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When trying to invest in stocks there are two primary ways; mutual funds and individual stocks.Mutual funds are a way of investing in a set of stocks with a single purchase.

Mutual funds have several advantages: Simple diversification, get many different stocks with a single purchase. Purchase different types of funds to get coverage over different financial segments. Does not require you to research your own stocks. Get professional money management without the pricey broker fees.Unfortunately not all about mutual funds is good. There are also several disadvantages: Often mutual funds are not as diversified as one thinks. Most mutual funds only cover a very small financial segment. e.g. The S&P 500 is one of the most popular indexes tracked by mutual funds. It has 500 stocks, but it really only tracks a very small financial segment (very large US stocks). The vast majority of mutual funds underperform the index they track (~80%). This is because as with all things about half actually outperform and half underperform, but because you have to pay fees a larger percentage end up underperforming.In my experience mutual funds are good for people who don't have the time/desire to fia card service auto pay research their own stocks but still want to invest in stocks. And for the vast majority of those folks an index fund is the best way to go as it allows you to track the index while having the lowest possible fees.But for those with the time and desire to try to beat the indexes' returns they would be much better fia card service auto pay off researching and picking their own stocks. The advantage the individual investor has is they do not have to try and perform for their investors, which causes them to do things that may not actually be the best money making choice. i.e. They may need to sell certain stocks to lock in profits to show on their annual reports.If you are interested in trying to invest in individual stocks your first step is to find a discount broker. As with mutual funds one important part to being successful is not getting drug down by fees. You will need to find a broker with a good price, but also with the kinds of features you're interested in. Many brokers offer research and help finding stocks. Start by comparing different brokers and fia service auto card pay trying to find the one that best fits your needs.Investing in stocks incurs more risk,card auto fia service pay you may lose money on your investment. Please contact your financial advisor before changing any of your current investment strategies.Written by Mark Reynolds, president Gotta get my info. You can find more about stocks and all things financial at the Finance page at Gotta Get My Info.(Authors permission is granted to share this full article with others. Just leave the signature line intact, please.)2

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Online investing is becoming more and more popular with each passing day, but is this really the way to make your fortune and should you rush to join this online investing crowd?

Investing in individual company stocks and in shared investments, such as mutual funds, is a common practice around the world and, in recent years, a huge number of small private investors have joined the investment bandwagon. It is not surprising therefore that many of these private investors are now moving away from the traditional brokerage houses and are turning to the internet to manage and grow their portfolios. But is this rush towards the internet a wise move?

Let's examine some commonly expressed thoughts by those turning to online investing.

First, there are those who say that they are going to make a killing online.

As with most things in life, online investing can make you a fortune, but it can also result in you losing your shirt. Indeed, studies have shown that the most active online investors, the day traders, tend to lose more than they win. Nevertheless, if you do your research, make careful are reasoned decisions about your investments and maintain a balanced portfolio, then online investing can produce very acceptable results.

Second, there are those who believe that investing online is particularly advantageous when it comes to making a killing on highly profitable initial public offerings.

When publicly traded companies make a new offering of shares to investors, the price often rises sharply in early trading, making them very popular with investors. However, there is almost always a very high demand for these new share offerings and the number of investors who benefit from these issues is very small.

Third, many people believe that by investing online they can benefit from the fact that their shares are purchased the moment that they place their order.

The moment at which your purchase is actually made however depends upon a number of factors but, in times of heavy trading, your purchase can take anything from a matter of minutes to several hours to complete. This means of course that the price shown when you click the buy button may well not be the same as the actual purchase price you end up paying. There are of course systems in place (such as limited orders and stop-loss orders) to counter this effect, but you need to understand the detail of the buying process online if you want to avoid getting your fingers burnt.

Fourth, there are those who believe that the real beauty of this form of investment is that it allows them to trade at any hour of the day or night.

While online investing allows you to access your account at any time, and place orders whenever you wish, any orders placed will only be executed during normal market trading hours and, even then, they may be subject to delay in heavy trading periods.

These, and many other, common misconceptions abound in the investment world and the reality is that the internet represents nothing more than the latest bandwagon. It is not, however, the answer to the investor's prayer and it is simply another tool that can be added to your investment toolbox.

For many, particularly seasoned and experienced investors, online investing does indeed represent a very good way to increase your investment income. To others, and especially to the inexperienced or novice investor, online investing needs to be researched carefully before you decide whether or not it is right for you.

