Archive for the ‘Financial Market’ Category

Getting Your Feet Wet – Begin Investing

If you are anxious to get your investments started, you can get started right away without having a lot of knowledge about the stock market. Start by being a conservative investor with a low risk tolerance. This will give you a way to making your money grow while you learn more about investing. Start with an interest bearing savings account. You may already have one. If you don’t, you should. A savings account can be opened at the same bank that you do your checking at – or at any other bank. A savings account should pay 2 – 4% on the money that you have in the account. It’s not a lot of money – unless you have a million dollars in that account – but it is a start, and it is money making money. Next, invest in money market funds. This can often be done through your bank. These funds have higher interest payouts than typical savings accounts, but they work much the same way. These are short term investments, so your money won’t be tied up for a long period of time – but again, it is money making money. Certificates of Deposit are also sound investments with no risk. The interest rates on CD’s are typically higher than those of savings accounts or Money Market Funds. You can select the duration of your investment, and interest is paid regularly until the CD reaches maturity. CD’s can be purchased at your bank, and your bank will insure them against loss. When the CD reaches maturity, you receive your original investment, plus the interest that the CD has earned. If you are just starting out, one or all of these three types of investments is the best starting point. Again, this will allow your money to start making money for you while you learn more about investing in other places.

About Online Trading

The invention of the Internet has brought about many changes in the way that we conduct our lives and our personal business. We can pay our bills online, shop online, bank online, and even date online! We can even buy and sell stocks online. Traders love having the ability to look at their accounts whenever they want to, and brokers like having the ability to take orders over the Internet, as opposed to the telephone. Most brokers and brokerage houses now offer online trading to their clients. Another great thing about trading online is that fees and commissions are often lower. While online trading is great, there are some drawbacks. If you are new to investing, having the ability to actually speak with a broker can be quite beneficial. If you aren’t stock market savvy, online trading may be a dangerous thing for you. If this is the case, make sure that you learn as much as you can about trading stocks before you start trading online. You should also be aware that you don’t have a computer with Internet access attached to you. You won’t always have the ability to get online to make a trade. You need to be sure that you can call and speak with a broker if this is the case, using the online broker. This is true whether you are an advanced trader or a beginner. It is also a good idea to go with an online brokerage company that has been around for a while. You won’t find one that has been in business for fifty years of course, but you can find a company that has been in business that long and now offers online trading. Again, online trading is a beautiful thing – but it isn’t for everyone. Think carefully before you decide to do your trading online, and make sure that you really know what you are doing!

Understanding Bonds

There are certain things you must understand about bonds before you start investing in them. Not understanding these things may cause you to purchase the wrong bonds, at the wrong maturity date. The three most important things that must be considered when purchasing a bond include the par value, the maturity date, and the coupon rate. The par value of a bond refers to the amount of money you will receive when the bond reaches its maturity date. In other words, you will receive your initial investment back when the bond reaches maturity. The maturity date is of course the date that the bond will reach its full value. On this date, you will receive your initial investment, plus the interest that your money has earned. Corporate and State and Local Government bonds can be ‘called’ before they reach their maturity, at which time the corporation or issuing Government will return your initial investment, along with the interest that it has earned thus far. Federal bonds cannot be ‘called.’ The coupon rate is the interest that you will receive when the bond reaches maturity. This number is written as a percentage, and you must use other information to find out what the interest will be. A bond that has a par value of $2000, with a coupon rate of 5% would earn $100 per year until it reaches maturity. Because bonds are not issued by banks, many people don’t understand how to go about buying one. There are two ways this can be done. You can use a broker or brokerage firm to make the purchase for you or you can go directly to the Government. If you use a brokerage, you will more than likely be charged a commission fee. If you want to use a broker, shop around for the lowest commissions! Purchasing directly through the Government isn’t nearly as hard as it once was. There is a program called Treasury Direct which will allow you to purchase bonds and all of your bonds will be held in one account, that you will have easy access to. This will allow you to avoid using a broker or brokerage firm.

Different Types of Bonds

Investing in bonds is very safe, and the returns are usually very good. There are four basic types of bonds available and they are sold through the Government, through corporations, state and local governments, and foreign governments. The greatest thing about bonds is that you will get your initial investment back. This makes bonds the perfect investment vehicle for those who are new to investing, or for those who have a low risk tolerance. The United States Government sells Treasury Bonds through the Treasury Department. You can purchase Treasury Bonds with maturity dates ranging from three months to thirty years. Treasury bonds include Treasury Notes (T-Notes), Treasury Bills (T-Bills), and Treasury Bonds. All Treasury bonds are backed by the United States Government, and tax is only charged on the interest that the bonds earn. Corporate bonds are sold through public securities markets. A corporate bond is essentially a company selling its debt. Corporate bonds usually have high interest rates, but they are a bit risky. If the company goes belly-up, the bond is worthless. State and local Governments also sell bonds. Unlike bonds issued by the federal government, these bonds usually have higher interest rates. This is because State and Local Governments can indeed go bankrupt – unlike the federal government. State and Local Government bonds are free from income taxes – even on the interest. State and local taxes may also be waived. Tax-free Municipal Bonds are common State and Local Government Bonds. Purchasing foreign bonds is actually very difficult, and is often done as part of a mutual fund. It is often very risky to invest in foreign countries. The safest type of bond to buy is one that is issued by the US Government. The interest may be a bit lower, but again, there is little or no risk involved. For best results, when a bond reaches maturity, reinvest it into another bond.
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