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The handy investing answer book - Paul A.Tucci


Year 2015

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IntroductionINTRODUCTION TO PERSONAL INVESTINGHISTORYHow long have people been investing?What do the Hammurabi Codes describe?What other city-states helped contribute to modern-day investing?When was the stock ticker invented?What is a "ticker symbol"?Why were these machines called Stock Ticker Machines?Specifically, what do ticker symbols indicate?What are "dividends"?What is a "blue chip stock"?Where did the term "blue chip stock" originate?When did The Wall Street Journal begin to publish a Dow Jones Industrial Average?What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the"Dow"or"DJIA")?How important is the DJIA to the investment community?Who picks which stocks are components of the Dow?Who created the DJIA?How else do I use the Dow in order to analyze my portfolio?What is the oldest company in the Dow?What are some of the newest entries in the Dow?How many times has the list of Dow companies changed since its inception?Why are companies removed from the list of companies on the Dow?Why are some stocks with low prices specifically removed from the Dow?Which companies have been recently removed from the Index?How much did the Dow fall at the onset of the Great Depression?What are some other notable dates in NYSE history?How is the Dow important to our understanding of the activity and performance of blue chip stocks?How well has the Dow performed since it began?Why is ICE so important to the investing community around the world?How important is the NYSE to global equities trading?THE BASICSHow do I begin investing?What is a very important consideration when thinking about investing?Why is diversification necessary?What are some other reasons why I should diversify my investment portfolio?What are some important questions to ask myself when managing the diversity of my portfolio?What is "correlation"?What is "concentration"?How often should I check or analyze my portfolio to make sure it is properly allocated?What is a "cyclical investment"?What are the two major stock exchanges?How old is the New York Stock Exchange?What is the first step to accumulate wealth and savings?What is my "net worth"?What is a "high net worth individual"?Why is knowing my net worth important to attain my financial goals?What is the midpoint, or median net worth, of families in America?What kinds of information can help me understand and learn more about investing?Isn't it easier for me to just have a financial adviser, so that I don't have to spend time learning about personal finance?What are some good personal finance blogs?There is so much information online. How do I choose what to read?How many people use the Internet to find economic or financial information?What are the most popular sources of financial information?How do Americans find economic information?How active are Americans in using the Web to find financial and economic information?What percentage of online economic users receive alerts or feeds about news and information pertaining to their investments?What percentage of economic users online use the Internet to find information to protect their personal finances?Does access to so much information come at another hidden price?What percentage of all online economic users feel they have learned something about our financial crisis?What percentage of all Americans have contributed to content about the recession online?Who are the financial information seekers online?What is "investing"?How long should I hold an investment?What must I consider before investing?What is "total return"?How do I compute the total return?What is "return on investment"?How do I compute my return on investment?Why is patience important to successful investing?Why are people afraid to invest?What are some of the biggest mistakes individual investors make?What are some other mistakes that investors make?What types of investment or financial products exist?What are some of the most important investment types?What is a "portfolio"?What is "diversification"?How does diversification reduce my risk?What is an "individual investor"?How many individual investors exist in the United States?What is an "institutional investor"?Who are these institutional investors?Why is it good to be an institutional investor?What other benefits do institutional investors have?What is a "bear market"?Why do bear markets happen?What duration of time defines a bear market?What is a "correction"?Are corrections good for some investors?What are some of the greatest declines of the Dow during a bear market?What is a "bull market"?How long does a bull market last?How much personal wealth was lost during the Crash of 2008?What percentage of Americans saw their portfolios decline during the period of economic decline 2008-2010?What are seven factors to consider before investing?What is "timing the market"?Why is timing the market controversial?When should I rebalance my portfolio?Why should I invest my money?What is the most important consideration before deciding to invest?Why is time so important in investing?How can I protect my investments before I begin to invest?How do I know if a potential investment is fraudulent?Do higher rates of returns generally mean that my money may be more at risk?What is "dollar cost averaging"?Why is dollar cost averaging a beneficial strategy for investing?What is another popular approach to investing?What is an "asset allocation strategy"?THE INVESTOR MINDSETWhy does investing require a specific mindset, so that I may be prepared for the long road ahead of me?Why am I so important when it comes to investing success?What did experts at BlackRock—the world's largest global asset management company, serving both large institutional investors and individual investors—find in their landmark 2013 study of investor attitudes?After the stock market turmoil of 2008 to 2009, what did one of the largest mutual fund companies in the world, Vanguard, find in its survey of over 3,000 U.S investors, age 21 to 79?What other insights does the Vanguard study show about investor attitudes?After a market correction, what attitudes of individual investors seem to be apparent?What mindset helps me become financially successful?How do I know if I am not in control of my finances?If I just make more money, would I still have to worry about my personal finances?How much does my ability to delay present gratification in favor of future gratification play in personal financial success?What do average investors do that decreases their returns?INVESTING RISKSWhat is "risk"?What are some examples of risks?How can potential investors evaluate risks?How do I determine my tolerance to risk?What tools may investors use to evaluate risks of default?Are questionnaires available that may help people evaluate their tolerance for risk?SAVING, MANAGING DEBT, AND BUDGETINGWhat is "saving"?What influences my ability to save?Why should I save my money?What are some strategies to help me save money?What are some other strategies to assist us in saving money?Why should I get in the habit of paying myself first?What is a "cash cushion"?Why else should I have a portion of my portfolio in cash?Why else is cash important to my portfolio as an individual investor?MANAGING DEBT How can I get out of debt?What is the second most important step to getting out of debt?What is the average percentage of a typical American's gross income that is used for mortgage and consumer debt payments each month?Why is debt management important to an investor?What is the hidden cost of debt to an individual investor?What are some warning signs that my debt may be a problem?What is a front-end ratio?What is a back-end ratio?Why are front- and back-end ratios important?Why use a debt-to-income ratio?How much debt can I afford?What if my debt-to-income ratios are higher than average, and a lender still will give me a loan?What is "debt consolidation"?What is a "debt consolidator"?What is the trouble with debt consolidators?How do I check the credibility of a debt consolidation company?How might I locate the name of a legitimate debt consolidator?If I have a much lower interest rate for my old credit card debt, by using the equity I have in my home, what else could be wrong with debt consolidation?CREDIT CARD DEBTWhat steps can I take to minimize my credit card and other debts?How does credit card debt affect older Americans?How much total debt should I have?What steps can I take to increase my available funds so that I may invest?What are the next steps to increase my available funds so that I may invest?How can I calculate how much credit card debt I can afford?How long does it take to resolve a credit card issue?What are the best credit cards?If I have a balance of only $1,000 on my credit card, with a 15% interest rate, and I only make the minimum payment of $15 each month, how long will it take me to pay off the balance, and how much will it really cost me in the end?What are the first steps to eliminate credit card debt?What are additional steps that I can take?.What is the average amount of credit card debt for a typical American family?How many credit cards exist in the United States?What is the average number of cards owned by each person?How many credit cards should I have?Why use credit cards?What is the first rule of using credit cards?Why pay off the balance each month?What does my credit history have to do with my credit card interest rate?So if I have a great credit rating, I might get a card with better terms?MORTGAGESWhat is a "mortgage"?What about interest rates and their effect on housing prices?How low are today's mortgage interest rates?Why are there fewer potential buyers for houses today?What does the term "underwater on a mortgage" mean?How does increasing my down payment help protect me from going "underwater"?What tax advantages does home ownership provide?What is the general rule for obtaining a home loan?What is "mortgage fraud"?Which states lead the nation in mortgage-related fraud?What percentage of buyers ultimately pay cash to purchase an existing house?Why do mortgage companies, banks, and finance companies require homeowner's insurance?What types of mortgages are available to consumers for a home purchase?What is a fixed-rate mortgage?What is the distinction between the different loan periods?What is an "FHA mortgage"?Who uses FHA mortgages?How long must I pay for mortgage insurance with an FHA loan?What is a loan-to-value ratio?What is "mortgage insurance"?What is an interest-only loan?What is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)?What are the steps involved to get a mortgage?Does it matter to lenders how large a down payment I