolio only once a week or so, you'll be less tempted to buy or sell based on an emotional reaction to the market movements.</p> <h2>7. Don't Try to Pick Stocks</h2> <p>Admittedly, it's fun at first to pick a company you are familiar with, buy some shares of stock, and watch how they perform. It's actually not a bad way to get comfortable with how the stock market works. But if you want to make money long-term, trying to create a portfolio of individual stocks will ultimately be ineffective and perhaps even frustrating. You're much better off as a young person placing the bulk of your money into an index fund that tracks the S&amp;P 500 or total stock market. This will generate solid returns for years to come, and will require a lot less work.</p> <h2>8. Know What You're Investing In</h2> <p>I remember when I first began putting money in a 401K, and had the option to invest in a number of different mutual funds. I spread my money evenly across most of them, believing that it was a path to diversification. After some time, I began to research the holdings of each fund, and realized that many of them invested in the same big companies. It turns out that I wasn't &quot;diversifying&quot; at all. The lesson I learned is that before you invest your money, have a good idea of what you are investing in. Learn how to read mutual fund prospectuses and earnings reports.</p> <h2>9. Learn About Commissions, Fees, and Taxes</h2> <p>When I first began investing, I opened an eTrade account, invested in a few stocks, and left the account alone. About a year later, I got $50 deducted from my account for &quot;inactivity.&quot; Then I exacerbated the problem by selling the stocks in a panic and then incurring short-term capital gains taxes. Brokerage companies try to be transparent about fees and expenses, but it's up to the investor to understand that it costs money to buy and sell stocks. Mutual fund managers will take a cut of every dollar you invest, and there are tax implications every time you sell. None of this should be a deterrent to investing, but young people must have a good grasp of how it impacts the performance of their investment portfolio.</p> <h2>10. Take All of the Company Match</h2> <p>At my very first job, I invested money in the company 401K plan, but didn't feel like I was earning enough to reach a full company match. (The company matched contributions of up to 5% of salaries at the time.) Looking back, I realize that I probably left thousands of dollars on the table because I was too conservative. A company match is <em>free money </em>&mdash; you should always take it if you can. Those extra dollars could add up to a significant amount of money in your retirement account over time. Plus, the match encourages you to save more of your own money, and that's never a bad thing.</p> <h2>11. Don't Get Too Excited About Company Stock</h2> <p>Many companies offer company stock as part of their retirement plans. This is a nice perk, but young people in particular must understand that it's dangerous to put too much stock in their portfolio. Consider the plight of many Enron employees who lost nearly all of their retirement savings when the company went bankrupt in 2001. It's okay to keep some company stock, particularly if it's provided to you for free or you are allowed to buy it at at a discount. But make sure it comprises just a fraction of your overall portfolio. Having too much of your savings tied up in one stock &mdash; particularly one that is already responsible for your financial wellbeing &mdash; is dangerous.</p> <p><em>What investing lessons would you tell your younger self?</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/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">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/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fees mutual funds returns stocks younger self Tue, 16 Feb 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1654016 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways "Boring" Investments Make Life Exciting http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_reading_newspaper_000051430362.jpg" alt="Man learning ways boring investments make life exciting" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>To jump-start 2016, I resolved to get physically fit by joining DailyBurn with celebrity trainer Bob Harper. Based on my target goals, the program began with BlackFire, a strategic fitness program of diverse routines designed to make your muscles burn and push your body beyond its limits. But exotic training programs like these can deplete you and only work when balanced by proper nutrition and diet.</p> <p>The same is true for investing &mdash; going too exotic is not good for your portfolio and can throw you off balance. Mixing things up by adding in some &quot;boring&quot; investments can offer steady growth and offset the possibility of market volatility. And if you're like most of us, keeping and growing your money can provide more real excitement than any fad or risky investment.</p> <p>Here are four ways &quot;boring&quot; investments make life more exciting.</p> <h2>1. Less Market Volatility</h2> <p>The markets are down these days and some investors are in a frenzy. But instead of abandoning ship, like many people do, try balancing your portfolio with asset classes that carry less risk. This is the number one way boring investments are more exciting &mdash; because during times of panic, you don't have to. Review your allocation strategy accordingly.