It’s always good to have at least a basic foundation of fundamental investment knowledge whether you’re a beginner to investing or working with a professional financial advisor. The reason is simple: You are likely to be more comfortable in investing your money if you understand the lingo and basic principles of investing. Combining the basics with what you want to get out of your investment strategy, you will be empowered to make financial decisions yourself more confidently and also be more engaged and interactive with your financial advisor.
Below are a few basic principles that you should be able to understand and apply when you are looking to potentially invest your money or evaluate an investment opportunity. You’ll find that the most important points pertaining to investing are quite logical and require just good common sense. The first step is to make the decision to start investing. If you’ve never invested your money, you’re probably not comfortable with make any investment decisions or moves in the market because you have little or no experience. It’s always difficult to find somewhere to begin. Even if you find a trusted financial advisor, it is still worth your time to educate yourself, so you can participate in the process of investing your money and so that you may be able to ask good questions. The more you understand the reasons behind the advice you’re getting, the more comfortable you will be with the direction you’ve chosen.
Don’t Be Intimidated by the Financial Lingo
If you turn on the TV to some financial network, don’t worry that you can’t understand the financial professionals right away. A lot of what they say can actually boil down to simple financial concepts. Make sure you ask your financial advisor the questions that concern you so you become more comfortable when investing.
IRAs Are Containers to Hold Investments-They Aren’t Investments Themselves
The first area of confusions that most new investors get confused about is around their retirement vehicles and plans that they may have. If an investor has an individual retirement accounts (IRA), a 401(k) plan from work, or any other retirement-type plan at work, you should understand the differences between all the accounts you have and the actual investments you have within those accounts. Your IRA or 401(k) is just a container that houses your investments that brings with it some tax-advantages.
Understand Stocks and Bonds
Almost every portfolio contains these kinds of asset classes. If you buy a stock in a company, you are buying a share of the company’s earnings. You become a shareholder and an owner at the same time of the company. This simply means that you have equity in the company and the company’s future – ready to go up and down with the company’s ups and downs. If the company is doing well, then your shares will be doing well and increase in value. If the company is not doing well or fails, then you can lose value in your investment.
If you buy bonds, you become a creditor of the company. You are simply lending money to the company. So you don’t become a shareholder or owner of the company/bond-issuer. If the company fails, then you will lose the amount of your loan to the company. However, the risk of losing your investment to bondholder is less then the risk to owners/shareholders. The reasoning behind this is that to stay in business and have access to funds to finance future expansion or growth, the company must have a good credit rating. Furthermore, the law protects a company’s bondholders over its shareholders if the company goes bankrupt.