will require?Should I pay down my debts before I apply for a mortgage?How should I choose a lender?Should I sell my house before getting a loan for my next home purchase?What does it mean to be "preapproved" for a loan?Why is it important to be preapproved for a loan?What does it mean to be "prequalified" for a loan?Can adding just a few hundred dollars to my mortgage payment help to reduce my debt?How many homes are in foreclosure in the United States?How many people risk home foreclosure?How many U.S. homes received foreclosure filings in 2010?How long does it take for a home to be foreclosed?What states have the highest rate of foreclosure?What does the foreclosure rate mean for American home ownership?HOME EQUITY What is a "home equity loan"?How does a lender know the value of a house, if it is not for sale?What is a "home equity line of credit" (HELOC)?Why are home equity loans desirable to homeowners?Why can a home equity loan be dangerous for homeowners?What is the downside of using a home equity loan?Is it easy to get a home equity loan?What are other considerations or requirements to obtain a home equity loan?How do I determine the market price of a house?What is a "home equity conversion mortgage"?What is a "reverse mortgage"?What are the requirements to obtain a reverse mortgage?How much equity may a homeowner pull out in a reverse mortgage?Why are reverse mortgages controversial?When must the homeowner pay back a reverse mortgage?What is an alternative strategy to using or obtaining a reverse mortgage?CREDIT PROBLEMSHow do I rebuild my credit history after filing for bankruptcy?What is the best order of priority to pay off credit card debt?How many U.S. households have credit cards?How much credit card debt exists in the United States?What is the average amount of credit card debt for U.S. card holders?What percentage of card holders are more than 60 days delinquent on their credit cards?What is the difference between a debit card and a credit card?BUDGETING What does "living within your means" mean?What does the phrase "living beneath your means" mean?Why is budgeting so important to create wealth and financial success?What must I do in order to live beneath my means?Why create an expense budget?How important is it to have a goal in mind when I decide to create an expense budget?What is a "budget"?What is "zero-based" budgeting?What are some steps in using a budget?What are some typical family budget categories?SETTING YOUR INVESTING GOALSWhat are some steps to establishing the right goals for investing?What is another important step in setting my financial goals?Why should I invest regularly?How do I create a goal?Must I have personal financial software in order to be successful at managing my financial goals?Why should my goals be easily manageable?What are some examples of financial goals?What are some basic steps that I can design in order to attain my personal financial goals?How does having and maintaining an expense budget help attain my financial goals?How do I begin to set my investment goals?Why is attaining great financial goals easier than we think?What are some further steps we must take in order to establish investment goals?How much time is considered to be short-term, near-term, and long-term?What types of goals should I consider before I begin to invest?Even before I establish goals, what are some things that experts believe help prepare me financially for successful investing?What are some other keys that may assist me in establishing investment goals?What is an important consideration when I think about investing for my retirement?How does creating specific investment goals help me achieve my overall goals?INVESTING VERSUS SPECULATION What is the difference between "investing" and "speculating"?How do I make decisions to buy or sell if I am investing or speculating?How does Forbes characterize the difference between investing and speculation?What is the problem with speculating?RISK/REWARD What is a "risk/reward ratio"?How do I calculate a risk/reward ratio?What are some limiting factors in using risk/reward ratios?What is the progression of risk, from low to high, among different classes of investments?What is the theoretical risk-free investment, and why is it so important?Does my tolerance to risk depend on my age or stage in life?What is "systematic risk"?What is "unsystematic risk"?What is a "risk/return trade-off?"How many individual stocks must I own to have enough diversification against unsystematic risk?How do professional investors feel about risk?Why is risk a standard deviation?What types of risk exist?What is "market risk"?What is "default risk"?Why is "inflation risk" bad for my portfolio?What is "mortality risk"?What is the opposite of mortality risk?Why is longevity risk sometimes considered a "silent" risk?BETAWhat is the "beta" of a stock or mutual fund?Why do stocks and mutual funds have different betas?How is beta calculated?What is the relationship between beta and risk/rewards?How do I use beta to analyze an investment choice?How is beta analysis misused or misinterpreted?How can I use beta analysis to help in my investment selection?CREATING WEALTHWhat is "wealth"?How much must I accumulate in order to be considered wealthy?How do respondents describe the state of being wealthy?What percentage of American households lack an emergency fund with enough cash to cover three months of living expenses?How do I attract wealth in my life?How important is the place where you live influencing your perception of wealth?Why do people spend down their savings?So wealth creation is really about my thoughts?Where do the highest and lowest number of high net worth individuals live?INDIVIDUAL STOCKSINDIVIDUAL STOCKS: THE BASICS What are "stocks"?How do companies use the proceeds of a stock issue?What is a "stock market"?Which stock market opens first?Does the stock market ever close?What are the largest stock markets in the world?How many countries have stock markets?What are some of the pitfalls of buying individual stocks?What types of risks could I see if I own individual stocks?What other risks are inherent to individual stock or mutual fund investing?Why is information overload a huge risk factor when I invest in individual stocks?What are some common mistakes investors make when thinking of buying stocks?Why do some experts believe the individual investor should avoid investing in individual stocks and mutual funds, and should rather invest in indexes such as the S&P 500?What about the success of high-performing stocks?What are some important points to know when I invest in stocks?Can I pay too much for stocks?What is an "initial public offering" (IPO)?Why should I care about IPOs?How many initial public offerings occur in a year?How large is the IPO market at the NYSE?On average, how long has a company been in business before it issues shares for the first time to the public?SELECTING INDIVIDUAL STOCKSWhat are some decisions an individual investor must make before investing in a particular stock?How do I begin to select individual stocks?What are some other considerations when I try to identify individual equity target companies?Why do some people prefer to buy individual stocks, instead of purchasing an index fund or a mutual fund?How do I buy individual stocks?What are some general factors that might be interesting to use while I evaluate a stock?What are some macroeconomic factors that might influence the growth of a stock's price?What types of financial signs should I investigate?What about the analysis of the stock itself?What is "preferred stock"?What is "behavioral economics"?Using principles of behavioral economics, how do men and women differ when it comes to investing?How do I purchase a company's shares directly from the company, rather than using a broker?What are some important stock market indexes that I should consider when I am investing, and why?What are the New York Stock Exchange's "circuit breaker" rules?What are "growth stocks"?What are "cyclical stocks"?How much of an increase in the average price of stocks must occur in order to declare a bull market?How do companies use an initial public offering to help support their continued growth?What kinds of information can I find by using the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website?According to the SEC, what types of questions should I ask when trying to decide which broker to choose?What is a "stock split"?What is a "reverse stock split"?What are stock or share "buybacks"?What is another strategy that a company might employ to make its stock attractive to potential investors and current shareholders?What is a "market order"?Why is there a difference in price from the time that I want to buy or sell a stock and the time that I actually buy or sell that stock?What is a "limit order"?Why are limit orders good to use?What other types of special orders may help investors when executing trades?What other special orders can investors use to help secure a certain price or limit a potential loss?What if I want to buy or sell a stock after regular market hours?What types of factors affect my ability to execute a trade when I want?What are some common myths or beliefs that limit what I may earn as an investor?How do I begin setting up a brokerage account?What is "insider trading"?What does insider trading tell me as an investor?Are there any other factors to consider when investing in a company?Where can I find information to analyze a potential target company?What are the top financial websites that can help typical individual investors learn more about investing?What are some great financial sites that investment insiders use?Can I learn anything from visiting the websites of the stock exchanges themselves?How does the movement of prices in stocks that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicate movement in the price of my stock?What else affects the price of a stock?What are a company's "assets"?What are "tangible assets"?What are "intangible assets"?What is "volatility"?What are the two most important methods to analyze stocks?How does technical analysis work?What are some basic assumptions employed when using technical analysis?What is "fundamental analysis"?How does fundamental analysis work?What are some basic assumptions employed when using fundamental analysis?What information does a fundamental investor often review?UNDERSTANDING FINANCIAL MARKETS Why is understanding financial markets so important to everyone?What are the main markets that make up our economic system?What is the basis of our financial markets?What are some important economic concepts that may affect bonds and stock prices at the macroeconomic level?What impact does the Federal Reserve (the "Fed") have on bonds and equity investments?What