Tag Archives: Mutual Funds

Investing Without A Clue Will Only Make You Look Like a Fool

Without a financial plan, how do you estimate how much you need to support your financial goals and commitments? You might erroneously think that you can afford to spend most, if not all, of your current income.

In order to manage your wealth during retirement, there are a few things you will need to know. Investing during your retirement can be a lot of fun if you have a solid education about what you will be doing. Most people have not really put the time in to learn about managing their own money.

When thinking about how much should be accumulated for a retiree, try using a financial retirement calculator that can be found online. Every of you might have different protection needs, it is hard to determine how much you should insure yourself if you don’t have a clear financial situation. You might over insure if you are risk averse or under insure if you are a risk taker.

The ups and downs up the market is a great way to learn emotional intelligence. If you are not managing your money, chances are, you are cheating yourself out of this great lesson in life. You can also make money when the market is going down, but you have to have education and be trained to do so.

Without a proper financial plan, you won’t be able to identify the investment on return (ROI) that suit your financial freedom. You may end up investing in wrong investment products which might affect you financial plan.

You will be able to adjust your expenses such as children’s tertiary education, your retirement age, your retirement income and other financial goals to accommodate your purchase. Without proper a financial plan, you can’t see the impact of your children’s tertiary education funding on your other financial goals. The idea is not to over spend on one child and affect the funding of other financial goals or worse, the funding of others children’s tertiary education.

Making good decisions about your wealth and investments is part of having a good wealth plan. Most people have not gotten rich by letting other people manage their money. Once you get out of your workforce, getting back in can be very difficult. Your time should be enjoyed while you are older.

In retirement planning, you don’t want to retire too early and end up not having enough financial resources to support your retirement lifestyle. You also don’t want to retire too late that you might don’t have enough time to enjoy life.

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Stock Market Investing With Mutual Funds

To novices and experts alike, the stock market can sometimes be erratic and enigmatic. We can erase the mystery that clouds the topic and let you know how the market can be unpredictable, and how you can take advantage of this trait.

The stocks in the mutual funds are the same as the ones you have in your IRA and 401K. The same companies in mutual funds are the same in the S&P 500 Index which is the stock market. The S&P 500 Index is a list of the 500 largest companies in the world such as Target, AT&T, Apple, BP, Coke and hundreds more. By watching the S&P 500 Index you can see what and how the overall stock market is doing. Other indexes are the Dow Jones Index but it only has 30 companies and the Nasdaq Index which has many small companies. These two Indexes follow the direction of S&P 500 Index because of its more well known companies.

Unlike today, those corporations were only government owned companies. Asia’s first stock exchange was established in 1875 in Bombay and still functions today as one of the most important markets in the world. Privately owned corporations began in the United States of America, United Kingdom and in other countries in Western Europe in the 19th century.

Over the centuries stock markets have undergone vast improvements and today most stock markets incorporate advanced technology in to their trading process. For example, in the Tokyo stock exchange trading is completed by computers. Even though the exact process of stock markets depends on their internal organization, in every country stock markets are under government regulation to ensure the safety of investors.

Only brokers are authorized to carry out trades. Private investors need to find a suitable brokerage to set up an account with and deal through. The process is no more complex than setting up a bank account and once a brokerage account has been established, you are in control of the buy and sell orders related to it.

Alternatively, you can invest in the stock market through special plans such as those involved with retirement. Examples of such plans are the 401k in America and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). In these instances, you do not have any control over traded stocks. The third way to invest in stocks is via Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs) or Direct Reinvestment Plans (DIPs), where you do get a say in the stocks you buy or sell.

There are a lot of articles that write about a mutual fund investment strategy and but none will tell you why or how the strategy works.

Do have a Plan and stick with it. Always stick with your trading plans and rules and do not get carried away with the market. If you just stick with your strategies, trading plan and be disciplined you will succeed every time. Never ever enter a trade without a plan. Imagine entering a battle without a plan or strategy. It will fail!

