The Investment Account You Might Be Missing: HSA

No matter your investment strategy, the opportunity to invest 100% tax-free and avoid taxes on any investment growth, is unique. Investors need to understand the HSA (health savings account).

While the HSA was designed for healthcare costs, their tax structure mimics a 401(k) or IRA. You can use this IRS structure to your advantage. Before we get started, you can check your HSA-eligibility and determine if your health insurance plan qualifies you to make HSA contributions.

Why HSAs Matter for Investing

HSA tax structure allows for tax-deductible contributions, tax-free growth, and tax-free distributions (if you use the funds for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses). Let’s translate this to HSA investing. These triple-tax benefits enable individuals and families to leverage their HSA contributions for unencumbered tax-free growth.

2018 HSA contribution limits are $3,450 for individuals and $6,900 for families. Imagine if you had that money to invest? This is likely why some of the largest HSA investment accounts, now have over $200,000 in funds. That is not a typo.

At the age of 65, HSA funds can be used for anything (not just health expenses), just like 401(k). Just pay income taxes at that point. No penalty. They also don’t require mandatory distributions. You can let your HSA investments grow well into your 70s, 80s, and 90s, without interruption.

HSA Investing Details

Choice is fantastic. Flexibility allows us to choose a personalized path. HSA investing provides that option. HSA investments are not encumbered by overbearing IRS regulations. As long as your HSA provider enables these features, you can invest in individual stocks, bonds, CDs, ETFs, and mutual funds. Find the personal investment strategy that works for you, without limits.

These factors are one reason why HSA investments assets have eclipsed $10 billion and are growing 45% year over year.

Retirement Investing

Want to save more tax-free funds for retirement? Or add more flexibility so you don’t have to wait until 59 and 1/2 years of age to access your funds (or be forced to pay a tax penalty), like with a 401(k)? Use an HSA to complement, supplement, or replace your existing retirement investing strategy.

Combine the tax-power of an HSA and 401(k) to become an ‘ultra investor’. HSAs and 401(k)s create the most retirement tax-savings you can get, legally, from the IRS. The more you save, the more you can invest.

Opening an HSA creates more saving and investing opportunity. Coupling tax-free contributions and growth with the power of compound interest is going to leave you with a more robust investment strategy. And hopefully more money for retirement.

How Investing in the Super Can Help in Managing Finances after Retirement


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You’ll acquire one of the biggest assets of your life by the time you reach your golden years if you start investing in the super much earlier on in life. Enjoying a certain lifestyle during your retirement years may require you to contribute a certain amount to your super every year. But you must remember that the amount of money that you contribute in a super won’t be accessible to you till the time you retire. You must check out your options in order to pick the right contribution strategies over others.

1. Investing Pre-tax Salary

Seek information regarding your chances of putting a bigger portion of your pre-tax salary into the super beyond the SG amount worth 9.5%. The amount of tax that you’ll need to bear is worth 15% of this amount. But you must remember that in your attempt to put more in the super, you’ll be taking a lesser amount back home by salary sacrificing.

2. Tax contributions

After-tax contributions should be made to the super quite consistently. No extra taxes are applicable on these contributions and this income is already taxed at the usual rate. If your entire super balance is lower than $1.6 million, then you’ll be entitled to make after-tax contributions. If the income of your spouse is worth $37,000 or lower, then you’ll achieve a tax exemption worth up to $540 while contributing to her super. You may achieve a tax offset partially when your spouse earns any amount lower than $40,000.

3. Tax-deductible contributions

Employees are now allowed to contribute to the super on their own and show it as a tax deduction. Earlier only self-employed individuals were allowed to make such contributions. About 15% of the amount of your contribution will only be taxed in this case. A notice of intent needs to be filled out and submitted with the super fund prior to filing your tax return.

4. Availing fund loans and other options

It’s actually very important for you to review your investment options and the super fund for at least once every year. You must check out all options while reviewing all investment options. Your retirement nest-egg gets accelerated and expanded when you opt for the super-leveraged property investment. Your investment strategy gets a boost up when you get a loan for your super fund. You may even consider checking if you have adequate insurance protection. Your premiums and fees may accumulate and affect your balance over time.

