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Retirement Planning – Teacher Retirement in US

There are several teacher retirement schemes in US for retired teachers. Teachers Retirement System of Oklahoma tries to offer good post-retirement benefits to its members. Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) in Minnesota is the statewide public pension funds in Minnesota, United States.

Retirement is the most important stage of your life. It is the period when you can spend most of your time with your friends and family. In order to reap the good benefits of post retirement period,Guest Posting you must plan your retirement well in advance. A good retirement planning, on one hand makes you financially stable in your future days, and on the other hand, it also makes your life convenient once you retire from your teacher job in US.

The teacher retirement planning tips in US will enable you to deal with the post retirement situations effectively. Firstly, you must try to save your money without spending it on unnecessary items. Always try to maintain a record of your daily expenses. If you find that your savings surpass your budget then it is always advisable to cut down your expenses. Always try to maintain an emergency fund, as it will help you to deal with emergency circumstances. The key to a comfortable retirement is to save early even if it is a small amount, but make it a point to save on a regular basis.

In order to make your post-retirement days more stable, you need to choose the right retirement account for you. You can open a 401 k account or an IRA account. IRA account like Roth IRA accounts and traditional IRA accounts are suitable for the retired teachers. If you have an idea about the stock market then you can always invest in shares. If you are going to choose an investment plan, then it is always better to consult the professionals before you make the investment.

There are also several teacher retirement schemes in US for retired teachers. Teachers Retirement System of Oklahoma tries to offer good post-retirement benefits to its members. Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) in Minnesota is the statewide public pension funds in Minnesota, United States. This association offers pension funds benefits to public school teachers as well as to the college faculties of Minnesota. Teachers Retirement Association also extends its services to the administrators and beneficiaries.

The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS) also provides retirement benefits to the retired teachers. This system offers its services to the employees of educational institutions and public schools of Arkansas. ATRS is expert in handling pension fund. Its aim is to offer excellent service to its members and stakeholders including active and retired members.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is another popular retirement system in United States. This Retirement System makes $50 million investment. It mainly invests in private-equity funds and focus on businesses in Ohio. This pension fund is managed by Credit Suisse First Boston

Other popular Teacher Retirement systems in US include California State Retirement System, Teacher’s Retirement System of the city of New York and Massachusetts Teacher’s Retirement Board. The retirement system in US provides teachers with retirement benefits and offers death benefit services.

Choose the right Teacher Retirement plan in US to make your post-retirement days financially safe and enjoy your future days to its fullest.

All about Mutual Funds – How does Mutual Fund work

Mutual Funds collect or pool money from investors. This money put together is then invested. Through this article, let’s learn more about mutual funds for beginners…

Investors are looking for avenues that help them grow their money and achieve their financial goals. Investing in stock markets is one such avenue that can help investors grow their money over the long term. But investing in the stock market may not be easy for the first-time investor. Mutual Fund investments on the other hand simplify the process of investing in a pool of diversified stocks,Guest Posting thus taking the hassle out of stock selection for beginners by allowing them to invest in mutual funds.

The meaning of mutual funds is that it is a financial instrument that essentially collects money from investors and puts them in a basket of diversified securities. Let’s understand more about mutual funds and its types.

Types of Mutual Funds

There are three types of mutual funds classified based on their underlying assets. These include:

Equity Mutual Funds: Equity Mutual Fund is a type of mutual fund that invests in stocks that have the potential to grow and generate wealth over the long term. These funds can, in turn, be classified based on market capitalization, i.e. Large cap, Midcap and Small-cap. It can also be classified based on a theme or a sector such as healthcare or IT. Investors can choose equity funds based on their investment horizon and their financial goal.

Debt Mutual Funds: Debt Mutual Fund is a type of mutual fund that invests in fixed income securities issued by the Government or corporates. These include treasury bills, certificates of deposit, debentures, corporate bonds, etc. These can be classified based on their duration (short-term or Long Term Debt Funds called Gilt Funds).

