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Investing

Mar 24, 2020 When you're looking for a safe way to invest your money, things don't get any more solid than government-backed securities. The U.S. Department of Treasury offers several different low-risk options, including notes, bonds and bills. Treasury bills, or T-bills, can be appealing because you're not required to tie up your money for a long period of time. However, they're not necessarily right for every kind of investor. If you have questions about T-bills, stocks or any other type of investment, speak with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

May 01, 2020 Wealth management firms are all different. You need to make sure to do the work to pick the right one for you. Wealth managers work with their clients to identify financial goals and map out a plan for achieving them that's built around choosing solid investments that'll grow over time. If you're ready to build serious wealth, here are some tips to help you choose the right wealth management firm. You can also use SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool to help you find the right manager for you.  Read More...

Feb 10, 2021 Investing intimidates a lot of people. There are numerous options, and it can be hard to figure out which investments are right for your portfolio. This guide walks you through 10 of the most common types of investment and explains why you may want to consider including them in your portfolio. If you’re serious about investing, it might make sense to find a financial advisor to guide you. SmartAsset can help you find the right advisor for you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

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

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

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

Jul 09, 2019 Warren Buffett said it best: “Read 500 pages like this every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned investor in need of a refresher, reading some of the best investing books is a great way to sharpen your knowledge. With these books, you can pick Peter Lynch's brain, learn the history of Wall Street or simply figure out if you're ready to use that spare money tucked away in your savings account to start investing. And if you want some extra guidance as you apply your newly acquired knowledge to your portfolio, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

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

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

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

Apr 15, 2021 Stellar is a decentralized computer network that operates using blockchain technology. On the Stellar network, you can trade its form of currency, which is called lumens (XLM). This cryptocurrency is required to complete transactions on the Stellar network. Stellar and XLM were created in 2015, with the basic idea behind Stellar being to create a cryptocurrency that can reduce transaction costs and serve as a bridge between fiat, digital or other currencies. Cryptocurrencies can be confusing and rather volatile, so it may be a good idea to work with a financial advisor before investing. Read More...

Apr 15, 2021 Cardano is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency network and open-source project that aims to be a smart contract platform, as well as a traditional asset-based cryptocurrency. This third-generation cryptocurrency has an internal cryptocurrency token called ADA, which is one of the most popular crypto options in the world. Cardano is looking to build a fully fleshed out blockchain ecosystem that's similar to Ethereum, which is used for a wide variety of transactions. Math principles are the basis of Cardano, and the platform is under development with the help of a number of academics and scientists. If you want to include cryptocurrencies like Cardano in your portfolio, consider working with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Apr 09, 2021 The world of investing has a culture of exclusivity around it, or, at least, that’s how many people feel. It’s common to believe that only the rich profit off stock market trading. However, online platforms Wealthfront and Robinhood claim to combat this perceived gatekeeping. Although both promise to create opportunities for a new range of investors, their functions set them apart. Wealthfront, a robo-advisor, offers various planning tools to help you reach your financial goals. Meanwhile, Robinhood, an online investment broker, opens up basic stock trading with little to no fees. But to understand which platform is right for you, we need to unpack what makes each service unique. Read More...

Apr 09, 2021 It’s a little difficult to distinguish investment platforms based on price. Not long ago, platforms competed on a combination of features, fees and commissions. However, in recent years most services have converged on a fairly standard pricing model. Almost all trading platforms now offer free stock and exchange-traded funds trading, as well as options priced around $0.50 to $0.65 per contract. Platforms set mutual funds at a typical rate of $30 to $50 and futures at around $2 to $2.50. A financial advisor can help you pick the trading platform that best fits your goals, time horizon and risk profile. Read More...

Apr 09, 2021 Bitcoin will likely go down as one of history’s great examples of financial FOMO (fear of missing out). Not long ago early adopters literally couldn’t give this asset away, and now a single token costs almost as much as a small house. Certainly there is a world of regretful investors out there who, 10 years ago, had the chance to spend (literally) a few dollars on Bitcoin and laughed. That doesn’t mean that all digital tokens are a good investment. It doesn’t even mean that Bitcoin always is. This inexplicably valuable asset is also historically volatile, making it an interesting but by no means secure addition to your portfolio. However, it does mean that investors across the market have begun taking digital assets seriously. How can they not? At time of writing a single Bitcoin cost more than $57,630. That’s a kind of value that the market simply can’t ignore. From brand-new traders to stodgy investment banks, the market has noticed Bitcoin and its associated products. The question is, if you’re interested in trading them, where should you go? Read More...

Apr 09, 2021 Options, which fall in the category of derivatives, have become one of the hottest securities online. In part this has to do with the rise of commission-free trading. Many services offer cheap trades on options contracts because, like equities, they make their money from other parts of the market. In part this has to do with a misimpression that options are a low-risk asset. Many retail investors see these contracts as a way to cash in on success and walk away from failure, which isn’t entirely true. You can lose a lot of money on these products. That said, options contracts are much safer than some of their even more speculative counterparts. Specifically, unlike the futures market on which they’re based, options let you fix your potential losses in advance. In this way options behave more like stocks. You can only lose the money you’ve invested up front, whereas with assets like futures and shorts your potential losses are unknown and unknowable. Options can be a bigger risk than they seem, which makes it a serious problem when platforms like Robinhood push this asset on new investors. But once you understand how they work, options can be a fantastic addition to any portfolio. If you’re looking to trade them, here are some of the best platforms for doing so. Read More...