This all points to our economy. Our economy is base on the gross domestic product. This is the increasing and decreasing of services and products that are produced by business services in the U.S.A. The Government have Economist study how the U.S. economy is performing every month. These reports show how the manufacturing of products, employment, business services and retail goods are performing currently and in the past. It easy to see if the U.S.A. economy is in a recession by comparing it to the stock market.

Do Lots of Background Reading and Research. Even if you believe that you have the best broker in the country it is mandatory that you know exactly what is going on in the market. Remember it is your money. In order for you to make the best decisions you must have all the available information. So as well as reading the daily press like Financial Times / Wall Street Journal etc, try to read the trade magazines and annual reports of the firms you have or are hoping to invest in. Don’t be left behind

One of the most important aspects to learn about trading is the mathematics. For example, if you lose 50% on a certain trade, then to break-even, you need to make 100% on your next trade! When you understand the mathematics and put the probabilities in your favor you have a much greater chance at winning in the stock market. Mutual Funds are a portfolio of stocks from hundreds of companies. View the chart of this index using the month to month price and not the day to day price.

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Types of Mutual Funds

So, you’ve chosen to jump into the mutual fund investment game. Whilst mutual funds have shown themselves over time to be a less dangerous bet as compared to normal stock trading, there’s always the possibility you might lose your shirt. However the form of fund you select will have a lot to do with the level of risk you take on and the form of return you’re looking for. For starters, mutual funds are generally divided into six main types.

Equity mutual funds allow you to purchase typical shares of common, everyday stock.

Fixed income mutual funds allow you to invest in corporate or even government security that normally provide a fixed rate of return on your investment.

Balanced mutual funds enable the buyer to take on a fund which incorporates both stock and bond options.

Maybe the most secure kind of mutual funds is the money market mutual funds. They offer a higher degree of stability for your principal, as well as substantial liquidity should you need to back out.

Bond mutual funds are well-known given that they invest in tax free and also taxable types. This can give you a higher return on investment after you take into account your tax savings from a municipal bond.

And finally, sector/speciality funds are used to help expand your holdings within a specific market. It is a fantastic option if you think a particular industry is going to do well. For instance, if you believe the oil businesses will continue their maximum profits, energy mutual funds may be perfect for you. Each of these types of funds may be both thriving and dicey with a high level of reward possible, or they can be more secure and lower risk. It all depends on which fund you choose. Many people diversify their funds so that they can have the best of both worlds. If something really takes off, they can acquire large earnings, if not they are able to hedge their investments with more risk adverse funds.

To break things down even more, equity funds are usually divided up into four various categories: Growth and Income mutual funds, International mutual funds, growth mutual funds and aggressive growth mutual funds. Each different kind of fund features a particular target in mind. For some of us, it is to ruthlessly pursue revenue, even in risky situations, although some seek to protect the initial investment and only consider smaller chances.

As you can see, the mutual fund landscape is loaded with so many options; it can make a newbie’s head spin. But have no fear, there is practically limitless info available on which mutual fund is right for your specific investment strategy. Not only do most mutual funds and those that run them have their very own own internet site, there is limitless advice pertaining which fund is right for you in the Internet as well. Don’t forget to utilize bulletins like the Wall Street Journal, as well as friends and colleagues who might have had particular luck with a specific fund. Welcome to mutual fund investing!

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Every Job Should Offer A 401k Option

Most employers offer 401ks these days, don’t pass these up! These accounts have a lot of advantages for your retirement savings.

Do as much as you feel you can afford, but as a rule at least ten percent, if not twenty. This will help make up for slower saving years and always keep your investments moving forward. Plan out how much you need, and how much you need to save each year. Don’t forget to add in the returns on your investments, like a 401k or IRA. Making a plan is key to any successful retirement savings.

You shouldn’t stop working until you have enough saved to live on for the rest of your life. So the first thing you need to decide is how long you ideally want to live on this money. Of course, the first problem that comes up is not knowing how long you’ll live. Unless you have some kind of condition that convinces you otherwise, it is strongly suggested that you plan on living to be ninety five years old, if not a hundred. It would be awful to be eighty and run out of funds.

