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Investing

Oct 21, 2021 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. A  financial advisor could advise you about T-bills, stocks or any other type of investment. Let's break down how t-bills work.  Read More...

Oct 01, 2021 Wealth management firms are all different. As a result, the process for choosing a wealth manager is a very personal one. 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, there are a number of guidelines you should follow for choosing a firm.  You can also use SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool to help you find matches in your area. Read More...

Sep 22, 2021 Investing intimidates a lot of people. There are many 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 an advisor with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Oct 15, 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...

Oct 22, 2021 There's currently one way to buy cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds in the U.S. -- through the Bitcoin Strategy ETF that deals in Bitcoin futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. More such possibilities are on the horizon stateside, but these products have already gained popularity around the world. As these products gain traction domestically, consider working with a financial advisor as you explore investing in digital assets like cryptocurrencies. Read More...

Oct 22, 2021 Special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs for short are formed to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO). The capital raised from investors is then used to acquire a private company. Also called shell companies or blank check companies, SPACS have become an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional IPO process. For example, between Jan. 1, 2020, and Aug. 21, 2020, SPACs raised $31 billion across 78 transactions, surpassing the capital raised by IPOs over the same time period. Interested in how to invest in SPACs? It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before diving in. Read More...

Oct 22, 2021 Blockchain is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger technology (DLT) system that is decentralized. It makes the records of digital transactions transparent and unchangeable. Blockchain is a relatively new and exciting technology that has gained a lot of interest from investors. Some think of the blockchain platform as being tied to Bitcoin, but the blockchain is only used to record the vast number of Bitcoin transactions and is an independent technology platform for digital transactions. Here are the important factors to consider before investing in blockchain and the common ways to invest. Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 Is your mind playing tricks on you when it comes to investing? It's no secret that everyone should be investing for the future. Even if you're extremely risk-averse, investing your savings in stable investments like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or bonds will likely yield significantly higher returns than stashing your money away in a bank account. But there are risks to investing that don't just stem from natural market fluctuations. A recent study by Charles Schwab revealed that over the past year, advisors have noticed an uptick in behavioral biases when it comes to their clients' investment strategies. There are, then, psychological underpinnings to your investment pitfalls. It's not a huge surprise. With investment developments like the rise of meme stocks, more people are looking to their investments as a way to get rich quick. While these kinds of mindsets pay off for some, they can have financially devastating consequences for others. That's why it's a good idea to take a step back and critically examine how behavioral instincts may be affecting your approach to investing. A financial advisor may also be able to help, so consider using SmartAsset's free advisor matching tool to find qualified advisors who work in your area. Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 Asset allocation means the mix or range of investments you hold in a portfolio. It’s one of the most basic investing terms to know and also one of the most important. Choosing the best asset allocation for your needs can make a difference when it comes to achieving your long-term financial goals. There are different ways to approach building an investment portfolio and your choice of assets may depend largely on your age, risk tolerance and what you hope to achieve. Understanding the different options can help you decide on the best asset allocation for your needs. Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 Capital gains tax generally applies when you sell an investment or asset for more than what you paid for it. In other words, any profits resulting from the sale are considered taxable in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. Whether you pay the short-term capital gains tax rate or long-term capital gains depends on how long you held the investment before selling it. Short-term capital gains are subject to ordinary income tax rates, which are set by law and overseen by the IRS. Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 The COVID-19 recession may have gotten you thinking about how to preserve your wealth. Many investors consider store-of-value assets like Bitcoin and gold as ways to preserve wealth. For example, gold has thousands of years behind it as a universally recognized safe-haven commodity asset and inflation hedge. But the precious metal has been compared to a new asset, Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies. Over the last decade Bitcoin has skyrocketed in price. Both assets promise benefits like diversification but come with their own drawbacks, too. Read More...