5. Consolidating the super

During our working lives, it’s quite natural for us to switch between jobs. However, the outcome is often a missing or lost super. A missing or lost super is often the outcome of such job switches. Missing or lost super can be easily tracked down if you opt for a lost super search. Increasing the retirement nest-egg could be a possibility once you accumulate them into a single super fund. You must check out existing funds and all associated withdrawal or exit fees for the same. Prior to consolidating your super, you must ensure you have adequate insurance protection.

Know the Limitations

Super contributions may be associated with certain limitations. You’ll need to gather more information about these contribution limits and their impact on your possibility to make such contributions and the amount of tax to be charged for these contributions.

The Importance of Research in Investing and Trading

The Importance of Research in Investing and Trading


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You may have heard from someone that the economy is really strong right now. Or you may have heard that a particular industry is a sure-win game at the moment. Whatever you’ve heard, you shouldn’t just go into investments all guns blazing.

Successful traders didn’t make their money by making blind investments. Before investing in a company or completing a particular trade, traders will do some thorough research. This is what will help you find success in trading.

Of course, all the research in the world won’t guarantee you a hefty profit from all of this. Investing is always a gamble of sorts. The trick is to make it less of a gamble by making sure you go in with as much knowledge about your pursuit as possible.

What do the company do?

This is stock investing 101. You shouldn’t just be investing because you’ve seen a bunch of nice colors and big numbers. You may have heard the company’s name in the news a lot recently. You may even own one of their products. But that’s not enough. You need to know exactly what it is they do, as much of it as you possibly can.

You should also be looking into why they do it. What’s their actual purpose? What are they likely to do in the near future? Smart traders know the answers to these questions.



Relying on first-hand information could be your downfall

Are you getting all of your information from the company itself, or from a representative of the company? Are you getting your information from an advisor who wants you to invest in them? People often trust the information they get from these parties. But they’re the parties who want your money! Smart investors and traders get more information from an independent party. The Internet will provide you with plenty of new information sources about any company.

The asset at hand

Of course, not all investment in a company will take place over stocks. You may be giving them money directly to aid in the development of a new product. There might be alternative forms of trading with company assets such as binary options. Whatever the asset or trading method, get to know it a bit more. If you’re being offered binary options, for example, seek out expert advice on binary options. People who go into this without knowing much about the investment method could find themselves losing money in the confusion!

Dancing with the enemy

Okay, so you’re liking the look of this company so far. But how much do you know about the field in which they work? This sort of thing is what you should have been researching earlier. If you know a little about their particular industry, then you’ll be able to locate their competitors with ease. You should compare the company with its competitors to make sure you wouldn’t be better off investing in their enemy.



Being careful about history

The price-to-sale ratio history of a particular company may give good indications about what their stock may do. But smart investors take care not to take predictions made from this too close to their heart. After all, the history of a company’s stock can only tell you so much.

ISAs Explained


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We would all like ways to maximise our money with a minimal amount of effort, but surprisingly few of us know of one that already exists: the ISA. Although you may be familiar with the term, the chances are that you’re not sure of exactly what it means or the benefits that it encompasses.

It’s time to change that. With numerous boons for those who take advantage of this financial instrument, it pays to know how you can profit from it, and how you can start investing. Read on to find out…

What is an ISA?

As you might already have guessed, the term ISA is an abbreviation, in this case for an individual savings account. It is, as the name implies, a savings instruments, and one that can be highly beneficial to a lot of people.

Essentially, it allows you to deposit a certain amount, without having to pay tax on any money that you make through interest. As it currently stands, the amount you can put into an ISA for the tax year 2016/2017 is £15,240, although this is set to rise to £20,000 for 2017-2018.

There are two main types of ISA: a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA. The former acts as a highly popular savings account; the latter as a tax-free wrapper for investments. You can pay into one of each, provided that the total value of both does not exceed the amount stated above.

Who Can Open an ISA?

Part of the beauty of ISAs lies in their flexibility, and taxpayers from every walk of life can benefit from them. The only bar at all is age, but provided that you’re over 16 you are entitled to open a cash ISA, and once you reach 18, you may also open a stocks and shares account. For those younger than this, a junior ISA alternative is available, which can be useful if you’re planning on starting a savings fund for your child or another minor.