</p> <p>Another plus: When you avoid assuming unnecessary investment risks, you'll have more money on hand to take calculated risks and profit when riskier investments fall.</p> <h2>2. Cost-Efficient</h2> <p>Boring investments cost less due to their lower total expense ratios. Traditional mutual funds are actively managed and indexed mutual funds have administrative fees costing slightly more than ETFs, but both are substantially more cost-efficient in comparison to individual stocks. Morningstar Investment Research estimates the average asset-weighted mid-growth index mutual fund costs 0.39%, while ETFs average 0.23%. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-5-etfs-you-should-buy-now?ref=seealso">The Top 5 ETFs You Should Buy Now</a>)</p> <p>This cost efficiency adds up over time, saving you thousands of dollars over a lifetime of investing. And you know what's exciting? Having more money at the end of the day.</p> <h2>3. Tax-Efficient</h2> <p>Maximizing your portfolio's tax efficiency can save you big bucks. As an example, one common strategy to offset capital gains is tax-loss harvesting, which offsets profits with tax deductions on losses (up to $3,000 annually). Another &quot;boring&quot; investment that can help you save on taxes is municipal bonds. The income payouts from muni bonds are exempt from federal, state, and city tax. And &quot;boring&quot; investments like ETFs and mutual funds have less turnover since they are passively managed, making them tax-efficient.</p> <p>(For 2016, the maximum capital gains tax is 20%. How much you pay depends on your income. If you're in the 10% to 15% marginal tax bracket, or a person who has earned below $50,400 (head of household) or $75,300 (joint filers), you will owe zero tax on income derived from the sale of securities.)</p> <h2>4. Hands-Free Investments</h2> <p>Don't find investing all that exciting, in general? Then consider hands-off investments such as target-date ETFs or mutual funds which free you to do whatever really excites you with your time. Or, consider using a low-cost robo-advisor to manage your money for you. Then all you have to do is sit back and watch your money grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=seealso">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a>)</p> <p><em>What boring investments do you find thrilling?</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-boring-investments-make-life-exciting">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/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-etfs-can-put-more-money-in-your-pocket-than-mutual-funds">8 Ways ETFs Can Put More Money in Your Pocket Than Mutual Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-easy-and-not-so-obvious-ways-to-invest-in-a-companys-stock">8 Cheap, Easy, and Not-So-Obvious Ways to Invest in a Company&#039;s 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/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment ETFs low risk market volatility municipal bonds mutual funds stability Mon, 01 Feb 2016 14:00:04 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1647738 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000 http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_000076050947.jpg" alt="Woman finding best ways to invest $50, $500, or $5000" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing isn't just for your dad and the super rich folks down the block. Anyone can &mdash; and should &mdash; put a portion of those hard-earned dollars to work. The prospect of reaping additional profits by committing capital to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and more might seem sort of scary. But it's an exercise everyone can benefit from &mdash; people with slim pockets included. It's all about weighing potential gains with potential risk, and then zeroing in on an investment vehicle that caters to you.</p> <p>Read on for our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">investment guide for the newbies</a> and dabblers. Whether you've got $50, $500, or $5,000 to spare, there's a wealth-growing opportunity waiting for you.</p> <h2>1. $50</h2> <p>Fifty smackers won't make you rich. But that doesn't mean you can't transform a $50 bill into an opportunity to build up your wealth. Often the key to growing small sums is getting creative, so now's the time to channel your inner artist.</p> <p>Why not flip furniture on Craigslist? Think about it: There's a deluge of couches, end tables, stools, and vintage tea carts on the buy-and-sell site. Often, when it comes to furniture listings, one of four things is the case: The seller doesn't know what the item is worth; the seller is moving and just needs to get rid of things quickly; the seller can't take a good photo of a coffee table for the life of him; or the furniture piece needs just a little TLC to realize its potential worth. Here's where you swoop in to remedy the situation.</p> <p>If the seller undersold you a sofa, it's not your duty to inform him that he could have made an arm and a leg rather than $25. Seize this as an opportunity to resell the item you got a steal for at a better price. If the seller has a nice wooden chair, but posted a dim-lit, fuzzy photo of it positioned in the middle of a messy living room overrun with cats, you've just scored yourself a chance to buy the chair and market it in a way that reflects its true worth.</p> <p>Another option for folks with $50 to invest: Build up your savings account. It's not sexy. But if you're able to sock away $50 every once in a blue moon, you'll eventually have a nice little safety net. What's more, you'll be on your way to building up enough money to do some more progressive investing (think bonds and stocks). After all, you've got to have a little to make a little. But you certainly don't need a lot to grow your pot.