is a "key" or "leading&quoquot; economic indicator?Why are these indicators so important to the general understanding of financial markets?How can I misinterpret an indicator?What is the Conference Board, and why is it so important to the understanding of financial markets?What constitutes the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index?What are "lagging indicators"?What are the components of the Conference Board's Index of Lagging Indicators?What types of economic indicators help me understand and evaluate local investment opportunities?What are some of the key organizations that generate influential economic research?What is "full employment"?What effect did the 2013 government shutdown have on the U.S. economy?INTEREST RATES What is an "interest rate"?What is the "Federal Funds Interest Rate"?What happens when the Federal Reserve changes the interest rate it charges to member institutions?What was the highest interest rate for U.S.Treasury Bills?What is the relationship between the interest rate and the stock market?What may happen to the stock market if interest rates decline?Why might it be true that as interest rates rise, the stock market may not necessarily fall?What is the threshold interest rate that seems to signal a decline in the broad stock market?If interest rates increase, does this harm bank stocks and financial sector stocks?INFLATION AND THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEXWhy is price inflation so harmful to my retirement investments?What can I do to mitigate this inflationary risk?What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?How is the CPI created?How might the CPI be biased?How has the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised its calculations, given the changes in methodology, to arrive at the CPI figures we see today?How is CPI data used in our economy?Who uses the CPI?How does CPI affect the investing community?Are declines in prices also bad?How does the employment rate contribute to inflationary pressure?PRICE/EARNINGS RATIOS AND OTHER CALCULATIONSWhat are some of the most important metrics that measure the health or performance of a company, and ultimately its stock price?What is a "Price/Earnings" Ratio?What might affect future growth rates in a company's earnings?What is "EBIT"?How do I compute a company's EBIT?What is "EBITDA"?Why is EBITDA sometimes perceived as an unreliable metric to evaluate a company?Why do some investors like EBITDA measurements and comparisons?Where can I find information to help me compute EBITDA?What is a "Price-to-Book Ratio"?What is a "Debt-to-Equity Ratio"?What are "cash flows"?Why are cash flow-based metrics important to analyze equities?How do I compute a company's free cash flow?What is a "price/earnings to growth ratio"?What is a "multiple"?ONLINE TRADING What is "online trading," and how does it differ from "day trading"?What are some top online stock trading sites?Why do experts suggest using online investing brokers?Even given the many choices of online brokerages, how do we decide which firm is best to use?What do the rankings of online brokerage firms really mean?Why use a human broker instead of an online broker?Why else should I use a human broker instead of an online broker?What are some of the principal features of online brokerage accounts?How do I open an online investment account?What is a "cash account"?What is a "margin account"?BONDSTHE BASICSWhat is a "bond"?What types of bonds exist?Which performs better, stocks or bonds?What affects bond prices?Is your money safe in bonds?What is a "prospectus"?Is owning a bond like owning a stock?Is a bond like an IOU?Can you invest in bonds through mutual funds?If you buy bonds through a broker, is there a commission?What are tax-free or tax-exempt bonds?Why do we invest in bonds?What are some important variables I may use when comparing the quality of different bond investments?What is a yield curve?What is "principal"?How do I buy bonds?How are bond prices determined?What about bond interest rates?What is a "coupon payment"?What are the different categories of the term or maturity of bonds?What is the connection between prevailing interest rates and a bond's maturity?What happens when bond yields for short-term maturities are higher than their long- or intermediate-term counterparts?What is the connection between bond prices generally and the health of the economic system in which I may invest?What is "laddering"?Why do advisers like to use laddering techniques?How much money flowed out of U.S.-listed bond mutual funds and bond exchange-traded funds in 2013?CORPORATE BONDS What are "corporate bonds"?What do companies do with the money they make from selling bonds?Are corporate bonds risky?Why are yields higher for corporate bonds than for government or municipal bonds?What are some risks associated with corporate bond investments?What are some of the main reasons why investors include corporate bonds within their portfolio?Where do corporate bonds trade?What types of companies issue corporate bonds?How does the IRS treat the interest I receive on a corporate bond?TREASURY BONDS AND TREASURY BILLSWhat are "government bonds"?Are U.S. government bonds safe?Are all government bonds safe?What countries are having major debt problems, making investments there relatively riskier?What are "Treasury Bills"?Can I automatically invest in U.S. Savings Bonds using my IRS tax refund?How are Series EE Savings Bonds different from Series I Savings Bonds?How are Series EE Savings Bonds similar to Series I Savings Bonds?What are the minimum investment requirements if I am interested in investing in U.S.Treasury securities?What is the maximum amount I am allowed to invest in Series EE or Series I Savings Bonds?How do I open a treasurydirect.gov account?MUNICIPAL BONDS What are "municipal bonds"?What are the two different categories of municipal securities in which I may invest?What is the length of time to maturity of typical municipal bonds?Are municipal bonds a safe form of investing?What if the municipal bond issuer defaults on the bond?What percentage of municipal bondholders are individual people and mutual fund investors?What is the average five-year cumulative default rate for investment-grade municipal bonds?Are municipal bond defaults rising?Why would a municipality default on its loans?ASSESSING DEFAULT RISK ON BONDS What happens when a bond issuer defaults on the bond?If the bonds I hold are in default because of the issuer's bankruptcy, might I still be able to retrieve my principal?What is the order of priority of payment during a bankruptcy or liquidation of a company or corporate entity?What is a "secured bond"?What is an "unsecured bond"?How do I know which bond investments are riskier than others?If bonds can be so speculative, how can bond markets and bond buyers know the worthiness of their investment?What are some of the top bond ratings organizations?MUTUAL FUNDSTHE BASICSWhat is a "mutual fund"?How much money flowed into U.S. equity mutual funds and exchange traded funds in 2013?What about the success of high-performing mutual funds?When did mutual funds start?When were the first mutual funds started in the United States?Why should I read a mutual fund's prospectus?How is a mutual fund priced?How does a mutual fund work?How does a mutual fund make money?Why buy mutual funds?Is there such a thing as a risk-free mutual fund?What are two of the oldest mutual funds?How many people own mutual funds?How much money is managed by mutual funds?What is a "turnover rate"?What has been the average turnover rate of an equity mutual fund?Does the size of the companies that compose a mutual fund portfolio really matter when deciding what type of mutual fund to purchase?What is the median age of the owner of mutual fund shares?What is the median number of mutual funds an individual owns?How much money does the typical investor in today's market have in his mutual fund accounts?What percentage of a household's financial assets are in the form of mutual funds?What financial goal does the typical investor in mutual funds desire when making an investment?How many people are employed in the investment company business?How do I decide which funds to choose?What does the phrase "past performance is no indication of future performance" mean?What other considerations exist when attempting to choose the right mutual fund?What are some other key considerations when deciding in which mutual fund I should invest?What does the Securities and Exchange Commission recommend investors do when considering investments in mutual funds?How can I protect myself from fraud when I am considering investing in a mutual fund?What has been the average annual return of the S&P 500, a good indicator of the performance of listed stocks that frequently make up mutual fund investments?DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TYPES OF MUTUAL FUNDSHow many mutual funds exist?What types of mutual funds exist?What other subdivisions of mutual funds exist?What are "value funds"?What are "growth funds"?What are "blended funds"?What other types of mutual funds exist?What about sector/specialty funds?What is the final category of funds?What is an "open-ended fund"?What is a "closed mutual fund"?NO-LOAD AND LOADED MUTUAL FUNDSWhat are "no-load mutual funds"?What are "loaded funds"?What is a "level load"?Can a fund claim to be "no load," and yet still charge a load to investors?How is simplification an important aspect of investing in no-load mutual funds?What is a "tax-cost ratio"?What are typical tax-cost ratios for mutual funds?Why are tax-cost ratios important to our understanding of mutual fund expense loads?Under what circumstances might I pay more in management fees or loads, instead of targeting lower-expense funds?INDEX FUNDSWhat is a "market index"?What is a "capitalization-weighted" index?How many index funds exist?Why are index funds attractive to many investors?What is an interesting strategy when it comes to investing in actively managed funds and passively managed index funds?What are the important market indexes for mutual funds in which I may invest?What are some of the other key indexes in which to invest?Why do some experts believe in investing in indexes instead of investing in individual stocks?Why are index mutual funds or index ETFs preferred by many over buying individual stocks and actively managed mutual funds?Why are indexes important to investors, even if we do not invest directly in them?What are some disadvantages to investing in an index fund?What are some reasons not to invest in an index fund?What is a "collective investment fund vehicle"?What are the three main types of mutual funds?What is a "style box"?What is the typical organization of a fund?How much money is currently