How Much Can You Put into an ISA?

As stated above, every taxpayer can invest up to £15,240 for the 2016/2017 tax year. This can be divided between a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA in any way that you like, or else invested fully in one or the other.

Come the start of the next tax year, a new allowance is received, and the amount it is set at may vary from the year previously. Over time, this means that savvy investors can earn a significant sum thanks to their tax-efficient savings.

If you want to do more with your money, why not consider investing in an ISA today?

Unexpected Costs to Consider for Businesses in the Energy Industry


The energy industry is incredibly competitive. There is little room for start-ups and fledgling enterprises, and this means that those venturing into the arena with the market giants must be prepared for every eventuality.

Supplying energy to consumers generally involves three key facets: producing energy, transporting gas and electricity, and marketing it to consumers. This is an immensely expensive process for even the most small-scale venture, and hidden costs lay around every corner.

If you’re planning on taking your place amongst the leviathans, then here are a few costs that you need to take into account…


Energy producing equipment tends to be extraordinarily costly, and many fledgling entrepreneurs underestimate just how much outlay will be required before any profit can be made. Generators, grids, and so on must all be put in place before you can start looking for customers, meaning that you’ll require a fully functional enterprise before you can begin touting for business. Any issues with these must be ironed out prior to trading commencing, as consumers tend not to be very forgiving of mistakes once winter hits and their homes need warming.

Power Stations

Power stations will constitute a fundamental part of your fledgling operation, and must be carefully designed and constructed according to your individual needs and current government policy. It will take some very skilled workers to build them for you, and their expertise will come at a premium. Be careful to calculate the total of all the costs associated with construction, and then add a further 20 per cent in case of complications.


Thirdly, consider the costs of hiring staff. No energy company can function in isolation, so you’ll need trained employees to deliver the service you provide, as well as to maintain and manage your power stations and equipment. Many of these will be able to charge a premium for their experience, and due to the constant developments in the industry, and the dangerous nature of working with energy supplies, they will require frequent training and retraining in order to deliver a premier service and create a safe working environment.


Finally, don’t forget to factor in the cost of insurance. Energy production is a niche industry, and businesses tend to have a high value attached to them. Ordinary commercial insurance providers will rarely offer the level of cover that you require, so you must consider specialist outfits such as Catlin instead. Responsible for underwriting many of the world’s most expensive and successful ventures, these experts will be able to provide the level of protection that you need, meaning that the business you’ve given your all to is fully protected should disaster strike.

Safeguard the future of your energy enterprise and be prepared for whatever life may throw at you.


US Fed Rate – A Persisting Dilemma

dollar_1999092bFinancial pundits have been forecasting US Fed rate hike for quite sometime now. However, many internal and external factors have resisted the Federal Reserve from hiking it from the persisting 0.250 per cent. Though the market expected the fed rate to increase in September 2015, it didn’t because the central bank was worried about derailment of resurging U.S. growth due to instability in Chinese economy and economic slowdown. If the minutes of September 16-17 discussions by the board members of Federal Reserve are taken seriously, it might take 9 years to increase the concerned rate.

Why US Fed failed to increase Fed Rate in September 2015?

One of the reasons that restricted board of Federal Reserve from increasing Fed Rate in September 2015 is the dismal job growth data. Per official figures, in September 2015 just 142,000 jobs were added, which is 64,000 jobs lesser than analysts’ expectation. Another figure published by US Labor Department is the “zero” rise in average pay. More alarming is the fact that thousands of workers left their jobs and the participation rate of workers fell to a dismal low, last seen in 1970s. In fact, slow down in Chinese economy also held the board back from increase interest rate.

To top it, US Consumer prices fell by 0.2 per cent during September. In fact, inflation rate has been steadily falling since May 2015, signaling persistent sluggish pace of inflation. This persistent fall is exactly opposite of Fed’s stated target of 2 per cent. All these phenomenon including slowing economy of China, falling inflation (both globally as well as domestically), and market disruptions are again making it difficult for Federal Reserve to increase the interest rate, which is stuck to the current near-zero level (0.25 per cent) since 2008 (the year US economy was in deep recession).

What analysts are Predicting about Fed Rate Hike?

