What Is a Carry Trade in Currency Markets?

Carry trade is a strategy used by some traders who invest in currency markets to take advantage of differences in interest rates. In a carry trade, an investor buys or borrows a security or asset at a low interest rate, and then uses it to invest in another security or asset that provides a higher rate of return.

Here’s what you need to know about how a carry trade strategy works and the risks associated with it.

What Is a Carry Trade?

In a carry trade, forex traders borrow money at a low interest rate in order to invest it in an asset with a higher rate of return. In the forex markets, the currency carry trade is a bet that one foreign currency will hold or increase its value relative to another currency. Of course, this strategy hinges on whether or not interest rates and exchange rates are in the traders’ favor. The wider the exchange rate between two currencies, the better the potential returns for the investor.

Recommended: What Is Forex Trading?

Even so, a carry trade strategy can be a relatively simple way to increase an investor’s returns, assuming they understand the difference in interest rates. In that way, it’s similar to understanding “spread trading” as they relate to stocks.

How Do You Execute a Carry Trade?

Carry Trade Example

Imagine that the US dollar has a 1% interest rate, but the British pound has a 2% interest rate. A trader could take 100 US dollars, and then invest that 100 dollars into the equivalent number of pounds (according to the exchange rate), and earn a higher return in interest. The discrepancy in interest rates allows traders to take advantage and earn higher returns.

This is a rather simplistic carry trade example, professional traders and investors can engage in complex carry trade strategies, and even employ the use of a carry trade formula to help them figure out expected returns, and whether the strategy is worth pursuing in a given situation.

Rather than simply buying one currency with another, traders often execute a carry trade that involves borrowing money in one currency and using it to purchase assets in another currency. In this scenario, traders want to borrow the money at the lowest possible interest rate, and do so using a weak or declining currency.

That can create higher profits when they close the deal and pay back the borrowed money. In general, carry trade is a short-term strategy, rather than one focused on the long-term.

Recommended: Short-Term vs Long-Term Investments

Is a Carry Trade Risky?

The concept of a carry trade is simple, but in practice it can involve investment risk. Most notably, there’s the risk that the currency or asset a trader is investing in (the British pounds in our previous example) could lose value. That could put a damper on a trader’s expected returns, as it would eat away at the gains the difference in interest rates could provide. Currency prices tend to be very volatile, and something as mundane as a monthly jobs report released by a government can cause big price changes.

The greater the degree of leverage an investor uses to execute a carry trade, the higher the potential returns–and the larger the risk. In addition to currency risk, the carry trade is subject to interest rate risk. Given the risks, carry trades in the currency markets may not be the most appropriate strategy for investors with a low tolerance for risk.

The Takeaway

Carry trades are one way for investors or traders to generate returns, although the approach involves some risks that aren’t present in other types of investment strategies. While the carry trade concept is straightforward, it can quickly get complex when institutional investors put it in place.

If you’re ready to start investing in less complicated investments, a great way to start is by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform, which allows you to buy or sell stocks, ETFs, trade crypto and more.

Photo credit: iStock/akinbostanci


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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Source: sofi.com

7 Signs You are Living Beyond Your Means

When you’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, scrounging up enough money for an emergency fund can feel like a revelation. All of a sudden you’re not living with a dark cloud over your head and setbacks start to seem more manageable. You feel more in control of your life and your finances.

But you can take that even further. Saving for emergencies is just the first step in developing a strong, stable plan for the future. Once you have the foundation laid, it’s time to start deciding just what kind of future you’re trying to build.

That future starts with savings goals. Here are a few examples of how to start saving beyond your emergency fund.

Car Repair Fund

About 18 months ago, my husband and I were driving up for a ski weekend in the Colorado mountains. We were meeting his cousin and wife for a long weekend of winter sports, beer and food. At least, that was the plan.

On the way there our car started making a funny noise. Eventually, that funny noise turned into a persistent whine, and before we knew it the engine was smoking and we were stranded on the side of the road. We had the car towed back to a mechanic, who informed us that it would cost several thousand dollars to repair the damage.

I hadn’t really planned for this. The car had less than 200,000 miles and seemed in good shape. We’d followed the maintenance schedule religiously and had no reason to worry. Luckily, the incident happened just a few days before we received a huge tax refund, so we took the money and bought another car. I learned a valuable lesson that day: always save for a car repair fund.

Since then, I set up an auto draft to a separate savings account solely for car repairs. I picked $75 a month as a starting point but might increase it to $100 in the near future.

I’ve also started a car replacement fund, so I’m prepared for the next time my husband and I need to buy a new car. That account gets $100 every month, and any leftover money I find at the end of the year.

