Category Archives: Insight

Educate Yourself

One of the key factors when starting out investing in the stock market is to educate yourself. Before jumping in and investing your hard earned money be sure to learn whatever you can about the process and the intricacies of investing, If you know of someone who can mentor you that you trust, that’s better and icing on the cake.

Before I seriously started investing money in the stock market I made a point to read and learn whatever I could about stock market investing, the different type of investment strategies, the risk and pitfalls to watch for, and to determine what I was getting myself into. I went and purchased a couple of books by well known investors so I could understand what I was looking at, what I should be lokkinig at, and what to do with the information. Two books that I found helpful were Phil Town’s Rule#1 and Warren Buffett and The Interpretation of Financial Statements by Mary Buffett & David Clark.

There are a few morw out the and you can probably find them on Amazon. But be warned about some books on investing that you may find on the Internet. Specifically, I am referring to those that are “mentioned”/advertized on Twitter, in investment groups on Facebook or Mewe. Now, I’m not trying to say that they are worthless nor am I judging their quality. All I’m saying is that I tend to be suspicious of the authors of these e-books on investing where they mask their true identity behind a Twitter handle or any kind of vague handle. One of the things you should do is vet the author of the book you are interested in. Amazon generally contains a link with the authors name where you can research the author and determine if it is worth getting the book. Most of the e-books on Twitter and elsewhere in the Internet do not because they don’t disclose the authors true identity. Is the information being presented actually from the presented author or are they just rehashing someone else’s information. Maybe, after reading the e-book, you have additional questions or need further clarification on certain points. How do you know if the author is actually qualified to present such financial information?

That would be like seeking medical advice from an unknown source. The person answering your medical question may be someone totally unrelated to the medical profession and yet giving out medical advice. You have no idea how good or bad their information is. Do you know if they even follow their own advice? Without knowing the true identity of the author you open yourself to a number of risks and they avoid any liability/fiduciary responsibility.

Speaking for myself, I would never purchase any book (hard cover or e-book) about investing unless I knew the identity of the author and was able to verify their credentials.

I have previously published articles about being cautious with sources of advice and information here, here and here.

The Need for Discipline in the Stock Market

Guest Article By Dr. Winton M. Felt

Good trading rules are important. However, even those who concoct great rules tend not to follow them. Most people lack the consistency necessary to stick to those rules even when things are going badly.

Make the decision. Will you be consistent in following your rules or not? Most people who invest or trade never make the decision. It is almost impossible to be a consistent winner in the stock market without the consistent application of good decision rules. Think about how the market reacts to news events. A new jobs report is released by the government that shows more people are jobless. Immediately, the market plunges. The debt of a foreign country is downgraded and panic hits the market. Stocks plunge in many sectors. What is going on here? Just as an EKG can tell a cardiologist some things about a person’s heart function, so we can consider the market to be connected to the nervous system of millions of investors.

There is a stimulus and a response. Depending on the nature of the stimulus, the response is reasonably predictable. The market reflects emotional states of the population. In order to profit in the stock market, it is necessary to avoid thinking like the rest of the population. When the population pushes the market down in a fit of panic selling, the negative attitude about owning stocks is at a peak. However, that is precisely the time when people should be most positive about owning stocks. The individual investor tends to feel the same way the population as a whole feels. To follow a set of rules with consistency, therefore, is difficult. It often forces a person to act contrary to his emotions.

Assume, for example, that you have just bought a stock with a fantastic story. Blixis Company (BLIX) has just discovered a permanent cure for the common cold and has patent rights to the serum. The stock is at $10 a share and you note that it has been closely following a rising trendline. You buy it for $10 when it is right on the trendline. You believe this stock is likely to go to at least $100 and that it will probably split several times before it stops climbing. After a week, the stock is at $15 and it is still moving along the trendline. One day you happen to be looking at the chart of this stock and you notice that it has fallen below the trendline. It is selling at $15 but the trendline is at 15.46. What do you do? Do you say to yourself that this is only a temporary bout of profit taking and decide to continue holding? Two days later the trendline is at $17 and the stock is still at $15. Do you tell yourself that “stocks fluctuate and you must give them room to do so” or do you sell? At $15, the stock is 11.76% below the trendline.

Most investors in this situation would keep holding. However, if you are still holding, then you must face the fact that you probably do not have a strategy at all. You have bought a “story stock” and you are psychologically locked into it because you believe in its story. A strategy consisting of a set of decision rules enables a person to draw a line in the sand and say “this is where I pull the plug.” The probability of a person coming out ahead in the scenario described above, without his adhering to the dictates of a good set of decision rules, is not great. What if the FDA insists on additional data before clearing the drug? The stock would then plummet. It could take a year or more to acquire sufficient data to satisfy the FDA. What if while you are waiting another company comes up with a cure that is based on a slightly different process that will enable the company to manufacture its drug more cheaply than Blixis Company can manufacture its drug? If that were to happen, BLIX would probably plunge and you would still be holding the stock.

