Investment

Top 4 Mistakes Tech Investors Should Avoid

Tech stocks have become a popular choice among investors. While owning a share of stock in Google or Apple might be out of reach for some people, there are plenty of companies whose stock is more affordable. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can just dive in without doing your homework. Take a look at some common mistakes people make when investing in tech.

1. Investing Without Considering the Long-Term Forecast

Many people these days rush to invest in tech stocks. But if you’re not careful, the wrong move could put your portfolio in jeopardy. Before buying shares of a particular tech company’s stock, it’s a good idea to step back and look at how the company fits within the industry. It’s also wise to find out what experts are saying about its future. That way, you can avoid making an investment that isn’t likely to pay off.

2. Investing in Companies That Are Overvalued

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During the recent tech boom, many startups ended up with valuations of $1 billion or more. But once some of those unicorn companies went public, many investors realized that they were overvalued.
If you’re betting on a tech stock solely based on the company’s valuation, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment if the stock’s value takes a dive. You can also run into problems if a company’s stock price is too high and falls rapidly during a market slowdown.

3. Playing It Too Safe

Investing in stocks is risky. Looking for tech stocks with a stable track record can minimize your investment risk, but you don’t want to fall into a rut. If you’ve invested in a company that hasn’t made much progress since you first bought your shares, you might be better off putting your money elsewhere. It might also be a good idea to choose a company that consistently introduces new products and features. When a company like Apple brings out a new iPhone that appeals to the masses, its stock tends to perform well. A company that has more or less flat-lined creatively, on the other hand, may not see much movement in its stock price.

4. Overlooking Dividend Stocks

One pitfall some tech investors fall into is focusing on stocks that they can buy low and sell high for a big return. In the process, they sometimes ignore dividend stocks that can create a sustainable flow of income. Even when a dividend stock loses value, its dividend payouts can remain on an even keel. In some cases, the dividend payout increases incrementally over time. If you’re not taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in dividend stocks from companies like IBM, you could be selling yourself short.

Final Word

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Investing in tech isn’t for amateurs. Keeping up with industry trends and understanding the way that the stock market works can put you in the position to earn greater returns. Avoiding the mistakes we’ve
discussed is a good idea if you want to boost your profit potential the next time you decide to gamble on a tech stock. The payment of dividends is not guaranteed. Companies may reduce or eliminate the payment of dividends at any given time.

Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Content written by Rebecca Lake for Smartasset. Click here for the original article.

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5 Common Investment Mistakes

When it comes to creating an investment strategy, everyone makes mistakes. Whether your experience in investing is just beginning or you are an old pro, investments can backfire and sometimes cause serious losses. Although all the issues associated with investing cannot be entirely avoided, it is important to have a clear idea of what you should and shouldn’t do with your money before making an investment. Below are five pitfalls which can easily hurt investors:

 

Investing without a Plan:

As with anything else, it is vital to map out a plan before beginning the investment process. Just as you wouldn’t begin a building project without first having a clear idea of the path you will take and the material you will need, you should never invest your money without first mapping out a clear and concise plan. The more you plan now, the easier it will be to have an understanding of where your money is going.

As part of your plan, you should consider your desire for the investment. Having an objective goal in mind for your money, such as retirement or college education for you or your children, gives you a clear objective. It is also important to determine the risk level with which you are comfortable. While some people prefer a conservative route, others desire to invest in something a little more aggressive. This is something you need to decide beforehand as it will help you determine the right investment route for you.

Additionally, it is important to think about and research the types of assets in which you want to invest based upon which ones will help you achieve your desired goals. Each group of assets has a wide diversity; therefore, you need to examine these diversities to ensure you have a good balance of investments. Initial mapping such as this gives you clear and concise goals and can also keep better track of your investments.

 

Making Emotion-based Decisions:

Even though many of our everyday responses and decisions are based upon emotions, allowing this to occur within the realm of investments could be detrimental. Emotions are ever changing and are mainly based upon the information right before us. Therefore, buying or selling based upon a gut-feeling is not advisable. Before investing in a particular asset, it is vital to do research in order to make knowledgeable decisions as to whether it is truly a worth while investment. You should also not allow emotions to determine whether you sell an investment. Although you may be tempted to hold on to an asset that is constantly losing money in hopes that it will turn around, unwillingness to admit you picked a bad investment should never be your reason for staying with something which is failing. Such pride will only result in more loss.