Feeling safe with your money is a great way to live life. Stocks have returned a much greater amount then to people who have invested in bonds. There is no doubt that stocks are they way to go, but in today’s world, not to many people feel very safe with the market. If you have stocks, then when should you make adjustments to turn those into bonds?

You must mix you assets up, even though bonds are generally more safe. Having all bonds could go against you, due to rising inflation. With the dollar that keeps falling, there is no safe place for money anymore. You can keep it in money markets if you choose, but the market is not what it once was. By mixing the two investments, you are significantly reducing the risk of your downside.

If you just spend a little time each week reading about different subjects and trying different activities, then you will start to learn who you are and just what you enjoy doing. Many of us get blinded by working all the time. We lose track of what we enjoy in life.

Also take care of any maintenance that you have been putting off with your home. Get a few new appliances, a new roof, and you might paint the house. When you do this, you will help put your mind at ease.

Get a newer car or go ahead and fix anything you know will need repairing in the future. Get all of the big budget items that could come up out of the way. You might want to go ahead and get that tune up, replace some shocks and struts, and whatever else might need to be done.

There is no better time than the present to begin saving for the future. It is necessary to prepare for that and more. You can also factor in what you will be receiving from social security benefits; however, this should be the amount with the least importance. It is rarely enough to live on, and it should be used as part of the extra and cushion factor.

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Investing Starts With Reading Articles About Mutual Funds

A mutual fund guide could basically be called a guide to investing in stocks, bonds, and money market securities.

What this means is that a mutual fund takes all of your money (and every one else’s) and invests in enough securities that anyone with less than $500,000 could never even imagine achieving. And since diversification is key to eliminating risk, saying that mutual funds are too risky is like saying air travel is dangerous. Risk is relative and in terms of reducing that risk, mutual funds achieve it better than any other investment.

Mutual Funds can also possess much more risk than you thought you were encountering. Here’s what I think you should consider doing. First unless you are a real expert, consider buying Index Funds, as opposed to investing in funds that carry a high load, or sales charge associated with them. If you pay a big commission, you simply have less dollars in the investment to work with. Studies show that for most mutual funds, the commission or load simply is not worth it. Don’t let a good or even a great salesman talk you into a load fund, unless you have checked for yourself, that the returns over several different periods of time have been outstanding.

Equity funds invest your money in common stocks with the objective of earning higher returns or profits for investors. Risk is higher here, as the price or value of shares can fluctuate significantly. The fourth category is balanced funds, which invest in a combination of money market securities, bonds, and stocks. The objective is to provide both moderate growth and dividend income at a moderate level of risk. No guide to investing in mutual funds is complete without considering the cost of investing. You can invest through a middleman and pay as much as 5% or more in sales charges called “loads” or you can invest directly in no-load funds and avoid them. While all mutual funds charge for yearly expenses, you can pay 2% a year or more, or less than % in well chosen no-load funds.

Young investors who are just starting with a savings program will find that their friends, family and advisors will almost all have different views about how one should start to invest their money. For some, recommendations will come along the lines of buying real estate that can be flipped or rented out to generate monthly income and long-term capital appreciation. For others, it will mean putting as much money away as possible into a low-paying CD or maybe even mutual funds.

If you have a small percentage of your portfolio (around 10% is recommended) in commodity mutual funds, then you have some protection from a downward swing in the stock market. Commodities also do well during times as of inflation. And they are a good hedge during times of a weak dollar. To take advantage of the diversification benefits of commodities there are other choices available, such as commodity mutual funds. They are similar to stock mutual funds in that there are many types to choose from, just as there are many brokers to buy them from. Do a little research on the funds and brokers and put some diversification into your portfolio.

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Prenuptial Agreement As Well As The Features It Gives

Practically nothing can destroy romance quicker compared to the term prenup. Though with about one in three of all first marriages finishing in divorce, and 50 percent of second or third ones striking the skids, a prenup is smart legal, financial planning and finance experts point out.

