• Where and how to buy physical gold and silver

    Precious metals have long been a popular investment choice. Metals like gold and silver retain their value even when the stock market plunges. So if you’re looking to add these metals to your investment portfolio, now is a good time. However, as a beginner investor, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the numerous buying options available today. Read this brief article to find out how and from where you can buy gold and silver easily.

    Types of physical bullion
    Before getting your hands on precious metals, it’s vital to know that they come in different shapes, sizes, and styles. The most common forms of physical bullion include coins, rounds, and bars. Coins are considered the most valuable as they are both manufactured and backed by the government. Although rounds look like coins, they are minted by private minting companies, and their value is entirely based on precious metal content. Bars, on the other hand, are rectangular ingots produced by private mints.

    The best places to buy gold and silver
    A local coin shop and an online dealer are the two most common places to buy gold and silver coins, rounds, or bars. The most significant advantage of getting precious metals from a local dealer is that you can physically see the product and purchase it right away. With a local dealer, pricing is based on the actual price of the metal at the date of purchase. However, the common problem is that they have limited product choices.

    If you want to choose from a wider selection, an online dealer is a perfect option. It is also where you can buy gold and silver at lower prices than a local dealer. However, since you need to pay upfront when shopping online, you must ensure that the dealer is reliable and will give you a genuine product. But there are many reliable online dealers in the market today. Visit their websites, check out their policies, and read reviews to determine whether a particular dealer is trustable.

    Payment method
    This can vary from one dealer to another. However, most local and online dealers accept payment via credit or debit cards, PayPal, paper checks, and bank wire.

    If you’re still wondering where is the best place to buy silver and gold, the simple answer is there isn’t a single “best” place. Depending on your convenience, you can choose to buy gold and silver coins, rounds, and bars from wherever you prefer.

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  • How to choose the best home insurance policy

    A home insurance policy or homeowners insurance pays for any loss or damage to property or personal possessions. Some policies even cover personal injuries and liabilities that arise out of unforeseen circumstances. Having a home insurance policy is beneficial as it helps you pay for repairs, a replacement that may stretch your finances. Here we shall explore the best ways to obtain maximum coverage and explore tips that help you choose the best policy at the cheapest rates.

    Coverage options
    Your home insurance policy must cover any loss or theft, destruction or damage, and even personal liability associated with all possessions. And this coverage is divided into policies that provide actual cash value, replacement cost, or guaranteed replacement cost.

    • Actual cash value pays the exact value of how much an item or possession is worth today (after depreciation)
    • Replacement cost provides cover to restore the original value of your home or possession included in the policy. There is no depreciation or deduction considered.
    • A guaranteed replacement cost covers expenses that may even exceed the insurance policy value. A typical ceiling limit of 20% to 25% is reserved for such policies over the insured value.

    Choosing a primary home insurance policy will be possible only after you decide the extent of coverage necessary. The next step is to compare quotes online.

    Tips to find the best home insurance policy in 2021

    • Compare quotes
      Insurance companies will have different formulas for calculating premiums and deductibles. These amounts do vary and make a huge difference in the final value of the policy. Compare 3 or 4 insurance providers to find the cheapest rates.
    • Make the most of discounts
      Insurance companies offer attractive discounts as part of their scheme to sell more policies. For example, the insurance provider may heavily discount the premium payable if you sign multiple policies with the same company. Some companies offer better rates to homeowners who install safety and security devices that reduce the risk of mishaps or accidents.
    • Check previous claims status
      Insurance companies who are able to fulfill claim requests in a timely generally boast a strong financial background. It is good to buy your policies from such places as you don’t have to worry about processing claims.
    • Make an informed decision
      Browse through surveys conducted by J.D Power and Consumer Reports as the regularly publish reports. They also survey existing members who currently have purchased policies with insurance providers and publish their reviews as well.
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  • Top 5 investment advisors

    Financial discipline is an important trait to acquire. You have come to the right place for people looking for a registered investment advisor, but do not know where to look. Here, we have collated a list of the best investment advisors who are established entities and, hence, quite trusted and reputed. Check out our list of best investment advisors to get the right organization to manage your finances:

    • Morgan Stanley

    Some of the highlights of investing with Morgan Stanley is getting full value with a personalized portfolio. Your financial advisor can help you curate the right investment strategy that suits you the best. Apart from this, you would also get comprehensive communication, ensuring that you know what’s in line. The best part is the fees of this particular program is based on the number of assets in the account. We highly recommend you consider them for top-quality investment opportunities.

