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Investing

Feb 13, 2019 When you're looking for a safe way to invest your money, it doesn't get any more solid than government-backed securities. The U.S. Department of Treasury offers several different low-risk options, including notes, bonds and bills. Treasury bills can be appealing because you're not required to tie up your money for a long period of time. But they're not right for every kind of investor. Read on to find out whether adding them to your portfolio is a good idea. And if you're looking for expert guidance, use  SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get paired up with… Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 If your portfolio is too large for you to handle on your own, it may be time to call in a professional. Wealth managers work with their clients to identify financial goals and map out a plan for achieving them that's built around choosing solid investments that'll grow over time. If you're ready to build serious wealth, here are some tips to help you choose the right wealth management firm. Read More...

Feb 12, 2019 Investing intimidates a lot of people. There are a lot of options, and it can be hard to figure out which investments are right for your portfolio. This guide walks you through 10 of the most common types of investment and explains why you may want to consider including them in your portfolio. If you’re serious about investing, it might make sense to find a financial advisor to guide you. SmartAsset can help you find the right advisor for you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Feb 07, 2019 So you've got $100,000, and you're ready to invest it. Maybe a relative has passed away and left you money in a will. Maybe you've been building up savings in a retirement account and you're finally ready to get serious about investing it. Regardless of where you got the money, $100,000 is enough that you have a lot of investing options. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 Passive investing is a go-to strategy for long-term investors, because it capitalizes on the typical upward trend of the overall market over many years. Of course, there are many ways to do well in investing, and  financial advisors employ numerous strategies to generate robust returns. But if you're looking to grow your money over the long haul, take a look below to learn more about passive investing. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 Whether you're new to investing or have been doing it for years, mutual funds offer a great way to invest your money. It allows you to invest in multiple stocks and bonds without the hassle of choosing and buying each individually. Plus, mutual fund companies can do all this work for you. While convenient, mutual funds aren't always accessible to all investors due to their potentially high minimums. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 Take billionaire investor Warren Buffett's advice for how to learn to make good money decisions, and pick up a book. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned investor in need of a refresher, reading one of the best investing books is a great way to sharpen your knowledge. With these books, you can pick Peter Lynch's brain, learn the history of Wall Street or simply figure out if you're ready to use that spare money tucked away in your savings account to start investing. Read More...

Jul 10, 2018 A wealth manager is a subset of financial advisor that primarily serves high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals - in other words, people with wealth that needs managing. A wealth manager's role is far more comprehensive than just offering a client investment advice. These financial professionals provide a holistic suite of services that encompasses all parts of a person's financial life, including both investment management and financial planning, as well as accounting and tax services, retirement planning, estate planning and more. Read More...

Sep 24, 2018 When it comes to investing, millennials aren't known for being a reckless bunch. According to a study published by UBS earlier this year, Americans aged 21 to 36 are the most fiscally conservative generation since the Great Depression. Their better-safe-than-sorry attitude can be chalked up in part to the economic turmoil of the last few years and the unique financial challenges they face. Read More...

Feb 08, 2018 Everyone makes mistakes and when it comes to your investment strategy, some wrong moves can be worse than others. Whether you're dipping your toes into the investment game for the first time or you've been playing the market for years, there's always the possibility that your strategy may backfire. Maxing out your returns means knowing what you should and shouldn't do with your money. Here are some of the most common pitfalls investors should try to avoid. Read More...

Feb 15, 2019 Short-term investments are generally defined as investments that pay off in less than five years (sometimes even less time, perhaps within a year). Whereas long-term investments are generally made with the goal of building overall wealth and preparing for retirement, short-term investments typically are made to build wealth quickly. Often, an investor wants to prepare for a specific goal, such as paying for college or buying a new home. Most successful portfolios will contain a mix of short-term and long-term investments. With that in mind, here are some of the best short-term investment options for investors who want returns sooner than later. Read More...

