Growth Stocks vs. Value Stocks

Investors are often confused about the differences between growth stocks and value stocks. The main way in which they differ is not in how they are bought and sold, nor is it how much ownership they represent in a company. Rather, the difference lies mainly in the way in which they are perceived by the market and, ultimately, the investor.

Growth stocks are associated with high-quality, successful companies whose earnings are expected to continue growing at an above-average rate relative to the market. Growth stocks generally have high price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios and high price-to-book ratios. The P/E ratio is the market value per share divided by the current year’s earnings per share. For example, if the stock is currently trading at $52 per share and its earnings over the last 12 months have been $2 per share, then its P/E ratio is 26. The price-to-book ratio is the share price divided by the book value per share. The open market often places a high value on growth stocks; therefore, growth stock investors also may see these stocks as having great worth and may be willing to pay more to own shares.

Investors who purchase growth stocks receive returns from future capital appreciation (the difference between the amount paid for a stock and its current value), rather than dividends. Although dividends are sometimes paid to shareholders of growth stocks, it has historically been more common for growth companies to reinvest retained earnings in capital projects. Recently, however, because of tax-law changes lowering the tax rate on corporate dividends, even growth companies have been offering dividends.

At times, growth stocks may be seen as expensive and overvalued, which is why some investors may prefer value stocks, which are considered undervalued by the market. Value stocks are those that tend to trade at a lower price relative to their fundamentals (including dividends, earnings, and sales). Value stocks generally have good fundamentals, but they may have fallen out of favor in the market and are considered bargain priced compared with their competitors. They may have prices that are below the stocks’ historic levels or may be associated with new companies that aren’t recognized by investors. It’s possible that these companies have been affected by a problem that raises some concerns about their long-term prospects.

Value stocks generally have low current price-to-earnings ratios and low price-to-book ratios. Investors buy these stocks in the hope that they will increase in value when the broader market recognizes their full potential, which should result in rising share prices. Thus, investors hope that if they buy these stocks at bargain prices and the stocks eventually increase in value, they could potentially make more money than if they had invested in higher-priced stocks that increased modestly in value.

Growth and value are styles of investing in stocks. Neither approach is guaranteed to provide appreciation in stock market value; both carry investment risk. The return and principal value of stocks fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investments seeking to achieve higher rates of return also involve a greater degree of risk.

Growth and value investments tend to run in cycles. Understanding the differences between them may help you decide which may be appropriate to help you pursue your specific goals. Regardless of which type of investor you are, there may be a place for both growth and value stocks in your portfolio. This strategy may help you manage risk and potentially enhance your returns over time.

 

The information in this newsletter is not intended as tax, legal, investment, or retirement advice or recommendations, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions. © 2017 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

Retirement Plan Limits

How much money can I put into my IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan?

IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans are subject to annual contribution limits set by the federal government. The limits are adjusted periodically to compensate for inflation and increases in the cost of living.

IRAS

For the 2016 and 2017 tax years, you can contribute up to $5,500 to all IRAs combined (the limit is adjusted annually for inflation). If you have a traditional IRA as well as a Roth IRA, you can only contribute a total of the annual limit in one year, not the annual limit to each.

If you are age 50 or older, you can also make a $1,000 annual “catch-up” contribution.

EMPLOYER-SPONSORED RETIREMENT PLANS

Employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s have an $18,000 contribution limit in 2017 (unchanged from 2016); individuals aged 50 and older can contribute an extra $6,000 each year as a catch-up contribution. (Section 403(b) and 457(b) plans may also provide special catch-up opportunities.)

SIMPLE PLANS

You can contribute up to $12,500 to a SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k) plan in 2017, and an extra $3,000 catch-up contribution if you are age 50 or older (unchanged from 2016).

Distributions from traditional IRAs and most employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income, except for any after-tax contributions you’ve made, and the taxable portion may be subject to 10% federal income tax penalty if taken prior to reaching age 59½ (unless an exception applies). If you participate in both a traditional IRA and an employer-sponsored plan, your IRA contributions may or may not be tax deductible, depending on your adjusted gross income.

 

The information in this newsletter is not intended as tax, legal, investment, or retirement advice or recommendations, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions. © 2017 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

Money Market Funds

Just like individuals, the government, corporations, and banks often need to borrow money for a short time to make ends meet. Unlike most individuals, however, the scale of this borrowing is phenomenal.

The money market is the name given to the arena where most of this short-term borrowing takes place. In the money market, money is both borrowed and lent for short periods of time.

For example, a bank might have to borrow millions of dollars overnight to ensure that it meets federal reserve requirements. Loans in the money market can stretch from one day to one year or beyond. The interest rate is fundamentally determined by supply and demand, the length of the loan, and the credit standing of the borrower.

The money market was traditionally only open to large institutions. Unless you had a spare $100,000 lying around, you couldn’t participate.

However, during the inflationary era of the 70s, when interest rates sky-rocketed, people began to demand greater returns on their liquid funds. Leaving money in a bank deposit account at 5 percent interest made little sense with inflation running at 12 percent. The money market was returning significantly higher rates but the vast majority of people were prohibited from participating by the sheer scale of the investment required.

And so, the first money market mutual fund came into being. By pooling shareholders’ funds, it was possible for individuals to receive the rewards of participating in the money market. Because of their large size, mutual funds were able to make investments and receive rates of return that individual investors couldn’t get on their own.

Money market mutual funds typically purchase highly liquid investments with varying maturities, so there is cash flow to meet investor demand to redeem shares. You can withdraw your money at any time.

For a minimum investment, sometimes as low as $500, money market mutual funds will allow you to write checks. The check-writing feature is most often used to transfer cash to a traditional checking account when additional funds are needed. These funds are useful as highly liquid, cash emergency, short-term investment vehicles.

