Invariably, when markets are volatile, and it seems as if no single investment strategy is keeping up with the market indexes, we get questions from clients asking whether an index fund would be a preferable investment.
We generally recommend that if an investor has less than $50,000 to invest in the market, mutual funds should be purchased to take advantage of the instant diversification. If more than $50,000 can be invested in the market (following our Ten Year Rule), shares of individual common stocks, in different industries, should be purchased.
An option is a securities contract that allows the holder to buy or sell a fixed amount of shares of stock (or indexes and commodities) at a specified price within a limited time period. If the option is not exercised during the specified period, the option expires. Most options usually expire within a year; however, some may not expire for as long as three years.
Many new investors look for a way to invest a small amount of cash into the stock market without paying huge commissions. To meet this increasing demand, more companies are offering dividend reinvestment plans, also known as DRIPs. DRIPs are offered by a corporation and allow investors to reinvest their cash dividends by purchasing additional shares or fractional shares of some of the most well known publicly-traded companies for as little as $10 at a time. As a result, DRIPs have become heavily promoted as viable solutions to new investors entering the stock market
Every investor needs to know investing in the stock market requires a thorough understanding of the risks involved. With any investment there is a risk-return trade off based on a degree of uncertainty—the greater the risk, the greater the potential for return if that risk pays off.
When an investor purchases securities, the securities may be paid in full, or part of the purchase price can be borrowed from a brokerage firm. If funds are borrowed, an investor is trading “on margin.” In order to trade on margin, an investor must open a margin account.
An employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) is a plan that allows a company to compensate a broad group of employees with options to buy the company’s stock at a specified price, usually at a discount. Many large companies use these plans as an employment incentive, giving employees an opportunity to share in the growth potential of the company’s stock. Generally, the employee is not taxed at the time the stock is purchased.