Thanks for stopping by the only investing website on the 'net designed by working folks for working folks. As more and more companies dump their old guaranteed pension plans and move their employees into 401(k) retirement plans, it's more important now than ever to learn how to manage your own investments. Come on in and get started!
We'll show you how to get a better understanding of the markets and become a confident, competent investor. And we lay it all out for you in plain English (well, a Southern variety of English, anyway). Hey, you work hard for your money - learn how to make your money work hard for you!
Market Predictions and Your Moolah
In our efforts to gather the information us regular working folks need to become smarter investors, we look everywhere: books, videos, seminars, TV and the internet, just to name a few. The amount of market information available to the common man (and woman!) these days is amazing. And much of it can be accessed for free. It is there for the taking if we are willing to spend a little time and effort to get it.
As we gather this abundance of information, however, there is one thing we must consider and that is the source of that information. Is it a reliable source? Is it a trustworthy source? What are the backgrounds and the credentials of the person or persons presenting the information? How can we tell?
Consider these headlines, all taken from financial media outlets just in the past couple of days:
> "Morgan Stanley Predicts Stock Market Surge"
> "Expert Forecasts Recession in 2015"
> "S&P 500 to 2,200 Next Year"
> "Why the Next Stock Market Crash Will Happen Any Day Now"
The articles associated with these headlines were all distributed by some pretty well known financial outfits. Each one was well written and included data to back up their claims. In short, they were very persuasive articles. Yet two of them were calling for a high-fivin’ bull market while the other two were predicting a doom-and-gloom bear market! What gives?
Finding reliable sources for investment information isn’t quite as tough as finding a needle in a haystack, but it’s close. In all of the years we’ve been sifting and sorting through different types of investment info, we’ve only found a handful of what we would call reliable sources - people who we pay attention to on a regular basis. Even then, we take what they say with a grain of salt.
Why is that? Because no one - no one - can predict where the stock market is going. The gurus who wrote the articles above seem to have some solid opinions, but they are only guessing. Educated guesses for sure, but guesses all the same. Two of them may be right and two of them may be wrong. Actually, they may all end up being wrong: 2015 could see the S&P 500 move sideways for the year, just like it did in 2011. No one really knows!
The learning process for folks who want to make their own investment decisions is a lifelong one. The best investors are the ones who never stop learning and growing as students of the markets. A large part of that process involves absorbing lots of information. In the beginning that can seem like a pretty big task, but it doesn’t take long for investors find their “handful of people to pay attention to.”
They will learn to look for people who:
* have like-minded investment styles and market approaches
* present their information in an even-handed way (not too excited, not
* don’t make excuses when they are wrong and don’t crow when they
There are some good, reliable sources of market information out there. It just takes some time to “separate the wheat from the chaff.” When it comes to investing your hard earned moolah, it’s well worth the effort.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
"A Step Closer to Fixing a Serious 401(k) Flaw"
from CBS MoneyWatch
"LGIM Slashes Charges on Index Fund Range"
from FT Advisor
"Investors Buy Stock Funds at Fastest Pace in a Year" from MarketWatch
"IRS Changes the 401(k) Rules for 2015"
"Pension Fund Exit from Hedge Funds Sparks Debate" from USA Today
VIEWS YOU CAN USE:
"4 Ways to Increase Your 401(k) Contributions in 2015" from US News & World Report
"Will ETFs Eventually Replace Mutual Funds?"
"Index Fund Investing:
Is This Strategy Too Big/Inefficient?"
"The Illusion of Diversification"
"Anatomy of a Market Top"
from Charlie Bilello on Tumblr
Here's one good thing you can do during these long, cold, dreary weeks of winter: bone up on your investment know-how!
Throw a couple of logs on the fire, grab a cup of something hot and dive into any of these excellent reads. Your 401(k) will be glad you did!!
<<<<<<<< Clicking on these book images takes you to Amazon.com via our affiliate link. You won't pay a penny more for what you buy, but we do get a little moolah for sending you there - and that helps us cover the costs of keeping our website running free!
Here are a couple of very simple retirement calculators courtesy of our friends over at Calculator Pro.
Here are the figures we used:
> Required Annual Income: we put in what we're making now (we don't buy into that "plan to spend 70% of your working income in retirement" idea!)
> Years until Retirement: we shot for age 65, but who really knows, right?
> Years after Retirement: we sure hope to have 20 good years of doing what we want to do!
> Annual Inflation: we used 3.5% (maybe go a tad higher to be safe?)
> Annual Return on Balance: we used 7% (maybe go a tad lower to be safe?)