How To Invest

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The Life Cycle of an Annuity

Technically, every annuity has two phases: accumulationand income. During the accumulation phase, you put money in the annuity account (paying all at once or making a series of payments), and it grows [more…]

Investing in Renewable Energy

While crude oil and natural gas are always in the spotlight, they aren't the only energy commodities you can consider when you want to invest in energy. In the face of global warming and rising oil costs [more…]

Savvy Strategies in a Down Market

Beyond the basics, a smart investor can employ a variety of strategies to cope with adverse market conditions. Give some of these strategies a try: [more…]

Comparing Commercial and Residential Real Estate

Comparing commercial real estate to residential real estate is like comparing apples to oranges. Both are from the same genre, but that is where the similarities end. The following are general descriptions [more…]

Judging Your Broker's Recommendations

In recent years, Americans have become enamored with a new sport: the rating of stocks by brokers on the TV financial shows. Frequently these shows feature a dapper market strategist talking up a particular [more…]

How to Calculate 529 College Savings Plans Qualifying Distributions

Assuming that your designated beneficiary is a qualified student and is incurring qualified expenses, you now need to figure out just how much of a distribution you should make from your Section 529 plan [more…]

Business Valuation: How Much Is a Business Really Worth?

The true value of any business is the sum of all the cash you receive from the business now and in the future. Business valuation involves answering two questions: [more…]

Advantages of 529 College Savings Plans over Prepaid Tuition Plans

A Section 529 savings plan is, in many regards, an investment account. Although states may establish the rules, most of these state-sponsored plans are actually administered by mutual fund companies, or [more…]

Tracking Investment Markets with Indexes

Indexes, which measure and report changes in the value of a selected group of securities, give investors an instant snapshot of how well the market is doing. Through them, you can quickly compare the performance [more…]

How to Prepare Yourself for Stock Market Bubbles and Crashes

Stock market bubbles and crashes are a fact of life for investors. One of the most famous bubbles of the last century occurred in the so-called Roaring Twenties, which came to a startling end with the [more…]

What College Expenses Qualify for Payment with Savings Bonds?

If you’re planning on using savings bonds to pay for college, you need to know what expenses are qualified for the purpose of redeeming these bonds tax-free. Although U.S. Savings Bonds are safe and reliable [more…]

Mining the History of Precious Metals

Long before government-issued currency existed, people relied on bartering to obtain the things they needed (unless you were a barbarian and preferred plundering). Civilized merchants and consumers traded [more…]

Stock Trading: Learning from the Mistakes of the '90s

Because most investors ignored some basic observations about economics in the late 1990s, they lost trillions in their stock portfolios. In the late 1990s, the United States experienced the greatest expansion [more…]

529 Guaranteed College Savings Plan Guarantees Return on Investment

A few states have started a movement to meld 529 prepaid tuition plans and 529 savings plans into a hybrid: the guaranteed savings plan. Guaranteed savings plans follow all the rules and requirements of [more…]

What Are Coverdell Education Savings Accounts?

You can invest money in Coverdell Education Savings accounts in a variety of ways: stocks, bonds, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, and so on, although you may not invest in life insurance [more…]

Educate Yourself about Student Loans for College Expenses

Student loans based on financial need are subsidized. When a student loan is subsidized, you usually don’t have to pay yearly interest while the student for whom the loan was granted is still in college [more…]

The Dangers of Growth Manias

Wall Street’s mantra is “anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” and growth versus value is no exception. In the uncertain times of the last 40 years, growth-stock investing has twice been taken to extremes [more…]

Examining High-End Investment and Speculation Vehicles

In some ways, higher-end investments aren't much different than traditional investments: You invest your money and make all the same decisions that an average investor does. The difference is the amount [more…]

Investing Rules and Regulations for Coverdell College Saving Plans

Coverdell ESAs generally follow the same rules as traditional and Roth IRA accounts. Unlike 529 plans, there’s a lot that’s allowed, and not much that’s prohibited. Still, to keep everything kosher, you [more…]

Taming the Lingo: Bull and Bear Markets

A bullish market is one that is rising and a bearish market is one that is falling. A bull is an optimist who thinks prices will rise and a bear is a pessimist who thinks prices will fall. [more…]

Qualifying Criteria for 529 College Savings Plans

Section 529 plans seem to be wrapped in qualifications. Your plan must qualify and so must your student, but don’t allow these endless lists of criteria discourage you from using 529 plans. In order for [more…]

Recognizing and Managing Investment Risks

As an investor, you face many risks. The most obvious is financial risk. Companies go bankrupt, trading decisions go south, the best-laid investment plans go awry, and you can end up losing your money [more…]

How to Find the Right Balance and Avoid Manias

Should you invest in growth funds or value funds in uncertain times? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose one over the other. Managing your portfolio can be a matter of shifting the emphasis as you participate [more…]

Examining Advanced Life Deferred Annuities (ALDAs)

Would you buy an insurance policy today that would cost you about one-fifth of your savings and pay you a guaranteed lifetime income starting at age 80 or so? If you died before age 80, you'd lose your [more…]

Saving for College via Section 529 Plans and Coverdell Accounts

Postsecondary education isn’t free. The costs of attending college are huge. 529 Savings Plans and Coverdell Accounts provide built-in tax incentives to help you save for college expenses. [more…]

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