8 Best Long-term Investments

Coins stacking with growing plant use for long term investment

Automatically, we associated the term “investments” with planting a seed and watching it become an enormous tree in 10-15 years. You’re not wrong thinking about it this way — long-term investments do resemble trees. They branch out and evolve to tremendous value if their environment meets certain conditions.

If you’re planning to start on long-term investments, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll share with you great examples of long-term investments capable of growing to sustainable and beneficial heights.

But, first things first…

The Risk and Rewards of 8 Top Long-Term Investments

1. Stocks

Investors classify these into two: regular dividend stocks and high-yield/growth stocks. Stockbrokers present regular stocks as upcoming or established companies and their growth prospects in the next 3-5 years.

Truthfully, most stockbrokers and exchanges advertise certain growth stocks in a certain way because investors need to invest higher due to the exceptional value these have.

  • Risk Level

When you hear people say “investments,” you think of dividend stocks and shares. During high manufacturing and gross domestic product (GDP) seasons, locking on both regular and high-yield investments will give you huge returns.

However, when economic recessions hit, stocks lose the most value than diversified funds (mutual, ETF, and others), unless you find or invest in a “unicorn” company like Facebook, Amazon, and other equivalents.

  • Rewards

If you’re willing to stick it through thick and thin with your diversified portfolio of regular and growth stocks, you’re sure to get huge returns when higher FTSE Straits Times Index (Singapore’s S&P500) performance happens. Truthfully, it’s easy to own high-performing stock if you’re looking for long-term investments that yield great profits.

2. Long-Term Bonds

During a bearish market (meaning a poorly-performing commercial and industrial market), interbank borrowing rates, such as SIBOR, have increased interest rates due to increased risks. Long-term bonds have a powerful shield because it does not use bank rates as their value anchor.

Instead, it increases its price thanks to its limited supply. You can think of it as an alternative to gold. When stock prices decrease, bond prices stay the same, but the treasury’s bonds can deplete.

  • Risk Level

A direct inverse to stocks, bonds allow investors to float during the most terrible financial recessions. However, if the commercial and private sectors have flourishing profits and low-interest rates, bonds become virtually useless — until a recession happens again.

However, bonds are decades long-investments, the lowest being 30 years. Additionally, bonds change interest rates as fast as a single year. Therefore, your 30-year 3% yield treasury bond will sell low because it is a fixed-rate bond, even if the current year endorses a 5% yield on the bonds.

  • Rewards

Stability is one cornerstone low-risk investors love about bonds. Their predictability allows them to invest more money with safe and calculable yields. Furthermore, if you invested in bonds the previous year and saw a recession the following year, you can get high returns once bonds deplete, and investors are clamoring to purchase them at higher than ever prices.

3. Mutual Funds

When you combine a set of stocks and bonds to achieve a certain goal, they become a fund. Mutual funds are managed by professionals who create a company (complete with incorporation) to help first-time and long-time investors make long-term investments with different profit possibilities.

You’ll only allocate a certain amount of capital, then the professional brokers and managers will make the investments.

  • Risk Level

Mutual funds present their fund manager’s strategy and objectives. Working with actuaries, managers can present optimistic, average, and pessimistic returns their investment strategies can achieve.

    • Mutual funds describe themselves as the following:
    • Equity: Stock-oriented with high risk
    • Fixed-Income: low but guaranteed stable income, medium risk
    • Index: high-yield stock oriented. Expensive but medium risk
    • Balanced: Risk-reduction focused. Very low risk but low return
    • ETFs (More on this below)
  • Rewards

Like other investment products in this list, your rewards depend on the risks you’re willing to take. Most beginner mutual fund investors go for balanced funds but find its slow, and low profit returns troublesome. Some want equities for impressive returns, even if it’s just once or twice in a blue moon.

For long-term investments, balanced funds are your best bets. Choose stability and low risk over quick and high profits accompanied by high risks.

4. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF)

ETFs have an extremely popular mutual fund, an investment trust structure, allowing them to trade on the stock and receive stock benefits. Therefore, it enjoys stock liquidity, making it another option for short-term investors.

Their lower fee makes them a much more appealing choice. Plus, ETF managers can hedge or leverage funds for maximum profits.

  • Risk Level

While most financial advisors rate ETFs as a low-risk investment, stock tax variety will apply to its liquidity. Truthfully, tax-efficiency is notable in ETFs if managers buy and sell them in-kind. Capital gains taxes occur when derivatives, commodities, and other factors get involved.

  • Rewards

Like stocks, ETFs increase their value if the market is bullish (or positive). When GDP plus commercial and industrial activities increase, so will ETF values regardless of style. However, if your ETF does not trade in bonds, you might be in trouble once recession hits.

Long Term Real Estate Investment

5. Real Estate

From the Middle Ages to modern times, real estate is a commodity that only grows in value. Truthfully, it’s one of the most expensive investments you can make with a 20% down payment as the minimum ownership fee of properties you intend to rent out to Singaporeans or foreigners.

The average cost of non-HDB properties in Singapore is beyond S $200,000 – S $ 400,000 at a minimum. However, because of the high demand for real estate in the country, it remains an excellent source of income despite its slow start.

  • Risk Level

One risk exists with real estate investments: bank debt and passive management. You can assume bank debt as money you’ll invest in the property coming from a reputable financial institution. Truthfully, this works similarly for owner-occupant properties.

Once you’re running multiple rental real estates, you’ll want to use a management company to oversee maintenance, accounting, and other necessary procedures to enhance your investments’ quality and dependability.

Both of these entail great risks because you can end up with deep bank debt if you fail to pay or secure a tenant (if your interest to invest in real estate is rental profit). Plus, your passive real estate management company can demand you to pay their accumulated fees if you default on property payments.

  • Rewards

Real estate’s value remains high, thanks to the consistent demand and limited supply. If you can ride out the initial massively-expensive storm, you can expect to find an enormous profit. This outcome is true, especially if you’ve completed property and debt payment and going beyond your break-even rates.

6. Tax Sheltered Retirement Plans

Honestly, you haven’t heard a single Singaporean soul tell you they’ve achieved financial independence by using tax-sheltered retirement plans. However, many financially-successful individuals use them to minimize their investment losses. Everybody pays taxes, but if you have tax shelters, you use legal means to minimize your contributions and get more profit from your assets.

