Personal Finance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6/all en-US Cheap Oil is Hurting These People -- Will It Hurt You, Too? http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-oil-is-hurting-these-people-will-it-hurt-you-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheap-oil-is-hurting-these-people-will-it-hurt-you-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gas-station-pump-Dollarphotoclub_37447291.jpg" alt="gas station pump" title="gas station pump" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The economic effects of the precipitous decline in oil prices could mean tough times for some Americans. The last time the U.S. was hit this hard by an oil crisis was in the mid-80s; a five month period referred to as the 1980s Oil Glut that left oil prices staggering to recover for nearly two decades. (This WSJ <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/back-to-the-future-oil-replays-1980s-bust-1421196361">inforgraphic tracks oil bust trends</a> and speculates that this time the road to recovery will take months, not years.) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-stocks?ref=seealso">Profit on the Oil Bust With These 10 Cheap Energy Stocks</a>)</p> <p>For now, most Americans are happy to save at the pump and to heat their homes more cheaply. But some of us will feel the pain of lower oil prices.</p> <h2>1. Locals in Oil Rich Cities and Regions</h2> <p>The economic forecast looks grim for residents of oil-centric cities if oil prices continue to hover around $50 a barrel. Places like Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, Odessa and Baton Rouge could feel spillover effects in their local economies. Towns in Wyoming and the Dakotas could also feel the pinch. Since oil is such an important part of these cities' economies, you don't have to personally work in the energy industry to feel the pain. Slowing construction, layoffs, and sluggish growth could impact these towns' broader economies.</p> <h2>2. Oil and Gas Industry Executives and Laborers</h2> <p>Already, major oil and gas companies have announced capital spending cuts leading to layoffs and the closing of plant facilities and oil rigs this year. Analysts say as many as <a href="http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/12/17/more-than-500-rigs-may-shut-down-as-oil-slides-analysts-say/">550 oil rigs</a> could close in 2015. General Electric [GE], Halliburton [HAL], Apache Corp. [APA], Baker Hughes [BHI], Civeo [CEVO], among others, have already announced significant job cuts. Thousands more are expected to lose jobs in Texas, alone.</p> <h2>3. Home Builders and Landlords</h2> <p>One effect of oil-related layoffs is a slow down in the housing market. Credit Suisse forecasts a 20% decline in the construction of new homes in Texas, and many of the largest homebuilders, like Lennar [LEN], are heavily vested in Texas cities. Sales for these companies are expected to drop. Analysts also predict higher-than-usual vacancy rates as workers move away due to job losses, which can pose a problem for rental properties.</p> <h2>4. Investors</h2> <p>Some investment banks have slapped a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/23/investing/oil-texas-housing-houston/">&quot;sell&quot; rating</a> on home builder funds with high exposure to oil markets. But, before having a knee-jerk reaction and pulling your money out of the market, work with your financial advisor to devise a plan to weather the storm. Some analysts predict oil will trade at $70-$80 a barrel by year end. Now may be the right time to buy, rather than sell.</p> <p><em>How have you been impacted by falling oil prices?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-oil-is-hurting-these-people-will-it-hurt-you-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-rich-youd-be-if-youd-saved-the-money-you-earned-in-high-school">This Is How Rich You&#039;d Be If You&#039;d Saved the Money You Earned in High School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-ways-to-stay-warm-and-reduce-the-heating-bill">Six Ways to Stay Warm and Reduce the Heating Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-financial-kryptonite-and-how-to-conquer-it">What Is Your Financial Kryptonite (and How to Conquer It)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance cheap gas cheap oil energy investing oil oil bust Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:00:14 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1309101 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Lessons Everyone Should Learn by Kindergarten http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-lessons-everyone-should-learn-by-kindergarten <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-lessons-everyone-should-learn-by-kindergarten" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child-business-suit-money-finance-Dollarphotoclub_63769669.jpg" alt="child finance" title="child finance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We each grasp financial lessons at different points in our lives, but we're never too old &mdash; or too young &mdash; to start learning. Some lessons, however, are so basic that understanding them is nearly a prerequisite to financial survival. Whether you need a refresher yourself, or are responsible for shaping a young person's relationship with money, here are five financial lessons everyone should learn by kindergarten.</p> <h2>1. Money Represents Labor</h2> <p>At its most basic level, money is just labor in physical form. Whether you worked for it using your mind or your muscle, the green stuff is the result of some form of effort. And without making your six-year old mop the floor for a bowl of mac 'n cheese, there are ways to gently and positively make the connections between effort and financial reward.</p> <p>Of course, the secondary value of this lesson is how it can alter spending behavior. The &quot;aha moment&quot; you want to encourage goes something like this: &quot;If money is labor, then the <em>things</em> I buy with my money also represent my labor.&quot; Fully grasping that concept is the root of healthier spending behavior for life (and if you're like me, you know a shocking number of adults who still don't quite get it).</p> <h2>2. Spending Is Not the Same as Investing</h2> <p>Though each may drain our wallets and bank accounts for a period of time, <em>spending</em> and <em>investing</em> are entirely different animals.</p> <p>Dropping $3500 for a leather couch is <em>spending</em>, but using that same amount to buy a good used car that will get you back and forth to work is <em>investing</em>. Think of it this way. If the item or service you're buying will provide some sort of tangible dividend (such as the ability to stay employed, advance in a career, sell at a profit later, etc.) , it's an investment. If it doesn't meet that simple criterion, it's just plain old spending. If you haven't already, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investing-basics-that-can-make-you-rich">learn the basics of investing</a> and put its power to work for you sooner than later.</p> <h2>3. Consumer Credit Is Dangerous</h2> <p>It may not seem this way, but every time we use a credit card, we're taking out a loan. Granted, it might be a mere $3.89 for a hamburger, but it's a loan. And let's face it, the last thing credit card issuers want their customers to do is pay off their balances every billing cycle (credit card companies have an endearing term for those who do &mdash; &quot;deadbeats&quot;). They'd much rather have all those hamburgers, shoes, smartphones, and haircuts add up at a 17% percent interest rate.</p> <p>Teach your kids the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">dirty secrets of credit cards</a>. Tell them about the evil geniuses that lurk behind the magnetic strip. You know, the ones who conceived the evil formula of convenience + frequent use + low minimum payments = long-term debt and high returns. Create a bedtime story about an overspending prince who became a pauper because of plastic. It's a cautionary tale for the ages.</p> <h2>4. Understanding the Difference Between Wants and Needs</h2> <p>When I was a kid, I desperately wanted a green plastic toybox shaped like a large frog. I don't remember the brand name, but I do remember wanting to own one so badly that every fiber of my 40-pound body nearly vibrated with green-plastic-frog-toybox desire. I never got it. Kids want things with such wild enthusiasm that it's difficult for them to distinguish what they want from what they need. Had I been asked way back when, I'm sure I could have made a case why that frog toybox was essential to my survival &mdash; because it certainly felt that way.</p> <p>But at any age, being able to clearly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-vs-what-you-want-and-how-to-tell-the-difference">distinguish wants from needs</a> is an essential skill. Why? Because we live in an economy that's made a science of confusing the two. Indulgence and denial aside, it's the identification that matters and it's the first step of being able to live within our means.</p> <h2>5. Money Can't Buy Happiness, But It Can Buy Choices</h2> <p>The value of money rests not in its ability to make us happy, but to buy us options in life. Authentic, well-financed choice is a rare bird these days. Many of us feel like we have choices, because we're presented with so many options as consumers every waking minute. But to me, most of these sorts of choices feel low-value &mdash; &quot;trinket choices&quot; manufactured purely to encourage spending. Only the most financially disciplined can afford to exercise a potentially life-altering choice like switching careers, moving across the country, starting a business, or retiring early. This level of choice gives us the power to reinvent ourselves at any stage of life.</p> <p>Granted, these are only five lessons in a long list of financial fundamentals. But together, they form a great foundation for building security and wealth. If you're still learning, let your curiosity motivate you. And if you're helping a young person learn, be patient and avoid instilling a sense of fear about money. Remember, real power comes from understanding that money is not mysterious, wealth is not always the result of dumb luck, and financial security is within our control.</p> <p><em>What financial lessons did you learn early in life? Who taught you and how? Which ones are you still learning?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-lessons-everyone-should-learn-by-kindergarten">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stupid-things-my-parents-taught-me-about-money">5 Stupid Things My Parents Taught Me About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-personal-finance-lessons-from-the-hobbit">5 Personal Finance Lessons From “The Hobbit”</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-mistakes-two-popular-board-games-teach-kids">Money Mistakes Two Popular Board Games Teach Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-these-5-financial-lessons-most-people-learn-in-their-40s">Do You Know These 5 Financial Lessons Most People Learn in Their 40s?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-kids-can-teach-us-about-money">12 Ways Kids Can Teach Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance financial education kids and money money lessons money school Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Kentin Waits 1308948 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman-credit-card-Dollarphotoclub_33904935.jpg" alt="businesswoman credit card" title="businesswoman credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may think an 800+ credit score is out of reach given that only <a href="http://www.fico.com/en/blogs/risk-compliance/more-consumers-nearing-perfect-fico-scores-but-are-scores-improving/">18.3% of consumers have scores that high</a> &mdash; but it's possible if you know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">how to manage your credit</a>.</p> <p>Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and although any score over 700 is considered good by many lending standards, an 800 credit score says a lot about the way you manage credit &mdash; you pay your bills on time, you probably don't have a lot of debt, and you're kind of a boss. And there's no denying the perks and privileges of a superb credit rating. So before you say a near-perfect credit score doesn't matter, here's why life is amazing with an 800 credit score and above. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>1. You'll Enjoy Easier, Faster Loan Approvals</h2> <p>It doesn't matter if you apply for a mortgage or an auto loan, an 800 credit score gets your foot in the door with lenders without much effort. People who belong to the 800 Club have demonstrated <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-habits-of-highly-responsible-credit-card-users">excellent credit habits</a> &mdash; and that's a little like having a permanent hall pass in high school. Since these people are less likely to default on their bills, they're a creditor's dream applicant and banks will vie for their business. As long as you have sufficient income, you can walk into practically any bank and get what you need.</p> <p>On the flip side, if you have bad credit, the bank might reject your application until you've made improvements to your score.</p> <h2>2. You'll Receive Better Credit Card Offers</h2> <p>You don't need perfect credit to get a credit card &mdash; when you're young they hand them out like candy (I learned that lesson the hard way) &mdash; but the higher your credit score, the more perks you'll get. Some people with low credit scores can only qualify for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards">secured credit cards</a>, which require a security deposit. But as your credit score improves and you hit the 800 mark, you'll<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit"> qualify for some of the best credit cards</a> around. These might include features such as unique rewards programs, concierge service, and other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards">high-end benefits</a> and unique perks &mdash; just for proving you know how to manage credit.</p> <h2>3. You Can Get Your Dream Job</h2> <p>Some employers include credit checks as part of the employment process. It isn't enough to have education and experience anymore; they want to make sure you know how to manage your personal finances before they trust you with the company's finances. This is especially common with government jobs and jobs in the finance industry.</p> <p>An 800+ credit score can push your application to the top of the pile. Let's say three people applying for a particular job have the same amount of education and experience, yet two people have a credit score in the 600s and one has an 800 score. If the employer feels each applicant is a good fit for the position but can only choose one, there's a good chance he'll select the person with the highest credit score.</p> <h2>4. You Might Qualify for 0% interest</h2> <p>Not only does an 800 credit score practically guarantee you'll be approved for most loans, you'll also get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">low interest rate</a>. Some auto lenders occasionally offer 0% financing, but qualifying often requires a score 800 or higher. Zero interest financing is the same as paying cash, so you'll save money over the life of the loan.</p> <p>Even if your lender doesn't offer 0% interest, an 800 credit score means you'll qualify for the most favorable rates. This can lower your monthly payments and potentially increase buying power. And if you're looking to take advantage of a credit card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">0% introductory rate</a>, a near-perfect credit score puts these accounts within your reach.</p> <h2>5. You Can Receive the Best Insurance Premiums</h2> <p>It might come as a surprise, but when you apply for some types of insurance, such as auto insurance or renter's insurance, <a href="http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_credit_based_insurance_scores.htm">some insurance providers will check your credit score</a>, using your rating to help determine the premium. (Unless you live in California where credit based rates for auto insurance are banned, and Hawaii and Massachusetts, where <a href="http://www.iii.org/issue-update/credit-scoring">credit-based insurance rates</a> for both homeowner's and auto insurance are banned.) This may seem unfair and unnecessary, especially since we don't finance insurance. But the way you manage your credit cards and loans is a pretty good indicator of how you'll manage your insurance payments &mdash; and your overall riskiness. From an insurance company's standpoint, people with the highest credit scores are usually more responsible with their credit and money, and this level of responsibility justifies a cheaper premium.</p> <p><em>Do you have an 800 credit score or higher? How is your life easier because of it? Humblebrag about it in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-most-likely-to-give-you-lousy-credit">5 Things Most Likely to Give You Lousy Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-70000-or-more-with-4-simple-credit-score-boosts">Save $70,000 (or More!) With 4 Simple Credit Score Boosts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit credit rating credit score good credit Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1308810 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-man-finances-Dollarphotoclub_70307056.jpg" alt="senior man finances" title="senior man finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>401(k)s are very important to Americans' retirements &mdash; so important, in fact, that they represent nearly <a href="http://www.ici.org/policy/retirement/plan/401k/faqs_401k">18% of the $24.0 trillion</a> in U.S. retirement assets.</p> <p>But those trillions of dollars aren't reaching their maximum earning potential due to dumb mistakes made by 401(k) owners. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-boost-your-401k-returns?ref=seealso">4 Ways to Boost Your 401(k) Returns</a>)</p> <p>Here are five pitfalls that you should avoid in order to maximize your 401(k) nest egg.</p> <h2>1. Not Exploring Investment Options</h2> <p>401(k) participants spend more time researching options for a new car or vacations than researching their 401(k) investment choices. According to a survey, while 55% of people spend more than five hours conducting research before buying a car, only <a href="http://aboutschwab.com/images/uploads/inline/deck_2014-Schwab-401(k)-Participant-Survey.pdf">11% of those same people</a> spend that much time before making an investment choice for their 401(k).</p> <p>Part of the problem may be that people don't understand their 401(k) investment options. About half of those people surveyed find 401(k) investment materials more confusing than health care benefits materials. Instead of doing it on your own, consider that <a href="http://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/articles/documents/13-0245%202013_empbenefits_fnl.pdf">over half of retirement plans</a> have individual investment advice offered on a one-on-one basis.</p> <h2>2. Borrowing From a 401(k)</h2> <p>An average of 13,000 people take a loan each month out of their 401(k)s for a <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2014/06/09/the-risks-of-taking-a-401-k-loan">median loan of about $4,600</a>. Borrowing from your 401(k) is bad idea for several reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Loaned funds miss out on earnings potential, often for many years;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you lose your job, your full loan balance becomes due;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>By failing to make quarterly payments or paying back the full balance within five years, the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-FAQs-regarding-Loans#4">loan becomes taxable income</a>;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>401(k) participants under age 59&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 22.1000003814697px;">&frac12;</span>&nbsp;that fail to pay their 401(k) loans are subject to an additional 10% early distribution tax;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Once a remaining 401(k) loan balance becomes taxable income, that money can't be rolled over into any eligible retirement plan.</li> </ul> <p>There are very few acceptable instances to borrow from a 401(k), and you should leave your retirement account as a last resort option for financing. Taking loans from your 401(k) can quickly turn into a bad habit. In a one-year study of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/your-money/one-dip-into-401-k-savings-often-leads-to-another.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">180,000 borrowers from 401(k) plans</a>, 25% of them took out a third or fourth loan, and 20% of them took out five or more loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>3. Taking Cashouts When Switching Jobs</h2> <p>When you leave your job, you typically have to choose between taking a cash-out or rolling your 401(k) into a qualifying individual retirement account (IRA). While the first option is taxable, the second one is not.</p> <p>Taking cashouts when switching jobs is a dumb mistake for three reasons:</p> <ul> <li> <p>If you're under age 59 &frac12;, you're liable for both income tax and a 10% early distribution tax;</p> </li> <li> <p>You may not get as much as you think. Some 401(k) plans have a vesting period for employer contributions. Pay special attention if your plan has a cliff-vesting schedule for employer contributions, which means that you only become eligible for employer contributions after a specified date.</p> </li> <li> <p>There is a limit to how much you can contribute to your 401(k) every year. In 2015, the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-401k-and-Profit-Sharing-Plan-Contribution-Limits">maximum contribution limit</a> to a 401(k) is $18,000. This means that once you cashout monies, they may never make it back to your nest egg, without forfeiting part of your future contributions.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If you already took a cashout, still have the money, and are within 60 days from the cashout date, you still have time to roll the money over to an IRA. Don't waste time and avoid taxes!</p> <h2>4. Not Taking Advantage of the Retirement Saver's Credit</h2> <p>This is one time that you want to call up the tax man.</p> <p>Even though you may feel that you're not making much money, you're still very diligently contributing to your 401(k) or other qualifying retirement plan. Uncle Sam would like to reward your hard work by providing you a tax break through the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-Retirement-Savings-Contributions-Credit-(Saver&rsquo;s-Credit)">retirement saver's credit</a>.</p> <p>In 2015, the retirement saver's credit provides a tax credit based on your adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, a married couple filing jointly receives a tax credit that is:</p> <ul> <li>50% of 401(k) contributions when AGI is under $36,500;</li> <li>20% of 401(k) contributions when AGI is between $36,501 and $39,500; and</li> <li>10% of 401(k) contributions when AGI is between $36,501 and $61,000.</li> </ul> <p>Married couples filing jointly can receive up to $4,000 ($2,000 for all other filers) in retirement saver's credit. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Depending on your AGI, you can take advantage of tax breaks such as this. Plus, you can always defer taxes until retirement, when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket.</p> <p>Less taxes, more retirement savings, now that's a great money resolution for any year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a>)</p> <h2>5. Self-Employed: Not Having a Solo 401(k)</h2> <p>Independent contractors, freelancers, and small business owners may think that they're not eligible to open a 401(k). They'd be wrong. They <em>can</em> open a <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/One-Participant-401(k)-Plans">solo 401(k)</a>, also known as an one-participant k or uni-k.</p> <p>Solo 401(k) plans enable the self-employed to save up larger sums for retirement. If you're a sole proprietor and have no employees, you can contribute to your solo 401(k) as employer and employee.</p> <p>For example, let's imagine that you have an S-corporation and earned $40,000 in 2014. You can contribute the maximum $17,500 allowed to your solo 401(k), and your S-corporation can contribute an additional 25% to the plan (an additional $10,000). The total contributions to your nest egg for 2014 would be $27,500.</p> <p>This example shows how a solo 401(k) is a powerful way to catch up in the race for retirement. The IRS allows total contributions to a solo 401(k), not counting catch-up contributions for those age 50 and over, of up to $52,000 for 2014, and $53,000 for 2015. If your spouse earns income from your business, then you can <em>double</em> those contribution limits.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to boost your 401(k) plan? Please share in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place">You May Be Putting Your Retirement Money in the Wrong Place</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-investments-smart-people-make">5 Dumb Investments Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-will-get-you-to-1-million-tax-free">This One Thing Will Get You to $1 Million (Tax-Free!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-silly-reasons-people-dont-invest-but-should">9 Silly Reasons People Don&#039;t Invest (But Should)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401(k) investing retirement saving Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1309065 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Most Likely to Give You Lousy Credit http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-most-likely-to-give-you-lousy-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-most-likely-to-give-you-lousy-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-frustrated-bills-credit-Dollarphotoclub_74249734.jpg" alt="woman bills" title="woman bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're thinking about buying a house, applying to rent an apartment, or financing a car, your credit score can make or break any deal. It's a three-digit number that carries a lot of weight in the lending world, yet some people lack sufficient credit knowledge. They might be unaware of actions that can bring down their personal score, or they might downplay the consequences of poor credit choices. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-habits-of-highly-responsible-credit-card-users?ref=seealso">12 Habits of Highly Responsible Credit Card Users</a>)</p> <p>Bad credit is fixable, but before you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">build your score</a>, you have to understand factors that can result in a lousy one.</p> <h2>1. Charge-Offs/Collections/Judgments</h2> <p>Any type of delinquency is a credit score killer. Being a few days late on a credit card or loan payment won't ruin your credit, although you might pay a late fee. However, once your account is 30, 60, or 90 days past due, and the creditor reports the delinquency to the three credit bureaus, your credit score may drop as much as 60 to 100 or more points. Typically, the higher your credit score before a delinquency, the more points you'll lose. If you never pay a debt and the delinquency results in a charge-off, a collection account, a foreclosure, or a judgment, you'll lose additional points and these remarks stay on your credit report for seven years.</p> <h2>2. Filing Bankruptcy</h2> <p>Bankruptcy is probably one of the worst things that can happen to your credit, but sometimes, it might be the only alternative if you can't handle your debt. A bankruptcy judge might discharge your debts wiping the slate clean, or re-structure debt under a new repayment plan. Either way, a bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to seven to 10 years, and it can <a href="http://blog.credit.com/2013/02/5-bankruptcy-myths-debunked/">reduce your credit score by more than 200 points</a>. The good news, however, is that the effects of a bankruptcy don't last forever. If you start rebuilding your credit soon after a discharge, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best">repair your credit</a> in about three years.</p> <h2>3. Cosigning a Loan for Someone</h2> <p>Cosigning might be one of the fastest ways to get a lousy credit score. Granted, some people have been able to maintain a high credit score after cosigning a loan. But for every good experience, there are undoubtedly a handful of bad ones.</p> <p>There's a reason this person couldn't get credit on his own. If he pays his other bills late and ruined his own credit score, what makes you think he won't do the same with your good rating? And if he needs a cosigner because he doesn't have a credit history, he might not have the know-how to manage credit responsibility, which also puts your score at risk.</p> <p>The truth is, when you cosign, you give up control and put your credit in another person's hands. A cosigned loan is a joint loan, and if this person makes late payments or stops paying altogether, your score will drop, and you may not realize the damage until it's too late. What I'm really trying to say here is this: <em>do not cosign a loan for anyone, ever</em>.</p> <h2>4. Applying for Too Many Credit Cards</h2> <p>Applying for a new credit card may seem innocent, but each <a href="http://www.credit.com/credit-reports/what-is-a-hard-inquiry/">hard inquiry placed on your credit report</a> causes your credit score to drop by a couple points. Losing two or three points isn't a big deal when you apply for credit sparingly, especially since you can regain lost points fairly quickly with good credit habits. But if you get into a routine of applying for credit each time you checkout at a retail store, you'll damage your credit score over time. Let's say you have a 630 credit score. If you apply for 15 credit cards in a short span of time, your credit score might drop 30 points, and you can go from having fair credit to poor credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>5. Ignoring Inaccuracies</h2> <p>If you never check your credit, you're asking for trouble. So much can go wrong with your credit reports. Someone can steal your identity and open accounts in your name, and even the credit bureaus and creditors can make mistakes that drive down your score. Order your credit reports at least once a year and closely check each report for errors. A creditor may accidentally update your report with a delinquency, or the credit bureaus may fail to delete a negative item that's more than seven years old. It's your responsibility to stay on top of your credit report and ensure the accuracy of information.</p> <p><em>Has your credit ever been dinged by any of these missteps? How did you recover?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-most-likely-to-give-you-lousy-credit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-70000-or-more-with-4-simple-credit-score-boosts">Save $70,000 (or More!) With 4 Simple Credit Score Boosts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-reasons-your-credit-card-application-was-denied-and-what-you-can-do-about-it">11 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Was Denied — And What You Can Do About It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year">7 Easy Ways to Raise Your Credit Score This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bad credit credit mistakes credit score good credit Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1306044 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How Rich You'd Be If You'd Saved the Money You Earned in High School http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-rich-youd-be-if-youd-saved-the-money-you-earned-in-high-school <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-rich-youd-be-if-youd-saved-the-money-you-earned-in-high-school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/teenage-girl-barista-coffee-shop-Dollarphotoclub_78063768.jpg" alt="barista" title="barista" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 1978, the summer of my junior year in high school, I was offered a job at a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. It was owned by a family friend who needed more staff. My parents thought it would be a good first &quot;summer job,&quot; and so I began working. The job paid the California minimum wage of $2.65 an hour. It was fun, at first, since all of my coworkers went to the same high school, and we passed the time by goofing off and chatting a lot.</p> <p>But when I began receiving my checks, I was shocked at the difference between what I thought I would be earning, and what I actually took home. My father, a math teacher, explained the hard financial facts to me.</p> <p>I wish he had explained this one: Compound Interest. (In retrospect, he may have decided that arguing with a headstrong 16-year-old was not picking his battles wisely.)</p> <p>What is compound interest? Basically, it means allowing your earnings to accumulate, so that they earn interest, too. And if you take advantage of its power early on, you can accumulate funds much more quickly. Read on to see how much money I'd have today if I'd saved my high school earnings.</p> <h2>The Power of Compounding</h2> <p>I was working twenty hours per week at $2.65 per hour which, before taxes, equalled $53 per week. Over the course of a couple of years, I earned about $5,500 (gross).</p> <p>Let's pretend that I had taken $4,000 of that and invested it in the stock market, earning near-average historical returns of about 10% for 37 years. (Watch this great video if you want to learn how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSIBoQlJ6AA&amp;feature=share">calculate compound interest by hand</a>.)</p> <ul> <li>My Principal: $4,000</li> <li>My Annual Interest Rate: 10% or 0.10</li> <li>Time: 37 years</li> </ul> <p>You'll probably want to use an <a href="http://www.thecalculatorsite.com/articles/finance/compound-interest-formula.php">online compound interest calculator</a> to do your own calculations.</p> <p>That original $4,000 would now equal approximately <strong>$136,000</strong>. Pretty great, right? And if I don't touch it until the &quot;official&quot; retirement age of 65, I'll have over <strong>$350,000</strong>. That's more money than most Americans retire with &mdash; all from just a measly minimum wage high school job!</p> <p>Had I invested that $4,000, I would be pretty tickled with myself right now. Instead, I probably blew it all on sodas, movie tickets, records, and whatever else teens were buying back then.</p> <h2>Advice on Compounding for Teens</h2> <p>So, if I were to advise a teenager right now, what would I say?</p> <h3>1. Get a Job</h3> <p>You will want to earn some of your own money. It will give you some independence, help you develop confidence, and learn responsibility.</p> <h3>2. Start Saving ASAP</h3> <p>Many banks have special &quot;teen&quot; checking and savings accounts. Open accounts, and decide how much you will put in each of them on payday. You'll need to learn how to manage and balance a checking account. Once you have some funds built up, open a brokerage account and invest in a <a href="https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/target-retirement/">target-date retirement fund</a>.</p> <h3>3. Be Wary of Debt</h3> <p>Eventually, you may have to take on some debt, for something like a student loan or a car. Learn about interest and credit cards. Don't sign up for debt without getting good advice first.</p> <h3>4. Learn How to Budget</h3> <p>You are about to need to figure out how to make your money stretch. Start by keeping track of what you spend, and where. This is usually the point where adults start packing their own lunches and making their own coffee.</p> <h3>5. Educate Yourself About Investing</h3> <p>You should start investing as soon as your start making money. Thanks to the power of compound interest, a dollar saved today is worth much more tomorrow, so get started ASAP. Learn the basics of investing, and find a trustworthy adult, such as a parent or banker, to help you make sound choices. You'll thank me someday if you do.</p> <p><em>Did you invest the income from your high school job? What's it worth today?