Hybrid Mutual Funds: This is a type of mutual fund that invests in debt, equity-related instruments and gold or other commodity. The objective of this fund is to balance the risk-reward potential for its investors. The equity component enables capital appreciation thereby generating wealth for investors while the debt component acts as a portfolio diversifier and diversify the impact of volatility.
Five Features of Mutual Funds

These are the five features of mutual funds:

Mutual Funds are managed by professional fund managers.
Mutual Funds can be open-ended or close-ended.
Mutual Fund diversifies investor’s money by investing across asset classes
It offers different options according to the investor’s goals, duration, or risk profile
Mutual funds guarantee no fixed returns
Advantages of Mutual Funds

These are the five key advantages of mutual funds:

Liquidity – One of the key benefits about mutual funds is that it offers liquidity and can be redeemed completely or partially and at the prevailing NAV (net asset value).
Transparency: Investors can be at ease about mutual funds since they are regulated by the Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and allows them to track and monitor their mutual fund performance.
Diversification: Mutual funds invest in different stocks and multiple securities, thereby offering diversification and reducing the downside risk of investing in just one stock. A typical equity fund could hold about 35-60 stocks.
Suitable for any wallet size: The good thing about Mutual Fund Investment is that it can be started using a monthly SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) as low as Rs. 500.
Professional Fund Management: Mutual funds are managed by qualified fund managers allowing you convenience and ease of investing.
Thus. mutual funds with the plethora of options and benefits make it a preferred choice for investors. It can help investors achieve their long-term and short -term objectives. Before investing, it is however important to know more about the mutual fund through its scheme information document (SID).

Disclaimer: The views expressed here in this Article / Video are for general information and reading purpose only and do not constitute any guidelines and recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Quantum AMC / Quantum Mutual Fund is not guaranteeing / offering / communicating any indicative yield on investments made in the scheme(s). The views are not meant to serve as a professional guide / investment advice / intended to be an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial product or instrument or mutual fund units for the reader. The Article / Video has been prepared on the basis of publicly available information, internally developed data and other sources believed to be reliable. Whilst no action has been solicited based upon the information provided herein, due care has been taken to ensure that the facts are accurate and views given are fair and reasonable as on date. Readers of the Article / Video should rely on information/data arising out of their own investigations and advised to seek independent professional advice and arrive at an informed decision before making any investments. None of the Quantum Advisors, Quantum AMC, Quantum Trustee or Quantum Mutual Fund, their Affiliates or Representative shall be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, punitive or exemplary losses or damages including lost profits arising in any way on account of any action taken basis the data / information / views provided in the Article / video.

Financial Intelligence is the Need of the Hour!

While taking a stroll in his neighborhood park one quiet evening, Rohit and I happened to bump into a very old college friend Virat…

While taking a stroll in his neighborhood park one quiet evening,Guest Posting Rohit and I happened to bump into a very old college friend Virat. Rohit, a financial planner working for a reputed mutual fund house, and Virat, a manager at a factory of a reputed FMCG company, used to debate on various regional, national and global issues that got the pair well-known during college debate competitions. After reminiscing the good old days of ‘who delivered the best speech’, the two old buddies sat down to enjoy the sun-set when Rohit caught the attention of a mutual fund ad placed strategically outside of the park railings. “Mutual funds are a good way to invest your money in!” says Rohit. “No! Never!” said an alarmed Virat. “I would never dream of putting my money into such an investment channel. Do you know that it’s all a gamble? A sham? My wife once tried investing in such a scheme but lost all what she invested in after constantly reminding her of the consequences.” Virat continued to disagreed and insisted that they were unreliable which surprised Rohit and I a lot. He left in a hurry shortly after.

How can this dear friend think like this? Clearly he seemed to be quite against the idea of investing in mutual funds. Why so? Is there any reason for this kind of dislike towards mutual funds? Rohit and I wondered, and came up with 5 possible reasons for Virat’s reaction.

Inadequate awareness: There are various reasons contributing to his dislike towards mutual funds and why a vast majority of people believe them to be unsafe and unsecure. A huge mistake that anyone would make is to not ask or question the reason behind investing in mutual funds closely followed by believing strongly in what others think about mutual funds. According to popular perception, and added to it by the standard disclaimer : people are led to believe that mutual funds are risky.
The fact is that all investment products carry their own inherent risks, some more than others. Equities are a higher risk instruments than fixed income instruments like Bonds, but both carry risks. Since mutual funds are vehicles with these underlying assets, they too carry that risk. What this means is that while mutual funds are risky, all financial products carry their own level of risk, hence mutual funds are not riskier than others, it is the underlying asset class that carries most of the risk. If people take away that mental block that mutual funds are risky avenues of investing your hard earned money, then they will continue to be hesitant about ever venturing into such instruments. Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), the trade association of mutual funds in India, launched a media and communication campaign – “Mutual Funds Sahi Hai”, as a part of the investor awareness outreach program. The campaign aims to position mutual funds as a preferred investment option for potential investors.

