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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...

Mar 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...

May 30, 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. 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...

Jun 20, 2019 If you’re investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, the fund manager will charge fees to cover their various expenses. Those fees are collectively rolled into what’s known as an expense ratio, which is expressed as a percentage. This is the portion of your total account value that’s removed annually in fees. Read More...

Jun 19, 2019 Series A funding is the first round of capital after a seed round that a startup company raises from professional investors in order to grow the business. Starting a company takes money -- sometimes a lot of it. And after small business owners gather money from friends and family, dip into personal savings and take out a small business loan, they may turn to bankers and venture capitalists. Those investors are looking for high margins and companies with the potential for enormous returns. A fledgling tech or manufacturing startup will need to attract those investors in order to cover its increasing costs and set the company on the path to greater revenue and profit. Companies often complete Series A, B and C financing to achieve their goals. As you learn more about Series A funding and get interested in investing in a company or have a startup for which you're planning financing… Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 All safe investments come with a catch. They, alone, will never make you Bezos billions. They can, however, earn a little while serving another purpose such as being fairly liquid or balancing a portfolio. This roundup of safe investments explains their pros and cons to help you determine which investments best fit your needs. For even more detailed information, you may want to consult a financial advisor. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 Default risk in bond investing refers to the chance that a bond-issuing company or government would fail to make its debt and interest payments. As a bond investor, you can lose 100% of your investment along with uncollected interest. But there are several steps you can take to hedge against default risk. You can also seek the guidance of a financial advisor who can help you make the right investment decisions. Read More...

May 29, 2019 As you invest and build a portfolio, you're likely to encounter common investing terms, such as "risk tolerance" or "diversification." One term you may be less familiar with is "stock buyback". In a nutshell, a stock buyback occurs when a company buys back its own shares from the market. But why would a company do that? And what impact does it have on your portfolio if you own shares of that company's stock? Here are the most important things to know about stock buybacks. Read More...

May 20, 2019 When an investment underperforms, tax-loss harvesting is a way to offset the tax impact of capital gains while maintaining your preferred asset allocation. Some robo-advisors even automate this process. The IRS allows investors to use realized losses to offset gains and reduce their ordinary taxable income by up to $3,000 per year. However, the IRS may disallow some of those losses if they break the "wash-sale rule." Read More...

May 22, 2019 Stock correlation describes the relationship that exists between two stocks and their respective price movements. It can also refer to the relationship between stocks and other asset classes, such as bonds or real estate.  Even if you've turned over control of your investments to an investment advisor, it's still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics of stock correlation. Read More...

Apr 23, 2019 Intimidating as it may seem, investing is one of the premier ways to grow money over time. While the stock market attracts the most attention for those looking to build wealth, there are plenty of other investments to pick from, such as bonds, mutual funds and certificates of deposit (CDs) . As a beginner, though, it can be hard to know where and how to get into investing. In the end, a determination of your long-term financial goals, like retirement, will dictate what types of investing strategies are best for you. It can also be helpful to enlist the help of a financial advisor to help you make smart investing decisions based on your specific needs. Read More...

Apr 16, 2019 Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are popular investment securities that track stock market indexes, a particular commodity, bonds, or a particular category of assets like tech stocks.  A leveraged ETF is a particular type of ETF that uses debt or financial derivatives to boost the potential for returns. However, this also applies to losses, making leveraged ETFs somewhat risky investment choices. But like other investment, you must thoroughly evaluate them before making any final decision about whether they should occupy a spot in your portfolio. Read More...

Apr 12, 2019 Investment banking is a sect of the banking industry 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 initial public offering (IPO) support when companies go public.  Read More...

Apr 10, 2019 An investment portfolio is a basket of assets that can hold stocks, bonds, cash and more. Investors aim for a return by mixing these securities in a way that reflects their risk tolerance and financial goals. For additional hands-on help, you should  find a financial advisor who can guide you through building an investment portfolio that’s right for you. Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 Investing in startups may seem like an opportunity that only exists for those willing and able to drop a few million into a fledgling tech company housed in a garage or a Stanford dorm room. While that type of investors exists and is certainly important, not all startup investors are ultra-wealthy finance industry titans. Some are average people who want to get in at the ground floor of a business they believe in. Many, in fact, are family members and friends of the people running the company. If you want to start investing in startups, this guide explains what you need to know to get into the game. Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 Building an investment portfolio means determining the right mix of assets to help you reach your goals for the short and long term. One of the more conventional approaches financial advisors and experts suggest is the 60/40 portfolio. Going this route can make portfolio-building simple, but it's not right for everyone. Read More...

Mar 28, 2019 There are many agencies and organizations in America that exist to protect consumers, including consumers on the investing markets. One of those organizations is the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The SIPC is a nonprofit, member-funded organization that helps clients of broker-dealers get their cash and assets back if the firm they are using liquidates or shuts down. It is technically not a government agency and regulating broker-dealers is not part of its mission. If you are working with a broker-dealer, make sure you know what protections the SIPC could offer you if things were to go sideways. Read More...

Mar 28, 2019 Economic recessions can cost millions of people their jobs, retirement savings and financial security. During a recession, jobs are scarce, spending is down and it can be hard to see a path back to economic growth and a strong stock market. However, recessions are a normal and inevitable part of a business cycle. As such, it pays to know the warning signs of a recession so you can prepare. There are several economic factors you can keep tabs on to know when a recession might be on the horizon. Read More...

Mar 25, 2019 If you are an investor, the current ratio is a measure you’ll likely want to use to analyze the companies in which you are considering investing. The current ratio is a liquidity measure. It determines whether a company is likely to be able to pay its short-term obligations. There is a relatively simple formula you can use to find the current ratio. From there, you can use it to decide whether or not a company is a good investment. If all of this sounds overwhelming, consider finding a financial advisor to help you with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Mar 18, 2019 FINRA BrokerCheck is a free, online research tool providing information about individual brokers, investment advisors and the firms that employ them. The database contains details like registrations, employment history and any disciplinary disclosures. This article will show you how to use FINRA BrokerCheck and what to look for in order to make the best decisions about whom to work with. You can also use our financial advisor matching tool to find a professional near you. Read More...

Mar 14, 2019 The Series 66 license is required to work as an investment advisor in the United States. To obtain it, you must pass a rigorous exam covering methods of delivering investment advice and other topics. Below, we'll tackle what the exam is, what exactly it covers and how you can best prepare. Read More...

Mar 14, 2019 Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the market value of all goods and services a country produces in a specific time frame. It’s used to gauge a nation’s economic growth and its people's standard of living. GDP also guides investment decisions and economic policy that affects everyone. This article will explain GDP, how it works and why it matters. A financial advisor can also help you understand GDP to make better investing decisions. Read More...

Mar 12, 2019 Investing in government bonds is a great way to diversify your investment portfolio. This is because your money is backed by the full faith of the U.S. government, so there's virtually no risk of default. This stability is what makes U.S. Treasury securities attractive to both risk-averse investors and those looking to hedge against riskier investments. A simple and popular way to purchase Treasury securities is through Treasury Direct, an online platform that the Treasury Department sponsors. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 Passing the Series 7 exam registers you to sell and trade most securities as a financial services professional. The exam covers several topics including investment products and their potential risks, as well as regulations you must follow. This article explores the exam in depth and provides tips on how to prepare for it. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 A Series 57 license allows brokers to trade equities and convertible debt securities in the U.S. To obtain one, you must pass the Series 57 exam. This test covers topics like equity trading concepts and regulations around the financial services industry. It’s administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It can be an important certification for financial advisors looking to boost their capabilities and earnings. Read More...

Mar 11, 2019 Ken Fisher, an investment analyst and self-made billionaire, is perhaps best known for founding Fisher Investments. The financial advisor firm based in Camas, Washington manages more than $96 billion for more than 40,000 clients, mostly high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. Fisher currently serves as the firm’s executive chairman and co-chief investment officer. However, he has also made a name for himself as an author, financial columnist and industry leader. Read More...

Mar 04, 2019 If you find yourself with some extra money - let's say you got a big tax refund, or received a nice inheritance - then you'll need to decide what to do with it. If you have a mortgage worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it may be tempting to put your windfall toward making extra payments, so you can eliminate interest-earning debt. On the other hand, it may be wise to invest it; any  financial advisor will tell you that investing is arguably the best way to build wealth over the long term. If you're faced with this decision, we'll walk you through making the best decision for your money. Read More...

