risk http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8974/all en-US Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-585490666.jpg" alt="Person learning why loss aversion is worse than FOMO" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine the following scenario:</p> <p>You can either pocket a guaranteed $500, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you get $1,000. If you get tails, you get nothing.</p> <p>Now, imagine this second scenario:</p> <p>You are given $1,000 &mdash; woohoo! But you have to decide whether you'll lose $500 of it outright, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you lose nothing. If you get tails, you lose $750.</p> <p>Chances are, in scenario one, you chose to pocket the money, whereas in scenario two, you chose to flip the coin.</p> <h2>How did you know that!?</h2> <p>That's because we feel the pain of losing money so much more than we feel the joy of earning a reward. This trend is called &quot;loss aversion,&quot; but, in everyday terms, you might find it a bit familiar to FOMO: the fear of missing out.</p> <p>FOMO tends to describe the pain of seeing your friends on social media doing fun things and achieving their goals while you're left out. In a way, loss aversion is similar because you're afraid to lose out, but the pain might be a bit deeper with money.</p> <p>It might sound ludicrous that we hurt more when we lose money than we feel joy in earning it. But studies have shown we feel the heartbreak of a financial loss <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/~kahneman/docs/Publications/prospect_theory.pdf" target="_blank">twice as strongly</a> as we feel gaining the same amount of money. So, if you get a $500 bonus from your boss, you'll only be half as emotional as you would be losing that same amount on the stock market.</p> <h2>How might this affect me?</h2> <p>Loss aversion can be both good and bad. For starters, it might lead you to make &quot;safe,&quot; low-risk investments. This turns out to be helpful for investments you <em>have </em>to make, such as your retirement fund. Sure, you could put your life savings into a high-risk scheme, potentially multiply it several times over, and retire in riches &mdash; but you might also lose it all. It's often better to choose something with a low rate of risk so you have a healthy sum of money to live off one day.</p> <p>On the opposite side of the coin, loss aversion can cause you to make rash decisions regarding the stocks and investments you hold. For example, if you're an investor in oil-related stocks and have a meltdown every time oil prices drop, you might be inclined to sell off all your stocks and stop the loss as quickly as possible. While this may be a good decision in certain situations, it's always important to remember that what goes down will likely go up again, and holding onto your stock could mean you'll get it back later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Now, that concerns a drop to the market overall. The other potential pitfall of loss aversion is to hold onto stocks that have been underperforming for <em>way </em>too long. Many investors will sell stocks that appear to be at the top of their game, only to find out later that they've continued to grow. Meanwhile, the stocks they're waiting to see flourish continue to underperform, and they lose money in the long run.</p> <h2>How can I avoid falling into this trap?</h2> <p>One of the best ways to make sure you don't feel the pain of loss &mdash; or loss aversion &mdash; is to diversify your portfolio. In other words, don't put all of your eggs in one basket: Invest in different industries, different types of stocks, and in both short- and long-term investments.</p> <p>If you're going to make a &quot;risky&quot; investment, make sure you're ready for the challenge. Prepare yourself by building your confidence and learning more about what it means to invest in whatever you're considering. Come up with a fallback plan. You've heard it before, and it's worth repeating: risk equals reward. Yes, you might lose, and that'll hurt &mdash; but you might also gain big. If that's worth the leap, then it's time to get off the ground.</p> <p>If all else fails, talk to a professional about your options. Yes, you might have to throw him or her a bit of money in order to receive financial advice. But having a professional tell you the best, most secure way to invest your money might help ease your mind &mdash; and increase your dividends &mdash; without breaking the bank or your heart along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-financial-news-sites-for-investors-in-a-hurry">The 6 Best Financial News Sites for Investors in a Hurry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fear FOMO gains losing money loss aversion market drops risk stock market Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Anum Yoon 1921000 at http://www.wisebread.com Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-510572840.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you pay close attention to investment news, it'll either make you laugh or it'll drive you bonkers. Within the same hour, and on the same market news website, you will often see completely contradictory articles. One says the market is headed higher; the next says the market is about to tank.</p> <p>What's a smart investor to do? Be very careful about your information diet.</p> <h2>More Information, Less Success</h2> <p>In the late 1980s, former Harvard psychologist Paul Andreassen conducted an experiment to see how the quantity of market information impacted investor behavior.</p> <p>He divided a group of mock investors into two segments &mdash; investors in companies with stable stock prices, and investors in companies with volatile stock prices. Then he further divided those investors. Half of each group received constant news updates about the companies they invested in, and half received no news.</p> <p>Those who received no news generated better portfolio returns than those who received frequent updates. The implication? The more closely you monitor news about your investments, the more likely you are to make changes to your portfolio &mdash; usually to your detriment.</p> <p>In another study, renowned human behavior researchers Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Richard Thaler, and Alan Schwartz <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/richard.thaler/research/pdf/The%20Effect%20of%20Myopia%20and%20Loss%20Aversion%20on%20Risk%20Taking%20An%20Experimental%20Test.pdf" target="_blank">compared the stock/bond allocations</a> of investors who checked on their investments at least once a month against those who did so just once a year. Those who took in the <em>least</em> information about their portfolios made fewer investment trades and generated higher returns.</p> <h2>When Helping Hurts</h2> <p>One factor at work here is &quot;loss aversion.&quot; First quantified by Kahneman and Tversky, it's the idea that people feel the pain of loss more acutely than the pleasure of gain. The frequent monitoring of investment portfolios brings every downward market move to the attention of investors, who tend to react by moving money into less risky assets (bonds instead of stocks), thereby locking in their losses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a>)</p> <h2>Misinformation Is Not Power</h2> <p>Another factor has to do with the tales told in the investment press. Each day's market performance is reported &mdash; what happened, and <em>why. </em>The first part is factual. The market either went up or down and by a certain amount. The second part is mostly opinion. No one can say with certainty exactly what moved the market. Was it fear over the growth rate of China's economy, a contraction in the oil supply, or that XYZ company missed its quarterly earnings projection by a penny? No one really knows. But that doesn't stop the explanations from flowing across the pages of investment news sites.</p> <p>Late December and early January are especially dangerous times to read market news. That's when market forecasters spin their yarns, undaunted by their previous year's miss or economist John Kenneth Galbraith's scolding that &quot;The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.&quot;</p> <p>We pay attention to such forecasts &mdash; and even worse, we change our portfolios because of such forecasts &mdash; at our peril.</p> <h2>Selective Listening</h2> <p>You can't control the stock market or what is said about it, but there are certain factors you <em>can</em> and <em>should</em> control, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Estimate how much you need to invest each month in order to accomplish your goals;</li> <li>Determine your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>;</li> <li>Choose a trustworthy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio?ref=internal" target="_blank">investment selection process</a>;</li> <li>Add to your portfolio regularly;</li> <li>Expect market turbulence;</li> <li>Be very, very careful about what investment news you take in and how much;</li> <li>Keep moving forward.</li> </ul> <p>Of the many factors involved in successful investing, selective listening may be the most important.</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/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">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-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</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-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds loss aversion misinformation news psychology reactions returns risk stock market Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1904508 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-479413254_0.jpg" alt="Man learning how to recognize predatory lending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Predatory lending has long been a problem for consumers. There is no exact definition of a predatory lender, but in general, these lenders either try to overcharge consumers for loans, or talk them into riskier loans that come with higher interest rates. Predatory lenders have one goal: They want to make as much money as possible on their loans, regardless of whether the loan product actually makes financial sense for the consumers.</p> <p>How, exactly, do people fall for this? It's actually not surprising when you understand the degree of manipulation predatory lenders will use. By targeting mainly elderly, low-income, or simply uninformed victims, these financial predators bank on convincing folks with poor or no credit that they have no other options for obtaining financing.</p> <p>If you don't fit the above criteria, don't think you're completely off their radar, either. Should you ever lose your job, need cash for an emergency, or suddenly find yourself facing steep medical bills, you just might be the next target of a predatory lender.</p> <p>Worried that a predatory lender might have targeted you? Here are the warning signs.</p> <h2>The Lender Wants You to Sign Now</h2> <p>Honest lenders will never pressure you to sign loan documents before you are comfortable. Legitimate lenders give you time to study the paperwork and research the fees and rates associated with the loan.