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Investing

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

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

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

Aug 26, 2021 Dividend growth modeling helps investors determine a fair price for a company’s shares, using the stock’s current dividend, the expected future growth rate of the dividend and the required rate of return for the individual’s portfolio and financial goals. The dividend growth model is relatively easy to perform and can provide a helpful way to decide whether or not to invest in a particular security. Just keep in mind that the assumptions used may not turn out to be accurate. Read More...

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

Aug 26, 2021 Since exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) have become popular investments, there is an ongoing discussion about the pros and cons of investing in an ETN vs. ETF. Both are investments that help an investor diversify their portfolio. Each has definite pros and cons associated with it. They differ in many ways and each has specific risks that an investor should consider before investing. Speak to a financial advisor to find out if an ETN or ETF is right for you to use to diversify your portfolio. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 20, 2021 Iron condors and iron butterflies are very similar and popular options trading strategies. Both can profit by selling short positions in the face of low implied volatility, and both use long positions to limit risk. Though similar, there are key differences. The major one is that the maximum profit zone for a condor is much bigger than that for a butterfly, but the tradeoff is a lower profit potential. Here’s what you need to know.  Read More...

May 07, 2021 A protective put might be the closest you can come to having your cake and eating it too, at least as far as finance is concerned. It is a strategy based on the elective nature of options contracts, in which the investor buys both a put-position options contract and a long position in the underlying asset itself. This is a way of profiting off rising prices while hedging against falling ones. Here’s how it works. Read More...

May 06, 2021 The iron butterfly options trading strategy aims to profit investors during periods of low volatility. Also known as the “short iron butterfly” or the “iron fly,” the strategy makes its money off price stability. As an investor you open several different contracts. Your profit comes from keeping the premiums on your contracts so long as the market doesn't move. You also hedge your risk with a few long positions in case the market does move. On the other hand, you risk a loss if prices start to move significantly in either direction. Here’s how it works.  Read More...

May 05, 2021 A quant hedge fund is a pooled investment vehicle that uses quantitative analysis to select securities. This means that the fund relies on research and mathematical and statistical modeling to predict how an investment will perform. While investing in hedge funds is reserved only for accredited investors, anyone can work with a financial advisor to build an investment portfolio and meet their money goals. Read More...

Jun 03, 2021 AMC Theatres has been around for a century. But a high-profile short squeeze coordinated on Reddit sent the company’s stock price soaring in early 2021. After a brief pause shares rocketed up again in late May, with the share price popping nearly 200% by early June. The flurry of activity created a newfound buzz for the world's largest movie theater chain, which had been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic. Below, we’ll take a look at AMC stock and provide information that may help you decide whether to invest in the company. If you’re considering buying stock, think about working with a financial advisor who can help you craft an investment plan for your needs. Read More...

May 05, 2021 AirBnb is a popular short-term rental technology company that created a lot of buzz when it went public in December 2020. Founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia, the company has seen its stock price jump over 20% since its initial public offering (IPO), despite the coronavirus pandemic’s negative impact on global travel. If you want expert investing advice, a financial advisor can help you buy stock and other investments. Let's break down the best options for investing in AirBnB. Read More...

May 05, 2021 In early 2021, the Texas-based video game retailer GameStop dominated the financial news when its stock price skyrocketed amid a buying frenzy. GameStop (GME), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has been marked by its dramatic volatility. The stock opened 2021 trading at just $19 per share and surged to $483 in the first month of the year. The activity was fueled by a short squeeze hatched on the r/wallstreetbets Reddit forum. If you missed out on the initial GME rush and are thinking of buying shares now, consider working with a financial advisor to create a holistic investment plan. Read More...

May 05, 2021 One of the main draws to any online broker these days is the trait “low-cost.” Two key figures who currently offer zero-dollar commission trading are Ally Invest and Robinhood. However, both services are structured in very different ways. Ally Invest is just one part of a bigger financial platform and thus has more to its design. By contrast, Robinhood is a singular and simple trading service that specializes in quick trades. Either platform may be tempting to the beginning investor, but are they the right choice for you? Here are some of the ways Ally Invest and Robinhood stack up against each other. Read More...

May 05, 2021 Trading stocks and investing in other securities can help with building a well-rounded portfolio. While the two sound similar, there’s a difference in trading and investing when it comes to the speed and reliability of reaching your financial goals. If you’re unsure whether you’re a trader or an investor, or what the distinction even means, here’s a closer look at what each one means and how it can affect your finances. Work with a financial advisor to make sure your investment strategy and tactics reflects your orientation as an investor or a trader. Read More...

May 01, 2021 When managing your personal finances, it’s important to make the best use of every dollar. Setting up a sweep account at your bank or online brokerage is one way to do it. Sweep accounts allow you to earn interest on money that you’re not actively saving or investing. These accounts work by transferring unused funds into a high-yield savings or investment option at the end of each business day. If you have an opportunity to leverage a sweep account as part of your financial strategy, it’s helpful to understand how they work. Consult with a financial advisor to make sure you're squeezing maximum value out of every investment dollar you have. Read More...

May 01, 2021 Including dividend-paying shares in your portfolio could be a smart move if you’re interested in creating passive income. The question is, which dividend stocks are worth your time? Choosing so-called Dividend Kings could make sense if you’re interested in owning companies that have raised their dividend payout for 50 years or more consecutively. Work with a financial advisor to find additional ways of generating passive income. Read More...

May 01, 2021 When trading stocks or stock options, there are certain indicators you may use to track price momentum. Implied volatility, which measures how likely a security’s price is to change, can be useful for determining whether the market is set for bearish or bullish movements. It can also be important when pricing options contracts. If you trade stocks or stock options, it’s important to understand how implied volatility works and what it can tell you. Keep in mind that venturing into options trading or beginning to do technical analysis is best done with the guidance of a financial advisor. Read More...

Apr 30, 2021 The iron condor is a strategy  in options trading. As with all options strategies, it is based on assembling a position out of several contracts. In this case, the iron condor is built out of four contracts: two short positions and two long positions. You profit by selling the short contracts and cap your risks with the long ones. You would take this position when you expect a low-volatility market. If prices don’t change very much, you will profit. If they change considerably, you can lose money. Here’s how this options trading strategy works. Read More...

Apr 30, 2021 Pfizer is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in the United States. It is one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical corporations and ranked 64th on the Fortune 500 in 2020. The firm was founded in 1849 and is based in New York City. In 2018, Pfizer merged with the consumer division of GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical company. Pfizer, whose ticker is PFE, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market cap of more than $206 billion. A financial advisor can help you determine whether Pfizer can give your portfolio a boost and how much of your investments should be in pharmaceuticals. Read More...

Apr 30, 2021 Hurdle rate is a term describing the minimum return an investor requires before deciding to buy a security or make another type of investment. It is expressed as a percentag. That is, if an investment promises to provide a return that equals or exceeds the hurdle rate, the investor may decide to go ahead with it. An investment that offers a return below the hurdle rate is unlikely to be pursued. Use of a hurdle rate has some limitations and may not be the only consideration an investor looks at, but it is widely used when selecting investments. Read More...

Apr 30, 2021 Penny trading is a tough business. A penny stock is formally defined as any stock whose price is less than $5 per share. This is the legal definition used by the SEC and other regulatory bodies, although in common practice many investors define a penny stock as stock with a share price of under $1. There are a number of challenges that are unique to this type off investing and a financial advisor can spell them out for you. Read More...

Apr 28, 2021 Cryptocurrency is a rapidly expanding market. According to Statista.com, the total dollar market value, or market capitalization, of cryptocurrencies grew approximately 300% in the year 2020 alone. That kind of market value has interested even the most cautious investors. Just like how there are online brokers that cater to every type of investor, several want to appeal to crypto traders. There are online brokerages that include cryptocurrency in their offerings, like Robinhood. On the other hand, a dedicated crypto investor may be more interested in a crypto-focused platform like Coinbase. Cryptocurrency is a volatile market, though. So, it’s important to find the platform that addresses all of your needs. Here is what you need to know about Robinhood and Coinbase to make that decision. You may also benefit from consulting a trusted financial advisor to see if cryptocurrency makes sense for your portfolio and whether these investing platforms fit your needs. Read More...

Apr 27, 2021 Interactive Advisors offers access to automated and actively managed portfolios that mirror those run by major investment firms like Vanguard and Legg Mason. This feature makes it drastically different than other robo-advisor providers that simply use algorithms to create automated portfolios that invest in a small range of passively managed funds based on the user’s risk tolerance. Interactive Advisors goes a step further. It allows you to pick a diversified portfolio managed by some of the biggest investment firms in the country, and it creates an automated replica of it for you. As a result, you get an actively management portfolio without the high management cost. With Interactive Advisors, you have access to a variety of investment strategies. For instance, you can invest in a socially responsible investing (SRI) portfolio built with stocks from companies that reflect your personal values. You can also look up portfolios to mirror based on parameters like management fees, investment minimums and risk profiles. Interactive Advisors is offered by Interactive Brokers (IBKR), a technology-focused broker dealer with more than $7.9 billion in equity capital. Read More...

Apr 27, 2021 Investing is a complicated process, so the trading platform you use should have the tech to support it and make your life easier. TradeStation and TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim know that. So these two online brokers deliver dynamic investment tools to their userbase of active traders. However, every investor has different needs. Choosing the right brokerage to fit those requirements will bring out the strengths in your investment strategy. Here’s what you should know if you are considering TradeStation or thinkorswim as your online broker. Keep in mind: A financial advisor can support your investment practices. They can help you figure out the right approach for your goals and bonds. Read More...

Aug 26, 2021 There is a vast array of online financial services that are designed to help every type of investor. Like tastyworks and thinkorswim, which is a trading platform of TD Ameritrade, some businesses find niches in the market and develop newer platforms to address those needs. That is where tastyworks and thinkorswim come in – two investing services that balance low costs with complex trading tools. However, it’s not enough to say the two are similar; small differences can either make or break a platform depending on the investor. If you want to figure out whether tastyworks's or thinkorswim’s toolkit is right for you, here’s how the two stack up. Read More...

Apr 22, 2021 One of the biggest trends in online trading has been the convergence of brokerage business models. Brokerages want your business, and it’s getting increasingly hard for any one of them to stand out. Features like low minimums and prices increasingly overlap, particularly among firms that compete for the general and retail market. Specialized services (like brokers who focus on day traders and foreign currencies) have an easier time pursuing clients on tools. However, many have taken a new approach … account bonuses. Read More...

Apr 22, 2021 A futures contract is one of the most complex and riskiest securities traded today. That's because if you hold the wrong side of a futures contract, your losses aren't capped by an up-front purchase price. Instead your gains or losses are determined after the contract closes. This can set you up for big gains and big losses. Trading futures well means that you need the right tools. Depending on your needs in the marketplace, one of the platforms reviewed below can help you make the most of this asset. A financial advisor can help you decide if futures trading fits with your investing strategy, timeline and risk profile. Read More...

Apr 22, 2021 Discount brokerages have become the dominant model online. By historic terms, the online brokerage business is still just in its infancy. E*TRADE, which arguably started the modern era of online trading, launched its website a mere 27 years ago. (Although, perhaps shockingly, the company actually made its first trade in 1983.) The rest of the industry followed suit over the 2000s, as banking moved from something you did over your lunch break to a website you visited and now to an app on your phone. Read More...

Apr 22, 2021 The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), formerly known as the Karachi Stock Exchange, was created when exchanges in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad were merged by the Pakistan government. The PSX is now the only stock exchange in Pakistan. With 546 companies listed, the exchange has a total market capitalization of approximately $50 billion. Investing overseas can enhance your investment portfolio, but before you take such a step consider working with a  financial advisor who’s familiar with global exchanges. Read More...

Apr 22, 2021 The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) is the world’s third-largest exchange, with a total market capitalization of approximately $6.8 trillion. The Tokyo-based exchange lists nearly 3,800 companies. The exchange merged with another exchange based in Osaka in 2013 to form Japan Exchange Group (JPX). If you're interested in investing on foreign exchanges consider working with a financial advisor who's familiar with non-U.S. bourses. Read More...

Apr 22, 2021 The oldest exchange in Asia is the Bombay Stock Exchange, based in Mumbai and now known as the BSE. Its roots go back to the 1850s. With a market capitalization of approximately $2.2 trillion, it is the second-largest stock exchange in India by market capitalization, after the government-owned Indian Stock Exchange, or NSE. The BSE has more listed companies than the NSE, however, with more than 5,600 listed firms. If you're interested in investing on foreign exchanges consider working with a financial advisor who's familiar with non-U.S. bourses. Read More...

Apr 21, 2021 A mutual fund load is the sales commission that an investor pays a broker when buying or selling certain mutual funds. While not all mutual funds have loads, those that do will vary depending on when the commission is paid. A financial advisor can help you pick the right mutual funds and other assets to reach your financial goals. Front-end load mutual funds are the most common type of load funds. Let's break down how they work. Read More...

Apr 28, 2021 Liability-driven investments are commonly used to minimize risk, as they seek to cover current and future financial obligations. The liability-driven investment (LDI) strategy is often employed by defined benefit plans, which guarantee retirement payouts to those who contribute to the pension. However, individual investors can also use the LDI strategy as an approach to generate asset returns. If you have questions about liability-driven investments or other investing topics, consider working with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Apr 21, 2021 Mutual funds combine investor money with the purpose of diversifying assets in different areas of the market. While they are often classified by the types of assets that they comprise, they can also be broken down by fees. Mutual funds that charge sales loads or commissions are known as load funds, while those that don’t assess sales fees are called no-load funds. The Investment Company Institute says that the total value of long-term mutual funds has quadrupled between 2000 and 2020, reaching $19.5 million. And with approximately 8,000 mutual funds to choose from, investors often work with a financial advisor to create a financial plan for their investment portfolios. Here's what you need to know about load vs. no-load mutual funds. Read More...

May 03, 2021 When it comes to big-name investment platforms, E*TRADE and Interactive Brokers are two of the largest. They have long-standing histories and are full-featured investment platforms. Neither seems to be slowing down any time soon, but are they the right online brokerage for you? Here’s how E*TRADE and Interactive Brokers stack up against each other. Remember: If you want to step into the world of investment, you will benefit from some top-notch guidance. A financial advisor can offer you the help you need to create the perfect financial plan and investment strategy. Read More...

May 03, 2021 If you are looking for a reliable brokerage with decades of experience under its belt, TradeStation and Interactive Brokers have you covered. Both leading platforms have unique features but share many similarities as well. They cater to hands-on investors who want advanced tools to match. However, they are also distinct in the services they provide. If you are interested in either brokerage, here's what you need to know to find the one that fits. Remember: A  financial advisor can help you navigate the world of investment and work with you towards personal financial goals. Read More...

Apr 19, 2021 Coinbase made news in April 2021 as the first major cryptocurrency platform to go public on the U.S. stock market. But this watershed moment does not overshadow the role that it has played as a cryptocurrency trading platform and brokerage for almost a decade. Founded in 2012, Coinbase offers a wide variety of cryptocurrency-based services, including cryptocurrency investing, cryptocurrency trading and even custodial accounts for institutional cryptocurrency investors. The company also has a cryptocurrency wallet and its own USD-backed stablecoin called USD Coin (ticker: USDC). A local financial advisor can help you assess whether cryptocurrency is a good investment for your portfolio. 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...

May 14, 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...

May 06, 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...

Jun 03, 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 - often quite sharply. That's what happened in early June 2021 as  shares of AMC experienced dramatic, suddden gains. 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...

Jun 23, 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 - which has apparently forced the closure of at least one hedge fund - 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...

May 06, 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...

May 03, 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...

Sep 03, 2021 Having $500,000 to your name is a huge advantage, as there are so many investing opportunities available to you. However, the principles of building a strong portfolio remain the same for all investors, regardless of their investable assets. You should still have a specific asset allocation with investments diversified across the market. But with that level of assets, you'll have the ability to invest in unique things, like hedge funds, real estate and more. Of course, with great assets comes great responsibility, making the input of a financial advisor even more valuable. 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...

Feb 02, 2021 Charles Schwab and E*TRADE are two of the most popular investment platforms available today. Both are full-service products, meaning that they support most mainstream assets and research options. Furthermore, they are largely comparable in both price and services. There are, however, differences between the two. Here's how the two of them stack up against one another. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 You would be hard pressed to find two more opposite trading platforms than Betterment and Robinhood. The former is a robo-advisor, about as hands-off as you can get while still making decisions about your money; the latter is a trading platform whose users can invest at the speed of Tinder. Here's a description and comparison of their strengths, weaknesses and costs and which one might be best for you. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 Betterment and Acorns are two of the most popular robo-advisors on the market. As robo-advisors, neither lets you directly invest money on your own. You can’t buy or sell any individual assets through either platform. This includes even bundled assets such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETF), meaning that investors who would like to directly manage their money should select another service. If you’re looking for a hands-off investment option, either Betterment or Acorns may be the right choice for you. Here are key similarities and differences between the two. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts: Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade offer very similar online trading platforms. Both Schwab and Ameritrade offer full-service trading platforms that allow you to access most mainstream securities and research using all or almost-all mainstream forms of data. Whether you are experienced or a newcomer, either of these products will serve you well. In fact, the significant similarities may mean you should choose which firm has the largest retail presence in your area. Here's a review of these two online trading platforms (but not their retail or other offline services). Read More...

Dec 28, 2020 Investing in stocks while building a diversified portfolio can help you build wealth over the long-term. There are a number of indicators you can use to analyze stocks when deciding where to invest, including the moving average. A stock’s moving average represents its average price over a set time period, which can be anywhere from a few days to a few months. If you’re interested in using a technical analysis approach to vet equities, it’s helpful to know what the moving average means and what it tells you about a stock’s price. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 Trading securities online entails using specialized lingo so that your precise intentions are carried out. One key term that you should be familiar with, whether you are an active trader or someone who trades less frequently, is "time in force" (TIF). Time in force is a measurement of how long an order will remain active before it’s executed by your broker or it expires. It can give you control over the timing of the trade orders you place when buying and selling securities. For hands-on assistance with your investing needs, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 28, 2020 A certificate of deposit, or CD, offers a safe and secure way to save money that you may not need to use right away. CDs can offer a guaranteed rate of return on your money, in exchange for leaving those savings in the CD until it matures. A brokered CD is a savings option you may see offered through your brokerage. These CDs share some similarities with the CDs you may find at your bank or credit union. But there are some things that set brokered CDs apart from the crowd. Read More...

Dec 17, 2020 A 401(k) retirement plan fiduciary is a person who has the responsibility of managing the plan to the best interests of its participants. Federal law recognizes three types of 401(k) fiduciaries, 3(16), 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciaries. The names refer to the sections of the law describing their functions, with 3(16) fiduciaries overseeing administration of the plan, 3(21) fiduciaries making investment recommendations and 3(38) fiduciaries actually managing investments. Learn what each of these fiduciaries does. Read More...

Dec 16, 2020 The choice between Betterment and Vanguard has more to do with your investment strategy than features offered by each product. Betterment is a robo-advisor service so users invest in a series of funds automatically managed by the brokerage and cannot use this platform to invest in individual stocks, bonds, options or other securities. Vanguard is a trading platform so users can trade most mainstream securities. Here's how these two compare and contrast. Read More...

Dec 14, 2020 Vanguard and Charles Schwab have both made their names as retail firms that offer personal financial services and investment advice. While both continue to sell financial and investment management as their flagship products, they have also gotten into the online trading platform game. Each offers clients a web- and app-based portal for trading. Although they are similar in many ways, there are a few key differences. We cover these companies' online platforms (not their retail financial or other offerings). Read More...

Dec 21, 2020 Fidelity and Robinhood are about as different as two trading platforms can get. Fidelity is a full-service brokerage firm. You can trade most securities through its platform, either on your own or with the help of an advisor, and there's lots of information about whatever security you're considering available. Robinhood, on the other hand, offers a stripped-down trading platform that emphasizes ease of use, includes fewer types of securities for trade and less information about them. Here’s a look at both of them. Read More...

Dec 03, 2020 E*TRADE arguably ushered in the modern era of online finance. Although far from the only option on the market, it established itself as the brand name for web-based trading in the late '90s and early 2000s. Fidelity, by contrast, has long been one of the biggest players in the world of brick-and-mortar investments. A well-known firm for brokerage and financial advice, it has carried that reputation smoothly into the world of trading platforms. Here's what to know about each one. Read More...

Dec 03, 2020 As investing platforms, Charles Schwab and Fidelity make for a very apples-to-apples comparison. Both are long-standing brokerage houses with a history of financial management, personal advising and retail services. Both have introduced online trading platforms in the form of apps and websites. And both offer full service platforms with a wide variety of assets and information available to individual traders. Yet there are some differences. Read More...

Dec 03, 2020 TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE are two popular investment brokerages. The companies help consumers trade and invest online. If you are deciding which online company to use to help you invest your funds, then you’re probably wondering what the differences are between the two. This article compares their fees, services, online experiences, mobile features and more. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 Many people begin their investment portfolios online. And with the surge of mobile apps making investment brokerage services available on your phone, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Stash and Robinhood are two popular options for beginners interested in mobile trading. Let's compare fees, services, online experiences and mobile features. If you are looking for more personal investment experience, a financial advisor could also help you create a financial plan for your goals and needs. Read More...

Dec 02, 2020 TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are two of the most popular full-service trading platforms on the internet. Ultimately between these two giants, there are relatively few points of true distinction. If you’re looking for a trading platform that will give you access to all mainstream asset classes and a broad base of data with which to invest, either of these services will work for you. However, there are a few important points of comparison. Read More...

May 07, 2021 Comparing TD Ameritrade and Robinhood is a little bit of an exercise in apples-to-oranges. TD Ameritrade is a full-service brokerage firm offering storefront advising, online and app-based trading platforms and robo-advisors. Robinhood is a highly streamlined, primarily app-based trading platform in which investors make their own decisions. Here’s how to evaluate these two services. Read More...

Dec 21, 2020 Acorns and Robinhood are online investment tools both geared toward younger, newer investors, but they are still quite distinct. Acorns is a robo-advisor tool that helps people invest by automatically skimming the spare change off their digital purchases. This overage is then invested according to the platform’s algorithms and recommendations, and the result is a set-it-and-forget-it portfolio.  Robinhood is a streamlined platform designed to make investing as easy and comprehensible as possible. With a design that is often compared to Twitch gameplay or the quick reactions of Tinder, Robinhood makes engagement with a portfolio simple and fun. Read More...

Nov 23, 2020 When opening a brokerage account, you may also be given the option of opening a cash management account. Cash management accounts share some of the same features as checking accounts but they’re not traditional bank accounts like the kind you’d find at a bank or credit union. Also known as CMAs, these accounts can be helpful for managing money, including cash that you don’t plan to invest right away. Learning more about how a cash management account works can help you decide if opening one is right for you. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 Set by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the federal funds rate directly controls whether banks will lend any excess reserves to meet federal requirements. This rate has a huge impact on inflation, short-term borrowing and even investing. In this guide, we explore the federal funds rate and explain how it works.  Read More...

May 07, 2021 Webull and Robinhood are two popular online stock trading platforms where users can invest and make trades largely commission-free. Webull advertises itself as much to the desktop market as to app-based users, if not more, and tends to aim toward more sophisticated investors. Robinhood has built more of a “gamification” market, emphasizing its app-based approach and ease of use for new investors. However, Robinhood’s appeal to inexperienced investors is a marked contrast to its emphasis on options trading, a highly sophisticated area of the market, and this can create problems for some users. Here’s how these two investment apps compare and contrast. Another option is to find a financial advisor to help you navigate the world of investing. Read More...

Nov 09, 2020 A volatility ETF is an exchange traded fund (ETF) that tracks share price changes in a specific index of the stock market. These funds make their money based on the degree to which prices are changing across the market. The specifics are different based on individual funds, as various volatility ETFs offer exposure to volatility in varied ways. However, if you want to trade based on how turbulent you think the market will be, these are often worth considering. Here's what you need to know to make an investment decision about these securities. Of course, it's always a wise idea to consult with a financial advisor when considering an investment, including an ETF investment. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), also known as a  blank check company, is a publicly traded company created for the purpose of buying or merging with another company or companies. For reasons explained below, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has particular regulations for special purpose acquisition companies, which differ from shell companies and venture capital companies. If you want to invest in a SPAC, a financial advisor can help guide you through the process. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 One way the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) protects investors is by restricting who can put their money into particularly high-risk, loosely regulated or complex financial offerings. While anyone who has the money can buy stocks and bonds, the SEC restricts participation in ventures that are more lightly regulated, opaque or risky to what it calls the "sophisticated investor." Here's what you need to know about this type of investor and what it takes to become one. Read More...