Vacation Fund

Erin Lowry of “Broke Millennial” wrote in a recent post about how she has a separate vacation fund set aside so she can travel more spontaneously. She has at least $3,000 in her vacation fund, so she’s prepared when her girlfriends want to take an impromptu trip or she finds an amazing flight deal to Germany.

If travel is an important part of your life – or you’d like it to be – consider starting a vacation fund. Even if it’s just a long weekend at the family cabin or a short road trip to a neighboring state, giving yourself the option to escape at any time can make the daily grind a little more bearable.

Don’t feel pressured to save aggressively if you don’t want to. Even $300 a month will add up to $3,600 a year, enough for a two-week European stay or a handful of smaller domestic trips. If you keep saving for multiple years, you could end up with enough for a months-long sabbatical.

Personal Goals

When people talk about their greatest financial regrets, they usually reminisce about the investment deal they didn’t take or the house they never bought. For me, it’s the Spice Girls concert I didn’t go to.

The group came to Chicago while I was in college, and a few people from my dorm were carpooling to the concert. They had an extra ticket, which cost $100. I had the money in my bank account, but chose to be “responsible” and stay home. I’ve regretted it ever since.

About a year ago, there were rumors that the Spice Girls were planning to reunite and go on a limited international tour. I live about three hours from Chicago, and I figured the Windy City would definitely be a stop on the tour.

A couple weeks later I got a birthday check from my grandma, which I promptly deposited into a separate Spice Girls savings account. Rumors of a tour have since dissipated, but I still have hope that one day the girls will be reunited. Until then, I’ll be keeping $200 in that account.

It might seem insane to have a whole savings account for one concert that may never happen, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind. If I ever get the opportunity to fulfill this dream, I won’t have to sacrifice a thing. I’ll just pluck the money from my account, close it down and go have the time of my life.

If there’s something you desperately want to do someday, like attend the Super Bowl or run the Boston Marathon, it’s not a bad idea to have the money stashed away for that purpose. If the goal never comes to fruition or you’re not able to get tickets, you can always use it for something else.

Medical Expenses

One of the best ways to save money outside of an emergency fund is in a health savings account (HSA). HSA contributions are tax-deductible, can be withdrawn tax-free and earnings are also not taxed.

You can contribute up to $3,3450 for an individual or $6,900 for families. Once you have more than $2,000 in your HSA, you can start to invest the money like you would for a retirement account. HSAs are only available if you have a high-deductible insurance plan, but don’t have any income limitations.

If you aren’t eligible for a high-deductible plan or it’s just not a good fit, you can still save for medical expenses outside of an HSA. A good rule of thumb is to save as much as your out-of-pocket maximum since that should cover a year of catastrophic medical bills. You can keep this in the same savings account where you have your emergency fund or in a separate one.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or view of Intuit Inc, Mint or any affiliated organization. This blog post does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.
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Paying Taxes on Stocks: Important Information for Investing

Just as you owe taxes on money that you earn by working, you may also owe taxes on money that you earn through investments.

That’s important for investors to understand, so that they can plan for the tax implications of their investment strategy. Understanding how your investments could impact your taxes better prepare you for tax season and allow you to make more informed investment decisions.

Some investments may not look as appealing after you’ve factored in the potential impact of taxes, and taxes could impact both your returns and your payback period. That’s why it’s important to know the answer to the question: How are stocks taxed?

Before we get into it, we just want to say up front that we don’t provide tax advice. We can outline a few tax guidelines that you should pay attention to but, to fully understand the implications, you’ll want to consult a tax professional.

When Do You Pay Taxes on Stocks?

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There are several scenarios in which you may owe taxes related to the stocks you hold in an investment account. The most well known is the tax liability incurred when you sell a stock that has appreciated in value since you purchased it. The difference in value is referred to as a capital gain. When you have capital gains, you must pay taxes on those earnings.

You owe capital gains taxes only on your investments’ growth, based on the increase in value from when you bought them until when you sell them. That’s important to consider, whether you’re purchasing IPO stocks or buying blue chip established companies.

There are two types of capital gains tax:

Short-term Capital Gains

Short-term capital gains tax applies when you sell an asset that you owned for a year or less that gained in value. These gains would be taxed at the same rate as your typical tax bracket (here they are for the 2021-2022 tax year), so they’re important for day traders to consider.

Long-term Capital Gains

Long-term capital gains tax applies when you sell an asset that gained in value after holding it for more than a year. Depending on your taxable income and tax filing status, you’d be taxed at one of these three rates: 0%, 15%, or 20%. Overall, long-term capital gains tax rates are typically lower than those on short-term capital gains.

Capital Losses

If you sell a stock for less than you purchased it, the difference is called a capital loss. You can deduct your capital losses from your capital gains each year, and offset the amount in taxes you owe on your capital gains.