</p> <p>Predatory lenders want you to sign paperwork as quickly as possible. That way, they can stick you with their high-cost loans before you have the chance to research lower-cost alternatives. Never do business with a lender who pressures you to act quickly. The odds are high that such a lender is a predator.</p> <h2>The Interest Rate Suddenly Rises</h2> <p>Predatory lenders like to entice new customers by advertising below-market interest rates on their websites or print ads. But when you actually call these lenders, you're told that you don't qualify for these low rates. Once these lenders have you on the phone, they'll try to convince you to sign up for a loan with a far higher rate.</p> <p>Don't fall for this trick. Companies that advertise interest rates that are far lower than their competitors are usually not trustworthy. The odds are high that these are predatory lenders trying to trick gullible borrowers.</p> <h2>They Tell You Not to Worry About Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Legitimate lenders rely heavily on your FICO credit score to determine if you should qualify for a loan and at what interest rate. This score tells lenders how well you've paid your bills in the past.</p> <p>Beware of lenders who say that your credit score doesn't matter or that they can approve you for a loan no matter how low your score is. Lenders who make these promises will charge you sky-high interest rates because they know that you're desperate for a loan. You're much better off working to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">improve your credit score</a> than taking out a costly high-interest-rate loan. Pay all your bills on time and pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible. Slowly, but steadily, your credit score will start to rise, and you can avoid the high rates of predatory lenders. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>The Lender Asks You to Lie</h2> <p>Making false claims about your income or debt on a loan application is a crime, and you could face significant fines if you do. Predatory lenders, though, might encourage you to inflate your income or provide other false information.</p> <p>Ignore this temptation. No legitimate lender will ask you to lie on an application. Instead, lenders will take extra steps to make sure that the information you do provide on an application is true. For instance, they'll ask you to provide copies of your most recent paycheck stubs, bank account statements, and tax returns to verify your income.</p> <h2>Your Lender Tries to Talk You Into a Riskier Loan</h2> <p>Be careful if your lender continues to push a loan that sounds risky. Maybe you want to apply for a fixed-rate loan with a term of 15 or 30 years. If your lender pressures you to instead apply for an interest-only loan with a balloon payment &mdash; or something equally as complicated or risky &mdash; walk away. Legitimate lenders will never try to talk you into a loan that you don't want.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</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/why-you-shouldnt-panic-if-your-credit-score-drops">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Panic If Your Credit Score Drops</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-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam">How to Avoid a &quot;Sweetheart Scam&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs credit score interest rates lies loans manipulation predatory lending risk scams warning signs Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:31:34 +0000 Dan Rafter 1901334 at http://www.wisebread.com Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-472468032.jpg" alt="the age of your credit history" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A healthy credit score shouldn't be underestimated.</p> <p>This three-digit number plays a pivotal role in your financial life, including whether or not you'll qualify for auto loans, mortgages, or credit cards, and if so, what interest rates you'll pay. It can even affect your career, particularly if it's in the finance field: A brokerage firm isn't likely to hire a candidate they suspect isn't good with money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>Given how much weight your credit score carries, you should do everything within your power to maintain a high score. Yet, before you can maintain a good score, you have to understand the components that make up your credit score.</p> <h2>What Makes Up Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Credit scores aren't determined by a single factor, but rather multiple factors. Once you open a credit account, your creditors report account activity to the credit bureaus on a regular basis. The bureaus compile data related to your accounts, and based on reported information, the bureaus formulate a credit score.</p> <p>It probably comes as no surprise that your payment history and the amounts you owe have a tremendous impact on your personal score. Your payment history makes up 35% of your score, while the amount you owe makes up 30% of your score. If you pay your bills on time, avoid delinquencies, and keep your balances within a reasonable range, you'll eventually build up to a solid score.</p> <p>But even when you take these measures, good credit doesn't happen overnight. Because there's another factor that contributes to your overall score: When credit bureaus formulate credit scores, they also take into account the <em>age </em>of your credit history.</p> <p>The age or length of your credit history &mdash; which makes up 15% of your credit score &mdash; doesn't have as big an impact on your score as your payment history and amounts owed. Still, you shouldn't downplay the importance of credit age.</p> <h2>How Credit Age Relates to Credit Risk</h2> <p>Most of us rely on credit for an auto loan, a house, and a credit card. Even so, being a creditor is risky business, and banks don't arbitrarily approve credit applications. They consider several factors before approving financing, such as your income and your credit score. Even if you have adequate income and pay your bills on time, the bank might reject your application if you don't meet the minimum credit score requirement for a loan. This can happen if you have a young credit history. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-credit-and-how-to-build-it-from-scratch?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Your Credit From Scratch</a>)</p> <p>The age of credit history affects overall scores because a longer history provides a better assessment of risk level. Credit age takes two elements into consideration: the age of your oldest account, and the average age of all your accounts. The longer accounts remain open, the more your credit matures. And as your credit matures, credit scoring models slowly add points to your score.</p> <p>To illustrate, if you've had a credit history for the past six years with no negative activity appearing on your credit report, credit bureaus evaluate your entire borrowing pattern, and based on your history and record, deem you a responsible borrower. This is a fairly accurate assessment given the length of credit history. As a responsible borrower, you're rewarded with additional credit score points.</p> <p>But let's say you've only had a credit file for six months or a year. Given your short credit history, credit bureaus can't accurately rate creditworthiness. Despite paying your bills on time, you don't have a long borrowing track record. There just isn't enough evidence to gauge how well you manage credit &mdash; this happens with time. You have a short credit history, and unfortunately, your credit score pays the price. The good news, however, is that this is a temporary problem.</p> <h2>What Can You Do?</h2> <p>Credit scores range from 300 to 850. If you're aiming for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">perfect credit score</a>, understand that it takes years of responsible credit habits to achieve. It doesn't matter how well you manage your credit accounts in the first one or two years, you probably won't have as high of a credit score as someone who's had A+ credit for eight or nine years &mdash; but you can get there.</p> <p>Remember, your payment history and the amount you owe make up 35% and 30% of your credit score, respectively. So while your credit score might be low due to a short credit history today, keeping your credit card balances low and making timely monthly payments will gradually increase your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending">How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same">Here&#039;s Why Credit Scores and Reports Are Not the Same</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-if-your-credit-score-drops">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Panic If Your Credit Score Drops</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-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps 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/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance age credit bureaus credit history credit score interest rates loans on time payments risk Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:01:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1901331 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs an ETF Isn't Right for You http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-an-etf-isnt-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-an-etf-isnt-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_boy_money_71664445.jpg" alt="Finding signs that an ETF isn&#039;t right for you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In recent years, exchange traded funds, or ETFs, have become a common part of many retirement portfolios. They work much like mutual funds, but can be traded throughout the day and often have lower costs. But how do you know if an ETF makes sense for you? After all, there are <em>literally thousands </em>of ETFs available, all with unique characteristics and goals.</p> <p>Most financial advisers suggest that investors keep things simple by finding ETFs that track major benchmark indexes, such as the S&amp;P 500. They should generally have low fees and fit in with other investments in your portfolio, too.</p> <p>Here are some key ways to determine if an ETF isn't right for you.</p> <h2>1. It Has High Fees</h2> <p>Anytime you purchase a mutual fund or ETF, it's important to note how much of your money is going to fund managers and other expenses. High fees can take a big cut out of your overall earnings, and there's little evidence that ETFs with higher fees perform better than cheaper ones. It's possible to own very solid ETFs with expense ratios at 0.1% or lower. If your ETF's expense ratio is significantly higher, it may be time to invest in something else.</p> <p>&quot;Anything above 0.3%, and it gets a little excessive,&quot; says Justin Halverson of Great Waters Financial in Minneapolis.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Understand It</h2> <p>As ETFs have grown in popularity, they've also grown in number &mdash; and complexity. That means there are many &quot;boutique&quot; ETFs with very unique philosophies and goals. There are ETFs that zero in on very specific industries or market sectors. There are ETFs that do elaborate things involving leverage, or track obscure indexes. For most investors, these ETFs are complicated and unnecessary.