How to Get Over Your Fear of Investing

How to Get Over Your Fear of Investing

Fear (false enemies appearing real) applies a great deal for new investors who are less familiar with the potholes of the landscape. There are a few mind tweaks, however, that you can take in order to immediately get over this fear. Let’s take a look at these ideas.

Fear disappears when you accept that losses are inevitable:

The vast majority of the fear people have for investing is the fear of loss. People think that losing money in the investment world is somehow different from losing money paying bills, going to dinner or putting gas in the car. Honestly, it isn’t! Once you realize that investing involves risk, and you accept this, the fear goes away. You will likely lose money, and you will also gain money. The secret is to simply gain more money than you lose.

Having a plan to gain more money than you lose:

The next step in losing fear is gaining a plan. Even the best investors lose money. The secret is to have a plan to get it back.

Creating a plan requires a great deal of study. The more that you study, the better your plans for gaining money in the market will become. There are many tools that you can use in order to gain money. Not all of them will apply to you. Some of them are contingent on your personality – others are contingent on the types of investments that you like.

Choosing a niche:

Another thing that people do not understand about investing is that it is not something that is done from a birds eye view. You need to get your hands dirty in your investments if you are going to succeed with them. What does this mean? It means that you actually have to enjoy the companies that you are investing in.

This is actually a great opportunity. It means that you should only invest in companies that you have an interest in. If you have been using a certain type of product for your entire life, then you should take a look at that company first before you take a look at any other company. It is more likely that you will stick with an investment for a company that you enjoy.

Paper investing:

Another way to get rid of your fear for investing is to invest on paper first. You can very easily determine how good you are by simply following investments that you put on paper but you do not actually make.

You can actually create an entire portfolio for yourself in a notebook without investing one dollar into the market. Take the time to follow this portfolio for a year. If you cannot, then you know one other thing as well – you probably do not have the self-discipline that it would take to make money in the real market. If so, then you can completely get rid of the fear of investing by saying that you are not ready. Just quit. This may not be what you want to hear, but it is the truth!

You don’t want to quit. So get to work!

Mark Angelo is the co-founder of Yorkville Advisors.

A Guide to Passive Investing

A Guide to Passive Investing

Passive investing is an approach to investing that combines two purposes simultaneously: Maximizing investment returns over the long run and keeping in check the high investment costs by minimizing transactions in the investment portfolio. The two purposes are not mutually exclusive. Frequent trading within the portfolio can run up expenses and decrease overall returns.

Passive Investing with an Indexing Strategy:

Index investing is one of the principal techniques used by investment managers when focusing on a passive investment approach. An index fund is a pooled investment such as a mutual fund or exchange traded fund (ETF) whose composition mimics a particular stock index such as the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Index. Index funds are not restricted to US benchmarks. Indeed there are also index funds for international and global indexes. Furthermore, index funds are not restricted to stock investment; there are bond index funds as well.

Index investing was made popular by the Vanguard Group, a mutual-fund firm known for conservative, low-cost funds. Your choices are by no means restricted to that firm. Today, many investment companies offer low-cost, broadly diversified mutual funds and ETF’s as important components of their offerings.

Keep Your Costs Low:

Keeping costs low is one of the main advantages of investing passively with index funds. Buying and selling within an index fund is generally done only to maintain the investment portfolio’s weighting approximate to its benchmark index. Consequently, transaction costs are ultra-low.

Diversification and Passive Investing:

A second, equally important objective of passive investing is diversification. It is the answer to the old adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Index funds commonly have many tens to hundreds of securities in their portfolios at any one time, making the effect of one company’s bad news minimal to the overall portfolio.

Tax-efficiency of Passive Investing:

Most index funds are highly tax-efficient. The relative infrequency of trading means that lower capital gains are realized each year relative to actively managed portfolios. By law, these gains must be passed on every year to the fund shareholders. If held in a non-qualified retirement account, these gains add to the holder tax liability each year. Passive investing inherently limits these pass-through gains, making tax time less costly for index investors.

Perfect for Arm-chair Investors:

Many folks are not high-powered investment managers and they know that. They want to participate in the market and build for their retirement but don’t want to get into the nuts and bolts of active investing. For investors like these, the passive investing approach using index funds is built-to-order.