A consistent rule-following strategic investor times his purchase so he can buy when risk of further decline is minimal. He never becomes married to a stock. Finally, he always has an exit strategy, because unexpected bad things happen. In fact, these are the broad principles followed by stockdisciplines trader/investors. Beyond these general concepts, an investor/trader should have specific well-defined rules for buying and selling. For every buyer, there is a seller. One is more likely to make money on a transaction, and the other is more likely to lose money on the same transaction. Without strictly adhering to a sound strategy, guess which one you are most likely to be.

Copyright 2018, by Stock Disciplines, LLC. a.k.a. StockDisciplines.com

Dr. Felt has market reviews, stock alerts, and free tutorials at https://www.stockdisciplines.com Information and tools for computing stop losses are also at https://www.stockdisciplines.com

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Dr._Winton_M._Felt/190829

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10040660

Smart Ways to Invest: A Quick Overview of Some of the Smartest Things You Can Do With Money

Guest Article By George Botwin

Do you suddenly find yourself with a bit of money and want to know about some smart ways to invest? How can you best put that money to good use? The most important thing to do – if you haven’t already done so – is to pay off your debts. Get that out of the way. If you still have debts when you invest, any interest you might earn from the investment will just equal out the interest you’ll have to pay on the debts. Holding onto debt might even be more costly than any profit you might make from investments.

Once you’re all clear with debts, then you can consider making smart investments. Investment bonds are usually considered a good idea for those who are afraid of taking on too much risk. The potential for returns is quite lower than those of stocks, but you will still get some interest over time, whether you invest in US government bonds or foreign bonds. Just do the right research first to find out which foreign bonds are likely to be the most profitable over the next decade.

Learn about the different types of mutual funds and decide if they are smart ways to invest for you. They are categorized by asset class: cash, bonds, and stocks, and then further categorized by objective, strategy, or style, such as stock mutual funds, money market mutual funds, and so forth. The downside to mutual funds is lack of ownership. The investor actually doesn’t own the individual stock, and therefore lacks perks such as voting rights.

Smart Ways to Invest With Diversification

While you don’t have to put all of your money in a single bank account, it’s still considered wise by many people to open up a Certificate of Deposit account with a reputable online bank that offers a high APY – even higher than a regular savings account. The drawback? You have to agree to let your money stay in the bank for a certain period of time and won’t be allowed to withdraw any of it prior to that time without getting penalized.

Dividend-paying stocks can be among the smart ways to invest for intermediate and advanced investors. Dividends are a portion of a company’s profit that are paid out to shareholders (usually quarterly). If you own a dividend stock, you can earn cash in the short term as well as the investment itself through market appreciate during the long-term.

As for the smart ways to invest in individual stocks and a few other opportunities, it’s best to join a group of insiders where you will get picks from the true professionals and experts. Having access to high-quality investment analysis, such as that offered by Capitalist Exploits, is a great way to gain an edge in investing.

To get closer to financial freedom, visit George’s website: https://www.financiallygenius.com/capitalist-exploits/

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/George_Botwin/1425000

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Harnessing Stock Market Volatility

Guest Article By Steve Selengut

If you were to Google “stock market volatility”, you would find a wide range of observations, conversations, reports, analyses, recipes, critiques, predictions, alarms, and causal confusion. Books have been written; indices and measuring tools have been created; rationales and conclusions have been proffered. Yet, the volatility remains.

Statisticians, economists, regulators, politicians, and Wall Street gurus have addressed the volatility issue in one manner or another. In fact, each day’s gyrations are explained, reported upon, recorded for later expert analysis, and head scratched about.

The only question I continue to have about all this comical hubbub is why don’t y’all just relax and enjoy it? If you own only high quality income generating securities, diversify properly, and adopt a disciplined profit-taking routine, you can make stock market volatility your very best friend (VBF).

Decades ago, a nameless statistics professor brought me out of a semi-comatose state with an observation about statisticians, politicians, and economists. “In the real world”, he said, “there are liars, damn liars, and any member of the groups just mentioned”. An economist or a politician, armed with a battery of statistics, is an ominous force indeed.

Well, now, all economists and statisticians have high powered computers and the ability to analyze volatility with the same degree of certainty (or is it arrogance) that they have developed with regard to individual-stock risk analysis, economic and geographical sector correlation dynamics, and future prediction in general.