Apr 08, 2021 Getting your start as an investor can be overwhelming, as online investment has opened up the floodgates of personal financial management products. For investors who are just starting out, sometimes the best tools are the ones that prioritize clarity instead of sophistication. This doesn’t mean that high-level trading should be out of reach; it just means that sometimes the best platform for a beginning investor emphasizes utility over power. The following five platforms do an outstanding job helping new traders navigate the tricky world of financial assets, and any one of them is worth a look if you’re just starting out. Read More...

Apr 08, 2021 Forex, or the foreign currency exchange market, can be one of the most opaque sectors of trading today. In part that's because of just how fast these prices change. The best currency traders make their money in seconds off arbitrage, taking advantage of tiny shifts in prices as economies balance themselves on an ongoing basis. When Americans take vacations in Europe, the forex market imperceptibly shifts. When a Russian family buys a Japanese car, an Australian office leases computer services from Canada or a Brazilian factory sources raw materials from Kenya, it's reflected in the currency market. In other words, forex tracks the real time story of life around the world. Read More...

Apr 08, 2021 Your brokerage is the firm that you use to trade stocks, bonds, funds, options and other financial assets. Choosing the right one isn’t easy. The market is currently flooded with brokers who want your business, and they’re often difficult to tell apart. Not to worry. To help you sort between your options we have put together a roundup of some of the best brokerages in the business, whether you want to day trade, app trade or just buy a few stocks. A financial advisor can provide invaluable guidance on which brokerage is best for you and your goals. Read More...

Apr 07, 2021 Two of the leading web-based investment platforms are Wealthfront and Personal Capital. The former targets a wide pool of investors with its low fees; the latter caters to those who still want a human touch in their investment guidance. Here are a few essential matters you need to know if you’re considering either of these online advisors. But before picking one, consult with a financial advisor whose insights into your goals and investing style plus knowledge of available options can ensure you make a good decision. Read More...

Apr 07, 2021 When analyzing which securities to add to your portfolio, there are two approaches you can take,  fundamental analysis and technical analysis. The former focuses on the financial health of companies while the latter looks more closely at current market trends. If you’re using a technical approach, one of the key methods to use is the double bottom pattern. This W-shaped pattern is used to track downward movements in a security’s price. Here’s more on what double bottom means and how to use it to shape your portfolio. Learning technical analysis is best done with an experienced mentor, such as a financial advisor. Read More...

Apr 06, 2021 Real estate investments can help diversify your portfolio while creating an additional income stream. There are different ways to invest in real estate, including owning one or more rental properties. Getting started with rental investments means understanding how to find properties, how to purchase them and how to use them to turn a profit. It’s a bit more involved than picking stocks or mutual funds, but there’s solid reward potential if you’re opening to learning the ropes. Here’s an introduction to investing in rental property for beginners. Read More...

Apr 06, 2021 The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) lists more than 2,200 companies and has a market capitalization of approximately $1.5 trillion, or $2.15 trillion in Australian dollars (AUD). Its size places it among the 10 largest global exchanges by market cap. The Sydney-based exchanges trades in a variety of asset classes including equities, fixed income, commodities and energy. The ASX lists share prices in Australian dollars. Each Australian dollar is valued at approximately $0.75 U.S. A financial advisor can help you understand and engage with securitites on the Australian Stock Exchange. Read More...

Apr 06, 2021 NYSE Chicago, formerly known as the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX), is an equities-only stock exchange. Originally founded in the 19th century, it was acquired by the parent corporation of the New York Stock Exchange in 2017. Today it specializes in accommodating institutions that trade large blocks of stock. A financial advisor can help you decide which exchange best meets your needs for equity transactions. Read More...

Apr 06, 2021 The Hong Kong Exchange (HKEX) is the largest Asian stock exchange, with more than 2,500 listed companies and total market capitalization of about $6.7 trillion. Its history goes back to the 19th century. In 2000 it merged with the Hong Kong Futures Exchange and another securities clearing company to form a parent company. In 2012 the parent acquired the London Metal Exchange. Several times in recent years the HKEX has ranked as the top exchange in the world for a company to hold an initial public offering (IPO).  Read More...

Apr 05, 2021 The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) is the largest of two stock exchanges in Bangladesh as well as the oldest, having begun trading before the country became independent in the 1970s. The second-largest is the Chittagong Stock Exchange, which began operations in 1995. The DSE lists almost 600 securities and total market capitalization is approximately $47 billion. International holdings can add a valuable dimension to your portfolio, but investing in non-U.S. assets requires knowledge that sometimes only a financial advisor possesses. Read More...

Apr 02, 2021 Whether you’re saving money in a bank account or investing it in the market, you want some reassurance that it’s safe. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insure banks and other financial institutions, offering protection for your assets. But they aren’t exactly the same when it comes to what they cover. If you have bank accounts or investment accounts, it’s important to understand the differences between SIPC vs. FDIC protections. Read More...

Apr 02, 2021 Trading options is something you might consider if you’re interested in provided you’re an active trader. This speculative investment strategy involves buying the right to buy or sell a security, rather than purchasing the security itself. Before venturing in, it’s helpful to get to know the option Greeks. The “Greeks,” which are named after various letters of the Greek alphabet, represent different ways to measure risk when trading options. This primer to the option Greeks can help you better understand how they work and how to use them when making investment decisions. Read More...

Apr 02, 2021 When managing your investment portfolio, there are different types of risk that need to be factored in. Currency risk, which is risk associated with fluctuations in currency values, is one of them. It’s important to understand how currency risk may affect your rate of return if you invest in foreign currencies or companies. It’s also helpful to know how to hedge against this risk in your portfolio as you pursue your investment goals. Consider working with an experienced financial advisor as you prepare to dive into into currency trading. Read More...

