Monday, November 19, 2018

Deciding Whether Stocks or Bonds are Right for You

There are a vast number of investment opportunities available to potential investors, but not all of them are right for all purposes. The most common types of investments are stocks and bonds. Stocks are shares of individual companies, while bonds are government-issued investment funds. Both can be great for starting in the investing market, but you should know a little about the difference between the two before making your investment.

Stocks can help balance out a bond-heavy portfolio by providing diversification
Stock dividends also receive more favorable tax treatment than bond payouts.
If you make the decision that stocks may be the place for you to put your investment dollars, you must now determine the primary purpose of your stock investment.

The two primary stock investment goals are income and growth. You can have a combination of the two in one stock investment, but the features are almost never equal. In other words, although growth and income may co-exist in a particular stock investment, the investment choice you make should take into account the primary strength of the stock.

Growth Stock vs. Income Stock
Growth stock is stock in a company that doesn't pay cash dividends, but instead reinvests its profits into the company. The idea behind this strategy is that the company will continue to grow and become more profitable, driving the stock price up.
Income stock is stock in well-established companies that do not need to reinvest their profits into their companies and therefore use their profits to pay dividends to stockholders. Income stock is often more expensive because the income stream and security of the investment is greater.

Mutual Funds
Many investors invest in the stock market through mutual funds. Mutual funds are professionally managed and are easier to diversify your investments in, which makes them less risky than investing in individual stocks. You still have to research what type of stock will best suit your goals, but the average investor finds it less stressful to invest in the stock market through this method.

Bonds, though some consider them "safer" than stocks, still come with risks. Some bond funds offer enticing payouts but may take big chances to do so, including venturing into lower-quality and longer-duration credits; if your funds' bonds lose value, you could see your principal shrink even though you're pocketing a healthy yield. Checking a fund's quarterly losses can be an easy way to see whether you could stomach a given fund's short-term losses. There's nothing wrong with making room for some higher-yielding bond funds around the margins of your portfolio, but consider these income-heavy funds to be side items because of their greater potential for volatility.
And while paying for high-quality financial advice can be money well spent, think carefully before paying a sales charge for a bond fund. If you're paying a 3.75% load to buy a bond fund (and that's a pretty low load), you're surrendering most of your first year's income payments from the get-go.

Individual Bonds vs. Bond Funds
Many investors prefer to invest in individual bonds rather than bond funds. While that's a reasonable tack if you're buying Treasury securities or perhaps even extremely high-quality corporate bonds, it makes sense to opt for a professionally managed bond fund for every other type of fixed-income security. Not only will a mutual fund offer you much more diversification (and therefore lower risk) than you could obtain by buying individual bonds, but smaller investors who are buying and selling individual bonds are also at a big disadvantage when it comes to trading costs.

About the author

John Mussi is the founder of Direct Online Loans who help homeowners find the best available loans via the website.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Finding Low Cost Bonds

If you've been considering investing in bonds, then you probably know that the best way to get the most out of bonds is to buy them early for a low price. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be quite difficult to find bonds early… and even when you do they're not always in the price range that you're looking for.

Luckily, it is possible to find low cost bonds without spending all of your free time searching for them; it's simply a matter of knowing how to look, knowing what to look for, and knowing when to find a little bit of help in your search.

Below you'll find tips and information on how to maximize the effectiveness of your search and track down the low cost bonds that you're hoping to find.

Defining "Low Cost"
One of the first things that you should do when beginning your search for low cost bonds is to determine exactly what you consider a "low cost" bond to be. You should settle on somewhat of a fluid definition, enabling you to take the cost of the bond in context with the time remaining until maturity and the potential that the bond has for growth.

Make sure that any of the bonds that you might consider purchasing are well within your means to afford them, and be willing to consider at least a few bonds that are pricier than some of the others if they are potentially high-yielding bonds early in their lifespan.

Using the Internet to Enhance Your Search
When searching for your bonds, you should consult the financial sections of newspapers and other financial publications as well as leading financial news and trading websites online. Newspapers and print publications can give you an idea of what bonds are available for purchase and how much their value is as of publication, whereas the financial and trading websites can give you up to date information on the current costs of the bonds as well as their history and links to any related news.

This will help you to determine if the potential yield of the bond is worth the money that it will take for you to make your initial investment.

Search Smarter, Not Harder
As you continue your search, make sure that you don't forget to take advantage of some of the advanced features of leading market brokerage websites. Many modern sites enable you to do specific searches for bonds within a certain price range or that have a certain amount of time remaining until their maturity.

By utilizing these specialized search features, you can find bond investment opportunities that you might otherwise have overlooked… and because you can set the price range that you're searching in, you can be relatively certain that whatever results come up will be within the limits of your low cost parameters.

Seeking Professional Help
If you're still not finding the low cost bonds that you want, you might want to consider finding and consulting a market analyst to assist you. These analysts are experts in locating stocks and bonds with the best potential, and they can advise you on some of the best investments that you can make so that you'll be able to get the most out of your purchase.

Keep in mind that market analysts are paid for what they do, so you'll have to spend a little bit of money to retain their services… in general, though, the results that you get from hiring an analyst far outweigh their initial costs.

About the author

John Mussi is the founder of Direct Online Loans who help homeowners find the best available loans via the website.