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What's Your Risk Tolerance?

December 9th, 2006 at 12:06 am

The old adage that the higher returns you receive when investing, the higher the risk is one that everyone should pay close attention to, but when it comes to investing, how do you know what your risk tolerance is? Here are five quizzes to help you determine your risk tolerance:

How Much Risk Can You Handle?: This is a 20 question quiz "designed to get you thinking about your attitude toward - and capacity for - risk." From these questions they will determine your score which will reveal how much risk you can afford and how much you can tolerate. In addition their will be suggestions of typical investment portfolios based on your answers.

Investment Risk Tolerance Quiz: This is a 20 question quiz to help you get an idea of your risk tolerance. The quiz was developed by 2 Kansas State University professors and by taking the quiz, you will help contribute to a study on measuring financial risk tolerance.

Risk Tolerance Quiz: This is a 10 question quiz which bills itself as "a simple guide to help you better understand your risk tolerance level." Once you have finished, you can also take a Risk Capacity Quiz.

Do you Like Investment Risks? Dare You To Find Out: This is an 8 question quiz that will help you find out your money personality and where your tolerance ranks in the investment world.

Risk Tolerance Quiz: this is a 7 question quiz that will help determine your investment style.

Why 5 risk tolerance quizzes? You see when taking them that they approach risk from different perspectives and no one test is a perfect indicator of you risk tolerance. By taking several of them, however, you should be able to confirm a pattern to help determine your true risk tolerance. Enjoy and see if your perceptions of your risk tolerance match what the quizzes say.

Hat Tip: Enough Wealth

So You Want To Be Rich?

November 30th, 2006 at 08:57 pm

Here's the question I get asked most often when people learn that I write about personal finance: "So how can I become rich?"

Here's the answer: "Do what you already know." That's the secret. Your already know everything you need to know to be rich. The problem is, even though you know, you probably aren't going to do it.

Let's be brutally honest. Anyone who is writing about personal finance will be writing about something that you already know (but probably aren't doing) 90% of the time. There will be a small chunk of knowledge here and a new service there that you may not have heard about, but for the most part, personal finance really is straight forward and easy to understand. You don't believe me? Here is the formula to get rich:

1. Start saving early
2. Spend a minimum of 10% less than you make.
3. Invest the money you don't spend.

That's it. No secret formulas or hidden gems. If you want to be rich, it's as simple as that. Of course, there is some tweaking that you have to do. You can't invest in any old thing, but even that isn't difficult to figure out and you already know where you should invest the money (401k with matching funds, Roth IRA and stock index funds being the most obvious - see, you knew that too).

In reality, I shouldn't have a job (and I would gladly look for another one if everyone would do what they already know they should do) helping people with their finances. Somehow I don't think I'll have to worry about changing professions in the future. While it is easy to understand how you become rich and you know what you should be doing to achieve that wealth, it most certainly isn't easy for a lot of people to actually follow what they know they should be doing.

I blame it all on the lottery attitude. If you aren't rich (or aren't moving in that direction), it's simply because you have decided to ignore what you already know in favor of pursuing easy money. The problem is that even though some people do get lucky and win the lottery, the odds are better that you will die from a flesh eating bacteria than you will striking it rich that way. You have decided to go after the quick buck because you aren't willing to put in the work that you know needs to be done. You may think you have a valid reason for this, but it's nothing more than an excuse.

So there you have the secret. Once again you know exactly what you need to do to become wealthy. Odds are that you are like the majority of people, you will once again ignore the obvious and see if there is an easier way, but I'm hoping since you are visiting this site that you are one of those that proves me wrong...

5 Investments Everyone Should Make

November 29th, 2006 at 12:47 am

This will not be the typical list of investments you probably would think you'd find on a personal finance blog, but it gets really boring reading personal finance advice when it's the same everywhere that you go. That's not necessarily a bad thing. When doing research on the basics of personal finance, you want to get good, solid information that can help you and this quality information tends to be the same. That being said, sometimes it's nice to hear some financial advice that you haven't considered anyplace else. The following are non-typical investments that I think you should seriously consider for your finances that you probably haven't ever heard of from other personal finance bloggers:

Invest In "Your Name" Domain: There are other people out there with your name. All you have to do is Google "your name" with the quotations marks to see who else out there you share your name with. There are more than a handful of people with the name Jeffrey Strain and the question is, do I really want someone else owning my name? You should ask yourself the same question. Even if you have no plans to build a website or do anything else with a domain at this point, you should still claim your own name. As the Internet becomes a more prevalent place for people to contact one another and socialize, your name will have value both financially and on a personal level. You will want your own name as your space on the world wide web. The cost is only $6 a year. You will thank me 10 years from now for getting it and curse yourself for not doing it if you decide to pass.