Apr 02, 2021 The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is the biggest stock exchange in Canada and one of the top 10 largest exchanges in the world. It has been in operation since 1852. The TSX is part of the TMX Group, which also operates the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV), an exchange for smaller growth companies, the Montreal Exchange and several other securities-related enterprises. The TSX is notable for listing more mining-related securities than any other exchange, with about 60% of all mining-related issues trading on its exchange. Investing in non-U.S. securities can enhance your returns but getting a financial advisor's insights first will help you avoid pitfalls. Read More...

Apr 01, 2021 The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is the largest in Europe, and the seventh largest globally, with more than 2,000 companies listed as issuers of debt or equity securities. Its listed companies represent more than 95 countries around the world, including 2,548 from Europe, 191 from North America, 133 from India and 19 from South America. It also claims to be the most diverse stock exchange on the planet in terms of where its investors are located. The total market cap for equities is more than 5.2 billion British pounds, which is the currency used for pricing.  Read More...

Apr 01, 2021 The Shanghai Stock Exchange is the largest securities exchange in mainland China. It has total market capitalization of approximately $6.5 trillion, making it the fourth-largest exchange in the world. Some of its listed companies are among the biggest in the world and it lists equities, bonds, indexes and derivatives. However, foreigners can only trade in Shanghai Stock Exchange securities with significant restrictions. Most foreign investors who want to participate in the Shanghai Stock Exchange do so by trading American Depositary Receipts and exchange-traded funds. Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 Private equity is a popular asset class for those seeking alternatives to traditional stocks and bonds. But for the typical investor, it’s often out of reach. It’s possible, however, to find an entry point through private equity ETFs. A private equity ETF is an exchange-traded fund that utilizes private equity strategies to invest. These funds can be attractive for individuals who may be shut out of traditional private equity investments, though there are some advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind. Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 Hedge funds can deliver above-average returns to investors who are comfortable taking more risk in their portfolios. Aside from the fact that they don't always deliver, there’s just one catch: Access to hedge fund investments is often limited to high-net-worth and ultra-high-networth individuals. Enter the hedge fund exchange-traded fund (ETF), which aims to mimic the investment strategies of hedge funds. This type of fund is much more accessible to the everyday investor, though there are some pros and cons to keep in mind when adding them to your portfolio. A financial advisor can help you determine if a hedge fund ETF is a wise addition to your portfolio. Read More...

Mar 29, 2021 Origin Investments has taken the decision to plant a ticking clock halfway down its home page. The accompanying message tells potential investors that “Time is running out” if they want to buy into the firm’s QOZ Fund at the “current unit price.” It doesn’t make for a great first impression. But Origin Investments’ first impression is not necessarily for you. This firm offers bundled real estate investment opportunities for accredited investors only. If you have extensive experience or the wealth to meet this category of investor, then Origin Investments might be an option. Otherwise they’re little more than an interesting way to see another part of the marketplace in action. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Groundfloor is part of a growing collection of firms that offer alternative investment products. In the case of Groundfloor, you can invest in short-term real estate debt. This opens up a new set of options for speculation, although investors should be careful. Like many firms that specialize in new investment categories, Groundfloor’s marketing emphasizes big gains without mentioning that those double-digit returns come with equivalent risks. A financial advisor can help you decide how much of your portfolio should be in real estate. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 GAIN Capital is a brokerage service that focuses on foreign currency (forex). This brokerage runs several products and downstream companies that market its services to the public. While you may not actually know that you’re working with GAIN Capital, if you trade in the forex market there’s a good chance you’ve run across them. A financial advisor can help you pick a currency trading platform that fits you're goals, budget and risk profile. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Yieldstreet is a platform that offers individual investors the chance to access alternative investments. With portfolio options such as real estate, litigation and even collectibles, you can put your money into segments of the market typically off limits to all but the wealthiest investors. Nevertheless, it isn’t necessarily a good way to manage your investment portfolio. Still, if you have several thousand dollars of speculative money to play with, this website might be worth examining. Here’s how it works. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Investing is an ever-changing world. Online brokers are constantly looking for ways to improve the investment process for novices and experts alike. Both TD Ameritrade’s service, thinkorswim, and E*TRADE offer advanced trading software for active investors. While the two manage similar data, interfaces and overall power, there are differences between them. Even subtle changes in features can drastically shift a user’s experience, so it’s important to know how they compare. Here are a few main details about thinkorswim and E*TRADE. A financial advisor can help you pick a trading platform that fits your goals, budget and risk profile. Read More...

Mar 17, 2021 Invstr is an investing mobile app and an educational resource. The platform gives you access stocks, ETFs, American depositary receipts (ADRs) and fractional share investing. It also features  virtual stock trading games and an investing fantasy league. If you want to use Invstr's platform to trade real securities, you'll need to open a brokerage account through DriveWealth or Invstr+ and link the account to your existing Invstr account. If you have questions about investing towards your goals, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 17, 2021 Cash App rose to popularity as a competitor to Venmo, Zelle and other free money transfer services. The service is owned by Square and as its user base has grown, it also decided to take a dive into the brokerage market. Cash App now offers users the ability to buy, sell and trade stocks through Cash App Investing. As brokerages go, this service is relatively basic in terms of its features and offerings. However, it's still a solid platform if you're a trader interested in jumping into the stock market. If you have questions about investing, consider speaking with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 17, 2021 Litecoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open-source software project. A cryptocurrency is a digital “coin” that acts similarly to a traditional fiat currency. You can use cryptocurrencies to buy goods and services at retailers, though not nearly as many retailers accept cryptos as they do traditional money. The difference, though, is that while fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar, the euro and the pound sterling are backed by the full faith and credit of a country or countries, cryptocurrencies' values are guaranteed only by the market created by users. You can buy litecoins online or "mine" them by helping perform transactions. Read More...

