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Investing

Mar 24, 2020 When you're looking for a safe way to invest your money, things don'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, or T-bills, can be appealing because you're not required to tie up your money for a long period of time. However, they're not necessarily right for every kind of investor. If you have questions about T-bills, stocks or any other type of investment, speak with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

May 01, 2020 Wealth management firms are all different. You need to make sure to do the work to pick the right one for you. 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. You can also use SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool to help you find the right manager for you.  Read More...

Feb 10, 2021 Investing intimidates a lot of people. There are numerous 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...

Jan 04, 2021 If you're looking to invest $100,000, you have a lot of options -- but some are absolutely better than others. If you're patient, putting the money in a deposit account may make the most sense. You could also invest in real estate, or put some of the money into a diverse basket of stocks on the market. No matter what you do, you always want to make sure you're being smart and considering all of your options. One way to make thins a bit easier, of course, is to find a financial advisor to help you invest your $100,000 (and to manage the money as it grows.) Read More...

Feb 05, 2020 Passive investing - also referred to as passive management - is an investing strategy that involves buying and holding investments for a long period of time, rather than making frequent trades to try to beat the market. It is a go-to strategy for long-term investors, because it capitalizes on the typical upward trend of the overall market over many years. By minimizing trades, it also ensures that transaction costs are as low as possible. Want to use a passive investment approach for your portfolio? Consider speaking with a financial advisor in your area. 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...

Jul 09, 2019 Warren Buffett said it best: “Read 500 pages like this every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned investor in need of a refresher, reading some 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. And if you want some extra guidance as you apply your newly acquired knowledge to your portfolio, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jun 05, 2020 A wealth manager is a subset of financial advisor that primarily offers  high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients wealth management services. But a wealth manager's role is far more comprehensive than just offering investment advice. They focus on a holistic suite of services that encompasses all parts of a person's financial life. This can include investment management and financial planning, as well as accounting and tax services, retirement planning and estate planning. To find a financial advisor in your area, try using SmartAsset's free advisor matching tool. 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...

Aug 03, 2021 When someone makes an investment, they’re obviously hoping that it ends up making them money. Otherwise, there would be no point to the investment. If you do increase your net worth through investments, though, you’ll likely have to pay taxes to your state and federal government. These are called capital gains taxes, and they don’t work quite the same as taxes on other income. Though the federal capital gains tax is often in the news and subject to political debate, there are also capital gains taxes assessed at the state level. If you live in California, consider working with a financial advisor who can help you plan for these taxes. Read More...

Aug 03, 2021 The goal of an investment -- whether you place your money in stocks, a business or real estate -- is generally to end up with more money than you started with. When you earn enough money from investments, you’ll have to start thinking about the tax implications of them. These come in the form of capital gains taxes. While the federal capital gains tax is the one most often discussed in the media and by politicians, states can also levy a capital gains tax. However, in concert with its nonexistent income tax, Florida does not charge state capital gains taxes. Despite this, it's important to plan for taxes with your investments, which  a financial advisor can help you with. Read More...

Aug 03, 2021 Investing trends come and go, and the rise of the meme stock is one of the latest to make the rounds. Defining meme stocks is difficult, but generally they’re stocks that manage to gain a lot of attention from investors thanks largely to social media chatter. They may be value stocks, growth stocks; they may be large cap or small cap. They can represent a variety of market sectors and industries. Meme stocks can sharply boost your portfolio's volatility, which is something a financial advisor can help you manage. Read More...

Jul 30, 2021 A leveraged buyout (LBO) occurs when one company acquires another using debt as the means to complete the acquisition. LBOs allow companies to purchase other companies without tying up significant amounts of their own capital reserves. The company that’s executing a leveraged buyout may put up a certain percentage of their own equity, but the majority of the money that trades hands comes from loans or bonds. There are different stages this type of buyout goes through before it’s considered to be complete. When considering investing in companies that are party to a leveraged buyout, a financial advisor can tell you which metrics are the especially important. Read More...

Jul 30, 2021 Publicly traded companies can issue stock warrants and stock options to attract investors and raise capital. A warrant gives an investor the right to buy a stock at a set price by a specific date. A stock option conveys the right to buy or sell a stock at a certain price by a predetermined date. Though they sound similar, they work differently and serve different purposes. Knowing how to compare warrants and options can help when deciding which one to invest in. Investing in derivatives can be tricky, which is why it's wise to work with a financial advisor on such trades. Read More...

Jul 30, 2021 Bonds can help to balance out risk in a portfolio while also generating income in the form of interest from regular coupon payments. When a bond is issued it’s assigned a fixed par value and a set maturity date. A bond’s value can change, however, once it begins trading on the open market. Premium bonds trade above par value while discount bonds trade below it. Both can offer opportunities for investors but it’s important to understand how premium and discount bonds work. A financial advisor can help you navigate all the opportunities available for fixed-income investing. Read More...

Jul 30, 2021 Investors who rely on dividend income need to understand four crucial dates to determine when they will get a distribution. Those four dates are the declaration date, the ex-dividend date, the record date and the payment date. While the declaration and payment dates are generally understood, the ex-dividend and record dates are easy to confuse. Here are the ways you can differentiate between an ex-dividend date and a record date. Consider working with a  financial advisor as you hone your dividend investing strategy and tactics. Read More...

