The three videos scheduled for today were going to cover hedge funds. After watching them, however, I've decided they're not necessary for basic financial literacy. Unless I've missed something, hedge funds are targeted primarily at institutional investors. If you want to learn more about them, you can visit the SEC or watch Michael's videos at YouTube:
- Hedge funds 1: What is a hedge fund?
- Hedge funds 2: What is short-selling?
- Hedge funds 3: Different strategies
Instead of covering hedge funds, we'll move on to Michael's discussion of timing investments and dollar-cost averaging:
Have you ever wondered what all of those numbers on the nightly business report actually mean? Michael Fischer explains:
Just as you cannot accurately gauge the health of a garden from the growth of a single plant, you cannot gauge the health of the market from the performance of s single stock. Stock market indexes — or indices, if you prefer — allows us to track groups of stocks instead of simply following individual stocks.
Yesterday we learned about bonds, which are small slices of debt. Today Michael Fischer defines stocks, or small slices of equity:
The stock market has its own unique vocabulary, with "puts" and "calls", "preferred stock" and "P/E ratios", "dividends" and "spread". I'll cover more of these later, but for now here are some basic concepts.
Today's episode of "Saving and Investing" features three short videos, each of which is an introduction to a particular financial statement. Learning to read financial statements can help you evaluate the companies in which you would like to invest. (These statements are mandatory parts of corporate financial reports.)
First, Michael Fischer explains balance sheets:
In today's episode of "Saving and Investing", Michael Fischer explains a concept I've heard mentioned a lot, but have never understood. The term "leverage" is used in many financial books and articles, often referring to real estate investments. The concept has always puzzled me, even when I looked it up. Michael's explanation is short and to the point. Leverage makes perfect sense now.
A simple example of financial leverage: Say you have $10 that you want to invest in a stock. If you invest that $10 and it goes up 10%, you've made $1. However, if you're able to borrow an additional $90 to purchase that stock, you'd have $100 total to invest. If that stock goes up 10%, you've made $10. This is leverage: borrowing money to magnify returns. (Of course, losses are magnified as well.)