Mar 17, 2021 MyWallSt is a popular online stock-picking service that functions through the use of two different mobile apps. The main app is simply called MyWallSt, while Learn by MyWallSt gives users access to additional investment resources. MyWallSt has gained popularity by picking a number of great growth stocks over the years, helping its user return hundreds and sometimes thousands in percent gains. While MyWallSt can be linked with an existing brokerage account, the service is only a stock picker and you won't be able to use MyWallSt alone to buy and sell stocks. Investing research and recommendations are important, and sometimes a financial advisor can be even more helpful than an online service. Consider using SmartAsset's free advisor matching tool today to be connected with advisors in your area. Read More...

Mar 16, 2021 MetaTrader 4, also known as MT4, is an advanced trading platform that specializes in allowing users to create and automate complex trades. It also provides users with a wide range of market indicators to use when making their trades. It's especially useful when it comes to foreign exchange (forex) trading, but can be used for a variety of different markets. MetaTrader is free to download and use. If you're interested in learning more about the advanced data that's available through MT4, consider speaking with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 16, 2021 The world of cryptocurrencies can be a bit intimidating and full of technical language that may scare off some potential investors. One crypto, though, adds a bit of whimsy -- Dogecoin, the crypto named after the Doge (pronounced DOJH) meme that was popular around 2013. Outdated meme references and cuddly shiba inus aside, Dogecoin is a very real cryptocurrency with a market cap, as of March 2021, north of $7 billion. Much wow, indeed. You, too, can invest in Dogecoin if you’re interested in an alternative to stocks, bonds and other traditional investments. It should be known, though, that cryptocurrencies have a tendency to be very volatile.  Read More...

Mar 11, 2021 Monte Carlo simulation is a mathematical technique for considering the effect of uncertainty on investing as well as many other activities. A Monte Carlo simulation shows a large number and variety of possible outcomes, including the least likely as well as the most likely, along with the probability of each outcome occurring. Investors, financial advisors, portfolio managers and others can use the Monte Carlo Method to make better decisions when conditions are uncertain. Read More...

Mar 11, 2021 A contract for difference, or CFD, is an agreement between a buyer and seller that is based on the price of a stock or other financial asset at a certain time in the future. If the price of the security has increased when the contract is up, the seller of the CFD pays the buyer. If the value goes down, the buyer pays the seller. But beware: scammers often employ CFDs as a part of schemes to take advantage of retail investors, according to securities regulatorsRead More...

Mar 11, 2021 Payment for order flow is a common practice in the investing world that lets retail brokers be paid by market makers, wholesalers and others in exchange their retail clients’ orders to buy and sell securities. Although it’s been criticized as a conflict of interest for brokers to be paid in this way, the longstanding system allows brokers to advertise low- or zero-commission trades to retail customers. A financial advisor can help you find various ways to make your portfolio as economical as possible. Read More...

Mar 11, 2021 Low float stocks are favorites of day traders because the limited supply of these generally inexpensive shares can lead to exceptionally rapid changes in price. With the potential for great reward also comes the potential for great loss, however. The inherently risky nature of low float stock trading has led investors to learn to recognize key factors that can mitigate risk while leaving the door open for major profits. A financial advisor can help you determine if there's a place in your portfolio for low float stocks. Read More...

Mar 11, 2021 Bracket orders are a type of advanced securities order that help investors manage risk and maximize profits. They are especially useful for professional traders, day traders, swing traders, scalpers and others who may be exposed to significant risk and are taking advantage of market volatility in order to generate profits. A financial advisor can help you gauge your risk profile, which is essential before you start executing bracket orders. Read More...

Mar 09, 2021 Mutual funds can be a useful tool for increasing diversification in your portfolio but it’s important to understand what you might pay to buy and sell them. Some mutual funds carry loads or sales charges, while others don’t. A no-load mutual fund allows you to sidestep sales charges but there are other costs you may pay to own them. Understanding the differences between load and no-load mutual funds can help you decide where to invest your money. Read More...

Mar 09, 2021 Hedge funds and private equity are investment vehicles that are designed to appeal to high-net-worth investors. They can both offer higher return potential than investing in stocks or traditional mutual funds, though they can also carry more risk. While they share some similarities, there are several things that set them apart. The most significant differences between hedge funds and private equity center on their underlying investment strategy, liquidity and cost. A financial advisor can help you sort through if either private equity of hedge funds would be a good fit for your portfolio. Read More...

Mar 15, 2021 Hedge funds are an investment vehicle you may consider as an alternative to individual stocks or mutual funds. A hedge fund manager decides how pooled funds should be invested in order to meet certain objectives. Hedge fund managers can be individuals or investment firms, but regardless, they must be well-versed in the types of investments they specialize in. As a result, hedge fund managers can often command higher compensation for their services, knowledge and expertise. Read More...

Mar 08, 2021 When stock prices experience rapid shifts, the conditions may be ripe for a squeeze. In this scenario, investors may find themselves buying or selling shares of stock outside their normal trading pattern in order to minimize losses. A gamma squeeze is an extreme example of this, in which investor buying activity forces a stock’s price up. Gamma squeezes are often associated with options trading and they can be problematic for investors who don’t fully understand how they work. A financial advisor can provide valuable advice about gamma squeezes and options trading. Read More...