  • But the volatility (and the uncertainty it either causes or results from, depending upon the expert you listen to) persists.

Modern computers are so powerful, in fact, that economists and statisticians can now calculate the investment prospects of just about anything. So rich in statistics are these masters of probabilities, alphas, betas, correlation coefficients, and standard deviations, that the financial world itself has become, mundane, boring, and easy to deal with. Yeah, sure it has.

Since they can predict the future with such a high degree of probability, and hedge against any uncertainty with yet another high degree of probability, why then is the financial world in such a chronic state of upheaval? And why-o-why does the volatility, and the uncertainty, continue?

I expect that you are expecting an opinion (yet another opinion) on why the volatility is as pronounced as it seems to be compared with years past. Frankly, Scarlett, I can’t really make myself give a damn. The uncertainty that we are asked to believe is caused by volatility just simply is not. Uncertainty is the regulation playing field of the investment game… and of life, actually.

The more you invest in higher risk securities, the more you speculate on future directional change, the more you ignore growing income, and focus only on market value, the more uncertain your investment environment becomes. So risk, speculation, poor diversification, low income generation, and up only market value expectations combine to exacerbate uncertainty, but nothing can eliminate it… only that is certain.

Volatility, on the other hand is simply a force of nature, one that needs to be embraced and dealt with constructively if one is to succeed as an investor.

But this machine driven, hyper-volatility that we have been experiencing recently, has been magnified by the darkest forces of the “dismal science” and the changes that it has encouraged in the way financial professionals view the makeup of the modern investment portfolio.

On the bright side, enhanced market volatility actually enhances the power of the equity and income security trading disciplines and strategies within the Market Cycle Investment Management ( MCIM ) methodology… an approach to market reality that embraces market turbulence, and harnesses market volatility for results that leave most professionals either speechless or in denial.

  • MCIM focuses on the highest quality equity securities and well diversified income security portfolios, creating a lower than normal risk environment where price fluctuations can be dealt with productively, without panic. Higher prices generate profit taking transactions; lower prices invite additional investment. The underlying quality, diversification, and income generation create a more tolerable “uncertainty quotient” than other methodologies.

But, with no statistical data necessary (or available) to support the following opinion, consider this simplistic rationale for the hyper-volatility of today’s stock market.

Volatility is a function of supply and demand for the common stock of a finite number of dirty, evil, greedy, polluting, congress corrupting, job creating, product and service providing, innovation and wealth developing, foundation supporting, gift giving, tax-collecting corporations.

Those of us who trade common stocks in general, Investment Grade Value Stocks in particular, owe a debt of gratitude to the real volatility creators: the hundreds of thousands of derivative products that bring an entirely speculative kind of indirect supply and demand to the securities markets.

Generally speaking, the fundamental, emotional, political, economic, global, environmental, and psychological forces that impact stock market prices have not changed significantly, if at all.

Short term market movements are just as unpredictable as they have ever been. They continue to cause the uncertainty you need to deal with, by using proven risk minimization techniques like asset allocation, diversification, and profit taking.

The key change agents, the new kids on the block, are the derivative betting mechanisms (Index ETFs, for example) and their impact on the finite number of shares available for trading. Every day on the stock exchange, thousands of equities are traded, a billion shares change hands. The average share is “held” for mere minutes. No one seems to we seek out analysts who spin tales of “fundamental” brilliance, profitability, or income production.

On top of derivative trading in real things such as sectors, countries, companies, commodities, and industries, we have a myriad of index betting devices, short-long parlor games, option strategies, etc. What’s a simple common share of Exxon to do? I’ve heard financial talk show hosts warn listeners to never, not ever, buy an individual equity!

  • Is today’s movement in any individual equity the result of demand for the company shares themselves, or demand for the multiple funds, indices, and other derivatives that track or include the company in their “model”? How many derivative owners have a clue what’s inside their ETF?

We are in an environment where investors feel smarter dealing in sectors than in companies; where 401k “retirement” plans (they really are not retirement plans, you know) are banned by regulators from offering even reasonably high yielding investment opportunities, and where government fiscal policies have forced millions of actual retirement savings accounts to seek refuge in the shark infested waters around Wall Street.

Market volatility is here to stay, at least until multi-level and multi-directional derivatives are relocated to the Las Vegas casinos where they belong, until regulators realize that 7% after higher expenses is better than 2% after minimal expenses, and until interest rates are allowed to return to somewhat normal levels… and this is what feels to some like an elevated level of uncertainty.

For the discernible future, we’ll need to find a way, a methodology, that makes both of them our VBFs.