Jul 30, 2021 Bonds are a popular security for fixed-income investors and people seeking stability for their portfolios. Understanding how bonds, which are essentially corporate or government IOUs, provide income requires a grasp of the price of a bond and its yield, both of which can fluctuate. Here is how to understand bond prices and bond yields. If you're looking for a fixed-income component for your investments, work with a financial advisor to find the security that best matches your risk profile, time horizon and goals. Read More...

Jul 28, 2021 Mutual funds and stocks each offer specific types of advantages to investors. In general stocks tend to offer higher returns while mutual funds tend to offer greater stability. The right one for you will depend on your goals, risk profile and investment strategy. To find out which works best for you, here is a comparison of mutual funds and stocks. Because an investment portfolio often has a mix of stocks and mutual funds, consult with a financial advisor to find the best mix for you. Read More...

Jul 28, 2021 If you have ever traveled abroad, you know that exchange rates can fluctuate. When it comes time to convert currencies, you may receive more or less than the amount you expected or planned for. Sometimes, this discrepancy is a result of a currency devaluation. Understanding devaluation and how it can affect you are not only important for tourists traveling overseas; investors whose securities have exposure to more than one currency need to understand devaluation, too. Here are the basics of what you need to know. Consider working with a financial advisor to make sure your portfolio is as protected as possible from devaluation. Read More...

Jul 26, 2021 Companies sometimes need capital to help with acquisitions and expansions. While an initial public offering (IPO) can help with that early in a company's life, a company may have to return to the public sale of shares to generate more money. However, while post-IPO offerings can help a corporation, they can dilute the value of existing shareholders' stocks. Consider working working with a financial advisor when mulling the opportunity to participate in a secondary offering. Read More...

Jul 26, 2021 Two of the more common business terms you may hear are "sector" and "industry." They are often used to describe the same thing, but they’re not actually the same. Within the world of business and finance each one has a precise - and distinct - meaning and one shouldn't be confused with the other. If you are brushing up on your economic know-how, here's a rundown on the difference between sector and industry. Consider working with a financial advisor as you sharpen your insights into financial markets. Read More...

Jul 26, 2021 One of the most common categories of investment securities is known as cyclical stocks. These are shares in companies that are sensitive to economic or business cycles. When an economy is contracting there prices are particularly vulnerable to a downturn; when an economy is expanding their prices are more likely than other categories of stocks to rise. Here's what you need to know about cyclical stocks. Consider speaking with a financial advisor before investing in these kinds of securities. Read More...

Jul 19, 2021 Do prices return to some sort of normal? Will housing prices naturally come back down, and the price of blockchain tokens stabilize? Do stock prices always bounce back after a crash, or is there even such a thing as a financial reset? The idea that markets can return to normal is what’s known as the reversion to the mean. Here's what you need to know about this concept. If you're having trouble grasping the numerous investing metrics, consider working with a financial advisor who can help you understand and apply the metrics. Read More...

Jul 19, 2021 Index funds minimize risk by tracking a market metric, like the S&P 500 or a specific industry as a whole. Hedge funds maximize profits by taking high-risk positions and making investments that mitigate those risks. These are radically different investment vehicles. Here’s what you need to know. Consider working with a financial advisor who can help you decide which one, given your risk profile, time horizon and goals, makes the most sense for you. Read More...

Jul 14, 2021 The strangle is an options strategy that you create out of multiple options contracts to maximize your upside while minimizing your risk. With the strangle, you generally believe you know which direction the underlying asset will move. Your position emphasizes this expected movement, but at the same time you open a second option contract to hedge your bets. This creates a position with some risk in the middle, but ultimately capped losses. Here’s how it works. Read More...

Jul 14, 2021 The straddle is an options trading strategy, so named for the shape it makes on a pricing chart; your position literally “straddles” the price of the underlying asset. With the straddle, you trade on the expectation of volatility. This position profits if prices change in a big way, and it tends to lose money if prices remain relatively stable. The advantage here is that you can profit whether prices rise or fall. The disadvantage is that you need significant volatility for this position to be profitable. Consider working with a financial advisor as you explore using options and other derivatives. Read More...

Jul 14, 2021 Investors use many metrics to pick stocks. Some pursue certain industries, for example, while others invest based on price changes and trends. One common strategy is to focus your trading on either dividend or growth stocks. With a dividend stock, you’re looking to make money off steady dividend payments over time. With a growth stock, you’re looking to make money off of a price increase and subsequent capital gains. Here’s how this works. Read More...

Jul 13, 2021 Trading stocks and buying options are two types of investments, though the former is more common than the latter. Each one has strengths, and each one carries potential downsides. The differences don't preclude investors taking advantage of what each one has to offer. Here's what you need to know about these two financial moves. Consider working with a financial advisor as you chose which types of investments are best for you. Read More...

Jul 13, 2021 Many investors use mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to diversify their portfolios, even when their balances are small. But there's an alternative that offers several potential advantages to mutual fund and ETF investing. Known as direct indexing, it's a technique that's been available for decades, but costs and technological hurdles made it appealing primarily to larger investors. But that's changing. Here's what you need to know about direct indexing so you can decide if it's right for you. Consider working with a financial advisor if you want to diversity your portfolio but don't have the experience or resources of professional traders. Read More...