Mar 08, 2021 Do you want to convert currencies? Would you like to learn about historic exchange rates or transfer money internationally? Most importantly, would you like to invest in foreign currencies to boost your portfolio's performance? OANDA advertises itself as the place to do all of these things. Whether or not it’s the go-to place for currency conversion, this platform does offer a solid, if not particularly inventive, option for currency trading online. Read More...

Mar 05, 2021 When researching stocks, there are two approaches you can use: fundamental analysis and technical analysis. The former focuses on the financial health of a company while the latter focuses on how the company's shares are trading. Bollinger Bands are one tool used in technical analysis to study and understand stock movements. Developed by technical trader John Bollinger, they can be used to evaluate stock volatility and pricing shifts. If you’ve considered using technical analysis to build a portfolio, it helps to know how and when to use Bollinger Bands and what they can tell you about a stock. Read More...

Mar 05, 2021 Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETF) allow you to own a basket of securities, helping with portfolio diversification. When choosing which type of funds or ETFs to invest in, you may be wondering if active or passive management is better. Actively managed funds are overseen by a fund manager who’s responsible for deciding what the fund should own. These funds tend to carry higher expense ratios than passively managed funds but you get the benefit of the fund manager’s expertise. Here’s more on how actively managed funds work and their pros and cons. Read More...

Mar 05, 2021 When investing in mutual funds, it’s important to understand the fees you’ll pay. A sales load is a commission fee that applies when you buy or sell shares of a mutual fund. There’s more than one type of sales load or sales charge you may pay, and the type of fee can determine how and when it’s calculated. Understanding load fees is important when deciding which funds to invest in, as these charges can impact your net investment returns. Read More...

Mar 05, 2021 Interest rates can have a significant impact on the economy as a whole and your personal financial life. When tracking changes to interest rates, the stock market is often a major focal point, as rates can affect investors directly and indirectly. The impact of interest rate changes can also be felt more immediately in the markets while it may take time for those impacts to trickle down to the broader economy. Understanding the relationship between interest rates and stock market movements matters for shaping your financial plan. Read More...

Mar 05, 2021 As a threshold matter, we need to point out that reviewing AvaTrade is an academic exercise for most readers. While it’s valuable to understand the way that different firms approach investment and finance, at time of writing AvaTrade has not been reviewed by U.S. regulators. As a result the firm does not accept U.S. customers or funds. In fact, SmartAsset couldn’t even create a demo account to test this system out. So if you’re reading from the U.S., you can’t actually use AvaTrade. But you can certainly learn more about what the platform does. Read More...

Mar 05, 2021 Both initial public offerings (IPOs) and direct listings are ways for companies to make their shares available for purchase by listing them on public exchanges. However, there are key differences between the two that you'll want to be aware of as an investor. An IPO, which is more common, is when a company creates and underwrites new shares and then sells them to the public. A direct listing, on the other hand, involves listing only existing shares and, therefore, doesn't require any underwriting. If you're interested in investing in an IPO or a direct listing, a financial advisor can help you develop a plan. Read More...

Mar 04, 2021 FOREX.com is a trading platform that lets users trade foreign currency pairs. This is a relatively rare asset class, one which even few full service trading platforms offer. While using FOREX.com feels somewhat like trading on a legacy system, this is a good platform for trading foreign currencies. Before diving into the world of foreign currency trading, work with a financial advisor who can help you decide how much of your portfolio should be devoted to this and how best to pursue this type of investing. Read More...

Mar 04, 2021 IG is a platform that enables you to trade one thing, foreign currencies. Forex is a niche and highly risky asset class, which makes IG itself a fairly niche service. But it is a well-designed, well-built niche service. If you are looking for a dedicated toolkit for trading currencies, IG is well worth considering. Before diving into the world of foreign currency trading, work with a financial advisor who can help you decide how much of your portfolio should be devoted to this and how best to pursue this type of investing. Read More...

Mar 04, 2021 Alpaca Trading is not a trading platform. This company offers two services: a brokerage and an application programming interface (API). As a brokerage, Alpaca offers exchange-based products. It does not offer a client or other form of trading platform. Instead, its API allows third parties to trade with it. A financial advisor can help you find the most suitable trading platform or brokerage service, given your financial goals, risk profile and time horizon. Read More...

Mar 02, 2021 Bonds can be useful for diversification if you’re interested in adding more stability and safety to your investment portfolio. But does it make sense to invest in bond funds, whether mutual or exchange-traded, or simply invest in individual bonds? Both can offer benefits but one may be a better fit, based on your personal investment goals, risk tolerance and individual timeline for investing. When choosing between bond funds and bonds, it’s helpful to understand how they compare. Read More...

Mar 02, 2021 Setting priorities in the process of creating a solid financial position can be challenging. The financial planning pyramid provides a visual explanation and reminder to help people make the right moves at the right time. It aims to keep people from taking inappropriate risk by gauging the relationship between risk and reward. The pyramid also takes into consideration the element of time as a person makes progress towards his or her financial goals. It is a simple way to suggest how much of a person’s assets he or she should commit to different investments and other financial products. Read More...

Feb 19, 2021 When comparing investments in your portfolio, you may be concerned primarily with the returns a particular security generates over time. Rolling returns measure average annualized returns over a specific time period and they can be helpful for gauging an investment’s historical performance. Knowing how to calculate rolling returns and interpret those calculations is important when using them to choose investments. A financial advisor can familiarize you with several other metrics to gauge your investments' progress. Read More...

