Tag Archives: investing

Top Tax Tips for Investors in the U.S.

Flickr/401(k) 2013

Flickr/401(k) 2013

As if tax time weren’t confusing enough, just when you think you know something, the government goes and changes the rules. Case in point: the notoriously complicated tax system in the United States. That explains why U.S. taxpayers spend an estimated 7.6 billion hours (per year!) complying with federal tax requirements, according to the National Taxpayers Union. This year’s tax increases have mixed things up again and will surely have taxpayers – especially those with higher incomes – scrambling to figure out how to reduce what they owe.

I talked to FOX Business Network reporter and retail stock analyst Sandra Smith about what investors can expect this year. Check it out in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.com.

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Online Investing: The Modern Convenience You May Be Missing

Flickr/Matt McGee

Flickr/Matt McGee

More than 80 percent of Canadians have Internet access – the highest in the world. Many of us check our email every day, use social media to stay connected to friends and family, and run a web search when we need to know, well, anything. But despite Canadians’ uptake of all things technical, there’s one thing we’re still more comfortable doing the old-fashioned way: investing. According to a poll by TD Direct Investing, 72 percent of Canadians avoid doing it online.

Perhaps you imagine that investing through an online platform involves sweating out the day in front of a dozen computer screens filled with flickering stock charts (it doesn’t), or that buying assets over the Internet is way too complicated (it isn’t), or even that it involves too much risk (it doesn’t have to). Check out a few misconceptions about online investing you can stop worrying about – and why you should – in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.com.

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Why Good Financial Advice Doesn’t Cost – It Pays

Flickr/kenteegardin

Flickr/kenteegardin

Investors have long wondered whether it’s worth paying someone to mastermind a financial plan. Financial advice comes at a cost, after all, and the catch is that if you pay an advisor, your investments have to do even better to gain real value from the advice. But according to Robyn K. Thompson, a Certified Financial Planner at Castlemark Wealth Management, good financial advice doesn’t just cost, it pays. How much? About 1.82 percent per year, according to research from Morningstar Inc.

If you have an advisor – or are considering working with one – how an advisor generates value is worth considering. So let’s take a look at what financial advice can add to a portfolio, and how you can ensure that when you do pay an advisor, you’re getting your money’s worth (and more). Read more in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.com.

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Facebook Graph Search: Can It Find the Money?

Flickr/pshab

Flickr/pshab

When Facebook sent out a vague alert to the press about a big unveiling it would be making January 15th, it set off the kind of hysteria we’ve come to expect from any announcement made by the omnipresent company, whether it’s about the stock, the CEO, or in this case, what turned out to be a brand-new feature called Graph Search.

Although investors had no idea what the announcement would be, that didn’t stop them from speculating and driving the stock price to a high of $32, the first time it’s broken out of the $20s since July. You can’t blame beleaguered Facebook investors for being a little over-eager to see this highly publicized stock live up to its long-running hype. But for all Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to make Graph Search sound like a new phase in the history of the Internet, the announcement itself failed to woo investors. The stock dropped that day and has since slipped below $30.

Graph Search has also put Facebook in a bit of an ideological tug-of-war. On the one side are investors who believe that Graph Search – a new kind of search that sorts through social data to answer users’ queries in a more personally relevant way – will revolutionize the Web and put Facebook right at the center of it. On the other side are those who think Graph Search is, well, kinda neat, but also kind of irrelevant, both for the company’s bottom line and the big picture on the Web.

The question remains: Does this new search feature hold any promise for Facebook investors, or is it yet another opportunity for social media speculators to get burned on this overhyped stock? Get the facts in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.com: http://goldengirlfinance.com/inspiration/?post_id=1148

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7 Stocks That Suffered Huge Losses in 2012

Flickr/beardenb

Flickr/beardenb

January is often promoted as the time for a fresh start: time to clear out your closets, spruce up your diet and clean up your act. For investors, it can also be a time for renewal and reflection.  What this often means is selling those losing stocks you’ve lost faith in – the ones you no longer believe will shed their ugly duckling status. (Hopefully you did this in December during tax loss season to take advantage of the capital loss!)

We took a look at some of the stocks that are most likely to land on some investors’ hit lists this year. Not necessarily because they’re bad stocks or all hope is lost, but because they’ve declined so precipitously that they’ve become pretty hard to love – at least for those holding them. Check out some of the biggest losers of 2012. Will investors find a reason to love them, or let them go at a loss? Read more in my article on GoldenGirlFinance.com: http://goldengirlfinance.com/inspiration/?post_id=1111

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An Introduction to Certificates of Deposit

Flickr/401(K) 2013

Flickr/401(K) 2013

If you keep a significant amount of money in a savings account, chances are that keeping risk to a minimum is important for you. But while savings accounts certainly are safe, they pay just about the lowest returns you can get in the investing world. Certificates of deposit (CDs) offer a reasonable alternative; they pay more than a savings account, but provide the same level of certainty that your balance will only increase, rather than suffer a market-based decline. Take a basic look at CDs, how they work and how you can buy them in my new article on Dividend.com: http://www.dividend.com/my-money/an-introduction-to-certificates-of-deposit-cds/

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7 Stocks That Soared in 2012

Flickr/~Pixel Passion~

Flickr/~Pixel Passion~

For the stock market, December wasn’t the most wonderful time of the year. Economic instability persists in Europe, the U.S. is still trying to dig itself out of a recession – and it’s teetering on the edge of a “fiscal cliff” that could tank the country’s stock market, and possibly ours as well. But here’s the thing about the stock market: someone always wins. When the job market gets tough, discount grocery stores thrive; when the housing market booms, so do home improvement stores; when people stop going to movies, they start watching them on Netflix. So, while the Canadian stock market was pretty tepid in 2012, some stocks enjoyed runaway price increases. We’ve selected a few from the list of top movers in 2012. Our criteria: To highlight some of the key industries that are succeeding and avoid stocks that trade below $5 per share. Check it out in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.com: http://goldengirlfinance.com/inspiration/?post_id=1094 (Note that you have to register for the new site. Don’t worry, they don’t send spam!)

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The Top Canadian Financial Stories of 2012

Flickr/afagen

Flickr/afagen

Whew! The holiday season is winding down, the whirlwind of festive parties is drawing to a close, the Christmas tree is losing its needles – and we’re looking toward the New Year! Frankly, it’s hard not to wonder where all the time went. Has it really been a year already?

Well, yes, it has, and we’ve combed through a year’s worth of financial news to prove it. It’s been said that you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, and we think there are a few lessons to be found in the top financial stories from the past year. So check out what happened in the world of money in 2012 in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/WLdUXG

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The 3 Little Obstacles That Keep Women From Investing

Flickr/Jsome1

Flickr/Jsome1

We like to think that we’ve come a long way. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that women were relegated to kitchen duty and raising children. Other opportunities – any other opportunities – were few and far between.

Fast forward a few decades: Women now make up almost half of the workforce in Canada, and if the trend in the United States is any indication, they may be on pace to out-earn men in the not-too-distant future.

But in this wave of positive change, there’s one area where women appear to be a bit stuck. According to the 2012 TD Women Investor Poll, when it comes to household finances, the majority of women are clinging to the traditional role of budgeting and managing household expenses, leaving much of the retirement planning, investing and investment management to their male partners.

According to Sandy Cimoroni, president at TD Mutual Funds and executive sponsor of TD’s Women Investor Strategy, the things that have been holding women back when it comes to managing their own money haven’t budged since TD started gathering statistics on women investors 12 years ago. Fewer women than men are responsible for managing investments (32 percent vs. 49 percent), dealing with financial professionals (33 percent vs. 44 percent) and planning for retirement (30 percent vs. 38 percent respectively). And those behaviors have very tangible results. In households that are run by women, assets tend to grow more slowly, and are more likely to include a higher percentage of uninvested cash (23 percent) compared to households where men hold the money reins.

What gives? Find out in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/R3uTBm

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7 Great Investments for First-Timers

Flickr/401(K) 2012

Flickr/401(K) 2012

Whether you’re young or not so young, if you haven’t put any of the money you earn into some type of investment yet, chances are you’re pretty intimidated by the whole thing. I’ve been there, and I can appreciate how confusing investing seems. But if you actually peek behind all the stock tickers and complicated commentary on CNBC, what you’ll find is that a lot of investments are pretty simple. And, although it takes a little work to learn and understand these investments, they’re totally worth it. Not only is investing a much better way to make the most of your money (compared to, say, stockpiling it in a zero-interest account or, worse yet, just spending it all), but understanding the world of money is the best way to put yourself in control of your finances.

If you haven’t started investing, don’t worry — it’s never too late. Check out seven simple, suitable investments for first-timers to help you get started in my new post on WiseBread: http://bit.ly/VaU9SZ

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