under management by investment companies?What is "gearing," or "leverage"?Who is investing in mutual funds?What are some important points to consider before investing in a mutual fund?What percentage of the total dollars invested in investment companies are in each type of investment company?What percentage of mutual fund assets is typically invested in each mutual fund category by American families?When looking at comparisons of mutual funds, what is "performance"?Who invests in mutual funds?How do mutual funds provide for diversification?Why can a mutual fund provide for more diversity of investments than any one individual investment?CLOSED-ENDED MUTUAL FUNDS What is a "closed-ended mutual fund"?How do closed-ended funds differ from exchange traded funds?What are some other differences between closed-ended funds and ETFs?What are some important steps to take when considering investing in a closed-ended fund?What are some other important considerations when evaluating closed-ended funds?What percentage of closed-ended funds actually trade at a discount to their net asset value?EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS What is an "exchange-traded fund"?Why are ETFs attractive to some investors?How long have ETFs been available to investors?How do I purchase shares in an ETF?What are some notable ETFs?What are some influential stocks used as components of many ETFs?Why do ETFs experience volatility in prices and liquidity?UNIT INVESTMENT TRUSTS What are "unit investment trusts"?What is a principal difference between a unit investment trust and a mutual fund?What are some differences between a unit investment trust and an open-ended fund?RATINGS COMPANIES What is Morningstar?What is Upper?What is the "Upper Average"?What is the Standard & Poor's Indices Versus Active (SPIVA) funds scorecard?In the period 2008-2010, how many funds that SPIVA tracks either liquidated or were merged?HEDGE FUNDS How are hedge funds different from other types of mutual funds?What is a "hedge fund"?In what kind of investments do hedge funds invest?What is a "short position"?What is a "long position"?SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENTS (SRIs)What are "socially responsible investments"?What about corporate governance issues? What role do they play in socially responsible investing?How old is the concept of socially responsible investing?What is an example of socially responsible investing having an effect on changing a society?How much money is now tied to socially responsible investing?What is the "USSIF"?What is the "KLD 400 Social Index"?How has SRI generally changed other areas of investing?Why do individual investors like to invest in socially responsible forms of investing?What is another form of sustainable or socially responsible investing?Are there any conflicts when it comes to SRI?What other major concern might investors have while investing in socially responsible funds?EXPENSE RATIOSWhen I consider investing in mutual funds, why are expenses so important?What are a mutual fund's expenses?What happens to the expense ratio if a mutual fund is small or new?What are typical expense ratios of mutual funds?How do I compare expenses of mutual funds?According to the ICI, the fees mutual funds charge their investors has fallen by half since 1990. This is due in part to the popularity of passively managed funds, as well as cost-cutting activities of actively managed funds.Why are fees and costs of mutual funds so important in deciding which fund to choose?How do mutual funds justify high fees and expenses?What is an "expense ratio"?What types of expenses are typically included in an expense ratio calculation?INVESTING IN CASHIsn't my money still at risk if it is invested in cash?How is investing in cash different from other forms of investing?What percentage of mutual fund assets are typically invested in cash by American families?Why are returns I generate from investments in cash relatively less than those in other investments, such as stocks or bonds?What are some examples of typical cash investments?Why are money market funds attractive to investors?What are some problems with money market funds?Why do some people invest strictly in cash?BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS What is a "bank"?What other services do banks provide?Can banks sell stocks and mutual funds?How many Americans do not have a bank account?Where do people who do not use banks obtain cash?Why use a bank?What percentage of banks offer mutual funds to their customers?What is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)?What else does the FDIC do?How is the FDIC funded?What doesn't the FDIC insure?How much money does the FDIC protect?Will my money always be protected by the FDIC up to $250,000?What is the success record of the FDIC?What is a "credit union"?When did the first credit union appear?Why use a credit union?What are some other reasons to use credit unions?How substantial is the difference between interest rates for loans and savings accounts at credit unions compared with interest rates for loans and savings accounts at banks?What is the difference between fees charged by credit unions and fees charged by banks?How much do American credit union members benefit from higher savings interest rates, lower interest rates on loans, and other lower fees?How do I join a credit union?What is the minimum amount I need to open a credit union account?Is my money safe in a credit union?How many people have money saved in credit unions? Eighty-two million people regularly use credit unions to save.How many credit unions are in the United States?How much money have credit unions lent to members in 2013?What is an "overdraft"?How many people overdraw their accounts?How much money do banks and credit unions earn from overdraft fees?Do people spend more money on overdraft fees or vegetables during a year?How much have overdraft fees been growing over the past few years?Why do account holders put their accounts in overdraft situations?MONEY MARKET FUNDS What are "money market funds"?What different types of money market funds exist?Are money market funds a safe way to invest cash?Who regulates money market funds?Of the thousands of money market funds, how many have ever fallen below a net asset value of $1.00?What types of specific regulations guide the establishment of a money market fund?What investments are similar to money market funds?CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT (CDs) What are "certificates of deposit"?Are CDs a safe method to invest my cash?How and when do I get paid my interest on a certificate of deposit?How do I know the terms and rules for a CD?What else is included in a disclosure statement?What is the biggest risk in holding cash in the form of a CD?Should I ever buy CDs from a broker?ONLINE BANKINGWhy use an online bank?Why else should I use an online bank?What is a "virtual bank"?How do I know if a prospective online bank is legitimate?How can I compare the interest rates of different banks?How do I open an online account?Is my money available when I want it?Is my money protected the same way in an online bank as in a traditional bank?Can I open an online checking account?Why do people like online banks?Why do people dislike online banks?How popular is the use of online banks?How fast is online banking growing?REAL ESTATETHE BASICSWhat are some considerations I should think about before investing in real estate?What about the liquidity of a potential real estate deal?What are some general factors that affect house prices?If I am thinking of buying a house in a certain city, how can I find information about my target city online?What is "shadow inventory"?What is the percentage of households that owned their own homes?Why is affordability important when it comes to selecting a home?How can I find out how much house I can afford?What factors should I consider when thinking about affordability?What are the most important rules to follow when buying a house?Why is location so important?What if your potential home is in an area with only one major industry or employer?What about buying houses in "up-and-coming" locations?What about great deals on newly created subdivisions?What is another general rule about location?How much did real estate prices decline between 2006 and 2009?What percentage of Americans saw their house equity decline from 2006 to 2009?How much real estate value disappeared during the decline of 2006 to 2010?What percentage of online economic users use the Internet to find information on their homes' value?What are some top real estate websites I can use to analyze current and past listings on my own?How often do sellers reduce their prices?If home mortgage debt rises, does that signal a turnaround in the real estate market?What actions of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will affect the housing market in 2014?HOME OWNERSHIP AS AN INVESTMENTWhy should I buy a house?Why else should I buy a house?What about all the foreclosed houses flooding the market?How much cheaper are foreclosed houses than currently occupied houses on the market?How important are property taxes in deciding to purchase a home?What is a "down payment"?How do I know how much to put down on a house?What are general guidelines for down payments?What is an "appraisal"?What does the term "appraise out" mean?What if a house doesn't appraise out?What is an "inspection"?How can I use this information when purchasing a home?What if I discover something about the house that makes it unacceptable to me?If I walk away from the deal before closing on a house, won't I be penalized?How do real estate agents work?What is the multiple listing service (MLS)?What are "comparables"?How can I use comps to negotiate a better house price?What else can I learn from comps?What is "curb appeal"?What are some of the most important things you can do to prepare your home for sale?What is "staging"?Why are neutral colors so important when selling a house?Should I move out of my house when I am trying to sell it?What about all my clutter?What about photographs and personal art?How quickly do people form first impressions?What does the expression "priced to sell" mean?Why is it important to pick the right agent to sell your house?What is a "depressed" or "down" real estate market?Should I consider selling my home during a down market?What about buying in a down market?If I stay in my home, what should I do during a down market?What else should I do if I stay in my home during a down market?OWNING VERSUS RENTINGHow does owning a house improve my net worth more than renting?What are some important factors when I decide to rent instead of owning my own home?What other assumptions does the rent versus own calculator make that we should