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Creating a Financial Plan Before Investing: Make Sure You Do It!

April 15, 2014 in Investing

Investing in your future requires investing in securities. Whether it’s stocks, bonds, funds or commodities, investing is the best step you can take toward future financial security. If retiring is something you’d ever like to do, planning your financial future should start as soon as possible. Before you invest, it is vital to start with a financial plan.


Come up with a strong financial plan before you invest.

Preliminary Questions

As discussed in “Personal Finance Interview with Roger Wohlner on Navigating the World of Investing,” anyone can invest, and the best day to start is today. A solid plan, however, must first be put in place.

Do you want to invest in individual stocks or collective investments such as mutual funds, index funds or ETFs? Is learning stock trading something you’re interested in? How often do you intend to re-allocate funding or reshuffle where that funding is placed? These questions have to be answered before you commit.

Software and Budgeting

Software takes the guesswork out of financial planning. Free, cloud-based budgeting software requires no downloading or purchase, and it’s web based so you can access it from anywhere, on any device. By taking inventory of what’s coming in and what’s going out, these kinds of programs are simple and easy to set up, and can paint a clear picture of exactly how much you can invest and how often you can contribute to your investment. Having a budget – and knowing how frequently you can add to your fund – is the key to not risking what you can’t afford to lose.

Research

It is vital to do some homework on the basics of stock trading. Investing is a gamble. Unless you invest with the most conservative investment possible (a savings account or bonds), there is an element of risk. No casual investor will ever have access to the same information or resources as Wall Street banks, but learning stock trading at a basic level is within reach.

It is imperative to get a basic grasp on the primary elements of how investing works, what can be expected, typical strategies and risks involved. Know the difference between types of investment vehicles (IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.), the personnel behind the transactions (traders, brokers, etc.) and the basics of the stock market (e.g., the difference between mutual funds, index funds, stocks and ETFs). Knowledge is power – especially when it comes to investing.


Research, budgeting and planning must precede investing.

Before you invest, take steps to make sure you’re not throwing away your hard-earned money. Establish a budget, learn the basics of stock trading, do your homework, get the right software and make sure you know the answers to basic questions before you start. Get started as soon as possible – but not before you have a financial plan in place.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who writes about personal finance, investing and the stock market.

10 Tips for Properly Managing Money So You Can Invest Without Worry

March 17, 2014 in Advice, Blog

3 Tips for Properly Managing Money So You Can Invest Without Worry

Investing is far more complicated than saving. Although fortunes are sometimes made or lost, for most of us, investing requires discipline, knowledge and a delicate balance of courage and prudence. No matter how much stock trading advice you receive, there is always an element of uncertainty with every investment. This uncertainty, however, can be dramatically mitigated if your investment strategy is built on a strong financial foundation that is grounded in good habits.

Follow this guide to managing your money so you can invest without worry.


Create a fund that is for investing – and only for investing.

Create a Separate Fund

Investing is a gamble. Like any gamble, it offers the promise of reward – but with reward comes risk. Similar to a casino, your investment gambles should be measured, well thought out and – most importantly – financed with money you can afford to lose.

When people invest on the presumption that they will make money – especially beginner stock trading novices with riskier short-term investments – they are more likely to risk money that they may not have been comfortable investing if they had considered the consequences of a loss. Divert money consistently and incrementally into a dedicated fund just for investing. Do not confuse this fund with savings.

Pay Yourself First

When building a fund with which to invest, consider incremental payments into that fund to be another monthly bill – and pay it as if it were a bill. Responsible budgeting requires an individual to pay all of the money they owe first, and then divide up what’s left over into funding for groceries, leisure and everything else. Whether it’s $10 a month or $10,000 a month, consider your deposit into your investment fund a bill that must be paid, no matter what.

The Time to Start Is Now (or as Soon as Possible)

The best time to invest – even in a basic savings account – is right now. The article “Answers to 7 Money Management Questions You’ve Been Asking” reiterates this point by surmising, “When you’re young, retirement is that thing that old people do and you believe there’s plenty of time to plan for it.” The reality, however, is that retirement planning is an undertaking that works best as a long-term endeavor, both for accumulation and the compounding effect of interest.


Treat investing as a bill that must be paid no matter what.

whether you’re a beginner who is stock trading for the first time, or a seasoned pro who gives stock trading advice, your investments must be grounded in a financial habits that allow you to invest without risking a loss you’re not capable of absorbing. Create a separate fund, treat your investment fund as if it were a bill that needed to be paid and, most importantly, get started as soon as possible.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about personal finance and small business management.