On the expectation of US Fed holding interest rate hike till 2015-end, gold buying is witnessing rally since mid-September. Strength of dollar is also weakening. US Dollar has fallen significantly with respect to other currencies such as Euro in the recent past. Last week, Euro was up against US Dollar by 2.3 per cent, which is a striking phenomenon as Euro fell sharply in the past touching a 12 years low earlier in 2015. These phenomenons gave overall market all the reasons to park its money in the yellow metal for hedging risk.

Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at Macquarie, said that they conducted a poll in their base metals summit survey earlier this week and found out that most of the audience is expecting a Fed rate hike only after December 2015.

Gold_industryJessica Fung, analyst of metals and mining at BMO Capital Markets, said during a press meet that overall market is currently expecting Fed rate hike around March 2016. She went on to explain that expectation of US Dollar drive gold price and pricing of the futures market is indicating towards a steeper gold price rise in latter part of the year. The momentum of gold price hike is expected to go on along 2016. Along with this increase in price of yellow metal, interest rate increase is expected to be during March 2016.



Griffin and Highbury’s How To Guide on the Diamond Grading System

For anyone who is interested in investing in diamonds, knowledge is key. Fortunately, there are many resources available and many rating agencies out there to help make it easier to decide whether a particular diamond is a good investment or not.

Investors should always make sure their diamonds are certified by a reputable and objective agency, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS). Other respected grading agencies that can be used include the International Gemological Institute (IGI) or the International Confederation of Jewelry, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls, and Stones (CIBJO). A certificate should come with each and every diamond purchase; any of these organizations should be able to provide one.

A certificate is important because it shows that a complete evaluation of the diamond, something that should always include measurements with gemological instruments, has been performed by a qualified professional. Diamonds can be tampered with as a way to hide their imperfections, so consumers must make sure a professional has evaluated their diamond purchase objectively.

As Geoff Black, owner of Canadian-based diamond and gemstone dealer Griffin and Highbury Inc. comments, “No two diamonds are alike, which is why people say they are like snowflakes, and also why having them evaluated is critical.” Black goes on to recommend that all buyers use and understand the “Four C’s” method of evaluating diamonds. This is the most well-known and widely accepted method when it comes to determining a diamond’s value.

diamond1The Four C’s stands for clarity, cut, color, and carat weight.

Clarity looks at the visual appearance of a diamond and its surface defects or blemishes, as well as its internal characteristics, which are called inclusions.

The cut of the diamond doesn’t refer to the actual shape of the diamond, but is based on its symmetry, which affects the overall polish. If a diamond is poorly cut, it won’t illuminate, which makes the cut extremely important when it comes to aesthetics.

The color of a diamond is the next C in the measurement system. Color looks at light refraction, or sparkle. There is a numerical scale used to determine the color of a diamond, and this weighs heavily on its value. The AGS scale goes from 0 to 10, with 0 being colorless and 10 being light yellow or brown.

Carat weight should also be reviewed. Large diamonds are less commonly found than small diamonds, so value rises with the size or weight of the diamond.

Of the aforementioned characteristics, the color of a diamond is the most discernable for non-experts and has the widest variety. Diamonds occur in a variety of colors, including steel grey, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink, purple, brown and black. A perfect diamond, which is chemically pure and structurally perfect, has no color. Depending on the rarity, colored diamonds can be much more valuable than regular ones. While white diamonds may be discounted due to a yellow hue, pink or blue diamonds can be extremely valuable, and red diamonds are the most rare and often most valuable.

Diamonds and their valuations can be much more complicated than one would expect, which is why, again, knowledge is essential, especially when it comes to investing in diamonds. For anyone looking to invest in diamonds, it is absolutely imperative to have it evaluated by an objective agency, which should be included in the services of any reputable seller. Griffin and Highbury’s owner Geoff Black adds a final caveat, “If any person or company comes to you offering to sell diamonds and doesn’t have a certificate, you should treat it as a red flag and avoid their services.”