Oct 20, 2021 There’s a new way to invest in the world’s largest cryptocurrency -- kind of. ProShares launched its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund on Tuesday, the nation’s first ETF linked to the $1.1 trillion cryptocurrency. The fund, known as the Bitcoin Strategy ETF, doesn’t directly invest in the cryptocurrency, though. Instead, it deals in Bitcoin futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 Inflation is getting harder to ignore. What monetary authorities have been dismissing for months as nothing more than the economic equivalent of a passing rain shower is starting to feel like a soaker. In August, the head of the U.S. central bank, Jerome Powell, said, in effect, " Move along folks, nothing to see here." Even late last month the Federal Reserve’s powerful rate-setting panel attributed inflation to “largely transitory factors,” predicting that it would soon “moderately” exceed its 2% target. But the duration and the degree of inflation say otherwise. So why is this really happening and why now? It's high time to focus on why the value of your money is declining and what you can do about it. Consider working with a financial advisor to  help you make your investment portfolio as inflation-proof as possible. Read More...

Oct 11, 2021 When it comes to the world of finance, there's no shortage of male presence. There are far more male CEOs of Fortune 500 companies than there are females, and the financial industry is dominated by men up and down the chain of command. For some, this sends a signal that men must be better at finance and investing. Such assertions are a common refrain when it comes to discussions about employment and compensation as well. But as is the case with numerous other myths, the data doesn't support the claim. According to a recent study by Fidelity Investments that surveyed millions of retail investment accounts, self-directed women investors outperform their male counterparts by an average of 40 basis points annually. Such women also tend to save more than men. It's not very difficult to imagine where the myth that men are better investors originated, but the takeaways from this data can help shape your decision making when it comes to managing your investments. Evidence suggests it might be high time to invest like a woman. Need help with investing? SmartAsset has you covered with our free financial advisor matching tool. Answer just a few questions to help you find advisors in your area. Read More...

Oct 11, 2021 Cryptocurrencies remain some of the hottest assets on the market, and that’s unlikely to change. They are one of the most discussed, most volatile, most sought-after and (in some cases) most valuable asset classes. Countless pixels have been spilled on the legal and tax status of crypto assets alone. People have made fortunes and many, many more people have lost their investments entirely. That doesn’t mean you should stay away, but if you want to jump into cryptocurrency trading you should make sure to equip yourself with the right information and tools. Here are five apps that should help. Read More...

Oct 08, 2021 The Federal Reserve may be losing confidence in its long-standing prediction that current inflation is temporary. Or at least the U.S. central bank appears to be bracing for "temporary" to last longer than earlier thought. And if that newfound caution is warranted, investors would be well advised to take a look at whether their portfolios are adequately protected against a longer-than-expected inflationary cycle. A financial advisor can help you keep your investments in the best possible condition to weather inflation. Read More...

Oct 08, 2021 Diamond hands is a term that has been popularized by the cryptocurrency community. In a nutshell, it means holding on to an investment asset despite volatility and risks. Rather than running for a haven when an asset is taking a beating or appears poised to sustain serious damage, an investor with diamond hands battens down the proverbial hatches, trims the main and holds course. A financial advisor can provide insight as to when it might be advisable to have diamond hands - and when it might not. Read More...

Oct 07, 2021 Investing is about more than just saving enough money for retirement. It requires investors to think about inflation, especially when it comes to a retirement portfolio. Without factoring in the effects of inflation over the years to come, those savings might not be enough to last. The breakeven inflation rate is a predictive measurement that helps investors gauge how certain investments are likely to perform during periods of high inflation. That may determine where they should focus certain savings efforts today. Read More...

Oct 07, 2021 There are many different investments that can make up a strong, diversified portfolio. Buying shares of publicly traded securities - such as stocks or real estate investment trusts (REITs) - can be a good way to build growth over time and help protect against risk. But when considering REITs vs. stocks, which is the better investment? There are many similarities between the two securities, but also some differences that investors need to keep in mind. Working with a financial advisor can help you determine what allocation of stocks and REITs fit your goals, timeline and risk profile. Read More...

Oct 06, 2021 When working with a financial advisor, one of the most important questions to ask is how exactly the advisor will be making money. Broadly speaking, there are two ways financial advisors get paid: commissions and fees. Commissions are fees paid by the client for completing a discrete transaction, such as buying shares of a mutual fund or an insurance policy. Fees, on the other hand, are ongoing payments based either on time spent working or on total assets an advisor is handling. To find a financial advisor in your area, use SmartAsset's free matching tool. Read More...

