Money & Investing 101

When you invest, you are trying to increase your income, build the value of your assets, or both. It's never too soon to start thinking about investing. Investing means putting your money to work earning more money. Done wisely, it can help you meet your financial goals.

If you want to invest, you have a wealth of opportunities. In the US alone there are thousands of stocks and mutual funds, and millions of corporate and government bonds to choose from. You can invest in markets around the world, in developed or emerging economies. You can even invest directly with the issuer, whether corporation, investment company, or government. And you can invest online using your computer.

In the following pages, guidelines are given for investing your money. When you meet with a Financial Planner (FP), you would hopefully have enough information to converse with the FP more intelligently about the various ways available to you to invest your money.

Before you meet with an FP, there are a few steps you can take in your investment planning process. Remember it's your hard-earned money. Even if you are not in complete control of your money once you give it to the FP, understand as much as you can about how and where s/he will invest your money.

1. You must first make a conscious decision to save and invest rather than spend.
    Unfortunately, it seems that in the U.S., spending is the norm and saving is the exception.

2. Determine your time horizon. Do you need to use some portion of the investment money
    in the near future? For example, buying a house, sending kids to college, etc. This will help
    the FP to identify the need for shorter-term investments.

3. In order to achieve a higher rate of return (ROR), you may need to accept a higher risk. The
   more risk inherent in your portfolio, the greater the potential for gains. On the same token,
   you should also be prepared for losses.

4. When you follow steps 1, 2 and 3, the FP can then begin the investment selection process.
    Ask the FP to give you details of the portfolio that s/he has prepared for you.

5. When the FP sends you the portfolio's performance, read it carefully. Besides, the FP
    should be in a position to comment on the economy, federal and international governments
    (depending on your investment), taxes, etc.

6. Rebalance when necessary. The FP should give you a complete performance of your
    investment. Rebalancing the portfolio is a process whereby you are forced to sell high
    and buy low.

Reuters AdvicePoint offers a better way to find the financial experts you need. It's a community that connects you with financial advisers that meet your criteria. You can communicate securely with advisers through Reuters AdvicePoint messaging.

Fidelity Investments
Your investments can benefit from Fidelity experience. Each of their managed portfolios is developed and managed by Fidelity Strategic Advisers, Inc., a team of more than 60 highly trained investment professionals working on your behalf.
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