Feb 19, 2021 Bonds can be useful for adding a conservative component to an investment portfolio to balance out stocks or other high-risk securities. Debentures are a specific type of bond that government entities or corporations can use to raise capital. While all debentures are bonds, not all bonds are debentures. The biggest difference between the two has to do with how they’re collateralized. If you’re considering investing in debentures, it’s helpful to understand how they work and how they compare to traditional bonds. Sorting through all the debt securities options that are out there can be confusing; a financial advisor can help you find which ones work best for your financial plan. Read More...

Feb 18, 2021 An employer-sponsored 401(k) plan may be an important part of your financial plan for retirement. Between tax-deferred growth, tax-deductible contributions and the opportunity to take advantage of employer matching contributions, a 401(k) can be a useful tool for investing long term. Managing those investments wisely means keeping an eye on market movements. When a bear market sets in, you may be tempted to make a flight to safety with bonds or other conservative investments. If you’re asking yourself, "Should I move my 401(k) to bonds?" consider the potential pros and cons of making such a move. Also, consider talking with a financial advisor about what the wisest move in your portfolio would be. Read More...

Feb 18, 2021 The disconnect between a stock's share price and the company's performance were writ large during the GameStop (GME) stock price surge at the end of January 2021. The combination of irrational exuberance and a concerted buy effort promoted on the WallStreetBets Reddit channel boosted the stock to astronomical heights untethered to more mundane fundamentals like price-t0-earnings ratio. But as day trading, technical analysis and retail investment apps like Robinhood explode onto the market, investors are increasingly making money off of the rules of how the stock market works rather than the actual strength of the underlying businesses. This may seem like a new phenomenon, but it is how the market has operated for decades. It’s just hitting the mainstream now. Ultimately, the metoric rise of GameStop's stock and its subsequent humbling free-fall can be an object lesson in understanding how the stock market actually works and how it's manipulated. In short, those boosting GME did so not because of their belief in the company but in their ability to exploit market momentum in their favor. As you unpack the newfangled social media-driven market swings, exercise caution and seek out trusted experts: An experienced financial advisor in your area can provide hands-on guidance. Read More...

Feb 09, 2021 TradeZero is one of an expanding number of trading platforms oriented around fast-action day trading. Unlike many of its competitors, this platform is built for the professionals. That isn’t a drawback, as day trading is a high-risk practice poorly suited to novice investors anyway. TradeZero is data rich, but asset limited. If you’re looking to get into high-volume equities trading this service may work fine for you, and it has a few interesting features, but there isn’t a particularly good reason to pick it out of the crowd. Read More...

Feb 09, 2021 Score Priority focuses its tools and features on active traders who are looking for real-time data, routing choices and sophisticated trading software. But at the time of the review, SmartAsset found that this  trading platform offers relatively limited data, few assets and an overall stripped-down approach that will not benefit less active traders who are still learning and require additional tools and research to develop their investing strategies. Let's break down the costs, services and features so that you can decide whether this is a good fit for your investing goals and needs. Read More...

Feb 09, 2021 NinjaTrader is one of the older online investing platforms on the market. Its primary feature is a truly vast degree of customization, allowing users to create bespoke charts and swap plugins to create just the right data environment for their trading. An award-winning platform that has received very high marks over the years, NinjaTrader excels from a technological and design standpoint. In fact, professional traders working in specialty niches will find this an extremely valuable software suite. Most investors, however, will find this platform wanting. It lacks many of the features and assets that those traders will look for, and you can find the same tools on full-service platforms which come without NinjaTrader’s complications. Here’s how it works. Read More...

Feb 09, 2021 Zacks Trade offers a full service trading platform in a marketplace increasingly crowded by similar products. It has a few areas in which it stands out compared to other top-tier platforms, such as deep fundamental analysis and a simplified web-based platform that makes a terrific learning tool for new investors. This platform should certainly be considered in the same breath as any of its major competitors. If you want to focus your investments around fundamental analysis and research, or are just learning how to work the market, Zacks Trade might be worth a look. This review will break down services, features and costs for you. Read More...

Feb 09, 2021 The Securities and Exchange Commission oversees and regulations certain entities that provide financial and investment advice or management services. As part of those regulations, the SEC requires the filing of specific forms that include detailed information about business operations. Form 13F must be filed by institutional investment managers that use the U.S. mail service for business and have assets under management totaling $100 million or more. This form, which is designed to offer transparency and insight into how an institutional investment manager operates, is required to be filed with the SEC quarterly. Read More...

Feb 08, 2021 When trading stocks and other securities, it can be helpful to use technical indicators to assess volatility. Average true range, or ATR, is one such indicator that’s often used to track securities' price movements over defined time periods. Though it originally was applied to commodities trading, day traders can use ATR to gauge volatility when determining whether to buy or sell stocks. The average true range relies on a specific formula for measuring volatility. A  financial advisor can help you develop expertise in understanding and utilizing concepts like ATR as well as other technical and fundamental metrics. Read More...

Feb 05, 2021 CenterPoint Securities is for the professionals, and they mean it. This trading platform specializes in day trading and in helping investors short stocks and options. If you do this for a living and have a vast amount of money backing up your bets, this can be a great way to make even more. For the average investor, however, shorting is a very dangerous form of investment that plays by entirely different rules. CenterPoint Securities knows this and makes this system as well managed as possible. Here’s what you need to know. A financial advisor can help you find a trading platform that's right for you and offer invaluable guidance as you work to achieve your goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Feb 03, 2021 For sophisticated investors, TD Ameritrade offers thinkorswim, a powerful set of investment tools oriented specifically at investors who make frequent or complex trades. If you aren’t looking for a semi-professional toolkit, with all of the complexity that entails, then you can feel comfortable moving right along. However, if you work in the most sophisticated ends of the market, then read on to see if thinkorswim is right for you. Read More...