Mar 25, 2019 Investing comes with risk, so it's necessary to thoroughly research investments before you make them. One popular metric that analysts and other financial advisors use for determining the success of a company is EBITDA. It measures a company's earnings, excluding certain expenses, to give you an idea of how well a company can handle its operating costs. EBITDA also makes is easier to compare companies across geographies and industries. Let's break down what EBITDA is, how you calculate it and why you might want to use it. Read More...

Feb 28, 2019 As you aspire toward a secure  retirement and other financial milestones, investments become an increasingly important financial topic to know about. But those looking to gain knowledge about investing may have issues finding reliable sources. Luckily, the internet is home to many viable investment courses and content. Some are free, others are not and most go over everything from the basics of investing to more complicated ideas, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). So if you're ready to jump into investing, take a look over the top investment classes available now. Read More...

Feb 27, 2019 A dividend reinvestment plan, or DRIP, is a vehicle that  reinvests the money shareholders get from companies in cash dividends. Many investors favor DRIPs because of their ease, low-to-nonexistent fees and ability to strengthen returns over a long time horizon. By supplying shareholders with an automated way to reinvest their money, it also takes away the temptation of spending those cash dividends irresponsibly. Read on to learn more about DRIPs, including the different types, their pros and cons and how to enroll in one. Read More...

Feb 27, 2019 A Coverdell ESA, formerly known as an Education IRA, is a tax-advantaged savings vehicle designed to help parents pay for the educational expenses of a child under the age of 18. It offers several benefits, but it’s not the only option out there. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of a Coverdell ESA to help you decide if it’s the right move for you and your family. If you need some hands-on help in planning to save for your child's education, check out SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get paired up with an expert who suits your particular needs. Read More...

Feb 27, 2019 Finviz is a browser-based platform offering a free stock screener, market research, financial news and more. Most of its services are free, but it also offers a subscription package with enhanced features like that allow you to test your trading strategies before deploying them in the real world. We’ll explore the benefits of Finviz as well as its drawbacks to help you decide if its the right choice for you. If you want additional hands-on investing guidance, check out SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to find an expert in your area. Read More...

Feb 26, 2019 Investing can be an intimidating venture, but learning how to navigate the investment market is a life skill with plenty of upside. You can use the returns you earn from your investment portfolio to achieve a number of goals, such as saving for retirement, vacations, a new house, your child's college education and more. While there are no shortcuts to becoming a successful investor, there are a few main principles you can focus on as you start. Take a look over this guide to gain some insight into these all-important investing considerations. Read More...

Mar 14, 2019 Trend investing is the process of putting your money in stocks, industries or markets expected to boom consistently in the future. The idea is to ride the trend up until it’s the right time to jump off and exit that part of the market with major profits. But before you go investing in the hottest new stock, it’s important to do your homework. This article will explain trend investing as well as some best practices. We’ll also explore its advantages and potential drawbacks. So let’s begin by understanding what trend investing is all about. Read More...

Feb 19, 2019 The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as Dodd-Frank, was passed in 2010 in the wake of the 2008  financial crisis. The Obama-era law aimed to prevent another financial meltdown. It increased regulation of the financial industry with the intent of better protecting customers of the financial industry. Lawmakers recently made several changes to the law. Anyone who participates in the financial sector, whether as an investor, a banking customer or a 401(k) plan participant, should know what Dodd-Frank did and how the recent changes may impact them. Read More...

Feb 19, 2019 As an investor, it’s important for you to choose the right stocks and funds for your portfolio. If you're picking your own investments instead of working with an advisor, then you may want to research the companies you're considering investing in. While researching a company, there are a few important financial documents that you should check: a company’s income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. In this guide, we’ll breakdown what an income statement is.  Read More...

Feb 19, 2019 Long-term investing is often the best way to build wealth that stands the test of time. It’s how you plan for retirement and build a legacy to pass on to your children and grandchildren. Long-term investments require patience, but they have the potential to pay off with a much higher return than the quicker-fix choice of short-term investing. If you’re looking to figure out which long-term investment options are best for you, it may make sense to talk to a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. 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...

May 29, 2019 Diversification is an investment strategy that aims to reduce risk while maximizing return. It does this by spreading exposure to several different asset classes and within each asset class. The thinking is that if one sector or one holding goes down, the whole portfolio won't sink and may even experience gains elsewhere. Experts often recommend diversification for long-term investments such as retirement accounts. For help deciding if your portfolio needs more diversification, consider turning to a  financial advisor who can guide you based on your personal financial goals. 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...

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