</p> <p>&quot;You can get as fancy as you want with it,&quot; said Charlie Harriman, a financial adviser at Cloud Investments LLC in Huntsville, Alabama. &quot;We usually advise that investors stick with the staples and things they know.&quot;</p> <h2>3. It's Too Risky</h2> <p>Some of the unique ETFs mentioned above are designed to generate big returns in some cases, but there's a huge downside if markets go south. Some ETFs use leverage to potentially amplify returns by two or three times an underlying index &mdash; thus, they can amplify losses during downturns. The average investor who is saving for the long term does not need to take on additional risk with ETFs that are designed for short-term trading.</p> <h2>4. It's Too Conservative</h2> <p>It's important that your investments match up with your financial goals. This means that if you're a young investor, you probably don't need a bonds ETF, or an ETF with low-growth dividend stocks. These types of ETFs may help you avoid a big loss during a market downturn, but you'll never be able to amass the kind of wealth you need in retirement unless you get a bit more aggressive.</p> <h2>5. Its Holdings Overlap With Other Things You Own</h2> <p>Diversification is great, but sometimes you can go overboard. When you invest in an ETF, you are getting exposure to a wide range of stocks, and there may be other ETFs with similar holdings. For instance, an ETF that tracks the overall stock market may own a good chunk of Apple stock, and a tech-focused ETF may own a lot of Apple stock as well. So it may not necessarily make sense to own both. Be sure to check the list of holdings for each ETF you own in order to avoid redundancy in your portfolio.</p> <h2>6. You Can't Trade It for Free</h2> <p>Many discount brokerage firms allow account holders to trade certain ETFs without paying a commission. For example, Fidelity allows fee-free trades for all ETFs offered by iShares. By eliminating this commission, you could save upward of $7 on every stock purchase, which is a lot of money if you make frequent purchases. This is particularly advantageous for younger investors who prefer to invest a little at a time rather than one large sum.</p> <p>If you're looking at an ETF to buy but it's not available without paying a commission, consider switching to a similar ETF that is. If your broker does not offer commission-free trades on ETFs, maybe that's a good excuse to switch brokers.</p> <h2>7. It Doesn't Track an Index Very Well</h2> <p>Many ETFs are designed to track a specific benchmark index, such as the S&amp;P 500 or Russell 2000. If they do what they are supposed to, your returns will be closely aligned with the performance of these indexes. But some ETFs do it better than others. It's easy to find an ETF's &quot;tracking error,&quot; which measures the difference between an ETF's performance and the benchmark it's supposed to be tracking. Most ETFs will have a tracking error of less than a tenth of a percent.</p> <p>&quot;If you see a high tracking error, this could work out to an investor's benefit, but it may also be to their detriment,&quot; Halverson says.</p> <h2>8. It's Not Traded Very Heavily</h2> <p>The only way an ETF is sold is if there is a buyer. Likewise, you can't buy a stock if no one is selling. With most ETFs, it's easy to buy and sell because there is a large trading volume &mdash; meaning that there are plenty of buyers and plenty of sellers. And when there is a high volume, there is rarely a big spread between the &quot;bid&quot; and the &quot;ask&quot; prices. But what happens if an ETF has a low trading volume?</p> <p>Halverson said this could mean that the ask and bid prices are far apart, and it may be hard to complete a sale at the price you want. Most investors, he said, will find it easier and better financially to trade ETFs that are more commonly traded.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-an-etf-isnt-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Invest Like Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-baseball">8 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Baseball</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment ETFs exchange traded funds fees funds retirement risk trading Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Tim Lemke 1825852 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/growing_money_trees_84090749.jpg" alt="Finding essentials for building profitable portfolio" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money. But it doesn't have to be. Here are some of the essentials for building a successful investment portfolio.</p> <h2>1. Know What You're Investing For</h2> <p>Investing is best done with a purpose in mind. Investing for a child's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education">future college costs</a> is not the same as investing for your retirement. You would use different investment vehicles &mdash; a 529-plan account or Coverdell Education Savings Account for college, and an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">IRA or 401K</a> for retirement.</p> <h2>2. Know Your Time Frame</h2> <p>Investing is for goals you want to accomplish in five or more years. Anything shorter than that and you can't afford to take much, if any, risk, so you would be best served by a savings account.</p> <p>Still, a &quot;five or more years&quot; time horizon contains a wide range of options. Someone planning to retire in 10 years should invest quite differently than someone planning to retire in 30 years. The first person can't afford to take as much risk as the second person. By the same token, the second person can't afford the risk of playing it too safe.</p> <h2>3. Know Your Temperament</h2> <p>This has to do with how well you sleep at night when the stock market is in free fall. Vanguard has a decent <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">free assessment</a> that combines your investment time frame with your temperament to suggest an optimal asset allocation &mdash; that is, what percentage of your portfolio you should allocate to stocks and what percentage to bonds (or stock, or bond-based mutual funds).</p> <h2>4. Know How to Choose Specific Investments</h2> <p>If investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money, choosing specific investments is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of investing. Very few people have the wherewithal to do this on their own. It's helpful to acknowledge that. As Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry character noted, &quot;A man's got to know his limitations.&quot; Of course, the same is true for women!</p> <p>There's just too much to know. There are thousands of different investments to choose from. And it can be crazy confusing (and dangerous) to make these decisions based on the all-too-common articles about &quot;Last Year's Best-Performing Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Where to Invest to Take Advantage of Advances in Wind Power.&quot;</p> <p>The crucial decision you need to make is not so much about which investments to choose; it's about which investment process to use. Here are three options.</p> <h3>Go With a Target-Date Fund</h3> <p>The simplicity of such funds has made them tremendously popular. Most of the big mutual fund companies offer them. You just choose the fund with the year closest to the year of your intended retirement as part of its name (Fidelity Freedom 2050, for example). The fund is designed with what the fund company believes is the ideal asset allocation for someone with that retirement date in mind, and it even changes the allocation as you get closer to that target date, becoming increasingly conservative. It's a very simple process, but <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/target-date-funds-the-devils-in-the-details">all target-date funds are not alike</a>. So, be informed.</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Adviser</h3> <p>He or she will get to know you and your goals and then tailor an investment strategy to you. Along the way, you will typically pay 1% of the amount of money you have the adviser manage for you each year. Also, advisers usually won't work with anyone with less than $100,000 to manage. If you go this route, ask friends for referrals and opt for a fee-based adviser (as opposed to one compensated by commissions) who works as a &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser">fiduciary</a>.&quot;</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Newsletter</h3> <p>Whereas an investment adviser works with clients one-on-one, an <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/what-investing-newsletters-do-that-financial-magazines-dont">investment newsletter</a> works with investors on a one-on-several thousand (or however many subscribers they have) basis. There are hundreds of investment newsletters, each with their own investment strategies. Subscribers gain access to the strategies along with the specific investment recommendations needed in order to implement the strategies. Subscription costs range from less than $200 per year to over $1,000 per year.</p> <h2>5. Know Some Market History</h2> <p>One of the biggest threats to your success as an investor can be seen in the mirror. When the market falls, it's easy to give in to fear and sell. When the market is booming, it's easy to give in to greed, and invest too aggressively.</p> <p>Far better to understand that the market cycles between bull markets and bear markets (growing markets and declining markets). Even within a specific year, there will be ups and downs.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to have a trusted investment selection process. With a good process in place, you should have some sense as to how your portfolio is likely to perform under a variety of market situations and you should be content to stay with it in good times and bad.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-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-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-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice college fund financial advisers money management portfolio retirement risk stock market target date funds Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1820715 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Baseball http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-baseball <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-baseball" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baseball_player_63715703.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons from baseball" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're deep into baseball's postseason, and we'll soon be left to fend for ourselves in the long, cold winter. But even in the offseason, the National Pastime can teach us many good lessons, like, the value of working as a team, and how even the best people can fail more often than not.</p> <p>Baseball can teach us about money, too. When you examine the game, you can come away with some lessons that will help you manage your spending and your investments.</p> <p>Consider these truths about the game we love.</p> <h2>1. It's a Long Season</h2> <p>Do you get upset when your baseball team loses a game or two? Do you have trouble with the ups and downs of the season? When you're a fan of team, it's easy to forget that there are a <em>lot </em>of games to be played, and the only thing that matters is where you finish.