    • Bank of America

    Bank of America has a corporate Global Wealth and Investment Management division. One of the main reasons why Bank of America ranks so high is because it acquired Merrill Lynch post the 2008 financial crisis. This division primarily focuses on two types of clients: people who have more than USD 250,000 (approximately) in assets that can be potentially invested and high-net-worth individuals. Bank of America is quite a trusted name; hence, you definitely can consider them as an investment option.

    • Wells Fargo

    Wells Fargo boasts 15,000 wealth managers and prides itself on having over 1,400 branches. The total revenue earned by this company in the year 2018 was around USD 86.4 billion. This entity is one of the best investment advisors in the market and can surely help you expand your portfolio. Plus, they have an excellent record of the market; hence, we suggest you consider them strongly. Their fee structure is also reasonable, and they have no hidden charges. They operate with complete transparency.

    • Charles Schwab

    Charles Schwab offers quite a broad umbrella of investor services. While their administration fee and asset management may be a little higher as compared with that of their counterparts, they are worth it. We highly recommend you to visit one of their branches or call their investor services to get started. They would be able to advise on risks and rewards and give you the right options to invest your money. They have over 2,400 wealth managers and 345 branch offices across the States.

    • Vanguard Group

    The last option on our list of best investment advisors is the Vanguard Group.

    Vanguard stands out on our list because it is a client-owned venture and is not publicly traded or owned privately. As a result, Vanguard can focus on a lot more clients while giving them the opportunities they need, including ETFs, low-cost mutual funds, and financial advice.

    All of the entities mentioned above make for the best investment advisors who can help you grow your wealth. So, make the best choice for yourself to protect your hard-earned money.

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  • 5 benefits of automated investing and who should use it

    An increasing number of investors are opting for automated investing tools, commonly known as robo-advisors. These automated tools put the management of your portfolio in an autopilot mode.

    Here are five benefits of such automated investing platforms:

    Affordable

    Before robo-advisors, you needed to pay hefty fees to an investment advisor to assist and manage your portfolio. Several of the best automated investing platforms, such as Betterment, Wealthfront, and Charles Schwab Corp’s Intelligent Portfolios offer zero to 0.25% management fees, making it an affordable option.

    Profitable investment models

    Most of these automated investing advisors use the best practices of investment theories, which strive to deliver the highest returns at the lowest risks. Moreover, it eliminates human intervention that may result in biases leading to errors.

    Meeting various investment goals

    Different kinds of robo-advisors cater to the varied needs of investors. You may choose from advisors that are sector- or industry-focused to robo-advisors that offer an affordable and diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Several automated investing platforms may offer tax-loss harvesting and claim rebalancing.

    Low minimum balances

    You may not have a large amount of investible surplus. Some of the best automated investing platforms offer services, even when you maintain a low minimum balance. Advisors such as Betterment, Wise Banyan, and Folio Investing have no limitations on minimum balance.

    Simple and convenient

    Most of the robo-advisors are very simple with easy user-interface and straightforward processes. Additionally, these platforms provide you with the convenience of investing from any time from any location as these are web-based. Moreover, you do not have to spend hours researching different investment options, which makes investing less cumbersome.

    Having understood the advantages of robo-advisors, let us now examine who will benefit from using such platforms.

    Young investors or beginners

    Making accurate investment decisions is a tough job and requires detailed analysis and research. As a beginner, you may not have the understanding and the technical expertise necessary to do your research. An automated investing platform is the right choice as it manages your portfolio to suit your investment goals and risk profile.

    Busy professionals

    Regular monitoring and periodic review of your portfolio are crucial to make profitable decisions. However, your job may be very time-consuming, leaving you with limited or no time to periodically monitor your investments and make modifications as necessary. A robo-advisor platform allows you to put your portfolio in an automated mode.

    Simple strategy investors
    You may not need the services of an expensive financial advisor if you follow an uncomplicated and straightforward investment strategy. An automated investing platform will do the rebalancing as and when required to suit your goals.

    You do not want to hire an advisor

    You may not have a large amount to invest or the assets that require the services of an experienced financial advisor. However, you may still not want to make your own investment decisions. In such an instance, an automated investing platform makes a good choice as it will select the right investment products, execute trades, and rebalance your portfolio as needed.

    If you are fine with no human interaction or need high customization, an automated investing platform may not be ideal for you.

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  • 3 main benefits of applying for a business loan

    These days, a lot of people are leaving their jobs in the pursuit of setting up their own business. While a good idea is often the key to a successful business, the most important thing for you to start a business is the availability of funds. That is where business loans come into the picture. As soon as you launch a business, you will need funds to meet day-to-day expenses. Thus, securing a guaranteed business loan before you embark upon your journey as an entrepreneur, is very important.