consider?How do I accurately compare the expenses to rent compared with owning a similar house?What are some examples of renting costs that I should anticipate?What are some examples of house purchase costs that I should anticipate?Are there other "rent versus own" tools or calculators available online that may assist me in making these types of analyses?Why do some people prefer to rent rather than own?What key factors can make a real estate purchase attractive as an investment?COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE What is "real estate development"?Why is real estate investment considered by many a relatively risky investment?What are two main concerns that investors must consider before investing in any real estate deal?How sizable an effect does commercial real estate development have on the U.S. economy?What are other names for commercial real estate?Does commercial real estate fall into many sub-categories?What are some other important areas of commercial real estate development?What are the most basic elements to understand and evaluate the success of commercial real estate investments?What about cash flow and real estate deals?What are some typical types of real estate investments?Why is this a good time to consider investing in real estate?What questions should I ask myself before I invest in real estate?What other tips should new real estate investors consider?What are some other important steps experts also suggest you should consider when planning a real estate investment?What are typical cash inflows in a commercial real estate investment?What are typical cash outflows in a commercial real estate investment?Why is timing my cash inflows and outflows critical to analyzing and ultimately investing in commercial real estate?What is my risk when investing in commercial real estate?How much did developers pay for six parking lots in downtown Los Angeles in a recent commercial real estate deal?What types of macroeconomic variables contributed to the developers' ultimate decision to invest in the project?What other types of macroeconomic variables might a potential investor use to evaluate the success of a downtown Los Angeles real estate development, such as the example above?What are some downsides to investing in commercial real estate, especially urban development projects?Why do commercial real estate deals often fail?SECOND HOMES What is the difference between a second home and an investment property?Why do some experts believe owning a second home may not be a relatively good investment?How do I realize any gains on my investment in a second home?What are typical cash outlays I should consider when owning a second home?What is a hidden cost involved in second home ownership?What is the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index?What are some examples of data I can use from Case-Shiller Indices to understand a potential second home investment?How well has the second home market performed in recent years?Why might I want to own a second home?RENTAL PROPERTIES Why is location so important for rental investments?What can I discover from U.S. Census data that supports demand for rental housing?Why are real estate analysts cited by The Wall Street Journal worried for small college town rental property owners?On a macroeconomic level, how much building of college rental beds has recently occurred?What other factors point to difficulties in the college rental market?Why has the college rental market been historically stable compared with other types of rentals?What is the vacancy rate for rental housing in the United States?What is another factor leading to more demand for rental housing?Where is the most expensive place to rent in the United States?Where is the least expensive place to rent in the United States?What is a rent-to-income ratio?What are some differences between investing in a rental home and investing in a rental apartment complex?What are some disadvantages to investing in a single-family house for rental purposes?What are some benefits of investing in multi-family apartments?RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)How do I calculate my return on investment for real estate transactions?What is the cost method of calculating ROI on a real estate transaction?What is the out-of-pocket method to calculate a return on investment in real estate?When computing potential returns on investments in real estate, with what assumptions should I be concerned?What other costs should I include when computing my return on an investment?What are some limitations to using ROI models in order to understand my returns on real estate investments?What is a cash-on-cash return, and why is it so important?Are there any online calculators that will allow me to calculate returns on potential real estate deals easily?When discussing real estate returns, what is a "cap rate"?REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS (REITs)What is a "real estate investment trust"?When did Real Estate Investment Trusts begin?In what types of commercial properties might a REIT invest?In what other interesting types of commercial real estate might a REIT invest?How much real estate do REITs control today?How many REITs exist?What percentage of corporate-sponsored 401(k) plans include REITs as an investment option?How many Americans invest in REITs?How do REITs generate their stated returns?How do investors profit from owning shares in a REIT?What makes REITs desirable investments?What percentage of real estate investment trusts are equity REITs, and what percentage are mortgage REITs?How does a company become classified as a real estate investment trust in the United States?SMALL BUSINESS INVESTINGTHE BASICS What impact does small business have on the U.S. economy?How many small businesses exist in the United States?What percentage of small businesses are home-based businesses?How successfully do small businesses create jobs?What effect do the unemployed have on the self-employed?Of all small businesses in the United States, how many are owned by women and various minorities?What is the most widely used legal form of corporate organization for firms that employ people?What is the effective tax rate for a small business?FINANCING SMALL BUSINESSES How do small businesses use loans to finance their operations?Why are business loans increasing?Why do small businesses borrow money?How large an effect do small businesses have on borrowing in the United States?On average, how much money do new companies require to start their operations and activities?How do start-up businesses engaged in franchise activities use credit?How does the SBA assist small business owners?How does one obtain an SBA loan?Is an SBA loan a commercial loan?What if I have other business loans available, such as a line of credit?What types of loans does the SBA offer?What is the SBA CAPIines Program?What are the typical loan maturities for the lines of credit?Who guarantees these short-term loans?What about other sources for small business loans?How do small businesses finance their operations?How else do small business owners fund their companies?Are small business owners happy with their credit card terms (interest rate, fees, credit limits)?STARTING A BUSINESS What percentage of America's entrepreneurs are "ethnic"?How many new businesses are created every month in the United States?How many entrepreneurs exist in the United States?Who are these business creators?Why do so many older Americans start businesses?How old are people who typically start technology-related companies?What are the different types of business structures?What is a sole proprietorship?How many sole proprietorships exist in the United States?What is a partnership?How many partnerships exist in the United States?What types of corporations does the IRS recognize?What else is a corporation?What is a "C" Corporation?Why do C corporation shareholders pay double taxes?Why would someone want to own a C corporation?What federal filings must corporations file?What is an "S" corporation?What are the requirements to create an S corporation?How do I create an S corporation?What is the biggest difference between an S corporation and a C corporation?What is an "LLC"?What are some early steps I should consider before starting my own business?What are some key steps to take in creating my business, after I consider the information above?What are some guidelines for creating a business, according to the IRS?Can I deduct expenses to offset taxes if I own my own company?INVESTING IN A SMALL BUSINESSWhat important disclaimer must every investor in a small, privately held business consider before making an initial investment?What must an investor first consider before deciding to invest in a small, privately held company?After I decide my motivations for making the investment, what is the next logical step in deciding to invest in a small, privately held company?What are some important dynamics of investing in a business that every investor should consider before making the investment?How do I identify a small company in which to invest?What are some red flags that may warn potential investors of problems when making a private investment?What are the two principal ways to acquire a private company?When I buy an equity position in a company, what exactly am I buying?What will the former owner of the company typically do with the cash received from the transaction?Must the sellers pay capital gains tax to the IRS?Why is the acquisition of a company a highly risky form of investing?Why can acquiring a company be a great investment?What is an investment in a private company's debt?Why do investors like to acquire a company's debt?If the target company has no debt, isn't an investment in equity less risky?Why is it important to have a thoughtful exit strategy before I invest in a small company?Why is it important to have proper documentation and legal agreement when I invest in a small business?What are some other benefits to investing locally in a small business?Why is it good to be a "silent partner" in a business?What are some key methods to evaluate a target company?When I invest in a private company, on what type of financial information should I focus?MANAGING A SMALL BUSINESSWhy are small businesses so important to the U.S. economy?How many small businesses exist in the United States?Just how small is America's small business?Why is it difficult to see the survivability rates for new businesses?What is the survival rate for new companies?What percentage of small businesses in the United States are actually home-based businesses?What are some more typical reasons why small businesses fail?What are some other reasons why a small business might fail?As an investor or owner of a small business, why