Jul 13, 2021 When you buy stock in a company, you hope that the underlying company will do well and cause the share price to rise. When you invest in an index fund, you hope the entire sector of the market that the index tracks will do well and cause all of the companies in it to gain value, thus boosting the value of your index fund holdings. That’s the difference between index funds and stocks in a nutshell. Now let’s dive into the details. Read More...

Jul 09, 2021 In the last few years, something called a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), has become a popular way to raise capital. A SPAC, also known as a blank check company, bears some resemblance to an initial public offering (IPO), which is a more well-known means of raising capital. But there are key differences. In both cases, though, a SPAC and an IPO are ways for investors to get in on the ground floor of promising startups. If you want early stake in an emerging venture, work with a financial advisor so your choices match your goals and risk profile. Read More...

Jul 14, 2021 The foreign currency market (“forex”) has a lot in common with the stock market. Both are speculative ways of investing, meaning that they offer higher risks and higher rewards than many other assets. Both markets move faster than many other investments, and like most investments, both have grown with rise of online investment platforms. These products are by no means the same thing, but for all their differences they have a surprising amount of overlap. A financial advisor can help you decide whether forex would be a wise addition to your investment portfolio. Read More...

Jul 08, 2021 Investors tend to use the terms “stock” and “share” interchangeably, and usually that’s fine. A stock comes in shares and you buy a share of stock. But these ideas aren’t always interchangeable. Technically speaking, a stock always refers to equity in a traded company. Shares can refer to stocks, as well as to portions of ownership in just about any other asset. Here’s what you need to know. Consider working with a  financial advisor as you build an investment portfolio. Read More...

Jul 08, 2021 Micro futures allow investors to trade against the stock market at large. They’re priced so that ordinary investors can afford to trade futures on the major market indices, which have otherwise gotten so expensive that only major investors can afford to trade those futures. Here’s what this product is, and how it works. Consider working with a financial advisor as you plan an investment strategy that includes futures trading. Read More...

Jul 08, 2021 A Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a security that mimics the performance of the actual Bitcoin digital currency. The underlying asset in the case of a Bitcoin ETF is the digital Bitcoin currency. There are Bitcoin exchanges, which are just networks of computers, where Bitcoin and Bitcoin ETFs are traded. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not approved a Bitcoin ETF for trading on U.S. exchanges. Consider working with a financial advisor before you decide to invest in cryptocurrencies. Read More...

Jul 07, 2021 Investing in nickel is a bet on the prospects of the industrial and manufacturing sectors, both of which use lots of this base metal. Nickel investing, and investing in other base metals like zinc, iron, aluminum and uranium, is different from  investing in precious metals like gold and silver. Base metals' prices move with the economy; precious metals' prices often move in the opposite direction of the economy. If you want to include nickel in your investment portfolio, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 07, 2021 Copper is experiencing a resurgence in demand, particularly in the industrial sector. It is a versatile metal used heavily in home building, electronics, electrical conductivity, automobiles and infection control. It will benefit from the push toward electric vehicles and sustainable energy sources, upgraded infection control due to the coronavirus pandemic and rebounding global economic activity. If you want to include copper or any of the base metals in your portfolio, it may be wise to speak with a financial advisor and keep up with the copper market.  Read More...

Jul 01, 2021 Futures trading is a fast-paced, risky and sometimes lucrative strategy that is most often used for hedging and speculation. Futures contracts are the trading vehicle. They call for the purchase or sale of an asset at some future date but at a price that is fixed today. The world's largest marketplace for futures trading, CME Group, is composed of exchanges. Two of the most well-known exchanges are the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. There is also the New York Mercantile Exchange. Here's what you need to know about futures. If you're new to futures or just considering them, work with a financial advisor to make sure you avoid pitfalls and get a clear understanding of what's involved. Read More...

Jul 01, 2021 Futures and forwards offer an alternative to traditional stock investing. Both are types of derivative investments, in that their values are based on the value of underlying assets. Regardless of whether you’re investing in futures vs. forwards, they each involve an agreement to buy and sell an asset at some time in the future. Here's what you need to know about these two types of investments. Derivatives can be complex so it's wise to work with a financial advisor if you are considering such an investment. Read More...

Jul 01, 2021 Investing is a key component of any plan to build wealth. And when shaping that plan, it’s important to consider two things: what to invest in and where to keep that money. A mutual fund, for example, is a popular choice for what to invest in; it's a basket of securities in one place. Where to keep that money is another question: It’s possible to own one or more mutual funds inside a Roth individual retirement account. Whether you invest in a Roth IRA or mutual fund, both can help with achieving your wealth-generation goals. But it’s important to understand how they differ and the risks and rewards associated with each. Read More...

Jun 29, 2021 Dividend growth modeling helps investors determine a fair price for a company’s shares, using the stock’s current dividend, the expected future growth rate of the dividend and the required rate of return for the individual’s portfolio and financial goals. The dividend growth model is relatively easy to perform and can provide a helpful way to decide whether or not to invest in a particular security. Just keep in mind that the assumptions used may not turn out to be accurate. Read More...