Using index funds and ETF’s as the core of a long-term investment portfolio makes sense for many investors. Investor-advocate organizations such as Morningstar generally extoll the virtues of passive investing. The broad diversification, tax efficiency and low costs inherent in passive investing make sense for many folks desiring to achieve good returns on the investment of their hard-earned money and who may not be interested in more active forms of investing.

Mark Angelo is the Co-Founder of Yorkville Advisors.

What You Need to Know about Investing in IPO’s

What You Need to Know about Investing in IPO’s

IPOs, or initial public offerings, are an exciting time, both for the company going through the IPO as well as investors. Here’s everything you need to know about IPS from an investing perspective.

What is it?

An IPO is a process by which a company goes from privately held to publicly traded. There are many changes that take place within a company when this occurs and one one of the most important is that the company has to provide much more information than it did as a private company. IPOs are very public events and don’t happen in secret. At a certain point, the company will make an announcement of it’s intent to go public. There are usually months between this announcement and the actual IPO. A common primary goal for the company is to get a very large amount of money very fast, as both a number of shares to be sold and a price to sell them at will be picked. As an investor, there are a couple reasons to be interested in an IPO. Often, getting in on the ground floor is attractive in and of itself. Additionally, in many cases, the stock price at IPO is the lowest it will be for a very long time.

How do I participate?

You’ll need a brokerage account, and that’s pretty much it. Once the date is made public, you’ll be able to buy and sell the stocks after that point. When the date is announced, it will likely be accompanied by a price. Don’t be fooled! This price isn’t the ‘public’ price. This is a price reserved for a relatively small group of people, specifically picked investors or employees, usually. The picked investors are usually very, very large. The actual price you’ll pay is what is available on the open market and that may look nothing like the offering price.

Risks:

There are quite a few risks in attempting to participate in an IPO. Of course, this is an investment and all investments carry some risk. However, there are some additional risks for this particular process. One is that there is often a lot of media noise about an IPO for some companies. This can lead some to invest without doing the proper research. This is a big risk, as this is still an investment and should have the same amount of research as any other investment. In addition to this, many beginner investors view IPOs as sure bets. They aren’t. There have been as many huge IPO failures as there are fantastical successes.

Mark Angelo is the Co-Founder of Yorkville Advisors.

Investing Tips You Should Always Keep in Mind

Investing Tips You Should Always Keep in Mind

If you want to build wealth beyond what your ordinary income can furnish, learning to invest is one of the most important things you can possibly do. To be a successful investor, there are some basic concepts and tips that you should learn and apply whenever you plan to buy shares of a given stock. Here are three of the top investment tips you should always keep in mind.

Invest Based on Fundamentals:

Too many investors look at day-to-day gains or losses as the measure of whether a stock is a good buy or not. Historically, however, the best way to invest in stocks is to buy shares of companies that are likely to appreciate over time based on their own business performances. Stock fundamentals include both quantitative and qualitative factors. Some of the more important quantitative factors include the company’s debt-to-earnings ratio, the profitability of the company and whether the business is growing yearly. Qualitative evaluation should include factors such as whether the company is in a good business niche and whether the current management seems to be making sound decisions. If you can answer these questions, you can perform a much more useful analysis of the stock than simply looking at share price history will allow.

Don’t Try to Time the Market:

As appealing as the idea of perfectly timing the market to buy stocks at the lowest possible price and sell at the highest is, it’s virtually impossible to do with any consistency. Investors who try to time the market often end up holding shares they should sell for too long in an attempt to get a higher price for them. A better approach is to find basically good stocks, hold onto them for long periods of time and sell when it makes sense from your own financial perspective. If you try to time the market, you’ll almost certainly blunder into bad buying or selling decisions.

Be Skeptical of Predictions:

Market analysts and financial leaders are in the business of making predictions, but they’re not always right. Investing in a stock based on someone else’s prediction about it can work from time to time, but it can also lead you into bad investments that fail to pay off. A good way to use the expertise of others to your own advantage is to look at stock predictions and then perform your own analysis to see if the predictions seem sound. When they do, you may have a real opportunity to buy a good stock. When they don’t, though, you should avoid investing in stocks that don’t seem to make good sense to you as an investor.

These are just a few of the basic keys to investing successfully. Though none of them may seem glamorous or secretive, they are all important things to keep in mind to avoid making unwise investments. If you invest your money with these principles in mind, you’ll have a much higher chance of achieving success.

Mark Angelo is the Co-Founder of Yorkville Advisors.