Oct 06, 2021 Adding real estate to your investment portfolio can be an excellent way to generate strong returns and hedge against market downturns or inflation. If you’re not interested in purchasing and managing a property on your own, though, there are alternatives. Both REITs and platforms like Fundrise make real estate investing easier and more accessible to investors. However, while Fundrise may seem very similar to basic REITs, these two investment options have important differences to note. Here's what you need to know. Read More...

Oct 05, 2021 Stock options are a way to reward employees with increased compensation. This also encourages employees to think about themselves as stakeholders in the company's success and act accordingly. One form of stock options is non-statutory stock options (NSOs), which are generally offered without any restrictions. This flexibility offers additional value, but also adds complexity as well. In this article, we'll define what NSOs are, share pros and cons and explain how they are taxed. Read More...

Oct 01, 2021 Stock options have become an increasingly popular form of employee compensation in recent years. They provide employees with the ability to buy shares of their company at a predetermined price at some point in the future. Stock options tie compensation to the success of the company, which encourages employees to think like an owner and work to increase profits. To fully understand all your choices when it comes to options speak with a  financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 30, 2021 Stock market investing is often about following trends. Traders, investors and analysts often try to gauge investor sentiment to understand which direction the winds are blowing so that they can profit from them. A "risk-on" environment indicates that investors are more comfortable taking risks in their portfolios. In this article, we'll define risk-on investing, identify assets that are affected by it and how to tell when sentiment is changing. Read More...

Oct 11, 2021 When it comes to investing online or on your phone, Stash, Acorns and Robinhood are three names at the top of the industry. Each was designed to simplify investing for retail investors, offering straightforward apps that are easy to use and understand. While there are larger players in the brokerage space, these companies are certainly some of the most dynamic. All three offer many ways to invest your money, but it’s important to note the differences, especially the fact that only two of the three allow you to invest in individual stocks. The differences don’t stop there, and you should know what you’re getting into before you sign up with any of them. For questions about investing, consider  working with a financia advisor in your area. Read More...

Sep 27, 2021 There are so many choices, acronyms and tax codes in the investing world that many people get intimated and never start. While there are complex investments available, beginning to invest doesn't have to be difficult. In this beginner's guide to investing, we'll cover the basics to help you get started with your first investment. Additionally, we'll share some powerful tools that will grow your portfolio without increasing your risk. Besides those four tools, a financial advisor can introduce you to many other facets of the investing world. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 An investor who owns call options on a stock that splits will wind up owning more options on the stock. However, having a larger number of options won’t increase the value of the options. That’s because the price of the underlying stock will be decreased when the stock splits. The change in stock price is directly related to the number of new shares that will be issued in the split. A 2-for-1 split would reduce the value of a $10 per share stock to $5 per share. There are other share-related events that can affect options. Consider working with a financial advisor as you pursue trading in options or other types of derivatives. Read More...

Sep 22, 2021 The secondary market is where investors buy and sell previously issued securities. It is important to the economy because it promotes capital formation and provides for price discovery based on the economic laws of supply and demand. In addition, it enhances liquidity and, because it is heavily regulated, gives participants a measure of assurance that business can be conducted safely and with a measure of predictability. Here's what you need to know about secondary markets. Read More...

Sep 20, 2021 Brokerage accounts can be either cash accounts or margin accounts. With cash accounts, investors have to pay the full cost of any securities, usually within three days. Margin accounts, on the other hand, let investors borrow part of the cost from the broker. By buying on margin, investors can acquire more securities and potentially increase returns. They can also lose more, up to and more than the initial investment. Cash accounts offer opportunities for more limited profits but are less risky. Read More...