How to Invest With Less Stress

When it comes to managing investments, retail investors have more options at their fingertips than ever witnessed in human history. The internet has increased accessibility while decreasing the barriers to participation that once existed. For instance, trading in foreign exchange used to be exclusively the tools of multi-national corporations, banks, and financial firms. With the introduction of online brokerage and leverage, these instruments became readily available to the retail investing public for trading. This wave of opportunity has also created a more competitive environment amongst financial services providers which has driven down the costs for investors, namely for spreads and commissions. However, with the spread of technology and financial market accessibility, came certain risks for investors that did not conduct proper due diligence. These pitfalls include unregulated brokers, promises of profits, and advice from non-advisory entities.

An Industry Built on Evolution

Despite all the problems assoForex Trading Systemciated with the industry, there have been a multitude of positive developments. One suchevolution to come from these vast changes in the financial market structure is the proliferation of money management solutions that were once only available to sophisticated investors with millions of dollars in capital. Successful money managers have recognized the potential for unlocking vast sums of money from retail investors whom were previously untapped. This has caused the popularity of managed forex accounts to soar, with many options out there for investors who want to take a more hands off approach to fund management. While there is no such thing as a risk-free approach to investing (no matter what anyone tries to convince you of), this is one mechanism that is effective for diversifying a portfolio and picking a strategy that matches the risk-reward profile of an investor.

Depending on the services provider, the benefits can be numerous. Besides the obvious benefit of not having to micromanage trades all day, there is transparency to track performance in real-time and ability to pick strategies that matches investing goals. Traders operating proper managed forex accounts, aside from being licensed by the proper regulatory authorities, will also be able to provide an audited performance history to confirm accuracy of results. Good providers will not just highlight profits, but also not be afraid to offer more in depth statistics like drawdowns. Aside from performing proper due diligence on the trader, it is important to make sure the trader is utilizing a regulated broker with a solid reputation. Assuring safety and security of funds will add to the confidence of choosing a professional money manager.

Pick the Right Strategy

A successful investor understands the difference between needs and wants. In an industry that is dominated by promises of high rewards, it is imperative to look through the sales pitch and create achievable goals. Promises of get-rich quick opportunities should be met with caution. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some providers offer 1000% returns to bring clients in the door only to later squander all the trading funds. While 1000% annual returns are possible, they are not very feasible, and typically require risking the entire value of an account. The search should instead focus on fund managers that are providing reasonable rates of return by taking a reasonable level of risk.

Finding the right strategy for a portfolio is paramount to picking the right managed forex accounts. For instance, in the case of a retiree, the strategy is typically more risk-averse and geared towards generating income, not capital appreciation. On the other hand, a younger investor that is not dependent on investment income could choose to focus on more high risk strategies that provide higher returns but also have substantially more risk. One suggestion is to pursue strategies that are not correlated to major market benchmarks like the S&P 500 or FTSE 100. Buy and hold strategies are typically the main retail investor tactics, meaning that performance is linked closely to broader market performance. Choosing uncorrelated strategies is beneficial because it means that in market downturns, positive investment performance is still possible.

In all, managed forex accounts provide a great means to diversify and complement existing investments. They provide a solution for investors seeking less investment risk and stress from the day-to-day management of trading accounts. While there can be pitfalls, proper due diligence and reasonable performance expectations can make this approach very beneficial for retail clients looking to have funds professionally managed.

How to Invest Safely in Penny Stocks

android_apps_for_stock_investmentsThe Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, or OTCBB, was originally designed as a launching pad for junior companies, but sadly enough, many will never make it to the big boards. While there are quite a few shining stars that rise through the OTCBB ranks and eventually find their way onto the NYSE, NASDAQ, or another large exchange, many run out of money and disappear long before they finally get their books into the black.

Despite this, penny stock trading volume has seen a remarkable rise in recent years, skyrocketing from a meager three billion shares in 1993 to a whopping 650 billion shares in 2006. While many small-cap stocks are unable to boast about achieving profits and revenues, there are certain things traders can do to spot small company penny stocks with the highest chances of survival. Keep reading as we uncover some time-tested ways to invest safely in the dynamic penny stock marketplace.

