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Investing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 08, 2021 Investors tend to use the terms “stock” and “share” interchangeably, and usually that’s fine. A stock comes in shares and you buy a share of stock. But these ideas aren’t always interchangeable. Technically speaking, a stock always refers to equity in a traded company. Shares can refer to stocks, as well as to portions of ownership in just about any other asset. Here’s what you need to know. Consider working with a  financial advisor as you build an investment portfolio. Read More...

Jul 08, 2021 Micro futures allow investors to trade against the stock market at large. They’re priced so that ordinary investors can afford to trade futures on the major market indices, which have otherwise gotten so expensive that only major investors can afford to trade those futures. Here’s what this product is, and how it works. Consider working with a financial advisor as you plan an investment strategy that includes futures trading. Read More...

Jul 08, 2021 A exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a security that mimics the performance of the actual digital currency. The underlying asset in the case of a ETF is the digital currency. There are exchanges, which are just networks of computers, where and ETFs are traded. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not approved a ETF for trading on U.S. exchanges. Consider working with a financial advisor before you decide to invest in cryptocurrencies. Read More...

Jul 07, 2021 Investing in nickel is a bet on the prospects of the industrial and manufacturing sectors, both of which use lots of this base metal. Nickel investing, and investing in other base metals like zinc, iron, aluminum and uranium, is different from  investing in precious metals like gold and silver. Base metals' prices move with the economy; precious metals' prices often move in the opposite direction of the economy. If you want to include nickel in your investment portfolio, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 07, 2021 Copper is experiencing a resurgence in demand, particularly in the industrial sector. It is a versatile metal used heavily in home building, electronics, electrical conductivity, automobiles and infection control. It will benefit from the push toward electric vehicles and sustainable energy sources, upgraded infection control due to the coronavirus pandemic and rebounding global economic activity. If you want to include copper or any of the base metals in your portfolio, it may be wise to speak with a financial advisor and keep up with the copper market.  Read More...

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...

Jun 29, 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...

Jun 28, 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 is having a moment. Actually, 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, 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...

May 07, 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 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. 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...

Apr 23, 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...

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