When exploring the world of investments, it’s important to gain a broad perspective of the various types for a clear understanding of how each of them can work towards achieving your objectives. Each has its own investment characteristics which, when applied individually, may not be appropriate for your financial profile; however, when they are strategically combined in a portfolio, they can work in concert to meet your investment objectives within your risk parameters. It is, therefore, important to consider all investments in light of your specific objectives and risk tolerance.
Investments for Growth Stocks: Companies raise capital for their own investment by issuing shares of stock to the public. After issue, the shares are bought and sold on the open market through stock exchanges. Stock prices generally rise in a growing economy, and decline in a shrinking economy. Historically, stock prices have trended upwards, but the market is subject to downward swings.
Equity Mutual Funds: Professionals identify companies that they feel have the greatest potential and manage a whole portfolio of stocks on your behalf. This may provide you with diversification that can minimize your risk. You can achieve greater diversification by investing in mutual funds that focus on different industry segments or global regions. This definition only holds true for active funds, passive funds may only be tracking an index.
Index Funds: One potentially convenient and low cost way to participate in the growth of the markets is to invest in index funds, which are similar to mutual funds in that they consist of a big basket of stocks. Unlike mutual funds, they are not actively managed; they simply track the movement of various stock indexes. So, if you believe that an index, such as the S&P 500, will rise over the long term, you can simply invest in the index.
Investments for Income
Government Securities: The U.S. government borrows money in order to finance its debt and expenditures. When you purchase a U.S. Treasury note from the government, you are, in essence, loaning it money for which it pays you a fixed rate of interest. Because these notes are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, they are considered to be safe investments.
Corporate Bonds: The other way companies raise capital is by borrowing money from investors. A company can sell bonds to individuals.
Companies can also raise capital by issuing debt securities. An individual who owns a corporate bond is a bondholder who receives interest payments from the company. Bonds are typically issued in $1000 increments are have a fixed rate of interest attached to it. Because bonds trade actively in the open market their prices can fluctuate, however, if held to maturity, the bondholder receives the full face amount of the bond.
Bond mutual funds: As with stocks, bonds are bundled together in portfolios which are actively managed to produce income and capital appreciation for investors. Owning a portfolio of bonds is less risky for smaller investors because it is diversified and, it is more liquid.
Gold and silver: These precious metals are becoming much more popular as concerns over inflation and other economic uncertainties increase. The prices of both have risen considerably over the last decade. Gold can be purchased in its hard metal form as bullion or coins, and investors can also participate in these metals through mutual funds that focus on the stocks of mining companies.
Real estate: In recent years, real estate has become less of a sure thing as investments, however, over the long term, they can still be a good hedge against inflation. Investments such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) make it possible for smaller investors to participate in various sectors of real estate. Similar to mutual funds, REITs, invest in a portfolio of properties in either the commercial market or multi-family residential market.
All of these investments entail market risk which means there is always the possibility of selling an investment for less than its purchase price. Investors should fully understand their own tolerance for risk and should consider investing as a long-term proposition. Market risk can be mitigated through a well-conceived, broadly-diversified investment strategy consisting of multiple asset classes. Working together, we can help you identify your investment objectives and risk profile in order to create a customized, long-term investment plan.
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- Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of an investment company carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information and should be read carefully before investing. The prospectus is available from your investment professional.
- The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that’s generally considered representative of the US stock market. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index.
- Commodities may be subject to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. Investments in commodities may be affected by overall market movements, changes in interest rates, and other factors such as weather, diseases, embargoes and international economic and political developments
- REITs are financial vehicles that pool investors’ capital to purchase or finance real estate. REITs involve risks such as refinancing, economic conditions in the real estate industry, changes in property values and dependency on real estate management.
- Investing always involves risk and may incur a profit or loss. No investment strategy can guarantee success.
- Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.