</p> <h2>2. $500</h2> <p>A $500 investment gives you a little bit more flexibility. While it's hard to grow that amount quickly and substantially &mdash; ahem, unless you've perfected your poker face &mdash; there are lots of ways to make $500 work for you without risking big losses on the betting machines.</p> <p>In fact, you won't wager <em>any</em> losses if you invest in a certificate of deposit. Popularly known as a CD, this special type of deposit account offers a higher rate of interest than a standard savings account. The catch is that you can only deposit money into it for a specified length of time. During that time &mdash; six months, 18 months, two years, etc. &mdash; your fixed investment generates interest, which you can cash out, along with your original $500, when your CD reaches maturity.</p> <p>A CD is a safe investment &mdash; an ideal option for folks amenable to slow growth and low risk. Unlike a savings account, a CD can help prevent you from burning through your hard-earned dollars (but if you're in a jam, you can easily access it for a small penalty). And unlike stocks and many other forms of investment, CDs come with federal deposit insurance, so there's zero risk of losing your money. National rates for a one-year CD currently hover around 1.25% at the moment. Not great, but be sure to shop around.</p> <p>Another great option is hooking up with an online financial advisor. They're truly all the rage. You can open an account with <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.1538723&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Betterment</a>, for example, even if you have no money. (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). Dubbed &quot;the easiest investment site you'll ever use&quot; by Slate, Betterment is just one of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">several robo-advisors</a> offering services that were at one time a privilege of the uber-rich. (Thanks, Internet.) Some of these companies will even make the trades for you, suggest ways to minimize your taxes, and rebalance your accounts. There's more risk involved in investing with an online financial advisor, but there's also more opportunity for gains.</p> <h2>3. $5000</h2> <p>One of the biggest misconceptions about investing is that you need a lot of money to jump in the game. Not so. By sinking $5,000, a relatively modest sum, into a quality mutual fund, you'll gain access to a stock portfolio that's diversified and professionally managed. Another benefit: Investors in mutual funds can cash in their shares at any time, giving you more flexibility should you endure some sort of financial emergency.</p> <p>Sure, there's risk involved. Some of the investments in your portfolio will falter. But others are bound to flourish. Some years will be losers. During others, your earnings might grow by 8%. Bottom line: If you choose a mutual fund that's high-performing, there's ample opportunity to grow your investment into a bigger sum. You've just got to come to terms with that fact that every year won't be a good one. And so, notably, the $5,000 you invest shouldn't be money that you're hoping to spend next year. Rather, view this investment as your pot of gold for sometime down the road.</p> <p>If you're wary of risk, consider investing, say, $3,000 in mutual funds. Then pour the remainder into bonds. Bonds won't bring home the big returns, but they'll give you reliable ones, providing you with a solid footing on which to weather the uncertainty of an investment in stocks.</p> <p>Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were most sizeable portfolios. Even a modest start is a good start &mdash; and a big step forward toward financial security.</p> <p><em>How have you invested a windfall?</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/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">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/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All 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/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-assets-you-can-count-on-during-tough-times">8 Assets You Can Count on During Tough Times</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-safe-investment">Is There Such a Thing as a &quot;Safe&quot; Investment?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds earnings mutual funds profits stocks windfalls Mon, 04 Jan 2016 14:00:02 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1630352 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Investment Mistakes We All Make http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buy_sell_dice_000034067732.jpg" alt="People making investment mistakes we all make" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Anyone who has ever made money by investing has probably also made their share of blunders. In fact, it's the blunders along the way that have probably led to some great lessons learned.</p> <p>If you've made <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-crazy-investments-of-the-rich-and-famous">mistakes with your investments</a>, you are not alone. Here are some of the most common investing mistakes we all make from time to time.</p> <h2>1. We Have No Plan</h2> <p>We start buying stocks and mutual funds without any real idea of our goals, timeline, or risk tolerance. We trade on a whim, with no sense of how each investment fits with our overall portfolio. Eventually, we'll become more organized and we'll be able to invest with purpose, simplicity, and success.