What To Look For In An Investment Company

passive investingWhen your bank account starts to swell and you’re looking for ways to make your money work for you, investing it is one of the best options. However, if you know nothing about investing, you will likely want to hire a company that does. There are plenty of great investment companies out there, but the trick is knowing how to pick the one that is right for the investments you want to make.

Identify Your Goals

The first thing that you need to do is clearly identify your goals, which is the most important aspect of any investment. Choosing the prefect investment company completely depends on what you hope to achieve. While identifying your goals, write down three tasks that you want your investment firm to accomplish. Most people who invest are looking for firms that can capitalize on opportunities that present themselves, increase their wealth and minimize the amount of loss they suffer. You won’t want to even consider an investment company if they can’t meet your goals. [Read more…]

Motif Investing Review: A Game Changer For Investors

motif investing

motif investingAs every day passes, there seems to come another online broker that has a slight twist on the traditional way of investing money. First came Charles Schwab, who brought no-fee ETF trading to the world. Then came firms like Betterment, who automate investing for you. Now comes Motif Investing, who allows you to create your own basket of stocks (or motifs) for a low price.

From the first time I heard of Motif Investing, I was intrigued at what they offered. So I dug around and got the inside scoop on what makes them unique. This is my detailed review of their service – both the good and the bad – so you can see if they are a fit for your investment goals. If they are, great, there is a link where you can sign up at the end of this post. If they are not for you, that is OK too. You can jump over to my broker comparison chart to find a better match. With that said, let’s learn some more about Motif Investing. [Read more…]

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

kick in the pants

kick in the pantsToday I am going a little off track with the finance talk. It’s a Friday and I feel like having a little fun. So, I decided to write a post about me. Don’t worry, I’m not this arrogant in real life! I thought long and hard about what makes me, well me and decided to share with everyone 15 things about me that you most likely didn’t know. So without further ado…..

15 Interesting Things About Jon The Blogger

I love hockey and the Tampa Bay Lightning are my favorite team. This is interesting because I’m a Philly guy. But, I got into hockey around 7th grade. At this time, the NHL was expanding and two new teams came to be: Tampa Bay and the Ottawa Senators. I became a fan of Tampa Bay because my grandparents had recently moved to South Pasadena, FL, which is close to Tampa Bay.

I am an introvert. I love being by myself. I don’t do well in social settings and the bigger the group, the worse I am. Many times in large group settings, I will “disappear” for 15 minutes just to recharge and enjoy the quiet.

I am a picky eater. Though I have really expanded my tastes in the past few years. I love Asian food now as well as anything spicy. Of course, pizza is still my all-time favorite food and I am lucky that I get to live in the pizza belt. A close second is a tie between a Five Guys burger and a Smashburger. [Read more…]

5 Things To Do When Approaching Retirement

approaching retirement cake

approaching retirement cakeI recently read an article on the Time website about 5 things you need to do when you are within 10 years of retirement. Overall, I thought the article was good, as it covered a lot of the things you should think about as you near retirement. In fact, it included one thing that I think most people often overlook. With that said, all of the items on the to do list should not be ignored until you are approaching retirement. So what are these 5 things? I list them below and then go into more detail as well as action steps you should take to be in the best financial shape possible as you are approaching retirement.

  • See if you’re saving enough
  • Stagger retirement with spouse
  • Don’t quit on stocks
  • Do mortgage math
  • Make friends with co-workers

5 To Do’s When Approaching Retirement

Are You Saving Enough?

When it comes to investing, time is your best friend. For this reason, you shouldn’t wait until you are approaching retirement to see if you are on track with your savings amount. You need to do this throughout your working years. [Read more…]

Finding The Right Online Broker For You

right online broker

right online brokerWe all have different needs in life. This is especially true when it comes to investing. Some of us are index investors, while others are dividend investors. Some are scared to invest and therefore need more hand-holding, while others are able to do things on their own. When I created my online broker comparison chart, I did so to help you find the right online broker for you.

What I didn’t realize is that many of you would still have questions. This is why I am writing this post. While I won’t be able to specifically tell you which online broker you should choose to invest with, I can give you some guidance on which ones to consider and which ones to steer clear from. So, below I highlight a few different investors, and where each of these people should look when trying to figure out which is the right online broker to invest their money with.

The Right Online Broker That Meets Your Needs

For The Newbie

If you are just starting out investing, you have a ton of options. It really comes down to your goals and how you feel about investing. [Read more…]

A Reader Writes: Financial Advice for 20 Somethings

financial advice for 20 somethings

financial advice for 20 somethingsI received the following email recently from a reader who needs some help. I post it as I feel the question is common for many recent grads and I can talk about financial advice for 20 somethings:

Hi,

I just graduated college and received a job offer from a great company. I’ll be making $40,000 to start. I have no problems budgeting, as I have lived off campus in college since sophomore year. The concerns I have are my retirement plan, health insurance, and saving money for a variety of things (trips, house, friends weddings). Any suggestions?