Feb 03, 2021 Your brokerage should offer easy-yet-sophisticated tools to manage your money and, ideally, nothing else. It certainly should not remind you of a used car dealership or the desperate hustle of some personal trainers at the gym. A trading platform known as tastyworks launched by investor education site tastytrade, takes the opposite approach. With its flashy advertising for free shares, free laptops and free cars (even placed within the trading platform itself), it feels, initially, like a low-rent operation looking to capture investors who simply don’t know any better. And that’s unfortunate, because underneath the website’s Spirit Air vibe is an extremely sophisticated derivatives trading platform. Contrary to first impressions, this service is absolutely not for the newcomers and the inexperienced. But if you’re looking for a place to trade options by the pound, tastyworks might be an appetizing choice for you. Make sure you and your spouse have a strong financial plan in place. Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Feb 03, 2021 Interactive Brokers is a full-featured investment platform that has traditionally been built for professional and institutional investors. Although in the past two years it has introduced a Lite brand aimed at the retail investment crowd, the truth is that this remains a very sophisticated product. So if you’re a sophisticated investor of just about any stripe, Interactive Brokers is probably for you. A financial advisor can help you decide what type of platform is best for your financial strategy and tactics as well as developing realistic financial goals. Read More...

Jan 26, 2021 There is not a good reason to use ChoiceTrade. This low-cost, feature-limited  trading platform has been in business since 2000, and offers inexpensive options and stock trading. Unfortunately, for the modern trading world, that’s just not good enough anymore. Investors can get low-commission trading platforms just about anywhere these days, and most of them offer a more robust set of features than you’ll find on ChoiceTrade. This review breaks down how it works. If you're looking for valuable insight, consider working with a financial advisor to plan your next investing move.  Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 Investors who use TradeStation get a full-feature trading platform built with active and high-volume users in mind. It is not for newcomers or long-term, buy-and-hold investors. But if you are an experienced investor who executes frequent trades or complex trades you should give this product a try. A financial advisor can help you decide what type of platform is best for your financial strategy and tactics, as well as for developing realistic financial goals. Read More...

Jan 23, 2021 Israel-based eToro is cryptocurrency trading platform. Unlike traditional investment platforms, it does not offer access to any form of standard financial products or assets. You cannot trade stocks, bonds, funds or options. Although investors outside of the U.S. can use eToro to trade foreign currencies, which was the platform’s original product before it branched out into crypto, this feature is not available in the U.S.due to regulations around this marketplace. A financial advisor can give you sound advice about how cryptocurrencies might fit into your financial plans. Read More...

Jan 23, 2021 There’s a reason you may not have heard of SpeedTrader. This is a niche product in a niche market. SpeedTrader is an investment platform for day traders. This product is built for professionals. Its main features, such as its ability to shave seconds off a transaction, have virtually no value to the ordinary investor. If you aren’t a professional day trader, you can safely move on. If you are, however, this platform might be worth a look. Even if you aren't a day trader but are curious about what that entails, a financial advisor can give you the proverbial lay of the land and explain how day trading might fit into your investing style. Read More...

Jan 23, 2021 M1 Finance strikes a balance between the completely hands-off approach of a robo-advisor and the technical complexity of a full-service investment firm. It allows investors to build an investment portfolio based on stocks, funds and professionally managed portfolios that they select. If you’d like the simplicity of a robo-advisory but want to have a little more control over your money than they offer, it might be worth checking this platform out. If you want hands-on guidance from an expert professional, though, consider enlisting the services of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 23, 2021 Do not get paid to trade. Free money schemes are never your friend. In finance, as with most walks of life, the best tools are generally boring and don't need such incentives to try a product. SogoTrade is no different. There is one key area of investing, though, where SogoTrade comes in as a strong option, and it will be discussed below. Meantime, consider working with a financial advisor as you set financial goals and create a strategy for building an investment portfolio. Read More...

Jan 23, 2021 If you bank with Wells Fargo and keep a low-activity portfolio, WellsTrade might be a useful platform on which to trade stocks and other securities. Current clients can use the trading screen to see all of their finances, banking and investments alike, in one place. Investors who do relatively few trades might find this particularly useful. For other investors, WellsTrade probably isn’t the best tool on the market. Its research options are limited, and it lacks some asset classes that will appeal to more sophisticated investors. Pound for pound, such investors can probably do better. It may behoove those seeking hands-on guidance to enlist the services of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 23, 2021 By now most mainstream trading platforms are free. Five years ago, offering low-cost trades helped a service stand out. You could accept the wrong fit on a platform in exchange for a free trade. Today no-commission trading is a standard pitch offered by even the full-featured platforms. This has left Lightspeed somewhat behind in the retail market. Despite advertising itself as “low cost stock and options trading.” Lightspeed still charges trading commissions. At the same time it offers a set of highly specific tools that can benefit extremely active (read: fast) traders. Between the two, you have a system which is only particularly useful to traders who want to make high-volume, high-speed transactions, and which charges for each of these (ideally numerous) trades. If you are a professional trader making some real money off of this system, it may work well for you. The benefits of Lightspeed’s tools may outweigh the costs of using it. For a retail investor, you will probably do better to look elsewhere. Here's an overview of the platform. Read More...

Jan 22, 2021 Firstrade is an online trading platform that offers two portals, its primary brand, Firstrade, and a secondary brand called Firstrade Navigator. They are competitively priced, offer many types of securities, including  mutual funds, give users the ability to engage in sophisticated types of trading and provide high-caliber research material. However, the website's design leaves something to be desired, a weakness apparent as soon as you open this product and continues as you click past its homepage. Keep in mind that a financial advisor can help you create a solid investing plan and set of goals, and that, in turn, will be useful as you decide on which platform to do your investing. Read More...