Nov 09, 2020 Dilutive securities are any financial instrument that can increase the number of shares a company has outstanding. Examples include convertible bonds, options, warrants and preferred stock. The effect of dilutive securities is to reduce the price of shares and earnings attributable to each share. That's one reason many shareholders object when a board of directors issues dilutive securities. Read More...

Nov 06, 2020 Mutual funds can offer a streamlined way to build an investment portfolio. Rather than purchasing individual stocks or bonds, you can buy mutual fund shares to gain exposure to multiple investments in a single basket. Evaluating the quality of mutual funds means looking at different factors, including its expense ratio, the fund manager's track record and its past performance. Trailing returns can tell you how a fund has performed over a set time frame, though they aren't a guaranteed indicator of a fund will perform in the future. Read More...

Nov 06, 2020 When deciding where to invest your money, there are different ratios you can use to find the right companies to back. One of them is earnings per share (EPS), which is one way to measure a company's profitability. The higher this number, the more profitable a company is likely to be. But what is a good EPS and what influences a particular company's ratios? Asking those kinds of questions can help you better evaluate a company and its profit potential when deciding whether to add it to your investment portfolio. Read More...

Nov 04, 2020 Buying the dip is a tactic in which traders buy an asset, usually a stock, immediately after its price declines, anticipating that the price will go back up in the near term. There are many reasons why a trader might employ this approach, but when traders refer to buying the dip, they specifically are referring to buying the shares right after a price drop to capture specifically anticipated, generally near-term, gains. Read More...

Nov 04, 2020 One of the most important features of an asset is how quickly or slowly it can be converted into cash. Whether it's investors seeking details about a company's finances or market players trying to figure out the fair market value, an asset's liquidity or lack thereof, known as illiquidity, is a vital piece of financial information. Learn what an illiquid asset is and why it matters in both  accounting and finance. Read More...

Nov 04, 2020 If safety is a top priority for your investments, you should consider Series I bonds. They are bonds issued by the U.S. government that carries a zero-coupon interest rate and are annually adjusted for inflation. The return on these bonds, which are typically considered variable interest bonds, are generally low. However, this reflects the high security they enjoy because of being backed by the federal government. Here's what you need to know about these unique securities. Read More...

Nov 03, 2020 While a company's sales, also known as revenue, often get a great deal of attention from the public, business owners, managers, investors and lenders pay particularly close attention to another key metric, EBITDA. That's an acronym for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization." It is a more nuanced tool than revenue and can illuminate how well or poorly cash flow is generated from operations. Here's what to know about revenue and EBITDA. If you want help understanding how a firm's EBITDA impacts its investment potential, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 A commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) is a type of income-generating security that's backed by commercial real estate mortgages instead of residential property mortgages. These assets can be good investments in one regard, given the steady returns they generate but are somewhat speculative in another, given that the commercial real estate market can often be volatile. However, they are rarely available to retail investors, often being more expensive than products available on the common market. Here's what you need to know about this type of investment. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 StarCraft changed the world. This computer game was arguably the first major esport, or electronic sport, with immense popularity and a professional circuit in many parts of the world, particularly the U.S. and East Asia. Today many games have a professional following, and it’s possible to invest in them. Read More...

Oct 29, 2020 One of the most important questions for investors is how efficiently a company uses its assets to generate revenue. This information is not readily found in the most common financial reports, such as  balance sheets. The performance numbers of a large business may hide otherwise poor performance. This obscurity sometimes plagues legacy firms that may not have adapted well over the years but which have significant wealth on which to coast. On the other hand, a small but well-run general partnership, for example, can nevertheless look like a poor investment based on its share price or relatively modest assets. As a result, stock investors have developed metrics such as the asset turnover ratio (ATR) to gauge how efficiently a company uses its assets to bring in revenue.  Read More...

Oct 29, 2020 The FAANG stocks are a collection of five high-value securities in the tech sector and some of the most valuable shares traded on the U.S. exchanges. Together they are Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. The stocks in the FAANG acronym, originally coined by Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" and TheStreet.com, make up a hefty plurality of the S&P 500’s value and are attractive to investors. Read More...

Oct 27, 2020 The Russell 2000 Index is a stock market index that measures the performance of approximately 2,000 of the smallest-capitalization U.S. corporations in the Russell 3000 Index, which is made up of 3,000 of the largest American stocks. It is a useful alternative to indexes like the S&P 500, which tracks the shares of the 500 largest U.S. corporations, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which tracks the shares of the nation's 30 largest industrial corporations. Read More...

May 19, 2021 Bitcoin is one of the most valuable and volatile assets on the market. By February 2021 it had soared to an intraday high of nearly $60,000, more than nine times a year-earlier intraday level. Whether you're interested in this cryptocurrency or other blockchain-based assets as either a currency or as an investment, bitcoins can be bought online, at an ATM and even in person. Here's what you need to know about each of these options. However, before you dive into cryptocurrency investing consult with a financial advisor who can help you avoid costly mistakes that some retail investors make. Read More...

Oct 23, 2020 Perhaps the single greatest mistake that investors make is the idea that trading is a purely technical practice, one driven exclusively by the logic of numbers. But the truth is that traders work on emotion just as often as they work on rationale. In fact, as Warren Buffet is known for noting, much of the market is driven by a balance of fear and greed. This raises the question of whether there are even ways that could help gauge this emotion in the first place. The Japanese candlestick chart is an example of one such tool. It attempts to measure that emotion and help investors understand it. Here's what you need to know to use it and make better investing decisions. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds can make investing easier. Instead of buying individual stocks or bonds, you can buy a collection of them in a single fund. But all mutual funds aren't the same, and it's important to know what type of fund you're buying. A blend fund is one example of a mutual fund that follows a specific investment strategy. If you're looking for exposure to growth and value stocks in one place, blend funds could be right for you. But it's helpful to understand how these funds work and the pros and cons before making an investment. For additional expert guidance, consider getting paired with a trusted financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Oct 12, 2020 Free cash flow is a measure that helps business owners, investors and others assess a business’s financial performance and outlook. Free cash flow is defined as operating cash flow minus capital expenditures. Strong free cash flow can indicate that a company is well-run and making money off its operations. It can also be affected by investing more or less in long-term capital assets, changing the way a company collects from customers and pays suppliers and by selling off corporate assets. Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 For certain investors, a unified managed account (UMA) could help streamline investment management. It is professionally managed, and can hold a variety of different investments. However, you might prefer this option if you have a high net worth and substantial assets. Here's more UMAs and how they work. Read More...

Feb 08, 2020 Companies of all sizes repurchase outstanding shares of their stock for a variety of reasons. It can help boost share prices or save some shares as incentives for a company's employees. Repurchased shares are known as a treasury stock. Here's how they affect investment and a company’s balance sheet. Read More...

Feb 08, 2020 You buy insurance to protect you and your things. So how do insurance issuers protect themselves? Well, reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. It minimizes the risk of any single event, disaster, or other emergency. Here’s a breakdown of how reinsurance works for insurance companies. Read More...

Jan 16, 2020 As you build your wealth, it's important to protect your assets against any unforeseen events. While not as direct a way of saving as investing, insurance planning can save you significant amounts of money over the long-term. Think of insurance planning as a precautionary investment that shelters you from financial loss. As you get older, you may want to consider incorporating such coverage into your financial plan because it can be the deciding factor in how much you spend compared to how much you earn. Below, we'll look further into the different types of insurance and explore the process behind paying for different policies. To access the help of a financial advisor, consider using SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Mar 31, 2021 An annuity can provide a stream of guaranteed income for life, taking some stress out of retirement planning. But what happens to an annuity when you die? There is no one answer, because it depends on the type of annuity you have and the terms that were laid out when you purchased it. For help with annuities, estate planning and any other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Three financial documents can evaluate the health of a business: the balance sheet, the income statement and the cash flow statement. Each measures and reports on different aspects of a company’s financial condition. However, the balance sheet and income statement hold particular importance. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 When you go to a doctor, you may prefer one who puts your health first. When it comes to your money, you likely want a professional with your interests in mind. An Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA) can work in your best interests. Here’s how people get that title and how they work for you. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 Personal investing is one thing, but can governments invest too? (Hint: The answer is yes.) A sovereign wealth fund, or SWF, is a state-owned investment fund that taps into a country's cash reserves. The goals of an SWF are to boost a country's economy and the well-being of its citizens through investments in stocks, bonds, real estate and other areas with growth potential. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Unless you're dreaming of  becoming a landlord or trying your hand at flipping houses, real estate funds might be just the investment you've been looking for. There are a number of reasons why  real estate holdings make attractive additions to a portfolio. If you're interested in venturing into real estate funds, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Jan 21, 2020 Want to go beyond stocks, bonds and cash? Alternative investments can include everything from real estate to fine art. If you're looking for another way to diversify your portfolio, alternative investments may be worth considering. Read on to discover if alternative investments make sense for your portfolio. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Your time horizon is a crucial element of your investing plan. By understanding your time horizon you can select the most suitable investments to help you achieve your financial goals. Read on to discover what a time horizon is, why it matters and how to determine your time horizon. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Due to trade war fears, policy uncertainty and a host of other factors, investors are leery about what the future holds for the stock market. But certain funds are designed to bet against the market or weather a bear market. Read on to discover how bear market funds work and if they can protect your portfolio. Read More...

Dec 06, 2019 Whether they hedged against inflation or worried about the market crashing, investors regularly resorted to gold to offset risk. There are many ways to invest in gold, including gold mutual funds. Read on to discover how to invest in specialized gold ETFs and gold mutual funds; and what to look for in a fund. Read More...

Jun 01, 2020 Municipal bonds ( or “munis”) are a fixture among income-investing portfolios. Investors who want a higher returns can invest in high yield municipal bonds. These bonds pay more than investment-grade counterparts, but are risky. There’s a realistic chance you’ll never get that money back. Here’s how they work. Read More...

Dec 06, 2019 Investors with an eye for growing economies can invest in emerging market funds such as a mutual fund and an ETF. Over the past 20 years, investors have found great success in countries such as China and India. These countries have had dramatic growth and investors have reaped exceptional returns buying securities linked to these economies. Here's where to find emerging market funds and what to look for in such funds. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 Investing in a small-cap value fund is a simple way to diversify your portfolio. These funds offer exposure to companies with a smaller market capitalization and an investment focus on value instead of growth. Small-cap value funds can come in a few different forms, such as traditional mutual funds, index funds or even ETFs. But although the small-cap stocks of early-stage companies have the potential to provide prosperous growth, they can often be equally volatile. A financial advisor can help you build and manage a diversified portfolio. Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 Many companies have a chief investment officer (CIO), someone who’s in charge of a company’s financial assets. They typically manage  long-term investments, portfolios of securities, pension funds, ensure adequate liquidity and a team of financial experts. Not all companies need to hire a full-time CIO, who is sometimes a director, and some can’t afford such a full-time salaried position. Instead, some companies are better off outsourcing CIOs. Here’s what an outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) is and when it’s a good time to hire one. Read More...

Jul 29, 2020 High-yield bonds, also known as junk bonds, are corporate or government debt securities that analysts believe are likely to default. Junk bonds are suitable for investors comfortable with high risk. For retail investors these securities can play an important role in their portfolio, provided the risk is understood. Here’s what you should know. Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 Bond duration is a double-edged sword. Companies that issue bonds repay their debts over 10, 20 or even 30 years. For investors bond coupons generate limited but steady returns for years. They also lock up money. Short term bond funds solve that problem by maturing in less than a year. Here’s how they work. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 You most likely heard about quantitative easing during the Great Recession. With talk of recession more common recently, you will likely hear about it again. Quantitative easing is when central banks use newly printed money to purchase large numbers of securities. Here's how it works and what it does. Read More...

Oct 15, 2020 Corporate social responsibility is the idea that a company, though they are obviously driven primarily by a profit motive, have the duty to think about how their business impacts the world and to minimize harm and maximize positive societal outcomes. The growing realization that a corporation's conduct will have either a positive or negative effect on stakeholders and the environment has made corporate social responsibility (CSR) an important aspect of modern-day business operations. It also has become an important consideration for retail investors. If you run a small company and need help with corporate social responsibility or any other issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Commodities trading involves buying and selling hard assets that are typically agricultural in nature or naturally occurring. Investing in commodities often means trading futures contracts, which can be profitable but risky. Commodity mutual funds are an alternative way to diversify using commodities, and they can yield several benefits to investors. If you're interested in branching out with your portfolio, this guide walks you through the most important things to know about commodity funds. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Utility funds are designed to target the utilities sector of the stock market. You can invest in traditional mutual funds or choose utility exchange-traded funds (ETFs) instead. Both have their pros and cons when constructing a diversified portfolio. If you're unfamiliar with what the utilities sector covers, this guide explains how the various utility funds work and how to invest in them. Read More...

Nov 29, 2019 Looking for an investment that can help manage risk in your portfolio? Consider market neutral funds, which aim to provide stable returns and mitigate risk in various stock market environments. But like with any investment strategy, it's worth weighing the pros and cons before you commit. Here's what you need to know about market neutral funds, and the potential benefits and drawbacks they bring. Read More...

Aug 28, 2020 Equity refers to the value of a company's ownership shares. This is most often utilized in the context of a company's balance sheet, and there is a specific calculation that dictates its valuation. More specifically, equity is the complete, liquid value of a company minus any applicable debts or liabilities. Knowing exactly what this term means is essential to understanding a company's finances. In turn, if you better understand a company's financial situation, you'll be able to make more educated investment decisions about its stock. If you need hands-on help with your investments, consider working with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 There are some financial chores you might have down to a science, like budgeting, filing  taxes or auto-payments. And if you're an investor, you should add portfolio optimization to this list. With regular portfolio review, you can make adjustments and increase the likelihood you'll end up with comfortable returns instead of frustrating results. A few quick exercises can help make portfolio optimization more straightforward. If you're just getting started, a financial advisor may help you establish routines for a lifetime of investing. Read More...

Nov 29, 2019 Investing in futures is a way to benefit from stock market movements without actually owning a particular security. Managed futures is considered an alternative investment strategy that can be used as a hedging tool within a portfolio. Though there are several benefits to investing in managed futures, it's not necessarily right for everyone. If you're thinking about adding managed futures to your portfolio, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Nov 26, 2019 There are many ways to invest in real estate. Two of the most obvious are purchasing a rental property or investing in fix-and-flip projects. Investing in global real estate is also a possibility. If you're expanding your horizons, here's what you should know about real estate beyond your backyard. Read More...

Nov 26, 2019 The terms "Wall Street" and "Main Street" get tossed around a lot in conversations about the financial industry. But not everyone has a clear understanding of how they differ — especially when it comes to investing their money. Here's how Wall Street and Main Street are different, and why that matters when it comes to shaping your investing strategy. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 A market maker is typically a large bank or institution. They help ensure the liquidity of a market by offering to both buy and sell securities. As an investor, there are some things you need to know about market makers. Here's how they work, why they’re important to the market, and how they use supply and demand. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 The Sortino Ratio helps measure the risk-adjusted return of an investment. Both it and the Sharpe Ratio determine an investment's return through risk-adjusted methods. However, the Sortino Ratio only factors in downside volatility. Learn about the Sortino Ratio, how people use it, and how it can benefit investors. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 Investments come in many different forms. At one end are stocks, which are considered fairly high-risk, but can give you high returns. On the other end are low-risk investments, including the money market. If you seek safety, security, and low-risk investments, money markets might be the right choice for you. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 If you’re looking to maximize investment returns, perhaps you should think like a gambler. The Kelly criterion was used by horse racing gamblers in the late 1950s. Today, Warren Buffet and others use it for investing purposes. Before addressing your investment strategy, learn about the Kelly criterion and see if it's a fit for you. Read More...

Nov 21, 2019 Many investors build their portfolios around index funds. These bundled assets provide a return that tracks some third-party metric such as the price of gold, the bond market or, commonly, the U.S. stock market. The S&P 500 average annual return makes its index one of the most stable investors can ask for. Here's what it looks like. Read More...

Jun 01, 2020 You get in the shower and turn on the hot tap. The water's cold, so you turn the tap a little further. Still nothing, so you give it another nudge. Then, all that hot water bursts out at once. You let out an undignified yelp and jump backwards, suddenly understanding how a stock market bubble bursts and a Great Recession begins. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 The Series 27 Financial and Operations Principal (FINOP) is a license that allows its holder to oversee the financial operations in one specific organization, namely a member firm brokerage. Also, the name refers to the exam the license holder must pass. We'll explore the role the qualification plays in the regulatory structure of the investing and brokerage business. However, a financial advisor can help you learn more about brokerages and which ones might suit your investing objectives. Read More...

Nov 18, 2019 Whether you're looking to buy or sell a security, you'll likely use a registered representative to help complete the transaction. Registered representatives, usually working with a brokerage firm, help their clients trade securities and provide investment advice. Their practices are heavily regulated, and each representative has passed comprehensive qualifying exams. We’ll explore the fundamentals of how registered representative approaches their profession, but the securities industry is extremely complex. If you are eager to learn more, consider finding a financial advisor who can assist your investment strategy. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 Hypothecation is the practice of pledging collateral in order to secure debt. This comes up most often in mortgage lending, but it can apply to any kind of debt. It shows up in investing, but hypothecation and riskier rehypothecation can have consequences for homeowners. Learn the basics of hypothecation and how it works. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 There are many different strategies for managing an investment portfolio But did you know you can automate trades within that portfolio? Algorithmic trading automatically places stock orders based on price and other conditions. Here are the basics of this method, how it works, its pros and cons, and when to use it. Read More...

Nov 16, 2019 In stock trading, there are several buying and selling strategies to choose from. Price action trading is one of them. Rather than relying on technical analysis or fundamental analysis, price action trading simplifies tracking and acting on stock trends. If you think it could help build your portfolio, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Nov 15, 2019 The capital market refers to the arena where securities are created and traded between investors. Within this capital market are a primary market and a secondary market, each of which serves a different purpose. Those markets work together to promote economic growth while allowing companies to raise capital via investors. Read More...

Nov 15, 2019 Smart beta knows that every investor wants to beat the market. Few actually pull it off. Most of the time, a long-term, passive strategy built around reliable index funds will outperform most active trading schemes. Most of the time. Yet even index funds could use some help. This is where smart beta comes in. Read More...

Dec 15, 2020 Simply put, an entrepreneur is someone who starts a business. But in the age of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, entrepreneurs hold a revered place in the public imagination. They have become identified with special intelligence, visionary powers —and self-made billions. Now an entrepreneurial spirit is more than having lots of energy and ideas. It's also about problem-solving, risk-taking, disrupting the status quo and raising lots of venture capital. Business schools have separate programs for entrepreneurs while TV shows have turned entrepreneurship into a competition. Here’s more about what an entrepreneur is and what one does. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 There was a time where finances and technology were separate, like church and state. If you needed money, you went to the bank. If you wanted to play games, you used a machine. But now, there is fintech: The marriage between finance and technology. Here’s what financial technology means for your future. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 If you own a company that is looking to get an initial public offering (IPO), you might need to raise equity capital from financial institutions. However, you can do that through equity capital markets, which are broader than the stock market. Learn how equity capital markets work and what ECM groups do. Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 All investors seek a balance between risk and return that works for their temperament and circumstances. Allocation of capital drives many investment strategies, but some focus on risk allocation instead. One such strategy is risk parity, which spreads risk across asset classes to deliver returns that don't swing up and down with the market. This approach can appeal particularly to investors who want to avoid concentrating their portfolio risk in stocks. While it's a popular strategy, you may want to consider working with a financial advisor to determine if it suits your investment approach. Read More...

Nov 13, 2019 It's likely that most investors rarely thin about the world of private equity, even though private equity funds control billions of dollars in assets. In the best cases, they reap enormous returns for their investors and help launch some dynamic companies. These funds are not for casual investors, but it can be helpful to learn how they operate and ways you can directly or indirectly invest in them. We'll cover the private equity fund basics here, but if you have large assets to invest, consider working with a financial advisor who can explain how specific funds work. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 Investing and financial planning are all about the numbers, so it's easy to see why economists long assumed people approach these subjects logically. And they do, but only sometimes, which is one of the key insights of the growing field of behavioral economics. Researchers have found abundant evidence that people often are more irrational about finances, investing and reading markets than previously known. Understanding how biased and oversimplified thinking can influence perspective can be fascinating-and very useful to investors. If you need more insights, consider finding a financial advisor to help you design a smart investing approach. Read More...

Nov 13, 2019 The bond market is a safe harbor when the stock market starts going pear shaped, or just feels a bit wobbly. They come in all shapes and sizes from Treasury to junk, and are often a very strong option for someone looking to diversify their portfolio with a bit of stability. Here’s what you need to know about bonds and bond investment. Read More...

Nov 12, 2019 Investing smart means using the right tools. Whether that’s considering a stock’s volatility metrics or its price history, you won’t invest as well without the proper resources. One such resource? The market profile chart, first used in 1984. A market profile chart conveys a stock’s price and volume information over time in one quick format. It can be useful for long-term investors , speculators and day traders alike — if, that is, you know how to read one. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 In options trading, “delta” represents volatility. It is one of a set of variables, collectively known as “the Greeks, that traders use to assess the risk of a derivative. Here's what you need to know about delta neutral investing and how it works. Read More...

Nov 11, 2019 If you're an investor, chances are you're looking for a reliable way to keep tabs on how your money is doing. And while various methods exist to measure the performance of an investment portfolio, calculating the time-weighted return (TWR) is the most common. The TWR measures the compound rate of growth in a portfolio while accounting for inflows and outflows of money. Read on for more about the time-weighted return and how to use it to evaluate the performance of your investments. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 Whether you’re a financial novice or a seasoned investor, getting some help from an expert might be good for you. If you need some help with financial planning, investing, or managing wealth a Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) may be a good bet. Here's what a CWM is and how its stands out from other financial experts. Read More...

Nov 08, 2019 CAN SLIM is an investing strategy which represents seven characteristics typically present in well performing stocks before. As a result, those traits typically manifest right before a stock sees its price increase. The term CAN SLIM or "C-A-N-S-L-I-M" is an acronym, with each letter representing one of the system's key factors.  Read More...

Sep 29, 2020 Risk is one of the most essential concepts to successful investing. Investors and capital-seekers looking for right balance on any given security drives most market activity. Alpha measures an investment's performance compared to a relevant market, like the Dow Jones or S&P 500. Here's how alpha is measured and how it's used in investing. Read More...

Nov 07, 2019 A financial firm is said to practice proprietary trading if it invests its own money to make profits for itself, instead of earning commissions by trading on a client's behalf. While the firm’s clients don’t benefit from proprietary trading, it can be very profitable for a financial firm. Read on to learn the ins and outs of proprietary trading, as well as government limits placed on the practice in the wake of the Great Recession. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 As an investor, wouldn’t it be nice to know that your portfolio both limits your risk and maximizes return? Ideally, it will do just that. The efficient frontier is a set of investment portfolios that maximizes returns while minimizing risk. Learn how the efficient frontier works, why it matters, and how it can benefit your investment strategy. Read More...

Nov 07, 2019 A flash crash occurs when electronic securities trading systems trigger a dramatic drop in price and rebounds within minutes. While flash crash occurrences are happening more often, many investors still don’t understand what causes them. Read on to learn how flash crashes work and if it’s possible to prevent them. Read More...

Mar 31, 2021 One hundred is a lot of shares. Literally, when trading stock one “lot” is defined as 100 shares. A round lot is any number of shares evenly divisible by 100, while any other amount is considered an “odd lot.” Block traders do not deal in lots of shares. They operate on a scale several orders of magnitude larger. Block trading can be somewhat complicated. This guide will walk you through what you need to know, but for more help consider finding a financial advisor to guide you. Read More...

Nov 05, 2019 The edge case scenario is realistic, but too remote to come up in daily events. Arguably, how well you manage unlikely outcomes largely defines your skill in a profession. Lawyers call them “bad cases,” and warn every first year law student that bad cases make bad law. Doctors have their rare and orphan diseases. Investors have tail risk. Read More...

Mar 24, 2020 It is clear that, once upon a time, finance types had a little more fun with their jobs. How else to explain how "dead cat bounce" came to be a widely accepted piece of financial jargon? The odd term refers to a temporary rally in the price of a stock that’s losing value. Learn what constitutes a dead cat bounce, why it happens and how you, as an investor, can benefit from this phenomenon. Worried about your investments? Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 A chartered financial analyst (CFA) is a financial advisor who has earned the title of CFA through extra accreditation, including a rigorous three-part test, from the CFA Institute . A Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) specializes in alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity. This professional must undergo 400 hours of study and pass two rigorous exams to earn the CAIA designation from the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association. We’ll explain what a CFA and a CAIA do, what it takes to earn those designations and the difference between the CFA designation and the CAIA designation. If you are looking for a financial advisor who can help you with your investments, check out SmartAsset’s pro matching tool. Read More...

