Stocks vs. bonds: What’s the difference?

If you’re a newbie investor, you may have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to investing in the stock market. If so, don’t feel bad - you’re not alone. According to Gallup, in 2019, only a little over half of all Americans were invested in the stock market. But this is a huge mistake.

If you want to build wealth, especially long-term wealth, investing in the stock market is a necessity.

But why? Couldn’t you just invest in real estate, or precious metals like silver and gold, or even a new-fangled investment like cryptocurrency to reach your financial goals? While you could, you’d be missing out on one of the greatest (if not the best) wealth creators of all time.

If y

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Action creates motivation

Human beings are interesting creatures. I'm fascinated by them. That's probably the reason I was a psychology major in college. It's certainly the reason that I believe (strongly) that everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say. (That bit of philosophy is something I picked up from Brenda Ueland's marvelous book, If You Want to Write.)

People are awesome — even if we're each flawed in our own way.

One thing I've noticed over the past few years is the dichotomy between knowing something and doing something. It's one thing to understand a concept or fact intellectually; it's a completely different thing to experience a fact or concept, or to put it into practice.

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I am the one thing in life I can control

Three weeks ago, I drove from Portland to Colorado Springs to participate in Camp FI, a weekend retreat for people interested in financial independence and early retirement.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't drive this distance. It's a 1300-mile trip that takes at least twenty hours to cover. Or, if you're me, it's a 1400-mile trip that takes 23 hours of driving spread over two days.

But, in case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a global pandemic, and although I'm not nearly as cautious as many of my friends, I don't relish the idea of confining myself to close quarters with dozens of strangers for hours on end in an airplane. Besides, I like to drive. And I love the beauty of the American west. And I needed some time alone to think deep thoughts — and to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack over and over and over again.

Around noon on Day Two, as I exited I-80 in south-central Wyoming, I was listening to Hamilton for the fourth time in 24 hours when I was smacked in the brain by a lyric I hadn't heard before. I pulled off the side of the road to think about it -- and to make some notes.

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Capital One 360 savings account review

The Capital One 360 Performance Savings account, commonly called Capital One 360 Savings, is a high-yield savings account with no monthly fees and no minimum balance required. Capital One makes it easy to get started, allowing you to open a new account online in about five minutes. And with the well-reviewed Capital One mobile app, you can easily manage your account on the go.

In this post, we’ll cover the details of having a Capital One 360 Savings account, including the pros and cons — and how it compares to similar accounts. Plus, we’ll help you decide if this is the right account for you.

Capital One 360 Savings Account Fast Facts

  • Annual fee: none
  • Minimum balance: none
  • Current APY: 1.50% (as of 30 April 2020)
  • Pros
    • Comparatively high yields
    • No monthly fee
    • No minimums
    • Easy to get started
    • Mobile app access
  • Cons
    • No ATM cards
    • Comparatively few local branches

Capital One Savings Account Benefits

There are lots of benefits to having a Capital One savings account. Here are some of the highlights:

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What are dividends, and how do they work?

If you’re a stockholder, you’ve likely felt the rush of adrenaline as you watch the value of your portfolio surge.

But the market doesn’t always go up. Sometimes it goes up and then spikes down, and other times it’s like riding a violently rocky ship, crashing through the waves. If the rocky waters scare you, you may decide that focusing on dividends, rather than capital gains, as a source of return may make more sense for you.

But what exactly are dividends, and how does this source of income work?

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Betterment Review

Algorithms seem to be in control of everything these days, from the ads we see on Facebook, the shows we watch on Netflix, to what we find when we search on Google.

But what if there were an algorithm that could help you invest smarter? Something that could maximize returns and minimize risk, while possessing smart features such as automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting?

Especially for new investors, wouldn’t it make sense to give this a try? Continue reading...

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How to talk with your parents about their finances

Talking to your parents about their finances probably seems like one of the most awkward you conversations you could ever have. I'll bet it ranks right up there with the sex talk your parents gave you when you were a kid — or that you’ve had with your own children.

I grew up in the South, where we don’t talk about money or sex. So when I asked my mom where babies came from, she told me a man and woman "make love". That’s it. That was the extent of the conversation.

I have three kids, so clearly I figured out where babies come from. When my oldest was 10, she asked me where babies came from. I didn’t say something vague like, “A man and woman make love.” I simply told her the basics. She then looked at me – and remember, I have three kids – and said, “Ooh, you did that three times.”

I decided to be upfront with my kids because I wanted them to know they could feel comfortable talking to me about a topic that many people consider taboo. Like the money talk with parents, it’s only as awkward as you make it.

However, unlike the birds and the bees talk, you cannot figure out your parents’ finances unless you actually get the details.

I learned this the hard way.

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Wealthfront Review

Robo advisors are still a relatively new product, and yet every year they seem to grow in popularity. One such advisor, called Wealthfront, is one of the largest automatic investment and financial planning services out there.

It’s also one of the most decorated, winning the “Best Robo Advisor of 2019” award, and the “Best Robo Advisor, December 2019” award.

But robo advisors are a dime a dozen these days. Why should you Wealthfront over another company like Betterment?

W

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Great lessons from great men

Because I write a personal finance blog, I read a lot of books about money. I'll be honest: they're usually pretty boring. Sure, they can tell you how to invest in bonds or how to find the latest loophole in the tax code. But most of them lack a certain something: the human element.

Over the years, I've found that it's fun to read a different kind of money book in my spare time. I've discovered the joy of classic biographies and success manuals, especially those written by (or about) wealthy and/or successful men. When I read about Benjamin Franklin or Booker T. Washington or J.C. Penney, I learn a lot — not just about money, but about how to be a better person.

Here are some of the most important lessons that these books, written by and about great men of years gone by, have taught me.

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What is a robo-advisor? An introduction to automated investment tools

One of the joys of writing a money blog like Get Rich Slowly is the continuing self-education. I'm always reading and learning about personal finance. A lot of the times -- as in the past month -- this education is about esoteric topics. I'm currently diving deep into the history of personal finance, a subject that's interesting to me but admittedly not of much practical use in the modern world. (Today in the mail, I got a book about advertising and the use of credit during the 1920s. How's that for esoteric?)

But sometimes, this self-education does have practical uses, and it's stuff that I can share with you folks so that you too can become better educated.

For instance, I have a huge blind spot when it comes to so-called "robo-advisors". When I stopped writing here in 2012, robo-advisors existed but they hadn't yet become a Big Deal. By the time I re-purchased this site in 2017, things had changed. Robo-advisors had become a major force in the investment industry -- and I was clueless about what they were.

I've remained (mostly) clueless for almost three years now. I have a general idea of what robo-advisors are and how they operate, but only in the broadest sense. During our weekly planning call on Monday, I mentioned this blind spot to my business partner, Tom.

"You should write about robo-advisors," Tom said. "If you don't know what they are, I'll bet there are plenty of readers who don't know either. Do some research, write it up, and then everybody benefits."

Tom is a smart man.

Here then is my research into the world of robo-advisors. What are they? How do they work? And who should use them? Let's find out.

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