does proper management help me increase the return on my investment?How do I generally decide on what issues to focus when managing a small business?How do I determine what component or functional area of my business affects the drivers the most?Why is understanding financial metrics, and corrections made as a result of understanding these metrics, important to successfully manage or invest in a small business?What are some key metrics that a small business owner should analyze to grow his business?What are additional key metrics that require the focus of small business owners and investors?What is one the biggest challenges of small business ownership?Why do many small business owners struggle with financial management of their business, or pay little or no attention to it?How do self-employed business owners pay their income taxes?If I own a home-based business or a business that requires me to maintain a home office, may I deduct expenses related to this office?What percentage of small businesses are ultimately approved for a loan either to start or manage them?What are "Small Business Administration loans"?ROIs AND SMALL BUSINESSESWhy is Return on Investment an essential measurement standard for businesses?What is the main purpose of using ROI calculations or techniques?How else do businesses use ROI in their decision-making process?What are some limitations to ROI analysis?How do I easily calculate return on investment?How might a small business use ROI analysis for strategic planning purposes?How else do small business owners mistakenly use ROI analysis?How can I use ROI techniques to analyze a small company's social media campaigns?If I can't use ROI analysis to decide whether or not to engage in a social media campaign, how can I analyze the effectiveness of the campaign?How might I attribute costs associated with social media campaigns?PRIVATE EQUITYWhat is "private equity"?What else is private equity?What is "private capital"?What is "private" about private equity investments?What is a "leveraged buyout"?How do companies use private equity investments to improve their financial picture?What is the main purpose of private equity investing?Who are some of the biggest lenders for private equity deals?How many private equity deals in the information industry alone happened in 2013?How does a valuation multiple help me understand the price paid to acquire a company, or to value a target company?OTHER INVESTING OPPORTUNITIESGOLD AND OTHER PRECIOUS METALS Why invest in gold?What affects the price of gold?What is the biggest component of demand for gold?Why do investors invest in gold?What country is one of the largest buyers of gold?In what other places is the demand for gold high?What percentage of world gold sales comes by way of investments?What else can affect the price of gold?What are the different ways to invest in gold?What are a few examples of coins as investment vehicles?Where else might I invest in precious metals?How big is the SPDR Gold Shares ETF?Should I include gold as part of my investment portfolio in the form of mutual funds?What other precious metals are used as investments?Where is platinum used, besides in making jewelry?Where else might I find palladium being used?FUTURES AND OPTIONS What is a "commodity"?What are some of the most U.S. important markets for futures and options trading?What is a "derivative"?What is the "spot market"?What is an "option"?Can anyone advise me on trading commodity futures?What is a "commodity future"?What is a "futures price"?What does being "long" or "short" in commodity futures trading mean?What is the purpose of a futures exchange market?Why do producers of commodities use futures markets?What is a "financial future"?What is a "margin"?What is "marking to market"?What is the "spot value"?What are some fraudulent websites that purport to trade in futures and options?How does the CFTC protect participants from fraud and abuse?What does the CFTC recommend I do to limit my exposure to fraud?How may I investigate if a firm is legitimate and properly licensed to trade in futures?What are some basic principles that the CFTC recommends I follow when I am beginning to invest in commodities and futures?How might I participate in commodity trading without having to trade commodities directly?What drives the trends in commodity prices?What is the "Dalian Commodity Exchange"?What does the term "stockout” mean, when I trade in commodities?INVESTING IN ARTWhy do investment experts at JPMorgan Chase say that investing in art is considered an "investment in passion"?Are there mutual funds that allow investors to diversify their portfolios and participate in the world of art investing?Why do experts at JPMorgan Chase feel that art as an investment may offer good, uncorrelated returns over a long term?Why is it said that the art market is not transparent?Who is buying and selling art?What percentage of high-net-worth individuals invest in fine collectible art?Who sells art?Why do people buy or collect art?In order to understand the price changes of art, why can't we trust historical auction prices for art?What is the Mei Moses Art Index?How does the performance of collectible art compare to other investments over time?How volatile are the returns generated by art as an investment?With what investments does art correlate?How do different sectors or genres of the art world perform as investments?What do experts at CNBC feel are benefits to art and antiques as investments?Why do prices of art and antiques vary so widely?What are some other hidden costs to art or antique collecting and ownership?TAXESINVESTING AND TAXES How does the IRS define an investor?What types of factors do investors normally consider when trying to choose between tax-exempt and taxable investments?How do I compare the yields of tax-exempt investments and their taxable investment equivalents?Must I pay taxes on savings bonds?Does the IRS give special tax exemptions to people who use the savings bonds to fund educational endeavors?According to the IRS, what is a "capital asset"?How does the IRS define the length of time that I hold assets or the age of my assets?Can I deduct expenses related to my investment income?What about my commissions for executed trades? Are they deductible?What is the "net investment income tax"?What are the statutory amounts?What does the IRS consider "net investment income"?What happens with my taxes if I fail to report foreign financial assets?LONG-/SHORT-TERM CAPITAL GAINS/LOSSESWhat effect does changing the capital gains tax have on our economy?What are "capital gains"?What is a "long-term capital gain"?What is a "short-term capital gain"?Is there a difference in how long- and short-term gains are treated on my taxes?What is a "capital loss"?Can I deduct capital losses?What are some examples of typical investments that may yield capital gains and/or losses?What about high-income taxpayers who earn short- or long-term capital gains? Are there additional considerations?Where do I report capital gains and losses when I file my taxes?Under what circumstance could I pay more than a 20% capital gains tax?What are some additional considerations?What is a "cost basis"?May I deduct capital losses on the sale of my personal property?What is the maximum I can claim in a year as a capital loss?What happens if my losses are larger than my gains in any tax year?SMALL BUSINESS TAXESWhat is the first question the 1RS wants to know if I am interested in starting a business?How much money does the IRS figure it loses each year because of incorrect filings of deductions and expenses related to small businesses that are, in fact, only hobbies?What are some factors the IRS considers when allowing for certain types of expenses and deductions associated with a business?What is another big assumption the IRS makes when determining whether to allow certain business-related expenses and deductions?What is a "loss"?RETIREMENT TAXES What is the biggest change with regard to paying taxes when I enter retirement?What is a benefit to me when I retire?What are some other post-retirement benefits?What are some strategies to reduce my tax burden when I retire?Do tax-exempt investments pay more or less interest than taxable investments?Do I have to pay taxes on my 401 (k) account?Why are some mutual funds more tax efficient than others?What are "hardship distributions"?What types of events may qualify as "immediate and heavy financial needs"?What does "pre-tax dollars" mean?But what happens if I make a withdrawal from my retirement plan before I reach age S9VP.FEDERAL TAXESWhen it comes to dividends that I may earn, how do I determine what taxes to pay?What IRS form do I use to report dividend income from my investments?When am I supposed to file Schedule B?Must I pay taxes on my investments held within my 401 (k) or retirement plan?What are some of the most important rules regarding obtaining distributions from my 401 (k) plan?What are some important IRS forms that I should know when I am managing the tax implications of my investments?What are some additional important IRS publications that may help me understand more fully the tax implications of my investments?What types of deductions will the IRS not allow on IRS Form 1040, Schedule A?Must I pay taxes on earnings from my investments?What about mutual funds?STATE TAXESDo I have to pay special capital gains taxes at the state level when I file my state income taxes?Are there certain investments that provide tax exemptions on gains at the state level?Are there any deductions I may take that help me with my yearly state income taxes?What federal tax form must I use to claim state income tax deductions?How many states impose a state tax on capital gains?Which states' residents create the most capital gains from their investments?Which states have unusual tax laws regarding gains on investments?Which states have the highest income tax rates (based on the highest tax brackets)?Which states have flat-rate income taxes?How many states increased their taxes from 2009 to 2010?Do I need to file my state income tax each year?How do I find out if I have been delinquent in paying for my state taxes in previous years?What is a "sales tax"?Do all states have sales taxes?What state has the highest sales tax?What states have no sales tax?LOCAL TAXES What types of taxes can cities impose?What is a "mill levy"?What is "property tax"?What other local taxes are deductible?When do I pay my property taxes?What is "equalized value"?What affects the assessed value of a property?Do I have the right to appeal my city tax assessment?What states have laws that allow cities to impose an income tax?Which major cities have the highest local taxes on capital gains?INSURANCETHE BASICS What percentage of Americans are