The world of mutual funds can be confusing. With more than 9,000 funds on the market, how can you choose the ones that are right for you?
One way to start is by considering the various categories of mutual funds – and there are quite a few of them: Small Cap Growth, Large Cap Growth, Large Cap Value, Diversiﬁed Emerging Markets, Foreign Large Cap Blend and more – the list is extensive, and for many people, confusing.
However, with a little study, you can understand why these funds have their names – for example, a Small Cap Growth fund will contain stocks of smaller companies thought to offer growth potential. Once you know the goals of different categories of mutual funds, you can determine which ones ﬁt into your overall investment strategy.
This is important, because you want to ensure your portfolio is appropriately diversiﬁed. For example, if you ﬁnd that almost all of your mutual funds come from the above-mentioned Small Cap Growth category, you may be taking on more investment risk than you’d like, because funds that offer the greatest growth possibilities also usually carry the highest degree of market volatility. Typically, you may be better off owning an array of mutual funds drawn from several different categories, with the percentage each category occupies in your portfolio based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. (Keep in mind, though, that while diversiﬁcation can help reduce the effects of volatility, it doesn’t guarantee a proﬁt or protect against losses in a declining market.)
You might be tempted to choose categories by looking at which most recently outperformed the others, and just stick with those groups. But is this a good idea?
It probably isn’t – and the main reason you shouldn’t chase performance this way is things change very quickly in the mutual funds arena. It’s quite possible – and has happened many times – that the top category last year can fall into one of the worst-performing ones this year, and vice versa. Consequently, your efforts to capture a winning trend may be futile.
Of course, within the context of investing in various mutual fund categories, you still need to choose individual funds. And, as is the case with categories, you might be tempted to give considerable weight to a fund’s track record. But, similar to the situation with fund categories, “chasing performance” is typically not a good strategy – after all, last year’s “hot” fund may have cooled off considerably this year. Nonetheless, reviewing a fund’s longer-term track record can help you understand how it might perform through the ups and downs of the ﬁnancial markets. Always keep in mind, though, that past performance can’t guarantee how the fund will perform in the future.
Mutual funds are popular investments – and for good reason. Since each fund generally contains dozens of securities, you get a degree of diversiﬁcation you can’t achieve from owning individual stocks or bonds. And, as discussed above, you can diversify further by owning funds from several categories. Just remember, though, that as you build your mutual fund portfolio, don’t get caught up in last year’s results – because old news just may not be that relevant today.
Mutual fund investing involves risk. Your principal and investment return in a mutual fund will ﬂuctuate in value. Your investment, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the original cost.
[Arnetta Tolley, Edward Jones Financial Advisor, 626-744-2740 or email@example.com]
This article originally appeared in the Pasadena Journal.
By Saskia Kercy
Plant-based Milk Alternatives : Non-dairy alternatives like soy, nuts, seeds, oats, or rice are healthier, cruelty-free and low-cost, especially if homemade.
Eggs : With 6 grams of protein per serving, eggs are a great source of protein in your diet and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Onions : Onions can serve as the foundation for all foods, adding both taste and texture to any meal.
Peanut Butter : A tasty treat packed with 8 grams of protein, peanut butter can be paired with fruit, crackers or bread for the perfect midday snack.
Tomato Paste : A tasty multipurpose base, tomato paste is high in antioxidants that promote skin health and fight against many chronic diseases.
Quinoa : Quinoa is a high-fiber, high-protein superfood that can serve as an alternative to rice.
Beans : High protein, low calorie and low saturated fats levels are three of the many reasons to incorporate beans into your diet.
Oatmeal : Oats are one of the healthiest grains, with vitamin and mineral levels that keep you fuller longer.
Lentils : A personal favorite, these high protein, high fiber legumes can be eaten as a soup, chili, side, dip, stew, or bean alternative.
Raw Honey : This natural sweetener can add a little smile to your tea, coffee, pancakes, waffles, yogurt and cereal.
Mushrooms : Mushrooms boost immune system health, prevent disease and can be paired with virtually any meal for an added nutritional kick.
Nuts : Whether it’s almond, cashew, peanut, walnut, or anything in between, nuts are jam-packed with healthy fats and proteins that keep you strong and alert.
Leafy Greens : Leafy greens like kale, collard, spinach and cabbage are essential to a balanced diet. In addition to their superfood powers, they are the perfect combo to meals, snacks and even smoothies.