5 Books Every Beginning Investor Should Have on Their Bookshelf

February 19, 2014 in Blog

5 Books Every Beginning Investor Should Have on Their Bookshelf

Deciding to invest can be exciting! … and really scary. When you’re new to it, the basics of stock trading and the world of investing can feel vaguely threatening. It seems like everybody has an opinion and everybody has an agenda. You want to make smart choices with your money, but when you ask questions, you get a dozen different answers. It’s enough to make you want to eschew investing altogether and stuff your cash in a mattress.


It’s your money. Where should you put it?

Maybe, instead of resorting to the depression-era savings tactics, it’s time to crack some books. While, yes, it is true that the authors of investment books can have opinions and agendas (just like the people on forums), it’s also true that those books have to be fact-checked and run past a slew of other people before they are deemed worthy of publication. (Self-publishing is another post for another time.)

So! Which books should you read if you want to learn to trade? Which of the “newbie books” are most worth your time and money?

The Intelligent Investor

This book was originally published in 1949, but don’t let its age fool you. The Intelligent Investor is considered by many to be the book for novice investors who wanted to learn the basics of stock trading.

If popular opinion doesn’t sway you, consider this: The book’s author, Benjamin Graham, was Warren Buffet’s mentor. You trust that Warren Buffet knows what he’s talking about, right? Why not learn from his teacher?

The Little Book of Big Dividends

The Little Book of Big Dividends helps new investors learn what to do with their money during a bear market. The book is written by stock expert Charles Carlson and uses examples from recent market insanity (2008 and 2010, respectively) to teach novice investors how to trade and how to keep themselves protected against sudden downturns and even during sudden spikes.

The Investor’s Manifesto

This book was recommended by Wall Street Journal columnist Mike Piper as one of the best books for new investors who are still trying to figure out the world of financial planning, investing, and the basics of stock trading. The Investor’s Manifesto is by William Bernstein and is potentially one of the most relatable books on investing you can read. Why? Because Bernstein is someone who also had to figure out the hows and whys of investing and how to trade for himself. He offers you the chance to learn from his mistakes as well as his successes.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

This Robert Kiyosaki quick classic is a great book for a novice investor. Why? Because he tackles all of the different parts of responsible personal finance and entrepreneurship. Kiyosaki teaches you how to get the most out of a steady paycheck and how to invest in business ideas or real estate adventures. Remember: There’s more to investing than dividends, stocks, and bonds. You’ll learn about all of it (and in accessible language) in this book.

The Richest Man in Babylon

Another finance and investment classic, this book works with metaphor and parable to illustrate personal finance and investment basics. The book walks readers through finding and getting money, teaching them how to keep that money and, finally, how to turn that money into more money. It’s a quick and entertaining read – which, frankly, is a novelty in the world of investment tomes.


How did you learn to make it rain?

Do you have a book on your shelf that you believe every new investor “must read”? Tell us about it!

Erin Steiner writes about personal finance, pop culture and a variety of other topics all over the Internet.

The Importance of Risk Perception in Investing

February 12, 2014 in Blog

The Importance of Risk Perception in Investing

Whether a person is just learning to trade stocks or teaching a doctorate course on investing, risk perception is directly tied to the realities of finance. According to Q Finance, risk perception is “the way in which people and organizations view risk, based on their concerns and experiences, but not necessarily on objective data. Risk perceptions can influence such things as business policies and investment decisions.”

Follow this guide to understanding the importance of risk perception in investing.


For investors, the relationship between risk and reward is direct and inescapable.

Risk and Perception

Anyone who gives legitimate stock trading advice will ascertain that there is no such thing as a risk-free investment. But the perception of risk can shape the reality surrounding actual risk.

A quote by Michael Novogratz from an article about financial expert Peter Briger sums up the concept of perception by pitting the perspective of one investing guru against that of another. “Someone will come into my office, and after they leave I’ll think, ‘What a nice guy,’” Novogratz says. “They walk into Pete’s office, and Pete is thinking, ‘How is this guy going to screw me?’”

The Psychology of Risk

According to one study, each individual brings their own perception of risk to each investment. One investor may consider Coca-Cola to be a risk-free investment because of the brand’s ubiquitous nature. Another may identify a growing trend in obesity awareness as well as its association with sugary drinks and consider the downfall of the tobacco industry before deciding an investment in a soda stock is too risky.

The Relationship Between Risk and Reward

As risk increases, so does the potential for reward. When buying a lottery ticket, the risk of losing your “investment” is almost a mathematical certainty, which is why a single-dollar ticket can pay off enormously – it’s a tradeoff of extraordinary risk bringing a rare, but extraordinary reward.