Jan 14, 2021 Webull is an online trading platform that allows you to trade and invest commission-free. It bills itself as primarily organized around app-based trading, although as we will note below, Webull’s more sophisticated tools make it easier to use through the website. As a trading platform, Webull attempts to strike a balance between the high-speed world of app traders and serious technical analysis. The result is a strong platform for casual trading. Of course, it's always a good idea to work with a financial advisor as you make these decisions. Read More...

Jan 14, 2021 Betterment has established itself as one of the most well-known standalone robo-advisors on the market. At the same time, a brokerage giant backs Fidelity Go. While both platforms come from very different beginnings, they share many similarities, such as how they design investment portfolios using robo-advisor technology and offer low-cost funds. But, they also have their differences that cater to distinct types of investors. So, to identify which platform might be right given your financial plan, here is what you need to know. Remember that coming up with long-term financial plan is something a  financial advisor can be extremely helpful with. Read More...

Jan 14, 2021 Interactive Brokers has been a leader in the active investing space since its start in 1993. It is not alone, however, in standing out. One of the pioneers of online brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade, offers intuitive platforms and educational resources geared toward the beginner investor. While both platforms are similar in many ways, a few key differences that set them apart. To better understand which platform makes sense for your investing needs, here is what you should know before working with Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade. A financial advisor can help you determine which online brokerage service makes most sense given your investment goals, risk profile and investing style as well as help you put together a personalized financial plan. Read More...

Mar 08, 2021 Robinhood and E*TRADE may be the two most important names in online trading. In many ways E*TRADE introduced the world to online investments, taking stocks and bonds from the world of corner offices to kitchen tables. A couple decades later, Robinhood lapped its predecessor and took trading from laptop screens to smartphones. In other words, E*TRADE invented website-based trading as we think of it today, while Robinhood may have moved that revolution to investment apps. A financial professional can offer advice on investing, retirement planning, financial planning and various other areas of finance.  Find a financial advisor today.   Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 As you begin investing, you’ll likely hear about two popular online investing companies: Vanguard and TD Ameritrade. These are two of the largest brokerage firms in the U.S. While the companies have a few similarities, they each cater to vastly different investors. In either case, it's wise to work with a financial advisor to develop financial goals and realistic steps to reach that goal. Here is what you need to know before deciding to work with Vanguard or TD Ameritrade. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Two of the most popular online brokerages are Robinhood and Vanguard. The former is a highly streamlined platform designed for  new investors. It presents users with a clean trading interface, without the intimidating wall of information and options that can scare off novices. Vanguard, meanwhile, offers a full-service trading platform and specializes in mutual funds. Here is what you need to know before deciding whether one or the other is best for you. Whether you have already made a decision about an online trading platform or are still mulling your options, a financial advisor can give you valuable advice on how best to proceed. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Online trading platform  Vanguard offers a full-service securities trading capability but is best known for its huge range of mutual funds. E*TRADE, which arguably ushered in the modern era of online finance, offers a streamlined, easy-to-use day trading app where investors can trade stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETF), futures and options. Each product is aimed at two distinct types of investors. From fees to features and more, here's what you need to know about each one. It is wise to work directly with a financial advisor who can give you more information on the ins and outs of what you should look for in a platform. Read More...

Jan 04, 2021 Investing in the stock market can help you build a portfolio and grow wealth. But there is a certain amount of risk involved when purchasing stocks and other securities. Paper trading is something you might consider if you’re a newer investor who’s still learning the basics of how the market works. Though it may sound like a complicated concept, it simply involves creating hypothetical trades on paper without actually placing them in the market. Paper trading is relatively easy to do, though it does have some pros and cons to keep in mind. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 Money makes money. It might not be fair, but it’s one of the oldest rules of investing. The more cash you have to put into your portfolio, the more choices and opportunities you have to grow those investments even further. Looking for ways to invest a large amount of money can be fairly tricky, although it’s certainly a good problem to have. Figuring out what to do with all your money is the sweet spot of personal finance. But it’s also complicated. Even six-figure financial planning can open up the kind of long-term planning unavailable to someone managing a smaller portfolio, along with assets and investment categories you might not otherwise have been able to afford. Of course, getting the input of a financial advisor in these situations is strongly recommended. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 Wealthfront and Vanguard specialize in two different types of online trading platforms. While Vanguard offers a full-service trading platform, it specializes in mutual funds. Wealthfront, on the other hand, is what is known as a robo-advisor service. This means that you don’t select any specific security at all. Instead the firm helps you to select financial priorities and goals, and based on these choices it allocates your money among a series of pre-made portfolios. Each firm's online service is an excellent choice for long-term, hands-off investors, yet each approaches this subject in a different way. Coming up with long-term financial goals is something a  financial advisor can be extremely helpful with.  Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 Investors looking for online investing platforms choose Charles Schwab or Robinhood for two very different experiences. With Charles Schwab you will get a full-featured investment platform, with all of the opportunities and complexity that this entails. Investors using Schwab’s tools can trade almost any way they want to but will have to learn how to wade through the data-rich world of a serious trader. Robinhood, on the other hand, offers an intuitive trading experience through an investment platform almost entirely devoid of complexity. Yet in the process this eliminates most of the tools and assets that serious traders rely on to navigate the market. You also may have heard about both platforms during the Gamestop-fueled trading mania in January 2021. Here’s how the two stack up. Read More...

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