October 6, 2014 |
Annuities are supposed to give you a steady retirement paycheck from your investments, but the field is full of land mines. Here's a start on learning to navigate that minefield in safety. Start with simple explanations. The Securities and Exchange Commission's site on investing basics defines annuities and tells why some people buy them. "An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that requires the insurer to make payments to you, either immediately or in the future.
September 29, 2014 |
Smartphones are expensive to own, but the powerful, often free, apps they carry around can make up for some of that expense. These sites offer guides to useful money-saving apps. Budgeting apps are first-off. Everything Zoomer, a site that says it's for the "45-plus demographic," recently posted this list of recommended personal-finance apps. It notes that most banks and other financial institutions now provide apps for tracking your accounts, finding ATMs, and so forth. Many save you a trip to the bank by allowing deposits by snapping photos of checks.
September 22, 2014 |
Financial independence can mean being able to live on your own, feeling free to retire, or feeling free to work at something you enjoy without worrying about the size of your paycheck. J.D. Roth , founder of the Get Rich Slowly website, says in this post that he has boiled the subject down to a "one-page guide to financial independence" in the retirement sense. What does he suggest? A rather ambitious program to save money, and not just 10 percent or 20 percent of your income. "Your goal should be to save at least 50 percent of your income - and 70 percent is better," Roth says.
September 15, 2014 |
When you are new to investing or in search of a disciplined way to salt away funds, try the method called dollar-cost averaging, or DCA. Here are some pointers, and caveats. Investopedia.com explains the basics: "Dollar-cost averaging is carried out simply by investing a fixed dollar amount into your mutual fund (or other investment instrument) at predetermined intervals. " But why? "It's a strategic way to invest because you buy more shares when the cost is low, so you get an average cost per share over time, meaning you don't have to invest the time and effort to monitor market movements and strategically time your investments.
September 1, 2014 |
Reports of a major data breach at JPMorgan and other banks - possibly by Russian hackers - puts in question the security of customer accounts. What's a consumer to do? Infosecurity magazine runs through the possible methods of the hackers and what the fallout might be. "The FBI has called the skill associated with the attack 'far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers,' leading many to conclude that the action was state-sponsored," writes reporter Tara Seals. The cold implication: "Without significant change in strategy, ultimate resistance to high-level attacks is, well, futile.
August 25, 2014 |
Financial failure, in personal life or in business, is an opportunity for learning and, perhaps, a prerequisite for success - or so say a lot of experts. Here is some of their reasoning and strategy. Will your child be a financial failure? In a post at DailyFinance.com, columnist Michele Lerner lists warning signs that parents should look for, as an opportunity to make positive changes. Does a child always need the latest version of stuff, run up huge debts (including for college)
August 4, 2014 |
Do traditional market indexes such as the Standard & Poor's 500 represent the soundest ways to track stocks? Are mutual funds and ETFs that invest in those index stocks the best for you? Maybe not. Many so-called alternative indexes have gained credibility, and investors, in recent years and may offer new options for market participation and growth. Firms have been adding them at a brisk clip. This June post at etftrends.com describes new ETFs (stock-like exchange-traded funds)