covered by some type of life insurance?At what age do people typically purchase life insurance?What percentage of employed consumers own some form of disability insurance?In what investment vehicles do life/health insurance companies readily invest?How can I find out if I am dealing with a legitimate insurance company?What percentage of renters are uninsured?If I already have a well-funded IRA or 401(k) retirement plan into which I automatically invest each month, do I really need life insurance?INSURING YOUR HOME What is a "deductible"?What is a "premium"?How does homeowners' insurance work?Why are dwelling coverage limits tricky?What does my house insurance policy cover?Should I document certain items I would like to have on my homeowners' insurance policy?How can I save money on my homeowners' insurance?What should I look for in deciding which homeowners' insurance company to use?Can I be overinsured on my homeowners' policy?RENTERS' INSURANCEWhat is "renters' insurance" or "tenants' insurance"?How does tenants' insurance work?How expensive is renters' insurance?What does my renters' or condo insurance cover?What is the difference between "actual cash value" and "replacement cost coverage" in my renters' insurance policy quote?INSURANCE AS AN INVESTMENT What is "life insurance"?How do I know how much insurance to buy?Is purchasing an insurance policy ever a good investment?Can you buy too much insurance?What is "term life insurance"?What if I outlive the term of my term policy?Why do some people favor term life insurance policies?What is "permanent life insurance"?Why are permanent life insurance policies relatively more expensive?What if the investor would like to use an insurance policy as a tool to enable passing on a large (greater than $5 million) estate?When I am considering an investment in an insurance policy, what are three issues with which I should be concerned?Since it is difficult to analyze or even know the typical sales commissions we must pay on an insurance policy, how can I identify the sales commissions?Do I need to take a medical exam to get life insurance?BUSINESS INSURANCE Why would I need business insurance?What types of insurance do I need if I operate a home-based business?What is "contents insurance"?What is "general liability insurance"?What is "product liability insurance"?What is "professional liability insurance"?What is "errors and omissions insurance"?What is "disability insurance"?Where can I purchase insurance for my home-based business?How do employers react to rate increases by medical insurance companies?What is a "health savings account"?What is a "flexible spending account"?THE FUTURESAVING FOR RETIREMENTWhat percentage of Americans do not have enough money saved for even six months of living expenses?What percentage of people have less than a three-month expense cushion?What percentage of Americans have no savings at all?How many working households have no money saved for retirement?What is the median retirement savings balance for people ten years away from retirement?Among people who are retired, what percentage have no money to use for their retirement?What is a participant-directed 401 (k) plan?If I am self-employed, is there a similar program to save for retirement?How do I know if I will have enough money saved for my retirement?What are some of my main concerns as an individual investor when I think about managing my retirement portfolio?What are some strategies I can employ that may help me reach my post-retirement income goals?How much income do I really need for my retirement?INVESTING FOR RETIREMENT What percentage of workers earn retirement benefits at work?What are the most important components to my retirement income that will allow me to enjoy a good retirement?What are three common misperceptions about retirement?At what rate are people retiring in the United States?How has the age of retirement changed over time?At different ages, what should I do to help fund my retirement and other savings goals, such as acquiring my first house, car, etc.?How much should I save for my retirement?What is the biggest consideration when it comes to saving for retirement?What is another key behavior that will help me in my retirement years?What kind of expenses can I try to reduce before I retire?What is an "asset income multiple"?How might I analyze what I need for my retirement?What percentage of a typical person's retirement plans is in mutual funds?IRAsWhat are the main reasons why people delay retirement?What is an "IRA"?How many different types of IRAs exist?What is a "Traditional IRA"?What is a "SEP IRA"?What is a "SARSEP IRA"?What is a "Simple IRA"?How much may an employee contribute to a Simple IRA?What is a "Roth IRA"?What is the difference between a Roth IRA and a Roth 401 (k)?What is an "Education IRA"?What percentage of our IRAs are invested in mutual funds?How much money is invested in IRAs?How many households own IRAs?What do people do with their IRAs after they retire, when they begin to access their holdings?What percentage of people are not likely to withdraw funds from an IRA before age 70V*?What is "vesting"?Why do companies have a vesting period?401(k)sWhat is a 401 (k) plan?Do I have to pay taxes on my 401 (k) investments?When did 401 (k) plans start?How much should I save for retirement?What makes 401 (k)s great?Can I withdraw money from my 401 (k) before I retire?In what ways are participant-directed 401 (k) plans more choice-centered?Why is purchasing your employer's stock a risky investment?When must I begin to withdraw money from my 401 (k)?What percentage of people do not invest in their company's 401 (k) program?What percent of Americans who are saving for retirement do not understand their investment choices?What percentage of employees actively trade or manage their retirement funds?What is a "matching program"?What percentage of employees who learn of their employer's matching program actually direct enough money into their 401 (k)s to obtain the matching funds?What percentage of employees know about investing in their 401 (k) program at work?Do people in their twenties manage their 401 (k) portfolios the same way as people in their sixties?So how does this understanding translate to their investment behavior?What else can we see from these two groups of investors?What percentage of 401 (k) assets are in mutual funds?What percentage of a typical person's retirement plans are in the form of mutual funds?How do I begin to save for retirement?What is the maximum amount I may contribute each year into a 401 (k) plan?Should I ever borrow from my 401 (k)?What is the frequency of 401 (k) distributions?LIFE STAGE INVESTINGWhy do we use the term "life stage investing"?What is a "life stage" or "life cycle" investment?What is the main purpose of life stage investments?In what investments do life stage funds typically invest my money?Why do life stage funds prefer to use indexes?What is a major factor in deciding how to invest as I near retirement?What is one important consideration when I am thinking of investments at different points in my life?What factors do I need to contemplate when planning for different stages in my investing life?When I am young and just beginning my career, what is the most important behavior that will help me when I am older?What is a basic assumption of life stage investing?What are some limitations of life stage investing?What are some typical allocations of investment portfolios as we near retirement?In the most simplistic terms, what is the proper allocation for my retirement portfolio?Why is the allocation or mix of my investments so important to me as I near retirement?What can I learn about my investment behavior, depending on my time horizon?What else can I learn about the behavior of people who are very near retirement?Do life cycle funds deliver appropriate returns to investors who are trying to invest for their retirement?Why should I consider using a moderate portfolio allocation for my retirement investments?Why would I consider a moderately conservative allocation mix in my retirement portfolio?Why would I consider a conservative approach to my retirement investment portfolio?What types of questions should I ask myself in order to determine how much of my portfolio I should allocate to equities?Why is longevity risk an important consideration when I consider the asset allocation of my retirement portfolio?SAVING FOR EDUCATION How much has the cost of a higher education increased?What percentage of undergraduates receive any type of financial aid to attend universities or colleges in America?What is the average amount of student aid that students in undergraduate programs receive?What types of programs are available to help fund my child's education?What is the first step to obtain federal assistance for education?What does the FAFSA application cover?Which colleges and universities use the FAFSA application to help finance a college or university experience?Why are there so many questions on the FAFSA application?What is an expected family contribution?What if I have had some unusual expenses that make my ability to pay for my child's education more difficult?How does the financial aid actually come to me?If I am applying to different schools, must I submit a separate FAFSA application to each one?What is an "educational grant"?What types of educational grants are available?What is a "Federal Pell Grant"?What is "campus-based aid"?What happens if the university runs out of campus-based aid funds?What is a "Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant" (FSEOG)?What is a "Federal Work-Study grant"?Can I work anywhere in a work-study program?What is a "Federal Perkins Loan"?How much may I borrow under the Federal Perkins Loan program?When must I repay school loans?What is a Direct Stafford Loan?How many types of Stafford Loans exist?What are the interest rates for these subsidized and unsubsidized loans?How much money may I borrow under the Stafford Loan Program?What is a PLUS Loan for Parents?What is a "529 Plan"?What types of 529 Plans are available?What is a "college savings plan"?How does a college savings plan work?May I change the name of the beneficiary on a college savings plan account?Do I have to select a 529 Plan in the state in which I live?Are there any income restrictions for a 529 Plan?How much may I contribute to a 529 Plan?What if I don't want to tie up my child's educational savings in the stock market?How does a prepaid tuition plan work?How much is tuition increasing?What does it cost to attend a degree-granting college or university today?Why is prepaying tuition such a great deal?What is the biggest difference between a prepaid tuition plan and a college savings plan?What did Jack Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, do