Are stocks safe to invest in? All the disclaimers that you see at the bottom of stockbroker web pages sure makes it sound like they’re not. But the alternatives aren’t necessarily completely safe either. Here’s how to understand how stocks work, and whether you should put your money in them, or elsewhere.
Fear of stocks generally comes from not understanding what they are or how they work. There are ways to make them safe, and with reasonable precautions, their higher yield makes them safer in some ways than traditional “safe” investments.
Should I roll over my 401(K)? Good question. While there may be reason not to do so, in most cases, you would be better off if you did. Here’s how to decide if you should, and where you should roll it over to.
Rolling over your 401(K) helps you keep all your retirement money in one place and can offer you additional control. In some cases, it also saves you money.
When you’re enrolling in your employer’s 401(K) plan, one of the most difficult questions is your 401(K) asset allocation. They’re limited in what advice they can give you, so I’ll share what’s worked for me.
The key to 401(K) asset allocation is to get a good mix of stocks of large companies, medium-sized companies, growth stocks, international stocks, and bonds. This helps you to do well over the long term, even when the market has bad years.
I’m sure you’ve seen the signs attached to telephone poles. They say “We buy houses for cash,” stapled to a telephone pole or maybe stuck into the ground. They include a phone number and maybe a promise of a cash advance or a quick closing. You may have even received a post card in the mail offering to buy your house for cash. Who are these people, and should you consider selling to them?
If you’re not interested in selling and aren’t already working with a realtor, you have every reason to ignore those signs and postcards. If working with a realtor isn’t an option for you and you do need to sell your house or risk losing it, going the cash route may be an option for you.
How do you make money when stock goes down? Counter-intuitively, it’s easier. When the stock market takes a downturn, like it did in 2008, or in late 2018/early 2019, it’s actually an opportunity. Let’s talk about what to do when the stock market falls.
Generally speaking, there are three ways to make money on stocks. The first way is on appreciation, or the increase in value of the stock itself. The second way is through dividends. The stock market going down makes it easier to make money on both of these things. Your money buys more stock, which gives you more shares to recover value. And the more shares you own, the more dividends you receive. And the third is through your employer match, if you receive one.
So the UK voted to leave the EU, key political figures resigned, North Ireland and Scotland might want to leave the UK, and the stock market went into a free fall. What does it all mean? I don’t know, and nobody does. But don’t panic and close your 401(K) or move all the money into bonds.