</p> <h2>2. We Buy and Sell at a Bad Time</h2> <p>We've all seen the market go down and have panicked. We unload quality stocks that later rise back up to new heights. We also buy popular stocks at inflated prices, only to see them come back to earth. Over time, we learn that selling high and buying low is a much more profitable approach.</p> <h2>3. We Don't Invest Enough</h2> <p>When we start investing, we are cautious and too conservative. Perhaps we're young and not too thrifty and fail to put enough aside. We don't understand the power of compounding returns over time. We'll kick ourselves when we're 55 because we wish we'd have saved more when we were 25.</p> <h2>4. We're Too Aggressive</h2> <p>We're overloaded on tech stocks and hot biopharmaceutical companies. We go after wacky investments like leveraged ETFs and embrace volatility. We might make money quick, but we're just as likely to lose it fast. We will learn the hard way that slow and steady growth is a more reasonable goal.</p> <h2>5. We're Too Conservative</h2> <p>We're terrified of losing money, so we invest in bonds and cash, even though we're 35 years from retirement. We get giddy over a 2% return from a CD. Over time we will learn that it's impossible to get rich without taking some calculated risks.</p> <h2>6. We Don't Pay Attention to Fees</h2> <p>We buy a mutual fund or ETF because we think it's in line with our investment goals, but fail to notice that we're losing a full percent or more from expenses. There are management fees, account fees, transaction fees and a variety of other costs that are passed onto us, eating into our investment returns. Eventually, we'll learn to find those solid, well-performing funds and ETFs with super-low expense ratios.</p> <h2>7. We Don't Pay Attention to Taxes</h2> <p>We're ignorant of the advantages of Roth IRAs, which allow us to see investments grow tax free, and 401(k) plans, which let us defer taxes on investments and reduce our taxable income now. We're oblivious to the impact of capital gains taxes, buying and selling frequently in taxable accounts. Eventually, we'll become more tax savvy and our investments will rise in value faster.</p> <h2>8. We Don't Pay Attention to Commissions</h2> <p>We buy and sell shares of stock frequently, unaware that we may be paying big bucks to a stock broker when we could trade online for less than $10 a trade. But even when we do discover a discount broker, we buy and sell so often and just a few shares at a time, so even small commissions make a dent in our portfolio. We will learn over time to buy and sell with more money so that commissions don't have the same impact &mdash; or to find investments that trade commission-free.</p> <h2>9. We Watch Too Much TV</h2> <p>We are initially mesmerized by the financial pundits on CNBC and other financial news networks. We act on every stock tip from Jim Cramer and every piece of speculation about what the Fed will do. Soon, we'll learn to separate the sound analysis from the noise, and have confidence in our own ability to execute a long-term investment strategy.</p> <h2>10. We Check Our Investments Too Often</h2> <p>We watch the day-to-day performance of the markets, and allow the ups and downs impact our emotions. We see a stock dip 2% in a day and feel like punching a wall. We see it rise 3% and want to throw a party. We will conclude that this is no way to live, and will instead feel content checking in once a week, or so.</p> <h2>11. We Forget to Rebalance</h2> <p>We think we have a great investment plan, with a solid mix of stocks in various sectors and asset classes. It's all set up for optimal returns, except that we fail to pay attention as the investment mix goes off kilter. Now we're too heavily invested in one sector and don't have enough exposure in another. This offers the lesson that just because our contributions are invested a certain way, doesn't mean they'll end up that way. Rebalancing our portfolio at least once a year will help us stay on track.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to correct your investing mistakes?</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/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-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-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/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-invest-in-biotech-without-getting-burned">7 Ways to Invest in Biotech Without Getting Burned</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds ETFs investing mistakes mutual funds stocks Wed, 23 Sep 2015 13:00:22 +0000 Tim Lemke 1561525 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Signs Your 401(k) is Underperforming http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-your-401k-is-underperforming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-signs-your-401k-is-underperforming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reviewing_contract_000015199733.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to tell if her 401(k) is underperforming" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've been diligently putting money away through your company's retirement plan, and are hopeful that the mutual funds in your 401(k) will accumulate enough cash for you to retire comfortably some day. But how do you know if your account is performing as well as it could?</p> <p>An <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">underperforming 401(k)</a> can cost you thousands of dollars in retirement income, so it's important to understand where it may be lacking.</p> <p>Here are seven ways to tell if your 401(k) is not up to snuff.</p> <h2>1. The Underlying Indexes Are Performing Better</h2> <p>You may have your 401(k) invested in funds that are meant to mirror certain indexes, such as the S&amp;P 500 or Russell 3000. In general, your overall investment returns should be in line with these indexes. If they aren't, then you may want to evaluate what you are paying in fees (see below), or consider switching to a fund that is better managed.</p> <h2>2. You've Never Rebalanced</h2> <p>You may think you have the ideal investment mix, but it's important to remember that your original investment choices may have shifted in proportion over time due to your portfolio's growth. For example, let's say you decided to place 60% of your money in domestic stocks, and 40% in international. But if domestic stocks grow more quickly, over time, that may turn into a 70/30 split. Reallocating your existing investments to reflect your investment choices will usually help you achieve greater growth.</p> <h2>3. You Pay a Lot in Fees</h2> <p>Many people don't realize that most 401(k) plans come with fees. There are fees to administer the plan, fees to manage the funds, fees for record keeping, and a variety of other things. Generally speaking, fees should not represent more than $1 for every $100 in your account, or a total of 1%. If you are primarily invested in index funds, anything more than .20% is high. Even the slightest fee can represent thousands of dollars in lost savings over the life of a plan.</p> <h2>4. Your Plan Administrator Uses Only Its Own Funds</h2> <p>If the company administering the 401(k) plan insists on offering only its own funds, that could be a problem. Those funds might be fine, but studies show they are often not the best funds available and administrators are less likely to <a href="http://www.barrons.com/articles/SB50001424052748704836204578354421066445066?autologin=y">dump those funds</a> when they underperform.</p> <h2>5. You Aren't Getting the Maximum Match From Your Employer</h2> <p>If you're not certain what percentage of each paycheck to put into your 401(k), you should at least contribute the minimum required for your maximum company match. This amount varies, but it's often between 3% and 5% of your salary. If you don't take advantage of the company match, you're leaving free money on the table.</p> <h2>6. You're Trying to Time the Market</h2> <p>One of the best things about 401(k) plans is that money is usually deducted straight from your paycheck, so you can contribute a consistent amount into specific funds without much work. But if you decide to adjust your contributions according to market fluctuations, you might be messing with a good thing. Trying to time the market is rarely effective. The average 401(k) investor hangs on to investments for about three years, when they should be staying the course for at least five.</p> <h2>7. You Live in the South</h2> <p>If you live below the Mason-Dixon Line, you might find that your 401(k) is a little sluggish. According to BenefitsPro, six of the top 10 states with the <a href="http://www.benefitspro.com/2015/01/29/top-10-states-with-underperforming-401ks?t=trends&amp;page=2&amp;page_all=1">most underperforming 401(k) plans</a> are located in the south. This includes Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In many of these states, more than 10% of all plans were considered low performing. Check with your HR department or plan administrator for a better understanding of your investment choices.</p> <p><em>How is your 401(k) doing?</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/7-signs-your-401k-is-underperforming">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/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</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/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</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-simple-ways-to-boost-an-underperforming-401k">5 Simple Ways to Boost an Underperforming 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</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/12-surprising-things-women-should-know-about-retirement-planning">12 Surprising Things Women Should Know About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) 403(b) company matches mutual funds underperforming Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1541994 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Best Performing Mutual Funds of the 2000s http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-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/man_investments_000068915471.jpg" alt="Man discovering best mutual funds of the 2000s" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're looking to supercharge your investment returns, it's often helpful to look at some of the best performing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-investors">mutual funds</a> of recent years. It's a particularly fun exercise to examine the funds that have performed best since the year 2000.</p> <p>This list was compiled using historical data on annual average returns from Morningstar and Fidelity. It is heavy on biotechnology and health funds, driven by some of the biggest gainers in the stock market over the last 15 years.</p> <p>It's worth noting that there are several funds that could be on this list, but are now closed to new investors. There are also other funds that have done exceptionally well in the last 10 years, but did not make the list because of bad performance between 2000 and 2005.