Jun 29, 2021 Dividends paid to investors by corporations come in two kinds - ordinary and qualified - and the difference has a large effect on the taxes that will be owed. Ordinary dividends are taxed as ordinary income, meaning a investor must pay federal taxes on the income at the individual’s regular rate. Qualified dividends, on the other hand, are taxed at capital gain rates. Lower-income recipients of qualified dividends may owe no federal tax at all. A  financial advisor can help you find an assortment of securities that best meets your needs. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 Since exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) have become popular investments, there is an ongoing discussion about the pros and cons of investing in an ETN vs. ETF. Both are investments that help an investor diversify their portfolio. Each has definite pros and cons associated with it. They differ in many ways and each has specific risks that an investor should consider before investing. Speak to a financial advisor to find out if an ETN or ETF is right for you to use to diversify your portfolio. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 Financial analysts who are employed by investment firms research stocks and provide their opinions to investors about their possible future performance. Their opinion takes the form of a rating. An Underweight stock rating indicates to investors that it may not be a good investment. In other words, if a stock is rated by Wall Street financial analysts as an Underweight stock, it is expected to have a lower return than other stocks in its market sector. Consider working with a financial advisor to take full advantage of stock ratings. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 A stock that is expected to outperform other stocks in its market sector gets an Overweight rating. Financial analysts who are employed by investment firms research  stocks and provide their opinions to investors about their possible future performance. Their opinion takes the form of a rating. An Overweight stock rating indicates to investors that it may be a good investment. A financial advisor can help you figure out whether an Overweight stock is a good fir for your portfolio. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 Nikola is an American automotive company focusing on creating zero-emission trucks. It was founded in 2014 and is based in Phoenix. Like Elon Musk’s popular electric car company, Tesla, Nikola is named for famous inventor Nikola Tesla, though it has no actual connection to the man. Though Nikola has produced several interesting vehicle concepts, it came under investigation by the SEC in September 2020 for allegations of securities fraud. Still, if you’re interested in investing in the future of transportation, Nikola is one place to look. For more comprehensive, personalized advice on investing, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 Dividend per share allows investors in a business to determine how much dividend income they will receive per share of their common stock. Dividends are the portion of profit that a company distributes to its investors. Many investors, such as dividend investors, enjoy investing in dividend-paying stocks, which provide a stream of current income. Investors who are more interested in the growth of a company's stock price prefer to invest in companies who retain most or all of their earnings. Consider working with a financial advisor to make sure your investment portfolio is giving you an adequate income stream. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 The cost basis of an asset is important to you for two primary reasons - tax planning and investment planning. These two reasons are related because only with the proper investment planning can you own a tax-efficient portfolio. You need to understand cost basis in order to plan the investment horizons of the various securities in your portfolio to lower your tax liability. It's important to know the tax effect of the different types of securities in your portfolio to both choose investments and limit the tax hit you take each year. Since cost basis is calculated differently for different types of assets and can be complex, you may want to consult a financial advisor for assistance. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 Dividends are regular cash payments corporations make to shareholders as an incentive to get them to invest in the company. Dividend yield is a percentage figure calculated by dividing the total annual dividend payments, per share, by the current share price of the stock. From 2% to 6% is considered a good dividend yield, but a number of factors can influence whether a higher or lower payout suggests a stock is a good investment. A financial advisor can help you figure out if a certain dividend-paying stock is worth considering. Read More...

Jun 28, 2021 Buying shares of real estate investment trusts (REITs) gives investors a convenient way to invest in land and buildings while receiving income and capital appreciation. REITs own and finance real estate and pay 90% of their income from rent, interest and capital gains as dividends. While REITs tend to produce reliable income, they are subject to real estate cycles of boom and bust and are also sensitive to interest rate changes. A financial advisor can help you decide if a REIT fits your goals and risk profile as well as what kind of REIT would be best for you. Read More...

Jun 30, 2021 Owning stocks is important for driving returns in a portfolio. But one question to consider is whether it makes more sense to invest in individual shares or an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that includes a basket of stocks. Choosing between an ETF and one or more stocks can depend on your risk tolerance and goals, as well as your preferences when it comes to taxes and investment fees. Both can help with diversification and increasing your exposure to different market sectors. Knowing what sets ETFs and stocks apart from one another can help you decide where they fit into your investment plan. Read More...

Jun 25, 2021 Publicly traded companies can offer shares of preferred stock or common stock to investors to raise capital. Both can pay dividends, though there can be differences in how much is paid out and when those payouts occur. Between the two, more companies typically offer shares of common stock than they do preferred stock. Whether it makes sense to choose preferred stock or common stock can depend on your objectives for investing and whether you’re interested in having voting rights as a shareholder. Working with a professional financial advisor can be a great way to make sure you've fully considered all the factors that go into choosing which kind of stock to buy. Read More...

Jun 24, 2021 Bisq, formerly known as Bitsquare, is a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange with servers located around the globe. Bisq's decentralization means it isn't headquartered in any one location or country, which gives it a number of advantages. You can use Bisq to trade cryptocurrency peer-to-peer instead of through a third party, and its decentralized nature makes it safer than other, more normal exchanges. If you're looking to invest in crypto through an exchange, you may want to consult with a financial advisor beforehand. Read More...

