Long Term Financial Vehicles
Investing in long-term financial vehicles give you the most gains but it also puts your funds at greater risk. There is much truth to the saying, "there is no gain if there is no risk". Still you can reduce your chances of losing your hard earned money, by researching and taking time to understand what you are buying. Would you purchase a house you've only just seen on the outside? Both of these are serious investments and you need to arm yourself with the basic knowledge about the subjects.
So what are the differences you need to consider when investing in bonds, stocks or mutual funds?
What are bonds? When you are investing funds in bonds, you are technically lending your money to a borrower. Who can this be? Some of these are the U. S. government, a state, a local municipality or a big company like General Motors. All these institutions need money to expand, to fund a federal deficit or to finance new ventures. So they borrow funds by issuing bonds. The price you pay for a bond is know as its' face value. The issuer promises to pay you back in a particular day, at a fixed rate of interest stated on the coupon itself. You are safely investing in bonds; these bonds give you a yearly income until the maturity date. When the bond matures, the borrower pays you back the principal plus interest. In most cases, investing in bonds is a minimal-risk free decision.
What about stocks? A share of stock is a certificate of ownership purchased by individuals who are investing or buying a proportional share of the business. The more stocks you buy, the bigger the share of profits you will get and the bigger your financial stake becomes. A stock's value is affected by the financial situation of the company. Historical trends in stocks have shown that their value rises over time, although there are no sure guarantees. Also with stocks the only assured return is if it appreciates on the open market. And while it is true that there are companies that give their stockholders dividends, they are not obligated to do so.
What are mutual funds? In this financial scenario, you join a group of investors in investing your funds to buy stocks, bonds, or anything else your fund manager decides is worthwhile. If you do sustain losses, these losses are subtracted from the fund's capital gains before the money is distributed to you the shareholder. The fund won't pass out capital gains to shareholders until it has at least earned more in profits than it had lost.
Remember it pays to do research before investing.