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-rich-youd-be-if-youd-saved-the-money-you-earned-in-high-school">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-cash-rich-retirement">Book review: Cash-Rich Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/join-the-rentier-class">Join the rentier class</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-oil-is-hurting-these-people-will-it-hurt-you-too">Cheap Oil is Hurting These People -- Will It Hurt You, Too?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance compound interest interest investing teens and money Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:00:04 +0000 Marla Walters 1304086 at http://www.wisebread.com Gas Prices Begin a Rebound: 5 Things to Know Now Before You Buy Your Next Car http://www.wisebread.com/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-salesman-car-dealership-Dollarphotoclub_46013877.jpg" alt="car dealership" title="car dealership" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Five years ago I traded in a nimble 500 horsepower sports car for a hulking half-ton pickup truck. That's quite a change in daily driving habits, no doubt. But I remember my biggest shock: that first visit to the gas station. It cost over $100 to fill up the truck, twice what I was used to. I felt a little twinge of dread in the gut.</p> <p>It was really just psychological; the truck's gas tank was twice as big as the sports car's &mdash; they both got about the same gas mileage. But that pain in the pump stuck with me as gas prices rose for the next couple of years to about $4 a gallon.</p> <p>We've all enjoyed the break in the cost of a gallon of gas over the last half year. But lately, those pump prices have begun to rebound a bit. The AAA <a href="http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/">reports</a> the national average for a gallon of regular gas is up nearly 30 cents from a month ago, to $2.29. Though that's still more than $1 cheaper than the average of a year ago.</p> <p>A lot of folks believe the pump price jump is just beginning. A <a href="http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/150215_gasprices_pressrelease.pdf">national survey (pdf)</a> by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says most Americans believe we're going to see at least a 50% increase in the next two years &mdash; to well over $3 per gallon &mdash; and an 80 percent hike in the next five years &mdash; back to near $4. Some <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/01/19/gas-oil-five-dollar-gallon/21865975/">experts are saying</a> we're heading to $5 per gallon before too long. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Gas Rewards</a>)</p> <p>If we really think the good times of gas prices are numbered, how does that impact our next vehicle purchase? Here are five takeaways.</p> <h2>28 MPG or Better</h2> <p>On average, the consumers surveyed said they would be looking for the gas mileage of their next vehicle to around 30 MPG, compared to the 25 MPG rating of what they're driving now. That's a solid step to savings. Based on the poll's price expectations, driving an 18 MPG gas guzzler would cost you nearly $5,000 more on gas over the next five years than driving a 28 MPG vehicle. Most of us keep a vehicle for an average of at least five years, and with where we think prices are headed, driving an 18 MPG vehicle would see your current $178 average monthly gas costs nearly double in five years to $325 per month. Maybe our motto should be &quot;28 MPG or better.&quot;</p> <h2>Shop Smart &mdash; It's Not All Gravy</h2> <p>A hybrid vehicle can generally cost you a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/before-buy.html">20% premium</a> over an identical conventional gasoline engine model. Electric or part-time electric models are usually even more expensive. The break-even point a couple of years ago was about four years, however these days it can take closer to eight years to recoup your investment. But as gas prices go higher, that investment break-even point will shrink once again.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Green Cars Are Going for Less Green</h2> <p>While some consumers with short memories and unbridled optimism are buying trucks, SUVs and other gas guzzlers while fuel prices are low, dealers are discounting the currently out-of-favor fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-ins, and hybrids. Discounts on green cars are running <a href="http://www.hybridcars.com/why-now-is-a-good-time-to-buy-a-hybrid-or-plug-in-car/">15% or better</a>, and you're banking as much as 40-50 MPG.</p> <h2>Get the Credit You Deserve</h2> <p>Some advanced hybrid and electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, with additional credits available in some states.</p> <h2>Savings Are Not Just on New Cars</h2> <p>Cheap gas is also impacting the used vehicle market. The National Auto Dealer Association says used mid-sized and full-sized pickups and SUV prices are up as much as 5%, while midsize and compact cars are discounted that much, or more.</p> <p>There's not a straight-up &quot;final answer&quot; on whether to go green on your next vehicle purchase. But fuel-efficient and fuel-alternative cars are getting cooler. With the introduction of the BMW i3 and the continued brisk sales of the upscale Tesla, going green has never been more popular. And keeping an eye on the MSRP and the MPG is a good way to boost your ROI.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hal-m-bundrick-cfp">Hal M. Bundrick CFP</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-next-car-be-electric">Should Your Next Car Be Electric?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-best-search-engine-ever-for-new-used-cars">Is This the Best Search Engine Ever for New &amp; Used Cars?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-joy-of-buying-a-new-car-9-car-buying-tips">The Joy of Buying a New Car: 9 Car Buying Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dropping-the-price-of-gas-to-250-a-gallon-in-a-week">Dropping the Price of Gas to $2.50 a Gallon in a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extended-car-warranties-three-things-to-know">Extended Car Warranties: 3 Things to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Financial News car buying gas prices Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:58:45 +0000 Hal M. Bundrick CFP 1309178 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Reasons Why Apple Is Still on a Tear http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-apple-is-still-on-a-tear <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-why-apple-is-still-on-a-tear" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/apple store_0.jpg" alt="apple store" title="apple store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when people were wondering if Apple had lost its mojo? Following the loss of Steve Jobs, the maker of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad went a bit adrift, and investors were left wondering if the company would ever return to form.</p> <p>Now Apple is hotter than ever, as evidenced by its most recent quarterly earnings report, which showed the best results of any corporation in history. Apple recorded a profit of $18 billion in its most recent quarter, with revenue of $74.6 billion. That's a gain of about $1 per share over the same quarter the year prior. Shares of Apple [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/aapl">NASDAQ: AAPL</a>] have risen about 8% in the last month.</p> <p>Apple is back, and there are plenty of reasons to believe it will remain one of the world's best-performing companies through 2015 and beyond. Here are 10 of the main drivers of Apple's success now and down the road.</p> <h2>1. The Brand</h2> <p>Last year, Apple was named <a href="http://fortune.com/worlds-most-admired-companies/">the world's most admired company</a> by Fortune magazine. There's little reason to think it won't be high on the list again this year. <a href="http://interbrand.com/en/best-brands/">Interbrand's rankings of best global brands</a> also slotted Apple at number one, valuing the brand at $118.9 billion, a 20% rise over 2013. When you have a brand as well-known and popular as Apple, your products practically sell themselves.</p> <h2>2. The iPhone</h2> <p>Apple sold a staggering 75.5 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2014, surpassing even the most optimistic estimates of many analysts. The iPhone now has a 15% global share and is the best-selling phone in China.</p> <h2>3. The iWatch</h2> <p>Smart watches aren't new, but consumers have been waiting patiently for Apple's entrance into the category. The <a href="https://www.apple.com/watch/films/#film-reveal">iWatch was first revealed last September</a> to considerable buzz and is expected to go on sale this spring. It has an estimated price tag of more than $300, making it another high-margin product that could revolutionize a category and immediately be a formidable competitor to FitBit, Jawbone, and Nike Fuelband.</p> <h2>4. The Mac</h2> <p>The company reported 5.5 million sales of its computers in the last quarter, representing a 14% year-over-year increase. The company is not as dependent on Mac sales as it once was, and the <a href="http://www.netmarketshare.com/">Mac operating system makes up about 5% of the market</a> compared to more than 90% for Windows. But Mac computers are high-margin products and very helpful to Apple's financials. Expect good results from a new line of MacBook Air laptops this year.</p> <h2>5. The iPad</h2> <p>Sales of the Apple tablet slid by about 15% in 2014, and analyst projections for this year aren't great. But the iPad <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150202005241/en/Worldwide-Tablet-Shipments-Experience-Year-Over-Year-Decline-Fourth#.VNkpnLDF-ey">was still the top tablet on the market in 2014</a>, comprising a 27.6% market share. The decline in iPad sales was largely due to a decline in tablet sales overall, and competitors Samsung and ASUS saw their sales drop even more than Apple's. It's possible that the iPad will comprise a smaller chunk of Apple's revenue moving forward, or the company could blow consumers away with its next version. Don't count out the iPad's role in Apple's well-being just yet.</p> <h2>6. The Apple Television</h2> <p>There have been <a href="http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/apple/apple-television-itv-hdtv-tv-set-release-date-rumours-3375319/">rumors of this product for a while</a>, and it's anyone's guess as to when (or even if) it will be produced. But Apple's success with the retina display on computers and tablets has many consumers salivating over a potential high-definition, Internet-enabled television from Apple. Given Apple's success in creating great consumer products for computing and music, one can expect an Apple television set to be high-quality, easy to use and with a healthy margin. Even the speculation about an Apple television is probably helping the company's stock price a few points.</p> <h2>7. The Beats Music</h2> <p>No one is entirely sure what Apple plans to do with its billion dollar acquisition of Beats Electronics, but the company has been praised for recognizing the potential of a streaming music service. Sales of media from Apple's iTunes have been sagging, but Beats' offers the avenue for Apple to compete with the likes of Spotify and Pandora, which offer streaming music for a monthly fee. And Apple is so well capitalized that <a href="http://9to5mac.com/2015/02/04/apple-beats-cheaper-android-ios/">we should not be surprised if Beats streaming service is priced better than competitors</a>, at least initially. Beats also has a high-end headphone business that should bring in additional revenue.</p> <h2>8. The Mountain of Cash</h2> <p>Apple has nearly $180 billion in cash or bonds, which is larger than the market capitalization of some big companies, including Amazon and Disney. Analysts and investors love to guess what Apple plans to do with all its money, but anything the company does will probably be helpful to investors. It could spend it on research and development, which would benefit the company down the line. It could perform a share buyback or distribute a nice dividend. Or it could make some strategic acquisitions.