Tag Archive for Investing

4 Easy Ways College Students Can Invest

4 Easy Ways College Students Can Invest

4 Easy Ways College Students Can InvestIt?s no secret that the average college student doesn?t have a lot of disposable income. In fact, most are up to their eyeballs in debt long before graduation day comes.

Despite having debt, some college students have the desire to start investing early for their futures. Considering the bleak outlook for social security benefits it shouldn?t come as a surprise to the rest of us.

Nevertheless, investing may seem complicated and it can be intimidating to some. Fortunately, there are four easy ways college students can invest.

1. Micro Investing

One of the easy ways college students can invest is by micro investing. Since they lack money in general, micro investing is a way they can start with very little cash.

Stash Invest has an app that allows them to essentially invest spare change. It links to their bank account you can start investing with as little as $5.

You get to select from a grouping of ETFs and stocks and invest based on your goals and tolerance for risk.

2. Fractional Investing

Another easy way college students can invest is through fractional investing. Some stocks they may want to invest in are thousands per share. In the past this has made investing in them a dream for college students on a limited budget.

But with apps like Stockpile, they can sign up free and start investing in their favorite choices with as little as $5.00. What?s more there are no monthly fees or minimums beyond that. It?s a fast, easy, and fun way to start investing.

3. 401(k)

There are employers that offer a 401(k) retirement plan to their employees. If a college student is lucky enough to have a job where this is offered they should sign up.

Most likely a percentage of their pay will need to be contributed. However, this is deducted before taxes are withheld. Then, the employer may offer to add funds as well if the student matches the same percentage.

College students who take advantage of this option can choose which funds to invest in. They can also place money in faster growing funds or some with lower risks.

4. Robo-advisors

Robo-advisors should be counted as one of the easy ways college students can invest. The trading fees are low and they do most of the work for their investors. This makes them a perfect choice for busy college students.

Most robo-advisors have very low minimum investment requirements. In fact, you can invest with Betterment with no minimum balance required.

Students can access their investment accounts easily and on the go from an app right on their phones. This lets them check on their investments whenever they have a few free minutes.

Additional Thoughts

While it?s true that college students should begin investing as soon as possible, they also need to learn to manage their money responsibly.

If they do not already have budgeting skills they should talk to a peer, take a class, or research about budgeting methods. Then, they should set up their own budget and continue tweaking it until they have a system that works for their needs.

Furthermore, they need to control their spending and keep their debt as low as possible. They should set financial goals that are achievable and can also be re-evaluated as time passes.

Investing for retirement in any market while still in school is not a bad idea for college students. However, they should know it needs to be a life-long process and done in coordination with other money management tactics.


Do you feel it is wise for college students to start investing? How else can college students invest?


Photo courtesy of: freestocks-photos

3 Ways to Help Family Members Invest

Help Family Members Invest

Help Family Members InvestWhen it comes to investing, some of us are simply better at it than others. Figuring out which companies or organizations you want to put your money into and knowing how much risk to take, is no easy task.

This is especially the case if your background in investing is slim to none.

That being said, if you’re someone who just so happens to be a savvy investor, you might find family and friends flocking to you for advice. While you might be happy to help, taking someone else’s money in your own hands is a heady thing, and might be more responsibility than you want.

Instead of taking the reins solo, consider trying to help family members invest in these three ways.

1. Give the Gift of Stock

There may be risks you’re willing to take with your own money, but not necessarily ones you want to take with some else’s income. So, instead of actually doing investing your family members’ money, why not gift your family members stock?

Help them get started by giving them Stockpile gift cards as presents, which requires no money from them. This way, they can get their start in investing without actually putting forth their own money. Plus, it’s easier than actually investing their money since it won’t require you to acquire all their personal information.

You can also give Stockpile gift cards to children under 18 to help family members invest from a young age.

2. Help Them Strategize

Investing has a lot to do with strategy and diversification. However, if you’re new to the game, knowing how much money to put in certain stocks vs. others, or knowing how much money to risk vs. how much to play safe, can just get confusing.

As someone who knows the world of investing though, you can help your family members come up with a strategy to do just that. Assist them in coming up with a plan for how much of their total income they’ll invest and help them find stocks they think are worth investing in, then together you can decided what to risk or not risk.

3. Assist Them as an Experienced Investor

Like helping them create a strategy, the best thing you can do when helping your family members invest, is to be their investment resource. As a seasoned veteran, you can help them learn the ins and outs and assist them in understanding the terms and ideas they might not be aware of yet.