</p> <p>Your investing approach should reflect a similar reality. Don't get emotional about a stock price being down on any individual day. Like a baseball team, the stock market can slump, but often rebounds. Keep your eyes on your long-term financial goals, and eventually you'll be popping Champagne just like a team that won the title.</p> <h2>2. Homers Are Great, But So Are Singles and Doubles</h2> <p>In baseball, you'd love to have a team that hits a lot of home runs. But you might be just as successful if you have a team that just gets on base and knocks in runs one by one. This is true when it comes to investing. While we'd all like to see that single stock that explodes and makes us rich, the reality is that most of your success will come from small, incremental gains that compound over time.</p> <h2>3. Protect Your Lead</h2> <p>Every good baseball team has a &quot;closer,&quot; or a pitcher who comes in late in the game to get the final outs. When investing, it's also smart to have a plan for protecting your investments when you approach retirement age. As you get older, it's wise to move away from growth stocks and other more volatile investments, and move toward bonds, stable dividend stocks, and cash. This way, your retirement fund will be protected even if there is a big downturn in the stock market.</p> <h2>4. It's Okay to Take a Risk</h2> <p>Sometimes in baseball, you need to try and run for home even though you might be tagged out. If you play too conservatively, you may not win. This is also true for investing. A young person who is investing for the long term will never get rich if they have a conservative portfolio. Most financial advisers recommend investing in mostly stocks when you're young, because the risk is usually outweighed by the potential for higher returns. Sure, you'll get burned sometimes. But more often than not, you'll come out ahead.</p> <h2>5. It's Simpler Than You Think</h2> <p>Baseball has a thick rule book, and it's not easy to master. But at it's core, it's pretty easy to understand. Throw the ball. Hit the ball. Catch the ball. And try to score more than your opponent. Money management and investing are simple things, too, even though they can seem intimidating. Spend less than you earn. Invest as much as you can, in things that mirror the overall performance of the stock market. Get the basics right, and you'll do fine.</p> <h2>6. Think Globally</h2> <p>Baseball may be an American sport, but it's an international game. It's played around the world, from the tropical ball fields of the Caribbean to busy cities like Tokyo. And Major League Baseball teams know that they need to look globally to find the very best talent. Your approach to money and investing should also take on an international approach. Consider investing in emerging markets that offer strong potential for growth. Take a look at currency trading, or even international commodities. There is money to be made if you look outside the United States to build your investment portfolio.</p> <h2>7. Limit Your Mistakes</h2> <p>No one's perfect, either in baseball or with their money. But frequent errors can mean the difference between winning and losing. In baseball, fielders want to catch the ball and throw it accurately. Batters want to avoid swinging at bad pitches. Pitchers want to avoid walking in the winning run.</p> <p>Your finances are just as vulnerable to being hurt by mistakes. Don't buy things you can't afford. Don't invest in things you don't understand. Don't raid retirement funds without understanding the consequences. There are many things you can do wrong to send your financial planning off the rails. With baseball and with your money, it's important to play smart.</p> <h2>8. Look for Value</h2> <p>The best-selling book <a href="http://amzn.to/2dxAyjC">Moneyball</a> by Michael Lewis outlined how the Oakland Athletics were able to field competitive teams despite having a lower payroll than most competitors. The book's core message was that the A's had developed ways to find players that were undervalued by the rest of the league. This desire to find &quot;value&quot; is a key part of money management. When looking to buy something, remember that expensive items aren't always the best. Look for a good combination of quality and price. When looking to purchase stocks, seek out companies that may be undervalued by the marketplace.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-baseball">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-times-you-shouldnt-invest-in-stocks">10 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Invest in 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/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-prepare-for-a-stock-market-dive">8 Ways to Prepare for a Stock Market Dive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment analogies baseball money lessons retirement risk saving sports stocks teamwork Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1816943 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Threats to a Secure Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_holding_hands_88407163.jpg" alt="Couple learning threats to a secure retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving and investing for retirement isn't easy. There's a lot that can happen to take you off track, potentially leaving you less money than you hoped for.</p> <p>From poor financial planning to unexpected events and even nationwide economic woes, here are some of the things that could pose a threat to your secure retirement.</p> <h2>1. Not Investing Enough</h2> <p>It's never easy to figure out how much to invest. After all, you want to make sure you have enough money to deal with your current needs. It's common for people to invest too little, and this can hurt them in the long run.</p> <p>When saving for retirement, it's smart to contribute as close to the maximum each year into 401K and IRA plans. (That's $18,000 for the 401K and $5,500 for the IRA.) If you can't contribute quite that much, at least put enough in to get the company match on your 401K plan.</p> <p>Even a few extra dollars per month into retirement accounts can make a big difference. For example, let's say you have $50,000 in an account and contribute $500 per month for 25 years. Assuming a 7% return, your portfolio would amount to about $677,000. But what if you contributed $1,000 monthly? Then it would hit nearly $1.1 million.</p> <h2>2. Starting Too Late</h2> <p>When investing, time is your biggest friend. The more time you have to invest, the bigger your nest egg can grow. Thus, one of the biggest threats to a secure retirement is failing to contribute to your fund early in life. If you're past 40 years old, you may have only a couple of decades to invest before you wish to stop working, and that may not be long enough to amass the kind of wealth you'll need for a long and comfortable retirement.</p> <p>Let's say you invest $25,000 today and add $1,000 per month until you are 65. If you're currently 45 and get a 7% annual return, you'll have about $625,000 upon retirement. Not bad, but if you had started when you were 25, you'd have nearly $3 million.</p> <h2>3. Raiding Retirement Funds</h2> <p>Retirement accounts such as a 401K or IRA are designed to have money grow more or less untouched until you reach retirement age. You can withdraw money from them, but there's a cost.</p> <p>When you raid these retirement funds, you'll lose the money in penalties, but you'll also lose the potential earnings of the money you take out. Over time, this can cost an investor thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>4. Economic Growth</h2> <p>For decades following World War II, the annual growth rate of the American economy averaged more than 3%, with some years seeing double that. But in recent years, that annual rate has shrunk to barely 2%. In short, the American economy is not growing as fast as it once was, and that has implications for household income, corporate growth, and employment.</p> <h2>5. Possible Entitlement Cuts</h2> <p>Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been warning Americans of a looming crisis in entitlement funding. Observers of the federal budget note that unless there is serious reform, Social Security Trust Funds could be depleted within 20 years. This means that for the younger generation, there may not be as much left from the government upon retirement.</p> <p>It's important to note, however, that workers who want to live comfortably after they are done working should not be counting on Social Security to carry them through the end of their life. Someone who saves aggressively and invests wisely should be able to amass enough in a retirement fund to get by even if Social Security benefits are adjusted downward or even eliminated.</p> <h2>6. Declining Pensions</h2> <p>If you currently work for a company that offers a defined benefit plan, you are a rare breed. In recent years, companies have shifted from offering pensions to instead offering 401K plans, in which workers invest on their own. In most cases, they will also get a contribution from their employer, but that's not guaranteed. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll be destitute at retirement, but it does require employees to be much more engaged in their retirement planning.</p> <h2>7. Placing All Your Eggs in One Basket</h2> <p>Even if you are saving aggressively and investing every penny you can, it's possible to end up with less money than you need in retirement. It can happen when your portfolio is too heavily balanced toward a single investment. It's unwise to invest a high percentage of your savings in one company or even one industry or asset class, because one bad day could wipe out a large chunk of your savings. (Consider the plight of Enron employees who lost nearly everything had most of their savings in company stock.)</p> <p>To protect your retirement money, invest in a diverse mixture of stocks in various sizes and asset classes. Buy mutual funds instead of individual stocks, if at all possible.</p> <h2>8. Funding College Instead of Retirement</h2> <p>It's never a bad idea to save money to contribute to your children's education. There are several vehicles including 529 plans that allow you to invest money tax-free toward college. But many investors become so focused on saving for college that they fail to contribute enough to their own retirement fund.</p> <p>Remember that it's possible to <em>borrow </em>money for college, but you can't borrow money to fund your retirement if you find you're lacking in funds when you're done working. Ideally, you'll be able to amass enough money to fund college and your retirement comfortably. But if you have to make a choice, pay your future self first, then contribute to the college fund.</p> <h2>9. Being Poorly Insured</h2> <p>You may feel like nothing bad will ever happen to you. You are young and healthy. You're a safe driver and you live in a nice neighborhood. So you skimp on things like health, auto, and homeowner's insurance. You may think you're saving money, but you're at serious risk for big financial loss if you get seriously ill or have a serious accident.