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Investing For Dummies, 7th Edition

Book Description

Invest in your financial future with this valuable, popular, and easy-to-use guide

This latest edition of Investing For Dummies is infused with new and updated material to help you ramp up your portfolio today! This includes time-tested advice, updates to investing recommendations, and strategies that reflect changing market conditions. Investing may be an intimidating prospect, but this resource will serve as your primer on all aspects of the topic, including how to develop and manage a portfolio, invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real estate, open a small business, and understand the critical tax implications of your investing decisions. Updates have been made to sections on investing resources, health insurance, retirement planning, and investment options, among others.

Investing For Dummies, 7th Edition will help ease you into investing confidently. Dive into the new content to get sage advice regardless of where you are in your investment planning stage—beginning to develop plans, investing through a company 401(k), or seeking to shore up your nest egg prior to retirement, this book covers it all.

  • Addresses all aspects of investing, including how to develop and manage a portfolio that includes various investment instruments

  • Features expanded and updated coverage on investing resources, retirement planning, tax laws, investment options, and real estate

  • Offers time-tested advice and strategies from Eric Tyson, a nationally-recognized personal finance counselor and bestselling author

  • If you're looking to get sound guidance and trusted investment strategies, Investing For Dummies sets you up to take control of your investment options.

    Table of Contents

      1. Introduction
        1. About This Book
        2. Foolish Assumptions
        3. Icons Used in This Book
        4. Beyond the Book
        5. Where to Go from Here
      2. Part I: Investing Fundamentals
        1. Chapter 1: Exploring Your Investment Choices
          1. Getting Started with Investing
          2. Building Wealth with Ownership Investments
            1. Entering the stock market
            2. Owning real estate
            3. Running a small business
          3. Generating Income from Lending Investments
          4. Considering Cash Equivalents
          5. Steering Clear of Futures and Options
          6. Passing Up Precious Metals
          7. Counting Out Collectibles
        2. Chapter 2: Weighing Risks and Returns
          1. Evaluating Risks
            1. Market-value risk
            2. Individual-investment risk
            3. Purchasing-power risk
            4. Career risk
          2. Analyzing Returns
            1. The components of total return
            2. Savings and money market account returns
            3. Bond returns
            4. Stock returns
            5. Real estate returns
            6. Small-business returns
          3. Considering Your Goals
        3. Chapter 3: Getting Your Financial House in Order before You Invest
          1. Establishing an Emergency Reserve
          2. Evaluating Your Debts
            1. Conquering consumer debt
            2. Mitigating your mortgage
          3. Establishing Your Financial Goals
            1. Tracking your savings rate
            2. Determining your investment tastes
          4. Funding Your Retirement Accounts
            1. Gaining tax benefits
            2. Starting your savings sooner
            3. Checking out retirement account options
            4. Choosing retirement account investments
          5. Taming Your Taxes in Non-Retirement Accounts
            1. Figuring your tax bracket
            2. Knowing what’s taxed and when to worry
          6. Choosing the Right Investment Mix
            1. Considering your age
            2. Making the most of your investment options
            3. Easing into risk: Dollar cost averaging
          7. Treading Carefully When Investing for College
            1. Education Savings Accounts
            2. Section 529 plans
            3. Allocating college investments
          8. Protecting Your Assets
      3. Part II: Stocks, Bonds, and Wall Street
        1. Chapter 4: The Workings of Stock and Bond Markets
          1. How Companies Raise Money through the Financial Markets
            1. Deciding whether to issue stocks or bonds
            2. Taking a company public: Understanding IPOs
          2. Understanding Financial Markets and Economics
            1. Driving stock prices through earnings
            2. Weighing whether markets are efficient
            3. Moving the market: Interest rates, inflation, and the Federal Reserve
        2. Chapter 5: Building Wealth with Stocks
          1. Taking Stock of How You Make Money
          2. Defining “The Market”
            1. Looking at major stock market indexes
            2. Counting reasons to use indexes
          3. Stock-Buying Methods
            1. Buying stocks via mutual funds and exchange-traded funds
            2. Using hedge funds
            3. Selecting individual stocks yourself
          4. Spotting the Right Times to Buy and Sell
            1. Calculating price-earnings ratios
            2. Citing times of speculative excess
            3. Buying more when stocks are “on sale”
          5. Avoiding Problematic Stock-Buying Practices
            1. Beware of broker conflicts of interest
            2. Don’t short-term trade or try to time the market
            3. Be wary of gurus
            4. Shun penny stocks
          6. The Keys to Stock Market Success
        3. Chapter 6: Investigating and Purchasing Individual Stocks
          1. Building on Others’ Research
            1. Discovering the Value Line Investment Survey
            2. Considering independent brokerage research
            3. Examining successful money managers’ stock picks
            4. Reviewing financial publications and websites
          2. Understanding Annual Reports
            1. Financial and business highlights
            2. Balance sheet
            3. Income statement
