investments

Stay Prepared For Lucky Breaks With An Opportunity Fund

We’ve always recommended having a good emergency fund set up for when things go wrong. However, not all of life’s surprises are bad. You should also consider setting up a fund for when opportunities find you.


Ask LH: Should I Switch My Superannuation To Lower-Risk Investments?

My superannuation plan is currently set to a high-growth plan, and it has performed quite well this year. What are the signs I should look out for to judge if it is a good time to switch to a safer investment plan and safeguard myself from loss?


Where Are Australia's Cheapest Capital City Houses And Units?

If you live in one of Australia’s major cities (we mostly do), it can seem impossible to find a house or unit that’s affordable and a reasonable distance from the centre. But it can be done. Here are the five most affordable suburbs for houses and units located within 20 kilometres of the CBD in Australia’s capital cities.


House Prices In Australia Still On The Way Down

House prices in Australia only dropped marginally in the last quarter, but the year-on-year picture is a little grimmer. The average decline in house prices between the last quarter of 2011 and the year before was 4.8 per cent, with Brisbane and Adelaide the worst-hit.


Which Suburbs Are Best For Property Investors?

Generous tax concessions and a widespread belief that investing in property is the safest choice mean that owning a rental property is a popular choice for Australians. But where should you buy a house to get the best returns?


How to Turn $450 a Month into $1 Million

If you started investing $448 a month at 30 years old, Yahoo Finance says that a reasonable 8% return would put your savings over the million dollar mark in 35 years. The problem, of course, is finding that extra $450. To help ferret out every quarter in your couch cushions, the article suggests seven different potential expenses that, with slight adjustments, could easily produce the extra cash you need to start down the road to a million.


Mint Tracks Your Investment Portfolio

Mint, the web-based financial management application that took us by storm a few months back, is adding investment tracking to their already impressive feature set. Mint’s investments, currently in beta, tracks everything from the performance of your Roth IRA to the value of your 401k, all from its attractive, easy-to-understand interface. As with Mint in general, you’ll need to be comfortable trusting your data in their hands (if you’re curious, you can read more about their security measures here). Mint investments is currently in private beta, but if you follow the link, they’ve set up a page for Lifehacker readers to sign up. You should get access to Mint’s investments sometime next week, and we’ve been assured that there’s no limits on signups. In the meantime, hit the jump for a closer look at Mint’s investments interface.


Warren Buffett: Prioritise Career Building Over Market Studying

Fortune magazine drops in on a Q&A Warren Buffett offered to 150 business students, and the advice dispensed by the Oracle of Omaha on investing and money in general is elegantly simple. When one student asked Buffett how to best spend his free time to further his investing knowledge, Buffett avoided generalised advice and told him to stick to what he knows. Fortune paraphrases: For most people, the bulk of their income is going to come from earning power in their chosen profession. Therefore, from the standpoint of building wealth, free time is better spent sharpening one’s professional skills rather than studying investing.


Avoid Daily Investment Checking to Prevent Big Mistakes

Does watching TV news or checking business news sites give you cold sweats as you ponder how your investments are doing? Are you logging into your financial site every day but still feel your money slipping away? Just ignore your money, J.D. at Get Rich Slowly says—stocks pay off in the long term, not day-to-day, and worrying about it is the easiest way to make a money-losing mistake: In Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, the authors note that it’s dangerous to watch your investments every day. When you pay close attention, you tend to become emotionally invested in even small movements. You lose sight of the long-term and make decisions based on short-term events. Peek in every month or so, but don’t constantly check your investments.


Get Started with Stock Investing

The Simple Dollar personal finance blog posts a helpful primer for those thinking about getting started with stocks, or even just mutual funds and other market investments. Getting debt under control and keeping a reserve fund is the first priority, of course, but once you’re comfortable in your financial skin, Trent recommends performing a risk inventory on yourself before even looking at a stock chart: Spend some time thinking about this. Would you not worry if you woke up and found out that you had lost 5% of your investment if you knew in the long run it would build up in value? How about 20%? If you had $10,000 in stocks, and then over a very bearish month, $2,000 of that vanished, how would you honestly react? Would you take your money out?

Sage advice, and the rest of the post should be familiar to those who have met with financial counsellors before. For more beginners’ guidance, check out Moolanamy’s 35 common sense rules for investing.

Six Steps for a Beginning Stock Investor [The Simple Dollar]