My articles always describe aspects of an investment process I have been using since the 1970’s, as described in my book, “The Brainwashing of the American Investor”. All the disciplines, concepts, and processes described therein work together to produce (in my experience) a safer, more income productive, investment experience. No implementation should be undertaken without a complete understanding of all aspects of the process.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steve_Selengut/12786

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Top 7 Things to Consider Before You Start Investing

Guest Article By Linda Terrill 

Be it investors, potential investors or general public who is looking to start investing, everyone gets excited the minute they have extra cash on their hands and one of the usual plans is to invest it for quick profits. People want to start making their money work for them and that’s a very understandable and rational thought but sure enough one needs to be practical about their finances as well. There is a lot of due diligence and groundwork that goes into understanding the financial markets before one must start investing and it’s for their best as well!

An investment making company will generally help you get started with your investment and offer you end-to-end insights into how to make more money and how to invest money to achieve your financial goals. However, there are a few things you as an investor must consider before approaching any Asset Management Company or getting started on your investment journey.

Here are the top 7 things one should consider before they start investing to make more money:

1. Pay Off Prior Dues

No investment can start without you actually being done paying off your dues and clearing your credit. A clean slate for all your debts is very essential to begin investing stress free and focusing on returns.

2. Create Cash Emergency Fund

Before you start investing it is very important for you to have a separate cash fund prepared just in case of emergencies. There is no questioning the volatility of the market and you can’t really depend on redeeming from market when in dire need. Having an emergency fund lets you start your investment journey with a bit more ease.
3. Create Financial Goals

One of the most important questions often asked is how to invest money and earn quick profits! However, there is much more to investing than just expecting returns. It is equally important to have your financial goals set it place and invest accordingly. Be it buying a dream home, car or saving for retirement, an investment making company will know exactly how to help you get started.

4. Understand Financial Instruments

There are tons of financial instruments in the market which offer numerous benefits. The bigger question often is what you as an investor wish to achieve, quick profit, long term stability, lesser risk or just saving for the future? It’s not tough to make more money with your investments as long as your priorities are already quite clear.

5. Due Diligence on Investment Options

Asset Management Companies have a variety of financial instruments that an investor can pick from and ensure that they make more money. If you want to know how to invest money wisely on the other hand then it is best if you do your due diligence on all the financial products in the market and then make an informed decision to earn quick profits.

6. Research on market trends

How to invest money wisely is indeed a question every investor should be asking themselves or the investment making company who is helping them build a portfolio. Keeping updated about the market, staying on top of news in the world markets and knowing the current business trends makes it easier for the investors to pick their financial instruments for investment.

7. Evaluate your risk bearing capacity

Every individual has their own risk bearing capacities. An investment making company will often ask you the risk level your profile fits in as an investor as it helps them decide where and how to invest money and earn quick profits. How to invest money is often a question answered at the expense of how much risk are you willing to take for the same,

As simple and lucrative investing and making quick profit sounds, the truth is that unless you have a foundation in place and thorough research to build up, your investment portfolio won’t be solid.

Asset Management Companies are there to help investors with their portfolio, right from researching and investing to managing and reinvesting investors’ wealth. If you are new to the world of investing then these pointers will make sure that it doesn’t seem intimidating anymore!

Megacoinwealth is a leading Asset Management Company. Our top professionals guide you on making sound investment decisions to help you achieve your financial goals.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Linda_Terrill/2561984

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Searching For A Healthcare ETF

As I reviewed my investment portfolio I noticed that I am still missing an ETF for the healthcare sector. Personally, I’ve been leaning toward the Vanguard Health Care Index Fund ETF ($VHT). But I was interested to see what else was being offered so I did a bit more research.
I searched out for healthcare ETFs with these different Fund Families:

  • Fidelity
  • Invesco
  • iShares
  • Vanguard

The search resulted in about 11 different funds for review. I narrowed it down to 9 funds because Invesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF ($PSCH) and Invesco DWA Healthcare Momentum ETF ($PTH) does pay out dividends. Dividends are a key focus of mine so these 2 funds are automatically out. So now I look at the other funds and review the factors that I use for selecting ETFs that I’m interested in investing in. I look at dividend payout, dividend yield, and stock price. Based on those criteria, I eliminated the following funds:

$FHLC – this was the only healthcare fund being offered by Fidelity. Even though the price is very economical at $56/share, the dividend is too low to be worth the investment ($0.70/share) even though the dividend yield is around 1.23%. To be honest most of the fund in this list are paying out pretty close to this yield amount. Even if the stock price dropped close to its 52 week low range of $35, the yield would still be under 2%.

