Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Investing Money the Right Way

Success in our personal financial life is something we all desire. What that financial success looks like is different for each situation. However, there is one undeniable truth that applies to all of us when thinking about how to achieve our financial dreams and goals – investing money will help you get there.

investing moneyThere are several challenges though when it comes to investing money. For one, people scare themselves out of investing money for fear of losing it. They see the ups and downs of the stock market and don’t want to be involved with that volatility.

Others may not know how to invest or where to start. I remember learning about investing money in my early twenties and feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Still others may feel they lack the time to really make investing work for them. They either started to late in life to make a difference or just don’t have time in their daily schedule to learn about it.

And finally, perhaps the biggest challenge of all – some just don’t have the money to invest.

If you fall into any of those categories or are a beginner just looking to learn about investing money, this article is for you. From my own experience, I had many questions of my own when I first started. So I’ll be answering some of the most basic ones I had like:

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Are CDs a Good Investment for the Average Joe?

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who wouldn’t say “Yes” to the question, “Would you like to make/have more money?” Aside from our job, the best way to get more money is by investing what you have in various financial products like savings accounts, the stock market, real estate or business ventures. Some would even use CDs as a valid investment. But are CDs a good investment for the average person?

Let’s find out.

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Should You Invest in the Stock Market During a Trump Administration?

Last week the stock market was setting all-time highs as the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 20,000 for the first time. Since the close of trading on Nov. 4th, the market has raced ahead by over 2,200 points to where it stands today. Of course it remains to be seen whether this market can sustain the momentum or not under the leadership of our new President, Donald Trump.

stock marketJust typing that last sentence seems surreal, for people in both parties. We hardly could have imagined this two years ago. Whatever your political views, you have to give him credit for doing what no one thought possible. It’s something we haven’t seen in the history of our government.

President Trump is still an unknown quantity. By his own words, he is new to the political scene. We do not fully know how he will proceed with matters of national policy or foreign affairs because he doesn’t have a long track record for us to parse through. But we do know one thing about him. President Trump is a businessman through and through. He has done well for his family and the thousands of people he has employed.

Will this expertise be good for businesses across the country though? And will it translate into upward momentum in the stock market? Should you invest in the market during the Trump presidency, be it four or eight years? Let’s try to find out.

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This Smith and Wesson Stock Chart Reveals Our Biggest Fear

Smith and Wesson stock is reaching heights never seen before in the history of the company. The stock price closed at $29.07 on Friday, just 30 cents shy of it’s all time high. However, that alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

Smith and Wesson stock has been tracing higher for the last five years. As you can see from the stock chart below, on Sept. 26, 2011, it traded at $2.52. If you would have bought then, you’d be looking at a 1,053 percent increase. Not bad for a five-year investment.

smith and wesson stock

Chart courtesy of Morningstar.com

The bulk of the rise in the stock price has occurred since January of 2015. Since that time Smith and Wesson stock has risen from around $10 per share to what we see today. Again, not a bad return for a year and a half investment.

So what’s driving the stock price? Well, in the most basic of investment world terms, it’s company sales. Just a few weeks ago the company announced fourth quarter sales of $221.1 million. That figure was an increase of 22.2% over the fourth quarter of last year.

So the company is growing by selling more of its product. Those sales are leading to increased profits and a healthier company balance sheet. Investors are taking notice and more are purchasing the stock for their portfolios (hence the rise in Smith and Wesson stock price).

“But what’s driving sales?” you might be asking. Well, in case you don’t know Smith and Wesson manufactures and sells firearm products and accessories. That’s right…it’s a gun company.

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The Easy and Hard Parts to Becoming a Millionaire by Age 65

Would you feel financially secure if you became a millionaire? I’d say most people would. A million dollar net worth provides the cushion you’d need to weather almost any financial storm. Becoming a millionaire should set your financial worries at ease.

becoming a millionaireThat doesn’t mean you can live recklessly and spend money on whatever you want. Do that and you might find yourself broke before you know it.

Nor does it necessarily mean you can stop working. A millionaire at 75 can sit back and enjoy the fruit of their labor. A millionaire at 35 still has many more years of life expenses in front of them.

Becoming a millionaire is both easy and hard. That may seem contradictory. How can something be both easy and hard? As you can see from the following graphs, the contradictory nature of that statement can best be viewed through three variables:

time, income and choices.

Becoming a Millionaire by Age 65 in Visuals

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How to Invest 1,000 Dollars at Age 18

I recently had a conversation with a former student of mine who is looking to invest in the stock market. He’s in college now and has some money sitting around that he doesn’t need for school. He wanted to know how to invest 1,000 dollars or more at this stage of his life and whether it was realistic or not.

how to invest 1,000 dollarsHis situation is similar to what many 18-year-olds face. They’ve worked full-time summer jobs since they were 16 and maybe even part-time ones during the school year. Their college expenses are taken care of either through scholarships or the bank of mom and dad. The money they have earned is just sitting in their savings account drawing little to no interest. Does it make sense for them to do something else with it, like beginning to invest?

