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How to invest in stocks – Bankrate.com

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Investing in stocks is a great way to build wealth by harnessing the power of growing companies. But getting started can feel daunting for many beginners looking to get into the stock market despite the potential long-term gains.
So how exactly do you invest in stocks? It’s actually quite simple and you have several ways to do it. One of the easiest ways is to open an online brokerage account and buy stocks or stock funds. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can work with a professional to manage your portfolio, often for a reasonable fee. Either way, you can invest in stocks online and begin with little money.
Here’s how to invest in stocks and the basics on how to get started in the stock market even if you don’t know that much about investing right now.
So you want to begin investing in stocks? Here’s a five-step checklist to help get you going:
These days you have several options when it comes to investing, so you can really match your investing style to your knowledge and how much time and energy you want to spend investing. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on investing.
Here’s your first big decision point:
Your choice here will shape which kind of account you open in the next step.
So which kind of account do you want to open? Here are your options:
Bankrate also offers in-depth reviews of the major robo-advisors so you can find the advisor who meets your requirements most closely.
Bankrate also provides in-depth reviews of the major online brokers so you can find a broker that meets your exact needs.
If you go with a robo-advisor or an online brokerage, you can have your account open in literally minutes and start investing. If you opt for a human advisor, you’ll need to interview some candidates to find which one will work best for your needs and keep you on track.
The next major step is figuring out what you want to invest in. This step can be daunting for many beginners, but if you’ve opted for a robo-advisor or human advisor, it’s going to be easy.
If you’re using an advisor – either human or robo – you won’t need to decide what to invest in. That’s part of the value offered by these services. For example, when you open a robo-advisor, you’ll typically answer questions about your risk tolerance and when you need your money. Then the robo-advisor will create your portfolio and pick the funds to invest in. All you’ll need to do is add money to the account, and the robo-advisor will create your portfolio.
If you’re using a brokerage, you’ll have to select every investment and make trading decisions. You can invest in individual stocks or stock funds, among many other assets. The best brokers offer free research to help with this process and offer a ton of resources to aid beginners.
If you’re managing your own portfolio, you can also decide to invest actively or passively. The key difference between the two is that you determine how long you want to invest. Passive investors generally take a long-term perspective, while active investors often trade more frequently. Research shows that passive investors tend to do much better than active investors.
So whether you’re using a robo-advisor or a brokerage, you have a few ways to invest.
The key to building wealth is to add money to your account over time and let the power of compounding work its magic. That means you need to budget money for investing regularly into your monthly or weekly plans. The good news is that it’s super simple to get started.
How much you invest depends entirely on your budget and time frame. While you may invest whatever you can comfortably afford, experts recommend that you leave your money invested for at least three years, and ideally five or more, so that you can ride out any bumps in the market.
If you can’t commit to keeping your money invested for at least three years without touching it, consider building an emergency fund first. An emergency fund can keep you from having to get out of an investment early, allowing you to ride out any fluctuations in the value of your stocks.
Most major online brokerages these days don’t have an account minimum (or the account minimums are extremely low), so you can get started with very little money. Many brokers allow you to buy fractional shares of stocks and ETFs. If you can’t buy a full share, you can still buy a portion of one, so you really can get started with virtually any amount.
It’s just as easy with robo-advisors, too. Few have an account minimum and all you’ll need to do is deposit the money — the robo-advisor handles everything else. Set up an auto-deposit to your robo-advisor account and you’ll only have to think about investing once a year (at tax time).
Once you’ve opened your account, deposit money and get started investing.
You’ve established a brokerage or advisor account, so now’s the time to watch your portfolio. That’s easy if you’re using a human advisor or robo-advisor. Your advisor will do all the heavy work, managing your portfolio for the long term and keeping you to the plan.
If you’re managing your own portfolio, you’ll have to make the trading decisions. Is it time to sell a stock or fund? Was your investment’s last quarter a signal to sell or buy more? If the market dips, are you buying more or selling? These are tough decisions for investors, both new and old. If you’re investing actively, you’ll need to stay on top of the news to make the best decisions.
More passive investors will have fewer decisions to make, however. With their long-term focus, they’re often buying on a fixed regular schedule and not worrying much about short-term moves.
Whether you’ve opened a brokerage account or an advisor-led account, your own behavior is one of the biggest factors in your success, probably as important as what stock or fund you buy.
Here are three important tips for beginners:
As you begin investing, the financial world can seem daunting. There’s a lot to learn. The good news is that you can proceed at your own speed, develop your skills and knowledge and then proceed when you feel comfortable and ready.
No, non-U.S. investors are able to open brokerage accounts and invest in U.S. companies, but they might face a few additional hurdles in getting started. Investors residing outside the U.S. may need to show additional forms of identification to prove their identity when opening an account and there can be even more forms on top of that to ensure proper tax reporting. Be sure to check with the broker for guidance on investing when living outside the country.