Then there’s $IEIH, an iShares fund that is trading at around $32/share. But it’s also paying out a low dividend of $0.40 for a yield of 1.22%. Even if the share price dropped to its 52 week low of $22.07/share the yield would still be under 2%.

Now we come to $IHF. This fund is trading at the high end of its 52 week range at about $228/share. Even if the price dropped to its 52 week low of $134.50, the current yield of 0.73% would not get that much better. It would only increase to 1.24%. Way below my criteria of 3% minimum.

That leaves us with the Invesco funds of $PBE, $PJP, and $RYH. I’m not going to detail these individually because they are all low dividend yield funds that pay out pennies per share. Their yields range from 0.04% to 0.82%. They’re all trading at the high end of their 52 week range so the yields will not be getting any better.

So, out of the 9 funds that were left, I eliminated 6 of them based on my criteria. Now I need to decide between:

$IHE – iShares U.S. Pharmaceutical ETF

$IYH – iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF

$VHT – Vanguard Health Care ETF

$IHE is the least expensive of the 3 funds. It’s trading at the high end of its 52 week range at about $176/share with a dividend payout of about $2.14 (for a yield of 1.22%). At its low end range it would still only have a yield of 1.86%. The expense ratio for this fund is 0.42%. Morningstar rates this fund as average risk with below average returns.

Next we have $IYH that is also trading at its 52 week high range of $242/share while its dividend payout is $2.86 for a yield of 1.19%. The yield would be similar to $IHE if the shares traded at the low end of the 52 week range. Expense ratio of 0.43% with a Morningstar rating of a below average risk and average return.

Lastly, we have $VHT. This fund is also trading at its high end of its 52 week range at about $220/share. The dividend payout is $2.55 (for a yield of 1.16%). Again, if the price dropped to the low end of the 52 week range the yield would be 1.86%, also, like the others. However, the key difference is the expense ratio, While the other funds have their expense ratio north of 0.40%, this fund has an expense ratio of only 0.10%. And the Morningstar rating is below average risk and average return. Similar to $IYH.

I have outlined how I go about reviewing and deciding which ETF to invest in. This may not work for you because you may have a different set of criteria or you may be looking at a different set of data. That’s fine because you are the one that has to decide the best way to invest in your money. I’m not a financial professional and nothing in this post is to be taken as investment advice. If you are unsure of what you need to do or how, seek the advice of a professional.

Even though I tend to lean toward Vanguard ETFs, I did a search of other fund families in order to make sure that I wasn’t locked into my bias toward them. I will probably purchase $VHT when the funds are available and thus will have a position in the healthcare sector. $VHT because of its lower expense ratio. If I had to select a second choice it would probably be $IHE because, even though the expense ratio is 0.40+, it is very slightly lower than the other iShare funds.

But do you own due diligence and make sure that you are the one that is formulating and controlling your investment strategy.

Who Can You Trust When Investing?

Guest Article By Irene Mori 

Fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic have spread through the world. On top of those problems, the issue of police brutality of black men has been brought to the attention of the world once again. The tragic killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and police killings of other black people have flooded the news. The demonstrations, peaceful protests, and sometimes riots and violence have captured the interest of the United States and other parts of the world.

The world is in turmoil, and investing may not be on people’s minds. But with the pandemic, many people have suffered financially so money is an issue. They may be looking for a way to earn some much needed money.

There are still a lot of gurus out there who want you to trust them by signing up for their stock investing newsletters. They promise big returns and make big claims. Their testimonials sound almost too good to be true. Perhaps they are.

The so-called investment gurus are touting their programs even as the unprecedented times caused by the coronavirus have affected everyone. They are saying that there are exciting investment opportunities in oil, banking, crypto, medical companies, and more even during these troubling times. They have common names like Jon, Tom, Ken, Alex, Mark, and Jeff plus some more uncommon names such as Jordan, Derek, and Kyle. Who can you trust? It is hard to know.

Sometimes they promise 100% returns on your investment or they may be bold enough to promise $2,000% in a year. They say that you will most likely get your return on investment with your first trade. If they promise big returns, it is best to make sure they have a money back guarantee if they do not produce as claimed.

If those promises would come true, it would be a great opportunity and blessing. However, too often they are false promises which do not come to fruition. If you can find a program which pays as claimed, you can consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

It’s pretty pathetic when not losing is considered winning, but that is the case in so many investments. We may be happy to just not lose our shirts although the gurus told us we would win 100% or more with their recommendations. When going with the recommendations made by the gurus, it is important to cut your losses before you do lose your shirt so to speak. Winning is the goal, of course.