Tax shelters use existing tax brackets for investment profits regardless of capital assets. Thankfully in Singapore, you won’t need to worry — the government does not charge for any capital gains taxes. Alternatively, you can lower your taxes by familiarizing yourself with the country’s bilateral tax treaties.

  • Risk Level

With no capital gains tax to worry about, Singaporeans can maximize the sale, purchase, property transfer, and other profits they receive by moving assets. Truthfully, tax shelters are zero-risk ventures, but then again, they’re not actual investment vehicles. On the other hand, they can be tedious with all the legwork and paperwork.

  • Rewards

Being familiar with Singapore’s tax system enables you to maximize profit within every legal limitation possible. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about long-term issues arising from investment profits you’ve failed to track. While the absence of any capital gains tax helps, you might step on a legal landmine if you’re not too familiar with Singapore tax laws.

7. Robo-Advisor Portfolios

Automation is one of the biggest benefits this age of progressive and advanced technology benefits any Singaporean, including investors. A Robo-advisor is like a fund manager in your pocket with the option to customize their management and purchasing style. For example, you can set your Robo-advisor to invest in stocks and minorly in bonds.

It uses machine learning, another advancement for both technologies. Once it learns you and other investors’ practices, it can give you asset recommendations using success percentages from other Robo-advisers as the basis.

Most Robo-advisors have some basic parameters to set during the start, allowing you to adjust them progressively to suit your automated investing style.

  • Risk Level

Truthfully, the 0.25% commission it receives is negligible. However, you face similar risks if you will invest in stocks or bonds independently. When using your Robo-advisors, research and decision-making bulks will always be yours; they can only provide suggestions.

As for your bot, its responsibility is to assess whether it meets your pre-set investment goals. It will then give you recommendations using its talents of fast-tracked data comparison analysis between investors who have the same investing behavior and assets as you.

  • Rewards

Like risks, the rewards you get from Robo-advisors are thanks to your assets’ performance. However, it’s easier to assess rewards thanks to a data-accurate Robo-advisor.

It can provide you details on trends and actions by other investors. Having an effective briefing regarding the general investor flow helps you anticipate whether certain asset prices can increase or decrease.

8. Annuities

These are insurance products that invest for you. These products have their respective objectives, such as providing you with income at 65 until your death.

To make their products accessible, insurance companies make annuities affordable for entry-level products at least. However, substantial-paying life-plans ask you for a higher initial down payment before subsequent installations until you finish paying.

Some financial advisers consider annuities a controversial product because it benefits the insurance company and its representatives more than the beneficiary.

For example, if you paid to get an income after you retire by 65, you maximize your annuities if you lived up to 100 years. Achieving this meant the insurance company paid the additional percentage they advertised.

Otherwise, you will have fared better saving your huge initial annuity down payment and subsequent installation payments to pay yourself after retirement.

  • Risk Level

Annuities are useful if you are in good shape. Unfortunately, no human can ever predict their final resting years’ duration. However, having peace of mind that a financial institution is liable to keep you financially afloat during retirement can benefit the majority of Singaporeans.

  • Rewards

As we’ve mentioned above, if you live for 65-100 years, you have maximized your investments to the fullest. On the other hand, passing away earlier than 75 will reward the insurance company the retirement fund remainder. Some annuities award your remaining fund amount to family members or registered beneficiaries, but these are rare.

Factors to Consider

1. Higher Risk Levels Equal Higher Returns (And Vice-Versa)

Don’t be swayed or fooled by seminars and advertisements brokers publicize about investing being worry-free and easy. Making investments is easy, thanks to technology and financial technology advancements. However, turning a profit through long-term investments will always be challenging. To make your long-term investments bear fruit, you’ll need to research and have a complete understanding of SWOT.

Every business relies on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis. Thankfully, many business and market analysts have their respective SWOT analytics data on different websites and magazines. All you’ll need to do is a simple search engine query.

2. Time Horizon Anchored To Your Goals

Truthfully, long-term investments have smaller risks than their short-term counterparts because assets can recover their value over time. For example, during a recession, short-term investors suffer more losses if they invested in stocks. However, best long-term investments with in-depth planning can ride out the ups and downs of its stocks through a recession and gain double or triple the initial investment value.

However, a long-term investment fund is never risk-free. You might be at the end of your holding position, and without warning, interest rates have plunged so low, spelling bad news for your bond-oriented investment approach. After decades, you’ve received only a small investment growth instead.

Start Your Investment Journey With The Right Information!

One of the best ways to build wealth over time is to invest long-term. If you’re looking to get started with long-term investing, it’s critical to always invest with the right information on hand. With the right thoughts on the best long-term investment products, your user experience during investing becomes smoother and profitable. Subscribe to Investoralist for more investment tips and ideas!

Guide to the Best Charles Schwab ETF List of 2021

Guide To Charles Schwab ETF

Charles Schwab is a U.S. based financial services company that offers various investment management services meant to cater to all types of investors. Clients receive investment advice and strategies to help them achieve the highest return of investment possible. Schwab offers various products for their clients, such as stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETF), mutual funds, and money.

This article aims to provide readers with an idea of how to start investing in an ETF. Here, you will learn the introductory information necessary to start building your investment portfolio. Also, you will see a list of the best ETFs with low fees.

Charles Schwab: An Overview

Schwab index funds have been in the market for several decades now, but it was only in 2009 that the company has started to offer exchange-traded funds. More than a decade later, Schwab has gained a reputation for offering profitable ETFs with low expense ratios. In fact, it was Schwab who first introduced the no-commission offers for an ETF, which other investment companies copied.

ETF is an abbreviation for “exchange-traded fund,” which is a type of investment fund traded on stock exchanges. It is a collection of investable assets like bonds or stocks which is used to track an index or to invest in a certain industry or sector. For investors, an ETF is a quick way to diversify their portfolio even though they only bought one security.

It is easy to confuse an ETF and mutual funds. In many ways, these two are the same. But the major difference between the two is that an ETF is traded throughout the day. In contrast, mutual funds are traded only once a day, after the market has closed.

Today, Schwab was ranked #1 for offering low-cost and free ETF trading by the Investor’s Daily Business. Investors can choose from the 2,000 index mutual funds and ETF products they offer. Also, it has a lot of ETF products apt for investors who have limited funds.