 

Putting your Investment on Auto-Pilot:    

There is no need to watch your investment 24/7; nevertheless, it is important to check it on a regular basis. Monitoring your investments can help better determine if they align with your goals.

 

Following the Crowd:

When it comes to investing there is no one size fits all. Just because a stock is highly recommended by others or has proved successful for a specific crowd, doesn’t mean it is right for you. This is especially true regarding investments you hear about in the financial news or from friends and family. Although it may be worthwhile to check on these investments, it is important to do you own personal research so you can make decisions based upon your findings.

 

Becoming Impatient:

No matter how much or how little you have invested, you want to make your investment grow. For this reason, it may be tempting to change assets regularly based upon how well something is doing presently. However, shifting your assets often does not give your investments a chance to grow. Additionally, just because something appears profitable now, does not mean it will continue on the same path in the future.

 

Successful investing depends a lot on common sense and knowing where potential missteps and pitfalls may occur. Therefore, making careful decisions based upon clear and concise research will help you to avoid many of the mistakes found within the investment realm.

 

Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

Article provided by smartasset.com. Original article may be located here.

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Why the Brexit Should Not Rattle Investors

Why the Brexit Should Not Rattle Investors

 Wall Street has rebounded so many times, so quickly.

 Provided by Stephen H. Wagner CFP®

Uncertainty is the hobgoblin of financial markets. Right now, investors are contending with it daily as the European Union contends with the United Kingdom’s apparent exit.

Globally, many institutional investors have responded to this uncertainty by selling. Should American retirement savers follow their lead?

They may just want to wait out the turbulence.

The Brexit vote was a disruption for Wall Street, not a new normal. Yes, it could mean a “new normal” for the European Union – but the European Union is not Wall Street. Stateside, investors respond to domestic economic and geopolitical indicators as much as foreign ones, perhaps more.

As Wells Fargo Investment Institute head global market strategist Paul Christopher remarked to FOX Business on June 24, “We’re getting used to the shock of the vote and [the] surprise. But does it change anything fundamentally about the market? No.”1

Central banks may respond to make the Brexit more bearable. They are certainly interested in restoring confidence and equilibrium in financial markets.

Post-Brexit, there is no compelling reason for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this summer, or during the rest of 2017. You may see the European Central Bank take rates further into negative territory and further expand its asset-purchase program. The Bank of England could respond to the Brexit challenge with quantitative easing of its own, and interest rate cuts.

“There is no sense of a financial crisis developing,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told CNBC on June 27. Lew called the global market reaction “orderly,” albeit pronounced.2

 The market may rebound more quickly than many investors assume. Ben Carlson, director of Institutional Asset Management at Ritholtz Wealth Management, reminded market participants of that fact on June 24. He put up a chart on Twitter from S&P Capital IQ showing the time it took the S&P 500 to recover from a few key market shocks. (Sam Stovall, U.S. equity strategist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, shared the same chart with MarketWatch three days later.)3,4

 The statistics are encouraging. After 9/11, the market took just 19 days to recover from its correction (an 11.6% loss). The comeback from the “flash crash” of 2010 took only four days.

Even the four prolonged market recoveries noted on the chart all took less than ten months: the S&P gained back all of its losses within 257 days of the attack on Pearl Harbor, within 143 days of Richard Nixon’s resignation, within 223 days of the 1987 Black Monday crash, and within 285 days after Lehman Brothers announced its bankruptcy. The median recovery time for the 14 market shocks shown on the chart? Fourteen days.3,5

 The S&P sank 3.5% on June 24 following the news of the Brexit vote – but that still left it 11% higher than it had been in February.5,*

The Brexit is a political event first, a financial event second. Political issues, not economic ones, largely drove the Leave campaign to its triumph. As Credit Suisse analysts Ric Deverell and Neville Hill wrote in a note to clients this week, “This is not a shock on the scale of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy in 2008 or, if it had happened, a disruptive Greek exit from the euro, in our view. Those types of events deliver an immediate devastating shock to the global financial architecture that, in turn, have a powerfully negative impact on economic activity.” Aside from the political drama of the U.K. exiting the E.U., in their opinion “nothing else has changed.”4