Feb 15, 2019 Investing in the stock market has been a great way to build long-term wealth for almost as long as the United States has been a country. And as retirements continue to increase with people’s lifespans, it’s becoming more and more important to protect your savings from inflation by earning a steady return. Thankfully, investing has never been more accessible than it is today. The proliferation of online investment platforms and robo-advisors has greatly increased the options for those looking to make their first foray into investing. Should you use a financial advisor or go it alone? What’s the difference between a robo-advisor and an online brokerage account? And what sort of tax protection can a retirement account provide? Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 A balance sheet is one of three financial documents that every investor should check when researching a company to invest in. The other two are an income statement, which looks at a company’s profits, and a cash flow statement, which looks specifically at where a company’s money comes from and where it goes. The balance sheet is the most straightforward of the three. In this guide, we'll show you how to read a balance sheet and use it to help you invest wisely. This may also be helpful if you're a new business owner and need help understanding what's on a balance sheet. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 Opportunity cost is a basic microeconomics concept, maybe one you learned in a long-ago and hazily recollected 8 a.m. Econ 101 lecture. If you need a refresher, opportunity cost is the benefit you miss out on when you choose to do something else. Every choice you make — from investing choices to career decisions to something as simple as where to eat dinner — comes with some form of opportunity cost. There are a variety of ways it applies to your everyday life. There are a variety of ways to apply the theories of opportunity cost to your everyday life. For help making sense of how it specifically relates to investing, you may want to find a financial advisor using SmartAsset’s Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 Investing is risky. When you put your money in the market, you’re taking a chance with real money — money that you might need to pay your mortgage, feed your family and cover the other basic costs of living. If you want the thrill of investing without the risk, consider using an online investment simulator. Here are some of the most popular investment simulators available and what you can do with each of them. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 Although cryptocurrency has only been around for a short time, it’s already expanded into a wide, convoluted universe that can be difficult to understand for the uninitiated. But with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seeing wild fluctuations in price, there's the opportunity for big gains... for those who can stomach the risk. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 Dow Futures are a reasonable thing not to know about if you're not well-versed in investing. Essentially, a Dow Future is a contract between two parties in which they bet on the direction of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), an index of 30 major U.S. companies. Futures aren’t quite as simple as other investment options like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. If you're a more advanced investor or a have a higher tolerance for risk, however, they may be worth considering for your portfolio. Read More...

Feb 12, 2019 If you have $30,000 to invest, you have many options. Some things, like making the down payment on a house, might be a bit out of reach, but you can still invest in securities ranging from stocks to treasury bonds. No matter your financial situation, there are also a few things everyone can do to put themselves on the path to success. For example, you can almost always help yourself by paying down debt and increasing your retirement savings. Following are some of the best ways for most people to invest $30,000. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 The cost of higher education has skyrocketed over the last few decades, and shows no signs of slowing. That's why it's more important than ever that parents start saving as early as possible for their children’s future. There are two types of tax-advantaged accounts for saving for college expenses: A Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account and a 529 Plan.  Read More...

Feb 07, 2019 Investment apps have exploded in popularity in recent years, with both existing brokerages and new companies offering mobile apps to help you invest. There are apps for all kinds of investors, from the beginner just looking to dip a toe in the water to the old hand who wants to analyze individual stocks on the go. Read More...

Feb 05, 2019 It might seem easier to find a partner and plan a proposal than it is to buy the perfect engagement ring. In addition to being expensive, rings are seen as a symbol of love for your significant other and an agreement to be together forever. Friends and family will all want to know what it looks like as soon as the proposal is over. That’s a lot of pressure on the purchase, which most people only make once in their life. Read More...

Feb 07, 2019 Unlike investing , trading requires a very active approach to the financial markets. Rather than buying and holding assets to build wealth over the course of many years, a trader frequently buys and sells stocks, commodities, and other instruments to achieve higher returns. To guide their trades, traders use a variety of analysis tools - like averages, oscillators, and indicators - to help them understand how an asset or market is performing. One such tool is the relative strength… Read More...

Feb 05, 2019 Investing has the potential to be a lucrative financial endeavor, although there's a fine line between success and failure. But as with most U.S. tax law, where money's being made, you can surely find Uncle Sam nearby. Accordingly, the net investment income tax (NIIT) will take a 3.8% bite out of a portion of your investment earnings. There are, however, a number of restrictions on what the NIIT does and doesn't apply to. Take a look through our detailed guide below for more insight. Read More...

Feb 07, 2019 Beta measures how volatile a stock is in relation to the broader stock market over time. A stock with a high beta indicates it's more volatile than the overall market and can react with dramatic share-price changes amid market swings. So if you don't have the stomach for vast price changes, you may want to avoid investing in high-beta stocks. But beta is just one factor to consider when examining investments. This article will help you understand what it means and how you can use it to build a better portfolio that matches your risk tolerance. A financial advisor can also help you take advantage of beta to make better investment decisions. Read More...

Feb 07, 2019 Mutual funds attract investors for many reasons. For starters, mutual funds are diversified and professionally managed investment vehicles. Their structure eliminates the need to pick securities individually and rebalance your own portfolio. But that doesn’t mean you can pass on doing your homework. There are thousands of mutual funds out there, and each aims for a different objective. In this article, we’ll explain mutual funds, while covering the pros and cons to help you decide if they’re right for you. We can also help you work with a financial advisor to guide you through the world of mutual fund investing. Read More...

