Charles Schwab

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What's the Best Way to Give Your Grad a Financial Head Start?

Dear Readers,<p>It happens every year. As grads get ready to enjoy their upcoming independence, I start getting questions from concerned parents who are well aware of the myriad financial responsibilities their new graduates are going to face. They want to help—just enough to get the kids started, but …

Personal Finance

How to Decipher an Options Trade

In case you weren’t aware, I write a daily publication called “Today’s Options Market Update” that is designed to identify some big movers or unusual activity in both the equity and options markets. When it comes to stocks, it’s fairly easy to identify big point or percentage gainers and losers, …

Investing

Eye on the Indicators: What Does the Yield Curve Tell Us?

The shape of the yield curve has been the subject of some worried-sounding commentary in the financial news recently. The gist of much of it is: Is the current shape of the curve a ringing alarm about the direction of the economy?<p>As far as indicators go, the yield curve is an important one. On its …

Economics

Long Train Running: Leading Indicators Show Little Risk of Recession

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made.” - <i>Vince Lombardi</i><p>In the 1960s, the U.S. Department of Commerce began researching and releasing <i>business cycle indicators</i>, which use composite data points—including manufacturing, construction and stock market indicators—to time economic cycle turning points. More …

Stock Markets

How Do the Stock Market and the Economy Interact?

At Charles Schwab, we encourage everyone to take ownership of their financial life by asking questions and demanding transparency.<p>Our <b>Insights & Ideas</b> bring you information that fosters that ownership, because we believe that the best outcomes in life come from being fully engaged.

Stock Markets

Emerging Market Bonds: Stay Underweight or Jump In?

Our major theme over the past year is that investors should prepare for the “end of the era of easy money.” We anticipated that with the Federal Reserve and other central banks tightening monetary policy, the days when investors were willing to take large risks in exchange for small rewards would …

Stock Markets

Does How You Manage Your Life Affect How You Manage Your Money?

Dear Readers,<p>Most of us have a very good sense of our physical health. But when it comes to our financial health, the picture often gets a bit unclear. This is unfortunate, especially since it's becoming increasingly accepted that financial health and physical health are directly related. And the …

Personal Finance

Oil Price Rally: Time to Go All-In on Energy Stocks?

Rising oil prices are definitely back. After cratering at less than $30 a barrel just two years ago, the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude has since more than doubled to around $71 a barrel.<p>While that may be a concern for anyone planning a summer road trip—nationwide, the average …

Oil

Choiceology: Episode 7

Imagine you’ve just been through a major life event: The birth of a child. A major award. The loss of a job. A divorce. Now picture yourself 10 years in the future and try to imagine how that event affected your overall well-being. Research shows that—more often than not—your predictions will miss …

Charles Schwab

How To Avoid A Shark Attack

Summer trips to the beach are approaching so it may be time to think about sharks. Sharks can be found all across the globe from sub-polar to tropical regions and from shallow waters to deep open oceans. A good way to tell if you are in shark habitat is to look down; if your feet are wet then the …

Investing

Life After Graduation: How to Manage a Signing Bonus

If there’s anything better than landing a job right after graduation, it’s finding out that it pays a signing bonus. These days, employers are increasingly turning to signing bonuses to attract top-performing college graduates. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 56.8% …

Personal Finance

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Charles Schwab

Preferred Securities: Fixed vs. Variable Rate Coupons

Preferred securities are a type of investment that offers higher yields in exchange for increased risk. Interest rate risk—or the risk that the price of an investment will fall as interest rates rise—is elevated for preferred securities because they have long maturities, or in many cases no …

Investing

Affective Forecasting: Can You Really Know Your Future Self?

Forecasting the future is hard. Really hard.<p>What’s bizarre is that people have a hard time forecasting the future about themselves. By that I mean we aren’t very good at predicting our future states of mind. While we might get the broad outlines right, we still tend to get tripped up when imagining …

Charles Schwab

Starting Out: Stefan & Jennifer

At Charles Schwab, we encourage everyone to take ownership of their financial life by asking questions and demanding transparency.<p>Our <b>Insights & Ideas</b> bring you information that fosters that ownership, because we believe that the best outcomes in life come from being fully engaged.

Charles Schwab

Starting Out: Ruth & Phil

At Charles Schwab, we encourage everyone to take ownership of their financial life by asking questions and demanding transparency.<p>Our <b>Insights & Ideas</b> bring you information that fosters that ownership, because we believe that the best outcomes in life come from being fully engaged.