Why Choose Charles Schwab Index Funds?

Through the years, Schwab has gained popularity for offering affordable index funds. It has been favored by many for offering the best ETFs and mutual funds. Below are some of the specific reasons why Schwab continued to attract thousands of investors in the past decade.

  • Low-cost index funds

Many investors would attest to the affordability of Charles Schwab index funds. Each has affordable if not the lowest expense ratio in the market. Also, Schwab has numerous commission-free ETFs. Given these factors, it is no doubt that the company has developed a reputation for being an affordable discount broker. It has maintained its brand of being one of the most reachable ETF issuers in the globe.


  • Easy and effective research

There is no denying that investing can be a tough job because of the many information you need to read and understand. It is overwhelming for beginners to encounter terms like Stock Market Index Fund, S&P 500 Index Fund, or Aggregate Bond ETF, and more.

But, those with Schwab brokerage accounts would find it easy to understand the details of the stocks and funds they are buying. Schwab has several resources, as well as help from third-party independent researchers, to guide investors to make the best investment decisions.


  • Large assets managed

Admittedly, Schwab only has a few ETFs. Despite this, it manages assets with $145 billion – fifth-largest U. S. ETF sponsor. This is an admirable feat considering that its competitors like Vanguard have way more ETF offerings. The large assets managed by Schwab tells us that its ETFs are highly in-demand.

Two Ways Schwab Categorizes Its Equity ETFs

Charles Schwab has two ways of categorizing its ETFs, namely, market-cap ETFs and Fundamental index ETFs. These are two methodologies used by Schwab when it comes to indexing its index funds. Note that both of these approaches can help you build and improve your investment portfolio.

1. Market-cap ETFs

These ETFs benchmark indexes to their portfolio based on the size of a company’s market capitalization or the total value of the shares of stock of the company. For example, Schwab has a so-called Schwab 1000 Index, which tracks the 1,000 largest companies traded on the stock market of the United States.

On the other hand, Schwab has the so-called Dow Jones U S Small-Cap Total Stock Market Index, which tracks the 1,750 smallest companies in the American stock market. You can see that both indexes sort the list of companies by market capitalization.

Under the market-cap ETFs of Schwab. They provide an easy way for their investors to invest in small-cap, mid-cap, and large-cap growth companies that are traded in the stock market. Note that U. S. small-cap companies are those with a market capitalization of less than $2 billion. Meanwhile, mid-cap has between $2 billion to $10 billion. And, U. S. large-cap companies are those with a market capitalization of more than $10 billion.

2. Fundamental index ETFs

While the market-cap ETFs are based on market capitalization, the Fundamental Index ETFs are based on three measurements of the company size. These are: first, adjusted sale; second, retained operating cash flow; and third, dividend and buybacks. Adjusted sales refer to the measurement of the company’s revenue. Meanwhile, retained operating cash flow refers to the total amount of cash the company keeps each year. And, dividend refers to the amount paid by the company to the shareholders.

Fundamental Index ETFs have higher expense ratios compared to market-cap ETFs. Also, they bear greater tax liabilities. Despite these disadvantages, Schwab’s Fundamental Index ETFs have shown better performance than its market-cap ETF counterparts. Hence, it is understandable why investors choose this.

How to Buy Schwab ETFs?

There are multiple ways to buy Schwab ETFs. You can directly buy the ETFs issued by Schwab. Also, you can buy from the Schwab ETF OneSource. Both of which have commission-free options.

If there are no commission-free products you can find, you can avail of Schwab’s brokerage commissions. Here, you will pay for an advisor who will help and guide you on where to invest your money. Opening a brokerage account does not necessarily mean spending a lot of money. If you play your cards right, your brokerage account can yield a high return on investment.

Buying Schwab ETFs are fairly simple and easy. Just follow the steps below and be a pro in no time!

  1. Open an account at charles schwab website

The first thing you have to do is to open an account and put in the fund you are willing to invest. Take note that there are a wide selection of Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) at some of the lowest costs, so decide on which ones are the best for your portfolio.

  1. Select number of shares you wish to purchase

On the website of Schwab, just use the ETF ticker and the number of shares you wish to purchase. If the ETF you chose is not commission-free, you also have to make sure that your account has enough cash to pay both for the price of the share and the added commission fee.

  1. Build your portfolio and start trading!

When you start building your portfolio by buying ETFs, you can use the Personalized Portfolio Builder tool offered by Charles Scwab to simplify the process. You can as well use the variety of tools, guidance, and support designed they extend to beginners or have live support from Schwab Investment Professionals available 24/7 on their website support.

Wooden Block With ETF

7 Best Schwab ETFs for Low Fees

Charles Schwab, as an investment company, has a lot of index fund offerings for investors. Below are seven of the Schwab ETFs with low fees. These are for investors who do not have a lot of funds for their investment accounts. Maybe, one of these funds is right for you.

Note that each of these Schwab ETF is low-cost and has a minimal expense ratio. If you want to have an aggressive type of investment, these ETFs might not be right for you. The challenge here then is to look for the best Schwab index funds that can give you the highest amount of return given the limited amount you have invested.

1. Schwab U. S. Small-Cap ETF (SCHA)

Expense ratio: 0.04%

Management Style: Passively-managed index fund

This fund tracks the total return of the Dow Jones U. S. Small-Cap Total Stock Market Index. It is a low-cost and tax-efficient fund. It provides investors with simple access to U. S. small-cap equities. Also, it is best for those looking for long-term growth for their portfolio.

SCHA is one of the most affordable small-cap funds you can find in the market. It holds about 1,750 stocks and has around 8.3 billion of assets under management. Notably, this ETF has outperformed other funds in the past recent years. For example, it has outperformed Russell 2000 index, S&P Small-cap 600 indexes, S&P 500 Index Fund, or even larger ones like Schwab 1000 Index Fund (SNXFX).

Also, SCHA has allocated 31% of its weight in industrial and healthcare stocks and 37% of its weight in the technology and financial services sectors. While it was only launched a decade ago, this Schwab ETF has shown consistent growth and good performance. In fact, it is managing more than $8 billion in assets today.