to save and invest money for his children's college education?TEACHING CHILDREN ABOUT INVESTINGAccording to the Visa International Financial Literacy Barometer 2012 survey how do Americans rank when it comes to financial literacy?How much time do American parents spend discussing financial matters with their children?How often do parents engage their children in discussing financial matters, such as saving and spending?What percentage of parents never discuss financial matters with their kids?Why do some parents spend more time discussing financial matters with their children?What financial topics are older children most interested in discussing with their parents?With whom do children prefer to discuss money matters, Mom or Dad?Why bother to teach children about financial matters?Why is it important for me to set an example for my children about how to value money and investing?At what age are children capable of understanding financial concepts such as the value and purpose of money?What is the earliest age that I should begin to introduce financial concepts to young children?What is the first step in teaching my children about money?Why should we be positive and neutral, as opposed to negative and emotional, when it comes to speaking about money with our kids?What is the next step to teaching a child about money?How else can I teach my child about money?What is another way to encourage children to save money?With today's paltry interest rates, will it not be hard for a child to see his money grow, even if he looks at a physical or online statement from a bank?How do we make children's savings goals easier to understand?After a child has mastered the concept of saving to meet financial goals, what else can I do to educate my child on the value of investing?What does the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) feel is the most important step that parents should take to help their children to understand investing?What does Warren Buffett think about teaching children about investing?What is the minimum age for a child to open a bank account?What is a "custodial account"?What is the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)?What two states have not yet adopted UTMA?When can my child have access to his UTMA account?Why do experts at Forbes.com feel that opening UTMA accounts may not be such a great idea?What does the term "irrevocable" mean?What if my bank doesn't allow accounts for kids?Can I give money to my children without incurring any tax liability?Why is it important to teach children about risk and reward when they begin to learn about investing?What are six ways experts at The Wall Street Journal feel will help children begin to understand how to invest?How do I begin to select individual stocks that would interest a child?How do I find out if a company is publicly traded?How else might I find out if a company offers shares to the public for purchase?After I have identified the names of the companies my child might be interested in acquiring, what is the next step?Should I actually purchase the shares of these companies, or just monitor the prices of the shares, and show these price movements hypothetically?What is another important point to teach children so they may begin to understand some basic principles of investing?What is one of the most important lessons I need to teach my children for them to incorporate investing ideas into their own lives?What do experts at Kiplinger's say is the best approach to teach children about investing?Into what three groups can we categorize children who actually own stock?What are four steps we can take to introduce investing concepts to children?What are some other activities parents can do with their young children in order to teach them the value of money and investing concepts?What are some tips experts at Kiplinger's suggest for reinforcing saving concepts with young children?Why should we not think about investing only as a subject for adults?What if my child is not too interested in learning about investing?Why can teaching children about investing be so challenging?Why is it important to start teaching kids about financial matters when they are young?What are four concepts that will help older kids increase their financial literacy?Why is it important to use allowances to teach older kids proper financial management?How do parents use allowances for their children?What are some creative ways in which parents may use allowances to educate their children on financial matters?What are some other findings from the Dough Main study?What are some top books on children and financial literacy?What are some interesting websites that parents may use to help educate their children about financial literacy?THE FUTURE OF INVESTING What are some trends that indicate a changing international landscape for investors?Will a global stock exchange emerge?What is one limitation of the trend toward the emergence of similar individual investors and investment products located in other parts of the world?Will investment banks become deposit banks?Will the growth of ETFs and index funds replace actively managed mutual funds?How will the use of software help individual investors to analyze their portfolios?What are four reasons why long-term investing may be diminishing?Why will capital markets continue to need both short- and long-term capital?What are some future trends that we can see in the mutual fund business?How will mutual fund companies cut costs, in order to compete with ETFs and offer more lower-cost investment products?By 2015, how big will the value of the market for ETFs be?What is the future of investment advice?What is the future of sustainable investing (investing in businesses that take into account social factors, clean energy, and corporate governance)?What future trend can we see in the near term about the cost for discount brokers?What is a trend in the use of social networking in the individual investing industry?What is the future trend for socially responsible investing?How will the use of benchmarks change how individual investors perceive their financial goals and objectives in the future?INVESTING RESOURCESINVESTMENT EXPERTSWhy do I need professional guidance when exploring exotic investments such as virtual currency, derivatives, and credit swaps?Do brokers have any obligation to monitor the performance of investments they sell?Do brokers know all about the investments they tell me to buy?What should I do if I wish to invest in an area in which my broker is unfamiliar?What should I do if my broker suggests an exotic investment?What factors should I consider when choosing a broker or firm in which to invest my money?Does a stockbroker make money on the stocks he directs me to buy?What kind of research do I need to do before investing?What are the different distinctions between stockbrokers?What organizations provide accreditation to stockbrokers?What does FINRA do?What kind of actions has FINRA taken to protect the investment community?How many households in America benefit from FINRA's services?What does FINRA recommend that I do in order to begin investing?What does FINRA suggest I do after I have invested to work properly with my investment adviser?FINANCIAL PLANNERS How many financial planners are there in the United States?How many of them are actually certified?What is the difference between a financial planner and an investment adviser?What does a financial planner do?Why do people seek the advice of financial planners?What is the difference between stockbrokers, accountants, and insurance brokers?Why should I use a financial planner?How important is experience in identifying a financial planner?Are investment advisers or financial planners required to have credentials or certifications?How important are certifications when it comes to choosing a financial planner?How many different financial planning certifications exist?What is a "Certified Financial Planner" (CFP)?What is a "Chartered Financial Analyst" (CFA)?What is a "Certified Fund Specialist" (CFS)?What is a "Chartered Financial Consultant" (ChFC)?What is a "Chartered Investment Counselor" (CIC)?What is The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), and why is it an important resource when choosing a financial planner?Why else are the NAPFA standards so high?What is a conflict of interest in financial planning?So should I steer away from considering commission-based financial planners?Can I ask the potential planner if he or his firm has ever been involved in any litigation or disciplinary action?How can I check the disciplinary history of a potential financial adviser?Should I ask the potential financial planner what services he offers?Why should I use a fee-only financial planner?What about the financial planner's approach? Should it be aggressive or conservative?Will the financial planner work with me alone, or with a team of other people?How do financial planners receive compensation?Should I ask if the planner is benefiting in other ways by directing me into a certain investment?What if my potential financial planner will not work with me because my portfolio is too small?How can I determine if my financial planner has a criminal history?What if I find a financial planner who says his clients make huge returns on their investments?Should I ask my friends for referrals when identifying a potential planner?What types of questions might I ask a potential financial planner?Why is a Form ADV important?My financial adviser mentioned that he is a fiduciary. What does this mean?Why is fiduciary responsibility important?What percentage of people think "financial advisers" employed at a brokerage firm to sell are held to a fiduciary standard?Do I really need a financial adviser?What is discussed in a financial planner's meeting?Under what circumstances should I decide to leave my financial adviser?If I use an adviser, does it mean I don't need to learn about investment options?What are the biggest mistakes people make when using an adviser?AVOIDING SCAMSWhat does FINRA recommend we do to avoid scams and fraud related to our investments?What is "investment fraud"?How does the Internet contribute to the prevalence of fraud within the investment community?According to FINRA, what types of conduct within the securities industry are unacceptable?How can I as an investor avoid fraud and scams while I am engaged in investing?How many complaints does the SEC receive each year?What are the top complaints individual investors make to the SEC?How can I protect myself from fraud?Why should I avoid investments with "guaranteed returns"?What does the saying "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" mean?Glossary
 
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