Fake claims and dead ends can bring a lot of stress. Minor setbacks can be overcome without major losses. It is tempting to listen to investment gurus to follow in their footsteps to get winning trades. However, you can’t trust many or most of them. It is best to research and learn so that you can trust in yourself to make the best decisions.

Japanese Americans lost everything during World War II when they incarcerated in camps. A free eBook is available by checking out the website and reading the introduction. Many in the general public know very little about this part of American history. The book covers civil rights issues and is available on Amazon. http://www.thejapaneseamericanstory.com

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Irene_Mori/366585

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Discretionary Income Choices

Guest Article By Robert Alan Stewart

Making the most of your discretionary income

Discretionary income is what you have left over after paying your fixed costs. It is yours to spend on whatever you choose.

But…
How you spend this money can make a difference to your financial situation, but before this we have to ascertain what is discretionary income.

Rent/rates
Car running expenses
Power
Debt
Groceries etc.

People who have an addiction of some kind will prioritize their spending so that the addiction is included among their fixed expenses.

Everyone as an adult has freedom of choice unless they have debts which means their freedom is being eroded away in relation to their level of debt.

The old Proverb, “The borrower is a slave to the lender,” sums it up.

We all have some control over most of our fixed expenses such as groceries and power;we can cut down on these but with items such as rates/rent are fixed but even then we can choose to live in a more modest apartment or downsize.

The excess to your expenses is called discretionary income.

Another way of increasing your disposable (discretionary) income is to increase your income by getting a part-time job, getting a higher paying job, or selling stuff online.

Saving your discretionary spending for some greater purpose instead of frittering it away gives your life some meaning. Instead of just letting things happen you are making things happen. Many people in 10-20 years time wondered what happened.

There is a major difference between saving your money and investing it. Astute investors use their discretion to increase their wealth by investing in higher risk stocks and shares, gold, and cryptocurrency. There are enough online platforms where you are able to drip feed money into these things if you are still climbing up the investment ladder.

But then you may prefer to save for a holiday and tick off one or two items on your bucket list. The border closures will restrict your choice of places but here in New Zealand there are so many fantastic places to visit it is an opportunity to discover your own backyard.

Among the more popular activities in New Zealand are landing on the Franz and Fox Glaciers, going for a dip in the Hanmer Springs hot pools, visiting the wine region of Marlborough, or attending one of the sports meetings around the country. One thing I have to mention here is the Tranz Alpine Express train journey between Christchurch and Greymouth. It is rated one of the finest train journeys in the world and having experienced it I do not disagree. It has to be on everyone’s bucket list.

Setting financial goals are personal to you gives your life a sense of purpose and deciding how to spend your disposable income can help you achieve your financial goals. My blog http://www.robertastewart.com has lots of articles related to finance.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Robert_Alan_Stewart/2287449

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Harnessing Stock Market Volatility

Guest Article By Steve Selengut  

If you were to Google “stock market volatility”, you would find a wide range of observations, conversations, reports, analyses, recipes, critiques, predictions, alarms, and causal confusion. Books have been written; indices and measuring tools have been created; rationales and conclusions have been proffered. Yet, the volatility remains.

Statisticians, economists, regulators, politicians, and Wall Street gurus have addressed the volatility issue in one manner or another. In fact, each day’s gyrations are explained, reported upon, recorded for later expert analysis, and head scratched about.

The only question I continue to have about all this comical hubbub is why don’t y’all just relax and enjoy it? If you own only high quality income generating securities, diversify properly, and adopt a disciplined profit-taking routine, you can make stock market volatility your very best friend (VBF).

Decades ago, a nameless statistics professor brought me out of a semi-comatose state with an observation about statisticians, politicians, and economists. “In the real world”, he said, “there are liars, damn liars, and any member of the groups just mentioned”. An economist or a politician, armed with a battery of statistics, is an ominous force indeed.

Well, now, all economists and statisticians have high powered computers and the ability to analyze volatility with the same degree of certainty (or is it arrogance) that they have developed with regard to individual-stock risk analysis, economic and geographical sector correlation dynamics, and future prediction in general.

  • But the volatility (and the uncertainty it either causes or results from, depending upon the expert you listen to) persists.

Modern computers are so powerful, in fact, that economists and statisticians can now calculate the investment prospects of just about anything. So rich in statistics are these masters of probabilities, alphas, betas, correlation coefficients, and standard deviations, that the financial world itself has become, mundane, boring, and easy to deal with. Yeah, sure it has.

Since they can predict the future with such a high degree of probability, and hedge against any uncertainty with yet another high degree of probability, why then is the financial world in such a chronic state of upheaval? And why-o-why does the volatility, and the uncertainty, continue?