Money market funds are neither insured nor guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in money market funds.

Mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the investment company, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.

The information in this newsletter is not intended as tax, legal, investment, or retirement advice or recommendations, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions. © 2017 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

Why Purchase Life Insurance?

We’ve all heard about the importance of having life insurance, but is it really necessary? Usually, the answer is “yes,” but it depends on your specific situation. If you have a family who relies on your income, then it is imperative to have life insurance protection. If you’re single and have no major assets to protect, then you may not need coverage.

In the event of your untimely death, your beneficiaries can use funds from a life insurance policy for funeral and burial expenses, probate, estate taxes, day care, and any number of everyday expenses. Funds can be used to pay for your children’s education and take care of debts or a mortgage that hasn’t been paid off. Life insurance funds can also be added to your spouse’s retirement savings. If your dependents will not require the proceeds from a life insurance policy for these types of expenses, you may wish to name a favorite charity as the beneficiary of your policy.

If your dependents will not require the proceeds from a life insurance policy for these types of expenses, you may wish to name a favorite charity as the beneficiary of your policy.

Permanent life insurance can also be used as a source of cash in the event that you need to access the funds during your lifetime. Many types of permanent life insurance build cash value that can be borrowed from or withdrawn at the policyowner’s request. Of course, withdrawals or loans that are not repaid will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit.

There are expenses associated with life insurance. Generally, life insurance policies have contract limitations, fees, and charges, which can include mortality and expense charges, account fees, underlying investment management fees, administrative fees, and charges for optional benefits. Most policies have surrender charges that are assessed during the early years of the contract if the contract owner surrenders the policy. Any guarantees are contingent on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company. Life insurance is not guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency; it is not a deposit of, nor is it guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank or savings association.

The cost and availability of life insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased.

If you are considering the purchase of life insurance, consult a professional to explore your options.

The information in this newsletter is not intended as tax, legal, investment, or retirement advice or recommendations, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions. © 2017 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

Can You Avoid Identity Theft Scams?

If you purchase identity protection, you might think it will prevent you from being a victim of an identity theft scam. But as you’ll see, the reality is more complicated. Identity theft protection is often a wise investment—but don’t let it fool you into a false sense of security.

First, it helps to understand the scope of the problem. According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, identity fraud hit a record high in 2016, with 15 million U.S. victims. We’ve written about some of the most popular types of identity theft scams and how to avoid several of them, such as tax-related scams and fantasy football scams.

Given how common and damaging identity theft is, many people are turning to identity theft protection plans. These plans can be a terrific value, especially those that include monitoring and protection services to defend you against personal, financial, and medical identity theft.

Once you purchase the added protection, it’s easy to think you’ll never be a victim of identity theft—but that’s not the case. In fact, identity theft protection doesn’t prevent identity theft any more than car insurance prevents collisions. What it does is give you peace of mind and help you recover quickly if the worst happens.

An identity theft protection plan will typically feature credit and other monitoring services that can spot identity theft early—before significant harm occurs. Comprehensive plans will also include recovery support, so if you are victimized, you will get the professional help you need to quickly restore your identity. Some plans will also include identity theft insurance to reimburse you for your out-of-pocket expenses if you are a victim.

In sum, if you are worried about identity theft, consider investing in a comprehensive identity theft protection plan. It could help you spot identity theft sooner and recover faster, at less cost—just don’t assume it will prevent identity scams from happening in the first place.

Courtesy – MYIDCARE

Cash Balance Plans

Cash Balance Plans Can Help Supercharge Retirement Savings

Cash balance plans are technically defined benefit plans that share some characteristics with defined contribution plans. IRS regulations finalized in 2010 and 2014 clarified some legal issues and made these hybrid plans more flexible and appealing to employers. Nationwide, there was a 189% increase in new cash balance plans between 2008 and 2014.1

Cash balance plans are not just a powerful tool for employee recruitment and retention. They have generous contribution limits that increase with age, and they’re often combined with a 401(k) or profit-sharing plan. This might allow partners in professional service firms and other high-income business owners to maximize or catch up on retirement savings and reduce their taxable income.

In 2016, a 65-year-old could save as much as $245,000 in a cash balance plan, while a 55-year-old could save $180,000 on a tax-deferred basis (until the account reaches a maximum accumulation of $2.5 million).2

Assuming the Risk

As with other defined benefit plans, employees are promised a specified retirement benefit, and the employer is responsible for funding the plan and selecting investments. However, each participant has an individual (albeit hypothetical) account with a “cash balance” for record-keeping purposes, and the vested account value is portable, which means it can be rolled over to another employer plan or to an IRA.

But unlike the situation with a 401(k), the participant’s cash balance when benefit payments begin can never be less than the sum of the contributions made to the participant’s account, even if plan investments result in negative earnings for a particular period. This means the employer bears all the financial risks.

Funding the Plan

Each year, the employer makes two contributions to the cash balance plan for each employee. The first is a pay credit, which is either a fixed amount or a percentage of annual compensation. The second contribution is a fixed or variable interest credit rate (ICR). The ICR can be set to equal the actual rate of return of the portfolio, if certain diversification requirements are met, which reduces the employer’s investment risk and the possibility of having an underfunded plan due to market volatility.

Weighing the Cost

The amount that the employer must contribute to the plan each year is actuarially determined based on plan design and worker demographics. Typically, IRS rules require owners to contribute 5% to 8% of pay to non-highly compensated employees in order to make larger tax-deferred contributions for themselves.3

Businesses may take a significant tax deduction for employee contributions, so current-year tax savings may offset some of these costs. Still, cash balance plans are typically more cost-effective if you are a sole proprietor or the owner of a small firm with just a few employees.