Best Ways to Invest Without Lots of Money

Best Ways to Invest Without Lots of Money

Many Americans put off investing because they believe they do not have enough money. In the past, it did require a substantial amount of money upfront to start investing. Most brokers would require a minimum of $1,000 down. Fortunately, with the digital revolution well underway, it is much cheaper to invest. The bottom line is, you do not need lots of money to invest. Here are three ways to invest with very little money.

Micro Investing:

Micro investing involves saving small sums of money to invest in stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds and index funds. Platforms such as Betterment, Acorns and Robin Hood allow you to invest with little to no money, and many of the platforms do not require account minimums. For example, you can invest small amounts of money in a portfolio developed by a micro-investing platform. The catch is that many of these investing platforms use sophisticated software to run their portfolios instead of human stockbrokers. That is why these companies can charge very little in brokerage fees and typically do not require any account minimums.

Commission-Free Exchange Traded Funds:

Exchange-traded funds, known as ETFs, continue to grow in popularity among novice investors with little money to invest. ETFs are marketable equities that track a specific index, such as the NASDAQ or the S&P 500 indexes. You can buy and sell ETFs just like you would individual stocks. Many brokers who buy and sell ETFs for investors do not charge any commissions. That is why ETFs are fast becoming one of the most popular investment vehicles for people with little or no money. For example, one of the most popular online brokers, TD Ameritrade, offers a comprehensive list of over 300 commission-free ETFs. For the price of a single share of an ETF, you gain exposure to a broad range of assets listed in a market index.

Company 401(k)’s:

Although it may seem like common sense to start investing small amounts into your company’s 401(k) retirement account, many Americans decline to enroll because the company automatically deducts the investment dollars from their paychecks. The problem is, many people are unaware that the deductions are so small, they probably would not miss the money. You can deduct as little as 1 percent of your paycheck into your employer’s 401(k) is you so choose. Combined with some of the tax benefits of 401(k)’s, that 1 percent gets smaller over time while still earning the same returns. If your company gives you an annual pay raise, you can start increasing your contribution each year.

Mark Angelo is the Co-Founder of Yorkville Advisors.

Investing Strategies for the Wealthy

Investing Strategies for the Wealthy

Smart investors are constantly searching for strategies that will help them save money while also accumulating more wealth. With that being said, here is a look at several investment strategies that wealthy people should consider using to accumulate even more wealth.

Focus On Tax Free Investments:

While the majority of tax reducing strategies do not necessarily benefit wealthy people, there are some strategies that can be used as assets for wealthy investors. Look at tax free municipals. A tax free municipal bond can help lower the interest rate on the bond.

Do Not Neglect Cash:

Many wealthy investors have a relatively high percentage of their assets in cash. Having a lot of cash on hand allows wealthy investors to take advantage of any sudden market opportunities as they arise. Without having a lot of cash, investors will not have the flexibility to adapt to the market.

Pay Attention To The Fees:

Investment fees can quickly accumulate for wealthy investors. Wealthy investors should do research on the different types of investment fees that they are responsible for paying. It may be more beneficial in the long run to look at other investment options.

Re-balance:

Wealthy investors should look to re-balance their portfolio. Without consistently re-balancing their investments, wealthy investors are at risk of seeing their assets improperly allocated. There should never be an over reliance on stocks or bonds.

Diversify:

Diversification is an easy way to avoid imbalance in a portfolio. Wealthy investors should have a diverse portfolio made up of assets in equities, bonds, real estate, and hedge funds, among other assets. Diversification helps reduce portfolio risk. Wealthy investors have access to more opportunities to diversify their portfolio.

Ask For Help When Necessary:

Many wealthy investors network with their peers in order to learn more about investing. Investment professionals can be a real asset as well, especially for investors who are unable to devote a lot of time to studying the market. Do it yourself investing has continually proven to be a mistake.

Go Private:

Wealthy investors are aware that large amounts of wealth are accumulated in private markets compared to public markets. Wealthy investors are aware of how lucrative investing in private businesses can be.

Develop Risk Tolerance:

Wealthy investors often take time before making the choice to invest. They look over any potential scenarios that could arise after they have invested. Successful investors have the risk tolerance to know when to make the right decision to invest and when to pass on an opportunity.

 

Mark Angelo is the Co-Founder of Yorkville Advisors.

Dividend Growth Investing Strategy

Dividend Growth Investing Strategy

Dividend growth investors are very special kinds of investors who are looking for dividend growth specifically. In most cases, this kind of investor want to find a stock that has increased its annual dividends over many years without a break. In order to find these stocks, it is important to understand the conditions that create success in this arena.

One Week Pullback Strategy, Trading Every Week:

This very successful strategy involves getting into a stock as it pulls back significantly over the course of five to seven days. Over the past 10 years, investors brought in an annualized return of around 10%. It was not uncommon to see returns of 13% or more over the course of a single year.

If a trader buys and sells every week using this strategy, he has a chance to grossly outperform the market.

One Week Pullback Strategy, Trading Only Once:

The performance of the same stocks in the example above do not hold muster when the trader only trades once for the same investments. Short term investing is actually the preferred strategy here, not long term investing. The factors that cause changes in stocks – sentiment, volatility, quality and value – take their toll over many months and years and do not provide a good rate of return for the dividend growth investor.

Testing Our Strategy With Low Volatility:

Let us assume that we bought 50 low volatility stocks with dividends reinvested into new positions rather than into the same companies. Compared against the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF, we beat the market by around 140% if we had bought in 1999 and latched on until 2009.

Testing Our Strategy With High Volatility:

Let us take the same case – however, instead of the 50 lowest volatility stocks on the market, we purchase the 50 with the highest volatility. The risk is not as extreme as one might think over the same time period. If the investor can stomach the slightly higher swings, the overall result after a 10 year hold is slightly advantageous.

The trick with dividend reinvestment is to define what you consider low and high volatility stocks. If you ask five investors, you will get five answers, but choosing the right benchmark has a lot to do with the success of the people who come out ahead. In general, staples will give you low volatility while things like tech and finance will give you slightly larger volatility (and a bigger reward if you can just hang on).

 

Mark Angelo is the Co-Founder of Yorkville Advisors.

Is Indexing Doomed? Financial Leader Believes So

Is Indexing Doomed? Financial Leader Believes So

The End of the Era of Mutual Funds:

Index funds -mutual funds that track an “index” of dozens or hundreds of companies- have been a popular investment for decades. With nominal expense ratios and built-in diversification, they offer a strong basis for a retirement portfolio. But Niels Jensen, the UK-based founder of Absolute Return Partners, has written a book predicting that mutual funds will soon lose their luster. By analyzing long-term macroeconomic mega trends, he has come to the conclusion that mutual funds will go belly under.

The Debt Super-cycle May Stop Churning:

Borrowing -particularly on a margin- has led to unparalleled standards of living. As TV dad Archie Bunker once said, “[c]redit is the only thing that stands between us and Communism.”

But as the sovereign debt of developed nations is untenable, as some economists predict will happen soon, the entire global financial system will have to be restructured. This means that the dominance of mutual funds will also end, and leads us to Jensen’s next salient point…

The Rise of the East:

With the ascendancy of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), some are doubting the centuries-long dominance of the Anglo-American economies and their allies. Though the BRICS nations still have multiple millions of people living on wages less than $2 a day, which means they also have more room to grow. China, in particular, has been a development success story. Many index funds are focused on the developed markets of the US, the UK, the EU, Japan and increasingly South Korea. Even international funds are woefully underexposed to developing markets.

The Baby Boomer Bust:

The West is facing a demographic crisis: the Baby Boom generation is beginning to retire. That leaves to the smaller generations X, Y, and Z to make up for their productivity. Jensen suggests that industrial automation may be able to make up for some of this workforce loss. Also, Baby Boomers are having to make more with less due to inflation and other factors. This segues into another of Mr. Jensen’s points…

The declining spending power of the middle classes:

As the price of consumer staples declines, middle-class people are left with less discretionary income. This leads to a stagnation for cyclical firms as consumer spending decreases. Worse still, this leads to fewer jobs being created. This vicious cycle could do serious harm to index funds that depend on cyclical businesses to heighten gains during booms.

The death of fossil fuels:

Renewable energy firms have been taking advantage of the jump in demand for their products. The solar and wind sub-sectors, specifically, are challenging conventional fossil fuel utilities for market share. This threatens mutual funds, as some of their best dividends come from companies like BP and ExxonMobil. While yieldcos offer decent dividends, they still fall far short of those provided by conventional energy. Will investors accept lower dividends from more sustainable sources?

Mark Angelo co-founded the Investment Manager in August 2009.

3 Tips to Beat the Stock Market

3 Tips to Beat the Stock Market

Many Americans are scared when it comes to investing and I get it. You don’t want to see your hard earned money go to waste on a specific investment. However, saving is generally worse than investing. If you save your money, inflation will eat away at it year after year. In other words, your dollar amount will decrease over time. In this article, I’m going to be breaking down my three best tips on how you along with the average investor can beat the stock market. Let’s get started!

1. There are no shortcuts to building wealth:

As we all know, it takes years and years to build the kind of wealth you desire. Find a good mutual fund and investment vehicle that has shown to get a consistent return over decades. If you look at the S&P 500, it has been consistently growing throughout history even though it has experienced some corrections and recessions. The last thing you want is a lot of volatility and speculation in the assets that you are invested in. The biggest takeaway is learning to ride the market through all of its ups and downs. Invest in quality companies that have a proven track record in a diversified portfolio. Vanguard mutual funds are a great option. All in all, it’s your goal to stay disciplined no matter where the market is at the time.

2. Diversification is very important:

Like Warren Buffett says, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. When he says that, he’s referring to investing and how you shouldn’t put all of your money into a single investment. The reason is that you need to rely on that one asset to produce and if it doesn’t, you’re out of money. Instead, Buffett says to diversify into multiple investments that have a proven track record. In other words, invest in quality companies. Apple, Google, and Amazon are all quality companies that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. By diversifying into many quality assets, you’ll take less of a hit financially when the market tanks.

3. Don’t invest in things you don’t understand:

This is very self-explanatory but many people fail to abide by this rule. This is one of the many reasons why 90% of traders active in the markets fail. If you don’t understand what you are investing in, it’s best to just not invest at all. For example, a person who successfully flips cars for a living wouldn’t try and flip real estate. Why? Because they already have a proven track record of flipping cars. This goes for all types of investing. All in all, focus on the investments and assets you can control. Always formulate a plan before you invest in anything. Make sure that the potential for profit outweighs the potential for loss. The last step is to never invest based off of someone else’s opinion. It’s your hard earned money and you should get to decide where that money should be invested.

All in all, I hope these four tips help.

Mark Angelo is the Co-Founder of Yorkville Advisors.

The Pros and Cons of Different Investing Apps

The Pros and Cons of Different Investing Apps

The stock market has seen record-breaking gains in the last year since President Donald Trump took office, but this has not encouraged Americans to invest, notably the millennial generation. A Gallup poll conducted in May 2017 revealed that only 54 percent of the population has stock market interests through personal investment accounts or 401(k) plans at work.

The low rate of engagement has driven the development of apps to encourage investing. While these apps offer a simplified investment process with lower fees, they may not be the right solution for everyone. Edukate CEO and founder Chris Whitlow said people should closely examine their finances to ensure an investment app is the correct choice before diving in with IRA contributions and extra income from recent tax cuts.

The pros and cons of the most popular investment apps are explained below.

Acorns App:

Acorns monitors the user’s bank account and invests the leftover funds after purchases. The system is called “roundups,” and it is one of the easiest ways to invest.

Pros: An excellent app for beginners with a minimal learning curve

Cons: Limited choices for investing

Stash App:

Stash is another simple app that allows the purchase of fractional shares, starting at $5. The focus of the app is on retirement savings, and the only requirement is a checking account.

Pros: Many available investment options based on market preferences

Cons: Only good for long-term investing

Robinhood App:

Those who are concerned about fees are a good match for the Robinhood app. It offers the ability to trade stocks and not pay fees. Users must apply to use the app, and are sent an instructional video after approval.

Pros: Allows for complete control of an investment portfolio.

Cons: None

Betterment App:

This app falls into the “roboadvisor” category by doing the same job as a human advisor for less money. It works by automatically investing in stocks and bonds based on the user’s risk threshold.

Pros: Provides guidance for long-term investment goals at a lower cost

Cons: Lacks the support level of a human broker

Twine App:

Twine is a newcomer to the investment app scene and is the first one built especially for couples. It simplifies the process of saving for life events such as vacations, weddings and down payments on homes.

Pros: Perfect for collaborative saving

Cons: None

While all of the apps listed above are a good entry point for investing by people with low or moderate incomes, Chris Whitlow warns they should not be considered as an ultimate financial strategy. He added that it is important to know both the risks and the advantages to meet money goals, and the apps are simply one way of accomplishing that.

 

Mark Angelo co-founded the Investment Manager in August 2009 and two affiliated investment managers.