</p> <p>Here's to hoping these funds can give your portfolio a boost. Just remember that past performance does not guarantee future returns.</p> <h2>1. Prudential Jennison Health Sciences Fund Z [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/PHSZX/quote.html">PHSZX</a>]</h2> <p>It's hard to complain about an 18% average annual return over the last 15 years. A $10,000 investment at the start of 2000 would be worth more than $130,000 now. Top holdings are Biomarin Pharmaceutical, Shire, and Allergan.</p> <h2>2. Rydex Basic Biotechnology Fund Class A [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/RYBOX/quote.html">RYBOX</a>]</h2> <p>Founded in 2004, here's a fund that has ridden the wave of hot biotech stocks. This fund would have netted $57,000 from a $10,000 investment at the start. It boasts a 17% average annual return over the last decade, and a more than 50% return over the last year. Gilead, Amgen, and Celgene are the top holdings in this fund.</p> <h2>3. ProFunds BioTechnology UltraSector Fund Investor Class [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/BIPIX/quote.html">BIPIX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund is not for the faint of heart. It has high fees and a high minimum investment ($15,000), and uses leverage to maximize returns. But that risk has paid off for investors with an average annual 9% return since being founded in June of 2000. It's recorded a 21% average annual return in the last decade and a 63% average annual return in the last three years. Its holdings include some of the biggest names in biotech, including Gilead Sciences, Amgen, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.</p> <h2>4. Fidelity Select Biotechnology [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FBIOX/quote.html">FBIOX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund has been a solid performer for more than a decade, with an average annual return of more than 14% since the start of 2000, and more than 19% since 2005. Investors should be especially pleased with the 64% return in the past year. Anyone who invested $10,000 into this fund back in 2000 would have about $45,000 today.</p> <h2>5. Rydex Dynamic NASDAQ-100 2x Strategy Class A [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/RYVLX/quote.html">RYVLX</a>]</h2> <p>This is another fund that should probably come with a bottle of ulcer medication. Investors tough enough to endure a brutal 2008 will have seen this mutual fund rebound nicely. This fund has a 16% average annual return since being founded in 2004, and a 50% annual return since the bottom in early 2009. The goal of this fund is to double the performance of the NASDAQ-100. Top holdings include Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.</p> <h2>6. Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FPHAX/quote.html">FPHAX</a>]</h2> <p>It took a while for investors to make money from this fund, but there were solid gains between 2005 and 2007, and super performance in the last six years. We like a 9.8% annual return since its founding date in 2001, and more than 15% in average annual returns in the last 10 years.</p> <h2>7. Fidelity Select Health Care Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FSPHX/quote.html">FSPHX</a>]</h2> <p>Ronald Reagan was in his second year as president when this fund first came into being. It's been a solid performer all its life, and has generated an average annual return of 12% in the last 15 years. Current top holdings include Allergan, Medtronic, and Boston Scientific Corp.</p> <h2>8. Fidelity Select IT Services Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FBSOX/quote.html">FBSOX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund was once known as &quot;Business Services and Outsourcing,&quot; but now invests about 80% of its holdings in the information technology sector. Whatever the focus, the fund has been good to investors. An average annual return of about 11% makes this one of the best performers of the last 15 years. Top holdings include Visa, Mastercard, and IBM.</p> <h2>9. Janus Global Life Sciences Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/JAGLX/quote.html">JAGLX</a>]</h2> <p>Here's a funny thing about this fund: If you bought right at the start of 2000, you'd have been rewarded with a 70% return on your investment within two months. But if you bought in March of that year, you'd have been forced to wait 11 years to see any positive return at all. Patient investors, however will have seen an average annual return of between 11% and 12%, and a 41% average annual return over the last three years.</p> <p><em>Are you invested in any of these nine best performing mutual funds of this century? </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/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-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-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/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 2000s biotech healthcare millennium mutual funds returns stock market Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:00:24 +0000 Tim Lemke 1536881 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Top Mutual Funds for Low-Risk Investors http://www.wisebread.com/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-investors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-investors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_egg_000009833919.jpg" alt="Finding top mutual funds for low-risk investors" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are approaching retirement or otherwise want to protect your nest egg from a sudden drop in value, there are many attractive but low-risk places to put your money. It's possible to put your cash in something other than a passbook savings or money market account and still sleep well at night.