Feb 07, 2019 The allure of penny stocks isn’t surprising. The idea is to buy low-priced stocks with huge growth potential and then make a robust profit by selling if they go up substantially in value. The problem is that many people don’t understand how big of an “if” that is. Penny stocks are often subject to major manipulation: They exist in a Wild West of the market with few rules. So when you invest in penny stocks, you’re taking on a lot of risk. But that’s not to say you can’t see decent returns. We’ll help you understand whether investing in penny stocks is right for you and how you can do so in a smart way. But because of the risk involved, you may want to work with… Read More...

Jan 10, 2019 Have you ever been on vacation and wondered how delightful it might be to have the chance to live in that locale, even part-time? The tangible next step to this realization could be looking at a local real estate guide and perhaps even calling a real estate agent to look at some available properties. Before you know it, the idea of having a second home could take root. But before you go any further, consider the pros and cons of owning a second home. Read More...

Jan 10, 2019 You can fulfill the American dream of homeownership by owning an apartment just as you can with a traditional home. Owning instead of renting can also be good for your finances, as you're building equity in a property you can later sell instead of throwing money away to a landlord. So if you're interested in purchasing an apartment for you and your family, here’s what you need to know. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 Teslas are hot right now, and not just because they’re named after a man who once tried to invent the death ray. Elon Musk’s brainchild has cultural cachet, doesn’t need gas and might just help keep the Florida coastline above water. These are all great reasons to invest in a car. There’s just one problem: Tesla doesn’t have traditional dealerships. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it may leave many would-be eco road warriors wondering just how they can get behind the wheel. Here's how to buy a Tesla, in three simple steps. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 If you’re thinking of investing in real estate, why not buy a rental property? Whether it’s just a small home or apartment or, at the higher end, a multi-family home or apartment building, you can generate robust and reliable income from a rental property. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 A franchise can be the best of both worlds. When you become a franchisee, you get to launch and own your small business without having to create one from the ground up. A franchise means buying into a proven business model, one with a market-tested product, branding and an established customer base. When it works, this can be a great way to become your own boss and stay that way. So how to buy a franchise? Here are seven steps that can take you from eating Big Macs to selling them. Read More...

Jan 04, 2019 Whether you’re a financial professional or just an interested stockholder, you’ve probably run into the acronyms “EBIT” and “EBITDA” before. Both of these analytical metrics are a way of measuring a firm’s profits. While similar, they differ in critical ways and ultimately measure two different forms of income. Here’s what you need to know about EBIT vs. EBITDA when a quarterly report references either one of these accounting terms. Read More...

Jan 04, 2019 Buying stocks, bonds, and other investments through a brokerage firm is cheaper and easier than ever. Deals abound, as discount brokers like Charles Schwab and Ally charge as low as $4.95 per trade. In many cases, opening a brokerage account with one of these brokers takes just minutes. Here’s how to choose a brokerage and open an account. Read More...

Jan 04, 2019 So you’d like to set aside some money for your children. Perhaps you want to build an early inheritance or, more likely, you’d like to get a jump on their college fund. In either case, you’ll want to know about Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts. Both are types of custodial accounts, which allow adults to transfer assets to a minor, but they work in slightly different ways. Here’s what you need to know about UGMA vs. UTMA accounts and how to choose between them. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 Hedge funds are more loosely regulated than traditional mutual funds and tend to invest in different types of securities. This can mean higher returns, but it can also mean higher fees and greater risk of loss. If you’re thinking of investing in a hedge fund, here’s what you need to know. Read More...

Jan 10, 2019 Nearly every business and organization has a website. Many individuals also choose to claim their own space on the internet. But before you build a website, you’ll need a domain name - a unique website address that people will type into their browser to access your site. Whether you’re buying an entirely new domain name or purchasing a domain that someone already owns, we'll walk you through the process of buying and registering a domain name. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 Bond index funds invest in a selection of bonds intended to reflect the performance of a particular index. They can provide investors with a window to diversified, low-fee investing. However, bond index funds also carry several risks. We’ll explore the pros and cons of investing in bond index funds. Of course, a financial advisor can also guide you through selecting the bond index funds that are right for you. Read More...

Dec 04, 2018 Both public and private corporations issue corporate bonds, which are a type of fixed income security. Corporations place these investments on the open market to help fund projects and other major financial undertakings. Investors can purchase corporate bonds on either the primary or secondary markets, and they offer predictable payouts and strong liquidity. So if these reliable, low-risk investments interest you, check out our guide below. Read More...