Not much. Most online brokers have no minimum investment requirements and many offer fractional share investing for those starting with small amounts. You’ll want to make sure that the money you’re investing won’t be needed for regular expenses and can stay invested for at least three years. Building up some savings in an emergency fund is a good idea before getting started with investing.
If you hold those stocks in a brokerage account, dividends and gains on stocks will likely be taxed. The rate you pay on capital gains will depend on how long you’ve held the investment and your income level. If you hold stocks in tax-advantaged accounts such as a Roth IRA, you won’t pay taxes on gains or dividends, making these vehicles ideal for retirement savings.
If you’re just starting out, you may want to avoid investing in individual stocks. Instead, consider mutual funds and ETFs that hold baskets of stocks, which will help keep your portfolio diversified. With an S&P 500 ETF you’ll be able to purchase a basket of the largest companies in the U.S. at a very low cost. Funds like this will include popular stocks such as Apple, Amazon and even Tesla, but you’ll be more diversified than if you held these positions on their own.
The great thing about investing these days is that you have so many ways to do it on your own terms, even if you don’t know much at the start. You have the option to do it yourself or have an expert do it for you. You can invest in stocks or stock funds, trade actively or invest passively. Whichever way you choose, pick the investing style that works for you and build your wealth.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate.com does not include all companies or all available products.
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What's the best investment for a child's future? – MarketWatch

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Financial stress ranked No. 1 on the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey this year. It has held this position every year since 2007 when the survey began.
It’s natural for parents to want to shield their children from some of this stress by investing money toward their future. However, the best strategies for investing in your child’s future might seem unclear. 
Undoubtedly, these questions pose serious concerns for parents looking to help their children overcome financial stress.
Read: This is the most innovative financial literacy program in the U.S.
Before you start
When it comes to investing, the rule is usually that the sooner you invest, the better. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should start investing for your child the day they are born.
Before pursuing investing for kids, you should have emergency savings set aside and confidence in your retirement funds. 
In retirement, you absolutely need to have affordable housing, food and other necessities. If you can’t, it will be a burden to you as well as your child. It’s similar to how you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist someone else.
Help yourself first and then you’ll find yourself in a better position to aid others. 
Paying for your child’s college or getting them started saving for retirement is ideal, but not as high of a priority. Get yourself to a place where you can “max out” your 401(k), especially if you work for a company that matches part of your contributions.
Financial advisers commonly say once you’re able to contribute 15% of your income toward retirement, that’s when you should start investing for your child. 
This percentage might vary depending on your investment history. If you’ve worked toward your retirement since a teenager and have already saved a significant amount, this percentage might be lower. People who got a late start saving for retirement and want to catch up may need a higher percentage. 
Read: 5 investment lessons that can make your working teen wealthy
Invest for your child’s education account (529 Plan)
When you start to invest for your child’s future, begin with a tax-advantaged savings account. A 529 savings account acts as one of your best options.
These plans can cover expenses related to K-12 tuition if you plan to send your child to a private school, cover college tuition costs and even other vocational education options. 
These accounts accumulate funds on an after-tax basis with gains untaxed if used for qualified higher education expenses.
You don’t need to use the money at any one specific college, but can use it at any of the nationwide qualified colleges.
A 529 college savings plan works similarly to a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA in that you invest your post-tax contributions in mutual funds, target-date funds or other investments. 
Once your child begins college, money from the account can go toward eligible expenses, typically including tuition, computers, books, supplies, and housing (if the student enrolls at least half-time).
Room and board can’t exceed the “cost of attendance” figures colleges provide. Distributions can also go toward repaying federal and private student loans, including ones you refinance.
If you withdraw money for nonqualified expenses, the earnings portion becomes subject to ordinary income taxes as well as a 10% tax penalty. You can waive this penalty if the beneficiary attends a U.S. Military Academy, earns a tax-free scholarship, dies, or becomes disabled. The earnings would still be subject to tax, however. 
Suppose your child doesn’t attend college. In that situation, you can switch the beneficiary to another qualifying family member, have yourself become the beneficiary and further your own education, use it for K-12 tuition (up to $10,000), or use the money to repay student loans (up to $10,000). 
Funds can also roll over to a 529 ABLE account, which acts as a savings account for people with disabilities. If you have a willingness to pay the penalty and taxes, you can always withdraw your money for any reason.
Plans usually have minimum initial contribution requirements. After that, you can make automatic money deposits, contribute lump sums, or both.
Read: Why you should plan to leave money to your kids
Invest for your child’s future retirement
Helping your child start to save for retirement can put them at a significant advantage later in life.