    How to apply for a business loan?

    Since applying for business loans has become a common practice now, many lenders give you applications through both offline and online mediums. You also have the option to apply for loans with multiple vendors at one go. The lender needs to verify and establish whether you are in a position to pay off the loan in the future. You have to provide him with documents containing your prospective business plan, proof of monthly and annual revenue, business tax ID number, information related to tax returns, business bank statements, the ID issued by the government to you signifying business ownership.

    Benefits of applying for a business loan

    Bank does not interfere with your business

    While the bank analyses your financial health and wants to be sure about you paying off the loan, it does not dictate how you should run your business. If you are funded by an investor or a bunch of them, you will have to accept every direction or command issued by them. The bank does not participate in any activity undertaken by you as a part of your business. They do not question any of the decisions taken by you with regards to your business. They only expect you to pay off the loan along with the accumulated interest. You get to exercise full control over your business and can run it the way you want to.

    The interest rates are fair

    When you borrow money from a private lender, there are chances of inconsistencies in the terms both parties agree upon. That does not happen when you take a loan from a bank. There are several banks out there that offer loans and are each other’s competitors. Thus, they are bound to keep the interest rate limit in check and cannot afford to charge the customer with exorbitant interest rates. There will be an interest rate charged as that is how banks run their business, but it will be a fair rate.

    You get to keep the profit

    If you start your business using finance provided to you by an investor, you will share a large part of the profit with him. Though you are running the show, you have to share the returns with an individual just because he has invested money in your business. If funds are all you need, approaching a bank for a loan would be a better option. Banks offer you loans at specific interest rates and let you have complete ownership of your business. You get to have all the profit you have made through your hard work, to yourself.

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  • The best investment options for a retirement fund

    Retirement is one of the most important periods of life. After retirement, you can enjoy a happy, financially secure life with your family. However, that will require you to have a large enough bank balance that can guarantee financial stability for both you and your loved ones. You need to know the options for the best retirement investments so that you can effectively build the fund you need.

    Mutual funds

    A mutual fund is one of the best investment options you have for retirement fund building. Mutual funds are investment portfolios that include bonds, stocks, and other investment instruments. These funds are managed by experienced and professional managers who invest your money on your behalf and help you get the best possible returns. A great thing about mutual funds is that they offer the flexibility of choosing how much risk you are willing to take. You can build your investment portfolio depending on what kind of growth you want to see and your risk tenacity. You should know that the growth of your mutual fund investment depends a lot on the market situation. However, it is outweighed by the many benefits of mutual funds such as asset allocation, tax benefits, the option to transfer ownership, and low commissions.

    Bonds

    If you are looking for the best retirement investments, then you should consider bonds as a choice. Bonds are types of loans that you give to corporations or government entities. In return, they pay you interest on the amount lent by you. The rate of interest is agreed upon during the time of investment and it remains the same throughout the investment tenure. The best part about a bond is that unlike equity or mutual funds, you will be aware of how much return you can expect. Certain government bonds come with tax benefits too. Hence, if your retirement account does not offer any tax relaxations then these bonds will be extra benefiting to you too.

    Defined contribution plans

    When it comes to the best retirement investments, the defined contribution (DC) plan surely is the one loved by the most Fortune 500 companies for offering pension facilities to their employees. This plan comes in three varieties, 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b). A certain portion of your paycheck is used to contribute to different investment options, and you get the return in the time of your retirement. Some employers even contribute the same amount of money as yours into the fund to prove added retirement benefits. The 457(b) plan comes with tax benefits too.

    IRA plans

    The government offers the IRA plans so the working people can safely invest money to secure a retirement saving. It comes in different varieties such as IRA, spousal IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and SEP IRA. You can invest a maximum of $6,000 in an IRA account if you are younger than 50 years, and $7,000 if you are over. Some of the plans offer tax benefits too.

    With so many choices for the best retirement investments, you can compare different funds to conclude which one will benefit you the most.

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  • Choosing the best ETFs during the current times

    During the current uncertainty, choosing high dividend exchange-traded funds (ETFs) seems prudent. Several ETFs with high exposure to energy and real estate are floundering due to the novel coronavirus.

    Here is a list of five high-dividend ETF funds that may be a good investment option during this pandemic:

    Legg Mason Low Volatility High Dividend ETF (LVHD)

    This dividend ETF provides two excellent features, higher payout and lower volatility. Although LVHD will generate negative returns in the current year, its performance is still better than the S&P 500. This fund tracks the QS Low Volatility High Dividend Index and allocates almost 25% of the weight in energy and real estate. However, no single investment exceeds 2.8%, which reduces the risk to some extent. The LVHD yield stands at 3.36% with an expense ratio of 0.27%.