I expect that you are expecting an opinion (yet another opinion) on why the volatility is as pronounced as it seems to be compared with years past. Frankly, Scarlett, I can’t really make myself give a damn. The uncertainty that we are asked to believe is caused by volatility just simply is not. Uncertainty is the regulation playing field of the investment game… and of life, actually.

The more you invest in higher risk securities, the more you speculate on future directional change, the more you ignore growing income, and focus only on market value, the more uncertain your investment environment becomes. So risk, speculation, poor diversification, low income generation, and up only market value expectations combine to exacerbate uncertainty, but nothing can eliminate it… only that is certain.

Volatility, on the other hand is simply a force of nature, one that needs to be embraced and dealt with constructively if one is to succeed as an investor.

But this machine driven, hyper-volatility that we have been experiencing recently, has been magnified by the darkest forces of the “dismal science” and the changes that it has encouraged in the way financial professionals view the makeup of the modern investment portfolio.

On the bright side, enhanced market volatility actually enhances the power of the equity and income security trading disciplines and strategies within the Market Cycle Investment Management ( MCIM ) methodology… an approach to market reality that embraces market turbulence, and harnesses market volatility for results that leave most professionals either speechless or in denial.

  • MCIM focuses on the highest quality equity securities and well diversified income security portfolios, creating a lower than normal risk environment where price fluctuations can be dealt with productively, without panic. Higher prices generate profit taking transactions; lower prices invite additional investment. The underlying quality, diversification, and income generation create a more tolerable “uncertainty quotient” than other methodologies.

But, with no statistical data necessary (or available) to support the following opinion, consider this simplistic rationale for the hyper-volatility of today’s stock market.

Volatility is a function of supply and demand for the common stock of a finite number of dirty, evil, greedy, polluting, congress corrupting, job creating, product and service providing, innovation and wealth developing, foundation supporting, gift giving, tax-collecting corporations.

Those of us who trade common stocks in general, Investment Grade Value Stocks in particular, owe a debt of gratitude to the real volatility creators: the hundreds of thousands of derivative products that bring an entirely speculative kind of indirect supply and demand to the securities markets.

Generally speaking, the fundamental, emotional, political, economic, global, environmental, and psychological forces that impact stock market prices have not changed significantly, if at all.

Short term market movements are just as unpredictable as they have ever been. They continue to cause the uncertainty you need to deal with, by using proven risk minimization techniques like asset allocation, diversification, and profit taking.

The key change agents, the new kids on the block, are the derivative betting mechanisms (Index ETFs, for example) and their impact on the finite number of shares available for trading. Every day on the stock exchange, thousands of equities are traded, a billion shares change hands. The average share is “held” for mere minutes. No one seems to we seek out analysts who spin tales of “fundamental” brilliance, profitability, or income production.

On top of derivative trading in real things such as sectors, countries, companies, commodities, and industries, we have a myriad of index betting devices, short-long parlor games, option strategies, etc. What’s a simple common share of Exxon to do? I’ve heard financial talk show hosts warn listeners to never, not ever, buy an individual equity!

  • Is today’s movement in any individual equity the result of demand for the company shares themselves, or demand for the multiple funds, indices, and other derivatives that track or include the company in their “model”? How many derivative owners have a clue what’s inside their ETF?

We are in an environment where investors feel smarter dealing in sectors than in companies; where 401k “retirement” plans (they really are not retirement plans, you know) are banned by regulators from offering even reasonably high yielding investment opportunities, and where government fiscal policies have forced millions of actual retirement savings accounts to seek refuge in the shark infested waters around Wall Street.

Market volatility is here to stay, at least until multi-level and multi-directional derivatives are relocated to the Las Vegas casinos where they belong, until regulators realize that 7% after higher expenses is better than 2% after minimal expenses, and until interest rates are allowed to return to somewhat normal levels… and this is what feels to some like an elevated level of uncertainty.

For the discernible future, we’ll need to find a way, a methodology, that makes both of them our VBFs.

My articles always describe aspects of an investment process I have been using since the 1970’s, as described in my book, “The Brainwashing of the American Investor”. All the disciplines, concepts, and processes described therein work together to produce (in my experience) a safer, more income productive, investment experience. No implementation should be undertaken without a complete understanding of all aspects of the process.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steve_Selengut/12786

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Income Investing Fantasyland: High Dividend Equity ETFs and Mutual Funds

Guest Article By Steve Selengut 

Several years ago, while fielding questions at an AAII (American Association of Individual Investors) meeting in Northeast NJ, a comparison was made between a professionally directed “Market Cycle Investment Management” (MCIM) portfolio and any of several “High Dividend Select” equity ETFs.