Nov 04, 2019 There is no lack of investment opportunities in today's financial sector, but every investor's situation is different, and many welcome new options. If you're seeking alternatives beyond mutual funds and stocks, you might consider UCITS funds. UCITS stands for the Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities, which is a regulatory framework that governs the sale and management of mutual funds in the European Union. UCITS funds are enormously popular in Europe, but investors outside the EU can access them as well. Here's what you need to know about how these funds work. Read More...

Mar 04, 2021 With investing, the higher the risk, the more an investor expects to earn. The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) tries to estimate how much you can expect to earn given the amount of risk. The model is often used in conjunction with fundamental analysis, technical analysis and other methods of sizing up securities when making investment decisions. But many investment professionals warn that CAPM should not be used to calculate the expected return of equity shares because it does not account for the real volatility of the stock market. Let's break down the formula and consider whether investors should use it to determine the risk of an investment. If you need to develop an investing strategy, a financial advisor could help you make smart choices to reach your goals.  Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 When tracking your investment portfolio, you might compare its against a stock market index such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Ideally, you want investments to beat the Dow. The Dogs of the Dow investing strategy attempts to identify value stocks. What’s its history, does it work, and how can investors take advantage? Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 Investing in the stock market inevitably brings risk, and diversifying a portfolio doesn't eliminate it. There's always systematic risk. In other words, there's always inevitable risk that affects a market segment or the market as a whole. Systematic risk affects the entire market, not just a single stock or industry. Here's what investors need to know. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 If you’re stock market regular, you’ve likely heard of day trading: The buying and selling of securities within the same trading day. But maybe you’d like a slightly longer lead time for such transactions. Enter swing trading, which is basically day trading over a somewhat longer period. Here are some basic swing trading strategies. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Assessing the value of a company or security can take a few different forms. You can measure all stocks or securities equally, or use market capitalization. Another choice: a price-weighted index, in which each member company's stock in an index is weighted proportionally to its current share price. Read More...

Feb 25, 2021 The hyper-volatility of GameStock shares in January 2021 forced questions about what exactly market manipulation is onto center stage. What had long been seen as something only unscrupulous Wall Street giants could do now looked very much like something any ad hoc collection of retail investors could pull off, too. Did the short squeeze in GameStock shares, apparently run out of Redditt's WallStreetBets forum, breach the  Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prohibition against market manipulation? Here are the key considerations you should know. The GameStock drama underscores just how important it is to work with  a financial advisor who can help inform you about and protect you from market manipulation.  Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Since buying and selling stock is a key component of investing, it’s important for investors to understand trading terminology — especially the term "bid-ask spread." If you have no idea what that means or how it affects your investment mix and overall portfolio, read on. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 High-Frequency Trading (HFT) is controversial. Some investors say it lets people capitalize on opportunities that vanish really quickly. Others say that HTF distorts the markets by processing large numbers of orders in fractions of a second. Regardless, this trading method uses algorithms to analyze multiple markets and identify investing opportunities based on those conditions. If you need help picking an investing strategy, consider working with a financial advisor to help you create an investing plan for all of your needs and goals. Let's break down whether high-frequency trading is the right investment strategy for you. Read More...

Oct 31, 2019 Systemic risk is the risk that a company-level event could destabilize an entire industry. Think back to the financial crisis of 2008, when many companies deemed "too big to fail" did exactly that. To safeguard your investments for the next market adjustment, it helps to understand the factors that contribute to a downturn. Read on to learn more about systemic risk and how it can impact your future financial security. Read More...

Oct 29, 2019 As one of the most highly regarded compliance certifications, the Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional (CRCP) designation helps professionals increase their skills as well as knowledge of industry regulations. Read on to discover the importance of the CRCP and how it influences the companies you may do business with. Read More...

Oct 28, 2019 Restricted stock has become a common offering among employers in the last twenty years. There are two main types: restricted stock awards (RSA) and restricted stock units (RSU). Both can be lucrative parts of a compensation package, but they have important differences that can affect your long-term financial interests. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 An annuity is an insurance contract you can use to create an income stream. You can purchase an annuity to draw payments against in retirement as a supplement to tax-advantaged or taxable savings accounts. But what if you want to sell your annuity and get immediate cash? Here's why selling your annuity is something you might consider. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 Marketing professionals within the finance industry may escape licensing exams like the Series 7. However, the Certified Financial Marketing Professional (CFMP) designation from the American Banking Association (ABA) requires some testing of its own. A CFMP demonstrates expertise in bank marketing, and here's how you get it and maintain it. Read More...

Oct 24, 2019 Leverage is a common financial concept you may often hear in reference to maximizing investor returns. Commonly used by investors and companies alike, leverage is a technique that utilizes debt instead of equity to buy an asset. The expectation is that the profit from the endeavor will exceed the risk and cost of taking on additional debt. However, applying leverage to your investment strategy comes with pros and cons. If you have further questions, meet with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Neighborly is an investment company that allows investors to invest in communities seeking funding for internet infrastructure. More specifically, it focuses on bringing fiber broadband access to disadvantaged communities in the U.S. by way of direct investments in its qualified opportunity fund (QOF). As of now, investments in this QOF are only open to accredited investors, though this may change down the road. If you have questions about investing in these and other unique asset classes, try consulting with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 22, 2019 If you've ever watched a financial news program or visited a website that covers the stock market, you might notice an endlessly cycling parade of numbers, symbols and abbreviations. These collectively make up a stock ticker, which provides snapshots of activity in the stock market. Knowing how to read and understand a stock ticker is crucial to following the movements of the market. Read More...

Oct 21, 2019 An endowment is comprised of money donated to a non-profit organization. This sum of money is typically placed in an endowment fund, which is then invested. The return from those investments are used to fund the organization's operations or grow the endowment principal. Read More...

Nov 13, 2020 Dividends are like bonus payments companies pay their stockholders -- you still have the possibility of making money in the future if you sell your stock for higher than you purchased it, but for now you get a bit of money to tide you over, based on how well the firm did.These bonus earnings function as both a reward for investors and a way of generating confidence in a company's stock. Investing in dividend-yielding equities for a little extra income and an upfront return on your investment might seem like a no-brainer. However, you should examine what types of stocks pay dividends and how these payments are taxed. For help managing your investments, including dividends, consider finding a financial advisor to work with. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 Investing is a powerful way to grow your savings over time. However, one of the downsides is that you generally have to pay taxes on your investment gains. And of course, the more you pay in taxes, the less of your returns you get to keep. With the right strategy, however, it's possible to minimize the amount of taxes you'll pay on your investments. Certain investments are not subject to taxation, and investments in certain tax advantaged retirement accounts will likewise be under tax protection. As you build your portfolio, consider including these important options for minimizing taxes. If you have questions about any of these tax-efficient investments, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 If you have a diverse investment portfolio you've probably bought publicly traded stocks on the open market. But some investors operate in an alternate, well-funded investment universe. In the world of private equity, well-funded investment firms make big investments in private companies, often with the goal of taking over those companies and making them more profitable. Read More...

May 12, 2021 The consumer price index (CPI) is an economic term you've probably heard before but may not know much about. It's importance has risen since President Biden's trillion-dollar spending initiatives aimed at countering the effects of the pandemic. And the April CPI report of a 4.2% jump from April 2020 - the highest level since September 2008 and far above economists' expectations - has only furthered interest in this economic metric. Broadly speaking, the CPI measures the price of consumer goods and how they're trending. It's a tool for measuring how the economy as a whole is faring when it comes to inflation or deflation. When planning how you spend or save your money, the CPI can influence your decisions. Here's how. Read More...

Oct 07, 2019 Net worth is often used as a measurement of individual, or household, wealth. This value can give you a holistic perspective of your financial situation. In fact, the average American net worth is $68,828, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 study on wealth and asset ownership. But how is this figure calculated? And how do you calculate your own net worth? Below, we take a closer look at the factors that distinguish your net worth from your fellow Americans. Read More...

Sep 04, 2020 In investing, a prospectus is a legal document that describes an investment security to potential investors. Required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a prospectus contains facts about the company or fund issuing the security. This can include details on its finances, management, history and other information that could help investors make an informed decision. The prospectus is a key tool in an investor's toolbox, as it allows them to understand a security's risks and strategies. If even after reading an investment prospectus you still have questions, consider working with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 A subadvisor is an investment management firm that typically partners with a mutual fund investment advisor to help with the day-to-day management of the fund. They often provide specialized expertise in a specific type of investment strategy. This could include building an appropriate asset allocation, choosing securities or rebalancing the fund's portfolio. If you want some help managing your investment portfolio, check out financial advisors in your area. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Buying on margin is a technique often reserved for intermediate and advanced investors through which someone borrows money from their broker in order to  invest it. In the best-case scenario, buying stock on margin can increase your earnings significantly. On the other hand, you can be left in a world of hurt if the price of your investment drops. The world of margin investing is one of higher stakes, so it's crucial to understand the concepts and associated risks before diving in. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Bonds are a type of debt security used by government entities and corporations to raise money. Every bond come with a face value, which is sometimes called a par value. This number indicates what the bond will be worth at maturity, and it's also used to calculate the bond's interest payments. It's one of the key numbers you need to know about a bond in order to understand its value as an investment. If you have specific questions about investing in bonds, consider consulting with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 27, 2019 Market capitalization, often abbreviated as market cap, is a measure of a public company’s overall value as set by the market. Market cap can be used to compare companies. It is also a tool to help diversify a portfolio of investments and manage risk and return. The market cap of a given company is generally easy to find, though you can also calculate it yourself. Read More...

Sep 27, 2019 When you own a business, it's important to ensure your assets are protected. Being sued or carrying large amounts of debt could pose a threat to both your business and to your own personal finances. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to safeguard your assets against these kinds of dangers. Creating an asset protection plan that covers both your business and your personal assets can be an essential part of your overall financial planning strategy. Read More...

Sep 27, 2019 Whether you’re a new or veteran investor, you probably want a lot of different things from an investment. But, deciding which investments will help you achieve your financial goals may be a bit of a challenge. So, rather than putting together a portfolio of investments from scratch, many financial advisors will assign you to a pre-built model portfolio. Here's what to expect from a model portfolio and what to consider when selecting one. Read More...

Sep 26, 2019 A company's board of directors represents shareholders and supervises a company. As a result, directors are of particular importance to investors in individual stocks. It's why all publicly traded companies have boards of directors. Meanwhile, many non-profits and non-public companies have a board of directors as well. Here's how a typical board of directors works, what it does, and how board members earn their seats. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 A forward contract is an agreement between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified price at a fixed date in the future. This  investing strategy is a bit more complex and may not be used by the everyday investor. Forward contracts are not the same as futures contracts. Here's a breakdown of what they are and some pros and cons to consider. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Credit default swaps are a portfolio management tool that gained notoriety during the peak of the 2008 financial crisis. These derivative investments are bit more complex than stocks, mutual funds or bonds, but they can be an effective way to manage market risk. Here are the most important things to know about how a credit default swap works, the players involved and what it's used for. Read More...

Sep 24, 2020 Earnings per share, or EPS, is a financial measurement that tells investors if a company is profitable. You can calculate EPS by determining a company's net income and dividing it by the number of its outstanding stock shares. Savvy investors consider a company’s earnings per share when making  investment decisions. Understanding how it plays a role in selecting a stock can help investors make smart money moves. If you have questions about how EPS could affect your investment portfolio, speak with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Jun 09, 2021 You might assume that once the closing bell rings, stock market trading is done for the day. In reality, after-market trading can continue on into the late afternoon and evening. Sometimes it's actually fairly heavy. Of course, not every brokerage allows for after-market or after-hours trades, but if yours does, it's important to understand the rules, pros and cons before venturing in. A financial advisor can help you get into the after-market trading game if you aren't sure where to start. Read More...

Apr 06, 2021 You may be well-versed in the differences between stocks and bonds or how exchange-traded funds (ETFs) work, but a rights offering is one investing term you may not be as familiar with. A rights offering allows a company's shareholders the right to buy additional shares or sell those rights to another investor on the open market. Also referred to as a rights issue, this scenario isn't one you may encounter often. But if you do, it's important to understand how it works. Whether you're contemplating a rights offering or not, a financial advisor can provide invaluable guidance on selecting securities that fit your goals, timeline and risk profile. Read More...

Sep 16, 2019 A pooled investment vehicle is one way to put your money into the stock market alongside other investors. There are several ways to pool money to invest if you're looking for an alternative to trading individual stocks. Some are better known than others and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. As you shape your portfolio and pursue your investment goals, consider what pooled investments could do for you. Read More...

Sep 16, 2019 Small cap stocks are one type of stock investment you can hold in your portfolio. These stocks differ from large cap and mid cap stocks in several key ways. There are several advantages associated with investing in smaller companies, along with a few drawbacks to keep in mind. If you're contemplating adding small cap stocks to your investment strategy, here's a breakdown of what they are and how they work. Read More...

Sep 16, 2019 When it comes to investing, the higher the risk the better the reward. But what if you don’t know what your risk level is? Your risk tolerance is the level of risk you’re willing to take with your investments. You can determine your risk tolerance by evaluating your comfort level in certain investments. Before you get started with investing, learn how to choose securities that suit your risk tolerance. Read More...

Sep 14, 2019 Your net worth may be a good way to determine how much value you hold, but investable assets might be a better measure. And if you're considering working with a financial advisor, it's smart to know what your investable assets are and how much you should have. Read on to learn more so you can find the right investment strategy for you. Read More...

Sep 12, 2019 Most investors are familiar with mutual funds and retirement savings vehicles like 401(k)s. But a collective investment trust (CIT) combines some of the characteristics of both. While CITs are similar to mutual funds, they're generally only available to participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans. Learn more about CITs, from their benefits and drawbacks to how they differ from mutual funds, and who they make the most sense for financially. Read More...

Sep 11, 2019 When you begin building your investment portfolio, you may start with a mix of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and other investments. But once your nest egg grows, you may be looking for a more personalized approach. A separately managed account (SMA) not only allows your portfolio to be more personalized, but it also gives you more control over your investments. If you work with a financial advisor who manages your investments, you might have a SMA. Here's what that means and how it works. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 Large-cap, or large capitalization, stocks are a type of stock that belongs to very large, established companies like Apple and Microsoft. As a result of this, these stocks are often considered the safest of all equity investments. But like all other types of securities, large-cap stocks have both advantages and drawbacks. Investing in large-cap stocks is as easy as opening a brokerage account and transferring money in. If you'd prefer to have some help investing in large-cap stocks, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 10, 2019 Government securities refer to a variety of investment vehicles issued by a government. You may be familiar with treasury bills, bonds or notes, but you may not be aware that other countries issue debt to investors as well. Read on to learn more about what government securities are and the different types that exist. Read More...

Feb 04, 2020 Choosing a financial advisor isn’t easy. You’ll need to determine if you need an in-person financial advisor or a robo-advisor. Then you’ll choose a firm. It may be one close to home or with a certain area of expertise. Once you pick, check their credentials. If an advisory firm says it's CEFEX-certified, it's certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence and is subject to audits. Here's what that means for you and your investments. CEFEX Certification Explained The Centre for Fiduciary Excellence is an independent organization that assesses, audits, and certified financial companies, advisors, and managers. The organization is based in Pittsburgh, Pa., but they adhere to global standards.  If a firm is CEFEX-certified, it means they follow what’s called a Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence. In short, it means they have a responsibility to act in your best interest if you’re an investor with their firm. The must also undergo annual audits conducted by a third-party fiduciary, and must maintain a certain level of professionalism. Those audits cost between $5,000 and $20,000, depending on the size of the firm. A CEFEX-certified advisory firm also may have lower fees. It also will keep an eye on potential conflicts of interest for advisors.  What a CEFEX Certification Means  There are organizations that oversee financial advisors and various certifications one might acquire. However, there isn’t a universal standard in the U.S. that guides all financial professionals.  A CEFEX certification is one way to determine that your advisor operates by a certain set of standards. If a firm is CEFEX-certified, it means they follow what’s called a Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence. This means they are required to act in investors’ best interests. They also agree to annual audits conducted by independent agencies. Those audits ensure that they are operated by the aforementioned standards. The audits also make certain that a firm is meeting certain financial requirements. Audits act as supplemental performance review of sorts to the reviews and examinations performed by regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  CEFEX-certified firms are required to put investors’ interests first. That has some financial benefits, including fees that can be lower than those of other advisors. It also means those firms are looking out for conflicts of interest among advisors. Those may include compensation-based conflicts, portfolio management conflicts, or potential affiliations between advisors and broker-dealers.  These firms are also required to maintain high levels of professionalism. Advisors in CEFEX-certified firms are required to keep abreast of the latest industry standards and best practices.  How to Find CEFEX-Certified Advisors A full list of certified advisors can be found on the CEFEX website . Your advisor, if certified, may also display the CEFEX badge on their website. Click on the badge and it should display the firm’s certificate of registration.  CEFEX also maintains lists of certified investment stewards, investment managers, recordkeepers, and third-party administrators. An advisor working with a CEFEX-certified firm is deemed by CEFEX to work with a trustworthy organization dedicated to their clients' best interests. They're tasked with finding clients the right products at a fair price. Investment stewards at those firms, meanwhile, are obliged to conduct due diligence and oversee the providers they hire. Such 'diligence ready' firms are assessed on an annual basis by an independent fiduciary expert. The Bottom Line   While a CEFEX certification is definitely a positive mark for an advisor, it’s not a fail-safe.  Even if your advisor is CEFEX-certified, it’s still wise to do some basic research. Ensure any potential financial advisor has his or her certified financial planner (CFP) designation. You may also want to make sure they have no complaints filed against them with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ( FINRA).  On the more basic human level, be sure that they listen and are receptive to your financial goals and concerns, and seem committed to helping you reach your financial goals.  It takes time and patience to wade through the alphabet soup of certifications in the financial sector. However, you may be rewarded for your efforts by an advisor who'll not only help grow your investments, but will do so inexpensively and with your needs in mind. Financial Advisor Tips If a CEFEX-certified financial advisor sounds like a good fit for your portfolio, it may be time to start the search. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Do you need a financial advisor? When do you need one most? If you think you might be in need of some assistance, but aren't quite ready to bring in a financial professional, SmartAsset can show you how to find and choose a financial advisor without making a commitment. Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Cecilie_Arcurs, ©iStock.com/skynesher, ©iStock.com/PeopleImages Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 There is always risk associated with investing. Sure, you can diversify your portfolio or hedge against risk by purchasing low-risk securities such as bonds, money market funds, or certificates of deposit. You can also predict your portfolio’s growth based on the market’s average rate of return. However, the future value (FV) of an investment can indicate what an investment will be worth based on its rate of return. Here's how it works. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Closed-end funds may not be something you've heard mentioned often. Your investment portfolio is more likely to include open-end funds, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) instead. However, closed-end funds can offer some advantages for investors. This guide explains what they are, how they work and how to invest in them. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Securities that trade "over-the-counter," or OTC, are not traded on a formal exchange. While the biggest publicly traded companies trade on stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ, over-the-counter securities trade outside of them, through a network of broker-dealers. These stocks can come in non-standardized variations, and they often have higher trading fees than their formal exchange counterparts. Read More...

Sep 10, 2019 Mutual funds can be a good way to invest if you want to diversify your portfolio without buying individual stocks or bonds. Aside from knowing which share class you're investing in, you also need to know whether you're buying an open-end or closed-end fund. This primer can help you understand the difference when deciding which mutual funds to buy. Read More...

Sep 06, 2019 Bonds can help the federal government or other agencies raise money for specific projects. They're like loans that investors make to government agencies or corporations. A bond's face value will give an investor some idea of what it's worth. However, the bond's current yield shows the interest rate that the bond delivers. Here's why that's an important number for investors.   Bond Basics  An investor purchases a bond from the federal government, federal agency, or even a corporation. Bonds typically have a face value, coupon rate, and maturity date. The predetermined date on which the bond’s principal balance and interest will be paid back to the bondholder is the maturity date. Keep in Bonds do not have to be held by an investor until its maturity date, but it's often advisable if investors want a full return on their bond.  A bond’s coupon yield is the amount of annual interest earned on the bond. Its face value is how much the bondholder will receive when his or her bond matures. All of that is separate from a bond’s market value, which is how much someone will pay for the bond on a secondary market. Finally, a bond’s current yield represents its current interest rate. That is the rate of return it's delivering to its owners. Current Yield Explained A bond’s current yield is determined by taking a bond’s total income and dividing it by its market price. Current yield, or CY, is calculated by taking the bond’s current price into account, not its predetermined face value or coupon rate. It’s expressed in the form of a percentage.  The market price of a bond changes daily and is influenced by a variety of factors. The length of time until a bond’s maturity. a bond's coupon rate, and even current interest rates can sway a bond's market price. As a result, a bond’s current yield also fluctuates.  Coupon Yield vs. Current Yield  Both coupon yield and current yield are indicative of the returns you might earn on a bond or other fixed-income investment. However, there are several differentiating factors.  A bond’s coupon yield is the amount of interest earned on a bond. This rate is set when the bond is issued. This amount doesn’t fluctuate based on the market price of a bond. But the coupon yield changes the closer a bond gets to maturity, also called yield to maturity (YTM). Like current yield, a bond’s coupon yield is also expressed in a percentage  A bond’s current yield is more susceptible to fluctuations in the market. That’s because it’s calculated using interest, earned dividends, and the bond’s current market price. Why It’s Important  On a basic level, a bond or other fixed security’s current yield can indicate how profitable it might be for an investor. It’s also important because it shows the return earned after holding a bond for a year. That is generally how long a bondholder must wait to cash out a bond. It’s important to note that the current yield can differ from the face value of a bond. A bond's current yields, or the yield curve, can also be representative of interest rate changes. The effects of those changes on bonds can be indicative of how rate fluctuations will impact the greater economy. It may be tempting to buy a bond based on a high current yield. Just consider how a particular bond fits into your investment strategy. For example, if you plan to hold a bond until its maturity date, you may focus on the bond’s face value or coupon yield rather than its current yield. But, if you plan to approach bonds as a short-term investment, then current yield may be a better guide for your returns. The Bottom Line A bond’s current yield shows what interest rate a bond or other fixed-income investment is actually delivering. It is an important factor in determining a bond’s profitability. In short, current yield is also how much an investor may earn if they held the bond for a year. For short-term investors, it can be an incredibly useful measure of a bond's value. Investing Tips If you're still having trouble figuring out the intricacies of bond investing, perhaps it's time to talk to a professional. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Before you go choosing stocks and bonds, you may want to formulate a basic investment plan. How much does your investment need to grow to reach your goals? What kind of risk are you willing to take? How much will capital gains taxes and inflation take out of your investment? SmartAsset's investing guide can help set the foundation for your investment strategy. Photo credit: ©iStock.com/DNY59, ©iStock.com/Group4 Studio, ©iStock.com/Anatoliy Sizov Read More...

Nov 25, 2020 Asset-backed securities, or ABS, are securities backed by a pool of fundamental assets. Typically, the pool of assets is a small group of loans or debt obligations that cannot individually be sold to individual investors. Packaging these assets as a single financial instrument allows them to be sold to investors. Since the underlying assets are diversified, there is less risk exposure for those who invest. Read on to learn more about ABS and if they are a suitable investment for your asset mix. For help with ABS or any other financial questions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 06, 2019 Technical analysis is one way to evaluate a stock to decide if it's a good investment for you. If you're a DIY stock trader, then understanding how this approach works can be helpful in shaping your portfolio. Here's an overview of what technical analysis is and how you can use it to assess a stock's potential. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Stocks are a great option for diversifying your investment portfolio. However, choosing the right ones isn't always a simple process. Different investment tools and strategies, such as fundamental analysis, can help you decide which securities are worth your time and money. If you're not sure what fundamental analysis is or how to use it to your advantage when investing in stocks, this guide may be able to help. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 When it comes to investing, there are generally two different approaches you can take if you're looking to grow your wealth. You can practice either active investing or passive investing. Both styles allow for financial return, but just in different ways. Whether you're new to the stock market, or you're an experienced shareholder, it's important to note the differences between the two. Below, we take a closer look at the pros and cons of each investing style. And if you want more hands-on guidance in devising the right investing strategy for you, consider finding a trusted financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Feb 23, 2021 Advisory shares are a type of stock option given to company advisors rather than employees. They may be issued to startup company advisors in lieu of cash compensation. Advisors are usually granted options to buy shares rather than given the actual shares.  Advisory shares can help ensure confidentiality while preventing conflicts of interest. However, they can also prove costly for a young company. If you have any questions about advisory shares or any other financial concept, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 16, 2020 The internal rate of return (IRR) measures the return of a potential investment. The calculation excludes external factors such as inflation and the cost of capital, which is why it's called internal. IRR, which is expressed as a percentage, helps investors and business managers compare the profitability of different investments or capital expenditures. All else equal, an investment with a higher IRR is preferable to one with a lower IRR. The following answers what is IRR, how it is calculated, how it is used and what some of its limitations are. Read More...