Too much of a headache!: Take for instance the scenario where Virat disagrees with Rohit regarding investing in mutual funds. To educate Virat about investing in mutual funds will be a big daunting task for him. He would find it too complicated and difficult to understand how to go about it and would rather give it a miss. For Virat, investing in other avenues like bank fixed deposits or insurance policies seem to be much simpler and easy to understand. In fact, opening a mutual fund account has become just as simple as any other financial institution by submitting information through an online KYC (Know Your Customer) facility. As a fund house, we pride ourselves on a completely paperless investing process and e-KYC.
No assurance on returns: Many a times, investors want guaranteed returns when investing in mutual funds. But that is not the case. There is no guarantee in this world but when investors start to invest, they want assured returns without giving importance to achieving their goals.
No faith in the markets: Investors tend to have very little or no faith in the stock market. As an investor, one needs to understand that mutual funds are not only about stocks but also debt funds like bonds, treasury bills etc. which can be safer avenues than equities.
Once bitten, twice shy: Investors who have invested heavily in mutual funds tend to back out due to losses attained by market fluctuations, or other investors known to them have faced similar situations. Reasons could be that they might have picked in a mutual fund that didn’t perform well or may have chosen a fund that didn’t match their risk appetite. This all boils down to the first point i.e. lack of awareness. It is always advisable to consult a financial expert when it comes to making any financial decisions.
To conclude, Virat needs to understand mutual funds a little bit more before arriving at the fact that they are bad avenues. If he invests in a few funds, he would gain some confidence, and then eventually he would be able to choose those funds that match his risk appetite as per the goals he sets along with periodic reviews as and when required. Rohit and I are planning to call him soon and convert him! Let us know when we can call you and make you a mutual fund evangelist by writing to us on [email protected]!

Disclaimer, Statutory Details & Risk Factors:

The views expressed here in this article are for general information and reading purpose only and do not constitute any guidelines and recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Quantum AMC / Quantum Mutual Fund is not guaranteeing / offering / communicating any indicative yield on investments made in the scheme(s). The views are not meant to serve as a professional guide / investment advice / intended to be an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial product or instrument or mutual fund units for the reader. The article has been prepared on the basis of publicly available information, internally developed data and other sources believed to be reliable. Whilst no action has been solicited based upon the information provided herein, due care has been taken to ensure that the facts are accurate and views given are fair and reasonable as on date. Readers of this article should rely on information/data arising out of their own investigations and advised to seek independent professional advice and arrive at an informed decision before making any investments.

Best No Load Mutual Funds: The Right Way to Look at Fees and Expenses

While searching for the best no load mutual funds, some mutual fund investors often tend to focus exclusively on mutual fund fees and expense ratios. Is this always a smart way to select mutual funds?

Metrics such as price/earnings ratio and dividend yield on the S&P 500 index,Guest Posting a commonly used proxy for the U.S. stock market, are hardly at bargain levels. This has lead several market pundits to predict single digit annual returns for domestic mutual funds over the next decade.While pursuing the search for the best mutual fund, some mutual fund investors tend to focus exclusively on fees and expense ratios. The rationale is that by choosing mutual funds with low fees, investors will have more of their capital invested. Also, no load mutual funds with low expense ratios will pass on more of the returns they earn to their shareholders.Is shopping for the lowest fees and expense ratios a smart way to select mutual funds? Not always. The answer depends on the type of mutual fund you are evaluating, the time you can devote to evaluating and managing your mutual funds investments, and the type of cost incurred. Investing in the Best No Load Index Mutual Funds.If you believe markets are generally efficient and prefer to invest in an index mutual fund to achieve an index-like return, shopping for the best index mutual fund based on low fees and a low expense ratio makes good sense. The portfolio manager of an index mutual fund endeavors to invest the fund’s assets to track the index as closely and cost-effectively as possible. Larger index funds have an advantage in that they can spread their operating costs over a larger asset base.