The Initial Screening Process

It’s one thing to know what to look for, but it’s another discovering the right tools that can help you navigate through over 3,000 OTCBB stocks. With a trusted stock screener in place, here are some conditions to look for when scanning the diverse penny stock universe in search of the right one:

  • Due to the fact that most people trade penny stocks in order to benefit from huge price gains, it may be best to focus your attention on stocks priced under $2, allowing you to gain the most from its hopefully positive market movements. The average share price for an OTCCB stock is $.10, so doing so will automatically get rid of companies with less room for growth and keep the diamonds in the rough just waiting to be discovered.
  • Every trader knows the importance of liquidity for entering and exiting trades, so it’s important to look for stocks with a minimum average trading volume of 100,000 shares.
  • Aim your eyes at stocks that are currently reaching higher highs and lows. For instance, you may want to be on the lookout for stocks whose five-day SMA is greater than its 10-day, suggesting a current uptrend.
  • Obviously, it’s important to avoid stocks that are hemorrhaging cash, so try to exclude penny stocks with negative earnings growth rates and earnings per share.

While screening for stocks that match these criteria will set you on a profitable path, you should perform your stock search over an extended period of time in order to avoid one-hit wonders or companies enjoying a temporary swing. A five-day period should be just fine and allow you to scan for possible candidates without taking too long and suffering from analysis paralysis. The stocks that come up in your screening more often than the others should be the ones on your short list.

Choosing a Winner

After passing the above stock screening criteria, each potential pick should also pass news, short interests, and technical tests.

In order to even be considered amongst your potential candidates, a penny stock should have a strong chart pattern, signaling an uptrend and increasingly higher support and resistance levels.

In addition to passing your technical analysis, a stock should also have a short interest under five percent. However, on some occasions, a high short interest occurs prior to a short squeeze, which usually drives the price up higher.

Even the best technical traders pay attention to the news, so needless to say, it’s important to check recent news about a potential penny stock pick. Typically, the more positive the news, the higher the company’s share price will go and vice versa.

If it passes all three tests and seems like a winner in your gut, you may have found your diamond in the rough, so get ready to ride the uptrend all the way to the bank!

How To Grow Your Investment And Gain Financial Independence

Everyone wants to achieve financial independence—that is to be free from the chronic and daily woes of having not enough money. While you can earn money by going to your 8 to 5 job day in and day out, some individuals choose to play it smart and invest. The great thing about investing is that instead of making you put in the work, your money does it for you. But before you make a nosedive for investing simply because it promises the possibility of money in the future, you first need to find out exactly what it is you want to get out of it.

Flickr ImageWhat is your goal in investing?

You may have heard of miracle stories involving ordinary people suddenly making it big just because of a simple investment move. To be perfectly honest, you may not be able to quit your job months, or even years, after you start investing. Unless you decide to make investing your primary source of your bread and butter, you will have to carry on with your job and invest only on the side.

However, the best reason for you to invest your money is so that you’ll gain financial independence even during your twilight years. This means that you can live comfortably even after you retire without worrying about how you will be able to manage your finances. This may dampen your spirits a bit considering that there has been so many stories of individuals who invest with their yachts and their life in the lap of luxury, But then again, only a handful of individuals, and they often devote their entire lives to the ins and outs of the investment world, manage to land with such a fortune. The wisest goal in your case is to have your investments earn enough for you to live off during your retirement and even after you’ve joined the great majority.

What are the two investing strategies that you should be looking into?

1. Mutual Funds

A mutual fund is a type of investment vehicle wherein funds are collected from numerous investors and are managed and invested by money managers into different securities including bonds and stocks. The portfolio of the mutual fund would be structured according to the investment objectives of those who contributed to the fund. One advantage of going with mutual funds is that even though you only have a small amount of capital to invest, you can still gain access to the diversified portfolios which would otherwise be difficult for you to buy into if not for the mutual fund. Of course, it’s crucial that you pick out high-quality fund providers.

2. Buying and Holding Stocks

If you want to have a more hands-on approach to investing, then why not try Warren Buffet’s way of doing things. Stock picking may give you are a more psychological satisfaction of purchasing a stock that increases in value, but if you purchase stocks of reputable companies and then hold on to your purchase for years, you’ll have a more valuable asset on your hands in the form of your portfolio. You may add Nick Scali on twitter when he mentioned that when your stocks start gaining dividends, you’ll can reinvest that amount and see the number of your stocks grow.

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Carl Farell is a registered financial planner by profession. He also loves to write about finance and a regular contributor to investment blogs that cover wide array of personal finance topics such as mutual funds, stocks, insurances and savings.

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