First off, congratulations on finishing school and landing a job. Your email didn’t go into great detail, so some of the things I will suggest may not apply.

Financial Advice for 20 Somethings: Retirement

First, Your 401k Plan

To begin, find out if your company matches on the 401k plan. They may match anywhere between 3-5%. Whatever the match is, contribute that amount. When it comes to investment selections, look for a fund that invests in the market as a whole. An S&P 500 index fund or a total stock market fund would be ideal. If those are not available, look at a large cap stock fund.

If you are comfortable with a little more risk (and you can be since you won’t need this money for 40 plus years), look at small cap stock fund. This fund will be a little more risky, but since you are just starting out, you can afford to take the risk. Always remember, the sooner you start saving for your retirement, the better.

One note about the above: pay attention to the fund expense ratio of the mutual funds being offered. The higher the fee, the more it costs you. There is no relationship between a higher fee and a better performing fund. In many cases, the opposite is true – lower fee funds tend to perform better since they are trying to match the return of the market.

At the end of the day, the fees you pay for a large cap stock fund should be at or below 0.50% and for a small cap stock fund, at or below 0.75%. To understand more about how fees effect your returns, I highly encourage you to read this post. [Read more…]

5 Investment Tips From Warren Buffett

warren buffett investment tips

warren buffett investment tipsWarren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, investing legend, and billionaire, released a letter to his shareholders in 2014 that contained some terrific investment advice. Whether you’re a novice investor or a pro, the Sage of Omaha has advice that applies to you. Below are 5 great investment tips from the man himself.

Warren Buffett’s Best Investment Tips

1. Recognize Your Limitations

One of the toughest lessons a leader has to learn is when to ask for support. If no support is available, leaders should stick with what they know will succeed. Buffett has the same advice for investors that he offers to future business leaders: Recognize your limitations.

“You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns,” Buffett told his shareholders. “But if you aren’t, you must recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well.” [Read more…]

Worst Financial Advice Ever

worst advice

worst adviceLook anywhere online and you will find financial advice. This is good and bad. Having easy access to all of this knowledge allows for you to easily learn and take the steps needed to become financially successful. But this also allows people who have no business writing about finances to give advice. It also means that companies that are trying to scam you out of your hard earned money can give advice that makes their product/service look good. Below I’ve come up with 12 pieces of the worst financial advice ever. Follow them with caution!

12 Pieces of The Worst Financial Advice Ever

Co-sign A Loan

I’m sure there is one (maybe two) reasons why you would want to co-sign a loan. But for the overwhelming amount of times, it makes zero sense to co-sign a loan. When you co-sign a loan you are saying that you are willing to take over the loan payments if the other person stops paying.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Are you OK with paying for someone else’s car? Are you OK with paying for someone else’s education? If you answered yes to these, email me as you have just become my BFF.

No matter how much you love or care about the other person, you should not co-sign a loan. It will end badly. Alright, 99% of the time, it will end badly.

What To Do Instead: Support them. If they need a co-signer, either they are trying to take out a loan for more than they can handle or they have bad credit – meaning they aren’t great with handling their money in the first place. If they are trying to take out too much of a loan, help them to find a lower cost option. Instead of a new car, look at good used cars. Maybe help them to find ways to save more money or earn more money so they can take out a smaller loan and therefore won’t need the person to co-sign. [Read more…]

Different Ways To Get Exposure In Gold

investing in gold

investing in goldPerhaps it’s no exaggeration to say that gold is the ultimate hedge investment against the dollar. The precious yellow metal’s value doesn’t move along with other securities so investors turn to it whenever markets go bad.

There are many ways for an investor to invest in gold, and there’s no single best type of investment. The effectiveness of a gold investment will always depend on how a person plans on using it. (This is why I love personal finance so much. There is not one solution for everyone. You have to assess your situation, needs and goals, and then go from there.)

Direct Ownership of The Bullion

The main reason why investors buy physical gold is to preserve wealth. They don’t buy it to keep it for the short term and then sell it immediately when gold prices go up a little bit. Investors don’t also buy the physical metal to speculate on price movements. Owning physical gold means having real money that cannot be controlled by any government-based fiat money.

Physical ownership has several drawbacks. First, investors shouldn’t expect to make quick profits from it since it has a wide spread between bid and ask prices. Second, shipping, storing, and importing it has associated fees and rules depending on each country. [Read more…]