</p> <h2>9. The International Growth</h2> <p>The United States makes up less than 5% of the world's population, so it makes sense to look outside our borders to find customers. Apple said that 65% of its revenue in the most recent quarter <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/27/apple-q1-sales-in-china-pass-16b-up-157-on-q4-70-on-a-year-ago/">came from international sales</a>. That's up from 60% in the fourth financial quarter last year and 59% the quarter before that. Revenues were up 70% over the year in China, 20% in Europe and 8% in Japan, according to TechCrunch.</p> <h2>10. The Mess at Amazon</h2> <p>One of Apple's chief competitors is Amazon, the online retailer that has also made entries into the smartphone and tablet space. By most accounts, Amazon's launch of the Fire Phone was a disaster, and <a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-takes-170m-charge-on-fire-phone/">the company reported a $170 million charge in the third quarter</a> due to its lack of sales. Amazon also saw its tablet sales drop 66% in 2014. Amazon's products aren't bad, but they haven't been selling, and that's good news for Apple.</p> <p><em>Do you own Apple stock?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-apple-is-still-on-a-tear">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-media-software-for-your-windows-pc">Get Free Media Software for Your Windows PC</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors">The 7 Most Successful Women Investors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s">4 Great Investments That Sounded Really Stupid in the 2000s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment apple computers ipads iphones Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1302502 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Great Investments That Sounded Really Stupid in the 2000s http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/yelp lunchbox 2.jpg" alt="yelp lunchbox" title="yelp lunchbox" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ridicule and high return are often positively correlated.</p> <p>In the 1970's, there was the <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VhBXAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=V0MNAAAAIBAJ&amp;pg=4238%2C2999792">pet rock craze</a>, which reportedly made $15 million in its first six months. Now fast forward to 1989 &mdash; would you have invested in the penny stock of a homebrew computer maker? Well, a <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/1999/dec/28/business/fi-48388">$5,000 investment in Dell</a> that year would have made you $4.5 million by the end of 1999.</p> <p>History tends to repeat itself. Here are four investments that sounded really stupid in the 2000s, yet ended in big paydays for their early investors.</p> <h2>1. Santa Mail</h2> <p>If you're a fan of the TV show <a href="http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank">Shark Tank</a>, you know that it takes a bold pitch with big numbers to impress the sharks.</p> <p>Well, how's this for a pitch? &quot;New York City's Operation Santa responds to about <a href="http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/holidaynews/2014/holiday_santa.htm">500,000 letters to Santa</a> every year for free. However, every year millions of American children write to Santa hoping to get a reply. My plan is to capture some of that market and charge parents about $10 for a personalized letter from the big guy himself! Are you ready to invest, sharks?&quot;</p> <p>This investment proposition sounded really stupid back in 2001 and it probably still does today. However, entrepreneur Byron Reese stuck to his guns and sold <a href="http://www.wattpad.com/51055043-we-all-need-heroes-santa-mail">10,000 letters</a> in his first year of operation. His company Santa Mail has delivered over <a href="http://www.santamail.org/aboutus/">350,000 personalized Christmas letters</a> since then. With over $3.48 million in revenue over the years, he's surely having a Merry Christmas now!</p> <h2>2. Lucky Break Wishbone</h2> <p>After Christmas, Thanksgiving may be the second most important holiday in the U.S.</p> <p>For those of us who love to enjoy a turkey on that day, we often have to fight for a chance to take a crack at the lone wishbone. In 1999, <a href="http://www.luckybreakwishbone.com/ourstory.php">Ken Ahroni</a> thought there had to a better way than fighting over the dinner table for choice turkey.</p> <p>He devised a plastic version of the turkey wishbone and started selling them in 2004. His goal was to give folks a chance to make a wish with every single family member and friend &mdash; not only on Thanksgiving, but also the rest of the year.</p> <p>His silly idea paid off. According to Investopedia.com, within two years his Lucky Break Wishbone Corporation was generating nearly $1 million in sales. You can find his product in several retailers, including Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, and Urban Outfitters.</p> <p>Now, that's a lucky break!</p> <h2>3. Yelp</h2> <p>I bet you that you have already used or will use Yelp this week.</p> <p>While Yelp is now a household name, it wasn't always so. Back in 2004, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russell Simmons were riding high on their successful stint at digital wallet company PayPal. Jeremy and Russell decided to leave Paypal and start their own &quot;high tech&quot; company.</p> <p>What was this revolutionary idea that made them leave their cozy job? An email-based referral network dubbed Yelp. On top of its silly name, Yelp's original platform was so complicated that it <a href="http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100201/youve-been-yelped_pagen_3.html">didn't attract investors</a> beyond the co-founders' friends and family.</p> <p>However, Jeremy and Russell didn't give up and re-focused their company around a review feature. The rest is history. Yelp's user base grew from a total of 12,000 in 2005 to approximately <a href="http://www.yelp.com/about">139 million monthly visitors</a> in 2014. Despite its growing revenue throughout the years, there were still plenty of skeptics when Yelp went public in March 2012 at <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/01/technology/yelp_ipo_price/">$15 a share</a>. A $1,000 investment in Yelp then would be worth about $3600 now.</p> <h2>4. Slanket</h2> <p>When you think of sleeved blankets, you probably think of the Snuggie.</p> <p>However, that's not the original wearable blanket. That title belongs to the Slanket. Created in 1997 by Gary Clegg, the Slanket was first used as a way to stay warm while flipping TV channels late at night in a cold dorm room. This investment idea sounded so stupid that Clegg waited until 2005 before fully committing to it.</p> <p>His first run of <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/the-story-behind-the-original-snuggie/">1,200 units sold out</a> in seven weeks &mdash; a sign that he had to move really, really fast to keep the market. He enjoyed a successful run of QVC sales and was finally ready to introduce a cheaper version, called the <a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/10660101/2/snuggie-cashes-in-where-others-failed.html">Snuzzle</a>, to big box retailers. Instead, in the fall of 2008 the Snuggie aggressively entered the market and became the new king of sleeved blankets. As of 2013, Snuggie has pulled in more than <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/sapna/the-house-that-snuggie-built#.cyMmel8ZXW">$500 million in sales</a>.</p> <p>While the Slanket is still selling, it has been estimated that the Snuggie has outsold the Slanket 20-to-1. The Snuggie has been such a hit, that there's even a <a href="http://snuggiepet.com">version for dogs</a>!</p> <p>If you snooze, you lose!</p> <p>Ghandi said it best, &quot;first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they hate you, then they fight you, then you win.&quot; These four ventures are proof that dedication to your ideas, no matter how much they may be ridiculed, pays off in the end.</p> <p><em>What &quot;crazy&quot; investment from the 2000's do you wish you had jumped on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-ways-to-turn-500-into-a-better-future">12 Smart Ways to Turn $500 Into a Better Future</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors">The 7 Most Successful Women Investors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing luck windfall Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1302125 at http://www.wisebread.com Brian Williams' $5 Million Fib: 4 Little Lies that Can Cost You Your Job http://www.wisebread.com/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-contemplating-Dollarphotoclub_50735780.jpg" alt="businessman contemplating" title="businessman contemplating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It was a $5 million fib. Maybe even more expensive than that. <em>NBC Nightly News</em> anchor Brian Williams' war story tall tale cost him six months pay, and considering his freshly signed five-year, $50 million contract, that's an expensive white lie. The fact is, he's likely never to return to the anchor desk at NBC, so his out-of-pocket penalty could be much larger.</p> <p>He fell into a surprisingly easy trap: stretching the truth so far as to finally reach the breaking point. It's something celebrities tend to do often &mdash; start believing their own press hype. But we're all prone to tell a &quot;harmless&quot; little falsehood now and then. <em>Your baby is so cute! No, those pants don't make your butt look big. The check is in the mail.</em> We all know the routine.</p> <p>And it's something we do at work, too. Well, we can't be brutally honest at all costs and there is a certain amount of gamesmanship in being gainfully employed, right? We're not really going to tell our boss she's gained a few pounds, are we? But little lies can compound over time &mdash; as Brian Williams well knows &mdash; and can take on a life of their own, if we're not careful. Here are six workplace white lies to avoid.</p> <h2>Taking Credit for Something You Didn't Do</h2> <p>You think people won't find out but they will. <a href="http://www.natcom.org/CommCurrentsArticle.aspx?id=1022">One survey</a> noted the most frequent workplace lie involves using deception to discredit other employees while attempting to make themselves look better to the organization. Brian Williams was &quot;taking credit&quot; for <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/nbcs-brian-williams-apologizes-false-iraq-war-story/">risking life and limb</a> on a helicopter in a war zone. Certainly without meaning to he may have, to some small degree, discredited members of the military &mdash; often in harm's way &mdash; <a href="http://www.stripes.com/news/us/nbc-s-brian-williams-recants-iraq-story-after-soldiers-protest-1.327792#.VNKWQdl3NjQ.twitter">who took offense</a> with his &quot;faulty memory.&quot;</p> <h2>Lying on a Resume</h2> <p>In a <a href="http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=8%2F7%2F2014&amp;id=pr837&amp;ed=12%2F31%2F2014">survey</a> conducted last year by Career Builder, 58 percent of hiring managers said they've caught a lie on a resume. And in an increasingly competitive job market, the problem is getting worse. One-third (33 percent) of those same employers said they've seen an increase in resume embellishments since the recession.</p> <p>It's not just about lying about the length of employment or education, either. One applicant claimed to have 25 years of experience &mdash; at the age of 32! Whoops. Half of employers surveyed (51 percent) said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on their resume.</p> <h2>Professing Competence in Something You Know Little About</h2> <p>It might start out with, &quot;Sure, I know how to use QuickBooks,&quot; and end up being &quot;...well, I thought I could figure it out.&quot; That same Career Builder survey said it was one of the most common resume lies &mdash;&quot;embellished skill set&quot; &mdash; committed by 57 percent of those seeking to stretch the truth on their applications. And again, over half of employers surveyed saw resume fibs as grounds for dismissal.</p> <h2>Make Promises You Can't &mdash; or Don't Intend &mdash; to Keep</h2> <p>As customers, we've often been on the receiving end of this white lie. &quot;Your table will be ready in five minutes.