</p> <p>Investors with a low risk tolerance should be able to rest easy when investing in any of these mutual funds. I've evaluated them based on a long-term record of wealth protection, and other factors, including low fees and overall market returns.</p> <h2>1. Fidelity Total Bond Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FTBFX/quote.html">FTBFX</a>]</h2> <p>You won't get rich quick from this fund, but you won't lose your shirt, either. Look for a steady annual return of between 2% and 5% from investments based off of the Barclays Universal Bond Index. A low expense ratio of .45% makes this a solid fund for investors with a low risk tolerance.</p> <h2>2. Wright Current Income Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/WCIFX/quote.html">WCIFX</a>]</h2> <p>If you want security, it's rarely a bad idea to place your money in U.S. government bonds, as America always pays its bills. You'll see a steady annual return of 2%&ndash;4% with this fund and it will be nearly immune to the stock market dips we've seen over the years. I am not a fan of the 1.24% expense ratio, but this is otherwise a great fund for risk-averse investors.</p> <h2>3. USAA Government Securities Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/USGNX/quote.html">USGNX</a>]</h2> <p>Another strong fund that invests primarily in government securities, USGNX has some exposure to the mortgage sector &mdash; but not the subprime loans that got many funds in trouble in the previous decade. The expense ratio of .47% is almost unbeatable in this class, and investors can expect a reliable annual return of between 2% and 4%.</p> <h2>4. JP Morgan Government Bond Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/OGGAX/quote.html">OGGAX</a>]</h2> <p>Safe, if unspectacular, this fund provides returns of between 2% and 4% annually from a mix of treasury notes, inflation-protected securities, and bonds.</p> <h2>5. Janus High Yield Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/JAHYX/quote.html">JAHYX</a>]</h2> <p>Though it dipped in value last year, this is a fund with a steady track record of 6%&ndash;8% annual returns. With most of its money in high-yield bonds, it's also generally less risky than investing in stocks. Note, however, that its expense ratio of .87% is on the higher side.</p> <h2>6. TCW Total Return Bond Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/TGLMX/quote.html">TGLMX</a>]</h2> <p>A five-star rating from Morningstar? Check. Low expenses? Check. Annual returns of between 5%&ndash;6% over the last decade? Check. This bond fund should hit the sweet spot for many investors looking to protect their wealth and get some income at the same time.</p> <h2>7. Fidelity Freedom Index 2020 Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FPIFX/quote.html">FPIFX</a>]</h2> <p>I am not usually a fan of target date funds, because fees are often high. But the expense ratio on this fund is just .23%, and it's a great fit for anyone who thinks they'll need their money in the next five years, or so. Investors have seen a five-year return of 7.67% and 10-year return of 7.89%.</p> <h2>8. Vanguard Wellseley Income Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/VWINX/quote.html">VWINX</a>]</h2> <p>Morningstar rates this fund five stars, and with good reason. It's garnered a five-year return of 9% and 10-year return of 7%, and has weathered the downturns better than most funds. We also like the expense ratio of just .25%. About 70% of this fund's money is in bonds, with the rest in stocks and cash.</p> <h2>9. Berwyn Income Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/BERIX/quote.html">BERIX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund isn't quite as conservative as others on this list, as it does invest about a third of its money in stocks. But this fund has managed an average annual return of about 7% over the last decade, and only dropped a relatively modest 10% during the most recent market downturn. Its expense ratio of .64% is reasonable.</p> <p>Protecting your money from the vagaries of the market doesn't have to be difficult, and the funds above all offer reasonable investments for the risk-averse.</p> <p><em>Do you have a favorite low-risk mutual fund?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-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-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/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards">The 5 Best Secured Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards low-risk investing mutual funds nest egg wealth protection Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:00:27 +0000 Tim Lemke 1525736 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Top Mutual Funds for Income Investors http://www.wisebread.com/10-top-mutual-funds-for-income-investors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-top-mutual-funds-for-income-investors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/people_mutual_funds_000020266560.jpg" alt="Learning the top mutual funds for income investors" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're an investor looking to boost income rather than long-term growth, you have a ton of great options. Many well-crafted mutual funds are designed to help income investors meet their objectives, whether it be for retirement or to just have some extra cash on hand.