Dec 03, 2018 It’s no secret: investing can be intimidating, and many people just don’t like the idea of “gambling” with their hard-earned savings. Luckily, there are some simple investment strategies that provide a steady stream of income without exposing you to much risk. One such strategy is making a bond ladder.  Read More...

Nov 30, 2018 Walmart is a legendary American retail brand that was founded by Sam Walton in 1962. Although it started with just a single location in Rogers, Arkansas, Walmart has ballooned to more than 11,000 stores across nearly 30 countries worldwide. A meteoric financial rise such as this typically gets the attention of investors. If you find yourself wanting to get your hands on some of this equity, we go over your options below. Read More...

Nov 30, 2018 Although widely recognized as solely a technology brand, Samsung is actually more of a conglomerate. The South Korea based company extends into the financial services, tourism, science and machinery businesses as well. But tech is what Samsung does best, as Forbes ranks it 94th on its list of the top 100 digital companies for 2018. Unfortunately for American investors, Samsung stock is difficult to get your hands on without a bit of legwork and fees. Read More...

Nov 28, 2018 Vanguard began operations back in 1975, although its oldest fund, the Vanguard Wellington™ Fund, was incepted in 1929. The company currently manages about $5.1 trillion in global assets from over 20 million investors in about 170 countries. Unlike many other investment management companies, which are owned by outside stockholders, Vanguard is owned by its customers who buy and own the company’s funds. By giving ownership to its clients, Vanguard gets to return profits back to you in the form of lower costs, helping to boost your savings. This ownership structure also means Vanguard can focus solely on its customers. Keeping in line with its core purpose of giving investors “the best chance for investment success,” Vanguard offers a variety of investment products. This allows you to find the best investments for you and your financial goals. You can buy and sell Vanguard ETFs and… Read More...

Nov 29, 2018 Berkshire Hathaway is a long-standing holding company with many businesses under its ownership. Berkshire is one of the most sought-after stocks on today's market, as chairman and investing legend Warren Buffett runs it. Some of the company's largest holdings include Geico, Kraft Heinz and Duracell. Whereas some firms offer direct investment plans, prospective investors will need to go through a brokerage or another medium to become a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder. Read More...

Nov 27, 2018 Mutual funds are companies that combine investors' money in an effort to diversify their assets throughout specific areas of the market. So investing in a mutual fund is more than just buying into the investments a fund makes. You're actually buying shares of the mutual fund to become a part owner. This typically attracts lots of attention, especially from long-term investors. Here's a guide for how you can get your hands on a mutual fund. Read More...

Nov 27, 2018 Savings bonds are what seem like a relic of the past, but they are still very much alive. The U.S. Treasury Department issues these extremely low-risk investments to help fund various projects of the federal government. Although you once could buy savings bonds in paper form, today most of them are sold electronically. There are a few different methods of buying savings bonds, but a   financial advisor can help if you have specific questions. Read More...

Nov 29, 2018 Nike is one of the most prominent sportswear companies in the world. It has been in the spotlight in recent years for its direct participation in social issues. Most notably, Nike did an ad campaign featuring ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick that netted the company a 6.25% stock value increase, according to an ESPN report from September 2018. This, along with Nike's longstanding popularity, has won it attention as an investment worth considering. Below, we outline a few ways you can purchase Nike shares. Read More...

Nov 26, 2018 Municipal bonds, or "munis," are debt security investments in the daily operations or long-term projects of a state, county, city or other government organization. Government entities themselves issue muni bonds, and they offer interest payments typically on a semi-annual basis. Maturity dates of these bonds can be anywhere from just a few years to over a decade, allowing you to select the one that's best for your financial plans. Investors can pick up these bonds through a number of direct and indirect methods. Read More...

Nov 26, 2018 Stock options are an increasingly popular form of employee compensation. They come in two flavors, which are treated differently for tax purposes: non-qualified stock options and incentive stock options. Non-qualified stock options are the more common of the two. Here's what you need to know if they're are part of your compensation package. Read More...

Nov 29, 2018 The Walt Disney Company is an iconic part of the American childhood experience. And its influence extends internationally and to all age groups. The legendary Walt Disney began producing his animated films in the early 1920s, and they've been fan-favorites ever since. As a fun way to start your children or grandchildren on the path to financial success, you can buy stock in Disney and gift it to them early on. Anyone can get a hold of Disney stock, though, and we go over how to do so below. Read More...

Nov 21, 2018 Charitable donations often take the form of food drives, clothing donations and giving cash to a nonprofit. But did you know you could also donate stocks directly to charity? While you could always sell your stocks and donate the proceeds, it might make more sense to donate the stocks themselves. It can greatly benefit the organization and can prove to be a smart tax move for you, too. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 When you take a new job, your salary is probably not your only form of compensation. You'll likely also get benefits, vacation days and, possibly, some form of stock in the company. This will likely come in one of two forms: restricted stock units (RSUs) or stock options. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 Annuities are one way to fund your retirement. With an annuity, you exchange a certain amount of principal up front for payouts in retirement. An equity-indexed annuity is a popular type of annuity. The payout for these annuities is based on the performance of an equities index, like the S&P 500. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 Diversification is the process of investing in several different asset classes and sectors of the economy to reduce risk. The idea here is that if one particular asset class experiences a downturn, your overall investment portfolio shouldn’t take a major hit because it also has exposure to other asset classes, which may be performing very well. Consider the opposite. Let’s say you invest all of your money in stocks related to a particular economic sector. If that sector goes through major economic turmoil, you would likely face a major loss. So diversification serves as a cushion to protect your entire basket when a few eggs crack. This article will explore different asset classes and funds you can consider when devising a diversified portfolio. We can also help you Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 A big name in the investment and day-trading worlds, E*TRADE offers a wide variety of investments and platforms to trade them. Originally founded in 1982 as TradePlus, the company made its first online trade the following year and relaunched as E*TRADE in 1992. Should you choose to start trading with E*TRADE, you’ll join over 3.9 million existing brokerage accounts. The company currently has $473 billion in assets under management. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018 You may have heard about short-selling, shorting or short position when listening to  investment discussions, but maybe you weren’t quite sure of the meaning. Taking a short position is essentially the opposite of investing in a company. When you invest in a company, you’re betting that the price of the shares will go up, giving you positive wealth growth. When you take a short position, you’re betting that the price of a company’s stock is going to go down. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018 Anyone who spends time thinking about investments has likely heard the phrase price-earnings ratio. Put simply, price-earnings ratio, or P/E ratio, is a figure that compares the price of a share of a company’s stock to the earnings per share it posts over a 12-month period. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018 Fidelity is a global financial services company headquartered in Boston. Founded in 1946, the firm has more than $2.50 trillion in assets under management. It offers a full suite of products and services, including annuities, mutual funds, retirement plans, 529 plans and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In addition to its brokerage arm, Fidelity also has a robo-advisor service called FidelityGo and a financial advisor division called Fidelity Investments for anyone who wants a full-service wealth management experience. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018 In order to become an accredited investor, you must meet certain income or net worth requirements laid out by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You must also demonstrate to investment firms that you can qualify to invest in certain products. This article will define an accredited investor and explain how to become one. It will also explore what an accredited investor can do and why he or she must follow certain rules. But because accredited investors have exclusive access to complex investments, it always helps to work with a financial advisor. Read More...

Nov 15, 2018 With student loan debt reach record levels, American families are seeking more ways to help their children save for higher education. One solid option is investing in a 529 college savings plan. Each state, except Wyoming, sponsors at least one of these savings vehicles, as does Washington, D.C. Money you contribute to these plans comes from after-tax dollars, so your contributions can reduce your taxable income. Your money also grows tax-free. And you won’t face any taxes if you withdraw money for 529 qualified educational expenses like tuition. Plus, some states allow you to take additional tax deductions or credits based on how much you contribute. But the great thing is that you’re not limited to investing in the 529 plan sponsored by your state. You’re free to enroll in any program you… Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 The practice of granting stock options to employees is growing in popularity as a way for employers to attract and retain talent. And depending on the company, it could pay off big for the employees. Because options give you a stake in your company’s success, you could see a big profit if your company is successful. If you've been offered options as part of a compensation package, or if you're considering exercising and selling those options, it's a good idea to first brush up on how they work. Read More...

Nov 14, 2018 Higher education is pricier than ever, and tuition hikes don't show any sign of slowing down. But 529 college savings plans and Roth IRAs both include benefits to help you save for your children's education. Investors use 529 plans specifically for the purpose of paying for college. By contrast, Roth IRAs provide the chance to save for both retirement and college in a single account. Decision which one to utilize is a complicated decision that can have long-term financial ramifications, so feel free to consult a financial advisor if you have further questions. Read More...

Nov 14, 2018 If you invest in stocks, there is a decent chance that you will receive some sort of dividend, which is a payment to shareholders that is awarded in correlation with how the stock is performing on the market. To see if you’re getting a good dividend in comparison with other stocks, you’ll need to learn how to calculate dividend yield. Read More...