&quot; Thirty minutes later, we're still waiting &mdash; hungry and irritable. Sales training professionals often preach a mantra of &quot;under promise and over deliver&quot; to trainees, looking to build a culture of surprising customers, in a good way.</p> <p>And one final thought about lying &mdash; non-work related. A recent survey said that 7 million Americans lie to their spouse or significant other about matters of money. In fact, one-quarter of adults under 30 admitted to being less than honest with the one they love about debt, spending, hidden accounts or other financial falsehoods. Being open and honest about money is important in a relationship.</p> <p>Losing a love is much worse than losing a job.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hal-m-bundrick-cfp">Hal M. Bundrick CFP</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-and-wall-street-is-the-romance-gone">Women and Wall Street: Is the Romance Gone?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-improve-your-performance-at-work">12 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-laid-off-a-step-by-step-guide">How to Get Laid Off: A Step-By-Step Guide</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Financial News brian williams Sun, 22 Feb 2015 07:42:00 +0000 Hal M. Bundrick CFP 1304298 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways HSBC's Shady Schemes Helped the Rich Avoid Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-hsbcs-shady-schemes-helped-the-rich-avoid-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-hsbcs-shady-schemes-helped-the-rich-avoid-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hsbc 3.jpg" alt="hsbc 3" title="hsbc 3" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fugitive diamond dealers, convicted drug lords, terror suspects, royal families, famous athletes, and allies of Vladimir Putin are among the controversial figures HSBC helped to hide money from the taxman by setting up and managing <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-08/leaked-hsbc-list-shows-who-was-banking-on-swiss-secrecy">1,000s of secret Swiss bank accounts</a>. The bank now faces criminal prosecution for its role in not only allowing, but advocating that select wealthy clients hide their identities (and in some cases huge amounts of illicit cash) in order to skirt taxation. It's the latest in a string of shady Swiss banking busts, and one that could result in a hard crackdown on offshore tax havens.</p> <p>Read on for our step-by-step guide to how the world's second-largest bank got away with helping people avoid paying their taxes &mdash; and why you can't do the same.</p> <h2>1. Aggressive Marketing</h2> <p>To drum up business, HSBC promoted its <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/10/hsbc-files-swiss-bank-aggressive-marketing-clients-avoid-new-tax">tax dodging strategization</a> services. For example, the bank alerted select wealthy clients about a scheme it masterminded for the purpose of helping depositors avoid a new tax levied in 2005 on the Swiss savings accounts of EU citizens. Since the tax applied only to personal savings accounts, HSBC offered to transfer clients' monies into a puppet corporate account it created so that those monies wouldn't be subject to the tax. The likelihood of your bank setting up an ingenuine account to help you avoid paying your taxes is slim to none.</p> <h2>2. A 1934 Swiss Law</h2> <p>Most western nations outlawed anonymous banking long ago. But the practice is alive and well in Switzerland, where banking secrecy is supported by a 1934 law that makes it punishable by three years in jail for a banker, current or former, to make public the identity of a depositor. Instead of legal names, HSBC's secret accounts were tied only to numbers and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-files-1934-swiss-law-secrecy?CMP=share_btn_tw">code names like Captain Kirk</a>. Just a select few within the banking giant's Swiss branch knew the true identity of its depositors.</p> <h2>3. Untraceable Banknotes</h2> <p>When you use untraceable banknotes, there's no paper trail to set off the IRS or other authorities. With this knowledge, HSBC reportedly made untraceable cash available to its depositors, and then allowed those depositors to make large cash withdrawals &mdash; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/09/hsbc-files-swiss-bank-cash-machine-rich-clients?CMP=share_btn_tw">a major red flag</a> in legal banking operations that would normally result in a denial of the request to make a withdrawal. Some of these withdrawals were in amounts as large as $100,000.</p> <p>If you tried to make a cash withdrawal in the amount of $100,000 &mdash; or even $10,000 &mdash; your bank would almost certainly block the transaction. But HSBC never did. In fact, the bank encouraged such transactions. In one example, the Guardian reports that wealthy HSBC clients in Paris would use the bank to exchange the illicit proceeds from big drug deals in the city for untraceable cash.</p> <h2>4. Tip-Offs</h2> <p>Chances are that your bank would advise you on how to comply with the law &mdash; not on how to skirt it. But HSBC clearly wasn't playing the role of typical bank. In fact, it tipped off its clients when they were on the verge of making a transaction that might catch the attention of the tax man. In many cases, it would then suggest an alternative way to make that same transaction while staying under the radar. A surgeon from the U.S., for example, said HSBC's Swiss bank gave him &quot;bricks&quot; of $100,000 in notes so he could secretly send them home in a series of envelopes. Wiring the money, the bank advised him, would &quot;create a trail for US authorities,&quot; the Guardian reports.</p> <p>The super-rich get all sorts of benefits you and I don't. HSBC's tax-dodging strategies are just the latest example.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-hsbcs-shady-schemes-helped-the-rich-avoid-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">Best Ways to Count (and Cash in) Your Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards">5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Travel and Money: Using Prepaid Travel Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking hsbc one-percenters rich tax evasion Fri, 20 Feb 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1302367 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Most Successful Women Investors http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-most-successful-women-investors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman-investor-stocks-computers-Dollarphotoclub_15934300.jpg" alt="businesswoman stocks" title="businesswoman stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you hear &quot;successful investors&quot; who comes to mind? Maybe Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, or Ron Perelman? Often, there isn't a single woman in the bunch. This article means to change that. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett?ref=seealso"> 5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>Below are seven women who have bucked the stereotype and built enormously successful investment careers despite the &quot;old boys&quot; club of finance.</p> <h2>1. Geraldine Weiss</h2> <p>Though she was a top finance student at the University of California, not a single investment firm considered Weiss for a role beyond being a secretary. She refused to be deterred from having her say, so she started <a href="http://www.iqtrends.com/index.htm">Investment Quality Trends (IQT): For the enlightened investor</a>, a finance newsletter. When she started receiving hate mail from people who said a woman wasn't capable of giving investment advice, she began to sign her newsletter &quot;G. Weiss&quot; and soldiered on. That was 50 years ago. Today she remains one of the most successful and prolific investors, analysts, writers, lecturers, and TV personalities in the world of finance.</p> <h2>2. Muriel Siebert</h2> <p>In 1967, the NYSE was a world where no woman-owned brokerage firm had ever gone before. Siebert changed that. Despite blatant and constant attempts to keep her brokerage firm, <a href="https://www.siebertnet.com/">Muriel Siebert &amp; Co.</a>, from registering with the NYSE, she refused to take &quot;no&quot; for an answer. Unfortunately, her company remains the only woman-owned national brokerage firm on the NYSE today. Siebert passed away in 2013 leaving a rich legacy in finance and politics that continues to inspire and encourage women today.</p> <h2>3. Lubna S. Olayan</h2> <p>Saudi Arabia is known for the stifling limitations it places on women in the social, political, and business realms. Olayan didn't let that stop her. After building an illustrious career in finance rising through the ranks of <a href="http://www.olayan.com/">Olayan Finance Company</a>, a conglomerate of 40 manufacturing firms, she is now the CEO. Despite her heritage, she often faces intense criticism. She does so with grace and strength, and refuses to let the ignorance and oppression of the Saudi government limit her. She serves as a pillar of courage to women in the Middle East and all over the world.</p> <h2>4. Deborah A. Farrington</h2> <p><a href="http://www.starvestpartners.com/">StarVest Partners</a> is a behemoth in the world of venture capital, where Farrington is a co-founder. She's also served as President and CEO of Victory Ventures, LLC; Chairman of Staffing Resources, Inc; and continues to hold numerous director and committee roles at technology companies, Smith College, and Harvard (her alma maters), and a leading international microfinance organization.</p> <h2>5. Marianne Abib-Pech</h2> <p>After a successful business career that included stints at Arthur Andersen, GE, and Shell International Petroleum, Abib-Pech struck out on her own. She boldly moved to Hong Kong to write an investment book and founded <a href="http://leadthefuture.biz/">Lead the Future (LTF)</a>, a leadership consulting firm, a financial advising, and thought leadership platform rolled into one. High-profile oil and gas companies are among her diverse clients.</p> <h2>6. Kathy Xu</h2> <p>Warren Buffett is known for only investing in concepts he can understand. He doesn't jump on fads and isn't persuaded by paper-thin trends. Kathy Xu, arguably the most successful investor in China (male or female), is known for her prudence and shrewd decisions. Once she makes an investment, she's in it for the long haul. Xu started her Shanghai-based private equity firm, <a href="http://capitaltoday.com/eng/index.html">Capital Today</a>, 10 years ago and her track record is impeccable. Her latest jewel? The IPO of JD, China's second largest e-retailer.</p> <h2>7. Nehal Chopra</h2> <p>Since the last recession cycle started in 2007, hedge funds and their managers have been hammered by less-than-appealing returns. Ratan Capital Management, the firm founded by Chopra, has bucked that trend to the envy of every other hedge fund manager,often returning 20%+. At 35, she oversees $750 million in assets.</p> <p>What truly impresses me about these women is that they didn't let criticism and negativity stop them from reaching for their goals. In fact, they seemed to use it as fuel to reach higher. They're role models for all of us &mdash; women and men alike.</p> <p><em>Who inspires you to invest and save more?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s">4 Great Investments That Sounded Really Stupid in the 2000s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-stocks">Profit on the Oil Bust With These 10 Cheap Energy Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment business women investing success Wall Street Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1299816 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/george soros 2.jpg" alt="george soros" title="george soros" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're referred to as the &quot;Sage&quot; or &quot;Oracle,&quot; you know you're doing things right.</p> <p>Born in 1930, Warren Buffett is regarded as one of the most successful investors in history. The Oracle of Omaha gets a great deal of attention because he's not only down to business, but also down-to-earth. Despite his multi-billion fortune, he still lives in his modest home in Omaha, Nebraska. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-made-billionaires-investment-lessons-from-their-success?ref=seealso">Self-Made Billionaires: Investment Lessons From Their Success</a>)</p> <p>However, there are several critics that claim that Buffett's performance, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/business/the-oracle-of-omaha-lately-looking-a-bit-ordinary.html?_r=0">particularly since 2009</a>, is more myth than reality. Here are five investors who give Buffett a run for his money.</p> <h2>1. Carl Icahn</h2> <p>Just like the entertainment world has the &quot;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/edanlepucki/book-bump">Colbert Bump</a>,&quot; the world of investments has the &quot;Icahn Lift.&quot; The Icahn Lift describes the surge in stock price when Carl Icahn starts acquiring shares in a company.</p> <p>Born in New York City, Icahn has, in some ways, an arguably better record than Buffett. From 1968 through 2011, Icahn grew his original $100,000 investment in his firm at a <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/investing/T052-C000-S002-carl-icahn-better-investor-than-buffett.html">31% annual rate</a>, while Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had &quot;only&quot; a 20% annual growth rate. This statistic doesn't offer a full picture of each investor's stock picks, but it's a meaningful point of comparison.</p> <p>Despite his impressive record, there are two main reasons why Icahn is not as popular as Buffett. First, he is one of the most well known &quot;corporate raiders&quot; or &quot;shareholder activists.&quot; Picture a financial Robin Hood of sorts that steals from the greedy, inept managers to give back to the shareholders. By following this strategy, Icahn has challenged several well-known businessmen, such as former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, and received plenty of criticism from the media. Second, Icahn's quirky ways and contrarian investment strategies aren't as easy to digest for the average investor as Buffett's charming comments and no-nonsense investment style.</p> <p>But at the end of the day, money talks. And Icahn's cash is very loud!</p> <h2>2. George Soros</h2> <p>Born in Hungary in 1930, George Soros is a renowned hedge fund manager and one of the world's greatest investors.</p> <p>Unlike Buffett's slow-and-steady approach, Soro's strategy is to take bold, yet very profitable, bets. He is best known for his September 16, 1992 transaction, when he made a single-day <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/08/george-soros-bank-of-england.asp">gain of $1 billion dollars</a> by short selling the British pound (a short sale is a bet that the value of something will drop). This successful bet earned him the nickname of &quot;the man that broke the Bank of England,&quot; and cemented his reputation as one of the premier currency speculators in the world.</p> <p>Soros continues to make headlines. For example, as of September 2014, his investment firm held a <a href="http://www.gurufocus.com/news/276957/george-soros-20-billion-bet-on-a-stock-market-collapse">$2.0 billion bet</a> that the U.S. stock market would collapse. Will he be right again and make a huge fortune? Only time will tell.</p> <h2>3. Peter Lynch</h2> <p>While you may not his name, you've heard one or more of his investment mantras:</p> <ul> <li>&quot;During the Gold Rush, most would-be miners lost money, but people who sold them picks, shovels, tents, and blue-jeans (Levi Strauss) made a nice profit.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;Know what you own, and know why you own it.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;All the math you need in the stock market you get in the fourth grade.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>Peter Lynch's books <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743200403/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743200403&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W6HQ6GUHNRFLI5YR">One Up On Wall Street</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671891634/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0671891634&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IF4BQWGOTZ36FU3M">Beating The Street</a> have sold millions of copies and are considered mandatory reading for any investor, regardless of level of expertise.</p> <p>But Lynch is not all theory. He has the business acumen to back up his investment advice. He was at the helm of Fidelity's Magellan Fund, one of the world's best known actively managed mutual funds from 1977 to 1990.</p> <p>Lynch's record is very impressive. If you had invested $1,000 in Fidelity's Magellan Fund during Lynch's tenure, you would <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/betting/pros/lynch.html">have earned $28,000</a>. During those 13 years, Lynch reportedly beat the S&amp;P 500 Index (a key benchmark of the stock market) in 11 of those 13 years. He transformed $18 million in assets into <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/peter-lynch-charlie-rose-investing-2013-12">more than $14 billion</a>.</p> <h2>4. John &quot;Jack&quot; Bogle</h2> <p>Buffett has laid out two <a href="http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/2013ar/2013ar.pdf" style="text-decoration:none;">clear instructions in his will</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Deliver cash (no shares because those will all go to charity) to a trustee for his wife's benefit; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Advise the trustee to put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in Vanguard's S&amp;P 500 index fund.</li> </ul> <p>If Buffett is willing to put 90% of the cash in his will in a Vanguard fund, then the performance of that company must be pretty darn good. When you talk about Vanguard, you have to talk about John Clifton &quot;Jack&quot; Bogle. He is the founder and retired CEO of The Vanguard Group.</p> <p>Under Bogle's leadership, Vanguard became the second largest fund company, commanding $428.4 billion, or 8.83% of all mutual-fund assets by Bogle's retirement in 1999. The number one spot that year went to Lynch's Fidelity.</p> <p>Bogle has long been a champion of low-cost index investing. He advocates sticking to index mutual funds without commision charges and with low turnover of assets. Given Buffett's lackluster performance since 2009 and decision to leave 90% of his will in a Vanguard index fund, it looks like Bogle's &quot;plain vanilla&quot; ways may have the <a href="http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article.aspx?ArticleId=3421707">last laugh</a>.</p> <h2>5. Michael Steinhardt</h2> <p>Last but not least, Michael Steinhardt is a Wall Street legend. From 1967 to 1995 (that's 28 years!) his hedge fund returned an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelnoer/2014/01/22/michael-steinhardt-wall-streets-greatest-trader-is-back-and-hes-reinventing-investing-again/">average of 24.5% annually</a>. What's even more impressive about this return is that it was possible even after Steinhardt's 20% cut of the profits.</p> <p>To put this in perspective, let's imagine that you had $10,000 back in 1967:</p> <ul> <li>If you had invested it all in Steinhardt's hedge fund, you would have ended with $4.8 million by 1995.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On the other hand, the same $10,000 in the S&amp;P 500 would have been worth $190,000.</li> </ul> <p>Steinhardt achieved his remarkable annual returns with a wide variety of financial instruments, ranging from stocks to bonds to options. Unlike other investors, he is equally proficient in short and long time horizons.</p> <p>What does Steinhart himself have to say about Buffett? &quot;He is the greatest PR person of recent times and he has managed to achieve a snow job that conned virtually everyone in the press to my knowledge,&quot; he <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-steinhardt-bashes-warren-buffett-greatest-pr-person-of-all-time-conned-everybody-2011-4">claimed back in 2011</a>. Only a man with Steinhardt's Wall Street record would have the <em>chutzpah</em> to make such a remark.</p> <p><em>Are there other investors that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors">The 7 Most Successful Women Investors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s">4 Great Investments That Sounded Really Stupid in the 2000s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-stocks">Profit on the Oil Bust With These 10 Cheap Energy Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing investors success winning Thu, 19 Feb 2015 14:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1290211 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Beat the Stock Market in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gold-coins-stock-market-investment-Dollarphotoclub_50775754.jpg" alt="gold coins stock market" title="gold coins stock market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The almost six-year long bull market may be waning, as many on Wall Street predict stocks will fizzle in 2015. While the Goldman Sachs Global And Regional GDP Forecast for 2015 predicts <a href="http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/2015/">the U.S economy will grow by 3.1%</a>, many analysts project modest single-digit returns for the S&amp;P 500. Consider these ways to boost your returns in 2015.</p> <h2>1. Emerging Markets</h2> <p>Emerging markets are rewarding for international investors who are able to recognize the tremendous growth potential of developing nations. While many emerging markets have experienced something of a slowdown recently, they are nonetheless projected to grow two to three times faster than the U.S. over the next several years. But investing in foreign markets means putting some extra time and effort into doing your due diligence. Not all emerging markets are the same, and investing in them usually carries significant risk.</p> <p>The easiest and most convenient way to invest in emerging markets is through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds. (Check out ETF Database's list of the <a href="http://etfdb.com/etfdb-category/emerging-markets-equities/">top 10 emerging market ETFs.</a>) ETFs and mutual funds are also cost-efficient and can be lower-risk than many other emerging market investments.</p> <h2>2. Forex</h2> <p>Many major currencies have experienced significant fluctuations in recent months &mdash; the dramatic, <a href="http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&amp;to=CHF&amp;view=1Y">overnight appreciation of the Swiss Franc</a> in January is just the most sensational example. Though less extreme, the recent depreciation of the Euro vs the US dollar is yet another instance in which astute forex traders were able to make a killing.</p> <p>Investors who trade currency are speculating against its future value and are attempting to take advantage of market fluctuations. But investing in the Forex market makes basic knowledge of currencies and economics a must. If you're interested in currency trading, <a href="http://www.forex.com/">Forex.com</a> offers an easy to follow beginners video library and practice account to help you get started.</p> <h2>3. Commodities</h2> <p>Trading commodities is another great way to target your investments. Sure, many commodities (such as oil, of course) are having a down year, but that doesn't mean that you can't make money off of them. If you believe oil or other commodities will rise again fairly soon, this may be a great time to buy on the cheap. Exposure to commodities such as gold, agriculture, coffee, wheat, and oil can be easily had through ETFs and mutual funds or stocks of commodity mining or producing companies.</p> <p>But what if you don't believe commodities will rise anytime soon? Well, you can still make money in the sector. Inverse ETFs enable you to bet that prices will <em>decline</em>. Consider this <a href="http://www.morningstar.com/invest/categories/trading-inverse-commodities-etfs">Morningstar list of inverse commodity ETFs</a> if you're interested in placing a bet on their continued weakness.