  • My response was: what’s better for retirement readiness, 8% in-your-pocket income or 3%? Today’s’ response would be 7.85% or 1.85%… and, of course, there is not one molecule of similarity between MCIM portfolios and either ETFs or Mutual Funds.

I just took a (closer-than-I-normally-would-bother-to) “Google” at four of the “best” high dividend ETFs and a, similarly described, group of high dividend Mutual Funds. The ETFs are “marked-to” an index such as the “Dividend Achievers Select Index”, and are comprised of mostly large capitalization US companies with a history of regular dividend increases.

The Mutual Fund managers are tasked with maintaining a high dividend investment vehicle, and are expected to trade as market conditions warrant; the ETF owns every security in its underlying index, all of the time, regardless of market conditions.

According to their own published numbers:

  • The four “2018’s best” high dividend ETFs have an average dividend yield (i.e., in your checkbook spending money) of… pause to catch your breath, 1.75%. Check out: DGRW, DGRO, RDVY, and VIG.
  • Equally income unspectacular, the “best” Mutual Funds, even after slightly higher management fees, produce a whopping 2.0%. Take a look at these: LBSAX, FDGFX, VHDYX, and FSDIX.

Now really, how could anyone hope to live on this level of income production with less than a five or so million dollar portfolio. It just can’t be done without selling securities, and unless the ETFs and funds go up in market value every month, dipping into principal just has to happen on a regular basis. What if there is a prolonged market down turn?

The funds described may be best in a “total return” sense, but not from the income they produce, and I’ve yet to determine how either total return, or market value for that matter, can be used to pay your bills… without selling the securities.

Much as I love high quality dividend producing equities ( Investment Grade Value Stocks are all dividend payers), they are just not the answer for retirement income “readiness”. There is a better, income focused, alternative to these equity income production “dogs”; and with significantly less financial risk.

  • Note that “financial” risk (the chance that the issuing company will default on its payments) is much different from “market” risk (the chance that market value may move below the purchase price).

For an apples-to-apples comparison, I selected four equity focused Closed End Funds (CEFs) from a much larger universe that I have been watching fairly closely since the 1980s. They (BME, USA, RVT, and CSQ) have an average yield of 7.85%, and a payment history stretching back an average 23 years. There are dozens of others that produce more income than any of the ETFs or Mutual Funds mentioned in the “best of class” Google results.

Although I am a firm believer in investing only in dividend paying equities, high dividend stocks are still “growth purpose” investments and they just can’t be expected to generate the kind of income that can be relied upon from their “income purpose” cousins. But equity based CEFs come very close.

  • When you combine these equity income monsters with similarly managed income purpose CEFs, you have a portfolio that can bring you to “retirement income readiness”… and this is about two thirds the content of a managed MCIM portfolio.

When it comes to income production, bonds, preferred stocks, notes, loans, mortgages, income real estate, etc. are naturally safer and higher yielding than stocks… as intended by the investment gods, if not by the “Wizards of Wall Street”. They’ve been telling you for nearly ten years now that yields around two or three percent are the best they have to offer.

They’re lying through their teeth.

Here’s an example, as reported in a recent Forbes Magazine article by Michael Foster entitled “14 Funds that Crush Vanguard and Yield up to 11.9%”

The article compares both yield and total return, pointing out pretty clearly that total return is meaningless when the competition is generating 5 or 6 times more annual income. Foster compares seven Vanguard mutual funds with 14 Closed End Funds… and the underdogs win in every category: Total Stock Market, Small-Cap, Mid-Cap, Large-Cap, Dividend Appreciation, US Growth, and US Value. His conclusion:

  • “When it comes to yields and one-year returns, none of the Vanguard funds win. Despite their popularity, despite the passive-indexing craze and despite the feel-good story many want to believe is true-Vanguard is a laggard.”

Hello! Time to get your retirement readiness income program into high gear and stop worrying about total returns and market value changes. Time to put your portfolio into a position where you can make this statement, unequivocally, without hesitation, and with full confidence:

“Neither stock market volatility nor rising interest rates are likely to have a negative impact on my retirement income; in fact, I am in a perfect position to take advantage of all market and interest rate movements of any magnitude, at any time… without ever invading principal except for unforeseen emergencies.”

Not there yet? Try this.

*Note: no mention of any security in this article should be considered a recommendation of any kind, for any specific action: buy, sell, or hold.

My articles always describe aspects of an investment process I have been using since the 1970’s, as described in my book, “The Brainwashing of the American Investor”. All the disciplines, concepts, and processes described therein work together to produce (in my experience) a safer, more income productive, investment experience. No implementation should be undertaken without a complete understanding of all aspects of the process.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steve_Selengut/12786

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