10 Lessons Learned From Peter Lynch

One Up On Wall StreetPeter Lynch is one of the greatest fund managers ever. Though, it’s been over two decades since he managed money, the lessons he learned are timeless.

He ran the Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990. During that time he beat the pants off the market. He beat the S&P 500 11 of 13 years he managed the fund. He averaged a 29% annual return during that time. From start to finish, that’s a 2700% return!

Lynch documented his experience in two books: One Up on Wall Street and Beating the Street. Both are on my recommended reading list. The lessons you’ll take away from both books far exceeds the ten below. You’ll have to find out the rest on your own.

10. There is always something to worry about.

Every day brings something different to worry about – inflation, recession, depression, natural disaster, war, market crash, and that bus when you cross the street. In the last 100 years, the market has seen it all and recovered. You can wait for the sky to fall or you can invest knowing it will happen, you’ll get through it, and the market will too. Continue Reading…

All The IRA Investment Options For Your Money

IRA Investment OptionsSaving for retirement is a goal with a limited number of ways to meet it. Did you know that your IRA investment options extend beyond stocks, bonds, and mutual funds? You have more choices than think.

An IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is just a tax shelter. You use it to store money for retirement, so it can grow tax-free. You see, when you open an IRA and fund it, the money just sits there in the form of cash. Some banks or brokers may offer an interest rate on that money, some don’t. But with rates at all time lows, that money won’t grow very fast. In order to boost that growth, you need to invest it in other assets. Thankfully, the IRS gives you some leeway with all the IRA investment options available.

That doesn’t mean you need to invest in each one. There is nothing wrong with taking a nontraditional approach when investing your retirement money. Just make sure you understand the costs and risks associated with any investment before you begin. And do your homework before jumping into something new. Continue Reading…

Expected Return: Avoid The Seduction of Big Numbers

When it comes to expected return, we love big numbers. We gravitate to it like paparazzi to a celebrity. We do it with performance and projections because it sells.

But there’s one tiny problem. Our expectations change with the market.

A while back I covered how asset allocation lowers volatility. In it, I showed how four different asset mixes performed against an all stock and an all bond portfolio. It looked like the graph below. It showed how volatility lowers as you decrease the amount of stocks in your portfolio. But did it?

Of course it did. It was a simple exercise to prove a point. But it also showed how much better an all stock portfolio performed over the same period. Continue Reading…

Tax Benefits of Qualified Dividends

Qualified DividendsDividends tend to get lumped as one single form of investment income. But the IRS doesn’t see it that way, dividing the tax on dividends into two types: ordinary and qualified dividends. This is good to know around tax time. But it’s just as important when choosing investments for a taxable account, since taxes are another cost that eat into your returns.

Ordinary Dividends

First, all dividends are considered ordinary dividends. The problem, of course, is how we loosely use the term dividends to describe any type of payout from stocks, mutual funds, savings accounts, or other investments. Sometimes that “dividend” is actually interest income or a capital gains distribution. Continue Reading…

Understanding The REIT Taxation Rules

REIT Tax RulesDividends are the big reason investors turn to real estate investment trusts or REITs. What many people don’t know is that those dividends are not taxed like normal dividend stocks. Thanks to an overly confusing tax code, owning REITs can get complicated. Understanding the REIT taxation rules could save you from a big charge when it’s time to file your taxes.

How Are REITs Taxed?

Real estate investment trusts were established to allow small investors access to large income producing real estate assets, much like how mutual funds provide access to stocks. In doing so, REITs were giving a special tax designation used to cut their corporate taxes.

In return for the corporate tax benefits, REITs must pay out 90% of their taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends. While the REIT tax code simplifies things from a corporate perspective, this is where it gets confusing for shareholders. Continue Reading…