Aug 31, 2021 Though most stock market business takes place during the regular operating hours, even average investors can now trade after-hours through use various technology platforms. The stock market’s regular operating hours for buying and selling stocks and other securities are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. Extended hours trading can offer convenience and other potential advantages, but it has special rules, restrictions and risks. If you want help with any type of investing, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 30, 2019 Before jumping headfirst into the world of investing, it may be smart to educate yourself on where your money will be invested. This is where asset classes come in. Simply put, asset classes are groups of similar investments, like commodities or stocks. And a well-diversified portfolio may have a variety of asset classes that offers you different levels of risk and return. But what does that mean? Here's a breakdown of the variety of asset classes you can invest in. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 Opportunity Zone Funds are investment vehicles that provide tax incentives for investors. Partnerships or corporations can establish Opportunity Zone Funds and then invest in a property located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. These investment vehicles are designed to increase economic development and job creation in distressed communities, as well as offer tax benefits to investors. Let's break down what you need to know about investing in Opportunity Zone Funds. If you have questions, a  financial advisor can help you create an investment plan for your financial needs. Read More...

Jan 10, 2020 Looking for a low-risk means of diversifying your investment portfolio? Then you may want to consider investing in commercial paper. No, we’re not talking about buying stock in a paper company (though Dunder Mifflin would be our first choice). This type of investment is used by corporations to finance short-term debt obligations. Here's how to invest in it, and the pros and cons. Read More...

Aug 27, 2019 Day trading involves a degree of risk. Day traders are buying then selling or selling then buying the same security on the same day. The high-risk, high-frequency traders known as pattern day traders warrant regulatory scrutiny all their own. A pattern day trader makes four or more day trades during five business days. Here's what a pattern day trader is, how they operate, and what kind cash they need to keep trading. Read More...

Mar 08, 2021 If you can't afford to buy a share of a pricey stock, fractional share investing is worth considering. Investors can purchase a fraction of a security (such as a mutual fund, stock or exchange-traded fund) with the hope to increase their holdings over time. Purchasing fractional shares makes investing accessible, especially to those beginning their investment journey. Read on to discover if fractional investing is right for you and how to do it. If you need a plan to grow your investments, a financial advisor can help you create a portfolio to reach your goals.  Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 If you're betting on the rise and fall of securities, you may be a speculator, not an investor. Investors and speculators both put money into assets, enterprises and instruments in the hope of generating a profit. Beyond that, however, they are quite different. Here are the main characteristics distinguishing investors and speculators, and why it’s important to recognize them. Read More...

Aug 22, 2019 Both annual percentage rate (APR) and annual percentage yield (APY) describe the interest associated with either an investment or loan. Essentially, the difference boils down to this -- APR is the rate charged for borrowing or earned through an investment while APY is the effective rate of return, considering compounding interest. The two values vary for different financial products. Whether you're socking away money in a savings account or a money market account, buying bonds or paying off a credit card balance, it's important to understand the distinction between the two. Below, we take a closer look at how APR and APY work, and how they differ. Read More...

Aug 22, 2019 Getting your finances under control isn’t easy. Young Americans have a lot of expenses. It isn’t as simple as learning to balance your checkbook, no matter what your parents might tell you. Personal Capital and Mint are two of the most popular online services for managing your personal finances. Both offer a variety of services and tools you can use to get a hold of what your money is doing and to make improvements to your personal habits so that you are getting the most out of your situation. SmartAsset decided to take a look at both services. We let you know what each offers so you can make an informed choice about which is going to be the best choice for you. And if you find you want some more hands-on assistance in navigating your financial life, consider matching with a trusted financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Aug 22, 2019 It's great to save money, but investing to really makes it grow. You may simply want to save money to avoid the risk of losing even minor gains. But it can be hard to make your money work for you if your are completely adverse to investing. Saving will give you cash to fall back on, but it may not help it grow with a changing market and economy. Learn the difference between saving and investing and why it's so important.  Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 A fixed annuity is the most straightforward annuity type, as it pays a predetermined interest rate on your account balance. According to the terms of your contract, your rate will last for a specific period of time. At the end of this guarantee period, you have several choices, including renewing your contract or annuitizing. The insurance company will base your payments on how much money is in your account, so a higher interest rate during the accumulation phase means more money later. A financial advisor can set you up for financial success in retirement. Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Trading stocks in a brokerage account can be a great way to grow wealth alongside the money you may be investing in a 401(k) or individual retirement account. The only catch is the fees you may pay to make trades. Fortunately, there are several online services offering free stock trading. Here's a breakdown of where to trade stocks for free so you can enjoy more of your investment profits. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Certified investment management analysts sit atop and entire industry of financial planners. Only about a third of Americans under 35 have money in the stock market, the legacy of the Great Recession. In part, this is because many people find the stock market intimidating. A certified investment management analyst can make it less scary. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Modern portfolio theory (MPT) focuses on how to maximize returns for a given amount of risk. However, it also attempts to strike the balance between risk and reward to keep those returns steady. By encouraging investors to diversify their portfolio and rebalance it when necessary, MPT attempts to help investors find the right risk-reward ration. Here's how it works. Read More...

Apr 22, 2020 Chase You Invest Trade is a primarily app-based tool that allows you to create your own investment portfolio. When you open an account, you get unlimited commission-free online trades for stocks and options. You can also access automated investments through Chase You Invest Portfolios, the bank's answer to the robo-advisor. Both allow users to enter the world of investing. But if you don't want to go it alone, we can help you find a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 It's never too early to start investing. In fact, the earlier you begin, the bigger your potential for long-term financial growth. If you're a college student and are wondering whether you can afford to invest, don't worry. You don't need a full-time salary to do so. Below we explore your options for investing while in college. And if you want hands-on guidance, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Convertible bonds are just one way to expand your investment portfolio beyond the traditional stocks you may already be investing. This type of bond can offer the potential for higher returns to investors, but they also carry certain risks. Getting to know the ins and outs of how they work, as well as the pros and cons, can help you decide whether convertible bonds belong in your investment strategy. Read More...

Mar 24, 2020 Bond funds can diversify your portfolio, but it's important to understand how they compare to other investments. Like stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bond funds have both pros and cons. They can be a low-cost option with consistent returns, but they also come with some unavoidable risk. A financial advisor in your area can help you determine which investments belong in your portfolio based on your current financial situation and long-term goals. Read More...

Aug 14, 2019 Investing in precious metals can help an investor diversify their portfolio. A healthy mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or even an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or two can keep your portfolio balanced. However, t here's a lot of potential for investors who want to bet on the price fluctuations of gold and other precious metals. Here's how to start trading those commodities.   Read More...

Aug 12, 2019 If you find yourself vacationing in the same area year after year, then purchasing a timeshare may have come across your radar. Timeshare properties allow you to partially own what some might consider to be a second home in one of your favorite foreign or domestic locales. Because you share the ownership of a timeshare with other people, the costs associated with ownership are considerably less than, say, a vacation home. Still, buying a timeshare still represents a major financial commitment, so it's a good idea to consult a  financial advisor before you take the plunge. Read More...

Aug 09, 2019 Deciding whether to pay off debt or invest can be tough. They are two competing financial goals, and you may wonder which one takes precedence. Eliminating your debt as quickly as possible has its advantages. Yet there's a strong case for getting an early start with investing. Considering the benefits and potential drawbacks of each can help you decide which strategy is best for your financial situation. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 If you know how to invest in S&P 500 stocks, they could provide a solid foundation for your portfolio. The S&P 500 is a market index tracking the 500 largest publicly-traded companies on the market. You can learn how to invest in S&P 500 shares with help from index funds. First, however, you should learn how to invest in these funds. Discover what their pros and cons are, and which index fund is right for you.  Read More...

Mar 04, 2021 Treasury bonds and bills can be an important part of your investment strategy. However, treasury yields will determine their value to your portfolio. Treasury yields represent how much profit you earn by buying U.S. Treasury bonds, bills, or notes. They can reflect the state of the economy or affect the quality of your mortgage. Before investing, it helps to know how treasury yields are calculated and how they affect the economy. If you want to make smart investing choices, a financial advisor could help you create a financial plane to reach your investing goals.  Read More...

Feb 12, 2021 Over-the-counter (OTC) stocks are also known as unlisted stocks. Typically offered by small companies, they are traded through market makers, rather than through stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. As a result, OTC stocks generally have a lower volume of trade than exchange-listed stocks and come with a higher degree of risk. Penny stocks are very cheap OTC stocks, which are typically priced at less than $5 per share. Most full-service brokerages can help you place orders for OTC stocks. For guidance on whether you should get into OTC stocks, you may want to consult a financial advisor. Read More...

Nov 11, 2020 While some investors choose to work with a financial advisor who invests on their behalf, others buy and sell their own stocks. When you buy stock, though, there are different varieties of stock orders you can use. Some orders execute immediately, while others only execute at a specific time or price. A few order types may even have additional conditions attached. What kind of order you use can make a big difference in the price you pay and the returns you earn. That makes it important to be familiar with the different types of stock orders. Read More...

Aug 06, 2019 If you have an investment portfolio or a 401(k), you’ve probably invested in a mutual fund. You may have also invested your savings in an ETF. Another similar option for investors who don't want to buy individual securities is a unit investment trust (UIT). They’re similar to mutual funds, but they're a more static investment, offering a fixed basket of securities for a fixed amount of time. Learn how UITs work and how to invest in them. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 Although the stock market technically has hours that it operates within, you can still trade before it's open. This is called premarket trading, and it allows investors to buy and sell stocks before official market hours. A major benefit of this type of trading is it lets investors react to off-hour news and events. However, a limited number of buyers and volatile prices can make premarket trading a bit risky for novice investors. For help with premarket trading and any other investment advice, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jun 03, 2021 A put option allows investors to bet against the future of a company or index. More specifically, it gives the owner of an option contract the ability to sell at a specified price any time before a certain date. Put options are a great way to hedge against market declines, but they, like all investments, come with a bit of risk. For starters, you can lose not only what you invested, but also any chance for profits. That's what happened to many investors during the recent short-squeeze mania surrounding shares of Gamestop in early 2021. The same applied to shares of AMC in late May into early June of 2021. Those who bought put options on these stocks before they went up saw their options fall significantly in value as such stocks rose in value. Talk to a financial advisor in your area if you have questions about put option investing. Read More...

Jul 30, 2019 A company can be more elective about who buys its shares if it sells them in a private placement. Shares sold in an initial public offering , or IPO, are offered to the general public and tend to attract more attention. However, private placement allows a company to raise money without going public and having to disclose financial information. A company can remain private while still gathering shareholder investments. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 When developing your investing strategy, you may find yourself seeking some help. Yet between financial planners, financial advisors and a money manager, it can be tough to pick the right resource for you. Each specialization varies ever so slightly, but tapping the right expert could make a big difference to your bottom line. It's important to understand what a money manager is, how this expert differs from other financial professionals and how to determine whether you need one. Read More...

Jul 26, 2019 The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) exists because cities can't always be trusted with their municipal bonds. Investing in bonds already involves a degree of risk. The MSRB exists to prevent municipal bonds, notes, and other securities from becoming overly risky for investors. If a city wants to float bonds to fund a public project, the MSRB will be there to oversee the sale, trade and underwriting of those bonds. Read More...

Jun 25, 2020 Working capital measures a business's operating liquidity, but it does so much more. It also can be a good indicator of a company’s efficiency and financial health, as well as how well it manages debt, payroll, and inventory. These are all factors you want to keep in mind, especially if you’re considering investing in said company.  Here's how working capital work and why it's important to investors and business owners.   Read More...

Jul 26, 2019 A zero coupon bond doesn't pay interest, but it could pay off for your portfolio. Choosing between the many different types of bonds may require a plan for your broader investments. A zero coupon bond often requires less money up front than other bonds. Yet zero coupon bonds still carry some of risk and can still be influenced by interest rates. Read More...

Jul 26, 2019 Spotted a hot stock and can't afford to invest as much as you'd like? A margin account allows you to borrow money from your brokerage firm to make the buy. But if trading money you don't have sounds risky, that's because it is. Investing with a margin account can amplify both gains and losses.  Discover the pros and cons of a margin account and whether you should add a margin account to your investment portfolio below.  Margin Account Basics Brokerage firms offer margin accounts to customers who want to boost their buying power or meet their short-term financial needs. Essentially, they're loans that allow you to purchase more securities than you could on your own. As with any loan, you will owe interest. Different firms may charge different amounts based on the amount you owe and how long you hold the funds. In most cases, you can borrow up to 50% of the price of the securities you plan to invest in. Put differently, a margin account enables you to double your investment in a particular security. That being said, some firms dictate what types of investments you can purchase with a margin account, whether it be stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. Typically, the list includes securities trading on the major stock exchanges worth at least $5 per share.  No matter what security you choose, you must keep a minimum amount of cash in your account. Known as a maintenance margin, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority requires customers keep  at least 25% of the value of their investments in their account. Brokers and firms may set stricter maintenance margins based on the security's volatility.  The Benefits So why borrow to invest money you don’t have? Primarily because you can earn higher gains. I f the value of a security you've invested in rises, you will earn more than if you had invested only your own funds. To make a profit, though, you'll have to earn more than the interest you owe your firm for the loan.  Margin accounts also allow you to take advantage of market opportunities even when you don't have tons of cash on hand. You can invest more, and diversify your portfolio further. Another advantage you wouldn't have with a cash account? The ability to short a stock, which means borrowing shares from a brokerage firm that you agree to return by a certain deadline, selling them immediately, then buying them back once the share price decreases, returning them to the firm and pocketing the difference. Potential Downfalls Just as margin accounts can magnify your returns, they can magnify loss. In fact, you will suffer a greater loss than you normally would when a stock performs badly because you'll still owe interest to your broker. In other words, your loss is not limited to the value in your account. This makes margin accounts riskier than cash accounts. Margin accounts may also come with unexpected margin calls, where a firm requires you to pay up because your equity in the margin account has fallen below the maintenance margin. In that case, you can either sell some of your securities or deposit more assets into the account. Firms usually give two to five trading days to meet the call, but they may give a shorter window as they see fit. If you don't meet a call, the firm can liquidate securities and other assets from your account to make up for the deficit. Brokers are not required to call you before the sale, and can typically select whichever securities they want to sell. In extreme circumstances, you may owe more than your securities can cover so you'll have to sell the entire account and still pay up. Keep in mind that a firm can adjust the required maintenance margin at any time without letting you know. This is how brokers balance their risk.  Plus, shorting a stock can go badly. Even though you're betting on the security to lose value, it may not. If it increases in value, you will lose money when you purchase the borrowed stocks back and return them to the broker. Final Word Margin accounts are a complicated investing tool that carry great market risk. To turn a profit, your investments must grow enough to pay back the loan with interest. When used prudently to capitalize on the right opportunity, you can earn much higher returns than you would with a cash account. On the other hand, you could experience a major loss and end up owing more than the principal amount to your broker. Experts suggest that only experienced traders and investors use margin accounts. Some brokers actually won't allow you to buy on margin unless you have opened a large account or have a history of stable portfolio performance. Should you choose to invest with a margin account, it's best to conduct extensive research on the security you're hoping to invest in. Wherever possible, leave enough cash in your account to handle market fluctuations so you avoid a margin call.   Investing Tips A financial advisor can help you determine whether a margin account is right for you. Find an advisor who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free tool, which matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Everyone should prioritize saving for retirement. Before you consider investing with margin accounts, mutual funds and ETFs, give your 401(k), 403(b), 457(b) and IRA some love. And if securities investments seem risky, you can always park your funds in a high-interest savings account or CD. Don't forget about investment income when tax time rolls around. SmartAsset's capital gains tax calculator can help you determine how much you'll owe Uncle Sam so you can develop a smart strategy for lowering your tax liability through methods like tax-loss harvesting. And if you do invest with margin accounts, ask your accountant whether your margin account interest is tax deductible against your net investment income. Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Ghing, ©iStock.com/MStudioImages, ©iStock.com/solidcolours Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 You don't have to watch movies like "The Wolf of Wall Street" or "Boiler Room" to know what pump and dump scheme is about.  Brokers pitch penny stocks to customers in high volume despite its questionable returns.  Once the buyers dry up, the firm ditches its shares for a big profit and drives stock prices down. That results in huge losses for customers and is, unsurprisingly, illegal. Read More...

Aug 19, 2021 Buying on margin lets investors increase potential return with borrowed money, but it's a big risk. The Federal Reserve Board's Regulation T, or Reg T, limits that risk. The collection of rules limits how customers can trade using cash accounts. It is also used whenever an investor buys on margin, using money borrowed from a broker and shares as collateral. Read More...

Aug 19, 2019 When people talk about a market correction, it sounds like a euphemism for falling stock prices. But it’s actually a technical term for a 10% or bigger drop in the price of an index (or individual security) from the last peak. If index prices continue to sink to 20% off the peak, that’s considered a bear market -- beyond a mere correction. To protect your investments during down times and amid all market conditions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a cryptocurrency-based method of funding for companies. While ICOs are often compared to IPOs (initial public offerings), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says ICOs pose significantly greater risk of fraud and manipulation. Compared to traditional capital markets, ICOs are lightly regulated. Be mindful, as ICOs could turn out to be scams that give investors little or nothing for their money. Read More...

Aug 12, 2021 One downside of many low-risk investment products is that the rate of the return often does not keep pace with inflation. That downside is eliminated with Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). With TIPS, your investment principal increases alongside the Consumer Price Index (CPI). TIPS make it possible to invest with low risk without worrying about inflation erasing most or all of your return. A financial advisor can help you invest in TIPS and ensure your portfolio includes other inflation hedges.  Read More...

Mar 04, 2021 Day trading apps make buying and selling stocks, mutual funds or other securities easier than ever. These apps offer convenience and portability since you can manage your investment portfolio from your mobile device or laptop on the go. But which ones are the best right now? SmartAsset has rounded up the best day trading apps of 2021 for tech-savvy investors. Do you have questions about investing? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Jul 29, 2019 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 15c3-3 requires brokerage firms to maintain secure accounts. Also known as the Customer Protection Rule, SEC Rule 15c3-3 is part of the Code of Federal Regulations. It ensures that brokerage clients can withdraw assets at any time, and a brokerage has to work to uphold it. Read More...

Jul 22, 2019 A call provision allows an issuer to pay a bond early. Most bonds have a fixed maturation and value. If you buy a 10-year bond, you get back your capital plus a fixed interest rate in a decade. Call provisions are an exception to this rule. Before buying bonds, you may want to look into call provisions and their quirks. Read More...

Jul 30, 2019 A viatical settlement is some grim business. It allows the holder of a life insurance policy to sell it for more than its purchase price, but less than its face value. If you are in the market to sell one, you have our sympathies. However, if you find yourself in that situation, there are a few things you should know before making a sale. Read More...

Sep 23, 2020 Liquid assets are things that can be quickly converted into cash without losing value. These come in many different forms, such as cash, stocks and other marketable securities, money market funds and more. Liquid assets are different from their illiquid or fixed counterparts. These are investments that take much longer to convert to cash, typically due to a lack of buyers. Do you need help building and maintaining an investing and financial plan for the future? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 When is debt not ordinary debt? When it's packaged as exchange-traded notes. An exchange-traded note (ETN) is pegged to a market index, but functions like a bond. At maturity, ETNs pay out the return of the index it tracks. However, it won't make regular interest payments like a bond. If you're considering using ETNs to diversify your portfolio, you may want to consider some of their more eccentric features before diving in. Read More...

Aug 28, 2020 When you're starting to invest, you’ll begin to take cash and buy different types of investments, or securities. There are many versions of securities you can invest in, and the ones you choose depend on what type of investor you are. Once you take your personal circumstances and risk tolerance into account, you can select the securities that best fit your portfolio. If you want to learn more about securities you can invest in, try speaking with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 19, 2019 As one of the largest multinational electronic manufacturers in the world, Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Industry Co.) offers a variety of consumer electronics, component and computer electronic products. Led by founder, chairman and CEO Terry Gou, the Taiwanese manufacturer also operates in both domestic and overseas markets. With the company having established a global footprint, many investors are looking to claim a share. Below, we go over your options for purchasing Foxconn equity in the U.S. And if you want further hands-on guidance as you strategize your investments in Foxconn and beyond, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 17, 2021 Marijuana stocks are becoming more popular as more states legalize the medical and recreational use of the drug. In fact, you can now even invest in marijuana stocks through a normal brokerage account. However, just like any other type of stock, marijuana stocks can be risky, even if market growth is encouraging. That's because stocks are typically some of the most dangerous investments since companies can be quite volatile. If you need help investing in marijuana stocks, consider working with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 29, 2019 Bonds are often the investment of choice for people seeking stability. They don’t yield much, unless you have sought out the junk market, but they come with highly stable returns. Bonds can be seen as the dad jokes of investing: boring, predictable and there when you need them. However, sometimes you can spice up your bonds just a little. That’s where floating rates come in. Here's a breakdown of floating rate notes and what you need to know before you invest. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 In the U.S., the Federal Reserve determines monetary policy, while Congress controls fiscal policy. Generally, monetary policy seeks either to stimulate the economy or cool it down through managing money supply and demand. Steering monetary policy is the Fed's main responsibility. Around the world, central banks, regulatory authorities and the International Monetary Fund conduct the monetary policy of other countries.  Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Investing in foreign currency can be a great way to diversify your portfolio. Foreign currency trading, or forex for short, is a little more complex than trading stocks or mutual funds, or shoring up your investment strategy with bonds. Learning the basics, however, can give you a solid foundation to build on if this is an asset class you're interested in exploring. This guide walks you through everything you need to know to get started with investing in currency. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A yield curve is an economic indicator that tracks the relationship between long- and short-term bond yields. More specifically, it looks at the difference between short- and long-term interest rates in an effort to predict future market and rate movements. In a more literal sense, the term "yield curve" refers to a line on a graph that represents the correlation between the costs of borrowing money for different periods of time. Do you have questions about planning out your investment portfolio? Talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Aug 07, 2019 There are two reasons one may choose to conduct dark pool trading. First, it could make your job sound far more thrilling than it actually is. “Stock analyst” might not light up the conversation at a party. “Dark pool traders,” on the other hand, probably ride motorcycles to work at an undisclosed location. No one will know what you do. And, for security purposes, you can’t tell them. The second, more practical reason is to conduct trades without influencing the market. Dark pool investing is a straightforward solution to a relatively common problem. However, it's not a problem many retail investors will likely have. Here's a breakdown of dark pool investing. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 When looking for a smart investment strategy, some investors buy call options. Call options often enable investors to maximize profits while minimizing risk. Purchasing a call option may yield profit that is significantly higher than if you bought a security outright. However, as with any investment strategy, there are risks involved. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 Coupons can save you money on double stuffed Oreo cookies. They can make skee-ball seem like a good use of time. And they can help you save for retirement or college tuition. A bond with semi-annual to annual coupon payments can provide a steady stream of income with the right coupon rate. Though the coupon rate on bonds and other securities can pay off for investors, you have to know how to calculate it first. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) may be the key to better investment earnings. The CAGR formula calculates year-over-year growth rates and helps chart investment performance. It also allows investors to see how similar investments have fared over the same length of time. If you're in need of a financial advisor, the CAGR formula can help you compare advisors and see who is getting their clients the most for their money. Read More...

Mar 05, 2020 In investing, the principal is the cash you put into an investment account. If you're borrowing money, the principal is the actual amount you borrow, before interest begins to apply. For both loans and investment accounts, the principal represents the foundation upon which everything else is paid off or built, respectively. It's a fundamental concept that's crucial to understanding both lending and investing practices. Read More...

Nov 25, 2020 While a typical exchange-traded fund (ETF) lets you invest in a sector, index or industry, an inverse ETF lets you bet against them. Inverse ETFs see gains when a market or index goes down. They can be less risky and less expensive than shorting stocks, but they can also be somewhat more costly than standard ETFs. After you find, evaluate, and invest in inverse ETFs, you can just sit back and wait for the sky to fall. For help with inverse ETFs and all other investing questions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Never trust a get-rich-quick scheme. This may be the most important thing you need to know about penny stock promoters. Since they aren’t in it for you, here's a breakdown of what you need to know to protect yourself and your money. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 The Volcker Rule was established following the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Essentially, the law stops depository banks from making risky and speculative investments with customer deposits. Furthermore, it prohibits banks from owning and investing in private equity funds, hedge funds and some other specific investments. This is meant to protect customers' funds from losses on the open market. Read More...