Sep 20, 2021 Corporations that pay dividends to stockholders usually make the payouts on a regular schedule, such as annually or quarterly. However, they sometimes opt for special dividends. These non-recurring cash dividends are usually much larger than the regular recurring dividends. Companies may use them to reward loyal shareholders when profits are unusually good, to distribute proceeds of sales of subsidiaries or other asset sales and, occasionally, to take advantage of changes in tax laws. The choices available to fixed-income investors are vast, so working with a financial advisor to get just the right mix for you can really pay. Read More...

Sep 17, 2021 Coinbase and Binance are two of the largest cryptocurrency markets online today. Coinbase is one of the oldest and most well-established markets. It was founded in 2012 and currently trades publicly on the NASDAQ exchange. Binance was founded in 2017 and, while originally based in China, now operates out of the Cayman Islands where it can operate in a relatively unregulated manner. Here's what you need to know about both platforms. Consider working with a financial advisor as you pick a cryptocurrency market. Read More...

Sep 16, 2021 $5 million may seem like an impossibly large amount of money, but if you aren’t careful, it can run out quicker than you’d imagine. Through some simple investing strategies, though, you can make $5 million last you a very long time. In fact, it'll likely go long enough that you can retire and enjoy life with your family and friends, regardless of how old you are right now. All it takes is a bit of patience and know-how and your $5 million can keep you going for a long time. For help managing your $5 million, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 15, 2021 Blockchain is a diverse digital technology used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Etherum. The adoption of blockchain technology has significantly impacted the financial services industry. Due to the decentralization of the blockchain platform, transactions such as mortgage loans can be made swiftly, seamlessly and with complete transparency. Blockchain real estate applications have also proven to be disruptive to the real estate industry. That opens up new options for real estate investors. Here's what you need to know. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 Trading options, which are a type of derivative security, may appeal to investors who are comfortable taking on more risk for the potential to earn higher returns. It’s helpful to understand certain options trading terminology before diving in, including the difference between American and European style options. The two share some similarities but they differ when it comes to when options can be exercised. If you’re interested in options trading, comparing American vs. European options can help with deciding which ones to trade. Deciding which types of options to trade is best done with the insights and guidance of a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 10, 2021 It's no secret that Vanguard, Fidelity and Charles Schwab are three of the most popular and well-known brokerage firms. These financial institutions are also some of the largest, offering a wide range of products and services, from banking and investment products to financial advisors and financial planning services. However, there are some important differences, from fees to financial services to research resources, each of which could impact your customer experience. If you want help investing, use  SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Sep 01, 2021 Like many industries, the financial sector has its own lingo that insiders use, which can sometimes be a bit confusing to those who aren’t familiar with it. One bit of investing jargon that even folks who’ve never stepped onto a trading floor might have heard of is the idea of “bears and bulls” being used to describe stocks or other investments. In short, a bear stock or market is one investors believe will be going down in value or underperforming. On the other hand, a bull stock or market is one investors believe will be going up or outperforming. For help with choosing stocks or other investments, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 27, 2021 Investors often purchase bonds for recurring income and as a hedge against stock market volatility. Most bonds are initially sold "at par," which means that they're sold at face value. After the original sale, the value of bonds fluctuates based on interest rates, the credit rating of the issuer and economic trends that affect interest rates. When a bond is sold below its face value, it is known as a "discount bond." In this article, we'll define discount bonds, how they're affected by interest rates and how they compare to premium bonds. An experienced  financial advisor can help you sort through the myriad of options available to fixed-income investors. Read More...

Aug 27, 2021 Many people have a vested interest in the success of a company. If you own a portion of it, you want it to succeed because then you get a cut of the profits. Folk like that are called “shareholders.” If you have a financial interest in the company other than ownership, say you work for it, you still want it to succeed. Everyone who wants the corporation to succeed is called a “stakeholder.” Not every stakeholder is a shareholder. Here are the details. Consider working with a financial advisor, whether you are a stakeholder or a shareholder. Read More...

Aug 27, 2021 Green investments are investments in companies, government entities or supranational organizations that support environmentally friendly practices. Those practices may include natural habitat preservation, green building, water conservation and production or distribution of renewable energy. Green investing is often associated with socially responsible investing (SRI), though SRI extends to more than just environmental causes. There are different ways to promote green investing in a portfolio, including investing in individual stocks as well as exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and green bonds. Read More...