Show them how to look up their stocks and view their portfolios. Help them figure out how to do a trade. Or, show them where they can find all the business, financial and investment resources and information they might need.

In other words, simply help them get acquainted with a world that might not be known to them.

Dealing with other people’s money, even those closest to you, can feel like a lot of responsibility. After all, you’d hate to leave someone in a bind because of something you invested them in.

You don’t have to actually do the investing for them to help. Instead, follow these three tips and find ways to assist them and get them started on their own investment path.


What are some investment resources you’ve found helpful for beginners? Have you done anything to help family members invest?


Photo courtesy of: rawpixel

Should You Treat Your House Like an Investment?

Should You Treat Your House Like an Investment?

Should You Treat Your House Like an Investment?For most people, the purchase of a home is the single biggest financial transaction they will ever complete. Depending on where you live and what your budget looks like, you could spend anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars on up to a million dollars or more to purchase a house.

With that kind of money in play, it is obvious that you should treat your house like an investment. The answer to the question posed in the title of this article is an easy one ? yes, of course you should treat your house like an investment.

With that answer in mind, let?s take a quick look at some of the things you can do to protect your investment to the greatest degree possible.

Care for Your Home

One of the most important things you can do as a homeowner is to protect the value of your home through regular maintenance and upkeep. From simple things like landscaping to complex repairs inside and outside of the home, you need to be sure to keep your property in good condition as the years go by. When the time does come to sell your house, the efforts you put in to maintain its condition will be repaid in a big way.

Make Timely Payments

There are a number of reasons why it is important to keep up with your mortgage payments every month. For one thing, you need to remain current on your payments in order to stay in your home. It won?t take long for foreclosure activities to begin if you fall too far behind. Also, every payment you make will reduce the principal amount owed on the mortgage by a certain amount. That is basically money which you are depositing into the equity of your home. Depending on market conditions, you may make a significant profit on the sale of your home once you decide to move out. By paying down your principal month after month, you will essentially be investing in your own future.

Watch the Market

One of the things you need to do with an investment is sell at just the right time to maximize your return. Of course, you can?t just sell off your house without having another place to live. But, monitor the market and strike when the time is right if you are thinking about moving anyway. Timing your move with the right market conditions can help you get the most from this important investment.

Use It to Your Advantage

If you have positive equity in your home, you can use that equity to your advantage. It can be used to secure things like lines of credit or even business loans. Your home should be seen as an asset. So, you may be able to use it in order to better your financial situation as a whole. If you aren?t sure how you can use your home to leverage your overall financial situation, speak with a banker or other financial professional for advice.


Do you treat your house like an investment? What else is important to do to take care of your home and it’s value?


Photo courtesy of: Pexels

4 Simple Ways to Start Investing in the Stock Market


investing in the stock marketFor many people, investing in the stock market is an intimidating proposition. It is well-known that you can lose money in the market, so committing a significant portion of your personal assets to this venture may make you more than a little nervous.

While it is true that you need to be careful when stepping into the world of stocks, complete avoidance of the market is unwise. Making smart and balanced decisions are the best route to take when it comes to investing in the stock market.

The following list contains four simple ways that you can use to get involved in the stock market as a total beginner.

Start Small

This is the most important point, and it should be an obvious one. If you are just getting started in the market and you don?t exactly know what you are doing just yet, start small – regardless of the amount.

Open a brokerage account?with the minimum that is required to get started, and purchase your first couple of stocks mostly as an educational experience. In time, you will get more and more comfortable with how the market works, and you will feel more confident in your investments. Many online brokerages, such as Motif Investing, allow you to start with as little as $250 or less.

Read, Read, Read

There are countless books available [easyazon_link keywords=”investing books” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]on the topic of stock market investing[/easyazon_link], so pick out a couple of them and start reading.

It is important to remember that no one ?owns? the markets, and no one has mastered the task of picking winners ? so you don?t want to take the advice of any one book like gospel. Instead, take bits and pieces of advice from a variety of books until you develop your own investment strategy that you are comfortable using.

Invest What You Can Lose

At first, you are only going to want to dedicate a small amount of your money to the market, so decide on this number by thinking about how much you could afford to lose without affecting your lifestyle. Obviously you don?t want to lose the money, but it is smart to think about investing in terms of the worst-case scenario.