Take your time and do your homework before jumping on this particular bandwagon or your super highway to fortune will rapidly turn into a dirt track to ruin.

I just read an MSN money article (11/8/05) that said if you make less than $57,343 annually, you either are already or soon to be behind the “financial eight ball”. Not to mention, the article cited according to 2003 IRS statistics, 75% of Americans fall into this category.

The article’s conclusion? Though Americans in the top 1-25% over the last 10 years have and continue to expand their purchasing power, those in the 75% are increasingly at risk of losing purchasing power especially given increasing energy and medical costs. That’s not to mention the outsourcing and downsizing of jobs, the loss of company pension plans and unrelenting increases in college tuitions, property taxes, homes, automobiles and grocery bills.

Growing statistical evidence adds credibility to the mounting financial challenges faced by the majority of Americans. How could this be in the land of the American Dream and why does the slide into dire straits seem like a slow-motion inevitability for so many? Where are our leaders when we need them to lead us to a safe harbor?

Unfortunately, the various solutions offered by well-meaning financial professionals do not stop the bleeding. Have you noticed? For example, debt-consolidation, bankruptcy, budgeting and frugality measures, downsizing and responsible credit use may help for a while but remain Band-Aid measures, at best.

As usual, there is a reason for that. No problem in life, financial or otherwise, can truly be effectively reversed without first unearthing its root cause.

We spend most of our waking lives earning and spending money one way or another. Yet, almost all of us do so without understanding the role money plays in the context of a global monetary system. Nothing occurs in a vacuum - especially money! The truth is, you and I are not fully informed about how money works until we have taken into consideration the system of which it is a part. For example: You can discipline a child who is exhibiting behavioral problems at school but, truth is, the discipline will have little, if any, long-term effect. To impact the problem so that the child shows meaningful improvement requires knowledge of the child’s home life and the family system in which he or she lives.

Planets don’t magically rotate and revolve. They’re influenced by the gravitational pull of other planets and stars. Animals, plants, water and air are hardly mutually exclusive from one another. They’re all a part of the eco-system that surrounds us. If something occurs to dramatically affect one then there will surely be an effect on all the others. We’re taught these things when we’re young and eventually they become a part of that largest of all libraries, common sense.

Incredibly, when being taught about money, either by family, friends, universities, or the school of hard knocks, most of us are never educated about the larger framework within which money exists. The result? Our important financial and life decisions are made without the benefit of complete, accurate information about money.

The monetary system I refer to is global in nature with operations in 17 countries, including the United States. Commonly known as The Federal Reserve Banking System, it functions via a network of what are called central banks. Central banks worldwide use a system called fractional reserve banking to put money into circulation and are the only authorized banking entities able to do so. The process of issuing currency begins with a government’s request to borrow money from a central bank. Of course, money borrowed by a government must be repaid with interest.

This procedure eventually trickles down to the consumer who requests a loan from their local bank. In other words, ALL money, everywhere in the world goes into circulation at the time it’s borrowed. The borrowing process multiplies the volume of currency in circulation while simultaneously causing money’s value to decrease over the course of time from the cumulative affect of compound interest. (Think loss of purchasing power.) Take a look at any U.S. paper currency and you will see the words “Federal Reserve Note” prominently stated. A note represents credit, requiring repayment. Every time you make a purchase you do so with an IOU!

Here’s the rub. That one-dollar IOU in your pocket is no longer worth the one dollar it started out as in 1913 when The Federal Reserve Bank began in the United States. Nearly 100 years later after the issuance of gazillions of dollars in loans (that had to be repaid with interest), expert consensus is that a dollar now has the purchasing power of between only 5 and 13 cents. (Think: Money depreciates like a car!)

Now back to those 75% of Americans. Without understanding the personal implications of currency creation’s built-in hidden inflation, going forward…we’re all in duck soup! This missing piece of information about how money works, not only fully informs us, but also calls us to make course corrections regarding how we think about, spend, earn, save and invest money.

Since traditional financial solutions do not rest on the root cause, they also fail to solve the magnitude of the problems families and individuals face today. If Americans (and people worldwide) desire to maintain or regain their financial equilibrium, they need to seek out personal finance approaches based on the full story about money. No one is immune to the effects of hidden inflation.

That being said, your financial advisor is still likely to tell you otherwise…that if you do what he or she says, everything will be fine.

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