2. Schwab Fundamental International Large Company Index ETF (FNDF)

Expense ratio: 0.25%

Management Style: Passively-managed index fund

This is a low-cost Schwab ETF that tracks the Russell RAFI™ Developed ex U.S. Large Company Index. It can serve as a good complement to a market-cap index fund or an actively managed ETF. Buying a similar ETF, a Large Company Index, from other investment advisors, will cost you so much more, around 0.42% compared to only 0.25% charged by Schwab.

The measurements used to construct the benchmark index of the Schwab Fundamental International Large Company ETF are adjusted sales, operating cash flow, and dividends and buybacks. Also, most of the companies in this ETF are based in Europe, Japan, and the U.K. This means that FNDF is good for those looking for an alternative for EAFE funds or those looking for a Schwab International Large Company Index.

3. Schwab U. S. Broad Market ETF (SCHB)

Expense ratio: 0.03%

Management Style: Passively-managed index fund

This ETF tracks the total return of the Dow Jones U. S. Broad Stock Market Index. It is designed to measure U. S. small-cap, mid-cap, and large-cap equities. This fund provides simple access to the 2,500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies, which means that it has four times the number of components in the S&p 500 index. You can use this ETF as the main fund of your portfolio.

Schwab U. S. Broad Market ETF has one of the most affordable ETFs offered in the U.S. One problem, though, is that it is fairly safe and has a low gain. Investors looking for high profit or return should not choose this fund. It is best for those looking for a conservative type of investment.

4. Schwab U. S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD)

Expense ratio: 0.06%

Management Style: Passively-managed index fund

This ETF tracks the total return of the Dow Jones U. S. Dividend 100, which tracks the quality and sustainability of dividends. Since SCHD follows a focused approach, it is best to use it to complement a diversified portfolio. It has around $9.5 billion of assets in its management, which means that it is one of the largest dividend ETFs in the United States.

Also, it is one of the least expensive dividend ETFs in the market. Investment advisors and investors favor this fund because of the way it creates its index. It only includes stocks that had a consistent minimum dividend increase in the past 10 years.

5. Schwab U. S. Large-Cap Value ETF (SCHV)

Expense ratio: 0.04%

Management Style: Passively-managed index fund

This ETF tracks the return of the Dow Jones U. S. Large-Cap Value Total Stock Market Index. It gives investors access to large-cap equities in the United States that exhibit value style characteristics. It can serve as part of the core of your diversified portfolio.

Admittedly, Schwab U. S. Large-Cap Value ETF has not performed well in recent years, but it cannot be denied that it remains one of the least expensive index funds you can find today. As a result, this index fund is chosen by investors looking for a long-term investment. In total, this fund has 350 stocks, 22% of which are in the financial sectors, while 28% are in healthcare and technology.

6. Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index ETF (FNDE)

Expense ratio: 0.39%

Management Style: Passively-managed index fund

This index fund tracks the total return of the Russell RAFI™ Emerging Markets Large Company Index, which is a basket of the largest emerging markets companies based on fundamental measures. This Schwab emerging markets equity ETF is best paired with an index fund that has market-cap indexing, or that is actively managed.

Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index ETF has remained productive in recent years, largely because of the emerging economies in Asia. Around 40% of the weight of this fund is on the stocks of Asian economies. It is a Schwab ETF that uses an alternative index methodology. It is similar to FNDF, but FNDE is for emerging markets.

7. Schwab U. S. Large-Cap Growth ETF (SCHG)

Expense ratio: 0.04%

Management Style: Passively-managed index fund

It is a Schwab ETF that tracks the total return of the Dow Jones U. S. Large-Cap Growth Total Stock Market Index. It provides simple access to large-cap U.S. equities, which must show growth style characteristics. This is an affordable fund that can provide tax-efficiency.

SCHG is similar to SCHV. The only difference is the focus of this Schwab total stock market ETF is on growth instead of value. Its approach to growth is traditional. For example, a large part of it, around 32%, is invested in technology stocks. This means that investors also have to manage their expectations on the return of their investment.

Bottom Line

The Schwab index funds mentioned above are for investors looking for affordable investment opportunities. Aside from being low-cost (each has a low expense ratio), they are also tax efficient. Despite these advantages, remember that they are low-risk, low-gain investments. Charles Schwab has other index funds for investors with a lot of funds that are expecting bigger gains or profit.

If you feel like the ETFs mentioned above are not right for you, Investoralist has other articles discussing other types of Charles Schwab index funds as well as index funds from other investment services. Browse this website to find other written materials and research tools to help and guide you in your investment. We do have detailed and in-depth discussions about Charles Schwab international and U. S. index funds, U. S. aggregate bond, Schwab U. S. broad market, and many more.

Aside from topics of Schwab index funds, mutual funds, and ETFs, Investoralist has other articles dedicated to explaining how to manage funds, diversify a retirement account, and find affordable expense ratios. Also, you can find our topics on real estate, money lending, credit score, and many more. All of these are easy-to-read and are friendly for beginners.

Finding the Best Charles Schwab Mutual Funds

Business Man Finding the Best Charles Schwab Mutual Funds

The Charles Schwab Foundation is a renowned financial services company based in the United States. Aside from being known as a reputable online discount brokerage firm, it is also popular for offering low-cost, high-return, and high-quality mutual funds. The terms and conditions set by the company are always attractive to long-term investors.

Through the years, Schwab has attracted beginner investors because the minimum account is $0, and there is no commission for the stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You can also avail of the company’s no-load, no transaction fee funds with a minimum investment of $100.

Charles Schwab Mutual Funds

Mutual funds refer to investment vehicles (a bank or a company) that combines the money of different people (called investors) to use it in buying stocks, bonds, or other assets. Every single person who puts in money to a fund gets to have a slice (called shares) of the profit. Instead of putting your money in a single basket, bearing all the risks, a mutual fund allows you to diversify your portfolio and make good investment choices with the help of professionals and advisors.

People choose to buy a mutual fund from companies like Charles Schwab Co Inc because of their years of proven effective investment management that are worth more or less than their original benchmark index through the years.

It has all resources to ensure that the money of the investors is put into investments that will likely give high returns. To date, Schwab investors have two families of index funds two choose from namely Equity Index Funds and Fundamental Index Funds. Both of which have reasonable costs and provide a high, relatively high return to their clients.