    VictoryShares US Large Cap High Dividend Volatility Weighted ETF (CDL)

    This fund is over five years old with more than $207 million in assets under management (AUM). CDL targets the Nasdaq US Large Cap High Dividend 100 Volatility Index. This fund does not adhere to stringent methodology and offers some versatility. This may result in yield-driven strategies that rely on a smaller number of investments. Another feature of this fund is that it has no exposure to the real estate sector but has a 22.84% exposure to financial services. The yield on VictorShares is 3.23% and the expense ratio is 0.35%.

    Xtrackers MSCI EAFE High Dividend Yield Equity ETF (HDEF)

    During the current rough times, international equities are not providing high returns to investors. However, the 4.77% yield on HDEF makes it attractive to many. The fund’s energy exposure is low at 4.65%. Moreover, the integrated oil companies held by this fund are focusing on reducing expenses rather than lowering the dividends. HDEF has a 24.64% exposure in the UK, which may keep the returns steady during the current crisis. Additionally, the fund allocates 11% to Japan that should provide modest dividends. The expense ratio for HDEF is 0.20%.

    Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB)

    VB tracks the CRSP US Small Cap Index and offers an affordable option to invest in multiple small-cap securities. The median market capitalization for these stocks is $4.2 billion. When you invest in this fund, you are investing in the opportunity of buying a potential bounce-back driven by relative value rather than growth. The expense ratio for the Vanguard Small-Cap ETF is 0.05% and the dividend yield is 2%.

    WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State Owned Enterprises ETF (XSOE)

    As the nation continues its battle against coronavirus, China is resuming work, and fuel consumption is almost at its normal levels. Among the international funds, XSOE is a good option to build on the Chinese rebound and other emerging markets. This fund tracks WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State Owned Enterprises Index that invests in stocks across emerging markets that are not owned by the state. XSOE’s exposure to China stands at 39% followed by Taiwan and South Korea at 12.7% and 12.5%, respectively. The dividend yield is about 2.6% and the expense ratio is 0.32%.

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  • Check your eligibility for a reverse mortgage loan

    In a regular mortgage, you pay the lender over a period to eventually own the home. In a reverse mortgage, the lender pays you as an advance towards the equity of your home. The amount is tax-free and you do not have to repay it as long as you live in the home.

    Here are the basic reverse mortgage eligibility criteria:

    Age

    To qualify for this type of mortgage, you need to be 62 years or older. Under the new regulations that relax norms for a non-borrowing spouse, you may still qualify for the loan even if your spouse is less than 62 years old.

    Balance home equity

    Another major requirement to qualify for a reverse mortgage is that you should have a significant equity balance in the home. You must have at least 50% home equity while applying for the loan.

    Self-occupied

    The third reverse mortgage eligibility criterion is that the home should be self-occupied. Moreover, it should be your primary residence. Investment properties are not eligible for reverse mortgage loans.

    Counseling

    When you apply for a reverse mortgage loan, you need to undergo a counseling session from a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved agency. During the session, you will be given all information related to such loans and will also help you understand if a reverse mortgage is appropriate to your requirements or not.

    In addition to the aforementioned eligibility criteria, the home on which you want to avail for the loan must also adhere to certain qualification norms as listed below:

    • Such loans are available for all kinds of self-occupied homes, such as FHA-approved condominiums, two-to-four unit multi-family properties, single-family homes, and townhouses.
    • The home must be in good condition with both the interiors and exteriors in working order. Additionally, it should be well-maintained with no termite problems, working garage doors, and sound electrical outlets.
    • Your home will need to be appraised by a reliable and approved appraiser.

    You also need to meet certain financial requirements to qualify for a reverse mortgage loan. These are listed as follows:

    • Your income should be adequate to meet property-related expenses, such as insurance, taxes, Homeowners Association (HOA) fees, and any other applicable charges.
    • The lender may also look at your credit report to determine your current income and assets to ensure you are able to meet all your present financial obligations.

    Although a reverse mortgage loan may help meet your financial requirements during your post-retirement years, it is important to remember a few things about these loans. These include:

    • The lender does not levy additional costs and other fees.
    • The interest may change as reverse mortgage offers variable rates.
    • Because the interest is added to the principal amount, the outstanding balance increases over the years.
    • The interest on the loan is not deductible from your income tax returns until the amount is repaid either in full or partially.

    In case your spouse is not part of the loan, your spouse may reside in the home post your demise as long as all expenses like taxes and insurance are paid by your surviving spouse.

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