You can also apply up to $3,000 in investment losses to offset regular income taxes.

Taxes on Investment Income

You may have taxes related to your stock investments even when you don’t sell, if the investments generate income.

Dividends

You may receive periodic dividends from some of your stocks when the company you’ve invested in earns a profit. If the dividends you earn add up to a large amount, you may be required to pay taxes on those earnings. Each year, you will receive a 1099-DIV tax form for each stock or investment from which you received dividends. These forms will help you determine how much in taxes you owe.

There are two broad categories of dividends: qualified or nonqualified/ordinary. The IRS taxes nonqualified dividends at your regular income tax bracket. The rate on qualified dividends may be 0%, 15%, or 20%, depending on your filing status and taxable income. This rate is usually less than the one for nonqualified dividends, though those with a higher income typically pay a higher tax rate on dividends.

Interest Income

This money can come from brokerage account interest or from bond/mutual fund interest, as two examples, and it is taxed at your ordinary income level. Municipal bonds are an exception because they’re exempt from federal taxes and, if issued from your state, may be exempt from state taxes, as well.

Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT)

Also called the Medicare tax, this is a flat rate investment income tax of 3.8% for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income exceeds $200,000 for single filers or $250,000 for filers filing jointly. Taxpayers who qualify may owe interest on the following types of investment income, among others: interest, dividends, capital gains, rental and royalty income, non-qualified annuities, and income from businesses involved in trading of financial instruments or commodities.

Recommended: Investment Tax Rules Every Investor Should Know

When Do I Not Have to Pay Taxes on Stocks?

Again, this should first and foremost be a discussion you have with your tax professional. But there are a few situations you should know about where you often don’t pay taxes when selling a stock. For example, if you are investing through a tax-deferred retirement investment account like an IRA or a 401(k), you won’t have to pay taxes on any gains when you buy and sell stocks inside the account. However, if you were to sell stock in one of these accounts and then withdraw it, you could owe taxes on the withdrawal.

How to Pay Lower Taxes on Stocks

If the answer to “Do you have to pay taxes on stocks?” is “yes” for your personal financial situation, then the question becomes how to pay a lower amount of taxes. Strategies can include:

•  Holding on to stocks long enough for dividends to become qualified and for any capital gains tax to be in the long-term category because they are typically taxed at a lower rate

•  Offsetting your capital gains with capital losses

•  Putting your investments into retirement accounts or other tax-advantaged accounts

•  Avoiding the temptation to make early withdrawals from your 401(k) or other retirement accounts.

The Takeaway

The tax implications of your investments will vary depending on the types of investments in your portfolio and the accounts you use, among other factors. That’s why it may be worthwhile to work with an experienced accountant and a financial advisor who can help you understand and manage the complexities of different tax scenarios.

Many investment banks offer investing advice and guidance tailored to your needs. Some even offer advanced online tools to help you balance your investments and stay on target to reach your goals. Research and compare accounts to find an investment bank that meets your needs.

The SoFi Invest® brokerage platform offers convenient, easy-to-access investing options when you buy stocks online that pair the best of automated investing with custom advice from financial professionals. The platform allows you to get started investing by easily purchasing stocks, exchange-traded funds, and crypto currencies.


Choose how you want to invest.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
IPOs: Investing early in IPO stock involves substantial risk of loss. The decision to invest should always be made as part of a comprehensive financial plan taking individual circumstances and risk appetites into account.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
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Source: sofi.com

Recessions: 10 Facts You Must Know

It’s official. The Pandemic Recession that began in February 2020 ended in April of last year, according to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which is the arbiter of these things.

Although it was the shortest downturn in U.S. history, the economy is still recovering from the nearly 21 million jobs that were lost during the slump.

And it continues to haunt us in other ways. After all, a recession is the scariest creature in the average investor’s closet of anxieties. There’s little wonder why. People fear recessions because they can mean lower home prices, lower stock prices – and, of course, unemloyment.

Any number of things can cause, or exacerbate, a recession: an exogenous shock, such as the COVID-19 crisis or the Arab oil embargo of 1973; soaring interest rates; or ill-conceived legislation, such as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930.

Recessions are parts of the warp and woof of a dynamic economy, albeit unpleasant ones. And if you’re prepared for the next recession, there will be plenty of opportunities when that downturn ends. Thus, the more you know about recessions, the better. Here are 10 must-know facts about recessions.

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Why Are They Called ‘Recessions’?

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Because calling them “depressions” is too scary. No, really.

After the Great Depression – a term once considered milder than “panic” or “crisis” – the term “depression” for an economic downturn seemed particularly terrifying. Economists began to use the term “recession” instead.

