Your Guide to Investing
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I start investing?
The first step is to evaluate what are your financial goals, how much money you have to invest, and how much risk you’re willing to take. That will help inform your asset allocation or what kind of investments you need to make. You would need to understand the different types of investment accounts and their tax implications. You don’t need a lot of money to start investing. Start small with contributions to your 401(k) or maybe even buying a mutual fund.
What is esg investing?
ESG investing is investing that follows environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. ESG investors look for companies with good environmental practices, social responsibility tenets and equitable governance initiatives. ESG ETFs and mutual funds are an easy way to gain start. ESG investing was initially considered less profitable but now has a proven track record of beating broader markets.
How does investing in stocks work?
When you buy stock in a company, you become a part-owner of the company in proportion to the number of shares you purchase. Companies sell stock to raise money and these shares of stock are listed on stock exchanges which are marketplaces. Like any other item in a market, stock prices also change. You can profit from owning stocks when the share price increases over time, or from quarterly dividend payments.
How to start investing in real estate?
Real estate investing means investing in properties. There are two ways of benefiting from such an investment – appreciation in property value or steady stream of income (rent or dividends). You could buy an actual property or you could consider investing passively. Passive investment options include REITs, real estate funds and ETFs, that allow you real estate exposure without the hassle of managing the property.
What is robo-investing?
Robo-investing means working with a robo-advisor which automates and manages your portfolio based on your preferences. There are many robo-advisors such as Betterment, Fidelity and Schwab. The pros include simple strategies, ease of investing and no required investment knowledge. The cons include lack of holistic financial planning and limited investment options.
What is income investing?
Income investing is a strategy that helps generate an income stream from your investments. The first step is to consider how much money you’d need each month. A good rule of thumb for that is the 4% Rule. You could use multiple assets such as dividend-paying stocks, bonds and real estate among others to create a portfolio that passively gives you regular income.
Why is investing important?
While saving money and budgeting is important, they alone cannot help you build wealth. Investing money, while not risk-free, can help you reach your financial goals – whether its buying a car in a few years or building a nest egg for retirement. A monthly $100 investment that returns 6% would grow to nearly $45,000 in 20 years. That’s the power of compounding, so its better to start investing early.
What are alternative investments?
Alternative investments are investments that do not fall under the traditional asset classes of stocks, bonds and cash. Alternative investments can include real estate, commodities, hedge funds, and cryptocurrencies among others. Although they offer portfolio diversification, alternative investments can be riskier, complex and less transparent than traditional investments.
What is the difference between saving and investing?
By saving you’re putting money aside either in cash or liquid accounts such as checking or savings accounts. When you invest, you put your money into investment products, such as stocks or mutual funds, to get a return on the investment, but you also take on some risk. Savings come handy on a rainy day while investments help build wealth. You need both for your financial well being.
Liquidity is the amount of money that is readily available for investment and spending. It consists of cash, Treasury bills, notes, and bonds, and any other asset that can be sold quickly.
A brokerage account is a taxable investment account that allows individual investors to buy and sell many different kinds of investment securities, such as stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds.
A capital gain is the increase in an asset’s value from the time you acquired it to the time you sold it. In other words, your capital gain is your profit. Capital gains are common on assets such as real estate, stocks, and mutual funds.
Volatility refers to the frequency and degree with which the price of a security fluctuates. It can drive inexperienced investors to make irrational trading decisions, but savvy investors can profit from it.
Asset allocation refers to diversifying your investments among a variety of different types of assets. It can help protect you from large losses in your portfolio.
A Roth IRA is a double-tax-advantaged retirement savings account that offers tax-free earnings growth and tax-free distributions.
Dividends are a form of profit on investments. They are paid out of company earnings directly to shareholders, who can cash them out or reinvest them. Typically, dividends are taxable to the shareholder who receives them.
Dividend reinvestment plans, or DRIPs, are an arrangement in which cash dividends you receive from the investments you hold are automatically reinvested into additional shares. Enrolling in a DRIP makes the process of reinvesting cash dividends simpler, and even cheaper, in some cases.
Minimum Variance Portfolio
A minimum variance portfolio is an investing method that helps you maximize returns and minimize risk. This involves diversifying your investments.
Return on Investment
Return on investment (ROI) measures how profitable an investment is. Many times, it is expressed as a ratio or percentage. ROI provides a way to evaluate and compare assets or financial instruments.
Risk typically refers to the possibility that a particular investment will lose some or all of its value. In general, investments must compensate for their risk by offering significant potential returns.
Yield is the income on an investment over a period of time. It is calculated by taking interest or dividends earned by the investment, then dividing them by the value of the investment. It’s usually expressed as an annual percentage.
Tax-loss harvesting is a way for investors to take advantage of capital losses on their investments to offset capital gains realized on other investments. This can reduce or even entirely eliminate a capital gains tax.