What are the Best Schwab Mutual Funds?

If you feel like Schwab fits your criteria in choosing an investment advisor, below is a list of five of the top mutual funds they offer. If you think that investing may be worth pursuing, look at the products below to see if there is a fund that fits your budget and financial goals. This lineup is only about mutual funds. For more information about other index fund Schwab options, read other articles on this website.

1. Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (SWPPX)

This is a low-cost index fund that needs no minimum investment. It invests in 500 leading companies based in the United States, which covers around 80% of the available US market capitalization. Investing here means investing in the most popular brands and companies in the US. It has an expense ratio of 0.02%. It is fairly unaffected by market volatility.

2.  Schwab Total Stock Market Index Fund (SWTSX)

This index fund tracks the total return of the entire United States stock market as measured by the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index. It is meant to have a comprehensive coverage measure of small-, mid-, and large-cap equity securities in the US. It has a total net asset value of $12,665,772,353.71.

3.  Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (SCHB)

This is one of the most competitive ETFs managed by Schwab. It is a low-cost fund that provides access to the 2,500 largest publicly traded companies in the United States. Its fund performance is projected to be continuously high in the next 5 to 10 years. An investor should choose this as part of the core of a diversified portfolio.

4. Schwab Health Care Fund (SWHFX)

It is an actively managed fund that targets long-term capital growth. Its focus on the health sector or health care companies which includes medical research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, medical manufacturing businesses, and many more. In contrast to other funds mentioned above which focus on the domestic market, this fund relies on the international market. In terms of fees, it has a net expense ratio of 0.800%.

5. Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF (SCHG)

This is a low-cost fund that provides access to large-cap companies in the United States that show growth style characteristics. Some of these companies include Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Visa, and many more. It has an expense ratio of 0.04%. You can purchase this fund as part of the core of your diversified portfolio.

Why is Charles Schwab the Best Trading Platform?

So, why have Schwab brokerage accounts attracted people through the years? The company has built systems that made the process of investing easy. Surely, people who invest would like investment returns. Schwab, through its various products and service offerings, assures that people who choose to entrust their money will likely make a profit.

Here are the key takeaways why Charles Schwab Corporation is the best when it comes to investing. Note that while this article focuses on mutual funds, the factors identified below also apply to those who want to avail of the company’s other products and services like ETFs and other types of funds.

No Load, No Transaction Fees (etfs)

If you buy a mutual fund from Schwab, you are not charged with a transaction as long as you have a minimum investment of $100. As an investor, this is what you have to look for because it means that you will no longer need to pay any sales charges on the trade. For those planning to take investing seriously, the transaction fee means that you can save a lot of money in the long run.

Mutual Fund Selection and Expenses

When it comes to mutual funds, in 2020 Charles Schwab Co. has more than 3,500 funds where you can avail of their no-transaction fees promo. Aside from mutual funds, the company has other funds offered like index funds and ETFs. When it comes to investment expenses, Schwab has a reputation for offering a low operating expense ratio on each of its funds.

To give you an idea, a passively managed Schwab fund usually has an expense ratio of 0.02% – 0.39% while an actively managed fund has an operating expense ratio of 0.22%-1.92%. While each fund has its own expense ratio, the low percentage mentioned above should give you an idea of how low-cost Schwab funds are. Also, take note that the company’s redemption fee of $49.85 will be charged on the redemption of funds.

Provider of Quality Trade Tools and Excellent Stock Research

Schwab provides guidance to its clients through the extensive market and stock research. Aside from employing experts, it has also sought the help of third-party research providers who give premium independent research. Investing in this company means that you can get helpful information from research companies like Morningstar, Credit Suisse, and other prominent and trusted research organizations. Getting information from independent, third-party research organizations can guarantee unbiased decision when it comes to investing. Moreover, investors can do their own research easily as Schwab has made it easy for their clients to screen, compare, and analyze the various funds offered by the company.

Transparency on Account and Investment Minimums

You can avail of Schwab’s no minimum account balances and zero monthly services. All you have to do is to open an account under Schwab One brokerage account. You do not have to maintain a balance in your account, and you are not charged with any recurring fees each month.

Best Trading Platforms for Beginners

Aside from improving its website, Schwab created a trading platform that is easy to use and is friendly even to those not tech-savvy. It is called StreetSmart Edge, which makes charting of funds easy. The platform has integrated tools where users can see potential opportunities. Also, it has risk management features that help users monitor and make necessary actions on open orders and positions.

Also, you can download the StreetSmart Edge as an app. As an investor, this would provide you with more control of your portfolio. You can check the value of stocks and shares as well as look at the market price at your own time. This comfort and accessibility make investing for a lot of people.

Where Charles Schwab Could Improve?

One disadvantage of using Schwab is that it has a low cash sweep rate. Meaning, the uninvested cash in your account will be automatically invested into a deposit account at Charles Schwab Trust Bank, which has an extremely low-interest rate. Just to give you an idea, the annual rate of this account in 2020 is 0.01% only. While the funds swept in this account is insured by the FDIC, the interest rate is too low.

Bottom Line

Surely, there is so much to choose from the long list of Schwab funds. Mutual fund solutions offered by Schwab is a good way to start. Aside from zero to minimal fees, the company has a reputable record of managing ETFs, shares, and index funds effectively. Also, through the years, it has built research and trading platforms that are easy to use even for a member who does not have experience in banking or investing.

Please remember to check out other index fund options offered by Schwab. Most of the funds mentioned above are not actively managed. Search on the company’s site, which can be accessed here to find out the most recent products they are offering. Remember that investing is time-dependent, which means that there is a particular fund right for certain economic and political conditions. Try to look for that product that will give you the biggest possible return.

Meanwhile, if you feel like the information discussed above is not enough, you can check more of our articles on how to invest, manage a fund, and find the best investment advisor in the market. Investoralist also gives its readers updates on trends not only in the field of investment but also in banking, finance, moneylending, and many more. Find the right way of saving and spending your money by reading our articles.

7 “Dave Ramsey Baby Steps” to Achieve Financial Freedom

Business Man Enjoying Financial Freedom

Want to achieve ultimate financial freedom? Finance guru Dave Ramsay has 7 simple steps that’ll help you get out of debt and get started on your journey to worry-free independence today.