Nov 15, 2018 TD Ameritrade is a full-service brokerage firm that is a fixture in the investment sphere. It was first established back in 1975. As a matter of fact, as recently as 2018, Kiplinger named TD Ameritrade the No. 1 overall broker in the U.S. TD Ameritrade employs well-balanced online and mobile trading platforms that include versions for both new and experienced investors. It backs this up with great customer support to help clients get the most out of the diverse account features. However, even with all these benefits to its name, TD Ameritrade has a significant number of legal issues on its record. In late 2017, TD Ameritrade bought out Scottrade, another massive national brokerage that opened its doors in 1981. With the annexation of Scottrade’s accounts and funds, the firm now serves a combined 11 million clients with more than $1 trillion in assets. TD Ameritrade finished… Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 If you’re interested in investing in real estate, you should start by doing as much research as possible. This first and foremost means studying the market, figuring out how you want to invest and learning as much as you can about what investing in the real estate market really means. One of the best ways to do that is to read a book on the subject. This guide will take you though the best books on real estate investing. We'll tell you what you’ll be able to glean from each of them. Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 One of the most crucial investment decisions anyone makes is how he or she goes about setting up their asset allocation. This is the process by which you break down your investment portfolio based on stocks, bonds and cash. Your age and risk tolerance will largely influence this decision. In this article, we’ll explore common ways you can rebalance your your asset allocation based on age. But any time you’re making serious investment and retirement-planning decisions, it’s important to find a financial advisor who can help you develop a personalized strategy. Read More...

Dec 07, 2018 Merrill Edge is a brokerage firm that offers everything from self-sufficient investing to financial advisor consultations and  robo-advisor services. The brokerage firm falls under the umbrella of the Merrill Lynch group of companies. Although once its own entity, Merrill Lynch is now under the ownership of Bank of America. Therefore Merrill Edge is an especially natural fit for anyone who maintains accounts at BoA. The brokerage firm has racked up its fair share of accolades in recent years. Barron’s has handed Merrill Edge a 4-star rating each year from 2014… Read More...

Nov 14, 2018 Robinhood is a brokerage firm whose services are centered around its mobile and online trading platforms. In fact, the firm’s mobile app won a design award from Apple in 2015, and it holds an average rating of 4.75 stars between the Android and Apple app stores. Robinhood’s principal attraction is a complete lack of commission fees for all purchases and sales of U.S. listed stocks, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and cryptocurrencies. Some of the downsides of Robinhood include no human advisement and limited customer service. That makes this brokerage best suited for independent investors. Former Stanford roommates Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt founded Robinhood in 2014 after building their own finance companies. As it stands today, the firm is independently owned, and co-CEOs… Read More...

Nov 05, 2018 Any investor can benefit from the value of a diversified portfolio. But some don't venture into the world of real estate investing, because they don’t know where to start. With intimidating acronyms like REITs and the thought of waking up in the middle of the night to a call about a tenant's broken pipe, real estate investing can sound scary. But don’t worry. We’ll explain how to get your feet wet by testing the waters of some basic real estate investment practices. But as with any investment, real estate can open the door to some considerable risk. So the guidance of a financial advisor can come in handy. But when done right, Read More...

Nov 08, 2018 The investment world is full of an overwhelming number of options, including equities, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and more. Commodities may seem like just another one of the bunch, but these products offer a unique way to invest your money in the market. If you have questions about a specific commodity, or you're new to creating an investment portfolio, it might be wise to consult a  financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 25, 2018 Angel investor is one of the terms you constantly hear bandied about on the news, in blog articles and maybe even in a few of your favorite movies. But don’t feel bad if you still ask yourself: What is an angel investor? An angel investor is simply an individual, generally someone with a big base of wealth, who gives money to a business to help it get started in exchange for either ownership equity or convertible debt. A lot of famous companies you’ve heard of, including Facebook, had angel investors early on. This post will take you through the basics of angel investors, including what an angel investor is, the pros and cons of working with an angel investor, who should use an angel investor and how you can become an angel investor yourself. Read More...

Oct 03, 2018 An investment strategy is a defined approach to investing that shapes the choices an investor makes for his or her portfolio. Different investment strategies assume specific tactics based on fundamental beliefs. For instance, value investing seeks stocks that are undervalued and are selling for less than their true worth, whereas growth investing aims to find investment opportunities in companies that have high potential for growth. Those are just a few of the many investment strategies out there to choose from. This guide will break down the major investment strategies and help you decide which of them is likely to be a good choice for you. Read More...

