How Do I Pick Mutual Funds?

A good financial advisor will try to explain concepts in such a way that their clients can really grasp the knowledge. As obvious as that may sound, many people who work with financial advisors do not learn much about how to make financial decisions, they merely pay to have those decisions made for them. Mutual fund investing is one such financial concept that all investors should know about. If you haven’t already, you’ll likely encounter mutual funds at some point during your financial life, through either your individual savings, or a company retirement plan. According to the Investment Company Institute, which compiles statistics on various investment classes, currently over $9.5 trillion is invested through more than 10,000 mutual funds in the United States.* In fact, many retirement plans require their participants to use mutual funds rather than individual stocks to prevent them from taking on too much risk. Imagine if inexperienced investors decided to put the full balances of their 401(k) plans into the stock of a single company? What if the company became distressed or went bankrupt? They could say good-bye to their retirement nest eggs, possibly forever.

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Variable Annuity Pros and Cons: What’s all the Chatter About?

The chatter surrounding variable annuities is louder than ever. Investors want security regarding their money in the face of increasing amounts of uncertainty about the future. Variable annuities may feed this desire with two features not generally offered together: the opportunity for growth combined with a variety of guarantees protecting both the payment to a beneficiary if the account owner dies, and the income derived from the principal amount invested.

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What Is An Exchange-Traded Fund? Should I Buy One?

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a basket of securities that trades on an exchange like a stock. In the event you don’t know how the stock market works, shares of public companies trade at various prices based on demand. The distinguishing factor with an ETF is that, rather than representing ownership in a single company, it tracks an index such as the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Average. The price of an ETF, similar to a basket of stocks in a mutual fund, will vary based on the performance of its underlying holdings. If an ETF represents an index with thirty different companies and all of them are trading up on a given day, the offering price of the ETF will move up accordingly.*

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Certified Financial Planner Earnings Drop 30%

Financial Advisor Magazine reported this month an average earnings drop of over 30% this year for financial planners.* Yikes! Why is my industry suffering? Don’t people need the help of skilled advisors now more than ever? My suspicion is that these stats are reflecting changes in the industry rather than a decline in the overall popularity of professional help. In fact, the story confirms that the average lower earnings are reflective of more advisors entering the profession at younger ages, which has the effect of lowering the average earnings figures. What a relief.

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