Whether you’re one of Ramsey’s top listeners and number one fans, or you’ve never heard of the guy and are just looking to better balance your finances and build up some wealth, these tips will help you get started.

Who is Dave Ramsey?

Dave Ramsey is a widely respected financial expert and money management, guru. He’s a household name in the USA as far as business and investments are concerned. On his popular website, he describes himself as “America’s trusted voice on money and business” – and with an amazing “rags to riches” backstory behind his belt, we at Investoralist tend to agree.

By the time he was just 26, Ramsey had established a multi-million dollar real estate empire. In the late 1980s, however, he was forced to declare bankruptcy and had to rebuild his life from the ground up – something he achieved by creating Dave Ramsey s Baby Steps.

Dave Ramsey has dedicated his life to helping others achieve financial freedom. Over the years, he’s built businesses, shaped brands and established a huge fan following on US radio stations with millions of listeners.

He’s also authored several best-selling books, like Financial Peace, The Total Money Makeover and Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money – as well as set up the Financial Peace University (FPU), a widely-used initiative that helps people pay off debt.

How Can Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps Help Americans?

Living in the amazing US of A doesn’t come cheap and few people are lucky enough to live a debt free life.

There’s no doubt we’ll all face a number of financial challenges during our lifetime. From expensive mortgage payments and raising money for a comfortable retirement, to saving for your children’s pricey college education and just keeping up with the bills, there’s a lot to stay on top of in everyday life.

That said, we think Dave Ramsey s 7 baby steps can work some real miracles, helping people to get out of debt, rise above financial limitations, consumer debt and wealth barriers and achieve more financial independence and control. Let’s take a look at how the 7 steps work.

The 7 Dave Ramsey Baby Steps Explained

So, what are the 7 steps? And what can Americans do to get started today? Let’s take a look in closer detail, one at a time (or baby step by baby step).

Baby Step 1 – Save $ 1 000 for Your Emergency Fund

Between credit card debt, mortgage payments, everyday living costs and other outgoings, the average American simply does not have enough spare money to shell out in the event of a financial emergency – and this can be a real problem.

What to do: For baby step 1, Dave Ramsey recommends setting aside a small amount of money each month to kickstart an “emergency fund” as early as possible in life.

Right now, it probably seems unrealistic to save up enough spare cash to cover 6 months of expenses at the drop of a hat, but by building up a $ 1 000 reserve sooner rather than later, most Americans can get started with bettering their personal finance today, improving their ability to control an unpredictable situation in the near future.

How to make it work: If $ 1 000 sounds like a lot of money, think small to make it work. Selling old belongings on sites like eBay or Amazon, eating out less and downloading specialized money saving apps to help you monitor your spending can help you build up that $ 1 000 reserves faster than you might think!

Make sure to opt for a savings account that pays the highest possible interest on your stored-away money, too – as this can greatly help to ensure that your emergency fund builds up super-fast, putting you in a much better situation as far as finance is concerned.

Baby Step 2 – Pay Off All Debt (Except the House) Using a Debt Snowball

Of all the steps in this list, baby step 2 is one of the most ambitious – but that doesn’t mean it’s not achievable. After all, we’re talking about tried and tested techniques created by the man behind the Financial Peace University here!

If you’re following the steps in order, you should already have a $1,000 emergency fund set up by now and be beginning to realize that taking back control of your finances is easy if you take baby steps.

What to do: For baby step 2, Dave Ramsey recommends using what he calls the “debt snowball method” to start paying off each and every debt to your name one by one, little by little. This involves imagining your debts as a snowball rolling down a hill, starting off small but gathering more snow (or debt) as it rolls.

How to make it work: Using this debt snowball idea and applying it to each debt you have on record, you can pay off smaller debts first, add the freed-up cash to the minimum payment of the next debt, and so on. Now, the snowball method certainly takes some practice, but once you’ve started using the debt snowball in day-to-day life, it’s easier (and faster) than you’d expect to start making a big difference to your finances. Will baby step 2 pay off? We certainly think so.

Baby Step 3 – Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund

Once you’ve waved goodbye to all that debt, it’s time to save, save, save. Your starter emergency fund you set up in baby step 1 should have already helped you save $ 1 000 (if not more, if you’ve been smart enough to use a savings account that gains plenty of interest).

From now on, you need to supercharge those savings to enable you to control 3 to 6 months of expenses in the event of an unforeseen personal finance emergency.

Now, as we’ve seen with COVID-19 and the recession of 2008, unprecedented world events that can take a serious toll on your finances are far from uncommon – and almost never predictable. This is why it’s absolutely essential to ensure you’ll fall on your feet in times of crisis, whether that crisis be a lost job or a national emergency.

What to do: In baby step 3, Dave Ramsey advises single-income families to aim for the “six months of expenses” mark – which can be reduced to “3 months of expenses” for dual-income households, if needs be. That said, it’s always best to aim higher.

How to make it work: One way to achieve this is to normalize an attitude of saving in your day-to-day life. Use money saving apps as much as possible, track your spending on Google Docs and try to better your targets month-on-month, eat at home as much as you can and be sure to raid those coupon books at every given opportunity. Oh, and be sure to use a high interest rate savings account again!

Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of Your Household Income in Retirement

With the average American working until they’re 66 years and two months old, saving for retirement is often the last thing on most people’s minds – but Dave Ramsey thinks that this attitude needs to change.

What to do: Baby step 4 is all about abandoning that “tomorrow’s problem” mentality and putting at least 15% of your household income aside each month to help finance your later years in a comfortable way. After all, with 66 years of work behind your belt, you’re going to want to relax!

Once paying off debt has become a thing of the past, there are a number of ways you can supercharge your retirement savings.

How to make it work: Baby step 4 recommends closely scrutinizing your employer’s 401(k) and completely maxing-out the amount of contributions you can deposit into this fund. In most cases, you should be able to drop in up to $18,500 per year of your own money but using Roth IRAs could help to boost this by $5,500.

If you’re a bit more ambitious – which you should be – you can also follow the principles of best-selling other and finance guru Chris Hogan, who advises savers to set a Retire Inspired Quotient (R:IQ), which is a kind of savings and retirement age target that Americans can work towards using Chris Hogan’s intuitive retirement calculator.

Just like with other savings accounts, having targets, goals and ambitions and visualizing what you need to do and how much you must save to achieve them can work wonders, as can using Roth IRAs.