The Brexit certainly came as a shock, but equilibrium should return. Back in 1963, the admired financial analyst Benjamin Graham made a statement that still applies in 2016: “In my nearly fifty years of experience in Wall Street, I’ve found that I know less and less about what the stock market is going to do, but I know more and more about what investors ought to do.”6

Graham was making the point that investors ought to stick to their plans through periods of volatility, even episodes of extreme market turbulence. These disruptions do become history, and buying opportunities may emerge. Wall Street has seen so few corrections of late that we have almost forgotten how eventful a place it can be. The Brexit is an event, one of many such news items that may unnerve Wall Street during your lifetime. Eventually, equilibrium should be restored, and, as the historical examples above illustrate, that can often happen quickly.

Stephen Wagner may be reached at (805) 339-0760 or steve@wagnerfinancial.com. More information available at www.wagnerfinancial.com.

 *The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index, and cannot be invested into directly. This past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The S&P 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/06/24/after-brexit-carnage-should-rejigger-your-investment-portfolio.html [6/24/16]

2 – time.com/4383915/brexit-treasury-secretary-jack-lew-financial-crisis/ [6/26/16]

3 – tinyurl.com/jx2brl3 [6/24/16]

4 – marketwatch.com/story/brexit-vote-more-a-political-than-a-financial-one-and-thats-important-2016-06-27 [6/27/16]

5 – equities.com/news/what-does-brexit-mean-for-individual-investors [6/27/16]

6 – blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2016/06/24/the-more-it-hurts-the-more-you-make-investing-after-brexit/ [6/24/16]

 

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3 Mistakes Millennial Investors Make

Becoming an investor while you are still young is an advisable step towards preparing for the future and retirement. But investing can be tricky and many young millennials are finding it difficult to begin putting money away. Elements such as loans and little economic growth within the workforce create financial strain for young adults which could hinder them in thinking about their future retirement. These elements coupled with the following three common investment mistakes are factors which could greatly hinder young peoples’ financial future.

1. Not Having a Good Understanding of the Market

college student readingBefore you consider investing in anything, it is important to know the basic facts. The saying “Knowledge is Power” could not be more true when it comes to investments. Doing your research now could help you avoid mistakes which may not show up until later. In order to know which investment is right for you and your future desires, it is vital to understand the different aspects of the market such as stocks and bonds. Each of these are designed differently and should be chosen carefully depending on the goals you have for your life.
Additionally, it is important young people do research into things such as the asset’s performances and the fees which go along with it. It is important to look at the fee percentage not only based upon what it will cost you now, but what it could potentially cost when your investment is larger. Neglecting to do research now could result in you paying higher fees once your investments grow.

girl playing it safe22. Playing it Too Safe

The Great Recession resulted in significant loss for many investors. But those who lost their investments were not the only ones impacted; millennials were and are still affected by the recession. Because young adults saw their parents lose their investments when the economy plummeted, many are now afraid to put much value on investments. In their minds, it seems like a great gamble at which you could easily lose. According to a 2014 report only 5% of millennials are in favor of an aggressive approach in the realm of investing. It was discovered that over a third of young adults prefer to take a conservative or somewhat conservative strategy. While this may seem like a safe road to take, it does result in their chances of high earnings being diminished greatly.

3. Deciding to Forgo Investing

The media has often labeled millennials as “super savers.” However, a recent survey from Wells Fargo has proved just the opposite. It was discovered that 45% of young adults have yet to begin investing for the future and have delayed making plans for their retirement. This is largely due to the fact that many are attempting to pay off student loans before beginning the investment process. Although it is a good idea to pay off loans quickly, the delay in investing could potentially hurt millennials in the future.

Take it One Step at a Time

what to do2Many believe that in order to invest successfully, one must have the means by which to sink thousands of dollars into stocks and bonds at one time. Nevertheless, small investing over a period of time can result in great success. By investing $25 per pay period into your researched investment, you are taking the perfect step towards long-term financial security. Additionally, you can also make it your goal to increase your investment contribution by a particular percentage on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Simple steps like this may not seem like much in the beginning; however, steady investment over time may result in benefits that will be yours in the future.

Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Article provided by smartasset.com. Original article may be located here.

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I’m a Single Parent. How Can I Get Ahead Financially?

As a single parent, you need to understand the financial strategies that can stretch your income and help you lay the groundwork for a secure future. Consider the following lessons to help improve your family’s bottom line:

Identify Your Goals

You can’t have a financial plan without first defining your financial goals. Start by recording all of your short-, medium-, and long-term financial goals.

For example, a child’s education could be one of the biggest expenses in your future. Setting aside money for emergencies and planning for retirement are other important goals you’ll need to keep in mind while raising a family. Don’t let day-to-day concerns distract you from such important goals. Plan for today and tomorrow.

Be a Better Budgeter

To pursue your family’s goals, it’s necessary to manage your household’s cash flow. That involves tracking income and spending, eliminating unnecessary costs, and living within the confines of a realistic budget.

For example, if you spend $2 each work day on a take-out coffee, that amounts to about $40 each month. By eliminating that minor expense from your budget, you could easily save almost $500 per year.

Say No to Debt

High-interest credit card debt can make it extremely difficult to get your budget in order. If you have an outstanding balance, consider paying it off as aggressively as possible. The savings in interest alone could allow you to address other important financial goals.

It’s also a good idea to review your credit history, commonly referred to as your credit report, to make sure that the information it contains about your past use of credit is accurate.

Capitalize on Tax-Advantaged Accounts

Once you free up some cash, apply it toward your goals. But first, learn about the savings and investment opportunities available to you. Keep in mind that tax-deferred investment accounts may enable you to grow the value of your assets more significantly than taxable accounts. Examples of such accounts include 401(k) plans and IRAs for retirement planning.

For college goals, Section 529 college savings plans. These plans are state-sponsored investment programs that allow tax-free withdrawals for college expenses. College savers who contribute to their home state’s 529 plan may be eligible for state tax breaks.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content.

© 2015 Wealth Management Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

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Retirement Account Distributions After Age 70½

Key Points

  • Required Minimum Distributions During Your Lifetime
  • Additional Considerations for Employer-Sponsored Plans
  • Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan Distribution Alternatives
  • Lump-Sum Distributions
  • Periodic Distributions
  • Uniform Lifetime Table for Required Minimum Distributions
  • Other Considerations
  • Conclusion
  • Points to Remember

If you have assets in a qualified retirement plan, such as a company-sponsored 401(k) plan or a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), you’ll want to be aware of several rules that may apply to you when you take a distribution.

Required Minimum Distributions During Your Lifetime

Many people begin withdrawing funds from qualified retirement accounts soon after they retire in order to provide annual retirement income. These withdrawals are discretionary in terms of timing and amount until the account holder reaches age 70½. After that, failure to withdraw the required minimum amount annually may result in substantial tax penalties. Thus, it may be prudent to familiarize yourself with the minimum distribution requirements.

For traditional IRAs, individuals must generally begin taking required minimum distributions no later than April 1 following the year in which they turn 70½. The same generally holds true for 401(k)s and other qualified retirement plans. (Note that some plans may require plan participants to remove retirement assets at an earlier age.) However, required minimum distributions from a 401(k) can be delayed until retirement if the plan participant continues to be employed by the plan sponsor beyond age 70½ and does not own more than 5% of the company.

In accordance with IRS regulations, minimum distributions are determined using one standard table based on the IRA owner’s/plan participant’s age and his or her account balance. Thus, required minimum distributions generally are no longer tied to a named beneficiary. There is one exception, however. IRA owners/plan participants who have a spousal beneficiary who is more than 10 years younger can base required minimum distributions on the joint life expectancy of the IRA owner/plan participant and spousal beneficiary.

These minimum required distribution rules do not apply to Roth IRAs. Thus, during your lifetime, you are not required to receive distributions from your Roth IRA.

Additional Considerations for Employer-Sponsored Plans

The table below is general in nature and not a complete discussion of the options, advantages, and disadvantages of various distribution options. For example, there are different types of annuities, each entailing unique features, risks, and expenses. Be sure to talk to a tax or financial advisor about your particular situation and the options that may be best for you.

Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan Distribution Alternatives1

MethodAdvantagesDisadvantages
AnnuityA regular periodic payment, usually of a set amount, over the lifetime of the designated recipient. (Not available with some plans.)Assurance of lifetime income; option of spreading over joint life expectancy of you and your spouse.2Not generally indexed for inflation.
Periodic PaymentsInstallment payments over a specific period, often 5 to 15 years.Relatively large payments over a limited time.Taxes may be due at highest rate.
Lump SumFull payment of the monies in one taxable year.Direct control of assets; may be eligible for 10-year forward averaging.Current taxation at potentially highest rate.
IRA RolloverA transfer of funds to a traditional IRA (or Roth IRA if attributable to Roth 401(k) contributions).Direct control of assets; continued tax deferral on assets.Additional rules and limitations.

In addition to required minimum distributions, removing money from an employer-sponsored retirement plan involves some other issues that need to be explored. Often, this may require the assistance of a tax or financial professional, who can evaluate the options available to you and analyze the tax consequences of various distribution options.

Lump-Sum Distributions

Retirees usually have the option of removing their retirement plan assets in one lump sum. Certain lump sums qualify for preferential tax treatment. To qualify, the payment of funds must meet requirements defined by the IRS:

  • The entire amount of the employee’s balance in employer-sponsored retirement plans must be paid in a single tax year.
  • The amount must be paid after you turn 59½ or separate from service.
  • You must have participated in the plan for five tax years.

A lump-sum distribution may qualify for preferential tax treatment if you were born before January 2, 1936. For instance, if you were born before January 2, 1936, you may qualify for 10-year forward income averaging on your lump-sum distribution, based on 1986 tax rates. With this option, the tax is calculated assuming the account balance is paid out in equal amounts over 10 years and taxed at the single taxpayer’s rate. In addition, you may qualify for special 20% capital gains treatment on the pre-1974 portion of your lump sum.

If you qualify for forward income averaging, you may want to figure your tax liability with and without averaging to see which method will save you more. Keep in mind that the amounts received as distributions are generally taxed as ordinary income.

To the extent 10-year forward income averaging is available, the IRS also will give you a break (minimum distribution allowance) if your lump sum is less than $70,000. In such cases, taxes will only be due on a portion of the lump-sum distribution.

If you roll over all or part of an account into an IRA, you will not be able to elect forward income averaging on the distribution. Also, the rollover will not count as a distribution in meeting required minimum distribution amounts.

Periodic Distributions

If you choose to receive periodic payments that will extend past the year your turn age 70½, the amount must be at least as much as your required minimum distribution, to avoid penalties.

Uniform Lifetime Table for Required Minimum Distributions

Age707580859095100105
27.422.918.714.811.48.66.34.5

This table shows required minimum distribution periods for tax-deferred accounts for unmarried owners, married owners whose spouses are not more than 10 years younger than the account owner, and married owners whose spouses are not the sole beneficiaries of their accounts.

Source: IRS Publication 590.

Other Considerations

If your plan’s beneficiary is not your spouse, keep in mind that the IRS will limit the recognized age gap between you and a younger nonspousal beneficiary to 10 years for the purposes of calculating required minimum distributions during your lifetime.

Conclusion

There are several considerations to make regarding your retirement plan distributions, and the changing laws and numerous exceptions do not make the decision any easier. It is important to consult competent financial advisors to determine which option is best for your personal situation.

Points to Remember

  1. Distributions from a 401(k) can be delayed until retirement if a plan participant is still employed by the plan sponsor beyond age 70½ and if the plan participant does not own more than 5% of the company.
  2. After age 70½, failure to withdraw the required minimum amount annually may result in substantial tax penalties.
  3. A lump-sum distribution may qualify for 10-year forward income averaging.
  4. The IRS will give you a break (minimum distribution allowance) if your lump sum qualifies for 10-year forward averaging and is less than $70,000.
  5. You may be able to accelerate or minimize the disbursement of your retirement assets by how you choose to calculate periodic payment time periods.

 

 

Source/Disclaimer:

1Speak to a tax or financial advisor about your alternatives before making a decision.

2Annuity guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing company.

Annuities are long-term investment vehicles designed for retirement purposes. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges may apply. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content.

© 2015 Wealth Management Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

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