</p> <h2>4. U.S. Stock Market</h2> <p>Yes, there are still opportunities to be had in domestic stocks. Cyclic economic factors can upset and disturb certain business sectors, even while others thrive. For example, the surge in oil production in the U.S. has driven down the cost per barrel. The trickle down effect is fewer petroleum imports, lower fuel prices, and a stronger US dollar, which is expected to boost travel and all manner of domestic consumption.</p> <p>It's projected that Americans will increase domestic and international travel this year by 7% according to the U.S. Travel Association. The increase in revenue for travel and tourism companies will result in higher earnings, which should, in turn, drive up these companies' stock prices. Identifying such windows of opportunity in the U.S. market requires doing your due diligence, but they do exist and profits can still be made in 2015.</p> <p><em>How will you invest in 2015?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-the-stock-market-in-2015">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-successful-women-investors">The 7 Most Successful Women Investors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-great-investments-that-sounded-really-stupid-in-the-2000s">4 Great Investments That Sounded Really Stupid in the 2000s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-stocks">Profit on the Oil Bust With These 10 Cheap Energy Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment emerging markets ETFs forex investing Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:08 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1289838 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things People Who Retire Early Do http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-who-retire-early-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-people-who-retire-early-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-loving-senior-couple-Dollarphotoclub_56515946.jpg" alt="happy senior couple" title="happy senior couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all dream of retiring early (at least I do), but for most of us that's all it is &mdash; a dream. It doesn't necessarily have to be, however, and you don't need to strike it rich to start enjoying the finer things in life well before age 67. (Yep, that's the government-acknowledged age for full retirement &mdash; and it stinks.) To provide some much-needed motivation to kick your hustle into high gear, here are nine things people who retire early do &mdash; and you should, too.</p> <h2>1. Live Relatively Modestly and Save, Save, Save</h2> <p>If you weren't born into one of those famous family dynasties that provided you a trust fund at birth or otherwise have won some sort of lottery, you've got to work hard for your money. If you want to retire early, live modestly and save like your life depends on it. The truth is your life does depend on it &mdash; at least the one you want, anyway.</p> <p>&quot;I'm not retired myself yet, but I do know a couple who managed to retire early,&quot; says Mike Collins, owner of the personal finance blog <a href="http://www.wealthyturtle.com">Wealthy Turtle</a>. &quot;The secret to their success was saving and investing as much as possible when they were young. They worked lots of extra hours and also built up a side income so they could invest more and more. They kept their expenses low and just increased their saving rate whenever they got a raise. Over time their wealth grew and they were both able to retire young.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Build Financial Roadmaps</h2> <p>When we're traveling, we use a map to get where we're going &mdash; and the same principle applies to our professional paths. It's never a bad idea to plan your route so you can achieve your goals with minimal blocks and detours.</p> <p>Elle Kaplan, founder/CEO of LexION Capital, agrees.</p> <p>&quot;People who retire early build financial roadmaps. They have a step-by-step plan in place that details the route to their financial goals,&quot; she says. &quot;They know what a safe spending level would be given their portfolio and any other income they have coming in, from real estate holdings to Social Security. They know what major expenses or windfalls they anticipate, whether that's travel or income from the sale of a home as they downsize or relocate. And they have extra room built in for the bumps in the road that they can't anticipate, taking into account very conservative assumptions: living to 100, and having a plan to address unexpected costs.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Earn Passive Income</h2> <p>You don't have to have an ungodly amount of money in the bank to retire early, but you should absolutely have a continued source of income, if that's not the case.</p> <p>Passive income is an excellent way to continue earning money, even after you slow down or retire. Great sources of passive income include rental properties, a product that people will buy for years to come (could be a book or maybe a new invention), or a brick-and-mortar or online business that you can afford to pay other people to manage for you. The latter comes with a warning, however: It's hard to find help that will treat your business with the level of care and professionalism that you would, so it's wise to prepare accordingly.</p> <h2>4. Make New Investments</h2> <p>If you're able to retire early, chances are you've made some wise investments up to this point &mdash; and you probably have enough dough saved to make some more in the near future. That's how you'll build your passive-income portfolio, and, frankly, if you have excess money in the bank that's not being invested, it's going to waste, anyhow.</p> <p>Consider this anecdote from Ken Barret, owner of K-Bar Inc., a company he founded after retiring early.</p> <p>&quot;I retired from the auto industry in 2009 when I took a buyout and decided I didn't want to work in the corporate world anymore,&quot; he recalls. &quot;I moved to the United States from Canada and purchased three laundromats in seven months. I always considered retirement as being able to do what you want, and that's what I'm doing. Two of my laundromats are unattended and open 24 hours a day, so I can stop by on my own schedule. The other laundromat has three employees and is partially attended. It requires more attention, but still it's my decision when and how much.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Go Back to School and Continue Education</h2> <p>Chances are, you won't be retired for long if you use your newfound freedom to whoop it up like some Hollywood hotshot &mdash; you'll drain your retirement fund eventually and find yourself forced back to the workforce before you know it. One way to prevent that fate is by making constructive use of your free time, such as continued education.</p> <p>Learning should never stop, and if you plan your courses strategically, you can learn new skills that will only improve your business savvy. And if you're not retired yet, additional education can mean a path to increased income, more savings, and an earlier retirement date.The website <a href="http://www.retiredbrains.com">RetiredBrains</a> has excellent resources for retirees &mdash; young and old &mdash; on how to navigate the prospect of going back to class.</p> <h2>6. Focus on Relationships With Friends and Family</h2> <p>One of the more personal benefits of having ample time on your hands is that you get to spend more time with family and friends. Use this very rare opportunity &mdash; not many people get to focus on the important people in their lives with minimal distractions, after all &mdash; to build stronger relationships that will not only enrich your life, but also theirs. And if you're still working toward an early retirement, spending more time with loved ones is not only a terrific way to enhance your wellbeing, but also an essential strategy for saving money.</p> <h2>7. Spend Time Pursuing New Goals and Passions</h2> <p>If you've retired early, it's a safe bet to assume that you've accomplished many of your goals. But that's no reason to stop. In fact there's no better time &mdash; since you now have much more time &mdash; to set new goals and concentrate on pursuing your passions. And if you've yet to retire, these new goals can help motivate you to find new ways of increasing your income and exiting the corporate world sooner.</p> <p>&quot;I retired about two years ago after 30-plus years of corporate life,&quot; says Judy Freedman, author of the blog, <a href="http://www.aboomerslifeafter50.com">A Boomer's Life After 50</a>. &quot;I decided to take early retirement at age 55 to slow down and pursue my passions. After losing my husband when I turned 50 and emptying out my nest when my last child graduated college, I decided that it was time to change up my life and have more time to do things that I only dreamed of doing when I was younger and busy raising and supporting a family. In addition to my writing and blogging, I am pursuing my studies to become a yoga instructor. I'm also doing more traveling to places that I've always wanted to go to, most recently to France and Spain.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Allotting Time to Volunteer or Give to Charity</h2> <p>For 25 years, Stan Goldberg was a professor at San Francisco University. He says his life revolved around academia, but when he was forced to retire at age 57 because of a health issue, he thought his contributions to society had ended. Instead, they had just begun.</p> <p>&quot;Since retiring, I served as a bedside hospice volunteer for eight years, counseled caregivers, <a href="http://www.stangoldbergwriter.com">wrote two internationally award-winning books</a>, and I currently have a series of books on the sharper points of life under review by mainstream publishers,&quot; boasts Goldberg. &quot;Since retiring my life has become fuller and my contributions to society have increased beyond my wildest dreams.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Travel for Life-Enriching Experiences</h2> <p>It's almost a given that you'll want to travel when you retire early &mdash; who doesn't, right? &mdash; but it'll cost you. At least that's the theory, anyway. In reality, you can travel the world very inexpensively if you're resourceful. There are plenty of volunteer programs abroad that will subsidize your trip (this guy pulled off the ultimate coup of <a href="http://www.today.com/video/today/48070573#48070573">paying zero dollars to trek the globe</a>), and there are programs that will let you take house-sitting gigs in the destinations of your choice for the paltry fee of $96 a year.</p> <p>Rachel Martin, co-founder of <a href="http://www.trustedhousesitters.com">TrustedHousesitters.com</a>, explains how you can take advantage of the latter by caring for pets in exchange for lodging in over 130 countries. If you've yet to retire, this can be a cost-effective way of seeing the world (or of making some extra dollars).</p> <p>&quot;From a month in the South Pacific to a couple of weeks in a lodge in Breckenridge, Colorado, it's a simple premise (providing a real win-win: free pet care for free accommodations) and one which is growing in its popularity among retirees who may have time on their hands and are looking for adventure in their 'fun years,'&quot; she says.</p> <p><em>Would you like to retire early? What are some of the things you'd do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-who-retire-early-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-thoughts-everyone-has-their-first-day-of-retirement">6 Thoughts Everyone Has Their First Day of Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-boost-your-401k-returns">4 Ways to Boost Your 401(k) Returns</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-choose-these-10-cities-if-you-want-to-retire-comfortably">Don&#039;t Choose These 10 Cities If You Want to Retire Comfortably</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-fire-your-financial-adviser-soon">5 Reasons to Fire Your Financial Adviser Soon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-might-do-on-your-first-day-of-retirement">6 Things You Might Do on Your First Day of Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement retire early retiring second career Mon, 16 Feb 2015 14:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1289632 at http://www.wisebread.com