Charles Schwab

Starting Out: Kala

At Charles Schwab, we encourage everyone to take ownership of their financial life by asking questions and demanding transparency.<p>Our <b>Insights & Ideas</b> bring you information that fosters that ownership, because we believe that the best outcomes in life come from being fully engaged.

Charles Schwab

Starting Out: Chris

At Charles Schwab, we encourage everyone to take ownership of their financial life by asking questions and demanding transparency.<p>Our <b>Insights & Ideas</b> bring you information that fosters that ownership, because we believe that the best outcomes in life come from being fully engaged.

Charles Schwab

Will the Fed Continue to Hike Rates?

At Charles Schwab, we encourage everyone to take ownership of their financial life by asking questions and demanding transparency.<p>Our <b>Insights & Ideas</b> bring you information that fosters that ownership, because we believe that the best outcomes in life come from being fully engaged.

Charles Schwab

Mother's Day Tips for Teaching Your Kids about Money

Dear Readers,<p>Moms these days can fill a lot of roles—from nutritionist to chauffeur to nurse to counselor. We're called on to be experts in everything from caring for physical wounds to healing broken hearts. On top of that, many of us hold down full-time jobs! Now I'm going to add one more …

Personal Finance

Trade and North Korea to the Fore as Congress Goes Quiet

<i>The policy analysis provided by the Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., does not constitute and should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any political party.</i><p>When it comes to market-moving developments in Washington, Congress is usually the key player. The new tax law, debates over health care reform, …

North Korea

Beast of Burden of a High Earnings Bar

With more than 85% of first quarter S&P 500 earnings having been reported, it’s time for a quick chart-filled update on what has been a stellar earnings season to-date. As you can see in the table below, across the spectrum—from the blended growth rate (already reported plus remaining estimates) to …

Investing

When to Choose Munis From Outside Your Home State

A major benefit of municipal bonds, or “munis,” is that the interest they pay is generally exempt from federal income taxes. They’re also generally exempt from state income taxes if the issuer is from your home state. That may seem like a compelling argument for sticking with in-state munis. …

Retirement

Is Keeping Your Car Worth the Cost?

<i>Dear Carrie,</i><p><i>My husband and I each have a car. We're retired and our son keeps saying we could save a bundle by ditching one and using a ridesharing service instead. What do you think?</i><p><i>—A Reader</i><p>Dear Reader,<p>Your son has a point. As the world of transportation continues to change dramatically, the old …

Charles Schwab

Investors’ Guide to Diverging Global Economic Policies

If the European Central Bank (ECB) hadn’t remembered to change the date on the statement issued following last week’s meeting, there would be little way of telling if a meeting had taken place based on the widely-watched document alone. Yet, the message was clear: no change to QE or the zero …

Economics

Global Trade: What It Is and Why It’s Important

1World Bank national accounts data, as of 12/2016.<br>2World Bank national accounts data, and OECD National Accounts data files, as of 12/2016.<br>3OECD National Accounts data files, as of 12/2016.<br>4World Bank national accounts data, as of 12/2016.<br>5Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce using data from the …

World Bank

How Will Rising Oil Prices Affect the Economy?

At Charles Schwab, we encourage everyone to take ownership of their financial life by asking questions and demanding transparency.<p>Our <b>Insights & Ideas</b> bring you information that fosters that ownership, because we believe that the best outcomes in life come from being fully engaged.

Oil

Should You Open a Custodial Account for Your Grandchild?

<i>Dear Carrie,</i><p><i>Each of our grandchildren has a 529 account, but in addition we'd like to provide more readily available cash. We plan to contribute on a quarterly basis and want to encourage them to contribute as well. Is a custodial account a good idea?</i><p><i>—A Reader</i><p>Dear Reader,<p>First, I'm happy to hear …

Retirement

Don’t Fear the Yield Curve Reaper

The spread between the 10-year Treasury and 2-year Treasury yields has narrowed to below 50 basis points, with countless media headlines raising alarm bells and warning about an impending inverted yield curve and possible subsequent recession.<p>The yield curve is a graphical plot of the yields of …

Stock Markets

Choiceology Episode 6

When you set out to buy something—a car, for example, or a laptop or some small gadget for your kitchen—you analyze the features and the style and the utility of the thing, and then you make a choice. But it turns out that there’s a psychological force that can influence what you’re willing to …

Charles Schwab