Jun 24, 2021 BlockFi is designed to help you trade cryptocurrency and manage your money, all on the same platform. You can use BlockFi to open an interest account, take out crypto-backed loans and use traditional cryptocurrency trading services. This platform has been around since 2017, and while it's independently owned, several financial giants like SoFi and Fidelity back it. If you're looking into trading cryptocurrencies, a financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for your investing needs. Here's what you need to know about BlockFi. Read More...

Jun 24, 2021 Stock investing can offer numerous rewards, including the potential to benefit from dividend payouts or buybacks. Both can increase investor returns but there are some significant differences in the tax treatment of stock buybacks vs. dividends. Whether it makes sense to utilize buybacks or dividend payments to shareholders can depend on a company’s overall financial strategy. In some cases, they may choose to do both. From an investor perspective, it’s important to understand what either one can mean for your portfolio. Given how many factors go into choosing between stock buybacks and dividend stocks, a financial advisor can offer invaluable advice on the matter. Read More...

Jun 24, 2021 One of the most important aspects of investing is knowing how to manage risk. This is where hedging comes into play. A hedge can be a particular investment or investment strategy that’s designed to insulate your portfolio against risk. Hedging may not eliminate risk entirely but it could help to minimize losses if market volatility increases or rising inflation threatens to diminish your purchasing power. There are different strategies investors can use to hedge, depending on how they’ve invested. Consider working with a financial advisor on when and how hedging makes sense for your investment strategy. Read More...

Jun 24, 2021 Investing in stocks that pay dividends or in dividend exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can generate passive income in a portfolio. But if you don’t need that income stream, you could choose to reinvest dividends instead. Reinvesting dividends simply means using them to purchase more of that stock or ETF. This can help you grow your portfolio, without additional investment out of pocket. Here are the pros and cons of dividend reinvesting. A financial advisor can help you decide how much, if any, of your dividends you should invest. Read More...

Jun 22, 2021 Dividends can be a welcome source of income, and they can also be used to grow your portfolio if you’re reinvesting them in additional stock shares. How often are dividends paid is a common question for dividend investors and it’s important to understand how the process works. Generally, companies can pay out stock dividends quarterly though some may do so monthly or annually. In terms of when dividends are paid out and who’s eligible to receive them, there are several key dates to know. Many investors have found that working with a  financial advisor was a major part of their success. Read More...

Jun 22, 2021 Carnival Corporation (ticker symbol: CCL) is a large British and American cruise operator with its headquarters located in Doral, Florida. Carnival went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1987 at a price of about $4 per share. Since then, the stock reached a historic high of about $70 in early 2018. However, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it dropped precipitously to about $12. In turn, some investors think that as the travel industry recovers, the stock will go up again. If you’re considering buying stocks, a financial advisor can help you craft a personalized investment plan for your needs. Read More...

Jun 22, 2021 Stock pricing may play a part in determining which companies to add to your investment portfolio. The dividend discount model or DDM is a commonly used method for measuring valuations. This model bases value calculations on present and future dividend payouts rather than current market conditions. If you’re a value investor, you can use the dividend discount model to identify stocks that may be undervalued by the market. You can also use DDM to compare values for blue-chip stocks if you’re interested in adding larger companies to your portfolio. Read More...

Jun 22, 2021 The dividend payout ratio can be a helpful metric for comparing dividend stocks. This ratio represents the amount of net income that a company pays out to shareholders in the form of dividends. The dividend payout ratio, or DPR, doesn’t necessarily tell you how financially healthy a company is, but it can tell you how a company spends the revenue it generates. Investing in dividend stocks could make sense if you’re interested in generating passive income or reinvesting dividends to build wealth. Understanding what the dividend payout ratio means and how it’s calculated is something to keep in mind as you choose dividend stocks to invest in. Read More...

Jun 22, 2021 An option premium is the fee that the buyer of an option contract pays for the right to buy or sell stocks or other securities at a pre-set price when the contract’s time limit expires. From the perspective of the option seller, the premium is the fee received in exchange for the obligation to buy or sell the designated security at the designated price if the option holder exercises the right. Intrinsic value and time value are the main influences on the amount of the premium.  Read More...

Jun 21, 2021 Exchange-traded funds (ETF) generally offer two strategies for investing. One approach emphasizes traditional capital gains growth. As products listed on an exchange, ETFs are highly liquid assets. You can buy and sell them like ordinary stocks, and collect the difference when their value grows. The other strategy emphasizes income investing. The ETF will pay dividends based on the collection of stocks in its portfolio. You can collect these dividends the same way you would with a bundle of stocks, and choose whether to focus on trading the ETF or holding it for the long run.  Read More...

Jun 21, 2021 The dividend record date establishes when shareholders are eligible to receive dividend payments. Anyone who owns shares before the record date will collect the dividend, while anyone who owns shares afterward will not. In order to qualify for a dividend payment you must have completed your purchase of the company's shares at least two business days before the record date. A financial advisor can help you as you develop your dividend investing strategy and tactics. Read More...

