Top Investing Options in Todays Economy

    Economists expect a slow recovery from a turbulent decade filled with economic insecurity. The New Year signals a proactive, fresh approach to investing: roll with the market; don't let it or the experts dictate to you, watch, learn, and listen: transition with it as it recovers.

    Investing in stocks is as much speculation, whim, and gut feeling as it is an art and a science. Many economists predict sticking with the tried-and-true instead of going on gut and speculation. The trick is to balance. Options are always open, keep your stock portfolio diverse. The traditional investment advice is to buy low, sell high, look for trends. There's a reason it's traditional, it works. But don't rush the market. If you have faith in a certain stock, stick with it through its market cycle. Many investors thought Ford was done for and it has rebounded nicely with the advent of new blood at the helm and new product on its floor.

    Get Reacquainted With the Basics

    Novice investors may shy away from the volatility of the stock market. It can be daunting, all those symbols and numbers. So here's a primer. For seasoned investors, consider it a refresher, so that you can re-evaluate your top investing options:

    Stocks are shares of a company that you buy. They are equity. Corporations sell stock in order to gain capital to meet their goals. When you buy stocks, you become a shareholder, usually without voting rights. There's no guaranteed return from a stock that you buy, it is always considered "at risk," You can gain money or lose money if you decide to sell your stock. If you hold on to the stock, be prepared to weather the ups-and-downs of the marketplace.

    Putting Stock in Your Education

    Bonds are a form of debt. When corporations issue bonds, they are asking, you, as the investor, to loan them money.

    The Basics of Bonds

    Mutual Funds are a collection of stocks grouped to complement each other, but that are diverse, to meet the goals of the collection of stocks and other investments that is outlined in the particular prospectus. Mutual funds are managed by specific money managers, usually corporate as it takes large amounts of money to start up these funds.

    Mututal Funds: A Primer

    Real Estate is real property, acquisition of land, its resources, and permanent property.

    The Real Estate Outlook 2010

    Precious Metals are rare metals, elements occurring naturally, that investors place high value on such as gold.

    Precious Metal Education Links

    Commodities are raw materials from the earth like precious metals and grains. Commodities, always in demand, are used to make consumer products like cereals and gold bands for weddings. Commodities are sold as futures, meaning that you agree by contract to buy it at a specific time for a specific amount of money. It is highly speculative.

    A Short Course in Futures and Commodity Trading

    Options are contracts based on the right, not the obligation, to sell assets at specific prices by or on a certain date. They are securities just like stocks and bonds. You usually have to be approved for options buying and trading.

    A 20-minute Overview of Options

    Investment choices change every moment of every day. Consult your investment professional for specific advice. If you want to come to your appointment armed with investment ideas and information, check out these sites:

    MarketWatch: Real time information and investment strategies includes market and personal finance education.

    Investment Tips: For the average consumer. Lists questions that you should have answered before deciding to invest.

    Investor Education: Educational resources for both consumers, avid investors, and the classroom, along with news, including scams.

    How to Pick An Investment Advisor: Advice from the Securities and Exchange Commission, known as the SEC, in FAQ format.

    General Advice About Troubled Markets:  Advice from February 2009 that applies in today's uncertain marketplace.

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