Currently, “depression” is used to mean an extremely sharp and intractable recession, but there is no formal definition of the term in economics. The Pandemic Recession included levels of unemployment not seen since before WWII. And the 2007-09 recession certainly had uncomfortable similarities to the Great Depression, in that it involved a financial crisis, extremely high unemployment, and falling prices for goods and services. Economists now call it the Great Recession.

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What Constitutes an Official Recession?

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Someone has to be the official arbiter of recessions and recoveries, and the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is that someone.

Although two quarters of consecutive GDP contraction is the standard shorthand for a recession, the NBER actually uses many indicators to determine the start and end of a recession.

In fact, GDP is not the committee’s favorite indicator: It prefers indicators of domestic production and employment instead. Other signs of recession include declines in real (inflation-adjusted) manufacturing and wholesale-retail trade sales and industrial production. Prolonged declines in production, employment, real income and other indicators also contribute to the NBER’s recession call.

In the case of the Pandemic Recession, NBER says: “The committee has determined that a trough in monthly economic activity occurred in the US economy in April 2020. The previous peak in economic activity occurred in February 2020. The recession lasted two months, which makes it the shortest US recession on record.”

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How Long Do Recessions Typically Last?

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The average length of recessions going all the way back to 1857 is less than 17.5 months. Recessions actually have been shorter and less severe since the days of the Buchanan administration. The long-term average includes the 1873 recession – a kidney stone of a downturn that lasted 65 months. It also includes the Great Depression, which lasted 43 months.

If we look at the period since World War II, recessions have become less harsh, lasting an average of 11.1 months. In part, that’s because bank failures no longer mean that you lose your life savings, thanks to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and because the Federal Reserve has gotten (somewhat) better at managing the country’s money supply.

The longest post-WWII recession was the Great Recession, which began December 2007 and ended in June 2009, a total of 18 months. Conversely, the two-month Pandemic Recession helped nudge the average length of recession down a notch. 

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How Often Do Recessions Happen?

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Again, since 1857, a recession has occurred, on average, about every three-and-a-quarter years. It used to be the government felt that letting recessions burn themselves out was the best solution for everyone concerned.

Since World War II, we’ve gone an average of 58.4 months between recessions, or nearly five years. The last economic expansion, starting at the end of the Great Recession, lasted 128 months. By that measure, we were overdue for an economic retraction when the Pandemic Recession hit.

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When Was the Harshest Recession?

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The recession of 1873 was actually known as the Great Depression until the 1929 recession rolled in.

The recession started with a financial panic in 1873 with the failure of Jay Cooke & Company, a major bank. The event caused a chain reaction of bank failures across the country and the collapse of a bubble in railroad stocks. The New York Stock Exchange shut down for 10 days in response. The recession lasted until 1877.

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What’s the Worst Effect of a Recession?

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An old economist joke is that a recession is when someone else loses their job, and a depression is when you lose your job. (Very few economists have transitioned to stand-up comedy.)

Your job is your main source of income, and that’s why it’s important to have a few months’ salary in cash as an emergency fund – especially since jobs are increasingly hard to come by in a recession.

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When Is the Best Time to Buy Stocks in a Recession?

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Historically, the best time to buy stocks is when the NBER announces the start of a recession. It takes the bureau at least six months to determine if a recession has started; occasionally, it takes longer. The average post-WWII recession lasts 11.1 months. Often, by the time the bureau has figured out the start of the recession, it’s close to the end. Many times, investors anticipate the beginning of a recovery long before the NBER does, and stocks begin to rise around the time of the actual economic turnaround.

For instance, the Great Recession was officially announced on Dec. 1, 2008 – a full year after it had started. The recession ended in June 2009; the bear market ended three months earlier, on March 6, 2009. The ensuing bull market lasted more than a decade.

In the most recent case, the NBER called the end of the Pandemic Recession on July 19, 2021, or 15 months after it ended. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 gained 50% from April 30, 2020 to July 14, 2021.

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What’s the Best Thing to Do With Your Money During a Recession?

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Pay off your credit card debt. Here’s why: Paying off a credit card that charges 18% interest is the rough equivalent of getting an 18% return on your investment, and you’re not going to get that from most other investments during a recession.

That said, bond prices typically rise in value during a recession – provided the recession isn’t sparked by rising interest rates.

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What Is the Best Early Warning Sign of a Recession?

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More than the stock market, consumer confidence or the index of leading economic indicators, an inverted yield curve has been a solid predictor of economic downturns.

An inverted yield curve is when short-term government securities, such as the three-month Treasury bill, yield more than the 10-year Treasury bond. This indicates that bond traders expect weaker growth in the future. The U.S. curve has inverted before each recession in the past 50 years, with just one false signal.