Jun 21, 2021 When it works, dividend growth investing is a best-case scenario for income investing. In this strategy you buy a stock that not only grows in value year after year, but it also pays you a steady yield in the process. On top of that, the payments themselves grow each year as the company earns value. With a dividend growth strategy you buy shares of a dividend-paying stock and hold them. You then use the stock’s dividend payments to buy more shares, which you also hold. Ideally over time your portfolio snowballs, growing off of its own returns. Of course, like all strategies dividend growth investment has its risks as well. Here’s what you need to know. Read More...

Jun 21, 2021 Investment income is an umbrella term that includes just about any money you make from buying, holding and selling assets. However, there are three main forms of investment income, which we discuss below. Together these types of investment income are central to most retirement plans, every portfolio and even some people’s entire financial strategy. Consider working with a financial advisor as you evaluate your portfolio for its income-generating capacity. Read More...

Jun 23, 2021 Including tax-deductible investments in your portfolio can increase your returns since you are shielding a portion of your portfolio's returns from income tax. If you choose the right tax-deductible investments, you can fund education expenses and medical expenses along with your retirement. Here are several options and their details. Consider working with a financial advisor to find just the right mix of tax-deductible securities to accomplish your goals. Read More...

Jun 21, 2021 Risk premium is the added return that investors expect to earn from an asset such as a share of stock that carries more risk than another asset such as a high-grade corporate bond. The risk premium is what encourages investors to purchase riskier assets. Without a risk premium, investors would have no reason to put their money into assets that expose them to a greater chance of loss. Be sure to use the experience and insights of  a financial advisor if you find that your risk tolerance is changing and so you need to reassess your portfolio's risk profile. Read More...

Jun 17, 2021 Earning dividends is a valuable source of income for investors, particularly those saving for retirement. The IRS allows qualified dividends to be taxed at a lower capital gains rate than the higher income tax rate. Here's a breakdown of the tax requirements, the benefits, how they work and how they differ from ordinary dividends. Consider speaking with a financial advisor before you begin investing or become a shareholder. Read More...

Jun 17, 2021 Snowflake is a cloud data platform company that lets business customers consolidate data from multiple clouds and other sources. After the company’s 2020 initial public offering the price of its shares rose sharply, attracting the attention of hedge funds and other investors. Although it has yet to produce profits since going public, Snowflake is still on many Buy lists. Its shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SNOW and can be purchased through most trading platforms, online brokers and traditional brokers. Consider working with a financial advisor as you start picking stocks. Read More...

Jun 16, 2021 As marijuana laws have relaxed, the pot trade has become a legitimate industry and some cannabis-related companies, including Nevada pot superstore operator Planet 13, have gone public, allowing investors to purchase their shares. Investing in cannabis companies has been complicated, however, by the fact that U.S. federal laws still prohibit marijuana. That has kept their shares from being listed on U.S. exchanges. Shares of Planet 13 are listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange and also cross-listed on the U.S. over-the-counter (OTC) market. U.S. investors can purchase Planet 13 shares through international brokers as well as U.S. online and traditional brokers. Read More...

Jun 09, 2021 Investing in dividend-paying stocks can make sense if you’re interested in creating current income or using dividends to buy more shares. It’s important to know the ex-dividend date before you invest to ensure that you’ll receive a dividend payment. In simple terms, the ex-dividend date marks the end of a cutoff period in which you can purchase a stock to receive its next dividend payment. This is different from the record date. Being aware of these dates matters for including dividend stocks in your investment plan. Read More...

Jun 08, 2021 When the staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made the decision to recommend taking an enforcement action against a person or firm, the commission will often issue a Wells Notice. This notice informs the potential target of a proposed enforcement action of the commission’s plans and provides for a response. Not every person investigated by the SEC receives a Wells Notice, and many recipients of Wells Notices choose not to respond, but the Wells Notice is an important stage in the process of a civil enforcement action and provides an opportunity for both sides to present important elements of their cases before the matter becomes public. Read More...

Jun 04, 2021 Fixed-income investments can provide a steady stream of income through dividends or interest payments. In the investing landscape, fixed-income is generally considered a less risky asset class since there’s some predictability about what you can earn. You may use fixed-income investments to generate current income or retirement income or as an anchor to windward for your entire portfolio. Understanding all options can help you decide how best to use this type of security. Consider working with a financial advisor before you determine which fixed-income securities to buy. Read More...

Jun 04, 2021 When investing for the short- or long-term, where you choose to put your money matters from a tax perspective. Including tax-advantaged investments in your investment portfolio can help to minimize what you owe on the returns you earn. Tax-advantaged investments can include individual securities but it can also refer to accounts that receive favorable tax treatment. Here’s more on how to leverage tax-advantaged investments in a portfolio. Read More...

Jun 03, 2021 When prices rise rapidly and persistently during an inflationary spiral, dollars lose purchasing power and investors can see the value of their portfolios decline. Inflation-hedging strategies try to counter the wealth-eroding effects of inflation by selecting investments that can potentially counter the effects of inflation. Many investing experts recommend strategies involving a mix of equities, short-term fixed-income investments and holdings related to commodities and real estate. Special-purpose vehicles such as Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) also can play an important role. Consider working with a  financial advisor to boost your portfolio's protection from inflation. Read More...