</p> <p>Being uninsured or underinsured can leave you struggling to make ends meet, placing retirement savings on the back burner. You may even have to raid your retirement accounts to pay the bills. It's wise to perform an insurance assessment to determine if you have the proper level of insurance to protect yourself financially.</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-threats-to-a-secure-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you">Your 401K in 2017: Here&#039;s What&#039;s New for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement college Economy education funds income insurance investing late start pensions risk stocks threats Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1807026 at http://www.wisebread.com What Are Growth Stocks? http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-growth-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-are-growth-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coins_in_jar_82501487.jpg" alt="Learning what growth stocks are" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Growth. It's what you want if you're an investor, especially if you're many years away from retirement.</p> <p>Any investment portfolio should have a heavy dose of stocks that offer strong returns over time, from companies with solid earnings records. These are growth stocks. But what exactly is a &quot;growth&quot; stock? What are its characteristics, and how does it differ from other kinds of investments? And what are some ways to invest in them?</p> <p>Here are nine things you need to know about growth stocks and their ability to supercharge your portfolio.</p> <h2>1. It's All About Earnings</h2> <p>When seeking out quality growth stocks, it's key to look for the company's track record of earnings that are above the market average. The best companies will have reported consistent earnings growth quarter after quarter and year after year. A track record of five years in a row of growth is usually a good barometer, according to guidelines offered by Investor's Business Daily.</p> <h2>2. They Often Don't Pay a Dividend</h2> <p>When you buy growth stocks, you want to see the share price rise and don't care much about income. And that's good, because growth stocks generally don't pay out dividends to investors. Instead, these companies take whatever net earnings they have and reinvest them in research, new products, new business lines, infrastructure, and acquisitions. In other words, their cash is being used to make the company bigger.</p> <h2>3. They Are Often Smaller Companies</h2> <p>Many growth stocks fall into the category known as &quot;small cap,&quot; which is shorthand for saying a company has a small market capitalization (usually less than $2 billion). This small size means that there's the potential for quick growth. Smaller companies are often aggressively investing money back into the company to boost earnings and grow.</p> <h2>4. They Are Often Younger Companies</h2> <p>Generally speaking, the more established a company, the less likely they are to see supercharged growth on a quarterly basis. In fact, most companies see their fastest growth in the first decade after going public. Consider that Facebook has seen shares rise sevenfold since the summer after going public in 2012.</p> <h2>5. Their Stock Prices Don't Always Make Sense</h2> <p>For many growth stocks, share prices aren't always a reflection of the company's current value. Rather, their share price is based on what investors think a company may be worth in the future. In other words, the growth is often &quot;baked&quot; into the stock price already. Often, a growth stock will seem overpriced based on its price to earnings ratio. But with many growth stocks, the price to earnings ratio does not have much bearing on a company's price. In fact, many of the stock market's biggest success stories, including Apple and Amazon, have seen big run-ups even when price-to-earnings ratios were high.</p> <h2>6. Growth Comes With Risk</h2> <p>If you want growth, you're going to have to be comfortable with losing money once in awhile as well. Growth stocks tend to be more volatile than the broader market. In essence, the potential for growth is your reward for accepting some additional risk. That's why growth stocks aren't the best investments for someone who is close to retirement age.</p> <h2>7. You Can Buy Funds of Growth Stocks</h2> <p>If you're not sure which growth stocks to buy, there are mutual funds that have you covered. Most major brokerage firms offer the ability to invest in a wide range of stocks that are younger and growing more quickly than the rest of the market. Like the stocks within them, growth stock funds can be volatile, but rewarding for a patient investor. Top examples include the <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundId=0023&amp;FundIntExt=INT">Vanguard U.S. Growth Portfolio</a> and the <a href="https://fundresearch.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/summary/316200203">Fidelity Growth Strategy Fund</a>. There are also exchange-traded funds, such as the <a href="https://www.blackrock.com/ca/individual/en/products/239562/ishares-growth-core-portfolio-builder-fund">iShares Growth Core Portfolio Builder</a>, which are often available to trade without a commission.</p> <p>One caveat is that there are often a plethora of confusing choices, including small-cap, large-cap, and mid-cap growth funds, and growth funds focused on specific industries. It's fine to own more than one of these funds, but it's best to research these funds first to ensure there is no overlap in the companies you are invested in.</p> <h2>8. They Are Not to Be Confused With Value Stocks</h2> <p>We often hear growth and value stocks mentioned together because they both offer great opportunities for investors to make money. But value stocks differ from growth stocks in that they are considered to be undervalued by the market, and thus offer a potential bargain for investors. Growth stocks are often overvalued and less of a bargain for investors, but have a stronger track record of earnings. Most financial advisers recommend holding a mix of growth and value stocks in your portfolio.</p> <h2>9. Look for Leaders and Innovators</h2> <p>Typically, the best growth stocks are those from companies that are leaders in their industries, and who have shown a penchant for innovation. Consider a company like Starbucks [NASDAQ:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/sbux">SBUX</a>], which is synonymous with coffee. Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are examples of solid industry leaders and great growth stocks. But it's also worth looking at fast-growing companies that aren't yet their industry leader. Under Armour [NYSE: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=UA">UA</a>] is one example of a company that isn't yet #1 but has seen better-than-average earnings and share growth in recent years.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-growth-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-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/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment dividends earnings growth stocks risk stock market Thu, 06 Oct 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1805691 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Smart Ways Young Millionaires Manage Their Money http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-young-millionaires-manage-their-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-smart-ways-young-millionaires-manage-their-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_phone_73769569.jpg" alt="Young millionaires finding ways to manage his money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're lucky enough to wake up tomorrow as a young millionaire, it's time to learn a few tips to keep your wealth working for you. Here are three ways that financially-savvy millionaires under 40 manage their money wisely:</p> <h2>They Use Buckets</h2> <p>Good financial planners will tell you that it's not so much about the amount of money you have, but about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation">how you spread that money out</a>. It's a concept called diversification, and it doesn't just apply to your 401K mutual funds.</p> <p>Millionaires under 40 understand can't rely on just one approach to save and grow their money. Instead, many young millionaires build an investment portfolio with the traditional securities, such as stocks and bonds, but also add in less-traditional investments like real estate, and other alternative investments.</p> <p>Real estate is an excellent example of how young millionaires use buckets. They might hold a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) in their investment portfolio, and also have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-location-isnt-king-how-to-choose-income-rental-property">rental income streams</a> that aren't tied to their job. Rental income provides an extra source of income that can be used for many smart purchases to grow even more wealth, like investing in a business or starting a small business to diversify further.</p> <p>The best part of utilizing buckets is you're spreading your risk to avoid an all-out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-being-had-learn-from-5-crazy-ponzi-schemes">Bernie Madoff</a> situation with your money. What young millionaires know is that if one bucket isn't performing, they can either reduce the exposure in that bucket or look to another bucket for growth or cash flow.</p> <h2>They Have a Cause</h2> <p>Millennials love a good cause. They're passionate and want to know that their money and time are going toward helping the greater good. Whether it's building an orphanage in Africa, rebuilding a community after a natural disaster, or marching in Washington to champion a cause, young millionaires believe in benefiting society.</p> <p>There are many different options for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">socially responsible investing</a> that young millionaires are incorporating into their financial plan. Most investment platforms now offer a selection of funds that either exclude certain companies, like oil and gas, or are inclusive of companies that focus on environmental or socially responsible products. Whatever your cause of choice is, there is a socially responsible investment to meet your needs.</p> <h2>They Are Curious</h2> <p>Most millionaires under 40 understand the importance of a financial adviser. When you get to the millionaire status, you probably also have a good lawyer and CPA on your &quot;team.&quot; However, millionaires under 40 stay curious. They don't just rely on the advice of one person. They search for answers to money questions and read articles to find any other gems that might help them grow their net worth. They talk to friends and family about wealth as well.</p> <p>It's a constant cycle that proves to be very successful with millionaires under 40. They understand that you need to spread your money around in different buckets to limit risk and maximize your growth potential. They become passionate about causes and want their money to make a difference in the world. At the end of the day, they stay restless and curious about finding more answers, asking more questions, and being ready to jump at opportunities.