“Think of it as being a business arrangement or just as one insurance policy that can help remove many of the feelings which areobviously involved,” claims Nancy Dunnan, a New York City financial author and adviser. “Marriage is not only a physical and emotional union — it is also a financial union. A prenup and also the negotiations which go with it will help guarantee the monetary well-being of the marital relationship.”

A prenuptial accord may be a contract involving two different people about to wed that spells out exactly how investments will likely be distributed in the event of death or divorce. Not Just For The Rich You don’t need to be a Trump or Rockefeller to wish a premarital arrangement. An individual who has been able to save $30,000 could be far more defensive of their little investments than anyone who has millions.

“Those are often one of the most jealously guarded assets as it has brought a lot of effort to amass a small amount of money,” states Joseph P. Zwack, an Iowa attorney and writer of a best-selling handbook “Premarital Agreements: When, Why and How to Write Them.” You should look at creating a prenup in case you fall into any of the following different categories:

* You currently have assets such as a stock, retirement funds or a home

* Own all or part of a business

* You may be getting an inheritance

* You have kids and/or grandkids from a prior relationship

* One of you is really a lot wealthier than the other

* One of you is going to be supporting the other through a college degree

* You have family members who need to generally be looked after, for example elderly parents

Getting close to This issue

So how can you bring up this sensitive issue? Initially, take action as early as possible. The mention of a prenup should not appear to be a big surprise in case you along with your lover happen to be open with each other as the romantic relationship became really serious.

Dunnan suggests lovers talk it over ahead of the engagement. “Let your intended know you feel these arrangements are essential and that you would like to talk about the subject.”

Next, the discussion should be honest. “You should be real candid regarding the reason why you need the agreement. It is not very romantic, however, you have to value what the other person’s concerns are,” states Michael McDonough, a Palm Beach County, Fla., lawyer who practices family and matrimonial law.

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Mastering What Mutual Funds Are All About

Mutual funds are considered to be the safest and secured way for investing money. Traditionally banks were the only mode of saving money with less risk.

DSC stands for Deferred Sales Charge, and most class B mutual funds are DSC funds. This is something that you should really be on the lookout for. When you buy a mutual fund with a DSC you are not paying your financial advisor a commission directly but the fund company will pay your advisor a healthy commission, usually 5%. On top of the commission your advisor still gets a trailer fee, normally about 0.5%. Although you do not pay the commission out of pocket when you buy the fund, you are the one who ends up paying for it.

There are short term, middle term and long term investments and in order to witness exponential growth you will need to invest your money in top mutual funds. People having excess money but no time to invest in stocks may find mutual funds to be the best option. There are lots of companies that have evolved with time and have been performing well in the market and are considered to be safe by almost all the investors. It gives you an opportunity to attain various stocks and bonds. Top mutual funds have the best fund managers who have a vast exposure in the market.

Then I remember how much money the mutual fund companies and investment advisors make off actively managed funds and it all makes sense. Of course mutual fund companies and advisors do not want to admit actively managed funds may not be the best option for investors, because they will earn less money if everyone starts using index funds. All of the data clearly shows that very few actively managed funds beat the index. The longer the time frame you look at the more the data points to index investing being the superior option.

I took the most widely owned Canadian equity fund, the RBC Canadian Equity Fund and compared the holding to the RBC Canadian Index Fund. The data used is from the RBC 2009 semi annual report which had the holdings as of June 30, 2009. The majority of the investments held in the two funds, 77.36%, were the same, with 22.64% being different. It is only the returns of this 22.64% of unique assets of these two funds and total fees which will have an impact on the variance of their returns. The MER of the RBC Canadian Equity Fund was 1.97% and the RBC Canadian Index Fund was 0.68% a difference of 1.29%.

There is a maximum commission the advisor is allowed to charge, set by the fund company, but there is no minimum. It is possible for your advisor to sell you this type of fund and not charge you a commission at all. If you pay a commission this money goes to your financial advisor and the firm they work for. In addition to this commission your financial advisor will collect a trailer fee directly from the mutual fund company as long as you own the mutual fund. These trailer fees are normally about 1% and are paid from the MER of the fund.

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Do You Need Expert Help With Your Investments

You probably have heard the old adage -”there are no dumb questions, only dumb answers.” The question “When is the best time to invest?” is no exception when you are invested in the stock market.

Based on the First Commandment of Investing (covered in detail in a future article) – Buy Low, Sell High – the answer is simply “buy when the price is low”. This rule is always worth following. If the market or a stock price are at a new high, it is not a good time to buy. Buy when prices drop, sell when they go up. Like following each of the Ten Commandments of Investing (and the Ten Commandments in The Bible, Torah or Koran) – It is simple, but not easy!

Deciding to borrow or withdraw from your retirement fund is not a fine idea either. Your retirement fund is a long-term endeavor. Retirement planning – and financial planning as well – would normally inform your saving toward that goal. You should not compromise a long-term goal like retirement with short-term needs if you can avoid it. Even if you borrow with the intention of repaying, this often does not happen – particularly if you do not properly plan your finances.

Income protection is only one aspect of financial protection. Inadequate homeowners’ insurance or unanticipated medical expenses might easily leave you scrambling for funds. It is easy to look toward your retirement portfolio for rescue, as it has accumulated wealth. Adequate insurance for risks that you face is a good way to reduce or cover the costs associated with these risks, should they occur. Financial protection preserves the integrity of your retirement portfolio. Getting the most out of your retirement plan is difficult enough when you are doing it on your own. If you are part of an employer-sponsored plan, you can boost your funds easily when you have your employer match your contributions. This boost to part of your accumulated savings can compensate for risks in other areas of your retirement portfolio. In some cases, you get a 100% return on investment up to a stipulated amount.

You should not invest your entire retirement fund in one asset class, nor should you be too conservative or take unnecessary risks. Portfolio diversification ensures that you are neither too conservative nor too adventurous. Investment risks can handicap or cripple your wealth accumulation for retirement. Portfolio diversification prevents you from risking the partial or total loss of the real or nominal value of your retirement fund. There is nothing worse than building your future – only to see it collapse. Your retirement fund is your investment in the future. You should do all that you can, while it is accumulating, to protect it in the present.

Sir John Templeton was the person who pioneered the investment fund business in the U.S., and later the concept of global investing, before most Americans knew there were other financial markets. He lived his later years living comfortably in the Bahamas. He is one of the real gentlemen of the investing industry who invested other people’s money (and his own) very wisely. The first insight seems obvious – if you do not have money you cannot invest it. If that fits your situation, then you should make sure you do not miss an upcoming article on saving and investing. Even those who buy on margin, or sell short, need some money to do this. The other aspect of his response is more subtle – implying that if you do have money, you should be investing it. Sir John was a long-term investor who was very optimistic about the prospects for the world. I can almost hear him say, “there is no time in history where people were as well off as they are today.”

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Even A Few Dollars A Month Can Help With Your 401k Plan

A 401k plan is the most common retirement plan that people take out. Currently you can invest up to 15% of your salary into the fund. The money you invest is pre-tax which means it lowers the amount of tax you are paying out of your salary.

Unless you have a dire emergency you are strongly advised to leave the funds to mature until you retire, otherwise you may be forced to pay a stiff penalty for the privilege of accessing your money early.

If you can’t get a 401k then having an IRA is the next best thing. The maximum yearly contribution for a IRA is $5000 ( as of 2012). Once you reach the age of 50 you can invest a further $1000. The biggest drawback with an IRA is that you must start to receive payments from the age of 70. You will also pay a heavy penalty if you decide to make any early withdrawals.

All rewards that are worth it come with an element of risk. If you only decide to invest a tiny amount into your retirement fund, then you’ll be missing out on the long term benefits. If you have some extra cash now, try to see that by saving this extra amount now, you’ll be reaping the rewards several times over when you do actually retire. This doesn’t mean being reckless but in order to receive a bigger payout you’ll need to be willing to take some calculated risks now.