Although less extreme, financial investing works the same way. An FDIC-insured savings account comes with essentially no risk, but its reward can’t even keep up with the cost of inflation. A savvy investor should look to benefit from an investment that has the reward of being risky without the actual risk – this is possible when the investor can identify an investment that is less risky than it is perceived to be.


Since the risk of losing your “investment” in a lotto ticket is nearly 100 percent, the reward can be equally astounding.

In investing – as with life in general – perception is reality. With risk having so much bearing on the outcome of an investment, the perception of risk plays as large a role as the actual risk. With deep individual psychological factors being brought to the table by each investor, risk perception can be tough to measure. If done correctly, however, savvy investors can mitigate the risk involved by jumping on investments that appear to be risky – but that are actually fairly safe.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about investing and the stock market.

Stock Market Glossary: Basic Terms for Beginners

February 4, 2014 in Blog

Stock Market Glossary: Basic Terms for Beginners

If you were never taught at least the basics of personal finance, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the opportunities there are to save and invest. And when you read about success stories like the one enjoyed by the people who run Million Dollar Journey (check out “Personal Finance Interview with Million Dollar Journey on the Best Way to Build Wealth” for more info), it’s easy to get caught up in that inspiration and go too fast too soon.


Every number means something. Do you know what it is?

It’s great that you’re inspired, but you should never jump into investing blind – especially if your goal is to play the stock market. Before you start buying shares, make sure you have at least the basic vocabulary down. Here are some of the words you should know before you hitch your wagon to a broker’s giddy-up (or whatever other cliché makes you feel comfortable):

Stock: A piece of a company. When you buy “stock” in a company, you are essentially buying a piece of that company and are entitled to a portion of its profits (if it makes them). Your “piece of that pie” is determined by how many of the available shares you purchase. Sometimes, stocks are called “shares.”

Common Stock: Buys you voting rights at company shareholder meetings and entitles you to dividends.

Preferred Stock: Does not buy you voting rights, but does entitle you to more of the company’s earnings and assets.

Dividend: The money the company pays to shareholders (that’s you) out of the company’s profits.

Bid Price: How much a stock costs.


It won’t be gambling when you know what you’re doing and learn to use the odds.

Blue Chip: Stocks/shares in very highly regarded or “big” companies.

Bull: Someone who thinks his/her share price of the stock market is going up.

Bull Market: A market that experts and investors believe to be improving and that they believe will continue its upward trend. Investors are encouraged to hold on to their current investments and to expand their portfolios during a bull market.

Bear Market: A market that is trending downward (stock prices are falling). Investors are encouraged to sell of shares during a bear market.

Equities: Regular shares.

Debenture: Shares/stocks/loans that are based on a company’s credit, not its actual assets.

Futures: A contract that allows the stock holder to buy/sell indexes and commodities later at the prices they are now.

Indexes: A method by which the value of a specific group of stocks is computed – usually it is used to figure out how the market overall is doing.

Commodities: A basic “thing” that is interchangeable with other “things” made by other companies. For example, crude oil is the same no matter who produces it; therefore, it’s a commodity. But smartphones vary wildly by manufacturers and cellular providers; they are not commodities.

This is just the beginning, but it should be enough to help you at least understand the articles you’re starting to read on how to trade stocks and beginner stock trading. Good luck!

Erin Steiner writes about personal finance and a variety of other topics all over the web.

Investools Investing Foundations Program

January 2, 2014 in

Get trained in the foundations of the stock market and stock trading with two courses, a wealth of easy-to-use tools, and top-tier coaching support, in the program that helps you start managing your own portfolio.

In the Investing Foundation Program, you’ll enjoy live and online workshops that can help you quickly overcome fears and learn how to manage risk and protect capital. You’ll discover tools that make it easy to find hot stocks, then analyze their fundamentals and know when to enter and exit trades. And you’ll progress at your own pace, with one-on-one support from a coach to speed your progress, as you start managing your own portfolio.

Goals:

  • Start thinking like an independent investor.
  • Quickly learn strategies to trade stocks wisely.
  • Identify other strategies that can help you become a more effective investor.
  • Practice trading on our exclusive paperMoney® platform before risking a dime.

Program Includes:

  • Principles of Investing Course
  • Introduction to Trading Stocks Course
  • 30 days of coaching from experienced traders.
  • A community of like-minded investors for inspiration, answers and study help.
  • Unlimited attendance at the Investing Foundation workshops.
  • The Investor Toolbox® with easy-to-use searches and analysis tools.
  • A one-on-one live walk-through of the Investor Toolbox by phone.

