Category Archives: Saving & Investing

Which is the best investment option, ETF or Indexes?

Prior to deciding on this answer it would be advisable to get the basics clear. Index is defined as a list of companies that are chosen from the stock markets. The rise and fall in the value of ratio of a consolidated collection of stocks in an index, for a specific time period is manifested through the return offered by the index. ETFs work on market capitalization and bonds. Since the index in itself is non-tradable, the investors are required to purchase all the stocks mentioned therein.

Although the ETFs can fluctuate, the investment can remain secure. You stand to receive the net asset value of your mutual fund investment. After the day’s transactions are over, this value is calculated. This is obtained by dividing the profits or losses by the total number of shares that constitute the fund. The movement of the ETF price is akin to the share prices. The closing price of the day is the ETF for that particular day. There are no further calculations required. The mutual funds are managed by professionals. For a mutual fund there might be a minimum subscription amount, while the ETF do not impose any such restrictions. But, the shares of the mutual funds are not burdened by brokerage charges; as such, the investor can transform his returns as handsome savings.

The choice basically depends on the expectation and objective of the investment portfolio.

Save with Standard & Poor’s 500 Index

The equity performance in America is usually determined with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Constituting of over 70% of the publicly traded companies in the U.S., the S&P Index is hugely popular given its close proximity with the some of the well-known mutual funds that are currently in operation. They are the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, and Spiders (AMEX: SPY), the first exchange traded fund (ETF). The investors can save effectively through it given the fact that the S&P comprises of 500 companies belonging to a diverse range of industries. It is often misapprehended that these 500 companies are rated due to their revenues or market capitalization. But it is basically, the best of the common stocks of the U.S. The factors the work in the selection are sector representation, liquidity and market size.

The investment of the investor stands secured when it is done following the notifications of the S&P 500 as he gets an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of earnings from diverse fund allocation. Nearly every relevant section of the American economy is covered and hence, all the market growth and movements that take place in these sectors earns you rich dividends. Savings is also substantial following the low expense ratios. But at times when the price movement of a limited number of stocks is taken into account, there can be an incomplete picture of the actual price movements.

A Small Cap Index Fund can be a Big Investment Option

Investors who have the skin to bear the heat of price fluctuations and market volatility can consider the Small Cap Index Funds as an amazing investment tool. These investors can attain savings as they go for indexing in stocks through an indexing approach. The investment can be diversified and it can experience substantial growth if you make it a part of the asset allocation program. This can also be a wonderful retirement investment option. The investor who desires to open an account in this type of fund simply requires an initial investment of $250. Here, $50 is regarded as an automatic investment.

Investment in Small Cap Index Fund is not a small term investment option. The investment offers you capital appreciation and the values may also experience substantial variations, depending on the market movements. The assets of this fund are collected as a separate series of the Master Fund, which is termed as the Russell 2000 Index Master Portfolio. 90% of the assets get invested in stocks in the form of Russell 2000 Index. The investor can earn good returns when the stocks of the small companies are purchased, as they can reap the maximum benefits of market volatility. The factors that need to be checked in this regard are like, the market risk and the management risks. It always pays off to diversify in a volatile market.

Saving through Vanguard Index Funds

Proper allocation and investment of savings is an important part of an effective retirement plan. Today, there are a number of retirement plan sponsors who are interested in making the index funds the focal point of the investment portfolio. Reports referring to surveys indicate that 17% of 150 employers desired to substitute index funds for a part or whole of their actively managed investment options. This constitutes to around 8% increase. According to Mike Lucci of Vanguard Institutional Sales, the enhanced interest in Index Funds is a great opportunity for investors designing a retirement plan, as it can help them to secure their capital and save in turbulent market conditions. The plans are characterized by supplemental passive investment options and active funds are replaced with a unique line-up of highly diversified low cost index funds.

Participant communication, a simplified plan design coupled with multiple levels of investment choices are marked as endearing attributes for retirees. Savings can be attained through the low-cost indexing, broad diversification and the cash drag is kept low.

Just a few points of caution:

The investor is required to take note of the inflation risks, credits and the prevalent interest rates while investing in bonds. Diversification may not shield you in a declining market. As a plan sponsor, Vanguard believes that they can effectively determine what the best interest for their participants’ prudence is.

How the FDIC protects your savings?

Even if your bank crashes down, the FDIC Insurance can effectively protect your savings. Investors consider banks as a safe haven for their hard-earned savings and capitals. The banks on the other hand loans out the money and invests it in a variety of projects. If any of these activities goes haywire, the money deposited by you may well face the danger. Under such circumstances, the FDIC Insurance offers security and helps the bank to shield your cash from any probable damage.

The FDIC covers deposits that fall under the category of Checking accounts, Savings accounts CDs and Money market accounts. Here, one needs to note that the money market funds are not covered by the FDIC. This insurance cover is not extended to the safety deposit box contents, the investments like the mutual funds or stocks and the insurance products of the likes of annuities. Further, the products mentioned above do not fall under the category of deposits. This is in spite of the fact that, these products might have been bought from the bank. The credit unions also do not fall under the purview of the FDIC Insurance.

The basic insurance limitations are:

  1. Every depositor can have up to $100,000, covered.
  2. For a retirement account, the depositor can have $250,000.

These limits can vary again with the different banking institutions. The depositor can well increase his coverage by going for multiple bank accounts.

Money market accounts can earn you good dividends

In comparison to the checking account rates, the money market does offer better returns. The investor can attain effective interest earnings as well as indulge in active and profitable cash management. There are several banking institutions that can be resorted to in this aspect. The APY percentage for the savings account is 2.30% and the interest rates are 2.27% in the Valley Community Bank. In Choice Financial, the APY percentage is 2.26% in their RateBuilder Savings. The given APY percentage is for one month introductory rate and then the rates revert to the usual rate tiers. The investor is not allowed to make than over six withdrawals or transfers each month.

For the Georgia residents, there is the Darby Direct. The savings account in this bank offers 2.25% on their high yield online savings account. Then, there is the Quantum National Bank that offers 2.00% interest rate on their money market accounts and an APY percentage of 2.02%. This allows the investor earn as much as $100,000 as an APY. In the UFB Direct, the interest rate for the savings account is 1.98% and the APY percentage is 2.00%. This is a US Savings account where the investor is allowed to make six pre-authorized transfers for each cycle period. One can also access this account with his ATM card. You can get to know about the rates from the UFB Direct website. //