You’ve put tin money way every month, so if you’re facing some lean financial times, why shouldn’t you put up your 401(k) as collateral to borrow against. Well, for one, this is probably against the law. These funds are designed to only be used for their recommended purpose,. This is the reason you are given so many incentives to take out a 401(k). You should view this money as untouchable until you retire otherwise you could encounter unforeseen problems for a long time to come.

It is really never too early to formulate a detailed retirement plan, however before you take a dive; you should make sure that the water is clear. Investing for retirement process requires a detailed planning to get the results you desire. I am sure that with few tips I provide you here, you can just start making most out of your retirement planning.

Say for example you get $ 50,000 in one year and make a contribution of $16,500, and then you’d have to give federal income tax on $33,500 only. Income taxes in the states vary. After you cross 50 years of age, you are permitted a catch up contribution of extra $5000 every year.

A Roth IRA is one of the best ways to save for retirement outside of your 401K. It is funded with after tax dollars making it so that you will not have to pay taxes when it is used. You can also use the money you deposited without penalty before age 59. These options make this a great way to save.

Many people will be working longer than individuals in the past, but we will also be living longer. Find something you enjoy doing and consider making a part time business out of it and this will give you further options during your golden years. As long as you plan for the future, you will be headed in the right direction.

An IRA is a great option because you don’t pay any tax on your savings until you decide to withdraw the funds. You can also offset your IRA contributions against any taxes owed. You can open an IRA at virtually any bank so it’s a very convenient way to manage your money. A newer type of IRA is the Roth IRA. In this case you pay taxes on your savings but you don”t pay a penalty in federal taxes when you decide to withdraw.

You can do it your self and worry at night or get a hold of a Independent Financial Advisor to help with the tough investing choices.

The First Plan Of Action Is To Open A Retirement Account

The right selection of mutual funds is essential to enjoy the fruits of successful investing. You must be clear with your goals of investing.

Our immediate emotional response would be to move to the sidelines – a cash or money market account. We can rationalize that it is better to not make anything than to see a loss. However, that is a form of market timing, and it does not work for long term investing. Most investors miss the biggest opportunities while sitting in a money market account. Today, we will look at five of the most common criteria advisors use to evaluate mutual funds. Using these criteria individually can be helpful in maintaining a better quality investment portfolio. Performance alone is not something to consider.

Growth and income funds are the right ones if your goal is to create income and you can handle risks ranging from moderate to high. There are good chances of dividends and return on capital. If income is not your area of concern then fixed income mutual funds would be the right funds to invest. Equity income funds are another good choice. The fund manager is also the one taking responsibility for selling and buying different securities. The mutual funds falls under different laws and regulations, in the USA the IRS and SEC are over viewing the different funds.

Often times, mutual funds that are very large and therefore have a rather large monetary value, are overseen by a board of trustees that make sure that the fund manager is adhering to the goals for the mutual fund and is following proper protocol. These funds offer many advantages over other types of investments, especially the investment in just individual stocks. An example of this is for example that the transaction costs are divided among many investors, which allows cost-effective diversification. They also offer the advantage that the investments can be overseen by professional managers or bankers who will spend their time researching the best investment options and thus often times outperform simple index funds.

Many companies provide the opportunities of investment and there are several types of mutual funds. Index funds, exchange traded, balanced funds, diversified equity funds and debt funds are just few in the long list. Now which one is best for you depends on your reasons, perspective and goal of your investment.

You will have many benefits and most likely a high rate of return, coupled with low risks. The hourly investment advisor meets with you and makes some recommendations based on your investment goals. Then he usually steps out of the picture and leaves it up to you to monitor and evaluate your investments. This is probably not what you should want. You should be looking for someone with a more hands on approach. The last type of compensation for a mutual funds advisor is the fee based advisor.

If income is not your area of concern then fixed income mutual funds would be the right funds to invest. Equity income funds are another good choice. Estimate the time when you would be requiring the money you had invested along with the benefits out of that investment. This estimation could be a good option of finding top mutual funds for you, making your investments more secured and goal-oriented. It can be used as a starting point to help determine whether we should consider making changes to our current retirement account portfolio.

No time to sit around and ponder what could have happened. Call a Personal Advisor to get your answers about investing.