Oct 09, 2020 A collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, is a financial instrument that institutions use to combine individual loans into one financial product. These products are then sold to investors on the secondary market. CDOs are one specific type of derivative that contributed to the Great Recession. In general, derivatives played a significant role in the collapse of the housing market and the fall of large financial institutions. A financial advisor can help you understand CDOs and other types of investments. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 There are a number of ways to buy Tesla stock, but the simplest are to do it either through a brokerage account or with the help of a financial advisor. Tesla is one of the most popular and innovative American electric vehicle companies. Headed by CEO Elon Musk, the company designs, develops, manufacturers and distributes a variety of electric cars and vehicle powertrain components. In addition, it provides energy storage and generation products. Tesla’s success and global international product offerings have many investors looking to buy equity. But how do you invest in Tesla stock? We go over your options below. If you'd also like expert guidance with your financial decisions, consider using a financial advisor matching tool to pair you with local advisors in your area. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 Apple Inc. is a technology company that specializes in computer software, electronics, media devices and online services. Founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Cupertino, California, the company now offers its products all around the world. In addition, Apple was the first publicly-traded U.S. company to reach a trillion dollar valuation. Given that consumers worldwide know and trust the company, investors, both new and experienced, are widely interested in buying equity in Apple. Below, we take a closer look at how to become an Apple shareholder. If you want further hands-on guidance with your investing strategy, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Economic indicators are key stats about the economy that can help you better understand where the economy is headed. These indicators can help investors decide when to buy or sell investments. For example, if the stock market is at its peak, you may want to sell. If the market is low and on the rise, you may want to buy. Economic indicators can help you understand this ebb and flow of the market, as well as other important financial factors. Here are several of the different types of economic indicators and how they may be used to understand the state of the economy. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 Limit orders are increasingly important as the pace of the market quickens. According to CNN, computer algorithms execute more than half of all stock market trades each day. Limit orders that restrict buying and selling prices can help investors avoid portfolio damage from wild market swings such as investors have seen with shares of GameStock lately. If you have any questions about whether limit orders are right for you, speak with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Oct 11, 2021 Structured notes offer investors options that are otherwise unavailable, but there's reason to be wary of them. While structured notes do contain a bond element that's generally considered safe, the inclusion of stocks and derivatives can make them a bit more volatile. This hybrid nature makes them interesting investment opportunities, though. There are also a number of different types of structured notes. If you have questions about including structured notes in your portfolio, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 In an interval fund, an investment company will regularly offer to repurchase shares from shareholders. Those repurchases come at various intervals, hence the name. Before you decide to invest in interval funds, though, it's worth considering how they function and what to expect. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Return on equity (ROE) measures how well a company generates profits for its owners. It is defined as the business’ net income relative to the value of its shareholders' equity. It reveals the company’s efficiency at turning shareholder investments into profits. Since ROE takes the net income from a business' income statement and the shareholders' equity from its balance sheet, it can be seen as the amount that would be left over for shareholders if the company liquidated its assets and paid off its debts. ROE helps investors choose investments and can be used to compare one company to another to suggest which might be a better investment. Comparing a company’s ROE to an average for similar companies shows how it stacks up against peers. Here's how ROE is calculated, plus how you can use it to analyze your potential investments. Read More...

Aug 31, 2021 Mutual funds can simplify the diversification of your portfolio. Mutual fund share classes will determine just how much that diversification will cost. While mutual funds will let you invest in a collection of stocks and bonds through index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETF), mutual fund share classes may determine which fit your budget best. Read More...

Jun 28, 2019 As a business owner, your profit margins may be key to making money and  growing a company. Evaluating your profit margins can assist you with gauging the financial health of your company. In order for your business to succeed, you may need to earn enough to turn a profit and reinvest into your company. This is where profit margins come into play. Read More...

Sep 30, 2021 The stock markets that most Americans use -- the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ -- are both open Monday to Friday from 9:30 AM to 4 P.M. Eastern Standard Times. Other stock exchanges in different parts of the world -- the London Stock Exchange in the U.K or the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Japan, for instance -- operate based on local time zones and local customs. Below, you'll find details on the hours of operations for stock exchanges all around the world. If you want help buying and selling stocks and building your portfolio, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Created in response to the Great Depression, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is largely responsible for protecting investors in U.S. securities. The federal agency does this by overseeing key players (including brokers, investment advisors and stock exchanges), making sure public companies disclose required information and protecting against fraud. Put simply, it exists to ensure that the system is fair. Helping people maximize their investment returns, though, is not its job. For that, you should consult a financial advisor. Read on for more about the SEC. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 Amazon (AMZN) is not only one of the most successful online retailers, but it's also one of the few trillion-dollar U.S. companies that offers stocks. Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, the company offers an array of products and services to customers on a global scale. Bezos recently stepped down as CEO, with Andy Jassy slated to take his position. With its revenue and share price skyrocketing over the last few years, the company's growth rate has attracted both rookie and experienced investors. If you have specific questions about investing, try  speaking with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 The discount rate is a financial term that can have two meanings. In banking, it is the interest rate the Federal Reserve charges banks for overnight loans. Despite its name, the discount rate is not reduced. In fact, it's higher than market rates, since these loans are meant to be only backup sources of funding. During major financial crises, though, the Fed may lower the discount rate - and lengthen the loan time. In investing and accounting, the discount rate is the rate of return used to figure what future cash flows are worth today. If you need help understanding this or any other financial concepts, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 As an investor, your objective is to balance the potential for returns with risk. When assessing risk, investors and financial advisors often apply the Sharpe ratio to their investment analysis. Just one popular method for evaluating stock, the Sharpe ratio is a tool of technical analysis that helps investors and portfolio managers determine  the return on investments compared to the risk. Here’s a closer look at the Sharpe ratio and how you can apply this calculation to your portfolio. Read More...

Jul 15, 2019 If you’re investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the fund manager will charge fees to cover their various expenses. Those fees are collectively rolled into what’s known as an expense ratio, which is expressed as a percentage. This is the portion of your total account value that’s removed annually in fees. For more insight into mutual fund expense ratios and how to lower your costs, consider finding a trusted fiduciary financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Series A funding is the first round of capital after a seed round that a startup company raises from professional investors in order to grow the business. Starting a company takes money -- sometimes a lot of it. And after small business owners gather money from friends and family, dip into personal savings and take out a small business loan, they may turn to bankers and venture capitalists. Those investors are looking for high margins and companies with the potential for enormous returns. A fledgling tech or manufacturing startup will need to attract those investors in order to cover its increasing costs and set the company on the path to greater revenue and profit. Companies often complete Series A, B and C financing to achieve their goals. As you learn more about Series A funding and get interested in investing in a company or have a startup for which you're planning financing rounds, it may make sense for you to speak with a financial advisor who can provide hands-on guidance. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 All safe investments come with a catch. They, alone, will never make you Bezos billions. They can, however, earn a little while serving another purpose such as being fairly liquid or balancing a portfolio. This roundup of safe investments explains their pros and cons to help you determine which investments best fit your needs. For even more detailed information, you may want to consult a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Default risk in bond investing refers to the chance that a bond-issuing company or government would fail to make its debt and interest payments. As a bond investor, you can lose 100% of your investment along with uncollected interest. But there are several steps you can take to hedge against default risk. You can also seek the guidance of a financial advisor who can help you make the right investment decisions. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 As you invest and build a portfolio, you're likely to encounter common investing terms, such as "risk tolerance" or "diversification." One term you may be less familiar with is "stock buyback". In a nutshell, a stock buyback occurs when a company buys back its own shares from the market. But why would a company do that? And what impact does it have on your portfolio if you own shares of that company's stock? Here are the most important things to know about stock buybacks. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 When an investment underperforms, tax-loss harvesting is a way to offset the tax impact of capital gains while maintaining your preferred asset allocation. Some robo-advisors even automate this process. The IRS allows investors to use realized losses to offset gains and reduce their ordinary taxable income by up to $3,000 per year. However, the IRS may disallow some of those losses if they break the "wash-sale rule." Read More...

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

Sep 24, 2020 Saving is the first step to building wealth, and putting your savings to work through investing is a good way to continuously grow that wealth. While stocks are usually the first thing people think about investing, you can also invest in real estate, baseball cards or just about anything else. This guide focuses on the basic financial instruments, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and CDs. Each of these come with different levels of risk and return, so which ones are right for you largely depends on your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. A  financial advisor can make recommendations for you, while also helping you build a financial plan for the future. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are popular investment securities that track stock market indexes, a particular commodity, bonds, or a particular category of assets like tech stocks.  A leveraged ETF is a particular type of ETF that uses debt or financial derivatives to boost the potential for returns. However, this also applies to losses, making leveraged ETFs somewhat risky investment choices. But like other investment, you must thoroughly evaluate them before making any final decision about whether they should occupy a spot in your portfolio. Read More...

Sep 23, 2020 Investment banking is a sect of the banking industry focused on raising capital for companies, governments and other entities. Investment banks are typically private companies, and they may underwrite debt and equity securities, assist with mergers and acquisitions, provide  financial advisory services and offer initial public offering (IPO) support when companies go public. There are a few different types of investment banks, though. Read More...

Jul 10, 2020 An investment portfolio is a basket of assets that can hold stocks, bonds, cash and more. Investors aim for a return by mixing these securities in a way that reflects their risk tolerance and financial goals. There are many different types of investment portfolios, as some are built into 401(k)s, IRAs and annuities, while others exist on their own through a brokerage or financial advisor firm. For more hands-on help, consider  working with a local financial advisor who can guide you through building an investment portfolio that’s right for you. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Investing in startups may seem like an opportunity that only exists for those willing and able to drop a few million into a fledgling tech company housed in a garage or a Stanford dorm room. While that type of investors exists and is certainly important, not all startup investors are ultra-wealthy finance industry titans. Some are average people who want to get in at the ground floor of a business they believe in. Many, in fact, are family members and friends of the people running the company. If you want to start investing in startups, this guide explains what you need to know to get into the game. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Building an investment portfolio means determining the right mix of assets to help you reach your goals for the short and long term. One of the more conventional approaches financial advisors and experts suggest is the 60/40 portfolio. Going this route can make portfolio-building simple, but it's not right for everyone. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 There are many agencies and organizations in America that exist to protect consumers, including consumers on the investing markets. One of those organizations is the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The SIPC is a nonprofit, member-funded organization that helps clients of broker-dealers get their cash and assets back if the firm they are using liquidates or shuts down. It is technically not a government agency and regulating broker-dealers is not part of its mission. If you are working with a broker-dealer, make sure you know what protections the SIPC could offer you if things were to go sideways. Read More...

Aug 28, 2020 Economic recessions can have major financial implications, as they indicate a large market is experiencing a downturn. They can cost millions of people their jobs, retirement savings and financial security. As a result, it can be hard to see a path back to a strong stock market and, in turn, positive economic growth. However, recessions are a sometimes inevitable part of a business cycle. As such, it pays to know the warning signs of a recession so you can prepare. It's important to minimize the impact of a recession on your investment portfolio. Find a financial advisor who can help you today. Read More...

Nov 25, 2019 The current ratio is an accounting measure that tells you if a company can pay such short-term obligations as payroll and rent for the year. A good metric for investors to use when analyzing securities, the current ratio is a relatively simple calculation: current assets divided by current liabilities. What's not so simple is how to use the ratio. If this sounds like more than you want to take on, a financial advisor can help you with your investments. To find the right one for you, use SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 15, 2020 Before signing on with a broker or investment advisor, you should look them up in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's ( FINRA's) BrokerCheck. A nongovernment agency that works with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA is authorized by Congress to oversee brokers and broker-dealers. Its purpose is to keep the securities industry honest and running smoothly. Toward that end, the FINRA BrokerCheck database provides key information about individual brokers and brokerage firms, including registrations, employment history — and any criminal matters, regulatory actions and civil judiciary proceedings complaints. The free research tool also links to SEC info about brokerages that are dually registered as investment advisor firms and provides contact info for state regulatory authorities. BrokerCheck is a good tool for getting basic info about a firm that you are considering. To find more financial advisor firms, particularly near you, use our free  matching tool. It will connect you with  up to three advisors in your area. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 The Series 66 license is required to work as an investment advisor in the United States. To obtain it, you must pass a rigorous exam covering methods of delivering investment advice and other topics. Below, we'll tackle what the exam is, what exactly it covers and how you can best prepare. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the market value of all goods and services a country produces in a specific time frame. It’s used to gauge a nation’s economic growth and its people's standard of living. GDP also guides investment decisions and economic policy that affects everyone. This article will explain GDP, how it works and why it matters. A financial advisor can also help you understand GDP to make better investing decisions. Read More...

Dec 15, 2020 Government bonds are one of the safest places to park cash. This is because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, so there's virtually no risk of default. The tradeoff for safety, of course, is low interest rates. But you can at least cut any fees or commissions by buying Treasury securities directly through TreasuryDirect, the U.S. Treasury's online platform. If you think you can handle more risk for a higher return, you may want to consider corporate bonds or even stocks. For help, speak with a  financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 The Series 7 exam is one of two exams that registered representatives of broker-dealers must pass to sell and trade most securities as a financial services professional. The exam mainly covers information about investments, their suitability for different investors,  record-keeping and asset transfers. This article explores the exam in depth and provides tips on how to prepare for it. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 A Series 57 license allows brokers to trade equities and convertible debt securities in the U.S. To obtain one, you must pass the Series 57 exam. This test covers topics like equity trading concepts and regulations around the financial services industry. It’s administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It can be an important certification for financial advisors looking to boost their capabilities and earnings. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Ken Fisher, an investment analyst and self-made billionaire, is perhaps best known for founding Fisher Investments. The financial advisor firm based in Camas, Washington manages more than $96 billion for more than 40,000 clients, mostly high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. Fisher currently serves as the firm’s executive chairman and co-chief investment officer. However, he has also made a name for himself as an author, financial columnist and industry leader. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 If you find yourself with some extra money - let's say you got a big tax refund, or received a nice inheritance - then you'll need to decide what to do with it. If you have a mortgage worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it may be tempting to put your windfall toward making extra payments, so you can eliminate interest-earning debt. On the other hand, it may be wise to invest it; any  financial advisor will tell you that investing is arguably the best way to build wealth over the long term. If you're faced with this decision, we'll walk you through making the best decision for your money. Read More...

Sep 24, 2020 EBITDA is a popular metric that analysts and investors use for determining the current performance of a company. It measures a company's earnings minus certain expenses, including taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization. As a result, EBITDA can give you an idea as to how well a company is handling its operating costs. This measurement also makes it easier to compare companies across markets and industries. While many investors choose to leave EBITDA and other tools of stock analysis to their financial advisor, you can calculate it yourself too. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 As you aspire toward a secure  retirement and other financial milestones, investments become an increasingly important financial topic to know about. But those looking to gain knowledge about investing may have issues finding reliable sources. Luckily, the internet is home to many viable investment courses and content. Some are free, others are not and most go over everything from the basics of investing to more complicated ideas, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). So if you're ready to jump into investing, take a look over the top investment classes available now. Read More...

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

Jan 12, 2021 A Coverdell ESA, formerly known as an Education IRA, is a tax-advantaged savings vehicle designed to help parents pay for the educational expenses of a child under the age of 18. It offers several benefits, but it’s not the only option out there. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of a Coverdell ESA to help you decide if it’s the right move for you and your family. If you need some hands-on help in planning to save for your child's education, check out SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get paired up with an expert who suits your particular needs. Read More...

Aug 27, 2020 Finviz is a browser-based platform offering a free stock screener, market research, financial news and more. Most of its services are free, but it also offers a subscription package with enhanced features like that allow you to test your trading strategies before deploying them in the real world. We’ll explore the benefits of Finviz as well as its drawbacks to help you decide if its the right choice for you. If you want additional hands-on investing guidance, check out SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to find an expert in your area. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Investing can be an intimidating venture, but learning how to navigate the investment market is a life skill with plenty of upside. You can use the returns you earn from your investment portfolio to achieve a number of goals, such as saving for retirement, vacations, a new house, your child's college education and more. While there are no shortcuts to becoming a successful investor, there are a few main principles you can focus on as you start. Take a look over this guide to gain some insight into these all-important investing considerations. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Trend investing is the process of putting your money in stocks, industries or markets expected to boom consistently in the future. The idea is to ride the trend up until it’s the right time to jump off and exit that part of the market with major profits. But before you go investing in the hottest new stock, it’s important to do your homework. This article will explain trend investing as well as some best practices. We’ll also explore its advantages and potential drawbacks. So let’s begin by understanding what trend investing is all about. Read More...

Mar 26, 2020 The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as Dodd-Frank, was passed in 2010 in the wake of the 2008  financial crisis. The Obama-era law aimed to prevent another financial meltdown. It increased regulation of the financial industry with the intent of better protecting customers of the financial industry. Lawmakers recently made several changes to the law. Anyone who participates in the financial sector, whether as an investor, a banking customer or a 401(k) plan participant, should know what Dodd-Frank did and how the recent changes may impact them. If you want help with your finances, consider speaking with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 02, 2020 Income statements are financial statements that show how a business did financially over a certain period of time. Generally, they show revenue minus expenses and losses to give a company's profit or loss over that time period. Income statements are one of several documents you'll want to look at if you are considering investing in a stock in addition to balance sheets and cash flow statements. You should also consider working with an advisor who will do the work for you to make sure you have the best possible investments. Read More...

Jan 10, 2020 Long-term investing is often the best way to build wealth that stands the test of time. It’s how you plan for retirement and build a legacy to pass on to your children and grandchildren. Long-term investments require patience, but they have the potential to pay off with a much higher return than the quicker-fix choice of short-term investing. If you’re looking to figure out which long-term investment options are best for you, it may make sense to talk to a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

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

Aug 23, 2019 Investing in the stock market has been a great way to build long-term wealth for almost as long as the United States has been a country. And as retirements continue to increase with people’s lifespans, it’s becoming more and more important to protect your savings from inflation by earning a steady return. Thankfully, investing has never been more accessible than it is today. The proliferation of online investment platforms and robo-advisors has greatly increased the options for those looking to make their first foray into investing. Should you use a financial advisor or go it alone? What’s the difference between a robo-advisor and an online brokerage account? And what sort of tax protection can a retirement account provide? Read More...

Sep 04, 2020 A balance sheet is a financial document that a company releases to show its assets, liabilities and overall shareholder equity. Balance sheets are useful tools for potential investors in a company, as they show the general financial status of a company. Be warned, though, that these only show the state of a company right now. To see a company's trajectory, you'll need to look at balance sheets over a time period of months or years. Want someone to do the work of examining balance sheets for you? Consider working with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Sep 03, 2020 Opportunity cost is the benefit you miss out on when you choose to do something else. Every choice you make — from investing choices to career decisions to something as simple as where to eat dinner — comes with some form of opportunity cost. There are a variety of ways it applies to your everyday life. There are a variety of ways to apply the theories of opportunity cost to your everyday life. For help making sense of how it specifically relates to investing, you may want to find a financial advisor using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

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

Oct 12, 2021 Although cryptocurrency has only been around for a short time, it has expanded into a wide, convoluted universe that can be difficult to understand for the uninitiated. But with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seeing wild fluctuations in price, there's an opportunity for big gains, if you can stomach the risk. Digital platforms like Coinbase and Robinhood have made it significantly easier for people to invest in popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, the process is still slightly more complex than acquiring a more traditional currency. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan to help you reach your crypto investment goals. Read More...

Dec 15, 2020 Trading Dow Futures is a bit like making a color bet in roulette, where you are picking red or black instead of an individual number. Similarly, with a Dow Future contract, you are betting that the  Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) will go up or down rather than betting on a specific stock. Because the DJIA (also known as the Dow 30) can fluctuate wildly on any given day, trading Dow Futures can be very risky. That's part of what makes futures more complex than  investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. But if you have some money to invest and a higher tolerance for risk, the upside of futures can be enticing. Need help maximizing the returns of your investments? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

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

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

Apr 02, 2021 With both established brokerages and new companies offering investment apps, the options can be overwhelming. There are apps for every kind of investor, from the beginner just looking to dip a toe in the water to seasoned day traders who want to analyze individual stocks on the go. Check out our top picks. Managing your investments on your own can be overwhelming. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

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

Aug 07, 2020 Unlike investing, trading requires a very active approach within the investment market. Rather than buying and holding assets to build wealth over the course of many years, a trader frequently buys and sells stocks, commodities and other securities to achieve higher returns. To guide their investment decisions, traders use a variety of analysis tools, like averages, oscillators and indicators. These principles help them understand how an asset or market is performing so that an educated investment can be made. One such tool is the Relative Strength Index, otherwise known as RSI. Do you have questions about RSI or other investing principles? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Investing has the potential to earn you great returns - but where money's being made, you can surely find Uncle Sam nearby. Accordingly, the net investment income tax (NIIT) will take a 3.8% bite out of a portion of your investment earnings. There are, however, a number of restrictions on what the NIIT does and doesn't apply to. Take a look through our detailed guide below for more insight. For help with this and any other tax issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Beta measures how volatile a stock is in relation to the broader stock market over time. A stock with a high beta indicates it's more volatile than the overall market and can react with dramatic share-price changes amid market swings. So if you don't have the stomach for vast price changes, you may want to avoid investing in high-beta stocks. But beta is just one factor to consider when examining investments. This article will help you understand what it means and how you can use it to build a better portfolio that matches your risk tolerance. A financial advisor can also help you take advantage of beta to make better investment decisions. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 Mutual funds attract investors for many reasons. For starters, mutual funds are diversified and professionally managed investment vehicles. Their structure eliminates the need to pick securities individually and rebalance your own portfolio. But that doesn’t mean you can pass on doing your homework. There are thousands of mutual funds out there, and each aims for a different objective. In this article, we’ll explain mutual funds, while covering the pros and cons to help you decide if they’re right for you. We can also help you work with a financial advisor to guide you through the world of mutual fund investing. Read More...

Feb 11, 2021 The allure of penny stocks isn’t surprising. The idea is to buy low-priced stocks with huge growth potential and then make a robust profit by selling if they go up substantially in value. The problem is that many people don’t understand how big of an “if” that is. Penny stocks are often subject to major manipulation: They exist in a Wild West of the market with few rules. So when you invest in penny stocks, you’re taking on a lot of risk. But that’s not to say you can’t see decent returns. We’ll help you understand whether investing in penny stocks is right for you and how you can do so in a smart way. But because of the risk involved, you may want to work with a financial advisor. Read More...

Feb 25, 2020 Have you ever been on vacation and wondered how delightful it might be to have the chance to live in that locale, even part-time? The tangible next step to this realization could be looking at a local real estate guide and perhaps even calling a real estate agent to look at some available properties. Before you know it, the idea of having a second home could take root. But before you go any further, consider the pros and cons of owning a second home. Also, consider talking to a financial advisor about how a second home could fit into your overall financial picture. Read More...

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

Aug 21, 2019 Teslas are hot right now, and not just because they’re named after a man who once tried to invent the death ray. Elon Musk’s brainchild has cultural cachet, doesn’t need gas and might just help keep the Florida coastline above water. These are all great reasons to invest in a car. There’s just one problem: Tesla doesn’t have traditional dealerships. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it may leave many would-be eco road warriors wondering just how they can get behind the wheel. Here's how to buy a Tesla, in three simple steps. Read More...

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

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

Aug 21, 2019 Whether you’re a financial professional or just an interested stockholder, you’ve probably run into the acronyms “EBIT” and “EBITDA” before. Both of these analytical metrics are a way of measuring a firm’s profits. While similar, they differ in critical ways and ultimately measure two different forms of income. Here’s what you need to know about EBIT vs. EBITDA when a quarterly report references either one of these accounting terms. Read More...

Jan 10, 2020 Buying stocks, bonds, and other investments through a brokerage firm is cheaper and easier than ever. Deals abound, as discount brokers like Charles Schwab and Ally charge as low as $4.95 per trade. In many cases, opening a brokerage account with one of these brokers takes just minutes. Here’s how to choose a brokerage and open an account. Read More...

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

Feb 02, 2021 Hedge funds are more loosely regulated than traditional mutual funds and tend to invest in different types of securities. This can mean higher returns, but it can also mean higher fees and greater risk of loss, as we've seen over the past week with short squeezes on Gamestop, AMC and other volatile stocks. If you’re thinking of investing in a hedge fund, here’s what you need to know. Read More...

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

Jan 08, 2020 Bond index funds invest in a selection of bonds intended to reflect the performance of a particular index. They can provide investors with a window to diversified, low-fee investing. However, bond index funds also carry several risks. We’ll explore the pros and cons of investing in bond index funds. Of course, a financial advisor can also guide you through selecting the bond index funds that are right for you. Read More...

Nov 11, 2020 Both public and private corporations issue corporate bonds, which are a type of fixed-income security. Corporations place these investments on the open market to help fund projects and other major financial undertakings. Investors can purchase a corporate bond on either the primary or secondary markets, and they offer predictable payouts and strong liquidity. If you have questions about how corporate bonds could fit into your portfolio, consult with a local financial advisor. Read More...

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

Dec 15, 2020 Known for its size, success and seeming ubiquity, Walmart (ticker symbol: WMT) is a discount retailer that has had a tremendous run on Wall Street. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, the corporation went public in 1970, debuting at $16.50 per share. Since then, the retail leader has had 11 two-for-one stock splits, with its closing price peaking in 2020 at $152.79 (as of Nov. 1). It's been pointed out that if you'd bought 100 shares of the initial public offering for $1,650, you would have 204,800 shares today - worth (at the Nov. 1, 2020, closing price) almost $31.29 million at the peak share price. Meanwhile, the company has increased its cash dividend every year since it first paid $.05 in 1974. Yet in the age of Amazon and online shopping, many stock pickers have shunned Walmart, thinking that its days of wild growth are behind it. If you disagree and want to get your hands on some of this equity, we go over your options below. Read More...

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

Nov 28, 2018 Vanguard began operations back in 1975, although its oldest fund, the Vanguard Wellington™ Fund, was incepted in 1929. The company currently manages about $5.1 trillion in global assets from over 20 million investors in about 170 countries. Unlike many other investment management companies, which are owned by outside stockholders, Vanguard is owned by its customers who buy and own the company’s funds. By giving ownership to its clients, Vanguard gets to return profits back to you in the form of lower costs, helping to boost your savings. This ownership structure also means Vanguard can focus solely on its customers. Keeping in line with its core purpose of giving investors “the best chance for investment success,” Vanguard offers a variety of investment products. This allows you to find the best investments for you and your financial goals. You can buy and sell Vanguard ETFs and mutual funds at no commission. There are also non-Vanguard ETFs and funds available, though these potentially cost more. You could also choose to diversify and stabilize your portfolio with Vanguard CDs, bonds and securities. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 Since hitting a three-year low in June 2020, shares of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A and BRK-B) have been climbing and investors are pouring over its annual letter for clues as to why. It's often said that investing in Berkshire Hathaway is like buying into an exchange-traded fund (ETF). Both offer diversification across industry sectors. But while ETFs are often passively invested, seeking to track a benchmark index, Berkshire Hathaway actively buys stocks and businesses. As you explore whether or not investing in Berkshire Hathaway is a good idea for you, it can help to get some hands-on help from a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Mutual funds are companies that combine investors' money in an effort to diversify their assets throughout specific areas of the market. So investing in a mutual fund is more than just buying into the investments a fund makes. You're actually buying shares of the mutual fund to become a part owner. This typically attracts lots of attention, especially from long-term investors. Here's a guide for how you can get your hands on a mutual fund. Read More...

Oct 29, 2020 The most common way to buy savings bonds is to go straight to the US Government, and as of a few years ago, it can only be done online. Though savings bonds may not be as flashy as some other investments, they can still be a solid choice if looking for something long-term. The U.S. Treasury Department issues these extremely low-risk investments to help fund various projects of the federal government. There are a few different methods of buying savings bonds, but a   financial advisor can help if you have specific questions. Read More...

Aug 26, 2020 Nike stock represents a tiny portion of ownership in Nike -- one of the most prominent sportswear companies in the world. This means that when you purchase Nike stock, you own a part of the company that makes your sneakers. Read More...

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

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

Feb 25, 2021 If you had to name one company that exemplifies American ingenuity, taste for fun and market domination, it would probably be ... well, Apple. But long before Apple, there was the Walt Disney Company. An iconic part of childhood, the company is more than the House of Mouse, of course. It is ABC, ESPN, National Geographic and streaming services — on top of theme parks, cruises and movie studios. Many of its businesses have been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic. Still, Disney has a track record of success that goes back almost 100 years. In fact, Disney stock (DIS) is considered such a reliable long-term investment that receiving it as a child is a rite of passage in many affluent families, a practice that was in the news when Barbra Streisand made George Floyd's young daughter a Disney shareholder. Anyone can get ahold of Disney stock, though, and we go over how to do so below. Talk to a financial advisor today about how to create a robust investment plan. Read More...

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

Oct 09, 2020 When you take a new job, your salary may not be your only form of compensation. You'll likely also get benefits, vacation days and possibly some form of stock in the company. This will likely come in one of two forms: restricted stock units (RSUs) or stock options. Each of these two possibilities has its own benefits and disadvantages, so you'll want to make sure you know which you're getting so you can adjust your financial plans accordingly. A financial advisor can help you navigate both your employee stock options and long-term financial plans. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Annuities are one way to fund your retirement. With an annuity, you exchange a certain amount of principal up front for payouts in retirement. An equity-indexed annuity is a popular type of annuity. The payout for these annuities is based on the performance of an equities index, like the S&P 500. Read More...

Oct 14, 2021 Diversification is an investment strategy that aims to reduce risk while maximizing return. It does this by spreading exposure to several different asset classes and within each asset class. The thinking is that if one sector or one holding goes down, the whole portfolio won't sink and may even experience gains elsewhere. Experts often recommend diversification for long-term investments such as retirement accounts. For help deciding if your portfolio needs more diversification, consider working with a  financial advisor to help you reach your personal financial goals. Read More...

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

Jul 26, 2019 You may have heard about short-selling, shorting or short position when listening to  investment discussions, but maybe you weren’t quite sure of the meaning. Taking a short position is essentially the opposite of investing in a company. When you invest in a company, you’re betting that the price of the shares will go up, giving you positive wealth growth. When you take a short position, you’re betting that the price of a company’s stock is going to go down. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Anyone who spends time thinking about investments has likely heard the phrase price-earnings ratio. Put simply, price-earnings ratio, or P/E ratio, is a figure that compares the price of a share of a company’s stock to the earnings per share it posts over a 12-month period. Read More...

Mar 30, 2020   Fidelity is a global financial services company headquartered in Boston. Founded in 1946, the firm has more than $8.30 trillion in total customer assets. It offers a full suite of products and services, including annuities, mutual funds, retirement plans, 529 plans and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In addition to its brokerage arm, Fidelity offers investment services through a robo-advisor called FidelityGo and a hybrid robo called Fidelity Personalized Planning and Advice. There's also a financial advisor division,  Fidelity Investments, for anyone who wants a full-service wealth management experience. Read More...

Aug 12, 2021 An "accredited investor" is a person or entity with exclusive access to complex, loosely regulated and often opaque investments like hedge funds, leveraged buyouts and startups. To become an accredited investor the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires certain wealth, income or knowledge requirements. Whether you qualify as an accredited investor or not, a financial advisor can help you manage your investments and meet your financial goals. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 With student loan debt reaching record levels, American families are seeking more ways to help their children save for higher education. One solid option is investing in a 529 college savings plan. If you're thinking about financing your family's education, a financial advisor could help you create a financial plan for your needs and goals. Let's break down the best 529 plans for 2021. Read More...

Oct 12, 2021 Stock options are a type of alternative compensation that some companies, including many startups, offer as part of their package for employees. Employees come on board at perhaps a lower-than-normal salary in exchange for the possibility of a big payday later on. If you've been offered options as part of a compensation package, or if you're considering exercising and selling those options, be sure you know how they work. A financial advisor could help you create a financial plan for your stock options or any other investments. Here's a breakdown of how stock options work. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Higher education is pricier than ever, and tuition hikes don't show any sign of slowing down. But 529 college savings plans and Roth IRAs both include benefits to help you save for your children's education. Investors use 529 plans specifically for the purpose of paying for college. By contrast, Roth IRAs provide the chance to save for both retirement and college in a single account. Decision which one to utilize is a complicated decision that can have long-term financial ramifications, so feel free to consult a financial advisor if you have further questions. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 If you invest in stocks, you may receive some dividends, which are payments made to shareholders in correlation with how the stock is performing on the market. To see if you’re getting a good dividend in comparison to other stocks, you’ll need to learn how to calculate dividend yield. Dividend yield is a formula-based expression comparing the price of a company’s stock to the dividend it pays. It's fairly simple to figure out, and knowing the dividend yield for a company you own can help you better compare it to other stocks. A financial advisor can help you optimize and diversify your investable assets. Talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Feb 26, 2021 TD Ameritrade is a full-service brokerage firm. It's a fixture in the investment space, with its predecessor firm, First Omaha Securities, Inc., first opening for business in 1975. TD Ameritrade employs well-balanced online and mobile trading platforms that include versions for both new and experienced investors, as well as a robo-advisor service. On top of this versatility, TD Ameritrade offers online equity, exchange-traded fund (ETF) and option trading on a fee-free basis. If you have questions about investing or any other financial topics, consider speaking with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Nov 08, 2019 If you’re interested in investing in real estate, you should start by doing as much research as possible. This first and foremost means studying the market, figuring out how you want to invest and learning as much as you can about what investing in the real estate market really means. One of the best ways to do that is to read a book on the subject. This guide will take you though the best books on real estate investing. We'll tell you what you’ll be able to glean from each of them. If you want hands-on advice, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 28, 2021 Setting up your asset allocation is one of the most crucial investment decisions that you will make for your portfolio. This is the process by which you break down your investment portfolio based on stocks, bonds, cash and other investments. Your age and risk tolerance will largely influence your strategy. In addition, your proximity to your retirement will also play a huge role. A  financial advisor can help you develop a personalized strategy for your investment and retirement-planning goals and needs. Read More...

Feb 26, 2021 Merrill Edge is a brokerage firm that offers everything from self-sufficient investing to financial advisor consultations and  robo-advisor services. The brokerage firm falls under the umbrella of the Merrill Lynch group of companies. Although once its own entity, Merrill Lynch is now under the ownership of Bank of America. Therefore Merrill Edge is an especially natural fit for anyone who maintains accounts at BoA. The brokerage firm has racked up its fair share of accolades in recent years. Barron’s has handed Merrill Edge a 4-star rating each year from 2014 to 2018 as one of the top online brokers on the market. Institutional Investor has also named it one of the top global research firms from 2011 to 2017. The firm boasts some of the best customer service marks as well, leading to J.D. Power’s “Outstanding Customer Service Experience” award for seven years running. On the downside, Merrill Edge does not excel when it comes to its mobile app, which has a weaker interface. But with an excellent desktop platform, high-quality customer service and plenty of investment insights, Merrill Edge is best suited for those who invest at their computer and who may need access to extra support.  Read More...

Jul 01, 2021 Robinhood is a brokerage firm whose services are centered around its mobile and online trading platforms. One of Robinhood’s principal attractions is a complete lack of commission fees for all purchases and sales of U.S. listed stocks, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and cryptocurrencies. On the other, it does not offer human advisement and provides limited customer service, limiting its appeal to beginning or novice investors. However, the biggest limit to its appeal may be the litigation that engulfed the company in early 2021 as well as related scrutiny by Congress and federal regulators, all stemming from the GameStock drama. [see below under "Robinhood: What's the Catch"]. The drama caused several major Wall Street interests to post massive losses and a number of retail investors, reportedly, to book fortunes. In an unrelated bit of drama, Robinhood was hit with $70 million in total fines in 2021 related to systems outages from 2021. This was the largest fine ever issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Former Stanford roommates Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt founded Robinhood in 2014 after building their own finance companies. As it stands today, the firm is independently owned, and co-CEOs Tenev and Bhatt, CCO Scott Friedman and COO Nate Rodland run it. Read More...

Mar 18, 2020 For investors looking to diversify their portfolio, real estate is a great option. But 89% of Americans have never ventured into that kind of  investing, according to RealtyShares, an online real estate investing platform. This is largely because of a lack of funds (61%) or know-how (19%). But investing sites like RealtyShares and  Fundrise mean you don't need millions or even hundreds of thousands to invest. So do real estate investment funds (REITs) and REIT mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Read on for more about some popular ways to invest in real estate. Of course, the guidance of a financial advisor can also be a huge help. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 The investment world is full of an overwhelming number of options, including equities, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and more. Commodities may seem like just another one of the bunch, but these products offer a unique way to invest your money in the market. If you have questions about a specific commodity, or you're new to creating an investment portfolio, it might be wise to consult a  financial advisor. Read More...

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

Jan 10, 2020 An investment strategy is a defined approach to investing that shapes the choices an investor makes for his or her portfolio. Different investment strategies assume specific tactics based on fundamental beliefs. For instance, value investing seeks stocks that are undervalued and are selling for less than their true worth, whereas growth investing aims to find investment opportunities in companies that have high potential for growth. Those are just a few of the many investment strategies out there to choose from. This guide will break down the major investment strategies and help you decide which of them is likely to be a good choice for you. Read More...

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

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

Jul 23, 2019 If you’re doing anything related to money or investing, chances are you’ll have to deal with a broker. A broker is someone who serves as a conduit for you when purchasing a variety of things. There are a number of different types of brokers, from investment brokers to insurance brokers.Knowing what a broker is and what he or she does is important to ensuring you effectively work with this type of financial professional. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 If you’re a relatively new investor, you may be wondering what types of investments you should be looking to put your money in. While there are plenty of different ways to buy them, it’s likely the actual investments you make will be in one of two basic categories: bonds or stocks. Read More...

Sep 01, 2020 The rule of 72 is a simple formula that shows how quick your money will double at a given return rate. Essentially, you can divide 72 by your annual compound interest rate and see how many years it will take for your investment to double. SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool can also set you up with a local advisor who can further aid you in evaluating your current investments or building an investment portfolio for the future. Read More...

Nov 25, 2020 A 529 qualified expense is a government-approved reason to take money out of a 529 college savings plan - meaning you won't have to pay a tax penalty. While tuition is the main qualified expense you think of when you get a 529, there are other tangential education expenses that will also apply. There are many, but it is important that you know exactly which expenses are qualified so you aren't surprised by any penalties. For help with 529 plans or any other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Amid rising college costs and mounting student debt, parents are looking for more ways to lessen the financial burden of higher education. Luckily, 529 college savings plans can help. These unique savings vehicles offer several tax breaks for parents as they save for their children's future education. Similar to 401(k) plans, 529 plans let you contribute toward investment portfolios with underlying mutual funds that leading investment firms manage. Tackling an expense as large and important as higher education is important. So read on to understand 529 college savings plans down pat. Read More...

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

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

Jan 21, 2020 When you're getting started with investing, it's important to research the options available to you. One such option, known as socially responsible investing (SRI), enables you to grow your money while doing good. It allows you to invest in social causes you care about. In fact, this type of investing has experienced significant growth in recent years. Socially responsible investments offer a great way to boost your assets while also making a difference. Read More...

Jul 17, 2020 The 2018 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) found that the median inheritance in the U.S. is $69,000. Yet an HSBC survey found that Americans in retirement expect to leave nearly $177,000 to their heirs. As it turns out, the passing of property and assets doesn’t always go as expected or planned. Plus, though it may seem like a windfall, getting an inheritance is rarely as easy as depositing a check. Read on to learn exactly how inheritance works. Read More...

Oct 28, 2020 Making an investment plan involves more than just choosing a few stocks to put money in. You have to consider your current financial situation and your goals. It's also important to define your timeline and how much risk you're willing to take on in order to determine your optimal asset allocation. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to make an investment plan. Do you have questions about investing? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

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

Sep 19, 2019 If you need help making investment decisions and managing your portfolio, you may want to seek the advice of an investment advisor. Investment advisors are basically  financial advisors that, for a fee, provide guidance and management for your investment portfolio. These individuals are often labelled as either an "advisor" or an "adviser." But don't worry - these terms are completely interchangeable. Read on to learn more about what investment advisors are, what standards they're held to, how much they charge and more. Read More...

Oct 09, 2020 If you're looking for a financial advisor, the Form ADV is an essential point of reference. In fact, this publicly available paperwork must be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by all financial advisor firms with more than $25 million in AUM. Form ADV includes dozens of pages of information about a firm, including its fee structure, total assets under management, other business activities, any disciplinary issues on record and more. Be sure to thoroughly do your research when choosing a financial advisor to trust your money with. Read More...

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

Oct 11, 2021 There are a number of ways to buy bonds: directly from the U.S. Government, via a bond fund or with the help of a broker. Before you make your purchase, it's important to understand what types of bonds there are, and how much risk and reward each type carries. Bonds can be a good way to round out a diverse portfolio, but not all bonds are as straightforward and reliable as you might think. If you want help buying bonds or any other investments, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 01, 2021 Not all investors in the stock market are individuals who buy and sell their own hand-picked stocks and bonds. Some are large entities trading securities on a large scale, usually on behalf of individuals: Pension plans, mutual funds, commercial banks and more. Such entities are known as institutional investors, and they account for the majority of trades in the market. If you plan to be involved in the market, you should understand what institutional investors are and what role they play in the stock market. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 15, 2019 Economic recessions are never pleasant. But they're an unfortunate reality that investors have to deal with from time to time. While it's impossible to predict when a recession will hit, there are often clues that warn of a potential economic downturn. If you're worried that another recession could hurt your portfolio, it might be a good idea to take these tips into consideration. Read More...

Aug 22, 2017 One common misconception about investing is that you need a big bankroll to get started. Some financial technology companies are challenging that notion by bringing the concept of micro investing to the masses. The idea is simple: Instead of investing large chunks of cash, you can do it in small increments. But can you really get rich by making micro investments? Read More...

Oct 28, 2020 When the market is soaring, it's easy to forget that what goes up can also come down. But economic slowdowns tend to be cyclical, which means that another recession is in the future. Whether it's fast-approaching or still a ways off, it's wise to prepare for its eventuality. This way, you won't join the panicking stampede out of stocks and into cash. Instead, you'll remember that stocks can perform even during a recession - you just need to know which ones. Find a local financial advisor who can help you build a recession-resistant investing plan. Read More...

Apr 14, 2021 A Ponzi scheme is a kind of investment scam in which investors of longer standing are paid with the buy-in contributions of newer investors. To avoid collapse, a Ponzi scheme must secure a continual supply of new investors. When a Ponzi scheme is exposed or otherwise comes to an end investors face disastrous consequences. The most catastrophic example of a Ponzi scheme - and the largest financial fraud in U.S. history - is the one perpetrated by Bernie Madoff, a once-respected Wall Street leader who swindled some 4,800 clients out of nearly $65 billion. Read More...

Nov 30, 2016 Beyonce's net worth is an estimated $265 million in 2016. Beyonce is an icon known for her electrifying performances and her empowering lyrics. At 35, she's one of the youngest people on Forbes’ 2016 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. Read on to find out how she accumulated her wealth. Read More...

Nov 30, 2016 Drake's net worth is an estimated $60 million as of May 2016. The Canadian actor-turned-rapper's annual earnings have risen, going from a reported $10 million in 2010 to $39.5 million in 2015. Today, he's one of the wealthiest hip-hop artists. Here's a look at his assets and some of his main sources of income. Read More...

Sep 29, 2016 What happens on Wall Street has a major influence on the U.S. economy and financial systems around the world. So in order to become a part of this exclusive group of investors, bankers and financial experts, you'll need to prove that you have what it takes to succeed. If you're dying to work at the New York Stock Exchange or Goldman Sachs, read on to learn how to get a job on Wall Street. Read More...

Nov 30, 2016 Donald Trump's net worth is estimated to be between $3 and $4.5 billion. It's hard to keep track of where Trump stands financially and, in some cases, politically. Here's how Trump's net worth breaks down. Read More...

Nov 30, 2016 Kanye West’s net worth is an estimated $145 million. West is one of the most polarizing figures in entertainment today. The outspoken rapper knows how to keep fans guessing with his unpredictable behavior. While we don't know what he'll do next, one thing we do know is that he appears to be as wealthy as he is provocative. Let's look at how the star's assets and debts add up. Read More...

Sep 23, 2016 We seem to have a fascination with the net worth of celebrities, but the wealthy aren't the only ones whose net worth is of interest. It's a good idea to know your own net worth so you can assess the state of your assets and liabilities and figure out how to increase your financial stability. Calculating your net worth doesn't require an accounting degree. Let us walk you through it.  Read More...

Sep 12, 2016 Although the World Trade Organization (WTO) affects all of us, many people aren't very familiar with it. You might remember hearing about it over the years since its beginnings in 1995. If you had no idea that it exists, don't worry. We'll explain what the organization does and discuss what critics have to say about it. Read More...

Mar 18, 2020 Investors often consider a company's debt-to-equity ratio when evaluating the stock. If the number is roughly 4, it means that for every shareholder dollar, there is $4 of debt. What's high or low, or good or bad, depends on the sector. Financial industry companies tend to have the highest numbers, say, 20, while stable manufacturing companies are often in the low single digits. Having a number lower than 1, say, 0.45, could invite a buyout. Knowing what the ratio is and what makes a good debt-to-income ratio can help you make investment decisions. Read on for more about this useful metric.  Read More...

Sep 05, 2016 Each election year, many of us feel uncertain about the new personnel and policy changes that could be in store for our country. If there's one thing we all can agree on, it's that the presidential race is often filled with surprises. Election years can bring economic surprises as well. Here's a look at how presidential races can affect the nation's economic climate. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 What would you do with a million dollars? Would you immediately pay off your student loans and your credit card debt? Or would you take that trip you've been planning for years? These days, becoming a millionaire isn't as far-fetched as it may seem. With the right strategy in place, you too could be earning a seven-figure salary. If you've struggled to turn that dream into a reality, here's how to make a million dollars. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 The P/E ratio, or price-to-earnings ratio, is a quick way to see if a stock is undervalued or overvalued -- and generally speaking, the lower the P/E ratio is, the better it is for the business and for potential investors. The metric is the stock price of a company divided by its  earnings per share. You shouldn't compare P/E ratios of different kinds of companies, like a tech company and a consumer staple company. In other words, the metric is only useful when comparing apples to apples. If you want help with using P/E ratios to invest your money, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 If you've strayed away from your original asset allocation, rebalancing can help you get back on track. And if you want to lower your investment risk, rebalancing can protect your portfolio from market volatility. Before you make adjustments, however, it's best to avoid doing anything that could jeopardize your investment strategy. Here are four rebalancing mistakes you can't afford to make. Read More...

Aug 19, 2016 The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is one of the hot-button issues that has been mentioned repeatedly throughout the course of the 2016 presidential race. Constituents and politicians on both sides of the aisle have strong opinions about whether or not the TPP is a good thing. If you're still not sure what the TPP is all about, here's everything you need to know about it. Read More...

Aug 19, 2016 Films are expensive to make. If you're making a movie without the backing of a studio and its resources, you'll need to get funding from somewhere. And if you're on a really tight budget, you might need to get creative. If your other fundraising ideas fell through, check out five ways to finance an independent film. Read More...

Aug 15, 2016 Maintaining a good working relationship with your financial advisor is important, especially when you're trying to build wealth. But annoying your advisor or doing things that drive him up the wall could prevent him from wanting to help you meet your financial goals. If your advisor seems to be avoiding you these days, here are five reasons why that could be happening. Read More...

Aug 08, 2016 If you're only investing in a mixture of stocks, mutual funds or bonds, there are plenty of ways to add diversity to your portfolio. Fine art can be a lucrative investment but it takes a certain amount of knowledge and skill to choose pieces that are likely to increase in value over time. If you're new to art collecting, here's a quick guide to getting started as an investor. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Tech stocks have become a popular choice among investors. While owning a share of stock in Google or Apple might be out of reach for some people, there are plenty of companies whose stock is more affordable. That doesn't mean, however, that you can just dive in without doing your homework. Take a look at some  common mistakes people make when investing in tech. Read More...

Aug 03, 2016 If most of your investments are tied up in bonds or stocks, becoming a venture capitalist is one way to diversify your investment portfolio. But jumping into it isn't something any investor should do without understanding what it involves. If you have a substantial amount of cash available to invest, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of venture capitalism. Read More...

Sep 03, 2019 While it may seem like a company should have to make a profit in order to be considered successful, that's not always the case. Take Amazon, for example. Although it was founded back in 1994, Amazon didn't actually make a profit until 2001. But the company has been a major online retailer for years. Read on to find out how businesses can succeed even when they're not profitable. Read More...

Aug 06, 2019 Many high-net-worth investors turn to experts when they need financial advice. And while many of them trust their advisors to help them build and maintain their wealth, there are plenty of things that investors wish advisors would do differently. New research sheds some light on what wealthy individuals and investors want (and don't want) from their financial advisors. Read More...

Jul 27, 2016 It looks as though the UK - or at least England - might be leaving the European Union. Brexit (as the act of Britain leaving the EU is commonly referred) is non-binding, so some people are pushing for a second referendum. If Britain does leave the EU, the decision would affect more than just the people living in the country. In fact, Brexit could have long-term consequences for everyone. Read More...

Jul 12, 2016 Investing can be intimidating, especially when you're doing it for the very first time. It's easy to get confused and overwhelmed when trying to understand financial terminology and many new investors worry about making a false move. If you're nervous about buying bonds, commodities, mutual funds or stocks, here are five tips that'll help you get a grip on the financial markets. Read More...

Jul 18, 2016 Owning your own business is a lot of work. While it can be rewarding, including financially, we were interested to see how opportunities compared for minority and non-minority business owners. SmartAsset decided to dig into the data to find out which metro areas in America are the best specifically for minority business owners. To do so, we looked at three variables - income ratio, profitability ratio and ownership ratio. See our full methodology at the end of the study. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Because of Brexit, the pound - i.e., British currency - has just plunged to a thirty-year low against the dollar. The euro has also fallen to a low against the dollar. The Japanese yen's value has also gone up in value in comparison to the pound. But what does that mean for you - if you haven't invested in currency? And what does it mean for a currency to be strong or weak? It might affect you more than you think. Read More...

Jun 30, 2016 Diversifying your investment portfolio doesn’t just involve investing in different types of stocks or bonds. By investing in foreign markets, you can lower your overall investment risk and potentially increase your earnings at the same time. If you're interested in investing in an international market, one way to get started is to get an American Depositary Receipt (ADR). Here's everything you need to know about ADRs. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Small-cap stocks are securities that are tied to companies whose market values often fall between $300 million and $2 billion. Adding some of them to your investment portfolio could be a good idea, especially if you're interested in building long-term wealth. If you usually invest in large-cap stocks, here are three reasons to consider throwing some small-cap securities into the mix. Read More...

Jun 20, 2016 There's nothing wrong with investing in U.S. markets. But looking at foreign markets might open some doors and provide you with some new, lucrative opportunities that you didn't have access to before. U.S. securities only represent a small portion of the global market. Investing in international markets does come with certain risks, but if you approach it strategically, it just might pay off. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 Investing in real estate can add diversity to your portfolio while creating a sustainable source of passive income. If you're a high net worth investor, you may be able to expand your horizons beyond the basic fix-and-flip by moving into the luxury real estate market. If you're interested in investing in luxury properties, here are a few things to keep in mind before diving in. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Deciding which stocks to invest in can be difficult. There are different kinds of stocks and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Compared to value stocks, growth stocks can potentially generate higher returns over time and you can start investing in them without spending a ton of money. Here are some tips to consider before you invest in growth stocks. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Choosing the right investments is an important part of building wealth. If you don't have the time to take an active role in managing your portfolio (or you're just feeling lazy), you can still find investments that have a good chance at providing you with steady returns. The following types of investments are designed to generate passive income and require minimal effort on your part. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 The Panama Papers leak was a global scandal. In one of the biggest data leaks in history, millions of documents revealed that banks, political leaders and wealthy individuals had allegedly hidden billions of dollars in shell companies through a Panama law firm. Reportedly, the scheme also allowed some of the firm's clients to evade taxes. If you don't understand what shell companies are, here's everything you need to know. Read More...

May 25, 2016 Title III of the 2012 JOBS Act allows both accredited and non-accredited investors to participate in equity crowdfunding. Under these new rules, anyone can invest in equity shares of a startup through a crowdfunding platform, regardless of their income or net worth. If you're thinking about wading into equity crowdfunding, there are some factors you'll want to consider first. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 With a traditional rewards credit card, you can earn miles, points or cash back. If you have an investment rewards card, however, you can use your rewards to save for retirement or fund your child's college expenses. But there are some potential pitfalls to watch out for. Before you invest with credit card rewards, it's a good idea to find out what you're signing up for. Read More...

May 19, 2016 There's more than one way to invest. Besides choosing a vehicle to put your money into, you'll need to pick an investing strategy. The one that you select will depend on various factors, including your target  asset allocation and the kinds of returns you want to see. If you've never heard of dollar-cost averaging, we'll review how this investing technique works. Read More...

May 16, 2016 Hiring a financial advisor might be a good idea if you need help managing your portfolio, planning your estate or working toward your long-term goals. Knowing that you can trust your advisor to make sound decisions is the key to a good professional relationship. If you're worried about falling victim to a Bernie Madoff-style scam, here are some ways to tell that you're being ripped off. Read More...

May 17, 2016 When startups need additional funding to get off the ground, they can look for venture capitalists (VCs) who are willing to help them. Venture capitalists are investors who offer emerging companies financial support in exchange for an equity share. Once the startup goes public, investment firms can sell off their equity stakes, hopefully for a sizable profit. Read More...

May 12, 2016 When it comes to the stock market, millennials aren't exactly embracing it with open arms. Recent reports show that they hold most of their investments in cash. While cash is king in terms of liquidity and safety, it doesn't have the same return potential as a stock or a mutual fund. For young investors who are cautious about investing, dividend investing may be something worth considering. If you're ready to give it a try, here are four tips to keep in mind. Read More...

May 12, 2016 Incorporating real estate into your portfolio is a smart move if you want to diversify and include some insulation against market volatility. Investing in commercial real estate can offer you the opportunity to realize some significant returns, but it's best to know as much as possible about a property before investing in it. If you're ready to become a commercial real estate mogul, here's a quick rundown of how different property investments compare. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 By investing in real estate you can add diversity to your portfolio and spread out the amount of risk you're taking on. What's more, you can benefit from the fact that real estate investments have historically been less susceptible to major market swings. Real estate investments can be grouped into two broad categories - commercial and residential property - and each one has its pros and cons. If you're dipping your toes into real estate for the first time, it's important to understand how they differ. Read More...

May 06, 2016 If you want to build a real estate empire without actually owning property, there are a couple of ways you can do it. You can go the crowdfunding route or put some cash into a real estate investment trust ( REIT). A REIT is a company that owns income-producing commercial properties, such as hotels, retail shopping centers and multifamily apartment buildings. A non-traded REIT has the potential to earn you high returns but there are a few things to keep in mind before diving in. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Investing in real estate can be a good way to diversify your portfolio. And it can be particularly appealing to 20-somethings who are comfortable taking risks and who want to earn bigger returns. If you're in your 20s and you've toyed with the idea of becoming a landlord or putting money into a real estate investment trust, here are three key reasons to jump on the property bandwagon. Read More...

Apr 28, 2016 Investing wisely requires an understanding of how the market works. But you also need a certain degree of confidence in your decision-making abilities. If you're not convinced that investing is a good way to reach your long-term goals or you're not sure whether you're capable of choosing solid investments, you could be building your portfolio on shaky ground. Read More...

Nov 04, 2020 While accounting and finance may go together, there are key differences: accounting focuses the flow of money and out of a company or family, while finance is a more broad term that describes how one manages asset and liabilities. Whether you are considering different college majors or thinking about who to hire to help you manage your own finances, it is important to understand exactly what the two fields are and what specialists in each do. To find someone to help with your own money, consider using SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Apr 13, 2016 Investing isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition and there are lots of different approaches you can take. Value investors, for example, focus on undervalued companies while buy-and-hold investors buy securities and hang on to them over the long haul. Momentum investing is an entirely different animal and it's geared toward investors who prefer active to passive investments. Read More...

Apr 11, 2016 Spring has officially arrived and that means that it's time to start cleaning out the clutter and organizing the inside of your home. Doing the same thing with your finances is probably a good idea. If it's been a while since you took a look at how your stocks, bonds and other assets are performing, here are five ways to begin spring cleaning your investment portfolio. Read More...

Apr 04, 2016 When you think about building a portfolio, stocks and bonds are probably the investments that come to mind. But there's more than one way to increase your net worth. Investing in physical assets is another way to pad your nest egg. While some investors have a passion for collecting antiques or classic works of art, others prefer to put their money into cars. The premise is simple - you find an old car, restore it and then sell it for a profit. But before you dive in, there are a few things you'll need to consider. Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 There are a few different ways to build wealth in your 20s, 30s and beyond. Funneling money into tax-advantaged accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs is a start, but you can only contribute so much every year. Once you hit the contribution limit, you could begin investing in a taxable brokerage account. Before you open one of these accounts, here are a few things to keep in mind. Read More...

Jul 19, 2019 Inflation becomes a problem when average prices rise too fast, hurting consumers, businesses and investors. Deflation can wreak havoc on an economy as well. There's deflation when growth is slow and overall prices are on the decline. Yet another issue that we have to worry about is stagflation. We'll tell you what it is and the signs that indicate that it's approaching. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 Setting aside enough money to invest can be difficult. Financial instability can be a huge barrier to entry for aspiring investors and some investment accounts require a minimum deposit of $5,000 or more. If you don't have that much cash at your disposal, you can still start investing. Check out some easy ways to invest your money when you're on a shoestring budget. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 You don't have to be wealthy to become an investor. On the contrary, there are plenty of ways to invest smaller amounts of money. The key is finding investment opportunities that don't charge excessive fees that can reduce the size of your profits. If you're ready to give investing a chance, we go over some of the best ways to invest $1,000 without taking huge risks. If you want hands-on assistance, consider finding a financial advisorRead More...

Oct 07, 2021 Inflation has many causes, but they mainly break down into two camps: demand-pull and cost-push. Demand-pull happens when an increase in the demand for goods and services leads producers to raise prices to maximize profits. Cost-push occurs when producers raise prices because their costs have gone up. Over time, inflation can significantly impact your cost of living, and it affects everyone from ordinary people to businesses and the stock market. As an investor, you may want to seek the guidance of a financial advisor to help you hedge against inflation and protect your investments. Read More...

Mar 14, 2016 Investing requires quite a bit of time and effort. In order to choose the right mix of stocks, bonds and cash investments for your portfolio, you'll need to spend some time researching your options. And unless you plan on putting your investments on autopilot, you'll have to make time to rebalance your portfolio and ensure that fees aren't eating up your earnings. Depending on the investments you have, it might take time to see the kinds of returns that you're looking for. In the meantime, you might be able count on something known as compound interest. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Investing in real estate can be a lucrative way to generate passive income or replace your day job altogether. Flipping houses can be a good way to get started. But it's not something you want to jump into without doing your homework. If you're about to embark on your first house flip, there are some critical errors that you'll need to avoid. Read More...

Oct 23, 2019 Investors who put their money into savings vehicles and other accounts hope to earn decent returns. Over time, interest adds up, and how quickly it grows depends on the kind of interest you're working with. You might make a simple interest investment or pay a simple interest loan, where the interest is calculated in that way. There are also loans and investments that use compound interest, a different way of calculating interest. For a thorough dive into these matters, we've got everything you need to know about simple interest. If you need more hands-on help in understanding out simple interest plays into your overall financial picture, try SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool to get paired with an expert in your area.  Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Anyone who takes out a loan has to think about the cost of doing so. If you need to borrow money to finance a home purchase or a renovation, you'll want your interest rate to be as low as possible. From an investors' standpoint, however, higher interest rates present the opportunity to earn higher rates of return. Interest can be simple or it can compound over time. Don't understand the difference between simple and compound interest? We'll define both concepts and give plenty of examples.  Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 When it comes to buying a home or a property that you plan to rehab and resell, a fix and flip loan may be just what you need if you're not sitting on a huge pile of cash. Fix and flip loans work a little differently than conventional home loans. So if you're trying to get approved for this kind of financing, there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind before meeting with a lender. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 As an investor, boosting your return rates is probably your primary concern. But no matter how carefully you've selected the stocks and bonds in your portfolio, it's a good idea to make some adjustments every once in a while to minimize the amount of risk you're taking on. Before you rearrange your assets, however, there are five important factors you'll need to consider. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 Thanks to their lower costs, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are becoming a popular choice among investors. These funds, which track specific stock indexes or market sectors, look like any other mutual fund, but they trade like a stock. While there are certain advantages to ETFs, they're not the best option for every investor. Here's what you need to keep in mind before investing in ETFs through your 401(k). Read More...

Feb 12, 2016 In the 2015 film  The Big Short, hedge fund manager Dr. Michael Burry realizes that the mortgage market is about to implode. By the end of the movie, Burry decides to shift his investment focus to one thing: water. If you're wondering why anyone would want to invest in water, the answer's pretty simple. Despite the fact that most of the Earth is made up of water, the vast majority of it isn't drinkable. Read More...

Jun 01, 2021 Index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) both earn returns through a series of investments. But how they trade and what they cost varies. However, there are some ETFs that are also index funds (and vice versa). That means the subtle differences between each of these investment types make them specifically better options for certain investors over others. If you have questions about how to build your portfolio,  speak with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 Investments can be great wealth building tools that you can use to multiply your savings. But unfortunately, all of the research and counseling in the world can’t necessarily guarantee a high rate of return. Whether you're an expert or a novice, it's important to keep in mind that there are certain uncontrollable factors that will always have an impact on your investments. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 New investors often focus on  picking the right mix of funds to add to their portfolios based on their risk tolerance. While choosing the right investments is a big part of building wealth, it's not the only factor that matters. There are certain costs that go along with investing that you can't afford to overlook. Before diving in, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the fees you'll run into. Read More...

Sep 03, 2019 When it comes to turning a profit on investments, the trick is knowing how to balance the risks against the potential rewards. Calculating a real estate property's capitalization rate can give you a ballpark figure of what kind of returns you stand to earn for a fixed point in time. The internal rate of return (IRR) is a more exact measurement of a property's long-term yield and it's a good concept for real estate investors to be familiar with. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds are two great ways to dive into the world of investing. What are they? You can think of a mutual fund as a basket of stocks and bonds. Similarly, an ETF invests in a range of different securities but trades like a stock itself. So whether you want to invest in small, mid-size or large companies or in a particular sector, you'll likely find a mutual fund or ETF that's right for you. As you learn more about the nuances of ETFs and mutual funds, you should also seek the help of a financial advisor, who can help you guide you through the investment choices that will work best for your needs.  Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 Investing in real estate can potentially yield some major returns. But at the same time, you're taking a chance in assuming that renting out a property will pay off. Being a landlord isn't always a walk in the park and the headaches that go along with it aren't for the faint of heart. Before taking the leap, it's helpful to consider the downsides you might encounter when investing in a rental property. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Investing in real estate is a good way to add some diversity to your portfolio and make a decent profit at the same time. But the rewards don't come without certain risks. Before you start putting big bucks into real estate investments and different rental properties, it's a good idea to ask yourself the following four questions to make sure it's the right choice. Read More...

Jan 07, 2016 Target-date funds (TDFs) take some of the guesswork out of investing for people who aren't market savvy. And because they shift toward a more conservative asset allocation over time, you don't have to worry about rebalancing your portfolio. Millennials represent one group of investors that have latched on to target-date funds in a big way. While these funds offer some benefits, there are some downsides that younger investors in particular need to be aware of. Read More...

Jan 08, 2016 Investing can be a great way to build wealth as a young adult. But if you don’t know anything about stock or bonds, you might be tempted to avoid the process of investing altogether. Avoiding investing means you could miss out on the chance to earn big returns, though. Check out the tips below to help you get started. Remember, an early start can make all the difference when it comes to your net worth. Read More...

Jan 04, 2016 Crowdfunding has taken off since the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012. In addition to being a way to fund personal causes, crowdfunding has opened up new avenues for investors who want to put their money into real estate or startups. As an investment tool, crowdfunding has some advantages. But it has its drawbacks as well. Before wading in, you need to know what to expect. Read More...

Jan 01, 2016 It's important to diversify your portfolio to hedge against risk. The traditional school of thought suggests that investors focus on things like asset allocation or striking a balance between stocks and bonds. But factor investing takes a different approach. This concept has gained popularity in recent years. If you're not familiar with it, here's a quick guide to the basics. Read More...

Dec 24, 2015 Owning real estate can be a lucrative venture. But as with any investment, you'll have to be prepared to tolerate a certain amount of risk. If you're planning to buy a property for the sole purpose of renting it out, figuring out the cap rate can help you gauge what kind of return you'll see on your investment. Here's a rundown of what the cap rate is, how to calculate it and why it matters. Read More...

Dec 21, 2015 There's been a lot of talk lately about fiduciary duty as part of the ongoing debate as to which finance professionals should have a fiduciary duty to their clients. Let's explain the concept of fiduciary duty and why it's so important to understand who has one and who doesn't. If you're taking advice from someone who doesn't have a fiduciary duty to you, there are risks you should understand.  Read More...

May 30, 2018 If you're planning for your child's future, socking money away into a high-interest kids savings account is a good place to start. The only downside is that investing your money will typically yield a better return than simply saving. Certain types of investment vehicles even offer tax advantages. Let's take a look at some investment options that parents can use to set their children up for financial success. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Those apps on your smartphone? While they're entertaining you they may be making a lot of other people rich. The mobile apps industry is booming. A 2015 report by Transparency Market Research predicts that the global mobile app market will experience a 16.2% Compound Annual Growth Rate between 2014 and 2020. By 2020, the global app market will likely be a $54.89 billion industry. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 These days it seems like film festivals are a dime a dozen. From the glitzy red carpet of the Cannes festival to the casual vibe at Sundance, film festivals are a chance to premiere new films, generate buzz and get distribution deals. Some big-name directors got their start with independent films at festivals. How do these filmmakers make money and how do the festivals themselves turn a profit? Let's a take a deeper dive.  Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 When you're actively working toward building wealth, it's a good idea to make sure you're taking steps to protect it. Taking the time to develop an estate plan is a must for wealthy investors and the sooner you get started, the better. If you don't have an estate plan in place yet, you can take a look at some important tools that you can use to safeguard your nest egg. Read More...

Nov 23, 2015 Investing is the linchpin of any sound wealth-building strategy, but that doesn't mean you have to limit yourself to playing the market. Angel investing is another way to potentially reap some major returns but like anything else, there's a certain amount of risk involved. Let's take a look at what angel investing is and how it works to help you decide whether it's worth the gamble. Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 Investing can be tricky to master and one thing it's important to do is balance your profits against your losses. Selling off stocks or other securities for a profit can actually cost you money if you have to pay a substantial amount of taxes on your capital gains. Tax-loss harvesting and investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can help shrink your tax bill. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 If you're new to investing, you may not have settled on a particularly investing strategy. While experts say that many people can get away with investing in low-fee index funds rather than trading stocks in individual companies, some people enjoy deciding which company shares to buy. These active investors tend to self-identify as either growth investors or value investors.  Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 Investing can yield big returns but it comes with a price. When you sell off investments and realize a profit, Uncle Sam expects you to pay taxes on your earnings. That could mean a much bigger tax bill if you've had a successful investing year. Fortunately, there are some specific strategies you can use to minimize  what you owe on your capital gains. Read More...

Nov 11, 2015 When it comes to investing there are different schools of thought. Your investing strategy and asset allocation will depend on what you hope to get out of your investments. Are you looking to score deals on under-valued stocks or find companies that are on their way up? Let us explain how growth investing works and its potential pros and cons for the average investor.  Read More...

Nov 09, 2015 Taking a hands-on approach to your investments can be a smart strategy if your goal is to build wealth. But in a busy world, who has time for that? While putting your 401(k), IRA or other investments on cruise control is a hassle-free way to save, that can cost you money in the long run. Here are five reasons why a set-it-and-forget-it approach can be a bad investing strategy. Read More...

Nov 04, 2015 Want to turn $5 into $500,000 in a single weekend of NFL football? Or how about $10 into $10 million? Those are the types of payouts promised to winners in daily fantasy sports (DFS), the online game that has rapidly become one of the largest pieces of the multi-billion dollar fantasy sports industry. Read More...

Jan 06, 2020 If you think all millennials struggle to make it to their next paycheck while fending off their student loan servicer, think again. According to a 2014 report from the Shullman Research Center, 23% of U.S. millionaires are millennials. All together, that comes to almost 5 million young adults who have managed to accumulate some serious wealth. While that might be surprising, what's more of a shocker is the fact that more than half of them are managing their money solo. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 If you scan the financial news you may see a reference to "shadow banking." It's a term that can apply to a range of activities, from unregulated activity by banks to lending by non-bank institutions. Confused? Let us break it down for you with our guide to shadow banking, its risks and its potential rewards. If you're  investing, you'll be well served by learning about it. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 Investing has gone high-tech these days thanks to the rise of robo-advisors. These online services take a lot of the hassle and cost out of managing your investments by cutting out the human middleman. If you're working on building wealth, a robo-advisor can help you reach your goal. But you'll need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before handing over your money. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 Deciding where to invest your extra money can be tough when there are so many different investment products to choose from. If you’re wondering what a commodity is and how it’s traded as a financial investment, you’ve come to the right place. Here we have a comprehensive guide for you about commodities and the role they play in financial markets. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 People tend to celebrate when gas prices and food costs drop. Who doesn’t love having more money to spend? Having a little extra cash in your pocket can certainly feel like a blessing, especially if you’re in the process of paying off loans or growing your retirement nest egg. If prices overall are on the decline, however, that could be a sign that the economy is experiencing deflation. Deflation Defined You’re probably fairly familiar with how inflation works. There’s inflation whenever prices of goods and services are consistently rising. And as a result, consumers have less purchasing power, because their money isn’t worth as much as it once was. Deflation is the opposite of inflation. To say that there’s deflation is to say that costs are falling across the board. It’s not the same as disinflation, which happens when inflation slows down but prices don’t drop. There are multiple causes of deflation. Deflation can occur when the demand for goods and services decreases or when the money supply shrinks. There might be deflation when investors stop putting their money into the market or the government cuts back on spending. Initially, deflation can be followed by an uptick in spending and trading. That can be positive. But if deflation continues, deflating prices can mean that trouble lies ahead. Inflation vs. Deflation As noted above, inflation and deflation are opposites. Inflation is when the prices of goods and services rise, rendering a single dollar less valuable. Deflation is the opposite, when the prices of goods and services goes down, rendering a single dollar more valuable. While inflation is often seen as a major struggle for a countries economy, deflation is actually considered a bigger threat by many economists. While inflation can certainly create hardships, especially if wages don’t rise in step with the costs of goods and services, deflation can actually cause recessions and depressions. Why Is Deflation So Bad? The reasons deflation is problematic might not be obvious. After all, why would anyone complain about falling prices? But it’s important to keep in mind that a general decline in prices over time can seriously weaken the economy. Ultimately, deflation can lead to bankruptcies, rising unemployment rates and declines in wages, business profits and investment earnings. With more unemployment and less discretionary income, folks struggle to stay afloat and pay their bills on time. Debt becomes an even bigger burden for borrowers and shoppers may hold off on buying what they want, assuming that prices will fall again at some point in the future. Trying to dig a country out of a deflationary hole can be quite difficult. Low prices leading to low demand, low wages and low profits can seem like a cycle that’s never going to end. You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that periods of deflation are often accompanied by recessions and depressions like the Great Depression of the 1930s. Japan’s Deflation Problem A classic example of the negative effects of deflation is the crisis that Japan went through in the 1990s and 2000s. It stemmed from the bursting of the 1980s asset bubble, resulting in a drop in equity prices, real estate and growth in terms of GDP. Banks lost money, and the bad loans they had financed only made matters worse. Prices fell in most sectors. The country’s central banking system brought interest rates down to zero and then kept them near zero, hoping to get the economy moving again. Japan bounced back slowly and by 2006 it was showing signs of real recovery. However, Japan is still dealing with deflation. How the Government Monitors Deflation The consumer price index (CPI) provides a way to track inflation in the United States. It watches the price movements of everything from transportation and food to education. We can tell that there’s deflation whenever prices in the index have decreased across the board for a sustained period. Unfortunately, the CPI isn’t perfect. It doesn’t account for all goods and services. Certain elements that play a role in deflation – such as stock and bond prices – are left out of the index. Consequently, the government can sometimes miss signs of impending asset deflation. Our Federal Reserve prevents deflation by increasing the money supply and pumping more money into the economy. It reduces interest rates and buys government-backed securities. These moves can encourage spending and speed things back up. A government can also spend more or cut taxes if a country has already dipped into a deflationary spiral. However, doing so could reduce government revenue that’s needed during tough economic times. If a government does not monitor inflation correctly, the economy could encounter stagflation, which describes when deflation occurs during persistent unemployment and stagnant demand in the economy, The Bottom Line Like inflation, deflation that’s left unchecked can cripple an economy. Price decreases hurt businesses and investors as profits slow and companies are forced to shut down. Workers and consumers eventually feel the weight of deflation as they lose jobs, earn less and spend less, expecting poor economic conditions to continue. As an individual, you can’t do much to avoid deflation. What you can do, though, is work on saving, build up an emergency fund and pay down debts in case deflation becomes a reality. Personal Finance Tips Want to prepare for possible periods of deflation? Find a financial advisor using SmartAsset’s free matching service. You answer a few questions and we match you with up to three advisors in your area, all fully vetted and free of disclosures. You talk to each advisor and make a decision about how you want to proceed. A budget can help you save money in case a broader economic trend, like deflation, impacts the economy. Get budget-setting tips using SmartAsset’s free budget calculator tool. Photo credit: ©iStock.com/leungchopan, ©iStock.com/GlobalStock, ©iStock.com/uschools Read More...