If your teenager has a job like a lifeguard, fast food worker or cashier, you can open a custodial IRA in their name and invest.
A custodial account is a financial account maintained by an adult for another person, such as your child. 
You would manage your teenager’s account until they reach the age of majority, which is either 18 or 21, depending on your state. These accounts transfer ownership and you can set them up to manage their own investments.
With the custodial IRA, you can open a traditional or Roth IRA. In either account type, select the best investments and watch the returns compound over time.
Opening and contributing to a child’s custodial IRA requires them to earn taxable income. Sadly, allowances don’t count and you can’t contribute more than what they make each year.
Keep in mind that even if contributions don’t seem large, contributing regularly over long enough periods can result in a significant impact to their bottom line. These contributions add up and grow through returns earned over time.
Because your child likely falls in a low tax bracket on their earnings, it usually makes sense to open a custodial Roth IRA to lock in low tax rates now and have their contributions grow tax-free for many decades to come.
Invest for your child’s future expenses
You can also save for your child’s future expenses without a specific plan for how those funds should be used. Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts are two beneficial types of custodial accounts that let teenagers invest.
UTMA and UGMA accounts come controlled by the custodian until the minor reaches the age of majority in their state of residence. 
Unearned investment income in these accounts has the tax advantage of only facing taxes at the child’s rate. For example, a child under age 19 wouldn’t pay taxes on the first $1,100 and only 10% for the next $1,100. After that, money falls under the guardian’s marginal tax rate. 
With these accounts, you don’t have to limit your contributions to the amount of money your child makes. No contribution limits exist, though anything over $15,000 each year (or $30,000 for a married couple) requires minding the federal gift tax rules.
Best investment in your child’s future
Having money doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skills for handling it. Therefore, it remains essential that you help your child develop good money habits and financial literacy so they know how to save and manage money.
This can mean controlling money from an early age to build comfort with money decisions, learning how to manage it with a piggy bank and eventually a bank account and debit card for kids, and eventually how to invest money on their own.
Make sure your child understands topics such as compound interest, investment diversification, and tax-advantaged savings vehicles. You can impart your personal knowledge, buy them financial literacy books, and encourage them to take financial courses in school.
However, nothing comes as useful as giving them some control over their money. They will make mistakes, but that will always represent an important part of learning. Invest in their future by giving teens and young adults the tools they need to succeed.
Riley Adams is a CPA and the author of the Young and the Invested website, which focuses on financial independence and investing.
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Selling photographs as NFTs: a pro travel photographer gives his top tips – Digital Camera World

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Marco Bottigelli explains how selling NFTs helped him find scarcity in an overly photographed world
”Photography still occupies a small niche in the NFT market space. In situations such as this, you must decide whether to remain a spectator waiting for the interest to increase, or invest your time and resources on being a pioneer of a movement. Thanks to the excess of free time resulting from the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, I decided to go for the latter. 
What are NFTs and can photographers make money from them? How I sell my photographs as NFTs
Overall, as a creator, I strongly believe a skill that should never be lacking is curiosity. Despite a decade of experience as a professional in commercial travel photography, I found pleasure in sitting back and learning something new from scratch. 
In the art market one of the main elements for defining the value of a work is scarcity, so the first paradigm I faced was how to make my photographs ”more unique”. I came up with the idea of going through a brand-new avenue; blending some of my favorite photos from recent years into surreal, evocative and intriguing composites, albeit with elements that are recognizable to an attentive audience. 
Part of a travel photographer’s job is based on finding the best viewpoint over a landscape or a city based on elements from the real world. In the same way, the freedom of art (or rather cryptoart) has unleashed my imagination in finding new viewpoints over recognizable landscapes, in much the same way I search for a better imaginary viewpoint in the wideness of the Metaverse. 
In May of last year my first series ‘Wanderlust’ was born – three works that project the observer through the subject on an iconic and dreamlike journey. Two of the three works were sold to collectors in the first two weeks of their publication. The third sold in November for 2ETH ($6,571).
Then, at the beginning of July I published my second series ‘Gondola Fairytales’, a two-piece epic tribute to the explorers, myth and legends from the history of Venice.”This article first appeared in Digital Photographer magazine
Marco Bottigelli is an acclaimed travel photographer and leader of international photography workshops spending his working life photographing some of the most beautiful locations in the World. With over ten years in the field, he finally turned a part-time job into a full-time travel photographer freelance career in 2015, focusing exclusively on producing high-end commercial travel images and accompanying customers across nearly every continent to experience the beauty and the challenging of the travel and landscape photography. He is the co-owner of clickalps.com, a Premium Travel Photo Agency based in Italy. Since 2021, he has been successfully selling his photographs as NFTs.
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How to avoid buying fake COVID tests online – ftc.gov

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How to avoid buying fake COVID tests online  ftc.gov
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