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Stock Indexes

What Is a Stock Index? In 1884, Charles Henry Dow averaged the closing prices of 11 stocks he considered representative of the strength of the U.S. economy in a paper that preceded The Wall Street Journal. By 1896, The Wall Street Journal was publishing this average on a regular basis, and the most famous indicator

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Mutual Funds vs. Stocks

How Do Mutual Funds and Stocks Differ? Whether you’re a first-time stock investor or a seasoned veteran, you should understand what differentiates single stock investments from mutual fund investing. First, Some Working Definitions Picture a collection of stocks, bonds, or other securities that are purchased by a group of investors and then managed by an

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Mutual Funds

What Is a Mutual Fund? Since the creation of the first modern-day mutual fund, the Massachusetts Investors Trust, in 1924, there has been a steady growth of mutual funds. Today there are about 7,800 mutual funds.1 Because of their convenience and flexibility, you might want to consider including mutual funds in your investment portfolio. A

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Closed-End Funds

What Is a Closed-End Fund? Closed-end funds have been around since 1893, more than 30 years before the first mutual fund (also known as an open-end fund) was created in the United States. However, closed-end funds are much less common than open-end funds. There are fewer than 600 closed-end funds on the market, whereas there

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Mutual Fund Loads

What Is a Mutual Fund Load? Mutual fund transactions can be complicated, especially with the fees and expenses that accompany the process. It’s important to understand mutual fund load, or sales, charges, and exactly what they entail so you can make informed investing decisions. A “load” is a fee charged to an investor who buys

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Annuities

What Is an Annuity? An annuity is a contract with an insurance company that is funded by the purchaser and designed to generate an income stream in retirement. It is a flexible financial vehicle that can help protect against the risk of living a long time because it provides an option for a lifetime income.

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Fixed vs. Variable Annuity

What Is the Difference Between a Fixed Annuity and a Variable Annuity? An annuity is a contract with an insurance company in which you make one or more payments in exchange for a future income stream in retirement. The funds in an annuity accumulate tax deferred, regardless of which type you select. Because you do

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Investment Risks

What Investment Risks Should I Know About? Taken by itself, the word “risk” sounds negative. But broken down into what it really stands for in terms of investing, it begins to be a little more manageable. By understanding the different types of risk and keeping an eye on your investments, you may be able to

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Asset Classes

What Are the Different Classes of Assets? When it comes to investing their money, many people are content to take a random approach. They may have received a hot tip for a particular investment and decided to plow a large amount of money into it with no regard to the overall balance of their portfolios.

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Asset Allocation

What Is Asset Allocation? Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” This is certainly true when it comes to investing: If you don’t know where you’re headed financially, then it is not as vital which investments make up

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