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Online Tools to Build Investment Portfolios

Putting together a diversified investment portfolio can be uncomplicated and performed in the solitude of my home. I can use online tools provided by brokerage firms to quickly build investment portfolios.

These tools don’t substitute for customized investment recommendations. The portfolios suggested may or may not be suitable for specific objectives. And, though they’re typically diversified portfolios, diversification doesn’t protect against loss all the time or guarantee a profit. But they’re free to use and they can offer insights into how a portfolio is constructed.

Investing Scenarios That Make Me Pause or Run

Avoiding a bad investment deal can be as important as finding the right mix of investments. There are two main types of investing scenarios to avoid: 1) the investment scam, an outright illegal operation and 2) the raw deal, an arrangement that’s legal but clearly not in the best interest of the investor.

The specifics of fraudulent offers and sketchy investments may change as times change. Today’s environment may be ripe for tricks involving green energy or pre-IPOs whereas shady offshore investments may have been more prevalent in the past.

Sales pitches associated with out-and-out scams and lousy deals tend to be consistent. They may promise high returns with no risk or grant access to investments typically reserved for the ultra-wealthy. What’s tricky is that they often contain an element of (half) truth.

Planning with a Mortgage Amortization Schedule

A mortgage amortization schedule can be useful for: comparing my loan-balance calculations to the mortgage company’s records; identifying when mortgage insurance should no longer be required; planning the payoff of the mortgage prior to retirement or another significant life change; recognizing how much of the payment goes to insurance, taxes, etc. and will continue even after the mortgage is paid; analyzing the impact of extra payments (and later comparing this impact to the benefit of using those funds for a purpose other than mortgage payoff). Inside, there’s a link to a downloadable schedule.

Pink Sheets and Penny Stocks: What I Learned

A few years ago, a reputable investment newsletter recommended a pink sheet stock. The writer briefly explained its riskiness for various reasons, including its lack of inclusion in the big leagues of major stock exchanges.

That mention prompted me to learn more about pink sheets, referencing the color of paper the stocks used to be listed on, and penny stocks, referencing a stock price of less than $5.00. I became intrigued with the concept and decided to learn the difference between equities traded on major exchanges and those traded over-the-counter (OTC).

Pink sheets and penny stocks, which are generally traded over the counter, are often touted as nontraditional ways of making lots of money. Just as growth in financial net worth can be a tool for thriving, losing money to worthless and misunderstood investments can thwart the achievement of my goals. So I did some research to determine how to best consider these investments and here’s what I uncovered:

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