Courses Included:

The Investing Foundation workshop gives you two information-packed investing courses that help you start racing toward your financial goals.

Principles of Investing

Whether you’re looking to manage your own accounts or to communicate more effectively with your money managers, this is the place to start. This course will walk you through the foundations of creating, executing and maintaining your own investing plan.

  • Identify major investment types and choose a broker who will efficiently execute your investment choices.
  • Understand the financial markets and how they affect your day-to-day finances, and develop a plan for a specific financial goal.
  • Build an investment portfolio designed to maximize returns and minimize risk.
  • Understand common investing mistakes and how to avoid them.

Introduction to Trading Stocks

Investing isn’t all about planning. It’s also about action. Learn to make better informed investment decisions by setting your emotions aside and using Investools’ exclusive 7-Step Investing Formula®. You’ll develop the skills to create a personalized investment plan for your financial goals.

  • Learn the truths and misconceptions about self-directed investing, and protect your investment capital by calculating your appropriate risk and position size.
  • Identify current market trends and determine which investments help you reach your goals.
  • Build a watch list of companies to invest in, and learn to spot the right entry and exit points for your investments.
  • Manage and monitor stock positions with our Investor Toolbox®.

 

One-On-One Coaching

Greenberg Capital Blog

December 3, 2013 in

Blog authored by David Greenberg discussing trading rules, trading lessons, market regulations, and business Coaching.

David Greenberg has over 22 years of experience in private investments, commodities trading, and global markets. Throughout his career, Mr. Greenberg has appeared on numerous media outlets including CNN, Fox Business News, Bloomberg, and CNBC. He is frequently interviewed about commodities trading, executive board decisions, and business projections. He is a guest lecturer for the finance program at West Point Military Academy, the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, and Hofstra University. In addition, he teaches a course on the transition to electronic trading at the Museum of American Finance. Mr. Greenberg is highly sought after for his ability to explain complex corporate and trading situations. As a member of the NYMEX Board, David expressed his concerns on market movement and manipulation with the transition of open-out cry trading to electronic trading.

AlphaTrends Blog

December 3, 2013 in

Brian Shannon’s daily market analysis and trading education blog. Objective technical analysis of stock market trends since 2006.

Brian Shannon is a full-time trader, educator and author of the highly regarded book Technical Analysis Using Multiple Timeframes, is the founder of Alphatrends. His expertise has been achieved over a 20-year period as he has navigated the difficult path that relatively few traders follow to success. Early on, as a broker with Lehman Brothers and other major investment firms, Brian gained valuable insight into market dynamics and the human factors that drive them. Brian became an expert technical analyst, and his eye for value and timing combined with confident discipline have propelled him over the years to be the #1 ranked expert on Twitter in the categories of Investing and Day Trading with over 45,000 followers. Brian is also well known for his technical analysis videos, which are the #1 most subscribed financial videos on YouTube. He is a sought after speaker and contributing author, as well as an investor, senior contributor and advisor of Stocktwits.com.

25 Indicators to Know (Free eBook)

September 12, 2013 in

25-indicators-to-know_cover-web

Features:

3 Market Internals Indicators for Broad Market Analysis

16 Most Popular Technical Indicators Used on Charts

Each Indicator Section Includes: Conceptual Insight, Indicator Characteristics & Application, and Technical Significance

*Special thinkorswim free platform software download link!

81 Pages. Includes chart examples and indicator calculation equations

About MarketHeist’s 25 Indicators to Know eBook

Includes the most commonly used stock market and stock chart indicators. Market Internals indicators will help you analyze the overall market as professionals do. Meanwhile, technical indicators, in conjunction with technical analysis, helps you to analyze price chart such as stock charts, commodities charts, and forex charts.

 

Overview: Market Internals Indicators

“Indicators” are statistical summaries of data used to help analyze the data.  Market internals indicators, or simply market internals, are statistics of the overall stock market.  For this reason some common market internals are listed here before listing price and volume indicators used with individual price charts.

Market Internals are used to gauge overall market strength or weakness, as well as what moves other investors and traders are making.

 

Overview: Technical Indicators (for Stock Charts and Other Price Charts)

In this section are indicators for use on price and volume charts of individual securities and assets.  These are the most common indicators used in conjunction with technical analysis, i.e. statistical analysis, of price and volume.  Indicators are used to help analyze securities and assets including stock market indices, commodities, currencies and forex, bonds, funds, and, of course, stocks.  Remember, these indicators are simply statistical calculations from price or volume. Technical analysis of price and volume should first be applied before using indicators.  No indicator works 100% of the time.  It takes experience and understanding of how an indicator works to know when to use each as a tool.

 

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