Money Smart Week: It’s Never Too Early (or Too Late) to Save for Retirement

Judy Hucka, editor of the BetterInvesting Puget Sound Chapter Newsletter is our guest blogger today. BetterInvesting is a non-profit organization dedicated to investment education. On April 29 they will be hosting a program on Basic Investing at Central Library. The Newsletter is available for viewing at the Level 7 Business, Science and Technology desk also at Central Library.

If you’re in your 20s or 30s, retirement may seem like a long way off. And you may already feel financially stretched, paying off student loans, saving to buy a house, or starting a family.

But saving and investing even small amounts of money now can give you a much better chance of being able to retire comfortably in your 60s (maybe even earlier). Something as simple as cutting out that daily latte or packing your lunch rather than eating out every day can add up surprisingly fast. Continue reading “Money Smart Week: It’s Never Too Early (or Too Late) to Save for Retirement”

Money Smart Week 2017

If you’re starting to feel fretful about this time of the year (end of March, beginning of April), you’re not alone. Tax deadline is near. Have you done what you promised your new year’s resolution you’ll be doing? Have you put your financials in order for the upcoming year?

Have no worries. We’re here to help. Continue reading “Money Smart Week 2017”

How to Start Investing

investing

Investing can be a scary word, especially with the effects of the 2008 financial crisis still lingering in many people’s lives and memories. But no matter what your risk tolerance is there are tax-efficient ways to save for your life goals. Knowing the risks and potential rewards of various investment tools can help you sleep soundly at night. Whether you’re wondering what a diversified portfolio looks like, what an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is and what type might be right for you, or even how to save more money no matter how much you currently earn, these books offer ways to start planning for the future. Continue reading “How to Start Investing”

Money Smart Week: Learn to invest

Investing information is notoriously steeped in jargon and the underlying concepts themselves aren’t exactly the most user-friendly. Whether you are planning to start investing on your own, or just want to be more informed when you talk to your broker, there are many different tools you can use to get up to speed.

photo by cc attribution by 401(K) 2013 on flickrOf course, the library has a wide variety of print books about investing but there are lots of other format options like eBooks. For your listening pleasure, we have audiobooks on CD about investing and also downloadable eAudio items.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a regulator of securities firms, has put together some fantastic information tools for the beginning investor. You’ll learn how to open a brokerage account, evaluate risks and start building a portfolio. Continue reading “Money Smart Week: Learn to invest”

A little investment help from your friends: Tips from the library for bond investors…..

Library users who invest know that stock information is available 24/7 online via The Library’s free databases Valueline, Standard and Poor’s NetAdvantage and Morningstar.  But what kind of help can the library give with bonds?  Bonds are harder to research than stocks, especially prices, and the library has never really furnished bond price information.  But we do have resources to search bond recommendations and ratings and can offer some advice about searching prices.  A final piece of information from the library, particularly for the new investor, is an explanation of why bonds are hard to research.  The primary problem for the investor is that bonds do not trade on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ, but on less transparent exchanges, and their prices are more complex, featuring such things as “spreads,” etc.

The Library offers two popular and respected databases that give limited bond information.  These are Standard and Poor’s NetAdvantage and Morningstar.  Under  company search options,  in both, you can look at current bonds and bond ratings.   Standard and Poor’s will allow you to screen bonds for purchase. Morningstar is a good source for finding bond mutual funds to meet your needs.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association runs an excellent website, which we link to on the SPL webpage  Click on “corporate market” and search by name of company for bonds offered and “municipal market” for municipal bonds. For the more sophisticated investor, you can also check who’s been trading and pricing the previous day for municipal bonds.

Another useful site, linked to from the Library’s investing resources page, is run by the US Treasury and covers federal government bonds. These securities are issued and sold at auction and resold by brokers.  It is possible to buy government bonds at the site and avoid commissions.  Click on “individual” to find all kinds of useful information, including the current value of bonds you hold.  Always check the upper tabs for “tools” for more search and transaction options.

You might also want to try these books: The Bond Book by Annette Thau  and The Strategic Bond Investor by Anthony Crescenzi. Both are available in 2010 editions and in download or paper formats.

Lastly, remember the library subscribes to Money Magazine and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, as well as many investment newsletters, so you can keep up with the latest trends!  Bonds are an integral part of any investment portfolio, and we all can use a little help.

~ Sally W.. Central Libary