Nov 11, 2015 There comes a time when businesses decide to take the plunge and go from being privately-held companies to public ones. This move gives business owners the opportunity to sell stocks to the general public rather than just a few shareholders. In stock market terms, it's referred to as seeking an initial public offering (IPO). Never heard of an IPO before? We'll break it down. Read More...

Feb 18, 2021 Open the Wall Street Journal or log into bloomberg.com and it won’t be long before you come across an article about hedge funds. If you’re not an experienced investor or you don't work in the finance industry, the term may go right over your head or get mixed up with other terms like private equity and venture capital. Investing lingo can be difficult to grasp, but here's what you need to know to understand hedge funds. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned trader a financial advisor can provide customized insight into how best to reach your goals. Read More...

Oct 09, 2015 One of the keys to building wealth through investing is diversification. If you ask uber-wealthy investors like Warren Buffett or Ted Turner, they'll probably tell you that no portfolio is complete without a healthy dose of real estate holdings. Buying into private real estate can cost you $100,000 or more, but that's not the only way to get into the game. If you're ready to invest in real estate on a much smaller scale, here are three ways to get started. Read More...

Oct 06, 2015 Investing is all about building wealth but taxes can curb your portfolio's growth if you're putting your money in the wrong places. Keeping your investments as tax efficient as possible is especially important for high net worth investors, who typically land in a higher tax bracket. Minimizing what you owe isn't that difficult if you've got a strategy for managing your investments. Read More...

Sep 24, 2018 Building wealth over time isn't something that's exclusive to the super-rich. Even if you can't afford a luxurious lifestyle, it's still possible to accumulate some decent assets if you're smart about what you do with your money. Taking a page out of the investing playbooks of the 1% is a step in the right direction and there are some basic rules the wealthiest investors swear by. Read More...

Oct 02, 2015 Savings bonds are a relatively safe way to invest and there's more than one way to put them to work. Series EE and I bonds issued after December 31, 1989 can be used to cover the cost of earning a college degree. If you want to use bonds to pay for your child's education expenses, it's a good idea to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of investment. Read More...

Oct 01, 2015 The money market is a market in fixed-income securities. Like other fixed-income securities markets (the bond market, for example), the money market is a stable place to put your money but it's not a get-rich quick plan. We'll walk you through what it is and how it works. If you decide it's for you, you can choose a money market account for your emergency fund.  Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Looking at interest rates for certificates of deposit (CD), you see that the five-year CD earns, say, 2% more than the one-year CD. You'd love to get that higher rate, but you're worried about locking up your money for so long. The solution: a CD ladder, where you divvy your money into several CDs with staggered term lengths. That way, some of your money will get the higher rate and some of your money is not locked up for five years. As each CD matures, you renew it for the longest term in your ladder, again snagging the highest interest rate but still having the liquidity of the next CD set to mature. Read on for the pros and cons of this savings strategy. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Investors sometimes see the prices of their securities rise one day and fall the next. At times, however, it might seem as though there's a pattern as the value of certain securities moves consistently in one direction. Are you facing a bull or bear market? If you don't know the answer to that question, we'll break down the difference between these two trends. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 The inflation rate in the United States has been very low for a very long time. In both 2013 and 2014 inflation was less than 2%, the Federal Reserve’s target rate to maintain price stability. To find the last time the rate of inflation topped 5%, you would have to go back to 1990, when the inflation rate was about 5.4%.  Read More...

Sep 28, 2015 There are certain phrases that we come into contact with on a regular basis. Even though other people use them all the time, we don't actually understand what they mean and we've never taken the time to find out. If that's the way you feel about the term "bull market," here's your chance to finally learn what it is and why it's associated with investing in the stock market. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 When you're someone with a high net worth, taxes can take a big bite out of your paycheck and your capital gains. And if you're nearing retirement, your tax burden can be even harder to bear, particularly if you don't have enough saved up to maintain your current lifestyle once you stop working. If you're looking for a way to slash your tax bill, consider getting a boat. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Whether you're planning to leave the U.S. for a wedding in Italy or you want to try your luck at investing in a foreign market, you'll need to have a basic understanding of exchange rates. They reveal the value of one country's form of currency compared to another. If you're still a bit confused about how exchange rates work, here's a crash course on the subject. Read More...

Sep 04, 2019 Real estate crowdfunding is similar to any other type of crowdfunding: a group of people all contribute a relatively small amount of money to go towards a larger cause or investment. In this case, the investment is real estate. Real estate crowdfunding is an alternative to real estate investment trusts (REITs), in that it’s for people who want to invest in real estate but don’t have the ability to buy a property themselves. Read More...

Mar 14, 2017 Judging by the number of Americans who don't invest, the stock market can be an intimidating topic. Wealthier individuals are much more likely to invest their savings, but even they face special investment challenges. Having a high net worth comes with its own set of considerations.  Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Investing wisely is a proven way to build wealth for yourself but a unique investment strategy is making it easier to help others. Although it's a relatively new trend, the concept of impact investing is gaining steam and it's got the potential to be particularly appealing to millennials. If you're scratching your head over what impact investing is all about, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Investing your money can help you build wealth, but it's a misconception to think that you need a lot of money to get started. Whether you've got $50,000 or $500 to play with, you can make a dent in your savings goals (like retirement) if you know where to put your money. While you could go with stocks or bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can offer a lot of bang for your buck. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 Most people are looking for ways to  save enough money for retirement. One of the best ways to do that is through earning interest -- money you get in exchange for lending your money or storing it with a bank. Yes, it's possible to make money from money and if you want to do so, interest is your friend. Read on for our guide to see how it works and what you need to know about rates. Read More...

Aug 02, 2019 Trading binary options is a little different than regular trading. With binary options you are answering a yes or no proposition about whether an asset will hit a certain price at a certain time. From the comfort of your living room, you can pay to place bets on the price movements of stocks, commodities and indices. It's marketed as investing, but it can be more like gambling. In this article we'll explain what binary options are, and the risks involved in binary options trading. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 There are a number of ways to invest in silver, from buying the actual precious metal to investing in a fund that buys it for you. Commodities like silver are a favorite investment of those who don't want to deal with the volatility and risk of the stock market, but want more potential return than bonds and other low-risk options can give you. If you're interested in investing in silver, consider getting help in the form of a financial advisor who will walk you through all your options and make sure you make the best choices for you and your family. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Oil. You may have heard that it's a non-renewable resource. And you already know how much the global economy depends on it. So won't the price of oil keep rising, you ask? In this article we'll go over the pros and cons of buying oil futures. When you buy oil futures, you're betting money that you know how the price of oil will change in the future. If that sounds risky, it's because it is.  Read More...

Aug 02, 2019 FOREX trading, or trading in foreign currencies, is big business. For the average investor, though, FOREX trading is not necessarily needed as a step to reaching financial goals like saving for retirement. But if you're curious about trading foreign currency and wondering if it's right for you, you're in the right place. We'll talk about how FOREX trading works - and the risks it poses.  Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 If you're a business owner moving into an office that's being renovated or you're looking to have construction work done, you might want to consider a surety bond. It's a contract that ensures that projects are completed and expectations are met. Not to be confused with other types of bonds, surety bonds are about transferring risk from one party to another, not earning money. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 When economic times get tough, some investors look to gold as a hedge against the risk that their other investments will depreciate. The intrinsic value of gold, these investors say, means it will keep its value even if society breaks down and paper money becomes worthless. That's a doomsday scenario. If you decide to invest in gold, we say it should be based on facts, not fear. So here are the facts on investing in gold. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 If you're wondering how to invest your money in stocks, you must be thinking about building your wealth. Just having that intention is a step in the right direction. After all, no one ever accidentally became affluent. It takes thought and action to make money - and the stock market is one of the most reliable ways. Of course, you can also invest in gold, real estate, baseball cards, your neighbor's nephew's college roommate's startup, etc. But online brokerage accounts and commission-free transactions are making investing in securities more accessible than ever before. Read on for a general discussion of why stocks are a good way to put your money to work and how to get started. We'll also cover common investing wisdom. But for professional help, use SmartAsset's free matching tool to find a financial advisor near you.  Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 Just about anyone can invest in the stock market. When it comes to something like day trading, however, you may find it's best to leave that to the pros. Day trading is a complex practice that requires strategy and extensive background knowledge of how market indices operate. If you think it could be a good way for you to build your portfolio or make some extra money, it's important to know that it's risky. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 The Nasdaq – we’ve all heard something about it at some point. You probably already know that it’s part of the stock market. And you’ve probably read a news article or heard a reporter talk about it going up or going down. If you’re curious about investing and want to know more about what the Nasdaq is and how it works, here are some key points to understand. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 When most people think about buying "stock," they're thinking about common stock. But did you know that there's another class of stock called preferred stock? Well, now you do. When you buy preferred stock, you're investing in equities - but with some bond-like features. You lock in a dividend rate, much like you would with a bond or other fixed-income security. Let us explain. Read More...

Jan 13, 2020 Buying a stock means getting into some risky business. Sure, they can help you earn money that you could put toward many things - a  retirement account, an emergency fund, a down payment - but you also run the risk of putting yourself in hot water if the company you've invested in goes under. But some stocks are riskier than others. If you're risk-averse, you may want to consider blue-chip stocks. Read More...

Aug 02, 2019 U.S. savings bonds are essentially a loan you make to the government. When you buy a savings bond, you are giving money to the government in exchange for a guarantee you will get that money back, plus interest, at a predetermined later date. Investing in U.S. savings bonds is a good potential investment for new investors or anyone else looking for simple, cheap and low-risk investment options. Best of all, you’ll be able to watch your money grow from a distance and you can use it later on for just about anything, including retirement. How Savings Bonds Work Buying a savings bond is like loaning money out to a reliable friend who always pays you back. In this case, you’re letting the government borrow money for a set period of time that can be anywhere from one year to 30 years. You’ll automatically earn interest as time goes by and you can sit back and relax until you’re ready to retrieve your money. U.S. savings bonds are not get-rich-quick schemes, however. You can’t redeem them at all for an entire year, and if you’re not willing to wait at least five years before collecting your cash, you’ll face some consequences. The U.S. Department of Treasury will keep the interest that accrued over the last three months before you took the funds from your bond. But after five years, you’re in the clear and you can get your money back at any time. The lowest amount you can contribute to a savings bond is $25. The highest amount that you can chip in within a year is $10,000. Series I Bonds vs. Series EE Bonds There are many types of bonds, but if you’re interested in getting a government savings bond, you have two options. You can go for a Series I bond, which pays you a fixed-interest rate (currently 1.48 percent) based on inflation. This is designed to prevent investors’ money from losing ground to inflation. You can also go for a Series EE bond that doesn’t take inflation into account, but ensures that after 20 years your original investment will double. Essentially, you buy these bonds at half their face value and the treasury guarantees they reach face value in 20 years, The interest rate for a Series I bond won’t change. Interest for EE bonds, however, is variable. Until the end of April 2015, you’re earning interest for the year at 0.10 percent. With either type of savings bond, you’re buying them at face value. That means that if you spend $100 on a savings bond, you can expect to get back at least $100. Should I Buy a Savings Bond? There are other benefits to buying savings bonds besides their low cost and low risk. They make great gifts for picky people who can’t seem to decide what they want for their birthdays. You could even prevent someone from taking out a heap of student loans by using a savings bond as a future college fund. And if you’re looking for a tax break, get excited. You won’t have to pay any local or state taxes on the interest you earn – and you can hold off on paying federal taxes until you’re ready to pocket the money from the bond. Of course, as with other types of bonds, there are also some drawbacks. You won’t earn as much interest from savings bonds as you would if you invested in something riskier like stocks. Plus, you’ll have to worry about how the value of the dollar will change in the future with inflation, particularly if you buy a Series EE bond. You might not beat inflation at all with a savings bond. There’s also the possibility that you’ll end up with a lost savings bond if you misplace it or forget about it altogether. If this has happened to you, you have the option of searching the government’s Treasury Hunt database to claim your missing funds. If you’re highly concerned about inflation, you can consider getting a TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities) bond, which comes with a fixed interest rate like a Series I bond. These bonds can be bought and sold and you only have to keep the money in your account for 45 days. They’ll cost you at least $100, but you’ll be getting interest payments twice a year. How to Buy Savings Bonds Back in the day, people who wanted to buy savings bonds had to go through the trouble of visiting a bank or another financial institution where the bonds were sold. Now, the process is a lot smoother and a lot less expensive. Instead of paper savings bonds, you’ll be able to buy a digital version online at the Treasury Department’s TreasuryDirect website. It’ll take you about 10 minutes and you won’t ever have to worry about losing the bond somewhere in your house. Want your child to have a savings bond too? You can set it up inside of your account and he or she can transfer the funds to a separate account at age 18. When you’re ready to cash in your digital savings bond, you can have your money sent directly to your savings or checking account. It’ll be ready to use within a couple of days. If you’ve still got a paper bond laying around, you can have it converted to an electronic bond. Or, just redeem it in-person at a local bank or by mailing it to the Treasury Retail Securities Site. U.S. Savings Bonds History U.S. savings bonds were born in 1935, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a low letting the Treasury Department sell a new bond security. The first bonds were released a month later and had a face value of $25. Special War Savings Bonds were released after the attack on Pearl Harbor to help find America’s efforts in the Second World War. For much of the history of U.S. savings bonds, they could be purchased at banks. Since 2012, though, you can only buy U.S. savings bonds directly from the government at a designated website. The Bottom Line Buying savings bonds can be a great way to enter the world of investing if you’re not a big risk-taker. They can also make great gifts for weddings and baby showers. But unless you buy the type of bond that adjusts for inflation, it’s a good idea to prepare for the possibility that your money may be returned to you (or the gift recipient) at a lesser value than you expect. And remember that bonds can’t compete with stocks when it comes to returns. Investment Tips Want help with investing in U.S. savings bonds and other securities? A financial advisor can assemble an investing plan that balance growth and risk. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Asset allocation is key to a good investing plan. You need to know how much of your money should be ins securities, fixed-income investments and cash reserves. Get a sense of what your situation should be with SmartAsset’s asset allocation calculator. Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 Publicly traded companies can decide what to do with profits. They can reinvest them to grow the company and raise share prices or they can pay some of their profits to shareholders as dividends. A company that pays dividends may do so as a compensation to shareholders - compensation for being a higher-risk investment or for low growth in share values. Read More...

May 29, 2015 When most people think of employee benefits, they think of health insurance, 401(k)s, and maybe some free food. But for folks at the top of their fields, benefits may include stock options. If you've got a job that comes with incentive stock options (ISOs), it's important to know how those options work and what they can do for you. For one thing, they come with favorable income tax treatment. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Read on for our guide to ISOs. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Looking for a reliable and steady source of investment income? Maybe you're getting closer to retirement and looking to take some risk out of your 401(k). Or maybe you have a low risk tolerance that means you shy away from equities in general. We've got you covered with our guide to fixed-income securities - what they are, what they can do for you and what risks they carry. Read More...

Mar 24, 2020 It’s virtually impossible to make it through the day without hearing something about the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Whether the Dow is up or down might not mean much to you if you’re a beginner investor with no knowledge of how the stock market works. But once you understand the basics, you can consider how investing fits into your overall financial plans. A  financial advisor can take things a step further by creating a personalized investment portfolio just for you. Read More...

May 12, 2021 The consumer price index (CPI) is one of the nation's most closely watched economic metrics. The CPI, which comes out monthly, measures the year-over-year change in the cost of a basket of consumer goods, including clothing, food and furniture. The reason the CPI is closely watched is because it can augur both inflation and deflation. The April 2021 CPI report, which showed a 4.2% gain over the year-earlier level, reflected four economically stimulating forces. Economists had expected a gain of 3.6%, so the jump - the biggest since September 2008 - spiked concerns about looming inflation. Here's what you need to know about the CPI and why it matters to you. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 An "option" in the finance world entitles the holder of the option to buy or sell an asset at a pre-determined price, on or before a certain date. The buyer pays a premium for the option, and may lose that initial investment depending on how the stock performs. If that sounds confusing, fear not. We'll break it down for you in our guide to options. If you need help picking an investing strategy, a financial advisor can help you create a plan for all of your investing needs and goals. Read More...

Jun 24, 2020 Equities are the same as  stocks, which are shares in a company. That means if you buy stocks, you're buying equities. You may also get "equity" when you join a new company as an employee. That means you're a partial owner of shares in your company. Because equities don't pay a fixed interest rate, they don't offer guaranteed income. In other words, equities inherently come with risk. If you have more questions about equities or investing in general, speak with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 If you're an investor looking to play it safe, treasury bonds could be the way to go. Also called T-bonds, they come straight from the government and can be held for up to 30 years. Although they're a lower-return way to invest, it's a good idea not to underestimate them. They play an important role in our economy. Whether the Fed buys or sells them affects interest rates - including interest rates offered when getting a loan to buy a house. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 If you want your money to experience significant growth over time through the power of compound interest, you may want to consider investing in the stock market. When it comes to buying stocks, though, it's important to understand what you're doing. That's why SmartAsset is bringing you this guide. Sit back, relax and prepare to get some clarity on what stocks are and what they can do.  Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 You may have heard that a balanced investing portfolio includes both stocks and bonds, with the ratio between the two varying depending on your age and risk tolerance. Most financial advisors will recommend increasing the proportion of bonds in your investment portfolio as you get closer to retirement, the better to counterbalance the risk of a market crash wiping out your net worth. But what exactly is a bond, and how does it work as an investment? Whatever your age, understanding how bonds works and how they should fit into your portfolio is crucial. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 A mutual fund company pools money from individual investors and invests it, charging each investor a fee for the convenience of having someone else manage their investments. Investing in a mutual fund is an alternative to hand-selecting individual stocks and bonds and buying them independently. Sounds great, right? Not all mutual funds are created equal, though. A financial advisor could help you put an investing plan together for your goals and needs. Let's break down everything you need to know about mutual funds.  Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Every once in a while you hear about some lucky person who got rich by trading penny stocks. And we're happy for those people - we really are. But for the average investor, penny stocks are risky business. Let's talk about penny stocks, what they can offer you and what they can't. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 A municipal bond is a bond issued by a local government to raise money for things like infrastructure improvements or investments in schools. When you buy a bond, you're lending money to the issuer. You receive interest payments at regular intervals and get your money back when the bond matures. Municipal bonds aren't generally considered to be as rock-solid as Treasury bondsRead More...

Jul 25, 2019 Derivatives are a type of financial instrument traded by more advanced investors. A derivative is a contract between two parties that depends on an underlying asset of some kind to determine its value. Options, futures, forward contracts and warrants are all forms of derivatives. While the concept of a derivative is simple enough, things can quickly become complex. If you're interested in exploring derivative investing but you don't want to lose your way, consider seeking the help of a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 Index funds are popular with those who want to take a slow-and-steady approach to investing. Brokerage firms that offer index funds are able to charge lower fees for index funds because they put fewer hours into managing them. Index funds don't promise get-rich-quick results. Instead, they offer transparency and low cost to potential investors. Let us break it down for you. Read More...

Feb 02, 2021 As an outsider, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the stock market. News coverage of markets is often dramatized with images of brokers hollering across a trading floor, a litany of unfamiliar terms and lingo, and the threat of a catastrophic crash hanging over the proceedings. But despite all of this noise, the stock market is based on a handful of easy-to-understand concepts. The most foundational one can be broken down as follows: Companies sell stock, or partial ownership in the company, to investors in order to raise money. And as those companies increase or decrease in value, the value of your investment will rise and fall. If you need help picking an investing strategy, a financial advisor can help you create a plan for all of your investing needs and goals. Read More...

Aug 02, 2021 You may have read about stock splits in the news. Big, successful corporations sometimes split their stocks multiple times to boost their shares outstanding. Other times they do the opposite: At the end of July 2021 recovering industrial conglomerate General Electric announced a 1-for-8 reverse stock split. But what do these kind of moves actually indicate about the company, and what does it mean for shareholders? If you get word that a company whose stock you own is splitting its stock, we've got you covered with this guide to stock splits and reverse stock splits. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 What if there were a way to make money from the up-and-down movement in the prices of financial assets without actually owning the asset? Well, there is a way- with futures. If you're an Average Joe or Jane just looking to put aside money for retirement and watch it grow, getting in to futures might be overkill. But here's some information so you'll know how it works.  Read More...

Sep 27, 2019 Investing in real estate has serious appeal. It can not only diversify your portfolio, but it can also create a long-term stream of income if done correctly. Whether you want to be a landlord or invest in real estate by way of a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), we've identified the key steps with our guide to real estate investing. Below, we explore the different types of real estate investing, and we outline process needed to begin.  Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Bonds can help your investments maintain value in a financial downturn, but they likely won't make you rich. Think about dipping your toe into bond investing? Or wondering what the point of the bonds in your portfolio is? Not worry. We've got you covered with our guide to the basics of bonds - and some of the many bond types out there. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 The Dow is up and the NASDAQ is down, but the S&P is unchanged. These terms get tossed around by everyone, from television pundits to politicians to people on the street. Many people assume they are representative of the stock market as a whole, while others think they represent the state of the economy. Understanding what these terms mean and what they refer to is as essential for anyone who is interested in actively investing in stocks as it is for anyone who has money in IRAs and 401(k)s for retirement. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Building wealth means more than just having a solid emergency fund or maxing out your retirement account. It's instead good to develop an investment strategy, as one can supplement existing savings and potentially bring in some bigger returns. One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to investing, however, is assuming they need a big chunk of change to get started. If you're ready to dip your toes into the market, here are five ways you can do it that don't require a lot of cash. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Not everyone has the time or qualifications to pick individual stocks and bonds to invest their hard-earned money in. That's why mutual funds exist, so that many investors can pool their money in order for trained fund managers to purchase the same portfolios of securities for everyone involved. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 If investing seems like a foreign word to you that only those who are wealthy are able to do, this article is for you. Investing can also seem complicated and overwhelming when it conjures images of the stock market. There are several smart, simple ways you can invest on a small budget, regardless of your age or income. In fact, learning how to invest wisely sooner rather than later can help you pay down debt and start saving for you future. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 The question new and seasoned investors have puzzled over for decades is whether the better investment strategy lies in mutual funds or individual stocks. The answer is like comparing apples and oranges. They're both investments in businesses (with some exceptions) but a better analogy would be apples to apple pie. They're both composed of the same basic ingredient stocks but mutual funds, like a good apple pie, has more than one kind of apple baked into it. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 William Shakespeare said it best in his most well-known play, Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.”  This most excellent advice applies in most areas of our lives, including the realm of personal finance.  The key to finding success in your investment strategy may lie within…within yourself, that is. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 It is a common occurrence: Sorting through old letters, crowded filing cabinets, and the corners of desk drawers often yields surprises like old savings bonds. Sometimes parents and other relatives discover savings bonds they bought when you were a child but then forgot about. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Investing in high yield bonds can be a great way to increase your returns, but they inherently come with a greater degree of risk. Many financial advisers automatically steer their clients away from this arena, unwilling to put their reputation behind riskier assets. But that doesn't mean you should necessarily stay away. Just understand and know what you are doing. Read More...

Oct 14, 2021 Interest rates are a percentage of the total amount being loaned to someone. The person paying off the loan is responsible for paying for the total amount of their loan as well as the interest rate on that loan. Individuals are not the only ones who pay interest rates – banks pay them as well. When banks hold deposits for consumers, their customers are actually paid an interest rate on their deposits by the bank. The reason for this is that banks use the deposits they get from consumers to give out as loans. The interest rate given to customers is a way of convincing people to make deposits. Banks make profit by paying depositors a smaller interest rate then what they charge borrowers. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 The stock market has become a volatile and unpredictable for average investors to gamble their hard-earned dollars. Savings accounts and CDs are completely useless, as average interest rates continue to hover slightly below one percent. Sound options have grown thin for families looking to secure their financial futures, while earning a few extra bucks at the same time. Those willing to think outside the box and take some unconventional steps can  start saving immediately. Thought it may sound like the thinking of someone with schizophrenia symptoms, you may be setting yourself up for long-term financial security and stability. Read More...

Dec 08, 2015 If you're new to investing, you may want to look to some investing greats for guidance and inspiration. The 13 names on this list all made a name for themselves by beating their peers - and the stock market. Read More...

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