Baby Step 5 – Save for Your Children’s College Fund

That’s right – baby step 5 is also all about saving! But this time Dave wants you to save big to help fund a debt free college education for your children.

Now, obviously if you have no children and are simply aiming to accumulate wealth for yourself, or yourself and your partner, you can skip this one out. But with average undergraduate tuition fees in the US ranging anywhere from $17,797 to $26,261, putting some money aside for your children’s college education is absolutely vital if you don’t want to end up burdened with credit card debt and other debt when your kids hit their teenage years. Unless you’d rather see them saddled with student loan debt for years to come?

What to do: It goes without saying that we all want the best for our kids and one way to achieve baby step 5 is to open an Educational Savings Account (ESA) or a 529 college savings fund, depending on which feels like the best fit.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s entirely possible for your children to bag a college diploma or degree without breaking the bank.

How to make it work: Save as much as you can from as early as you can and consider in-state and community college options with lower average fees to save yet even more money in this area.

Dave advises savers to follow baby step 4, baby step 5 and baby step 6 simultaneously – but be sure to initiate each step in the proper order to achieve ultimate freedom and control.

Baby Step 6 – Pay off Your Home Early

Outside of credit cards, car loans and regular household bills, mortgage payments are pretty much the top debt most Americans are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

Recent estimates suggest the average US citizen shells out around $1,400 per month on mortgage payments. But the thing about buying a home is, once you’ve made all of those payments, that real estate is 100% yours. Forever.

While it might seem like pie in the sky thinking today if you’ve only just stopped renting and found your feet on the property ladder, it’s nowhere near impossible to pay off your home – it just takes a bit of strategizing and dedication.

What to do: Use refinancing options in your favor, save wisely and there’s no reason why you can’t shave valuable years off of your mortgage-paying life.

Maybe you could switch from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage and take a second job to make the repayments, or perhaps your home has increased in value, enabling you to refinance onto a much better deal.

How to make it work: Dave’s top tip for baby step 6 is to make one additional mortgage payment in each quarter. This enables you to pay off your home faster using the extra cash you’ve managed to save by studiously following all the other steps.

Over the course of an average mortgage, just one extra quarterly payment could get you 11 years closer to financial independence, saving you upwards of $60k in interest payments in total!

Baby Step 7 – Build Wealth and Give

Now, by this point you should be very familiar with the fact that Dave Ramsey is all about giving and sharing, so it should come as no surprise that baby step 7 wants you to give, give, give!

Once you’ve managed to fully succeed with baby step 1 to 7, debt is a thing of the past and you’ve no more house payments or credit card bills holding you back, Dave suggests you start thinking about generosity.

What to do: After having worked so hard that you’ve achieved ultimate financial control and independence, you can start sharing that extra cash with friends, family members, charities or even your local church – and start helping others to accomplish their dreams too.

How to make it work: Baby step 7 can be initiated using a combination of everything you’ve learned so far. Max out those Roth IRAs, that 401(k) and those retirement fund contributions to help your wealth grow in a snowball method style.

Then simply kick back and enjoy the beautiful feeling of easy generosity – i.e., “build wealth and give”, as Dave would say.

Achieve Full Financial Control and Freedom with the 7 Steps Today

So, we’ve shared the knowledge – now it’s time for you to put these steps into action.

We understand that it can be quite a journey to go from saving an initial emergency fund of $ 1 000 to ramping up your retirement fund savings for baby step 4.

It can take even longer to pay off your home for baby step 6 and eventually achieve ultimate financial control for baby step 7.

Nevertheless, we believe in you and we know you can master all steps – even that confusing debt snowball baby step!

With a bit of hard work and perseverance, Dave Ramsey himself has proven that virtually anyone can give themselves the total money makeover, pay off all debt and better balance their finances. The trick is not to expect miracles overnight. After all, they’re not called “big steps”, are they?

How Do I Start a Dave Ramsey Plan?

The key to success with Dave Ramsay s 7 baby steps is to follow each strategy slowly, in order and – most importantly – one at a time. We understand that despite their baby-ish name, these steps still appear intimidating at first glance, which is why you need to break your ambitions down into manageable, budgetable goals that work for you. As Dave would say, take one baby step at a time.

We’d recommend using money-saving apps or Google Docs to create a sensible budget, then simply following each baby step sensibly and slowly, without outdoing yourself.

How Do I Make Smarter Investments?

Here at Investoralist, we’re all about making investments easy. Ramsey s 7 baby steps are a great way to get started on your investment journey, but there are many other things you can do to improve your finance situation, from investing in stocks and shares, to trying out tax tips, venture capitalism and more.

Browse our diverse range of investment blogs and articles and make smarter investment and personal finance decisions today.

How to Generate $1,000 Per Month in Dividends

Business Man With Hands and Coins From a Dividend Stock

The dream of all investors is to build an investment portfolio capable of generating a regular and sustainable income per year or even per month. But, achieving this is easier said than done. Even with the advent of advanced research tools and improved services from investment advisors, there is no assurance that your money can earn as much as you want it to be.

In this article, investors like you will learn what you need to do to earn $1000 a month. Also, we will demystify the concept of dividend stocks to make sure that you get all the necessary information in making the right investment decisions. Lastly, we tell you how much money you need to prepare before you have a portfolio that is giving you regular money per month.

What are DIVIDEND STOCKS?

The term “dividend” refers to an amount of money given by a company to its shareholders of its profits on a regular basis. Since each of the shareholders owns a piece of the company, they get to take a slice of the profit as well. It is the company’s sole prerogative to determine the number and the value of each dividend it wants to give to its shareholders.

In the case of investment, the term “dividend stocks” refers to the share of the investors of a company’s profits paid on a regular basis. This share may be paid monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, annually, or in rare conditions, in a lump sum. Also, it may come in the form of cash or additional stocks.

How DIVIDEND STOCKS work?

Most dividends are paid in cash. The investor is paid a certain amount of money based on the number of shares he owns. For example, if a company pays 1 dividend for $100, investors with 100 shares will be paid at $10 000. Since dividends are often given regularly, you can expect $10 000 of income on a regular basis.

Another way dividends are paid is in the form of stocks. They are in the form of percentages. For example, if a company issued a 10% stock dividend, an investor who owns 200 shares will have 220 shares after the dividend is given. To turn this into cash, you will have to sell the stocks you own.

Take note that there is no guarantee that you will receive a dividend. The decision to give out dividends is based on what the board of directors of the company has agreed upon. This setup is different from owning a bond where a bond investment earns a fixed-rate income called the “coupon rate.” When it comes to a dividend, the board of directors has the prerogative to reduce the dividend or remove it altogether.

Why Do People Invest in Dividend Stocks?

While there is no guarantee that investors can receive dividends immediately, a lot of people continue to do dividend investing because it can be a profitable investment for the future. We list some of the best reasons why investing in Dividends gives you the best investment options

Regular Stream of Income

Retirees choose to invest their retirement fund in dividend stocks, knowing that they will receive a dividend every month in the future. While they may not get a return on investment (ROI) immediately, their retirement money can give them a regular stream of funds in the future.

Invest while you’re Young

Dividend investing has also become an option for young people because, with the stock dividends option, they get to own more stocks, reinvest it now, and then cash in stocks they have gained in the past years. One important reminder, though, even if you choose to reinvest your dividends, they are still taxed in the same year that you got them. Tax-exemption is only applied to accounts like an individual retirement account.

Secured Investments and Returns

Compared to bonds and mutual funds, dividends gain higher yields when the interest rates are low. Dividends also has the potential for share price appreciation. Meaning, even if the stock market or the share price falls, dividends can survive because of their steady income. If you decide to reinvest the additional dividends you earned, you will have more shares per dividend because of the lower share price.

How to Find the Best Dividend Stocks?

Despite the numerous advantages of dividends, it is not free from market instability and risks. Investors must also be careful in choosing which shares to buy to make sure that their dividends earn a profit. People must look for a dividend portfolio with a high dividend yield. Below are tips on how you can find the best stocks in the market.

1. Look beyond dividend yield

A lot of beginner investors are lured when they see high dividend yields. They believe that buying dividends with high returns or yields guarantees their financial success. But in reality, yields or return is not the bottom line. There are many other factors to consider, including interest rates, fees and expenses, compound interest, market volatility, and more.

For one, you must look at the sustainability of the stock prices. You need to know the history of the stock you are being and the company you are buying it from. Remember that companies can make dividends appear profitable by increasing the yield. As an investor, you have to look for trustworthy companies with established history and reputation.

Also, pay attention to the sector and structure where your investment belongs to. Take note that despite the high yield of your investment structured as real estate investment trusts, they are taxed higher. This means that you must also pay attention to other factors and not only the dividend yield. It is best that you set a realistic goal, so you do not get disappointed in the end.

2. Recognize red flags

As mentioned above, the yield is not the bottom line of dividends. Consider some discrepancies on the yield as warning signs. Here is an example. If a company has a high dividend payout ratio but took debt to pay the dividend, the company is most likely experiencing financial troubles. Instead of paying attention to the yield of the stocks, check if the company has strong balance sheets or has an efficient cash flow.

Also, do not start investing unless you have seen the performance of the company in the past years. If a company faces financial trouble, the dividend investors will surely suffer. Avoid small business companies that have not proven their performance in the market. If you can, choose companies with a good record in the past 30 years or so.

Most importantly, do not be lured by companies assuring you of earning $1000 a month immediately after creating your funds. Any seasoned investor would tell you that earning a regular and sustainable income from dividends takes time. Instead of trying to get as much as $1 000 a month during your first year as an investor, try to grow your shares each month or per year first. It is only through this slow and certain way that you can ensure your income from investments.

3. Diversify to minimize risk

To assure a high return on investment, combine your high-yield stocks with growth stocks. It is risky to invest in growth stocks because it has a high-win high-lose scheme. To balance it out, spend on stocks that have more conservative growth. By doing so, you are making sure that you do not lose everything on a single investment.

Also, try not to pour your investments into one sector or industry. While the technology and communications sector have high yields in recent years, it is not wise to focus on it alone. If the sector experiences a crash, you could lose big. Try to diversify your investments by including other industries like real estate in your portfolio.

Moreover, you need to understand how factors like rising rates, inflation, consumer spending, company balance sheets, and many more affect your investment. As an investor, you can only set your goal if you have the essential information about funds, expenses, income, risk tolerance, and more. Without understanding the stock market data, you cannot get started in building your income portfolio.

How Much Money Do I Need to Invest to Make $1,000 a Month?

So, the million-dollar question is: how much do you need to invest to earn $1 000 a month? If you have a high-yield investment, you might need at least $100 000 invested in your dividend portfolio to make $1 000 per month. In most cases, where the stocks only have moderate growth or yield, you might even need to invest $200 000 to make $1 000 per month.

Income investments of one hundred thousand or more can be overwhelming for many. Do not worry, though, because you do not have to put in these investments all at once. Get started by putting in the money based on your available funds. When you earn stock of cash dividends, put your earnings back into your portfolio. By doing so several times in a decade or so, you will be able to grow your investment exponentially.

When it comes to the stock market, it is best to think of it as a long term investment. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme where investment can make you a millionaire overnight. Instead, it is meant for people willing to take long term waiting. One has to wait several years or even several decades before being able to own a big sustainable investment portfolio.

Final Words

Investing in dividends to earn $1 000 per month can be a challenging feat. You need to spend time, money, and effort before you can expect $1 000 a month regularly coming into your income portfolio. If you are a beginner, you may want to learn basic concepts of stock market investing first before putting all your savings into a single investment. Do not expect 1000 a month of return just yet. Instead, make your goals attainable.

Also, new investors are often lured by unrealistic claims of investment companies and advisors, like 1 000 a month income during the first year of investment. Instead of trying to achieve these extraordinary feats, investors must pay attention to the details of their investment and the mechanics of how their money is earning money. They must read the terms, agreements, privacy policy terms, interest rates, fees, to name a few, before putting their entire retirement savings into investment accounts.

This article is a product of extensive research by the Investoralist team. If you feel that you need more information about dividends, stocks, bonds, and other related topics about investing, the Investoralist team has more articles to help and guide you. We have written materials dedicated to helping out investors who do not have prior knowledge and experience about the trade. Our materials are guaranteed to guide you in navigating the investment industry.