Advice and guides to help improve your finances!

Financial

Developing a Financial Plan

What should my long-term financial goals be?

The first step is to figure out a realistic financial goal for yourself and your family...

Are there simple guidelines to follow towards a comfortable retirement?

Someone starting their savings in their early 20s can save 10% of their income and have a sufficient nest egg...

What should I take into account when I start investing?

Risk vs. Return, Asset Allocation, Diversifying, Monitoring Progress...

What risks will I be exposing myself to by investing?

There are definite risks to investing, but educating yourself can drastically limit your exposure to these risks...

How can I avoid taking unnecessary risks?

Always trade through your brokerage firm...

What factors should I consider before making a stock investment?

Is this investment too risky for me...

What factors should I consider before making a mutual fund investment?

How has this fund performed previously...

What investment pitfalls should I be on the lookout for?

Don't invest emotionally, don't trust tips, pay attention to your investments, reevaluate...

How should I allocate my IRA investments?

IRAs are just like any other investment...

What are derivatives and options?

Derivatives are investments whose values derive from the security which they are based on...

What are the biggest mistakes investors make?

Starting too late, paying high fees, investing emotionally...

What is the difference between Cumulative vs. Annualized Return?

Annualized return is the return on investment received that year...

What is the Rule of 72?

The rule of 72 is a quick way to calculate how long it will take your investments to double at different interest rates...

What is significance of total return?

The total return is the amount of money that a fund makes after reinvesting and receiving dividends...

What is a yield?

The yield is the amount paid annually by an investment...

What is an annuity?

An annuity is an insurance contract...

What do I need to beware of when investing in an annuity?

You will not be able to withdraw any of the money in an annuity during its tax deferred growth period without incurring large fees...

What types of annuity are available?

Single-Premium, Flexible-Premium, Immediate, Deferred, Fixed, Variable...

How and when do I collect my annuity?

There are a few choices that you have when choosing to collect your annuity...

How are the annuity payments taxed?

The tax rates will differ for qualified and non-qualified plans...

What taxes will my annuity be subject to after death?

Annuity payments are subject to the same taxes that would have been collected from you.

What should I take into consideration when shopping for annuities?

Commissions, the company, compare and contrast...

What hidden costs may be associated with the annuity?

Commissions, penalties...

What about other fees?

The following fees should be stated plainly in the prospectus...

Bonds FAQ

What is a bond?

A bond is simply a certificate which the borrower promises to repay within a certain time period...

What is bond quality?

Bond quality is the rating of the creditworthiness of an issuing organization...

How does the bond rating system work?

See the table...

How do interest rates affect bond prices?

Generally bond prices and interest rates have an inverse relationship...

How does maturity affect bond prices?

Bond prices are heavily influenced by maturity...

What is a bond call provision?

A "call" is when the issuer of the bonds has an opportunity to redeem the bonds after a certain specified amount of time has passed...

Should I buy bond funds directly or go through a mutual fund?

A bond mutual fund has within it multiple bonds, and for that reason it is impossible to lock in the payment rate or the principal...

What are the different issuing organizations?

Municipal bonds are offered by local governments, states and cities...

Mutual Funds FAQ

How are mutual funds taxed?

All mutual funds distributions should be reported as income, whether you reinvest or not...

Can I avoid tax by reinvesting mutual fund dividends?

Funds will generally give you the opportunity to automatically reinvest in the fund...

What taxes apply to my return-of-capital distributions?

Mutual funds sometimes will distribute back to shareholders monies that haven't been attributed to the funds earnings...

Stock FAQ

How does stock trading work?

Stocks are traded in quantities of 100 shares, called round lots...

What is the difference between Preferred and Common Stock?

Most stocks are common stocks. However, there is another type (known as preferred) which gives certain advantages regarding dividends...

How can I invest in foreign stocks?

It is fairly easy to invest in foreign corporations, because these corporations need to register these securities with the SEC...