          3. Exploring Other Useful Corporate Reports
            1. 10-Ks
            2. 10-Qs
            3. Proxies
          4. Getting Ready to Invest in Stocks
            1. Understanding stock prices
            2. Purchasing stock “direct” from companies
            3. Placing your trade through a broker
        4. Chapter 7: Exploring Bonds and Other Lending Investments
          1. Banks: Considering the Cost of Feeling Secure
            1. Facing the realities of bank insurance
            2. Online banking: More for you?
            3. Being wary of the certificate of deposit (CD)
            4. Swapping your savings account for a money market fund
          2. Why Bother with Bonds?
          3. Assessing the Different Types of Bonds
            1. Determining when you get your money back: Maturity matters
            2. Weighing the likelihood of default
            3. Examining the issuers (and tax implications)
          4. Buying Bonds
            1. Deciding between individual bonds and bond funds
            2. Understanding bond prices
            3. Purchasing Treasuries
            4. Shopping for other individual bonds
          5. Considering Other Lending Investments
            1. Guaranteed-investment contracts
            2. Private mortgages
        5. Chapter 8: Mastering Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds
          1. Discovering the Benefits of the Best Funds
            1. Professional management
            2. Cost efficiency
            3. Diversification
            4. Reasonable investment minimums
            5. Different funds for different folks
            6. High financial safety
            7. Accessibility
          2. Reviewing the Keys to Successful Fund Investing
            1. Minimize costs
            2. Reflect on performance and risk
            3. Stick with experience
            4. Consider index funds
            5. Keep exchange-traded funds on your radar
            6. Steer clear of leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds
          3. Creating Your Fund Portfolio with Asset Allocation
            1. Allocating for the long term
            2. Diversifying your stock fund investments
          4. The Best Stock Funds
            1. Making money with stock funds
            2. Exploring different types of stock funds
          5. The Best Bond Funds
            1. Avoiding yield-related missteps
            2. Treading carefully with actively managed bond funds
            3. Stabilizing your portfolio by investing in short-term bond funds
            4. Earning higher returns with intermediate-term bond funds
            5. Using long-term bond funds to invest aggressively
          6. Balanced and Asset Allocation Funds: The Best Hybrid Funds
          7. The Best Money Market Funds
            1. Taxable money market funds
            2. U.S. Treasury money market funds
            3. Municipal money market funds
        6. Chapter 9: Choosing a Brokerage Firm
          1. Getting Your Money’s Worth: Discount Brokers
            1. Assessing the high-commission salespeople’s arguments
            2. Selecting a discount broker
          2. Considering Online Brokers
            1. Examining your online trading motives
            2. Taking other costs into account
            3. Looking at service quality
            4. Listing the best online brokers
      4. Part III: Growing Wealth with Real Estate
        1. Chapter 10: Investing in a Home
          1. Considering How Home Ownership Can Help You Achieve Your Financial Goals
          2. The Buying Decision
            1. Weighing the pros and cons of ownership
            2. Recouping transaction costs
          3. Deciding How Much to Spend
            1. Looking through lenders’ eyes
            2. Determining your down payment
          4. Selecting Your Property Type
          5. Finding the Right Property and Location
            1. Keeping an open mind
            2. Research, research, research
            3. Understanding market value
            4. Pounding the pavement
        2. Chapter 11: Investing in Real Estate
          1. Discussing Real Estate Investment Attractions
            1. Limited land
            2. Leverage
            3. Appreciation and income
            4. Ability to add value
            5. Ego gratification
            6. Longer-term focus
          2. Figuring Out Who Should Avoid Real Estate Investing
          3. Examining Simple, Profitable Real Estate Investments
            1. Finding a place to call home
            2. Trying out real estate investment trusts
          4. Evaluating Direct Property Investments
            1. Residential housing
            2. Land
            3. Commercial real estate
          5. Deciding Where and What to Buy
            1. Considering economic issues
            2. Taking a look at the real estate market
            3. Examining property valuation and financial projections
            4. Discovering the information you need
          6. Digging for a Good Deal
          7. Recognizing Inferior Real Estate “Investments”
            1. Avoiding ticking time shares
            2. Staying away from limited partnerships
            3. Ignoring hucksters and scams
        3. Chapter 12: Real Estate Financing and Deal Making
          1. Financing Your Real Estate Investments
            1. Getting your loan approved
            2. Comparing fixed-rate with adjustable-rate mortgages
            3. Choosing between fixed and adjustable mortgages
            4. Landing a great fixed-rate mortgage
            5. Finding a suitable adjustable-rate mortgage
            6. Examining other mortgage fees
            7. Finding the best lenders
            8. Refinancing for a better deal
          2. Working with Real Estate Agents
            1. Recognizing agent conflicts of interest
            2. Selecting a good agent
          3. Closing the Deal
            1. Negotiating 101
            2. Inspecting the property
            3. Shopping for title insurance and escrow services
          4. Selling Real Estate
            1. Negotiating real estate agents’ contracts