The answer is “YES…Absolutely!” but with a very big BUT.

Before I get to the BUT though lets look at some assumptions about 18-year-olds that are going to impact how they invest and where they put their money.

Assumptions About 18-Year-Olds

While not true for all, these generalizations pretty much highlight what most 18-year-olds are going through:

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The 4 Stages of Investing and How to Win Long Term

I’ve been investing now for almost 20 years and have experienced various stages of investing during that time. My wife brought several mutual funds into our marriage and that became my first exposure to the stock market. It didn’t take long for me to see how investing could have a positive impact on our financial future.

the 4 stages of investingOver the years our investments have evolved and our assets have grown. We’ve branched out into other avenues of investing beyond the stock market. It took some time to get there but the results have been worth it.

Making money in the market is a journey. You’ll go through various stages of investing along the way that are marked by specific decisions. How you handle each one of these stages will determine your ability to win long-term.

The 4 Stages of Investing

I hope you are thinking about investing. Next to the personal earnings you receive from your job, investing is the #1 way to build wealth. It does take some time for significant wealth to accumulate and you’ll have to go through these stages of investing to get there:

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2 Milestones You Need to Reach Before Investing Money

When it comes to investing money in the stock market, time is your greatest ally and your greatest enemy. The longer you are investing money the greater likelihood you’ll generate great wealth. Shortening that time period by just a few years could significantly reduce the amount of wealth you’ll create.

That’s why it’s important to get started early – in fact, the earlier the better. Time is the most critical element in the investing equation. It doesn’t matter if you are a high school student making minimum wage at a summer job, a college student paying your way through school or married with your first child on the way. The earlier one can begin investing, even in small amounts, the more one can maximize big returns in the long run.

The following examples demonstrate this point:

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Is Investing in Collectibles Like Valuable Baseball Cards Worth It?

Like so many young boys my love affair with baseball cards began in Little League. Each week our coach would give us 50 cents or $1 to spend at the concession stand after the game. On weeks where we won and received a $1, I’d get a pack of cards and a cream soda, secretly hoping some of those might turn into a valuable baseball cards.

valuable baseball cardsIn those early days I didn’t have a lot of money so the collection grew slowly. I amassed only several hundred cards and kept them rubber-banded together in a shoebox. I shuffled through them a lot so the surfaces became dull and the edges worn.

Then in 1986, I scrounged up enough money to buy my very first complete set of Topps baseball cards. I also bought plastic card pages in which to insert each card and a three ring binder to hold all the pages. So began a decade of collecting the full sets and the update sets each year. By the time I ended college, I had amassed over 15,000 baseball cards.

Then guess what happened…

Marriage…grad school…buying a home…kids…career…more kids. Through all that the baseball cards I had enjoyed collecting spent years boxed up in the back of the closet rarely seeing the light of day.

My love affair with collecting baseball cards resurfaced about 10 years later in my early 30s. This time around though I wasn’t attracted to purchasing individual packs or complete sets. I wanted to focus specifically on valuable baseball cards – which can only be found by collecting those that are professionally graded.

This was a change in strategy and required me to understand what I was getting into and why I was doing it.

How Do You Define Investing in Collectibles?

The above question is tricky to answer in part because it depends on your definition of “collecting” and “investing.”

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The Stock Market’s Dirty Little Secret

Enjoy this post today about investing by blogger and Chartered Financial Analyst Joseph Hogue.

I have built my career around investing and analysis of investments. I’ve done a good job and am proud of the advice I’ve offered clients but there is a dirty little secret that most analysts will not talk about.

The secret…many investors may not even need us.

Analysts are able to provide valuable information on stocks that helps keep the market so efficient and running smoothly. While it is difficult for anyone to “beat” the market consistently year-over-year, research shows that some analysts have been able to earn higher returns after adjusting for risk.

But the problem is that many investors just don’t need the few extra percentage points in returns that stock market analysis can provide.

Why would anyone pass up extra investment returns?

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The Difference Between a Dumb and Smart Money Investor

Well, we’ve reached that point again in the stock market where indices are at high levels again. The NASDAQ composite index touched 5,000 the other day, its highest level since the year 2000. It’s just a stone’s throw away from its all time high, making it the last of the three major indices to reach an all time high at some point during the current bull market.

So, right on cue, out come the headlines warning investors of an impending major pullback in the market. One in particular caught my eye the other day. It read:

Why the Smart Money is Bailing Out of the Bull Market

smart moneyAs an investor, how does that headline make you feel? Does it encourage you in any way? Are you feeling good about your investment strategy and how its playing out in the market right now? Getting the urge to go sell a few stocks?

I guess the answer to that question depends on whether or not you consider yourself a smart money investor.

What is a Smart Money Investor?

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