$20 Dollar Holla
Shopping on a budget can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to be healthy. Plant-based diets can be especially costly, attributing to the large population of underserved communities that face food insecurity and poor nutrition. A plant-based diet consists mostly of foods derived from plants with few or no animal products and is proven to reduce the risk of chronic health issues and improve quality of life. While the options may seem overwhelming and your budget may not appear to accommodate this lifestyle, the Bridge guarantees that grocery shopping* for a week can be as low as $20.
$2.00 : Bananas
$3.00 : Instant Oatmeal
$2.00 : Large Eggs
$2.00 : Broccoli Crowns
$3.00 | Quinoa
$1.00 | Red Kidney Beans
$2.00 | Extra Firm Tofu
$2.00 | Green Cabbage
$3.00 | Potatoes
*prices based on Giant Food and rounded to the nearest dollar
This post originally appeared in the Washington Informer.
By Porsha Monique
Eboni K. Williams is a national TV host, attorney, and author who wants you to “treat yourself like a business, regardless of your employment status.” Williams says “…even if you’re working full-time for a company, everyone should think of their employer as a client, and not necessarily their only client.”
We talked more with Williams about how people should function as their own business. Some of the advice she shared included establishing a personal brand independent of your employer, negotiating terms more aggressively, setting up an LLC for project work, and more. Check out the article below to read further on what she had to share.
Why is it important for people to treat themselves like a business?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I take a position that we’re all entrepreneurs. I don’t believe that any one of us can afford to be job candidates in this work environment in 2019. I encourage everyone, even if you have a day job, to really see yourself and assert yourself as a business owner. I think it’s critically important.
What does treating yourself like a business mean to you?
I think it’s self-explanatory. You have to see yourself as a decision maker, as the CEO of whatever it is you’re doing. I don’t care if it’s cleaning toilets. But that company should be a client of yours. So, [that means] not being beholden to any one job, and seeing yourself as always having a skillset.
It also means always approaching every single business interaction from the skill/value correlation space; whether it’s working for your day job, side gig, side hustle, or if you’re in a freelance basis, or some combination of them all. [You should position] yourself as the chief executive of the decisions that are in your best interest.
Your book Pretty Powerful came out in 2017. What does the title suggest?
The book is a love letter to women, and I’m unapologetic about that. Pretty is a word that has been very manipulated in terms of the way we define it and understand it. I think it’s been perverted even. When I say pretty, I mean pretty. I mean something that all the ways that as people and as women particularly, we can construe pretty in our faith, in our confidence, in our comfortability as we show up in the world. That is what I mean by pretty. And that should look a million different ways.
When I say pretty powerful, I mean that. I mean the extraction of a literal power dynamic that comes from your assertion of your comfortability in the way you show up in the world. So, it is not a pun, or a play on words. It is a very literal interpretation by me: “Pretty Powerful.”
Is another book on the horizon?
Absolutely. [It’s] in the works. We’re a little ways away from it, but I will tell you it will be deeply personal and it’s going to be a different kind of personal love letter to people.
What other advice would you give, especially for women?
The more general you are, the more generic you are, and therefore the more difficult you make it to command specificity when it comes to, not just your pay, but your overall value. I have an Instagram post that was very well received, where I [posted] the hashtag #ValuableAF. It was my New Year’s post. I had come back from a trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe and really stepped into wholly valuing myself because of the way I felt valued in those spaces, in ways I did not necessarily feel valued here in the states, in my personal and business relationships and even within my own family structure.
So, just making sure as women in particular, they hold out on their value proposition and assert it, and perfect it. But at the same time, make sure they know what they’re clear about what their value is. Meaning, a lot of the times, some of these women’s empowerment mantras are about lady boss, I’m bossed up, I’m slaying, but what’s the underlying message? People have to do the work. You’re not valuable because you walk around with a vagina. You’re valuable because you’re offering something that is uniquely important and consequential to your community, to your family and to your society.
By Arnetta Tolley, Edward Jones Financial Advisor
Once again, it’s time for ﬁreworks, picnics and parades as the nation celebrates Independence Day. Collectively, we enjoy many liberties, but some freedoms can be elusive – and ﬁnancial freedom is one of them. What actions can you take to help yourself eventually declare your own ﬁnancial independence?