Oct 02, 2018 Asset allocation is the mix of investments you choose for your investment portfolio. Picking the right mix is key to maximizing returns and minimizing risk as you invest. If you don’t get the mix right, you could miss out on some opportunities to earn returns. Or, you could take on too much risk and end up losing your savings without enough time left to earn it back. Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 Gold can be an attractive investment for those who wish to protect themselves from the volatility paper currency and stocks experience. However, the process of acquiring gold is a bit more opaque than simply heading to an ATM. You need to decide what kind of gold you want to buy, find a reputable gold dealer and make sure you're storing your gold safely. Read on to learn why you may want to invest in gold in the first place, how to purchase gold and what the different kinds of gold investments can look like. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018 If you're doing anything related to money or investing, chances are you'll have to deal with a broker. A broker is someone who serves as a conduit for you when purchasing a variety of things, from houses to security  investments. Knowing what a broker is and what he or she does is important to ensuring you effectively work with this professional. This article examines the common types of brokers and what they do, in addition to explaining how to find a broker. Read More...

Sep 21, 2018 If you’re a relatively new investor, you may be wondering what types of investments you should be looking to put your money in. While there are plenty of different ways to buy them, it’s likely the actual investments you make will be in one of two basic categories: bonds or stocks. Read More...

Sep 27, 2018 For many, predicting how your investments will perform over the long term can be difficult. After all, these returns may often seem abstract and distant. But being able to determine a time frame for expected growth is invaluable. The rule of 72 does just this, so read on to learn exactly how to use this law. SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool can also set you up with a local advisor who can further aid you in evaluating your current investments or building an investment portfolio for the future. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 You contribute money to 529 college savings plan as a tax-advantaged way to save for your child's future education. But when your kid is set to matriculate, you can't use those funds for just any costs. To avoid a tax penalty, you must put that money toward 529 plan qualified expenses. Don't worry: You won't need to dive into thousands of pages of the tax code. We did that hard work for you. Now, we will teach you exactly what will count 529 plan qualified expenses—and what won't. Then you can use your tax-deferred savings penalty free.  Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Amid rising college costs and mounting student debt, parents are looking for more ways to lessen the financial burden of higher education. Luckily, 529 college savings plans can help. These unique savings vehicles offer several tax breaks for parents as they save for their children's future education. Similar to 401(k) plans, 529 plans let you contribute toward investment portfolios with underlying mutual funds that leading investment firms manage. Tackling an expense as large and important as higher education is important. So read on to understand 529 college savings plans down pat. Read More...

Jul 04, 2018 Unlike with 401(k) plans and other retirement savings vehicles, the IRS does not set annual contribution limits for 529 college savings plans. Instead, the states that sponsor individual 529 plans set parameters for the life of the plan. So what are the 529 plan contribution limits for plans you're considering? And how can you be sure to follow the rules so as not to incur any penalties? Read on to find out. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 529 college savings plans offer several tax benefits and the potential to build your child’s college fund over time. Unlike with several investment accounts, the federal government allows your 529 plan earnings to grow tax-free. Your withdrawals will be tax-free as well if you use them to pay for qualified higher education expenses. But you need to understand 529 plan rules. What constitutes a qualified expense and what are the penalties for making a nonqualified withdrawal? Read on learn how you can maximize your 529 benefits and avoid pitfalls.  Read More...

Jun 18, 2018 When you're getting started with investing, it's important to research the options available to you. One such option, known as socially responsible investing (SRI), enables you to grow your money while doing good. It allows you to invest in social causes you care about. In fact, this type of investing has experienced significant growth in recent years. Socially responsible investments offer a great way to boost your assets while also making a difference. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) found that the median inheritance in the U.S. is $69,000. Yet an HSBC survey found that Americans in retirement expect to leave nearly $177,000 to their heirs. As it turns out, the passing of property and assets doesn’t always go as expected or planned. Plus, though it may seem like a windfall, getting an inheritance is rarely as easy as depositing a check. Read on as we explain exactly how inheritance works. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 Making an investment plan involves more than just choosing a few stocks to put money in. You have to consider your current financial situation and your goals. It's also important to define your timeline and how much risk you're willing to take on in order to determine your optimal asset allocation. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to make an investment plan. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 When creating an investment plan for your portfolio, diversification is the most important rule. Diversification essentially means spreading your assets among a variety of investments. Doing this helps to mitigate risk and provides the potential to improve returns. Read on to find out more about how to diversify your portfolio. Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 If you want help making investment decisions and managing your investments, you may want to seek the advice of a professional, specifically an investment advisor. An investment advisor, or investment adviser or securities advisor, is a financial advisor who, for a fee, provides guidance and management for your investment portfolio. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 For anyone trying to choose a financial advisor, Form ADV is an essential point of reference. Form ADV is paperwork that all financial advisor firms that manage more than $25 million must file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The publicly available paperwork includes dozens of pages of information about a firm, including its fee structure, total assets under management, other business activities, any disciplinary issues on record and more. Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 When you place your investments in the care of an investment manager or advisor, you’ll often run into various fees. The advisor can charge you a percentage of your assets, a transaction fee per trade, commission fees and more. To remove some of the confusion and clutter that comes with this fee structure investment managers choose instead to charge a wrap fee. Read More...