            2. Forgoing a real estate agent
      5. Part IV: Savoring Small Business
        1. Chapter 13: Assessing Your Appetite for Small Business
          1. Testing Your Entrepreneurial IQ
          2. Considering Alternative Routes to Owning a Small Business
            1. Being an entrepreneur inside a company
            2. Investing in your career
          3. Exploring Small-Business Investment Options
            1. Starting your own business
            2. Buying an existing business
            3. Investing in someone else’s business
          4. Drawing Up Your Business Plan
            1. Identifying your business concept
            2. Outlining your objectives
            3. Analyzing the marketplace
            4. Delivering your service or product
            5. Marketing your service or product
            6. Organizing and staffing your business
            7. Projecting finances
            8. Writing an executive summary
        2. Chapter 14: Starting and Running a Small Business
          1. Starting Up: Your Preflight Checklist
            1. Preparing to leave your job
            2. Valuing and replacing your benefits
          2. Financing Your Business
            1. Going it alone by bootstrapping
            2. Taking loans from banks and other outside sources
            3. Borrowing from family and friends
            4. Courting investors and selling equity
          3. Deciding Whether to Incorporate
            1. Looking for liability protection
            2. Taking advantage of tax-deductible insurance and other benefits
            3. Cashing in on corporate taxes
            4. Making the decision to incorporate
          4. Finding and Keeping Customers
            1. Obtaining a following
            2. Providing solid customer service
          5. Setting Up Shop
            1. Finding business space and negotiating a lease
            2. Equipping your business space
          6. Accounting for the Money
            1. Maintaining tax records and payments
            2. Paying lower taxes(legally)
          7. Keeping a Life and Perspective
        3. Chapter 15: Purchasing a Small Business
          1. Examining the Advantages of Buying
          2. Understanding the Drawbacks of Buying
          3. Prerequisites to Buying a Business
            1. Business experience
            2. Financial resources
          4. Focusing Your Search for a Business to Buy
            1. Perusing publications
            2. Networking with advisors
            3. Knocking on some doors
            4. Working with business brokers
          5. Considering a Franchise or Multilevel Marketing Company
            1. Finding a franchise
            2. Considering a multilevel marketing company
          6. Evaluating a Small Business
            1. Doing due diligence
            2. Determining a business’s value
      6. Part V: Investing Resources
        1. Chapter 16: Selecting Investing Resources Wisely
          1. Dealing with Information Overload
          2. Separating Financial Fact from Fiction
            1. Understanding how advertising corrupts the quality of investment advice
            2. Recognizing quality resources
        2. Chapter 17: Perusing Periodicals, Radio, and Television
          1. In Print: Magazines and Newspapers
            1. Taking the scribes to task
            2. Making the most of periodicals
          2. Broadcasting Hype: Radio and Television Programs
            1. You often get what you pay for
            2. Information and hype overload
            3. Poor method of guest selection
          3. Fillers and Fluff: Being Wary of Investment Newsletters
        3. Chapter 18: Selecting the Best Investment Books
          1. Being Wary of Infomercial Books
            1. Understanding how authors may take advantage of you
            2. Learning by example
          2. Ignoring Unaudited Performance Claims
          3. Investing Books Worth Reading
            1. A Random Walk Down Wall Street
            2. Stocks for the Long Run
            3. Built to Last and Good to Great
            4. Mutual Funds For Dummies
        4. Chapter 19: Investigating Internet and Software Resources
          1. Evaluating Investment Software
            1. Taking a look at investment tracking software
            2. Considering investment research software
          2. Investigating Internet Resources
            1. Assessing online resources
            2. Picking the best investment websites
      7. Part VI: The Part of Tens
        1. Chapter 20: Ten Investing Obstacles to Conquer
          1. Trusting Authority
          2. Getting Swept Up by Euphoria
          3. Being Overconfident
          4. Giving Up When Things Look Bleak
          5. Refusing to Accept a Loss
          6. Over-monitoring Your Investments
          7. Being Unclear about Your Goals
          8. Ignoring Your Real Financial Problems
          9. Overemphasizing Certain Risks
          10. Believing in Gurus
        2. Chapter 21: Ten Things to Consider When Weighing an Investment Sale
          1. Remembering Preferences and Goals
          2. Maintaining Balance in Your Portfolio
          3. Deciding Which Ones Are Keepers
          4. Tuning In to the Tax Consequences
          5. Figuring Out What Shares Cost
          6. Selling Investments with Hefty Profits
          7. Cutting Your (Securities) Losses
          8. Dealing with Unknown Costs
          9. Recognizing Broker Differences
          10. Finding a Trustworthy Financial Advisor
        3. Chapter 22: Ten Tips for Investing in a Down Market
          1. Don’t Panic
          2. Keep Your Portfolio’s Perspective in Mind
          3. View Major Declines as Sales
          4. Identify Your Portfolio’s Problems
          5. Avoid Growth Stocks If You Get Queasy Easily
          6. Tune Out Negative, Hyped Media
          7. Ignore Large Point Declines but Consider the Percentages
          8. Don’t Believe You Need a Rich Dad to Be a Successful Investor
          9. Understand the Financial Markets
          10. Talk to People Who Care about You
      8. About the Author
      9. Cheat Sheet
      10. More Dummies Products