Oct 20, 2021 For much of the past few months, the biggest news in Washington has been the twin bills being considered in Congress -- a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion budget agreement aimed at social services. While neither of them has been passed yet, there is still good reason to be optimistic both will end up on President Joe Biden's desk soon. This means that there will also be many opportunities for investors to capitalize on the influx of government funds. While this article will walk through some of the finer points of infrastructure investing and how you can do it, for more help getting the most out of the infrastructure boom, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 25, 2021 STRIPS, which stands for Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities, are securities that consists of a U.S. Treasury bond that has been stripped of its interest coupons. Investors buy STRIPS at a steep discount from face value and can redeem them for full face value at maturity. STRIPs are very low-risk investments for income investors, who often use them to fund retirement in tax-deferred accounts. A  financial advisor can help you find just the right highly liquid and secure fixed-income securities for your portfolio.  Read More...

Aug 25, 2021 Green bonds may appeal to investors who want to make a positive impact with their portfolios. These bonds are issued for the purpose of funding projects that support sustainability. The first green bond was issued in 2007 by the European Investment Bank, followed by the World Bank Green Bond in 2008. Since then, the market for green bonds has expanded steadily to include corporations and government entities. Green bonds can offer a number of benefits to investors who want to take an environmentally friendly approach to the market. A financial advisor can help you find securities that are environmentally suitable and also a good fit for your goals, timeline and risk profile. Read More...

Aug 25, 2021 Risk return tradeoff is an investing term that describes the relationship between the risk an investor takes and the level of returns he realizes. The two move in tandem: as risk increases, so does the potential for higher returns. Likewise, the less risky an investment is, the lower the returns or rewards are likely to be. Risk return tradeoff is one of the simplest and most basic investing concepts to grasp. It’s important for investors to know what level of risk they’re comfortable accepting and how that can translate to returns when choosing investments. Read More...

Aug 25, 2021 Sector rotation involves moving investments from one stock sector to another to keep pace with a changing economy.  As the economy moves through different cycles, some stock sectors may perform better than others. Rotating investments allows investors to manage risk while potentially boosting returns, based on where the economy is at any given time. This strategy can be used by institutional and individual investors alike. Be sure to avail yourself of a financial advisor who can provide a more in-depth look at characteristics of various market sectors. Read More...

Aug 24, 2021 Companies sell shares of stock to raise capital. Investors and other entities that purchase those shares are called shareholders. A shareholder is also known as a stockholder. Being a stockholder means you have an ownership stake in that company. The more shares you own, the larger your ownership stake. Shareholders can own common stock or preferred stock, depending on which type of shares the company issues, with each one conveying different rights and benefits. A financial advisor can help you identify and take advantage of all the rights and powers you have as a stockholder. Read More...

Aug 24, 2021 Distressed debt is debt that belongs to companies or government entities that are struggling financially. These entities may be in bankruptcy or in danger of having to file bankruptcy because their financial obligations are too great. Distressed debts can create opportunities for investors who purchase them at a discount. Investors can profit if the company is able to turn itself around and emerge from bankruptcy or avoid it altogether. While distressed debt investing can offer the potential for higher rewards, it can also entail higher risk. Read More...

Aug 23, 2021 Microsoft is one of the highest profile stocks on the market. Although not necessarily the highest performing tech stock out there,  as it has fallen behind the FAANGs in that contest, there are few companies that can boast the pedigree that Microsoft has on the market. Here’s what you should assess as you consider buying it. Consider working with a financial advisor as you gauge the value of adding tech stocks to your portfolio. Read More...

Aug 23, 2021 Short interest measures how many shares of a specific stock are the object of investors' negative outlook. These “short shares” have been borrowed by investors to sell and have not yet been repurchased to close out the position. It can be expressed as either an absolute value (the number of shares) or a percentage relative to the company’s total amount of outstanding stock. For many analysts, it is also a crucial part of tracking the market. Before starting to short stocks, consult with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 19, 2021 Activist investors have steadily carved out a niche for themselves, establishing investment portfolios built around social and political goals. For example, activist investors made the news recently when hedge fund Engine No. 1, which works on environmental issues, secured multiple seats on the board of Exxon Mobil. Here's how activist investors work. A financial advisor can help you pick securities that fit your social and political values. Read More...

