If you're working hard for your money, then you probably wouldn't mind if your money was working hard for you.  That's what a sound investment strategy is all about.  We recognize the importance of informed investing to your future wealth and lifestyle.  And our investing section helps you realize this potential via a wide variety of strategies.

In this publication, our approach to investing is divided into three categories:

General Investing

We realize that it's not possible to cover all of the investing strategies in-depth.  In our general investing guide, we try to provide you with just enough information to satisfy your immediate need on a given topic.  This means we're giving you simplified advice such as investing for dummies as well as investing for beginners.

We've also included information in this section on specific investing topics that really don't fit elsewhere.  If you're new to the bond market, we've got a mini-series that starts off with investing in bonds.  We've also got several articles dedicated to investing in real estate.  Finally, since we also recognize the importance of planning ahead, we've got a couple of articles dedicated to retirement investing.

Stocks

Let's face it, we've all been to the local bank and opened up a savings account.  But the stock market is another matter all together.  Yes, purchasing a stock is pretty straightforward, but researching a stock is another matter altogether.  Once again, we start by offering simple advice such as stocks for dummies and add to the mix more complex topics such as buying preferred stocks.

If you've heard about the NYSE and the NASDAQ, but you're not sure what the difference is between the two, we've provided quite a bit of news on the different stock exchanges you might encounter.  If you're interested in the history of the stock market, we've explained what happened during the crashes of 1929 and 1987.

Mutual Funds

If you're new to investing, then you don't want to pass up some of the information we've got in our mutual funds section.  We've covered topics such as investing in commodity funds and real estate mutual funds.  If you've heard about index funds or are wondering what the difference is between a mutual fund and a money market mutual fund, we can help there too.

More recently, we've started to review some of the offerings of the larger mutual fund families.  Here we discuss the overall strategy of the brokerage house, the size, and breadth of their offerings along with the top three performing funds each has to offer.  To date we've already covered such giants of the mutual fund services industry such as Fidelity, Vanguard and Janus.

Investing Dictionary

Finally, the investing community has been around for quite some time and managed to come up with a few terms or concepts that are not always intuitive, especially to the newcomer.  For example, there are also a few basic performance ratios that you'll encounter when research stocks.  That's why we've put together an investing dictionary that contains a glossary of most of the common terms and ratios you'll find.  We explain what the term means and provide you with calculations for ratios when needed.

 

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Subcategories

If you finally have your bills under control and find yourself with some discretionary income that you'd like to put to work, then you need to understand the basics of investing.  This is one area where that old saying "work smarter, not harder" really applies.

If your friends at work or family members are constantly talking about their stock portfolios or the growth of their real estate holdings, and you'd like to get into that game too, then you need to learn how to invest wisely.

Investing Basics

If you just want to learn the basics of investing, these articles should be your first stop.  In fact, we've even included a pitch for our newsletter.  We'll give you a brief introduction to the growingly popular habit of investing online, and also help you get started on that retirement nest egg.

Getting Started Investing

If you start investing at an early age, then you also have time working for you too.  That's one of the reasons we are a big proponent of starting your investment portfolio early in life.  To help get yourself, or your children, started down that road, we have the following publications to choose from:

Investing in Stocks

If you want to become a serious investor, then you need to understand what investing in stocks is all about.  Over time, the stock market has provided investors with a fair balance of risk and reward.  So if you're thinking about buying a share of a company's stock, here's the place to start.

Real Estate Opportunities

In prior years, investing in the real estate market was pretty much a no lose strategy.  While some analysts predicted the housing bubble would burst, others thought it still had legs.  It's never too late to educate yourself about this important segment of the market, and we have a number of articles that can help you make an informed decision:

Tax Liens

Tax liens are another increasingly popular way to invest in real estate indirectly.  If you don't completely understand this approach, we have several articles that can help walk you through the entire process:

Bonds as Investments

We have an entire section of this publication dedicated to investing in stocks, but what about the bond market?  Many investment gurus feel that bonds play an important role in balancing one's portfolio.  We explain bond ratings, a valuation approach to choosing bonds, and even the basics of why companies need to issue bonds in the first place:

Investing Internationally

You might be comfortable investing in domestic stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, but what kind of opportunities exist overseas?  If you're thinking about a currency play, or are trying to figure out if developing countries such as China are worth looking into, then take a look here:

Investing in Commodities

Since the beginning of recorded history, man has been intrigued with the lasting beauty and value of gold.  If you've heard that gold is a good hedge against inflation, and want to know why, these articles help remove some of the mystery:

Special Investing Topics

This final group of articles deals with many specialty topics such as DRIP investing and investing in socially responsible companies.  DRIP investing is a great way to get started in the stock market and often you can avoid paying commissions.  If you'd like to invest in stocks, but don't support the social outlook of some companies, here is some more information on that topic too:

Our approach in putting this stocks category together is to help teach the reader about the stock exchanges themselves, and at the same time learn a bit from history.  Our goal is to give you enough information so that you feel comfortable and confident in taking your first step towards investing in stocks.

There is no doubt the stock market is complicated.  When money is involved, you can be sure that smart individuals are providing options to investors.  If you've been holding off on buying stocks because you just don't know how to get started, we think we can help.

History of the Stock Market

If you're going to start investing in stocks, it helps to understand how stock markets evolved, and learn something from their history.  Many analysts often look for parallels between today's market and the crashes of 1929, 1987, and 2008.

If you want to understand what happened back then, and have a deeper understanding of what could happen in the future, then we have a primer on these three significant points in the history of the stock market:

Stock Markets and Exchanges

Perhaps the most recognizable stock exchange in terms of name and trading floor is the New York Stock Exchange.  But did you realize that the NASDAQ currently holds the single day trading volume record?

We cover the two most noteworthy exchanges in America, as well as exchanges from around the world.  We've even thrown in some information about holidays and trading hours:

Stock Market Basics

Once you understand how the markets work, and what can happen, it's on to the basics.  Here we teach you about the intricacies of stocks, such as how to read stock symbols.  We also explain the concepts of stock options and splits, as well as the basics of trading:

Researching Stocks

While some people may be successful picking stocks based on a gut feeling, we're not convinced that long term, sustainable, results are possible with that approach.  If you've never researched a stock before, then take a read through our four part series on this topic.

By the time you're done, you should feel confident and a little more comfortable that you picked a stock with your head and not your heart, or your stomach:

Dow Jones

Charles Dow played an important role not just in helping to shape the future of the Wall Street Journal, but also with his concept of the stock index.  If you think you know all there is to know about the Dow, take a look at our Dow Jones Index series.  You might be surprised at some of the trivia we've included:

Buying / Picking Stocks

Finally, if you're looking for some shortcuts, which we really advise against when it comes to stocks, then you might want to take a look at some of our quick-hit articles on picking stocks.  We'll explain what a penny stock is, and the theory behind the Dogs of the Dow.  If you're interested in playing the market, but don't want to use your own money, we even tell you where you can find some online stock market games:

If you're not quite sure that investing in individual stocks is right for you, then mutual funds is a simple way to get your feet wet in the equities market.  There are many advantages to starting off with mutual funds.  For example, they offer the investor the ability to create an instant portfolio, with a minimum of financial commitment and expense.

Unfortunately, not all mutual funds are created equally.  So even if you've decided on this simplified approach, you still need to familiarize yourself with the terminology you're likely to encounter when researching a fund.

Mutual Fund Investing Basics

If you're looking for some solid information on the basics of mutual fund investing, this is the place to start.  There are bond funds and commodity funds, index funds and real estate trusts from which to choose.

You'll also want to understand some of the basic fee terminology that is unique to this industry, whether it's a closed end fund or a no-load mutual fund, we have that topic covered:

Evaluating Mutual Funds

Now that you've figured out what kind of mutual funds you're interested in, it's time to learn how to evaluate the performance of these funds.  Morningstar is one of the premier rating agencies for mutual funds, but you'll always see that little disclaimer: "Past performance is no guarantee of future performance."

Here is where we explain why there is a lot of truth to that statement:

Mutual Fund Reviews

To date, we've reviewed over a dozen of the largest brokerage and financial services institutions offering mutual funds.  We're talking about industry giants such as Fidelity and Vanguard.  But just because you've heard the name before, doesn't mean you're guaranteed to pick a winner.

Our mutual fund reviews give you a quick feel for relative size and strength of each company's offerings. We'll also provide you with a list of the top performing funds within each family, as well as the associated fees and performance over the last five years:

Commodity and Real Estate Mutual Funds

Gold and real estate are another one of those investments that the experts will tell you is a "must have" in your portfolio.  There are many different ways to invest in gold, and mutual funds are just one of those choices:

Special Topics in Mutual Funds

Finally, we offer the investor the following specialty topics in mutual funds.  Here you'll find information on index funds, and learn about exchange traded funds.  We'll also provide you with a brief introduction into a special type of mutual fund:  hedge funds:

Latest Additions

The last five articles we've added to this category include: