Investing: Encourage the Kids to Invest in Stocks

Just 26 percent of people under 30 are investing in stocks, according to a survey published by Bankrate.com, a personal finance site. By comparison, 58 percent of adults ages 50 to 64 invest in stocks. Since millennials have a much longer time horizon, stocks are generally more appropriate for them. So this trend is exactly the opposite of what logic would dictate. But it’s not logic that’s at play here — it’s emotion. According to a poll by Goldman Sachs, …

What You Need to Know About Bonds

Ever wonder why prices of bonds and bond funds do what they do when interest rates fluctuate? Here’s what you need to know about how bonds work — as well as what you may think you already know that’s wrong. When you buy a bond, you are merely lending money to a government entity or corporation. Assuming there is no default, they will pay you interest for a period of time and then give you back your principal. Bonds have …

Reframing the Social Security Decision

When should you begin taking Social Security benefits? That was a question asked of AARP.org visitors and registered website users . Less than 19 percent selected age 70, though that’s exactly what I tell the vast majority of my clients to do. Most object to my recommendation until I frame the decision in a different way, which is that they can spend money now and still let it grow. Take this recent case, for example. Kate is 66 and is …

Gold Investing — Learning the Hard Way

Gold is now down 43 percent since its peak in 2011. If you think that’s bad, gold-mining stocks are down more than 70 percent in the past five years. As tends to happen, people have been dumping gold. Many owned gold in the form of an exchange traded fund (ETF) called SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), which was the largest ETF on the planet back in 2011. As also tends to happen, investors bought the fund as it went up only …

How to Beat the S&P 500 Index

I’m going to try to mislead you, but it’s for a very good reason. What I have for you is a U.S. stock fund that not only has beaten the S&P 500 index, it’s nearly certain to continue doing so in the long run. For now, I’m going to call this mutual fund the Super-Secret Fund, or SSF for short. Looking back over 20 years, you can see that the SSF trounced the S&P 500 index. Not only did it …

4 Reasons Not to Load Up on Muni Bonds

Many brokers recommend investing in municipal bonds. Municipal bonds, a.k.a. munis, are a debt security issued by a state, municipality or county to finance its capital expenditures. Most are exempt from federal taxes and even state taxes if you live and file taxes in the issuing state.  They are often pitched as being very safe with a long history of low default rates. Get the latest tips on protecting your money and saving for retirement — AARP Money newsletter » So …