Playing Dominion vs. Playing the Market

My boys received a copy of the game Dominion as a Christmas present.

It’s a super game.  You acquire cards with powers.  The different powers work together in lots of interesting ways, but of course you must acquire them on a limited budget and have limited time in which to get as strong as you need to be.

Making good choices requires effective strategizing.

After playing the game two times, I wanted to learn more about how to play well.  I typed the words “Dominion strategy” into the Google search box to see what I could find.

It pained me to see what turned up.

Dominion has only been around for a few years.  And of course it is only a game.  So it wouldn’t be a big deal if there were no good materials available.  I quickly found lots of outstanding materials.  In 30 minutes, I was a much improved Dominion player.

The painful part is in considering the contrast with stock investing.
Continue Reading

4 Ways to Save on Taxes with Mutual Funds

We normally think of mutual funds as investment vehicles—which they are—but they can also offer valuable ways to save money on income taxes this spring and beyond.

There are steps you can take with mutual funds right now that can lower your tax liability either for the 2011 tax year or, failing that, for 2012.  Yes, there are ways to save on taxes with mutual funds!

Some of these are time sensitive, so you’ll want to either make your moves now, or position yourself to be able to take advantage when tax time comes around next year.  The important thing is to move on this — the windows close quickly.

Municipal Bond Funds

Continue Reading

Investment Losses? Harvest them for a Tax Deduction

Taxes_Are_Work-175

No one likes to lose money on their investments.

However, in some cases, it is unavoidable.  If you are looking at some investment losers, though, you might consider how you can use them to your advantage.

Tax harvesting your losses allows you to get a deduction when you sell for less than you bought for.  As you get close to the end of the year, and you begin planning to maximize your tax deductions, consider how your investments losses can reduce your tax liability:

Offset Capital Gains

Continue Reading

What Are the Best Ways to Invest in Mutual Funds?

Most of us have a pretty good idea what mutual funds are about, so maybe the more relevant question is, what are the best ways to invest in mutual funds?

There are different ways to own them, different times and methods to invest, and even other assets we might like to hold in addition to mutual funds.

Properly used, mutual funds can increase investment returns substantially.

But view them as passive, invest-and-forget vehicles, and they may be no better than owning individual stocks.

Mutual fund family vs. brokerage accounts

Continue Reading

How to Find the Best Financial Planner – 10 Qualities to Look For

We all know how important planning our finances is.

It’s just not enough to obtain money and put it away in the bank while it earns minimal interest.

Investing is the smart way of making your money earn more money for you, but most people just don’t have the time to learn about all the investment vehicles that are available.

To solve this problem, this is where financial planners come into play.  Planners analyze your financial situation and, if you can find a good one, they can help you achieve your financial goals through the proper usage and management of your money.

The challenge now is, how can you find a reliable financial planner that will truly grow your money?

Below are 10 characteristic traits that you should look for in a financial planner during the hiring process:

Continue Reading

What is a Mutual Fund Prospectus?

Mutual funds can appear about as logical as jumbo shrimp to the millions of people who have 401(k)’s, IRAs, and other investments that include these funds.

If you’re like many investors, you only have a vague idea how these funds work.  Although there is a lot to evaluate when you’re choosing the funds that will fill your retirement or other portfolio, let’s concentrate on the very first step – What is a Mutual Fund Prospectus?

When you first started the process of setting up your retirement fund, you may have received a series of brochures that had a whole lot of words but very few of them made any sense.

These brochures are called prospectuses and we’re going to learn the basics that you need to know to make informed choices. Continue Reading

Why Invest in Mutual Funds and What They Are

Wall Street Broad Street

The majority of investment activities is carried out by institutional investors, including mutual funds.

They buy and sell large quantities of shares and get preferential treatment on trade commissions.  Although everyone can try investing for him or herself, investment is a profession and requires professional knowledge and expertise, as well as resources.

With a certain degree of share concentration, some mutual funds may even seek board seats of their portfolio companies and try to exert a more active role in corporate governance.  As a result, funds can have more control over their investments and that often leads to better investment performance.
Continue Reading