Some of the interesting index mutual fund options currently available include no load index mutual funds like E*Trade S&P 500 Index Fund (Nasdaq: ETSPX), Fidelity Spartan 500 Index Fund (Nasdaq: FSMKX), and Vanguard 500 Index Fund (Nasdaq: VFINX) with expense ratios of 0.09%, 0.10%, and 0.18%, respectively.Investing in Actively Managed Mutual Funds and Strategies.Mutual fund fees and expenses are just one of several important factors to consider if you believe portfolio managers can add value and out-perform the index through active management. The portfolio manager’s ability and investing style are just as important. Therefore, seeking out the best mutual fund based on just low fees and a low expense ratio may not always be the right approach. It may just be a case of being ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’.Legendary investor Peter Lynch, who managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund (Nasdaq: FMAGX) from 1977 to 1990, achieved returns well in excess of the market averages even after accounting for the fund’s fees and expenses.So too has Bill Miller who currently manages the Legg Mason Value Trust (Nasdaq: LMVTX). Even after accounting for its relatively high 1.7% expense ratio, this no load mutual fund has achieved compound annual returns of 18.6% for the 10 year period ending in 2004, well in excess of 12.0% for the Vanguard 500 Index mutual fund.AlphaProfit, an investment research firm that specializes in active sector investing, uses the no load Fidelity Select Funds to implement its investing strategy through its Core™ and Focus™ model portfolios. Although not the lowest, the expense ratio of the no load Fidelity Select Funds compares favorably with that of other sector fund offerings. AlphaProfit prefers Fidelity Selects for their comprehensive coverage of sectors and industry groups. The AlphaProfit model portfolios have significantly outperformed the market averages over time.Ensure Your Mutual Fund Puts Your Interest First.Whether you prefer to index or take an active approach to managing your investments, ensuring that your mutual fund is putting your interests first is good investing practice.Mutual funds charge different types of fees. By looking at some key factors pertaining to fees, you can get a sense of whether the mutual fund puts your interests first or merely seeks to line the mutual fund company’s pockets.Serving the Interests of Long-Term Shareholders.

Some mutual funds impose short-term trading fees to discourage frequent trading of mutual fund shares. Frequent trading disrupts efficient management of the mutual fund and increases operating expenses. A short-term trading fee can therefore actually be beneficial to long-term shareholders if the fee is rightly treated by the mutual fund company.Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index Fund (Nasdaq: FSTMX), for example, follows the practice of returning short-term trading fees collected on shares held less than 90 days to the mutual fund itself rather than passing on the benefit to the mutual fund company. By having this short-term trading fee structure, this no load mutual fund seeks to contain its operating expenses. Such fees are therefore aligned with the interests of long-term shareholders of this mutual fund.Passing on Savings from Scale Economies.

The operating expenses incurred by a mutual fund are a combination of fixed and variable costs. As the asset of a mutual fund increases, the fixed cost gets spread over a larger asset base. Therefore, the expenses incurred to operate the mutual fund as a percentage of the fund’s assets should trend lower.A mutual fund that places the interest of shareholders first must pass on the savings from scale economies to the shareholders. The trend in a mutual fund’s expense ratio therefore serves as a metric of how seriously a fund takes its fiduciary responsibility.Key Points.

If you are searching for the best no load index mutual fund, shopping for one with low fees and expenses makes perfect sense.
If active management of investments appeals to you, fees and expenses are just one of several important factors to consider. The ability and investing style of the portfolio manager are at least just as important as fees.
The types of fees a mutual fund charges and how the fund uses the fees provides clues as to how seriously a mutual fund takes its fiduciary responsibility. Mutual funds that impose fees to contain operating expenses and return fees to the mutual fund help protect the interests of long-term shareholders.
Mutual funds that put the shareholders’ interests first typically pass on savings from scale economies to the shareholders.
Notes: This report is for information purposes only. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer to buy or sell securities or to give individual investment advice. This report does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation, and particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. The information contained in this report is obtained from various sources believed to be accurate and is provided without warranties of any kind. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC does not represent that this information, including any third party information, is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC is not responsible for any errors or omissions herein. Opinions expressed herein reflect the opinion of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC and are subject to change without notice. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC disclaims any liability for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information in this report. The third-party trademarks or service marks appearing within this report are the property of their respective owners. All other trademarks appearing herein are the property of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC. Owners and employees of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC for their own accounts invest in the Fidelity Mutual Funds included in the AlphaProfit Core and Focus model portfolios. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC neither is associated with nor receives any compensation from Fidelity Investments or other mutual fund companies mentioned in this report. Past performance is neither an indication of nor a guarantee for future results. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner without written permission of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC. Copyright © 2005 AlphaProfit Investments, LLC. All rights reserved.