This indicator worked for the Pandemic Recession too. The yield curve inverted multiple times in 2019 and early 2020. On March 3, the three-month T-bill yielded 1.13%, and the 10-year T-note yielded 1.1%. (To make matters a bit more complicated, some economists prefer using the two-year T-note yield instead of the three-month T-bill.) The index of leading economic indicators is a composite of 10 indicators – including the stock market and consumer confidence – and is useful for those who want a broader view of the economic picture.

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Does the Federal Reserve Cause Recessions?

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Officially, the Fed never wants to start a recession, because part of its dual mandate is to keep the economy strong. Unfortunately, the other part of the Fed’s dual mandate is to keep inflation low. The main cure for soaring inflation is higher interest rates, which slows the economy. In 1981, the Fed hiked interest rates so high that three-month T-bills yielded more than 15%. Those rates put the brakes on the economy and ended inflation – at the price of a short but sharp recession.

Source: kiplinger.com

Know When to Sell Stocks and When to Hold On

Your stock is up by 20 percent, maybe even 50 or 100 percent. Should you take the money and run? What about if your stock is down? Should you ride it out and hope for the best, or is it time to take a loss and avoid it getting even worse?

All these questions are running through your mind, and rightly so. You’re in the stock game to make money so making good decisions about when to sell stocks is important. In this story, we’ll run through three reasons to sell and three reasons to ride it out longer.

First Off, Sell Reluctantly

Some investment writers and TV pundits say you should sell at any hint of trouble. They may use a chart pattern, a declining rate of growth or maybe one disappointing quarter as a reason to get out.

Good ideas are hard to find, so stick with them until there’s powerful reasons to sell. Just because a stock is down doesn’t mean it’s out. A panicked move might leave you worse off than simply waiting out a short term problem, like a computer chip shortage or a blocked shipping route because of, let’s say, a global pandemic.

Conversely, a stock jumping over the moon doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to put in that sell order. A stock can continue to go up well past your original target price. Stocks don’t have a maximum. They have (theoretically) unlimited upside potential.

You put in the time to research a company and maybe even read through its financial statements. Perhaps you’ve used the company’s products and think they’re the bee’s knees.  You took the plunge and bought at what you hope will be the right price. Save yourself from more investment decisions than necessary by being very slow to sell.

Still a little unclear on what all the information on the stock quote means? Learning how to read a stock quote will put you in a better position to know if you should buy, sell or hold. 

Stock sales may also trigger tax consequences. Consult with a tax advisor before you sell shares, at least until you are familiar with capital gains tax rules.

3 Good Reasons to Sell

Here are three signals that you should consider selling your shares.

1. You Need the Money

You put aside money for a reason, whether it’s to build a rainy day fund, save toward retirement or maybe that mansion with a view. If your investment portfolio did its job and you have enough money to achieve the original goal you set, sell.

Here’s why: There’s always a risk the market can back off. That could delay or even prevent you from realizing all those hard-won gains.

2. Something About the Stock Changed

If Apple decided to sell apples instead of selling a gazillion iPhones every year, that would be a good reason to sell. You didn’t intend to buy a food stock when you originally bought Apple. It’s possible the company could have an army of employees with untapped gifts for farming, but that’s much less likely than their proven success with whiz bang phones and computers.

The same is true of major mergers and acquisitions. Once a company makes a major acquisition or merges with another company, you own a different stock than before.

Most mergers and acquisitions don’t work out as well as promised, even more so if the newly purchased company is in a different business.

When a profitable company starts losing money, it’s concerning but not automatically a reason to sell. Automotive and other companies that sell big ticket items will see their profits go up and down along with the economy.

If coffee growers have bad harvests, Starbucks’ profits might decline. Those are temporary issues. Don’t be too quick to sell a good stock going through a rough patch. If the company is having trouble selling its products, look for the reasons why that’s the case before deciding to sell.

3. The Stock Didn’t Follow Expectations

If you bought stock thinking the company was going to introduce a hot new product and that product turns out to be a dud, sell. If the company commits a fraud, sell.

Dividend cuts are bad news for income investors. If you bought a company’s stock because it can pay dividends and it’s forced to cut them or even stop paying any at all, it’s broken faith with you. It’s time to enter that sell order.

It’s tough to admit we’re wrong. It’s even worse when we sell and the stock’s price recovers or even goes higher. That will happen. But all you need to do is be more right than wrong. Don’t reevaluate stocks that failed expectations. Sell and move on.

3 Not-So-Good Reasons to Sell

Here are the three reasons you might want to tell your inner trader to hush up, and hold on to that stock.

1. It Feels Good to Take a Stock Market Profit

This goes back to good ideas being hard to find. As much as we love booking a profit and seeing some extra cash, then what will you do next? Spending the profit means you’ll have less money to invest. Your next investment might not turn out as well. If your stock reaches your target price, that’s great! Perhaps it can go up even more.

2. You Have a Hunch

Experienced investors are disciplined and do everything in their power to avoid being swayed by emotion. Human nature makes investing tricky. We hate losing money. We can also get jumpy when we feel as if we’re missing out.

A hunch is usually an impulse, and it’s rare to see a hunch trader make money for an extended time. Work on using rational judgment.

3. Online (or Somewhere Else) Buzz

There are some smart people offering great advice for free on bulletin boards and Reddit, but they are far outnumbered by people who only know how to sound smart. It’s often impossible to tell the difference until the money is lost. How often do you see anyone say “I don’t know” on the internet?

Internet groups are susceptible to what psychologists call “feedback loops.” That’s when enough people share a belief that others join the bandwagon. Their reasoning goes along the lines of, “If that many people believe (something), it must be true.” Then when facts prove otherwise, it becomes a race to the exits and the stock is kicked to the curb.

Consistent Investors are Winning Investors

The list shared here is only a start. Over time, every investor learns their own investment philosophy. Some investors look to buy shares of companies that are priced below what they may be worth. Others focus on companies that are growing rapidly. Those two groups will have different ideas when to sell a stock.

As you continue to invest in the stock market, you’ll develop your own buy and sell signals. One way to make consistent gains is systematic investing, something that people do when they contribute to a retirement account such as a 401(k).

Once you do, it’s important to stay consistent. Markets go through periods (sometimes years) when even the best value stocks will underperform. Other times growth stocks will be in the doghouse.

If you keep changing your strategy, you could find yourself continually on the wrong side. Professionals accept that sometimes the market is with you and other times it’s not. If you’re patient and know how to reduce risks when you can, the odds will be on your side.

Contributor Sam Levine holds Chartered Financial Analyst® and Chartered Market Technician® designations and has written on finance topics since 2003. He is an adjunct professor of finance at Wayne State University in Michigan.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

What Is UCITS?

Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) are a category of investment funds designed to both streamline and safeguard investment transactions. UCITS are usually structured like traditional mutual funds, exchange traded funds, or a money market fund

European Union (EU) regulates UCITs, but they are widely available to non-EU investors. U.S. investors, for example, can buy shares of UCITS through U.S.-based fund managers, although local, EU-based money managers run the funds.

Collectively, they hold €18.8 trillion in assets under management, or nearly $23 trillion. Because they undergo a high level of regulatory scrutiny, many view UCITS as a relatively safe investment.

What Is a UCITS Fund?

UCITS funds are a type of mutual fund that complies with European Union regulations and holds securities from throughout the region. They emerged as part of an effort by the European Union to consolidate disparate European financial investments into one central sector, governed by the EU, with a “marketing passport,” that enables financial services firms across the EU to invest in multiple countries under a common set of rules and regulations.

The EU launched UCITS for two primary reasons:

1.   To structure a single financial services entity under the EU umbrella that allowed for the cross-sale of mutual funds across the EU, and across the globe.

2.   To better regulate investment asset transactions among all 28 EU member countries, giving investors inside and outside of the EU access to more tightly regulated investment funds.

Fundamentally, UCITS funds rules give EU regulators a powerful tool to centralize key financial services issues like types of investments allowed, asset liquidity, investment disclosures, and investor safeguards. By rolling the new rules and regulations into UCITS, EU regulators sought to make efficient and secure investment funds available to a broad swath of investors, primarily at the retail and institutional levels.

For investors, UCITS funds offer more flexibility and security. Not only are the funds widely viewed as safe and secure, but UCITS funds offer a diversified fund option to investors who might otherwise have to depend on single public companies for the bulk of their investment portfolios.

According to the European Union, UCITS comprise 75% of all European Union investments by individual investors. Data from the European Fund and Asset Management Association notes that, through 2020, UCITS funds have $11.7 trillion (in euros). That’s approximately 62% of all Euro-based investment funds. Additionally, there were about 34,000 UCIT funds at the end of 2020.

A Brief History of UCITS

The genesis of UCITS funds dates back to the mid-1980’s, with the rollout of the European Directive legislation, which set a new blueprint for financial markets across the continent. The new law introduced UCITS funds on an incremental basis and have been used as a way to regulate financial markets with regular updates and revisions over the past three decades.

In 2002, the EU issued a pair of new directives related to mutual fund sales – Directives 2001/107/EC and 2001/108/EC, which expanded the market for UCITS across the EU and loosened regulations on the sale of index funds in the region.