Invest In An Exercise Program: The reason that you're working so hard today is so that when you earn enough, you can do all kinds of things that you really want to do in your retirement. The only way that you are going to be able to accomplish this is if you are still healthy and active when you retire. Invest in a basic health and fitness program that suits your style. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just as long as you commit to it so that you increase your chances that you will still be active and lively when it's time to spend all the money you have worked so hard for. it will also ensure that you have a more financially productive work life increasing your chances of retiring early.

Invest In Something You've Always Wanted To Try: If you've had an inkling to try something for years, but have never gotten around to doing it for whatever reason, commit to invest in it right now. Whether it is learning to play the saxophone or how to fly a plane, invest in it. No matter how it turns out, you won't regret doing so and you'd be surprised how often those things that you have always wanted to do can end up being a career or an additional income earner while doing something that you love.

Invest In Time To Think: With the way the world works, finding time to just sit around and think is something that a lot of people just do not do on a regular basis. Determine to invest in time to think. Having time to mull all the information before you gives you a much better chance of making the correct decisions when they need to be made. If you don't have time to think and consider, your choices won't be as reasoned or as well thought out when made. In addition, invest in some type of recording system of your thoughts and goals - it can be a blog, a journal or just scraps of paper that happen to be around when you think of something. This will keep a record that you can look back on to see how you have progressed and to help you stay on tract toward those goals that you want to achieve.

Invest In Someone Else: Take the experiences and wisdom that you have gathered over the years through your own learning and mistakes and pass those lessons onto someone else. Become a mentor to anyone that wants to learn from you and freely offer to help those seeking help. Take them under your wing and help them become a better person so that they too can mentor another person in the future.

while the above five investments aren't usually considered investments in your finances, all of them will reap a much larger financial benefit for you that any typical stock you may choose. Consider them all seriously and i encourage you to commit to each and every one of them. Your finances will thank you in the future.

Volatile Stock Markets Are Good

June 24th, 2006 at 07:57 pm

I received an email article submission in response to the Investing In A Volatile Market article that was placed on our Investing page a couple of weeks ago. The title of the article is A Volatile Stock Market Is Your Dearest Friend which makes a number of points includiing:

Call it foresight, or hindsight if you want to be argumentative, but a long-term view of the Investment Process eliminates the guesswork and points pretty clearly toward a trading mentality that keys on the natural volatility of hundreds of Investment Grade Equities. During corrections, consider these simple truths:

although there are more sellers than buyers, the buyers intend to make money on their purchases
so long as everything is down, don't worry so much about the price of individual holdings
fast and steep corrections are better than the slow attrition variety
always accept even half your normal profit target while buying opportunities are plentiful
don't be in a rush to fill your portfolio, but if cash dries up before it's over, you are doing it "correctly".

Margot The Financially Savvy Baby

June 17th, 2006 at 04:04 am

One of the fun things of coming back to the US is that I have the opportunity to see my niece a bit more. You may be wondering what my niece has to do with money, but she is one savvy saver already. She's also a cutie!

That last photo is me with mom (my sister).

Investing - Know Yourself

June 11th, 2006 at 06:00 pm

Another article by Roger Sorensen on investing, this time issues that you should know about yourself when deciding to invest:

Financial Needs
Existing Insurance Coverage
Credit Standing

Taking these issues into account will help you to figure out what investments are right for you.

Real Estate Investing

June 11th, 2006 at 05:01 pm

A new article over at Investing Page from Roger Sorensen who is the editor there on Real Estate investing on some of the options you have if you purchased a second home that you're considering selling:

If you bought the house because you wanted rental income, or had a good tip from a friend, perhaps you should sell. Housing is a cyclical market and what goes up will come down. At this time, the fourth quarter update of the 2005 Global Insight/National City Housing Valuation Analysis notes that affordability is at its lowest point since 1991. This is due to the twin factors of rising interest rates and high home valuations.

Environmental Investing

June 1st, 2006 at 03:52 pm

It's not often that you come across investing articles that are also entertaining, but Green Investing is one of these. Instead of a straight article, it is written as if a investor and analyst were talking to one another with the theme being environmentally friendly companies that van be invested in:

Triple bottom consists of a company's social, financial, and environmental return. Green is good, right? All kinds of green. Cash green and Mother Nature green, as in environmentally friendly products...

A fun read even if you aren't into investing...

Where To Invest College Money

May 31st, 2006 at 09:20 am

Roger Sorensen who manages Investing Page answers the following question: "Should I put it in EE bonds, the I-Bond or would the stock market be better?" over at Reduce College Costs

Basics of Investment Assessment

May 25th, 2006 at 10:50 am

If you are going to invest, it's vitally important to assess the type of investor you are. The best place for you to invest depends a lot on a number of important factors that you should think through thoroughly before making any investment. Depending on your answers to these investment assessments, the best place for you to put your investment money could range widely. Some investment assessment basics to consider:

Your assets versus liabilities
Your personal goals
The amount of time that you've allotted for this investment
The type of diversification you desire

by understanding your answers to these questions, you can lay a solid foundation to begin picking the correct investments for you.