Five classes focusing on how to allocate your money appropriately in Cash, Stocks and Bonds, How to do Fund Research using Morningstar, Retirement Planning and Understanding 401K fund choices.

Class 1: Cash and Stocks 

  • Why is having a written personal budget essential before you start investing?
  • What are the different “piles” of money that you need?
  • What do you mean by “opportunity cost”?
  • How much should be kept in an emergency fund?
  • What is the difference between a checking, savings, money market and certificate of deposit?
  • How should emergency funds be kept?
  • What is FDIC insurance, and what does it cover? Are stocks and bonds covered by FDIC insurance?
  • When you have competing needs, i.e. emergency fund, payment of debt, and retirement investments, what should you focus on first?
  • What are the five standard Asset Classes?
  • FOCUS on STOCKS – What is a stock? What is an equity?
  • How many public companies are there in the world in which you can invest?  How many are based in the United States?
  • What rights and benefits do I get by being a stockholder? 
  • What are the key responsibilities of a company Board of Directors?
  • What is a return of profit to shareholders called?
  • Do all companies pay dividends? What is meant by “reinvestment of dividends”?
  • How are companies classified – stock characteristics including DOMICILE (United S vs International) MARKET CAPITALIZATION (size of companies) OUTLOOK (growth vs value stocks) and SECTORS (industry).

Class 2:   Bonds and Diversification of your Portfolio Depending on When You Need Your Money

  • What is a bond?
  • Who issues bonds?
  • What are the four key classifications of bonds: Issuing entity & their credit rating, term of bond, interest rate on bond, tax status (taxable vs tax-exempt).
  • How do interest rates effect bond prices? What is the relationship?
  • How do people sell bonds before they reach “maturity”?
  • What do these Bond vocabulary words mean terms: face value, discounted value, coupon rate, interest rate, interest payment frequency, term of bonds.
  • Review returns and volatility for stocks and bonds.
  • How to determine an appropriate Stock/Bond ratio diversification based on when you need the money. 
  • Discuss other Asset classes, REIT and COMMODITIES

Class 3: Key Fund Metrics to Research, and How to Research for Free

  • Should I buy individual stocks or funds?
    What is the difference between a Mutual Fund and an Index Fund?
  • Which fund is more expensive to manage Mutual Fund or Index Fund?  Which is better?
  • What is an “electronic traded fund” and how does it differ from a Mutual fund?
  • What a “benchmark category”? – how many are there?
  • What is an Asset Allocation Fund? What are the benefits?
  • What is a Target Date fund – and what are the benefits?
  • What is an “Intelligent Portfolio”
  • How to use Morningstar to investigate funds including: portfolio composition, performance, expense ratio, and risk.

HOMEWORK – do research and determine the best fund for your retirement goals.

Class 4: Choosing a Fiduciary, How to Minimize Fees, Buy and Hold Strategy

  • Comparison of popular fund metrics using Morningstar for Asset Allocation and Target Date Funds.
  • The difference between a “Fiduciary” and fund selection.
  • Popular Apps that are actually middlemen
  • Criteria in selecting a fiduciary/investment firm,
  • How are fees charged by brokers, and how to avoid fees.
  • Creeping cost of Asset Under Management fees.
  • What is a Buy and Hold philosophy?
  • What is meant by “reinvesting dividends”?
  • Setting up automatic investments.

HOMEWORK – open up an investment account.

Session 5: Tax Consequences, Understanding a 1099 from your Fiduciary

  • Tax issues arise with investing, interest income, dividend income, and capital gains income.
  • How to read a 1099 form issued by your investment firm. 
  • What is the difference between a Roth or a traditional IRA – which is better?
  • What is a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)?
  • How to handle an inherited IRA? 
  • Where to get more FREE and reliable investment info