The fund initiative accelerated in 2009 and 2010, when the Directive 2009/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 clarified the use of UCITS in European investment markets, especially in coordination of all laws, regulations, and administrative oversight. The next year, te European Union reclassified UCITS w as investment funds regulated under Part 1 of the Law of 17 December 2010.

In recent years, “Alt UCITS” or alternative UCITS funds have grown in popularity, along with other types of alternative investments.

How Does a UCIT Fund Work?

Structurally, UCITS are built like mutual funds, with many of the same features, regulatory requirements, and marketing models.

Individual and institutional investors, who form a collective group of unit holders, put their money into a UCIT, which, in turn, owns investment securities (mostly stocks and bonds) and cash. For investors, the primary goal is to invest their money into the fund to capitalize on specific market conditions that favor the stocks or bonds that form the UCITS. UCTIS funds may provide one way for American investors to get more international diversification within their portfolios.

A professional money manager, or group of managers, run the fund, and they are singularly responsible for choosing the securities that make up the fund. The UCITS investor understands this agreement before investing in the fund, thus allowing the fund managers to choose investments on their behalf.

An investor may leave the fund at any point in time, and do so by liquidating their shares of the fund on the open market. American investors should know that the Internal Revenue Service may classify UCITS as passive foreign investment companies, which could trigger more onerous tax treatments, especially when compared to domestic mutual funds.

UCITS Rules and Regulations

UCITS do have some firm regulatory and operational requirements to abide by in the European Union, as follows:

•  The fund and its management team are usually based on a tax-neutral EU country (Ireland would be a good example.)

•  A UCITS operates under the laws mandated by the member state of its headquarters. After the fund is licensed in the EU state of origin, it can then be marketed to other EU states, and to investors around the world. The fund must provide proper legal notification to the state or nation where it wants to do business before being allowed to market the fund to investors.

•  A UCITS must provide proper notice to investors in the form of a Key Investor Information Document, usually located on the fund’s website. The fund must also be approved.

•  A UCITS must also provide a fund prospectus to investors (also normally found on the fund’s web site) and must file both annual and semiannual reports.

•  Any time a UCITS issues, sells, or redeems fund shares, it must make pricing notification available to investors.

The Takeaway

UCITS may be an interesting type of investment for U.S. investors looking to diversify their portfolios. As with any investment, investors must conduct thorough due diligence on the UCITS, which should include a review of fund holdings, past performance, management stability, fees, and tax consequences. Before steering money into a UCITS fund account, talk with a financial advisor well-versed in UCITS in particular, and with diversified fund investments in general.

If you’re interested in other investment opportunities, a great way to build your portfolio is by opening a SoFi Invest® brokerage account. You can open an Active Investing Account and build your own portfolio of investments including stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, and cryptocurrency. Or, you can opt for an automated account, which selects and monitors investments on your behalf.

Photo credit: iStock/kupicoo


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.
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Source: sofi.com

How to Gift a Stock

Stocks are a unique gift that have the potential to keep on giving over time. They can be given to family members, friends, charities, and others. Gifting stock is easy to do and can have benefits for both the giver and the receiver—though it’s worth noting there can be tax implications for the receiver.

The Benefits of Gifting Stocks

There are several upsides to giving (and receiving) stocks:

•  If you’re giving the gift of stocks to kids, it can begin their investing education and provide them with an asset that will grow over time.

•  For anyone receiving stock, there’s potential that the value of the gift will grow over time. (Though it must be said, the value could also diminish over time.)

•  If the giver already owns stock in the company, they may benefit on their taxes by transferring some or all of that stock to someone else. If a stock has appreciated in value, the owner would normally owe capital gains if they sell it. However, if they gift it, they don’t have to pay the taxes. Those gains do get transferred to the receiver—but depending on their tax bracket, they won’t owe any taxes when they sell. In that case, both the giver and receiver would avoid paying the capital gains.

8 Ways to Gift Stocks

There are several ways that stocks can be gifted.

Set Up a Custodial Account for Kids

Parents can set up a custodial brokerage account for their kids and transfer stocks, mutual funds, and other assets into it. They can also buy assets directly for the account. When the child reaches a certain age they take ownership of it.

This can be a great way to get kids interested in their finances and educate them about investing or particular industries. Teaching kids about short and long term investments by giving them a stock that will grow over time is a great learning opportunity. However, keep in mind that there is a so-called “kiddie tax” imposed by the IRS if a child’s interest and dividend income is more than $2,200.

Set up a DRiP

Dividend Reinvestment Plans, or DRiPs, are another option for gifting stocks. These are plans that automatically reinvest dividends from stocks, which allows the stock to grow with compound interest.