Aug 19, 2021 When you set up an investment portfolio, it’s essential to have a strategy. That doesn’t have to mean complexity. You can make plans as simple as “ minimize risk” or “save for retirement.” In fact, most investors do exactly that. But you do need a sense of what you want to achieve and how you’ll get there. There are many tools that can help you set those overall plans. One popular approach is the SMART method. Popularized by the management consultant George Doran in a magazine article, SMART is a method for approaching problems and organizing your thinking. Here's a summary of that method. Read More...

Aug 18, 2021 Nearly half of all Americans depend on secondary work to get by. This is largely hidden from BLS and Census bureau data. According to the Census, 7.8% of Americans work more than one job. Having multiple streams of income is rapidly becoming how people save for retirement, get out of debt or just build up some spending money. That Etsy store might not pay all the bills, but done right it could certainly help a six-month emergency fund stretch a lot longer. Here are a few rules of thumb on creating multiple streams of income. Consider working with a financial advisor on how best to augment your income. Read More...

Aug 18, 2021 Most investors build their investment portfolios with a diversified array of stocks, bonds and other assets. These highly liquid investments are known as marketable securities and make up the majority of the assets that investors buy. In this article, we'll define what marketable securities are, identify the major types of marketable securities and share how they fit into your investment plan. A financial advisor can help you construct or modify an investment portfolio that best fits your goals, risk profile and timeline. Read More...

Aug 18, 2021 Investors trade in commodities as a way to diversify their portfolios and take advantage of the price fluctuations of goods. Commodities are broadly categorized as one of four types – metal, energy, livestock and meat and agricultural. You can invest in commodities through futures contracts, options and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). When trading in commodity futures, you agree to buy or sell the asset at a predetermined price at a specific time in the future. Contango is the industry term for when the futures price of a commodity is higher than the current price. Read More...

Aug 18, 2021 Most investors buy and sell stocks, bonds and other securities using the assets in their brokerage accounts. Sometimes, investors want to be able to withdraw money from their accounts without actually selling any of their investments. Investors can accomplish this by borrowing against their portfolios. This is known as margin debt. There are many reasons to borrow, rather than sell your assets, including to avoid triggering a taxable event and to keep their money invested in a growing market. In this article, we'll define what margin debt is, how much you can borrow and how investors use it. Read More...

Aug 16, 2021 Venture philanthropy uses techniques from the world of venture capital financing to support charitable and humanitarian goals. It differs from impact investing in several ways, including being oriented more toward the longer term, more like a partnership, investing in nonprofits instead of for-profits and not as concerned with getting a financial gain or even return of capital invested. Venture philanthropists may provide social purpose organizations with grants, loans or other types of financing, often to start up new initiatives. The initiatives may aim to help people in poverty, minorities, women, children, disabled people or other populations and causes such as the environment. Read More...

Aug 16, 2021 The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gives investors a measure of how much the stock market is expected to fluctuate over the next 30 days. VIX is often called the “fear index,” because it can indicate the level of investor concern. A higher VIX indicates an expectation of larger price moves up or down. A lower VIX suggests less price volatility in the near future. Investors can use this forecast of expected market volatility to guide investment decisions. They can also invest in VIX-connected securities as a hedging strategy.   Read More...

Aug 16, 2021 Adding real estate to your investment portfolio can be a smart way to diversify, boost returns and even hedge against the risk of inflation. When it comes to choosing how you’ll invest in real estate, though, there are a few options to choose from. Two of the most common real estate investment routes include rental property and real estate investment trusts (REITs). But what do each of these investment vehicles offer for you and your portfolio? And between REITs and rental property, which is the better choice? Read More...

Aug 16, 2021 Real estate can make for a strong addition to any investment portfolio, allowing you to grow your wealth while diversifying your assets. When it comes to adding real estate investments, however, there are two main approaches to consider: investing in individual properties or investing in  REITs. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of both and how to decide which is right for you.  Read More...

Aug 16, 2021 If you're looking to add real estate to your investment portfolio without the added hassle of managing properties, maintenance and vacancies, an equity REIT might be the answer. Equity REITs let you invest in a variety of different properties, earn passive income and further diversify your portfolio to protect its growth. But how do equity REITs actually work and are they really worth buying? Here's what you need to know. Check in with a financial advisor to make sure your real estate investing is a good fit for your goals, risk profile and timeline. Read More...

Aug 13, 2021 More than 65% of Americans currently own real estate, according to Census Bureau data. While a good portion probably live in the homes that they own, there are many homeowners who instead purchase property for investment purposes. Investing in real estate isn’t for everyone, though, as there are many aspects of owning a real estate investment that don’t appeal to all investors (such as dealing with tenants or hiring a property manager). If you’re not interested in buying a property outright but would still like to add real estate investments to your portfolio, there is another option to consider: the mortgage REIT. Read More...

Aug 13, 2021 A liquidity premium is the extra compensation required to get an investor to buy a security that is more difficult to sell quickly at a fair market price than an alternative. In other words, a security with a high liquidity risk - that is, one that is difficult to sell relatively quickly at a fair price - must offer a buyer something extra than what a more liquid alternative offers. That "something extra" is known as the liquidity premium. Here's what you need to know about this key investing metric. A financial advisor can help you to use this premium as you consider additions to your portfolio. Read More...

Aug 12, 2021 Target-date funds and index funds are popular investments, particularly for retirement portfolios, since they require little action on the part of investors. Target-date funds became particularly popular after they were approved for defined contribution 401(k) accounts. Both are seen as hands-off investments that can be put on autopilot and forgotten. Which is the better investment? Target-date funds or index funds? Here's an overview of these two types of securities. If you are considering an investment in either one of these, be sure to take advantage of the insights of a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 12, 2021 During a bull market, investors flock to equity securities to try to earn the highest possible returns. But, the risk inherent in equity securities remains. To reduce risk and achieve diversification, an investment portfolio needs to contain a variety of types of securities. Debt securities add some much-needed diversification to a balanced portfolio. They also have risk, but on the risk-return continuum, they are generally less risky than equity and add a return-of-capital feature to your portfolio. There is a wide range of debt securities available. They can differ in form, structure and features. Here's what you need to know. Read More...

Aug 11, 2021 Renewable energy is the future. The declining supply of fossil fuels, like coal, and climate change, which carbon-based energy has helped the cause, are the two main reasons for our movement toward renewable energy. Renewable energy investment can be an attractive investment for many investors due to its potential, but it also may be risky due to the new technologies involved. If you are interested in building a socially responsible portfolio, here's an overview of the renewable energy space. Read More...

Aug 11, 2021 A cryptocurrency's hash rate, also called hash power, is the measure of a cryptocurrency miner's performance. The faster the hash rate, the more profit a cryptocurrency miner can make. Even though the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is going slowly in approving digital currency for trading in the financial marketplace, it has approved a digital currency product for JPMorgan. Mining the digital currency is extremely competitive and the hash rate plays an important role. To put the hash rate in perspective, let's look at the role a cryptocurrency miner plays, along with the mining process. Read More...

Aug 11, 2021 The phrase quadruple witching brings to mind stories that begin, "It was a dark and stormy night..." or folkloric visions of witches flying chaotically on broomsticks across the brightness of a moon. In the context of investing, quadruple witching also refers to possible chaos but chaos in the financial markets. Such chaos can erupt due to four different types of contracts on financial assets expiring on the same day. The quadruple witching hour is the last hour of the trading session on that day. The question is whether investors can make abnormally robust profits on quadruple witching days due to market fluctuations. If you want to trade off quadruple witching, run your plans by a financial advisor to ensure you don't end up casting a spell on your portfolio. Read More...

