Part of planning for your future involves making educated decisions about managing your wealth and savings. Our Financial Professionals have the knowledge to guide you through the increasingly complex roadmap of investments that are available to you in today’s growing financial market.
An investment is an up-front commitment of capital to purchase financial products with the intention of generating future profit based on interest or appreciation of the capital invested. Most investments also contain the risk that investors may lose part or all of their investment. Investors should be aware of the risk/return potential of any investment products they consider for purchase, as typically the greater the return potential of a given investment, the greater the risk potential. Investors should also consider their own comfort with risk, the length of time they have to invest, the fees charged by the investments they are considering, and their ultimate goal for the investment when making investment decisions.
The financial market offers a wide variety of different investment products for investors to purchase—from relatively straightforward investment types (securities) like stocks, bonds and short-term/cash-equivalent investments to portfolios that combine these investment types within various products, such as mutual funds, variable annuities and variable life insurance policies.
Investors may choose different investment products to meet a variety of needs, including retirement and estate planning, education financing and for funding other goals. Financial Professionals can help select appropriate investment products based on an investor’s goal for the investment, individual profile (comfort with risk, length of time to invest) and a product’s fees and tax considerations (many investment products have built-in tax advantages).
Your Financial Professional can help you develop a plan for your investments that takes these key factors into consideration.
There are three basic types of investments (called asset classes):
- Stocks are instruments of equity and represent shares of ownership in a company. They rise and fall with investor perception of the company’s potential or other stock market factors, such as the outlook for the company’s industry, the political climate or the strength of the economy.
- Bonds are instruments of debt that represent loans issued by the government or a company. Investors who purchase bonds receive from the issuer a stated rate of interest and the promise of repayment of the principal amount when the bond reaches its stated maturity date. Interest-rate movements up or down typically have the greatest impact on bond prices.
- Short-term/cash-equivalents are low- or no-risk investments that generally have lower expected yields than stocks, bonds and other investments - cash-equivalents may not yield enough to keep up with the rate of inflation. Cash-equivalent investments include the following:
- Certificate of Deposit (CD)s represent fixed, interest-bearing time-deposits with a bank or other FDIC-insured institution. CDs are subject to early redemption penalties.
- Money Market Accounts represent portfolio-based investments that derive their value and generate interest by purchasing a variety of short-term debt instruments, including Treasury bills, CDs, bankers’ acceptances and commercial paper.
Investing is also about taking steps to protect your financial future. Investors should develop a plan that addresses specific short- and long-term goals and that can be maintained and adjusted, as appropriate.
On the road to financial independence, you don’t have to go it alone and risk making the wrong projections. If you don’t have experience in financial products and planning, a Financial Professional can help you make educated decisions and develop a plan.