</p> <p>Some of these funds are pure income plays designed for those in or near retirement, while others also offer some nice capital appreciation. Consider these 10 <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-etfs-can-put-more-money-in-your-pocket-than-mutual-funds">mutual funds</a> designed for income investors.</p> <h2>1. Vanguard Retirement Income [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/VTINX/quote.html">VTINX</a>]</h2> <p>This is a good performer with a nice mix of government and corporate bonds, cash, and some stocks. There's also a super-low expense ratio of just 0.16%, so you'll get to keep more of your money.</p> <h2>2. Vanguard Dividend Growth [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/VDIGX/quote.html">VDIGX</a>]</h2> <p>A great, low-cost fund for those looking for dividend income, as well as capital appreciation. This fund invests in mostly large-cap companies like UPS, Coca-Cola, and Lockheed Martin that show a potential for increasing dividends. It's hard to argue with a three-year return of 14%.</p> <h2>3. Fidelity Freedom Index Income Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FIKFX/quote.html">FIKFX</a>]</h2> <p>There are better performing funds out there, but this one does have some of the lowest fees in the class, so your total return may be on par or better than most competitors. This fund advertises a mix of 7% in domestic equity funds, 7% in international equity funds, 46% in bond funds, and 30% in short-term funds.</p> <h2>4. BlackRock LifePath Index Retirement Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/LIRIX/quote.html">LIRIX</a>]</h2> <p>Similar to the Fidelity Freedom Index Income Fund, with a nice and low expense ratio of .16%. This is a little more stock-heavy than some income funds, with about 40% in domestic and international equities. This makes it a riskier fund than some, but most investors will not complain about a three-year return of 6.34%.</p> <h2>5. T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund <a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/PRFDX/quote.html">[PRFDX</a>]</h2> <p>This is a great fund for younger investors who want to boost income, but are willing to accept some risk in order to see growth, as well. This fund has most of its holdings in stocks with a history of paying high dividends. (General Electric, Johnson &amp; Johnson, and Exxon Mobil are among its largest holdings.) Those dividends can boost your income, and most investors won't complain about annual returns of about 14% over three and five-year time horizons.</p> <h2>6. TIAA-CREF Lifecycle [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/TLRIX/quote.html">TLRIX</a>]</h2> <p>Expenses are a little higher than Vanguard's, but you can't argue with the performance of this &quot;fund of funds&quot; which is up nearly 4% this year and 8% in five years. About a quarter of this fund is invested in TIAA-CREF's main bond fund.</p> <h2>7. T. Rowe Price Real Estate Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/TRREX/quote.html">TRREX</a>]</h2> <p>It's a good idea to have some real estate in any investment portfolio, and this fund is a good way to get that exposure and some nice income along the way. Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, generally pay higher-than-average dividends, and this fund has seen consistent annual growth in recent years.</p> <h2>8. Fidelity Select Utilities Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FSUTX/quote.html">FSUTX</a>]</h2> <p>Utilities are another industry that belongs in a well-diversified portfolio. This particular fund invests in companies like Exelon and Nexterra that pay solid dividends. There is some stability in having exposure to this industry, as no one is shutting off their air conditioning or lights anytime soon. This fund is free to trade on Fidelity, and though it's had a tough 2015, it's up more than 10% in the last three years.</p> <h2>9. JPMorgan SmartRetirement Income Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/JSRAX/quote.html">JSRAX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund has a mix of about 50% bonds and 35% stocks, so it's not as fixed income-heavy as some other funds. Performance is solid at more than 6% in the last three years and nearly 7% in the last five. Its net expense ratio of .78% is on the low side compared to most mutual funds. Fidelity customers can trade this fund without a commission.</p> <h2>10. Fidelity Income Replacement Funds</h2> <p>These are <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/fidelity-fund-portfolios/our-approach">not your typical mutual funds</a>, but they can be useful for people looking for income up to a target date. These funds offer regular monthly payments, similar to an annuity, that increase with inflation. It's important to note that the investor is left with a zero balance at the end, so these funds may not be ideal for everyone. I am not a usually a big fan of target date funds because fees are often on the high side. But these funds have reasonable expense ratios of between .35% and .68%.</p> <p><em>Which mutual funds do you favor for income?</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-top-mutual-funds-for-income-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-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/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment income investing mutual funds retirement stock portfolios Thu, 13 Aug 2015 13:00:45 +0000 Tim Lemke 1517140 at http://www.wisebread.com