May 27, 2021 The FAANG stocks are a set of five high-value technology stocks. Together they make up nearly a fifth of the S&P 500’s total value. The “N” in FAANG stands for Netflix. One of the first major tech companies, Netflix arguably invented and defined the streaming era. This has made it a highly successful company and, in the process, a highly desirable stock. Here’s what you need to know about investing in it. But diving into the tech sector can be tricky, which is why it's wise to work with a financial advisor to ensure your choices fit your goals, risk profile and time line. Read More...

May 21, 2021 In a tax-deferred investment account the dividends, interest and capital gains are not taxed until money is withdrawn. These kinds of investments are attractive to people whose earnings or net worth put them in a high tax bracket. They often expect they will be in a lower tax bracket when they retire. But people in high tax brackets aren't the only ones who should consider tax-deferred investment accounts. Here's an overview of some tax-deferred possibilities. Consider working with a financial advisor who can help you create a tax-efficient retirement plan.  Read More...

May 20, 2021 When trading options, it’s important to understand the difference between in the money vs. out of the money. In simple terms, this is a way to measure an option’s intrinsic value, relative to the underlying asset’s current price. Knowing the difference between the two and when an option is in the money or out of the money matters when deciding whether or not to exercise options. Specifically, it can determine whether you’re able to turn a profit when trading options. If you're just getting started with options trading or consider it, consult with a financial advisor to avoid pitfalls and spot real opportunities. Read More...

May 21, 2021 Every investment class needs someone to manage it. From the market makers and clearing houses that ensure stock trading to the bankers who move currencies around the world, markets are not natural phenomena. They require management. Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in funds. A hedge fund, like similarly structured mutual funds and exchanged-traded funds (ETFs), is created and managed by a team of professionals who try to maximize its value. Crucial to that process are the analysts that do the ground-level work to select the hedge fund’s specific investments and assets. Here’s what they do. Read More...

May 19, 2021 A market sell-off happens when traders make a lot of sales very quickly. Sometimes a sell-off, which is a particularly aggressive form of a  bear market, can encompass an entire market. Other times it may focus on specific industries or even individual assets. It isn’t always a bad thing when market sell-offs occur. They act as a corrective mechanism, helping investors to reduce prices that have gotten too high. That may come as cold comfort, of course, to investors who lose money. Here’s how they work. Read More...

May 19, 2021 Coinbase has taken cryptocurrency legitimate. At least, that’s the position of many in the cryptocurrency community who see the company’s IPO as proof that digital assets have arrived as mainstream investment products. Investors are excited about crypto, even if many don’t quite know what it is. Regulators haven’t made up their minds about how to treat this product, which creates both risks and opportunities. For investors who want to participate in this market, Coinbase has emerged as an option. Here’s what you need to know. Check with a financial advisor before diving into cryptocurrencies or related assets. Read More...

May 19, 2021 When a stock you own declines in value, you may be wondering what to do next. You can sell and accept the loss, do nothing and hope the stock’s value climbs again or buy additional shares while the price is low. This third strategy, known as averaging down, could allow you to increase your position in a particular stock at a discount. An average down approach could pay off if those shares eventually increase in value but it’s important to understand how it works and the risks involved. A host of considerations go into buy-and-sell decisions; let a financial advisor help you think through relevant factors. Read More...

May 17, 2021 Bitcoin is having a moment. Actually, Bitcoin has been having a moment for several years now. However, the past 12 months have been particularly noteworthy for the infamously volatile digital asset. From a price around $7,000 per token before the pandemic, Bitcoin has even surged to prices occasionally peaking over $60,000, despite recent Elon Musk-prompted volatility. Thousands of investors have jumped into the cryptocurrency space, eager to take advantage of the rocketship that appears to be digital investment. For anyone thinking about getting into the market, keeping your cryptocurrency safe is essential. Here’s how to do that. Read More...

May 14, 2021 Most people are familiar with traditional investment options like stocks, bonds and real estate. Some investors may be looking for ways to diversify their portfolio, though. One way to do that is by putting money into what is sometimes called alternative investments. One type of alternative investment is known as collectibles and includes such items as antique musical instruments, jewelry and first edition classics. One common type of collectible is artwork. These items sometimes appreciate in value, but are they right for your portfolio? Here's what you need to know. Read More...

May 14, 2021 When comparing investments, returns are one of the metrics you might zero in on. But there are different ways to gauge an investment’s performance. Absolute return measures an investment’s returns over a set time period. When choosing where to invest money or assessing the performance of investments you already own, this can be a useful metric to understand. Calculating absolute return involves applying a simple formula. You can then compare it to an investment’s relative return to help decide if it’s something you should add to your portfolio. Read More...

May 14, 2021 Is it possible to take a DIY approach to investing and start purchasing stocks all by yourself? Investors have traditionally used professional brokers to manage their investment portfolios, but there are also a few viable avenues you can follow to manage it solo. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic that’s plunged much of what we do into a purely digital capacity, buying stocks online without using a broker or a brokerage is an understandably attractive route to take. If you feel that it’s time that you took control of your investment portfolio yourself then we have you covered. Let’s take a quick dive into the best investment plans you can use if you want to buy stocks online without a broker or brokerage.  Read More...

May 14, 2021 Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX as it is commonly known, has rocketed to public prominence and a market capitalization of some $74 billion even as its actual ownership remains very much out of sight. Investor interest is keen. Only a select few entities have been able to acquire direct ownership stakes in the Elon Musk-founded company. Despite that, there are ways to acquire an indirect ownership interest, at least until there's an initial public offering. Here are several options for investors interested in owning a slice of SpaceX. Read More...

May 13, 2021 SoFi and Acorns are robo-advisors, meaning they digitally manage your investments or offer online advising. The two services target digitally native investors and cater to hands-off traders who prefer a passive investment strategy. Both offer investors the opportunity to start building their investment knowledge and allow them to start with little money. Picking the trading platform that best suits your goals, timeline and level of engagement is best done in consultation with a  financial advisor. Read More...

May 12, 2021 Oil prices have had a remarkable year. Historically volatile, like most commodities, oil prices tumbled during the pandemic to the point where they dipped into negative territory, meaning it cost more to store a barrel of oil than the product itself. Still, this remains an indispensable asset. For better or worse the world runs on oil, natural gas and its derivatives, collectively called petroleum. The rise and fall of petroleum follows economic trend lines to a degree absent from most other commodities. When the economy is strong, the world needs lots of energy. When cars and factories slow down, they burn less fuel and oil supplies start building at tank farms. For this reason investing in oil is often seen as a good proxy for investing in the economy as a whole. Here’s how you can do so. Read More...

May 12, 2021 The Fama-French Three Factor model is a formula for calculating the rate of return on a given asset. Like many (if not most) such models, it offers an estimated value based on market factors at large. In this case, investors can predict their return on an investment based on overall market risk, market size and market value. What follows is a description of how it works. Meanwhile, consider using the services of a financial advisor to make sure you're taking full advantage of the most appropriate analytical tools. Read More...

May 12, 2021 You have probably heard of securitization. It's a way of turning non-financial assets into liquid securities that investors can buy and sell. Despite its role in the market crash of 2008 and subsequent Great Recession, the process of securitization is not in and of itself a bad thing. Used well it can help ensure greater liquidity in markets that otherwise might slow down. Of course, used poorly it can turn stable markets into casinos. As with all aspects of finance, the trick is finding the right balance. Here’s how it works. Read More...

May 11, 2021 A joint-stock company is a company owned by several, generally private, investors. They’re an in-between creation, held more closely than a public company but more widely traded than a partnership. While largely, if not completely, replaced by modern corporate structures, the joint-stock company is the precursor to corporations as we know them today. Consider working with a financial advisor about investing in or creating a joint-stock company. Read More...

May 10, 2021 When a company needs to raise capital, one of the ways it can do that is through a PIPE investment. This type of offering allows investors to purchase a certain number of restricted shares of stock from the company at a predetermined price. For companies, this can be a simpler way to raise capital compared to other options that may require more regulatory oversight from the Securities and Exchange Commission. PIPE investments can also create opportunities for investors if they choose to resell the shares they purchase. Whether you engage in a PIPE investment or not, a financial advisor can help you find the strategy and tactics that best fit your goals, timeline and risk profile. Read More...

May 10, 2021 When a new investment trend emerges, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s happened several times with each new variation of cryptocurrency, and NFTs are set to be the next big thing among investors who are interested in adding more than just stocks and bonds to their portfolios. But what exactly is an NFT and is it something you should be investing in? Here’s more on how this alternative investment works. Consider working with a financial advisor on picking alternative securities. Read More...

May 07, 2021 Online investing has become increasingly popular, and with the growing appeal comes new pools of traders who want to begin building their own investment portfolios. Finding the right broker is essential to starting your investment journey. However, choosing between all the various options can be a challenge. Luckily, there are certain brokers that want to support novices and experts alike. SoFi and Robinhood are two low-cost options. Here’s a look at how these platforms compare against each other. Read More...

May 07, 2021 The stock market can be a volatile setting where each investor’s success depends on both strategy and their tactics. In addition, each investor must create a balance between minimizing risk and maximizing returns. Savvy investors know how to navigate fluctuating prices and follow the market’s patterns. They rely on objective data to help them make informed decisions. For example, many traders rely on tools like the Smart Money Index (SMI) to direct their choices. Here’s an overview of the SMI, how it works and whether it’s the right tool for you. Read More...

May 07, 2021 A spread trade involves buying a security and selling another identical or related security as part of one simultaneous transaction to benefit from market imbalances. Though complex and not familiar to the average retail investor, spread trades reduce investment risk as well as generate profit. With all of the different trading strategies available, how do you know if spread trading is suitable for you? Let’s break it down to find out. A financial advisor can help you decide which investment tactics are most appropriate given your financial goals, timeline and and risk profile. Read More...

May 07, 2021 Some of the more advanced trading platforms offer investors a service known as “Level 2 market data.” This usually comes as a premium feature, available for an additional price to investors who want it. If you’re a day trader or someone who wants to get in the weeds on the market, you probably will want access to Level 2 data. Here’s what it means, and how to know if you should pay for it. Consider working with a financial advisor about how to interpret market data. Read More...

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