ShareBuilder Now ING DIRECT Investing, a Redesigned Site, and a Bonus!

ShareBuilder has undergone a facelift!

Not only has their parent company, ING DIRECT, redesigned the site to make it easier to use, they have also renamed it – ING DIRECT Investing.

It’s still the same awesome site it’s been when it was created over 10 years ago.  Their goal has remained the same: Bring Wall Street to Main Street.

I think they have succeeded.  They make it easy for the average investor to invest in the market.

So why a redesign and rebrand?

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IRA Maximum Contribution Limits – Roth and Traditional

Roth IRA Contribution Limits 2011

An IRA can be a great tool to help you save for retirement and the traditional and Roth both have interesting tax advantages. But the amount you can contribute every year is limited.  The Federal government imposes limits as to how much money can be contributed to both the Roth IRA and the traditional IRA accounts.  An account holder’s age (and income) is also a factor in how much s/he can contribute per year.

The investors who are 49 years old or younger have had maximum limits that are $1,000 less that those investors who are 50 years old or older since the 2006-2007 investment year.

The nature of this investment fund demands that an investor contributes the maximum amount of contribution allowed every year in order to enjoy maximum yield.  For example, the contribution amount for a person 49 years of age or younger in 2010 was $5,000.  If he only invests $3,000 in 2010 he can’t add the $2,000 deficit to the $5,000 contribution allowed in 2011.  The IRA is a “use it or lose it” investment fund which means any money not invested into an IRA is lost forever.Continue Reading

Betterment $25 Signup Bonus – Start Investing Smart and Simple

In my Betterment review I talked about how they make investing easy for someone who wants to start investing but doesn’t know where to start. Now they are adding a cool incentive to their program:

Get a $25 account bonus when a user opens up a Betterment account!

In order to qualify for the bonus you need to make an initial deposit of $250 when you open your account.

Why Betterment?

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Brokers Should be Legally Liable to Act in the Best Interest of Their Customers

A little while back the S.E.C. recommended that stock brokers be required to act as fiduciaries. This would mean they would have to act in the best interest of their customers.  The New York Times reviewed the salient issues on their Bucks Blog.

We think this is a no-brainer: OF COURSE brokers should act in the best interest of their customers – and they should be legally liable if they do not.
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What is Income Investing?

One of the ways you can improve your financial stability and freedom is by cultivating income diversity. Income diversity means that, rather than relying on a single source of income, you actually develop different income streams. One way that you can increase your income streams is through income investing.

Income Investing: The Basics

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How To Prosper With Peer to Peer Lending – A review of Prosper.com

Get started on a loan at Prosper

Prosper.com is a personal loan and investing site with over one million members and over two hundred fifteen million dollars in personal loans funded since 2006. Using a unique person to person lending model, prosper.com connects borrowers and lenders and allows them to establish a mutually beneficial financial relationship.   Prosper offers borrowers rates as low as 5.9% and lender returns as high as 10.1% (this varies, of course based on your borrowing and lending situation).

What is Person to Person or Peer Lending?

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What Are Dividends?

What Are Dividends?

Dividends are a portion of a company’s earnings that is returned to shareholders.  When a public company is profitable, they primarily have seven methods to invest their profits:

1.     Hire new employees

2.     Pay existing employees a higher salary

3.     Purchase equipment and/or services

4.     Merge or acquire another company

5.     Purchase stock shares on the open market (otherwise known stock buyback)

6.     Distribute the profit to shareholders (otherwise known as dividends)

7.     Do nothing and save it for a rainy day.

This article discusses primarily number six.
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