Gifting to a Spouse

When gifting stocks to a spouse, there are generally no tax implications as long as both people are U.S. citizens. A spouse can either gift a present interest or a future interest in shares, meaning the recipient spouse gets the shares immediately or at a specified date in the future.

According to the IRS , If the recipient spouse is not a U.S. citizen, there is an annual gift tax exclusion of $159,000. Any amount above that would be taxed.

Virtual Transfers and Stock Certificates

Anyone can transfer shares of stock to someone else if the receiver has a brokerage account. This type of gifting can be done with basic personal and account information. One can either transfer shares they already own, or buy them in their account and then transfer them. Some brokers also have the option to gift stocks periodically.

Individuals can also buy a stock certificate and gift that to the recipient, but this is expensive and requires more effort for both the giver and receiver. To transfer a physical stock certificate, the owner needs to sign it in the presence of a guarantor, such as their bank or a stock broker.

Gifting Stock to Charity

Another option is to give the gift of stocks to a charity, as long as the charity is set up to receive them. This can benefit both the giver and the charity, because the giver doesn’t have to pay capital gains taxes, and as a tax-exempt entity, the charity doesn’t either. The giver may also be able to deduct the amount the stock was worth from their taxes.

For givers who don’t know which charity to give to, one option is a donor-advised fund . While the giver can take a tax deduction on their gift in the calendar year in which they give it, the fund will distribute the gift to the charities over multiple years.

Passing Down Wealth

Gifting stocks to family members can be a better way to transfer wealth than selling them and paying taxes. For 2021, up to $15,000 per year, per person, can be transferred through gifting of cash, stocks, or a combination. This means a couple can gift $30,000 to one individual, free of the gift tax.

If a person wants to transfer stocks upon their death, they have a few options, including:

•  Make it part of their will.
    Recommended: How to Create An Estate Plan

•  Create an inherited IRA.
    Recommended: 8 IRA Rollover Rules to Know

•  Arrange a transfer on death designation in a brokerage account.

It’s important to look into each option and one’s individual circumstances to figure out the taxes and cost basis for this option.

Gifting Through an App

Another option is to find an investing app that has stock gifting features.

Gift Cards

It may be surprising to hear, but stocks can be given via gift cards. These may be physical or digital gift cards.

Thing to Consider When Giving a Stock Gift

Gifting stocks is relatively straightforward, but there are some things to keep in mind. In addition to the $15,000 per year gifting limit and the capital gains tax implications of gifting, timing of gifts is important, and gifting may not always be the best choice.

For instance, when gifting to heirs, it may be better to wait and allow them to inherit stocks rather than gifting them during life. This may reduce or eliminate the capital gains they owe.

Also, there is a lifetime gift exclusion for federal estate taxes, which was $11.58 million in 2020, which can be used to shelter giving that goes over $15,000. However, this is not a great tax option, due to the ways gifts and inherited stocks are taxed.

Generally a better way to give a substantial amount of money to someone is to establish a trust fund.

Tax Implications of Gifting Stocks

There are some tax ramifications of giving stock as a gift.

Capital Gains Tax

There are a few things to be aware of with the capital gains taxes. If the stock is gifted at a lower value than it was originally purchased at, and sold at a loss, the cost basis for the recipient is based on the fair market value of the stock on the date they received it.

However, if the price of the stock increases above the price that the giver originally paid, the capital gains are based on the value of the stock when the giver bought it. In a third scenario, if the stock is sold on the date of the gift at a higher than fair market value, but at a lower value than the giver’s cost basis, no gain or loss needs to be recorded by the recipient.

•  Tax implications for giving: When gifting stocks, the giver can avoid paying capital gains tax. can sometimes be a way for the giver and the receiver to avoid paying capital gains taxes.

•  Tax implications for receiving: The recipient won’t pay taxes upon receiving the stock. When they sell it, they may be exempt from capital gains taxes if they’re in a lower tax bracket (consider, for example, a minor or retired individual). Otherwise, if they sell at a profit, they should expect to pay capital gains tax. If the annual gifting limit is exceeded, there may be taxes associated with that and the giver will need to file an estate and gift tax return.

Recommended: What Are Capital Gains Taxes?

The Takeaway

Gifting stocks is a unique idea that may have benefits for both the giver and the receiver. As you plan for your future, you may decide to build up a portfolio of stocks that you intend to give to your children, parents, or others as you grow older.

You can easily start investing online with SoFi Invest®. The app lets you quickly buy and sell stocks right from your phone. You can also research and track specific stocks, and see all of your investing information in one simple dashboard.

Find out how to get started with SoFi Invest.

Photo credit: iStock/akinbostanci


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Source: sofi.com