</p> <p><em>Do you adhere to any of these &mdash; or other &mdash; precepts for managing your money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-young-millionaires-manage-their-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-millionaire-next-door-riches-de-mystified">The Millionaire Next Door: Riches De-mystified</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-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated">5 Reasons Being a Millionaire Is Overrated</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-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer">5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer</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/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich">If you&#039;re so smart, why aren&#039;t you rich?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-cities-the-most-billionaires-call-home">The 5 Cities the Most Billionaires Call Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance buckets income millennials millionaires real estate investing rich risk socially responsible wealth management wealthy Fri, 09 Sep 2016 10:30:15 +0000 Shannah Game 1788929 at http://www.wisebread.com How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_suit_thinking_53925384.jpg" alt="Man wondering if too much investment diversity can cost him" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial experts agree that you shouldn't to put all your eggs in one basket. But just like with everything else in life, moderation is essential to truly reap the benefits of diversification. Spread out your investment funds into too many funds and you'll end up with a subpar portfolio bogged down with excessive charges and, even worse, potentially more risk than you're willing to bear. Here are four warning signs that you may have your investments in too many baskets &mdash; and how to fix it.</p> <h2>1. Paying Too Much in Investment Fees</h2> <p>The more that you branch out of plain vanilla investments, the more likely that you'll end up paying more investment charges and fees. Take, for example, the portfolio that Warren Buffett has <a href="http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2013ltr.pdf">laid out in his will</a>: &quot;Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&amp;P 500 index fund.&quot;</p> <p>Let's take a look at the potential investment fees of such a portfolio.</p> <p>Since the Oracle of Omaha prefers Vanguard and chases low fees, let's assume that both investments are in index funds. It's safe to assume that he meets the $10,000 minimum investment required for the Vanguard Admiral index funds. So, he allocates 90% of his portfolio to the Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFIAX/?p=VFIAX">VFIAX</a>], which has a 0.05% expense ratio, and 10% of his portfolio into the Vanguard Short-Term Government Bond Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VSBSX?p=VSBSX">VSBSX</a>], which has a 0.10% expense ratio. For a $10,000 portfolio, Buffett would pay $55 in investment fees.</p> <p>If Buffett were to start diversifying into other types of investments, he would very likely run into higher expense ratios. For example, the Vanguard New York Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VNYUX/?p=VNYUX">VNYUX</a>] has a 0.12% expense ratio (despite its $50,000 minimum investment requirement!) and the Vanguard Interm-Tm Corp Bd Index Admiral [Nasdaq:&nbsp;<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VICSX/?p=VICSX">VICSX</a>] has a 0.25% purchase fee on top of its 0.10% expense ratio. Assuming that he were to allocate 50%, 30%, 10%, and 10% to the New York muni bond fund, S&amp;P 500 index fund, short-term government bond index fund, and the intermediate-term corporate index fund, respectively, Buffet would pay $220 on investment fees!</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Calculate your current total of investment fees across all your holdings. If the total is above what you're willing to pay (a useful rule of thumb is that anything beyond 1% of your total investment is too much), then it's time to focus your investments in lower-cost options.</p> <h2>2. Rebalancing Portfolio More Often</h2> <p>Speaking of fees, there is a higher chance that you'll run into more of them when you hold lots of investment categories. In the 90%-stocks-and-10%-bonds portfolio example, you only need to keep track of two funds. This means that figuring out when your portfolio is no longer meeting your target asset allocations is straightforward &mdash; and you may not need to do it as often. For example, you could set a target to rebalance when 80% of your portfolio is in stocks and 20% in bonds.</p> <p>On the other hand, spreading your money out too thin can complicate keeping track of asset allocations and make you trade more often. Here's an example: Assuming a target 3.5% allocation in an emerging markets index fund, big market swings could force you to buy or sell many times throughout the year, triggering many charges. From front-end loads to back-end loads, there are plenty of investments to keep an eye on. And yes this even applies to 401K accounts! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Tabulate how much you're incurring in fees on top of the regular annual expense ratios of your portfolio holdings. If that percentage is too high, or consistently increasing throughout the years, you need to consolidate your portfolio into fewer holdings.</p> <h2>3. Experiencing Diminishing Returns</h2> <p>Of course, you might be thinking that the extra returns of a very diversified portfolio may more than compensate for those additional fees and charges.</p> <p>Let's bust that investment myth.</p> <p>In a joint-study by The Wall Street Journal and Morningstar, the portfolio that generated the highest return over a 20-year period was a 70-30 mix of U.S. stocks and bonds, yielding a <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-your-portfolio-too-diversified-1408032582">9.1% annualized return</a>. A portfolio with 40% in U.S. stocks, 20% in U.S. bonds, 10% in foreign developing market stocks, 10% in international bonds, and the rest in a mix of investments, including emerging market stocks, commodities, and hedge funds, yielded only an 8.8% annualized return.</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>Measure each of your funds against its respective benchmark. If an investment has been missing the benchmark for too many quarters or years, it may be time to cut that fund loose.</p> <h2>4. Owning Too Much of the Same or Wrong Type of Investments</h2> <p>Another issue with putting many eggs in many baskets is that you can unintentionally end up with more eggs than you thought in a particular basket or, worse, a wrong basket.</p> <p>Let's assume that you hold an index fund tracking the S&amp;P 500. As of August 8, 2016, that means that your portfolio would hold about 3.08% on Apple Inc, 2.40% on Microsoft Corporation, and 1.53% on Facebook Inc. Class A shares. If you were to also hold an index fund on the technology sector, you'll probably end up increasing your holding on each one of those investments. For example, the Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund Admiral Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VITAX/?p=VITAX">VITAX</a>] has those same three stocks among its top four largest holdings.</p> <p>Additionally, if you're open to throwing more money around investments, you could end up buying some investments that fail to meet your investment objectives. Remember the late 1990s dot-com bubble? How about 2008's housing bubble? During those times, too many individual and institutional investors were buying financial instruments that they shouldn't have been purchasing. If you force yourself to allocate 5% &quot;somewhere,&quot; then you could end up with the wrong type of investment.</p> <p><strong>How to Fix It: </strong>First, read the prospectuses of your mutual funds and other accounts and understand their actual holdings. Using this information, you can spot whether or not you hold too much of the same investment. Second, review your investment objective (ie; income vs growth) and evaluate whether or not your current investment funds qualify for that objective.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Holding all of your money in a single stock is definitely not a good idea because it would have a 49.2% average standard deviation (a measure of risk). At 20 stocks, your portfolio risk is reduced to 20%. However, every additional stock added to your portfolio will only further decrease your portfolio risk by about 0.8%.</p> <p>The evidence suggests that due to greater returns, very marginal risk reductions, and lower fees over time, you would be better off with simpler diversification on stocks and bonds. Some financial advisers suggest that when you have more than <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/mutual-funds/articles/2011/02/17/diversification-can-you-have-too-much-of-a-good-thing">20 stocks or mutual funds</a>, you're actually minimizing returns instead of maximizing them. So, before adding that extra holding, keep in mind that an index fund tracking the S&amp;P 500 is already splitting your investment into 500 baskets!</p> <p><em>How many different types of investments is too many?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</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/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index 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/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment fees portfolio rebalancing returns risk stock market too diverse warning signs Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1778732 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Foreclosed Home http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-know-before-buying-a-foreclosed-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-should-know-before-buying-a-foreclosed-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_outside_home_000023276605.jpg" alt="Woman considering buying a foreclosed home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to buy a home, but you're also looking for a bargain. A foreclosed home seems like the ideal solution: You know that foreclosed properties typically sell for less &mdash; sometimes much less &mdash; than homes listed and sold on the open market by real estate agents and owners.</p> <p>But what you might not know is that buying a foreclosed property can also prove challenging to anyone who isn't a professional real estate investor. You might not know, either, that some foreclosed homes come with so much damage that the repairs needed to make them livable will quickly eat up any savings on their sales prices.</p> <p>Then there's the matter of actually buying a foreclosure. Depending on how you buy such a property, you might find yourself competing with others who buy, repair, and sell foreclosures for a living. Trying to outbid these pros for your foreclosure is no easy task.</p> <p>To sum up: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea" target="_blank">Buying a foreclosure</a> can be a challenge, one that could cost you plenty of time and money. Here are seven things you absolutely must know if you plan to buy a foreclosed property.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Foreclosure Inventory Is Falling</h2> <p>It's becoming more difficult to find a foreclosed property today. That's because fewer homeowners are falling into foreclosure. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures were reported on 1.08 million U.S. properties last year. That's a drop of 3% from 2014, and a huge fall of 62% from 2010. Back in 2010, more than 2.87 million U.S. properties had foreclosure filings against them.</p> <h2>2. You Can Buy Foreclosures in One of Two Main Ways</h2> <p>There are two main ways to buy a foreclosed home. In the first, lenders auction off homes after the owners of these homes stop paying their mortgages. These properties are then sold at public auctions. The second main way to buy a foreclosure &mdash; the way that works better for most buyers who aren't professional real estate investors &mdash; is to buy a property after a bank takes ownership of it. These bank-owned properties are listed and sold by real estate agents. You can buy them just as you'd buy a home sold in the more traditional way.</p> <h2>3. Buying at Auction Is Not Easy</h2> <p>Buying a foreclosure at a real estate auction is not easy. First, you'll be trying to outbid professional real estate investors. Even more challenging, you'll need to pay for your foreclosed home with cash. It's not many consumers who have $200,000 or more in cash lying around.</p> <h2>4. Foreclosure Auctions Are Sight-Unseen</h2> <p>If you buy a foreclosure at an auction, you won't have the chance to tour its interiors. This means that you are buying the home sight unseen. You'll have no idea what repair jobs face you after you complete your purchase. The repairs could be extensive, and they could swallow any of the savings you expected to enjoy.</p> <h2>5. Buying Bank-Owned Foreclosures Is Far Easier</h2> <p>Buying a foreclosure owned by the bank is a far easier process. In this type of foreclosure, a bank &mdash; which has taken over ownership of a home after its former owners stop making mortgage payments &mdash; sells the house, hiring a real estate agent to close the sale. You can buy one of these bank-owned properties by making an offer, just as you would with any other type of home sale. The real estate agent representing the bank will take your offer, present it to the bank, and come back with a counteroffer if the bank doesn't like your original offer.</p> <h2>6. You Can Still Enjoy Significant Savings With Bank-Owned Foreclosures</h2> <p>RealtyTrac reported that the average bank-owned home sold for 38% less than comparable homes sold at market-rate figures. This means that buyers can save a significant amount of money buying a foreclosure even if they don't do it at the auction level.</p> <h2>7. You Absolutely Need a Home Inspection</h2> <p>Never buy a foreclosed home owned by a bank without first hiring a home inspector to come tour it. Unlike with a foreclosed home bought at auction, you do have the right to a home inspection before closing your sale. Make sure to take advantage of this opportunity. Many foreclosed homes need serious repairs. A home inspector can find these trouble spots. Once you are armed with this information, you can decide whether a particular foreclosure still qualifies as a bargain.</p> <p><em>Have you ever bought a foreclosed home?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-things-you-should-know-before-buying-a-foreclosed-home&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Things%2520You%2520Should%2520Know%2520Before%2520Buying%2520a%2520Foreclosed%2520Home.jpg&amp;description=7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know%20Before%20Buying%20a%20Foreclosed%20Home"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know%20Before%20Buying%20a%20Foreclosed%20Home.jpg" alt="7 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Foreclosed Home" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-know-before-buying-a-foreclosed-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-at-a-foreclosure-auction">What Happens at a Foreclosure Auction?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage</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/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here&#039;s What It Will Cost You</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-downsides-of-a-reverse-mortgage">5 Downsides of a Reverse Mortgage</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-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing auction bank owned home foreclosure house hunting new homeowners risk Wed, 04 May 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1703004 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Investment Portfolio http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-spring-clean-your-investment-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-spring-clean-your-investment-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/spare_chage_plant_000083910621.jpg" alt="Learning ways to spring clean your investment portfolio" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your garage isn't the only thing that could use a once-over this time of year. Your investments may be in need of some tidying up as well. Here's how to give them a good spring cleaning.</p> <h2>1. Double-Check Your Risk Tolerance</h2> <p>Since bottoming out in March of 2009, the stock market has been on a tear. It's been one of the greatest bull markets ever. But bull markets don't last forever. Eventually, the tide will turn. Will you be ready?</p> <p>I'm not predicting an imminent bear market, nor am I suggesting you try to time the market. That's a fool's errand. But I <em>do</em> believe this is a good time to review the assumptions you've used to guide your investments to date.</p> <p>Especially important here is a review of your risk tolerance. When the market is moving in a positive direction, it's easy to think of yourself as being fairly risk-tolerant. It's only when the markets turn negative that you really discover how strong a stomach you have.</p> <p>Instead of finding out the hard way that you're not as comfortable with risk as you thought you were, and setting yourself up for panic-selling in a downturn, reassess how much risk you can really handle. Vanguard has an <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">asset allocation questionnaire</a> that can help. It'll gauge your appetite for risk, factor in your investing time frame, and recommend an optimal asset allocation for you.</p> <h2>2. Double-Check Your Allocations</h2> <p>If your risk tolerance has changed, how your investments should be allocated has changed as well, and that means you probably have some work to do. First you'll need to change how your current portfolio is allocated across specific investments &mdash; mostly, what percentage of your portfolio is invested in stocks and what percentage in bonds (or stock-based mutual funds and bond-based mutual funds). Then you'll need to change how your monthly contributions are allocated as well.</p> <p>Whether your investment account is a 401K, an IRA, or a taxable account, you should be able to make these changes online, or call the broker where you have your account for assistance.</p> <h2>3. Rebalance Your Portfolio</h2> <p>Even if you're not planning to change your asset allocation, your asset allocation may have changed on its own.</p> <p>A year ago, your portfolio might have contained an 80/20 mix of stock funds and bond funds, but what does it look like now? If your stock investments have grown since you first implemented your plan and your bonds have fallen, your actual allocation may now be 90/10. Bring your portfolio back in line with what's optimal for you, given your risk tolerance and investment time horizon, by selling some of your stock holdings and buying bonds.</p> <p>It's generally a good idea to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-important-thing-youre-probably-not-doing-with-your-portfolio">rebalance your portfolio</a> once a year. If it's been a year or so since you last took care of this chore, add it to your investment spring cleaning to-do list.</p> <h2>4. Consolidate Accounts</h2> <p>It's not uncommon these days for people to have their investments spread out among several brokers. If you've changed jobs two or three times and rolled your 401K accounts into IRAs at different brokerage houses, you may find yourself dealing with an unnecessary amount of paperwork and navigating a confusing array of rules and fees. Consolidating some of these accounts could make managing your portfolio more efficient and less expensive. That's because implementing your strategy of choice at one broker usually requires fewer trades, which lowers your investment costs.</p> <p>Choosing which broker to keep is a matter of seeing which one offers most of the investments you want to own for the lowest commissions.</p> <p>Few people enjoy the process of spring cleaning, but most enjoy the fruits of their labor once the work is done. It's simply more enjoyable to live in a clean, organized house. The same is true for your investments. Taking a few hours to double-check your risk tolerance and asset allocation, rebalance your portfolio, and consolidate accounts should set you up for a more efficient, successful, and enjoyable experience as an investor.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to tidy up your finances this spring?</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/4-ways-to-spring-clean-your-investment-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-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/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fiduciary-rule-is-under-review-how-will-this-affect-your-investments">The Fiduciary Rule Is Under Review — How Will This Affect Your Investments?</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401k balancing portfolio IRA money management risk spring cleaning stocks Thu, 07 Apr 2016 10:01:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1683755 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_using_tablet_000057362770.jpg" alt="Man asking questions before selling stock or fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Legendary investor Peter Lynch said it best: &quot;In stocks, as in romance, ease of divorce is not a sound basis for commitment.&quot; A clear majority of investors agree that stocks provide the highest average annual return of most common investments, as long as you're willing to hold them for a long period of time (from 1964&ndash;2014, U.S. stocks provided a 2,300% return!).</p> <p>However, there are times that it is indeed worthwhile to bid farewell to a stock. Here are 10 useful questions to ask yourself before you sell a stock or fund.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Why Did You Buy the Stock or Fund?&quot;</h2> <p>Depending on how long ago you acquired the shares, you may not even remember why you bought that stock in the first place. If you call yourself a student of value investing (meaning that you measure the fair value of a stock based on its future earnings power), and you already want to liquidate your holdings after just three months, you're not being consistent with your original investment objective. Most successful investors agree that consistency is essential, so revisit your original reason for buying the stock and determine whether or not it's really time to sell.</p> <h2>2. &quot;What Is Your Risk Tolerance?&quot;</h2> <p>Every investor has an unique approach to wealth management and is comfortable with different price drops. As mentioned earlier, the key is to be consistent and avoid eliminating your positions due to emotions. Remember that the stock market goes up <em>and </em>down. Follow the advice of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan: &quot;The market pays a premium to those willing to endure the angst of watching their net worth fluctuate beyond what Wall Streeters call the 'sleeping point.'&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-alan-greenspan?ref=seealso">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Alan Greenspan</a>)</p> <h2>3. &quot;How Is the Investment Performing Against Its Benchmark?&quot;</h2> <p>Learning that the price of your stock dropped 3% may make you nervous, but finding out that its benchmark dropped 6% over the same period puts things in perspective. Just like having an investment strategy and determining your risk tolerance, establishing a benchmark is essential to evaluate the performance of any investment. Financial advisers often suggest using an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks an index, such as the S&amp;P 500 or the <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?d=t&amp;s=%5ERUT">Russell 2000</a> as a benchmark. Depending on the sector of your stock, other ETFs or indices may be more appropriate. For mutual funds, consider reviewing the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3020-lipperindx.html">Lipper Indexes</a> of funds with a similar investment style.</p> <h2>4. &quot;What Is the Weight of a Stock or Fund in Your Portfolio?&quot;</h2> <p>Don't sweat the small stuff! It's one thing if that your stock represents 2% of your entire portfolio, and quite another if it's 60% of your portfolio. If you did your due diligence, you selected a variety of investments so that the positive performance of some investments neutralizes the negative performance of other investments. Putting all of your eggs in one basket is never a good idea when it comes to investing, especially with your nest egg.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Do the Shares Have a Vesting Period?&quot;</h2> <p>In the event that you're thinking about selling stock that you received as part of an annual bonus, you may be out of luck. For example, your employer could have awarded 250 restricted stock units that vest over time, such as 50 units every year for the next five years. If you're on the third year out of those five, you may be able to sell 150 out of those 250 shares. To find out the vesting period and the list of applicable rules of your company stock, contact your HR department.</p> <h2>6. &quot;What Is the Total Transaction Cost of the Sale?&quot;</h2> <p>Remember to include all applicable fees in your transaction cost calculations. Among the many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees">sneaky 401K fees to watch for</a>, the back-end load (also known as redemption fee, exit fee, or contingent deferred sales charge) is the one that you have to pay attention to during the sale of mutual funds. While you can technically sell your shares of a mutual fund right after having loaded them into your portfolio, you may have to pay an extra fee by not holding the shares a minimum period. Back-end loads range from 0.01% to 2% and are triggered by sales within 65 days, on the average.</p> <h2>7. &quot;What Is the New Asset Mix?&quot;</h2> <p>The sale of shares may dramatically affect the asset mix of your portfolio. For the long-term retirement savings of young investors, most financial advisers recommend allocating 90% of funds to stocks and 10% to bonds. Under this scenario, by selling a large holding in your portfolio, you may decrease your stock allocation significantly! To get your asset mix back on target, you would need to exchange the old stock or mutual funds shares for some new ones. If you're planning to exchange shares within the available options of a 401K plan or investment account, watch for potentially <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">applicable sneaky investment fees</a>, including exchange fees and front-end loads.</p> <h2>8. &quot;Do You Keep Your Current Schedule of Charges?&quot;</h2> <p>On the other hand, if you decide to liquidate your holdings and cash out entirely out of your portfolio, beware the ranges of the schedule of charges of your investment account. By reducing the size of your investment portfolio, you may forfeit benefits such as reduced fees and expenses. When cashing out is a must, your financial institution could allow you to keep your current schedule of charges by signing a letter of intent to reach that threshold again within a specific period of time.</p> <h2>9. &quot;What Are the Tax Consequences of the Sale?&quot;</h2> <p>On top of any associated fees from liquidating your shares, you also face applicable income taxes on capital gains. The IRS treats capital gains from the sale of shares held for less than a year as ordinary income, but provides a tax break on sales of shares held longer &mdash; typically a <a href="http://time.com/money/2794895/do-i-pay-taxes-when-i-profit-from-a-stock-sale/">15% tax rate</a>. And if you make the mistake of taking a distribution from your retirement account for the amount of the sale before age 59 1/2, you would trigger an additional 10% early distribution penalty.</p> <p>In the event of a capital loss, remember that you have to follow the IRS' &quot;wash-sale rule&quot; to be able to claim the loss for tax purposes. The rules state that you can't buy the same or &quot;substantially identical&quot; security within 30 calendar days before or after the sale.</p> <h2>10. &quot;What Is the Opportunity Cost of the Sale?&quot;</h2> <p>While you shouldn't become a victim of paralysis-by-analysis by overthinking too many &quot;what ifs,&quot; make sure to consider the opportunity costs of liquidating your stock or mutual holding shares.</p> <p>For example, for individuals younger than 50, the annual contribution limits to a 401K plan and IRA are $18,000 and $5,500, respectively for both 2015 and 2016. Let's assume that you are age 40, plan to retire at age 65, and have an expected rate of return of 6% for your IRA. If you were to liquidate an entire $5,500 from your Roth IRA, you would forfeit an extra $23,605 of income at age 65.</p> <p>By figuring out the opportunity cost before you sell a stock or fund, you begin to understand why Warren Buffett's favorite holding period is forever.</p> <p><em>What are other questions to ask before you sell a stock or fund?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">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/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</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-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment annual returns funds hold risk selling stock market stocks vesting period Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:30:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1661853 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_investment_tablet_000044888130.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to invest with stock market games" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered how you can learn to invest without risking your hard-earned cash? Stock market simulators may be the magic ticket. Most major brokerages offer online stock trading simulators that allow you to invest with pretend money, helping you learn the ropes before you plunk down real cash.</p> <p>Your account comes preloaded with a lump sum of pretend money, and your trades and investments fluctuate based on real market conditions, allowing you to see how they'd actually perform. Ready to get started? Try one of these five stock market simulators, and get comfortable with investing without risking a single hard-earned dollar. (See also:&nbsp;<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>)</p> <h2>1. TD Bank Wow!Zone</h2> <p><a href="http://virtualstockmarket.tdbank.com/">TD Bank's Fantasy Stock Market</a> game is designed for kids and young adults, but its stock market simulator is a useful tool for all beginner investors. Players start with a $100,000 play money portfolio balance and can trade on any of the U.S. stock exchanges.</p> <h2>2. optionsXpress by Charles Schwab</h2> <p>If you have more advanced market knowledge and want to test a new trading strategy before risking your own investments, try <a href="http://www.optionsxpress.com/">optionsXpress</a> by Charles Schwab. Here you can trade stocks, options, and futures, place advanced orders, and play around with 40 trading tools to help you analyze market conditions. Your account comes preloaded with $25,000 in virtual cash. Sign up for your <a href="http://www.optionsxpress.com/tools_research/virtual_trade.aspx">free optionsXpress account</a> to get started.</p> <h2>3. ScottradeELITE</h2> <p>Similar to optionsXpress, the <a href="https://research.scottrade.com/knowledgecenter/Public/help/Article?docId=767460b36aa84c2f8117fc6b92d0d876">ScottradeELITE</a> virtual trading platform allows users to place mock trades, access research tools, and test trading strategies. Accessing the platform requires software installation.</p> <h2>4. Wall Street Survivor</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wallstreetsurvivor.com/">Wall Street Survivor's</a> interactive platform has been recommended by Forbes, and it promises to teach users the fundamentals of personal finance, trading stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures, currencies, and options. Users gain access a full suite of online resources, including virtual leagues, courses, videos, and article archives on investing topics and ideas.</p> <h2>5. Investopedia</h2> <p><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/simulator/">Investopedia's stock simulator</a> is one of the most robust platforms available for those just starting out. The website also offers free basic investing education via Investopedia University, along with thousands of insightful articles, and in-depth &quot;how to&quot; guides ranging from <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/university/beginner/?header_alt=true">Investing 101: Introduction</a> to advanced trading strategies. All users start out with an account balance of $100,000 in virtual capital.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite investing simulator or game? </em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Flearn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FLearn%20How%20to%20Invest%20With%20These%205%20Stock%20Market%20Games.jpg&amp;description=Learn%20How%20to%20Invest%20With%20These%205%20Stock%20Market%20Games" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Learn%20How%20to%20Invest%20With%20These%205%20Stock%20Market%20Games.jpg" alt="Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">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/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-risk-in-a-play-money-account">How Much Can You Afford to Risk In a Play Money Account?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment play money risk simulators stock market Fri, 08 Jan 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1634306 at http://www.wisebread.com