Jan 12, 2018 Investment banking is a division of banking focused on raising capital for companies, governments and other entities. Investment banks, which are typically private companies, may underwrite debt and equity securities, assist with mergers and acquisitions, provide  financial advisory services and offer IPO (initial public offering) support when companies go public. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 When it comes to personal finance, sometimes it seems like there's a whole new language that you need to learn. There are terms like expense ratios and asset allocations. One thing you’ve probably heard about is a portfolio. Investment portfolios come up any time you talk about investing. That includes investments that you make into a retirement account, like a 401(k), as well as any other investments in the stock market. But what exactly is an investment portfolio? Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 Figuring out how to buy bonds is a deceptively complicated process. Before you make your purchase, it's important to understand what types of bonds there are, and how much risk and reward each bond carries. Bonds can be a good way to round out a diverse portfolio, but not all bonds are as straightforward and reliable as the ones your grandma gave you for graduation. Read More...

Mar 20, 2017 Remember Brexit? In June 2016, more than 30 million people in the U.K. took part in a referendum. Most of the voters (51.9%) wanted Britain to exit the European Union (hence the term Brexit). Prime Minister Theresa May will begin the process of leaving the EU by the end of March 2017. Meanwhile, France is preparing for an election that could result in a so-called Frexit. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 Not all investors in the stock market are individuals who buy and sell their own hand-picked stocks and bonds. With the rise of mutual funds and  index funds, institutional investors have become bigger players. Institutional investors are large funds made up of many individual investors. Pension funds are a prime example of an institutional investor. Read on to find out more about institutional investors and their role in the market.  Read More...

Dec 30, 2016 If you were paying close attention to the presidential race, you may have heard someone say something about carried interest. Or maybe you have finance friends who've mentioned this term in passing. Either way, if you're not sure what carried interest is, we're here to help. We'll explain what this term means and how it's related to a controversial tax loophole. Read More...

Dec 27, 2016 If you only have stocks and bonds, you can diversify your portfolio by investing in real estate. Buying a rental property can provide you with a steady stream of income, especially in a market where rental rates are on the rise. Not sure whether you should become a landlord? Asking yourself these questions can help you decide whether you should make buying an investment property one of your new year's resolutions. Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 J.K. Rowling's  net worth is an estimated $1.2 billion. Since 1997, J.K. Rowling has captivated book lovers across the globe with her renowned Harry Potter series. In addition to publishing that series, she has written other novels and stories and has gotten involved with the film adaptations of her books. Read on for a breakdown of Rowling's net worth. Read More...

Oct 18, 2017 Goldman Sachs has a higher profile than many other investment banks. Its name is frequently invoked as a stand-in for Wall Street and the financial sector. Secretary Clinton's speeches to the company were a hot topic during the 2016 presidential campaign, and President-elect Trump has tapped a former executive from the bank, Steven Mnuchin, to be Treasury Secretary. So what is Goldman Sachs? Let us explain.  Read More...

Nov 23, 2016 Several businesses and divisions of businesses market themselves as providing targeted investing advice for women. But do women need investing advice that's different from the advice men receive? It's a controversial issue. Let's take a look at some of the arguments for and against financial advice and financial services marketed specifically to women.   Read More...

Oct 14, 2016 Arbitrage is the buying and selling of assets, profiting from the price difference between the price paid to buy and the price at the time of sale. In a successful arbitrage deal, the turn-around time between buying and selling is minimal and the transaction costs (the cost of buying the goods and bringing them to sale) are low or nonexistent.  Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 Economic recessions are never pleasant. But they're an unfortunate reality that investors have to deal with from time to time. While it's impossible to predict when a recession will hit, there are often clues that warn of a potential economic downturn. If you're worried that another recession could hurt your portfolio, it might be a good idea to take these tips into consideration. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 If you've been too afraid to take a serious look at your investment portfolio, this could be the perfect time to finally do it. Even if you think you've made good financial decisions, you could be hurting your bottom line without realizing it. If you've made any of the following investing mistakes, it might be time to start using a different strategy. Read More...

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