Aug 11, 2021 Risk reversal can be used as a hedging strategy for options trading. An investor buys one option and writes or sells another within the same expiration month. This type of strategy is designed to help options traders minimize downside risk when taking long or short positions. It’s typically more common to seek risk reversals used when trading options for commodities or forex, though they can also be employed by stock options traders. While risk reversals can offer some advantages to investors, there are some potential downsides to be aware of. Read More...

Aug 10, 2021 Platinum, a precious metal, is used in the industrial and manufacturing markets, particularly in vehicle pollution control devices. As the global economy rebounds from the pandemic, platinum's price is likely to rebound since it is used in manufacturing. It also has a future in the renewable energy market. As an investment, platinum may be useful in a variety of ways, including hedging and speculating. If you want to include platinum or any of the precious metals in your portfolio, it may be wise to speak with a  financial advisor and keep up with the platinum market. Read More...

Aug 10, 2021 Natural gas investing is a bet on the prospects of the oil and gas energy sector. The industrial and manufacturing sectors use natural gas for a variety of applications, including residential heating and cooling, buses and cars powered by natural gas, electric power generation and a wide variety of manufactured industrial products. Natural gas investing could serve as a hedge against your exposure to the stock market since prices tend to run counter to the market. If you want to add the energy sector to your portfolio, natural gas investing might be something you consider due to the increasing demand for this relatively clean-burning fossil fuel.  Read More...

Aug 10, 2021 Futures and stocks are two of the major classes of financial assets available to retail investors. They each may offer returns on your investments, but for different reasons. Both have significant risks, but futures are generally considered riskier than stocks. Many investors tend to invest primarily in one or the other. They are either stock investors or futures hedgers or speculators. In the futures vs. stock debate, should you invest in one and not the other? We take a look at the risks and rewards of investing in futures vs. stocks to shed light on the question. Read More...

Aug 05, 2021 Investors not only seek  capital appreciation from the securities they buy, but they sometimes also pick securities for the income they provide. Such income can come in the form of dividends and distributions. Some may think that dividends and distributions are interchangeable terms for these payouts, but they are very different. Understanding where these two forms of income differ can help investors navigate future investment options. Here are some of the main differences between dividends and distributions. A financial advisor can provide valuable insight into which type of fixed-income investments are the best fit for your goals, timeline and risk profile. Read More...

Aug 05, 2021 Passive investing is one of the most common strategies for increasing your income, growing your investment portfolio and building a healthy nest egg for the future.  Done right, it won't have to take lots of your time and energy. Real estate is a great choice for building passive income streams. There is, however, an added risk. As a result, this strategy isn’t for every investor. We review what passive income is, why real estate plays a role and how you can use it to reach your financial goals. Read More...

Aug 04, 2021 Investors often put money into dividend-paying stocks for the income they generate. When it comes to finding dividend stocks there are numerous options out there. However, making the best financial decision relies on understanding this type of investment. To do that, you need to understand a dividend rate, sometimes just referred to as a dividend, and a dividend yield. Here are the differences investors should grasp regarding a dividend rate and a dividend yield. If you are thinking about including dividend-paying stocks in your investment strategy, consider speaking to a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 04, 2021 Before companies can go public and list their shares for trade on an exchange, there are some regulatory hoops they need to jump through first. Federal securities laws require any offer or sale of a security to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Regulation D, however, offers a work-around to the registration process, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Specifically, it allows certain companies to offer and sell securities in order to raise capital without meeting the regular SEC registration requirements. Regulation D can also come into play for hedge fund strategies. Read More...

Aug 04, 2021 Navigating the waters as a new investor can be a little overwhelming, as there are some basic things you’ll need to learn. One skill you may want to master is how to read stock charts. These charts can offer a snapshot view of how a stock is performing at any given time. If you’re just getting started with investing in stocks, these charts may seem confusing at first glance. But understanding how to interpret them can help with determining which stocks to buy, based on your investment goals. Familiarizing yourself with the basics of stock charts can also help you make sense of stock trading lingo and jargon that might otherwise seem like a foreign language. 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...

Aug 04, 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...

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