For starters, you’ll want to determine what financial independence means to you. Is it the liberty to meet all your cash ﬂ ow needs? The freedom to retire comfortably, at the age you choose? The ability to set up the kind of legacy you’d like to leave? If any or all of these things are important to you, consider the following suggestions:
- Liberate yourself from oppressive debts. The cost of living is certainly not cheap, so it’s hardly surprising that so many people incur signiﬁcant debt. Yet, the higher your debt load, the less you’ll have available to invest for the future. Debt might be one of the biggest barriers you face on the road to your ﬁnancial independence. To avoid piling on too much debt, live within your means. Take steps such as saving for a vacation, rather than putting it all on your credit card, and getting just one more year out of that old car. Look for bargains everywhere – and ﬁnd out what you can live without. And if you have sizable debts, see if you can consolidate them and lower your interest payments.
- Free yourself from chaotic investing. The ﬁnancial markets can be unpredictable – but that doesn’t mean your investment moves have to be chaotic. So, for example, instead of responding to a sudden plunge in stock prices by selling stocks that still may be fundamentally sound with strong growth potential, you might be much better off by holding your ground. And you’ll be in a better position to do nothing during periods of market volatility when you’ve already done something – namely, built an investment portfolio that reﬂects your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. With this type of portfolio in place, you’ll be in a good position to overlook the day-to-day ﬂuctuations in the market and keep your focus on your long-term goals.
- Unleash the potential in your retirement plan. Your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan is a great way to save for retirement. You can contribute pre-tax dollars, so the more you put in, the lower your taxable income, and your earnings can grow tax deferred. (With a Roth 401(k), you put in after-tax dollars, but your withdrawals are tax-free, provided you meet certain conditions.)
But despite these tax advantages, your 401(k)’s full potential won’t be realized unless you fund it adequately. Try to contribute as much as you can afford each year and increase your contributions as your salary goes up. Another way to uncap your 401(k)’s potential is by choosing appropriate investments. Your 401(k) likely contains a dozen or more investment options, so you’ll want a mix that offers the greatest possibilities for growth within the context of your personal risk tolerance.
Gaining your ﬁnancial independence requires time and commitment. But once you’ve achieved this freedom, you’ll know it was worth the effort. And who knows? You might even want to wave a sparkler or two to celebrate.
[Arnetta Tolley, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones, 626-744-2740 or firstname.lastname@example.org]
This article originally appeared in the Pasadena Journal.
By Dr. Sheila D. Williams
With drastic advances in technology and the overuse, and oftentimes misuse, of social media research indicates that heavy social media use may also lead to fewer meaningful in-person (or real) human interactions. Without meaningful social interactions, it is virtually impossible for friends, family and loved ones to detect that there may be any issues or mental health concerns. Let’s face it, we post our best pictures on social media, snap shots of our favorite meals from those 5 star restaurants, fast and expensive cars, lavish vacations riding horses on the beaches of Aruba, jet-skiing on South Beach in Miami, the best and biggest houses, the nicest cars, clothes and jewelry and the list goes on. These images on social media often depict the persona of a life that is unbothered, free from stress, what can appear to be ‘perfect’.
This ‘perfect’ persona that many portray of themselves and the lives they live, is unrealistic and promotes a false image that many children and young adults feel immense pressure to live up to. By constantly being bombarded by the need to ‘fit in’ and overwhelming feelings of not measuring up, the unhealthy comparison to those on social media who have ‘perfect lives’ has led to increased rates of depression, thoughts, attempts and completion of suicide. Sure many of us can discern between what we see on social media and what is truly ‘reality’, but for children and those already suffering from low self-esteem, or emotional and/or psychological disorders, the constant images of others living their ‘Best Lives’, can lead to increased levels of stress and depression for those that are observing.
While income inequality and the percent of uninsured adults in the US has drastically increased, so has the rates of suicide. Did you know that suicide occurs in the US approximately once every 12 minutes and that suicide now claims two-and-a-half times as many lives in the U.S. than homicides? So why is it that we are not focusing more attention on this epidemic? Why are we not addressing this issue and the factors that lead up to suicidal ideations and attempts? Why are we not addressing the need for mental health services for children in schools, prisons or even hospitals?