Knowing that you will be fine financially even if your account goes to zero is a comforting feeling while you are learning the ropes of investing in the market.

Play it Safe

Buying traditional stocks is only one way that you can get involved with the market. You can also invest through your 401(k), mutual funds?or a variety of other investment vehicles.

No investment is 100% guaranteed to provide you with a return, and all investments, even those beyond the stock market, should be considered a risk. However, you can take the least-risky options at first to build up a base portfolio before moving on to more advanced methods that provide a higher opportunity for a big return (if you wish).

Instead of thinking of the stock market as a lottery ticket that could make you rich, it is wise to think of it as a long-term strategy to grow your wealth. Making safe and conservative decisions over a long period of time is likely to offer the best results.


Have you ever invested in the stock market? How did you get started investing in the stock market? What is one thing that held you back from investing in the stock market?


Photo courtesy of: FirmBee

Personal Capital Review: Manage Your Finances For Free!

Personal Capital

Personal CapitalI wrote this Personal Capital review after using the service for the past several years. I have various financial accounts with different companies from bank accounts, credit cards, online brokerage accounts and more. You likely deal with the very same thing.

That?s great as you usually can?t take care of all your financial needs at one place but it does cause a problem ? ?staying on top of everything you have going on in each of those accounts. I need something will make my financial life easier to manage. This is where Personal Capital comes into the picture.

If you?ve not heard of Personal Capital before think of them as Mint with investing thrown in. Mint is great for what it?s meant for though falls short with investing and Personal Capital is a great alternative to Mint in that regard. I?ll get into that feature a bit later, but the real difference in Personal Capital vs. Mint is that Personal Capital allows you to streamline your investing and gives you a free portfolio analysis. With that in mind, feel free to check out some of the online broker reviews available on the site:

Before I get any further into my review of Personal Capital, I?ll provide a brief background. Personal Capital was founded by former tech CEO Bill Harris. Most of those within the organization are CFP? (Certified Financial Planner) designated which is a huge plus in my book as that means they?ve gone through fairly rigorous testing and generally can trust they know what they?re talking about. As a result, Personal Capital provides value when you consider using them to manage your investments.

While you can electronically connect a wide variety of financial accounts, it?s the investing spectrum where they stand out. As my wife and I have multiple brokerage accounts, this allows us to have one location to view all of our investments which can be a huge time-saver. The great thing is that it?s all for free! With all that out of the way, let?s move on to the rest of the Personal Capital review.

How Does Personal Capital Make Money?

You might think it?s impossible that Personal Capital is free. I get that, but it really is free. I?ve used it for two years and not spent a dime on it.

That begs the question though of how Personal Capital does make money and that?s a fair question. Personal Capital makes their income through offering full financial advisory services to clients with at least $25,000 in investable assets. If you have at least that amount of investable assets you as a client have the choice of being paired with a financial planner. That financial planner can then help you with any investment needs you have though using that help is not a requirement by any means.

If you do decide to work?with a financial planner through Personal Capital then the income aspect comes into play as they will be compensated for managing those investments for you. The cost of that, based on your investable assets, is as follows:

  • Less than $1,000,000 is .89%
  • $1,000,001 – $3,000,000 is .79%
  • $3,000,001 – $5,000,000 is .69%
  • $5,000,001 – $10,000,000?is .59%
  • $10,000,001+ is .49%

The one thing to keep in mind is those fees will be on top of the fees you?d be paying on the investment vehicles themselves, which are usually ETFs. In light of that, you?d be paying roughly 1 percent for Personal Capital to manage your investments for you which is on the competitive end for investment management. The key to remember is you do not have to use this feature and can still use Personal Capital entirely for free.

Personal Capital Features

There are many features to Personal Capital that I?ve used and have come to appreciate. I?ve listed some of them below:

  • It?s free: I?ve mentioned this several times before but it’s worth repeating. Personal Capital is free to use. You can?t beat free in my book!
  • Portfolio analysis: This is really where the value of Personal Capital comes into play. After you connect your accounts, Personal Capital goes through all of your investments to see how they compare to their benchmarks and locate any lower cost alternatives or ones that have performed better. It?s up to you whether or not you make any changes but is great information to have. I?m a big believer in lowering costs when it comes to investing so I love this feature and it points to their investing principals. You can also use FeeX?to do something very similar though they only look at your 401(k) plan.
  • Asset allocation manager: Your asset allocation is vital to stay on top of. Personal Capital offers a free tool that shows how you?re allocated so you can see exactly how your portfolio as a whole is invested. If you have multiple investment accounts this is a great feature.
  • Fee analyzer: This is a takeoff on the portfolio analysis but the Personal Capital platform will go through all of your investments to show you what lower cost alternatives are available to you as a way to make sure more of your money is actually working for you. You can include things like your 401(k) accounts to online brokerage?accounts in this.
  • Tax Analysis: No, Personal Capital does not do your taxes for you. However, they do offer various tools to help manage taxes from an investing standpoint. This includes items like tax loss harvesting in order to lower your tax liability.
  • Net worth tracker: This is a feature I really like about Personal Capital. Since the interface allows you to connect things like mortgages and credit cards it has an easy to read page which shows your net worth. You can also set it up to email you this information on a weekly or monthly basis.

Personal Capital


  • Reminders: I?ve not used this feature of Personal Capital much but really like the idea. You can use the platform to set up everything from bill payment reminders to the net worth feature I mentioned.
  • Free investment education: Many online brokerages offer this feature and Personal Capital doesn?t fall short in this area. I?ve not used the education features myself, but having looked at them, I can see that they have some solid offerings to help get you started investing.
  • Very easy to use: I know this really isn?t a feature, but it is something I definitely wanted to point out. It took me maybe a total of 10 minutes connecting the accounts I wanted to connect and has been a seamless process using the platform. You can also access your Personal Capital account via your computer, smart phone or tablet which makes it easy to access regardless of your situation.

Personal Capital And Security

I know that many are concerned about security, especially when it comes to turning over access of your financial accounts to others. I was somewhat concerned about doing so before opening my Personal Capital account.

That being said, I?ve experienced no issues since joining Personal Capital. Personal Capital utilizes a two-factor authentication system from the beginning. Not only do they make you verify your password and identify the computer you?re accessing the system from, but they send you a notification if your account information is accessed from another phone or computer. I went through this myself when I bought my new [easyazon_link asin=”B00G2MB7KW” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”wisedollar-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]MacBook Pro[/easyazon_link]?last year. Personal Capital saw I was using a new computer and sent me a code to access the system. If the security of your information is a concern to you, and it should, consider this – the encryption level used by Personal Capital is military grade 256-bit AES. Suffice it to say, Personal Capital takes your security very seriously.

In addition to all that, you can also set up your Personal Capital interface to send you a daily rundown of all your account activity. I’ve done this myself to provide me with a brief snapshot view of my finances each day.

In terms of the connection process, it took about 10-15 minutes to connect the accounts I wanted to connect. I did virtually all of my accounts, save for my credit cards and mortgage account. Personal Capital will then attempt to connect to those accounts and verify each of those with you prior to moving forward.

Personal Capital

Personal Capital Review ? My Take

I believe if you?re looking for a way to manage your finances all in one spot, especially investments, Personal Capital is a great option to consider. My wife and I are so busy I look for ways to save time and Personal Capital has helped me do that . That alone makes them worth it in my book as I can use the time savings on something else more pressing in life.

My one criticism of Personal Capital is they do not offer a budgeting component. There are many options out there if you?re looking for help with budgeting from Mint to You Need A Budget to a plain old Excel set up you do yourself. I don?t believe you can?t or shouldn?t use Personal Capital if you want budgeting help as it can be used in conjunction with those other platforms. That?s also not to mention the fact that with the ability to track your spending and income with Personal Capital you get many of the budgeting aspects you?d need anyway and thus mitigates the lack of a budgeting feature.?(6/30/15 update Personal Capital has recently added an expense tracking/budgeting component that allows you to do the same thing you can with Mint. This helps tip the scales towards Personal Capital overall, in my opinion.)

I believe for many individuals Personal Capital is a great option. As I mentioned earlier, you can?t argue with free. You can use their financial advisor team if you fit in that realm, though it?s certainly not a requirement. Towards that end, if you do sign up for Personal Capital, they will have an advisor reach out to you to see how they can help when you first sign up. I didn?t choose to take the help as I?m fairly comfortable managing our investments and didn?t want to waste either of our time.

However, if you?re looking for a free and simple way to manage your investments and get an ongoing portfolio analysis then Personal Capital is worth checking out.

Get your free Personal Capital account today!



Do you use anything to help you manage all of your finances? How do you stay on top of the fees you incur from investing? Would you ever pay someone to manage your investments for you?