I propose we take a minute to regain focus. Let’s be real with ourselves, FIRST. We have to get back to the basics of understanding that we are all a work in progress. None of us are perfect. In fact, to even think that we have perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect relationships, perfect finances, perfect careers/jobs, and relationships is unrealistic and a set-up for disastrous thinking. Let’s get back to having ‘human interaction’. Let’s talk to one another (face to face) and develop real and meaningful relationships. You know, like we used to do. Let’s turn off and unplug from social media sometimes and simply enjoy one another and this thing called ‘life’. Let’s learn to enjoy the moment, be present in the moment. In fact, rather than quickly pulling out our smartphones to take pictures of those 5 star meals, let’s thank God for allowing us to be able to afford the meal, the health to enjoy the meal and even the company (if you have company) that is dining with you. As a person who loves to post and share on social media myself, I’m learning that everything doesn’t require a post and it’s okay to unplug and that, in my opinion, is how we Live Our Best Lives!
If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.
Dr. Sheila D. Williams, Ph.D.
Mental Health Advocate
Best-Selling Author of
‘My Mother’s Keeper’
Internationally Certified Speaker,
Trainer and Coach
This article originally appeared in The Florida Star.
By Pamela J. Oakes, The Profitable Nonprofit
I run my own nonprofit consulting business. My brother runs his own real estate appraisal business. My father owned his own real estate company. One of my grandmothers ran her own hair salon. Another grandmother and grandfather owned a restaurant and my great-great grandfather was a country doctor and landlord. When it comes to entrepreneurship, you could say I was born into it.
While I have spent many (many) years in the corporate world, punching clocks, submitting timesheets, negotiating pay raises and begging for…I mean…requesting time off, there is something satisfying and extremely empowering knowing that I have the aptitude and competence to generate my own income. Sadly, entrepreneurial skills are quickly becoming a lost art.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as targets for global development to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Among these goals is a mandate to “substantially reduce the proportion of youth (aged 15 – 24) not in employment, education or training.” Unlike most SDG targets set for the year 2030, this particular target is set to be achieved by 2020.
Including a youth employment goal makes perfect sense. To quote the United Nations, “ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education…and job opportunities.” The only problem I see is that in this day of corporate restructuring, layoffs, retrenchment and downsizing, people of color are usually the last ones to get hired and the first ones shown the door. Without a backup plan, unemployed youth very quickly become unemployed adults!
Entrepreneurship is a viable means to circumvent chronic unemployment in populations of color and needs to be REQUIRED learning in schools. Along with a mortarboard and a piece of paper, we should demand that our young people be “innovation ready” – meaning that they are equipped with the requisite abstract thought, problem solving, communication and collaboration skills that will enable them to invent their own careers.
Despite the billions of dollars pumped into our education system, U.S. high schools, colleges and universities are still primed to churn out employees NOT employers. Entrepreneurism can stimulate the economy by promoting economic opportunity. It can also serve as an agent of social justice and one way to dismantle the “preschool to prison pipe-line” disproportionately experienced by Black and Brown youth. Entrepreneur education benefits students from all socioeconomic backgrounds by helping them think outside-the-box, tap into their unrealized potential and nurture unconventional skills and abilities.
Taking a cue from Shirley Chisolm, the first Black woman to ever be elected to the U.S. Congress and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, entrepreneur education teaches how to be unbought and UNBOSSED!
Pamela J. Oakes, Managing Director of The Profitable Nonprofit, is a funding consultant helping small and emerging nonprofits achieve funding sustainability. Pamela previously worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This article originally appeared in The Seattle Medium.
Okay, so who doesn’t get a little distracted? From time to time, everyone does. Our children are no exception to the rule. They are very easily distracted, so instead of getting frustrated and flying off the handle, be prepared for when it happens.
Gently redirect your child(ren) to what they are expected to do or where they should be. Remind them of the goal or mission and agree on a set time for its completion. Whether it is homework or watering the lawn, this directive will reset their focus, give them a clear and attainable target and make them accountable to get it done.
Remember, the keyword is “gently” redirect. You are meant to build them up. Therefore, speak in warm tones with age-appropriate words and remember to smile. A loud or harsh response doesn’t always yield an immediate turnaround of obedience from your child(ren). Acting and reacting with patience and love will create win-win situations.
We want our children to know the successful feeling of staying on task; a sense of accomplishment is a huge booster of self-esteem and we should help them achieve this.
So, stay calm. We must be with them when they go astray and we must be there to help them get back on track!
Marnita Coleman is an author and host of The Marnita Show, a parenting show heard daily across the globe. For more information, log onto TheMarnitaShow.com.
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender.