How Psychology Affects Your Search for a Financial Adviser

Selecting the right financial adviser is an important but difficult decision. Key considerations include whether your prospective adviser has the right technical skills, charges fair fees and puts your interests first. Focus on these factors and you’ll find thousands of qualified advisers. But which factors should you prioritize when finding the best one for you?

Turns out, you should be looking to psychology. A 2019 Vanguard study found that a client’s emotional relationship with their adviser – not their fees or technical skills – accounted for over half of the perceived value of the engagement. These feelings have real consequences for your bottom line.

Another series of Vanguard studies found clients who work with advisers have better investment returns than those who don’t. To explain this effect, the studies examined the individual impact of numerous factors, including a range of technical skills, like optimizing asset location and implementing the most cost-effective strategies. Turns out behavioral coaching, a psychological factor, accounted for half the total effect – double that of the most impactful technical skill.

While you’re interviewing a prospective adviser, here are some other considerations and questions to ask:

What are your values?

Financial planning is the process of helping clients achieve their goals – whether those goals are to be financially independent, support a charity or anything in between. Advisers are trained to respect and help fulfill all their clients’ goals. But if your goals and values are contrary to an advisers’, it can be difficult for them to take your perspective and make the best recommendations. For example, an adviser who tends to prioritize attaining financial independence may consistently push back on your goal to donate 10% of your income to charity.

An adviser who shares your deeply held values will have an easier time empathizing with your financial situation and is more likely to make recommendations that you’ll implement.

Will we get along?

Would if we could be friends with everyone, but some personalities just don’t mesh. Don’t think you need to overthink this (although you’re welcome to). Consider what kinds of people you tend to get along with. Remember that you may be spending many years working with your adviser, so it helps to like them and feel like you get along.

At a minimum, feel free to avoid working with someone who gives you a bad first impression. While our first impressions are not always accurate, they can tell us a lot – and quickly! For example, one study found it takes just a fraction of a second to decide whether you should trust someone.

How will you communicate your recommendations and coach me?

It is critical that you fully understand the recommendations your adviser is making. Otherwise, you won’t implement them! Consider your learning style. How do you understand things most easily: in writing? With charts and graphs? Whatever your answer, find an adviser whose communication style matches your learning style.

Often, recommendations take some time to implement and have many steps. Some folks struggle to follow through – especially if they have anxiety around money. The best advisers coach their clients throughout the process.

Not all great coaches are the same. Phil Jackson, winner of 11 NBA championships, was known as a “Zen Master.” Bill Belichick, the NFL coach with the most Super Bowl wins, is much more detail-oriented and logistical. Consider what motivates you to stick with a plan and try to find an adviser who fits your coaching needs.   

Keep in mind that some folks are better communicators than others. How well an adviser communicates has a real impact on their clients. For example, a study investigating clients’ trust in their financial advisers found the adviser’s communication skills were twice as important as their technical competency.

Do you have good experiences working with people from my background?

Individual differences are not the only thing to consider when selecting a financial adviser. Your adviser’s cultural background and cultural competency can affect whether you have a successful relationship.

When people share similar experiences and backgrounds, they often have an easier time communicating and empathizing with one another. Moreover, financial advising has not always been offered or provided equitably to women, people of color and members of many other minority backgrounds. Research released by The American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality underscores this point: Three in five Black women expressed difficulty in finding financial professionals or advisers they trust, per the study.  It’s why efforts like the CFP® Board’s diversity and inclusion initiatives are critical to increase the representation of people from all backgrounds in financial planning and meet the needs of our diverse society.

That said, the client and adviser don’t need to share a cultural connection to have a successful relationship. Many financial advisers have excellent cross-cultural communication and cultural competence. Some of the best thinking comes when people with different perspectives can work together to come up with innovative solutions.

Ultimately, you should establish a relationship you value with an adviser you trust. Exactly how you make that decision is up to you. To start that process, consider resources like https://www.letsmakeaplan.org/ and https://www.xyplanningnetwork.com/ that can connect you with  advisers held to fiduciary standard.

Assistant Professor of Financial Planning, The American College of Financial Services

Matt J. Goren is an Assistant Professor of Financial Planning at The American College of Financial Services who focuses on the interplay of personal finance and psychology. In addition to teaching and developing content, he provides strategic consulting on financial literacy initiatives and hosts a personal finance radio show, Nothing Funny About Money, which was named 2018’s most outstanding consumer financial information resource by the AFCPE.

Source: kiplinger.com

Historic Old Hollywood Charm: See Inside Vanessa Hudgens’ Luxurious Los Feliz Estate

After searching for five years, Vanessa Hudgens found the perfect Georgian colonial estate in Los Feliz, Calif. to call home. Find out how the High School Musical star transported an old Hollywood home into her “French” and “vibey” dream house.

Nicknamed “The Little DeMille,” iconic Hollywood filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille built the stunning Los Feliz house for his mistress in 1922.

And now, the Princess Switch star, 32, is opening up the doors of the updated home to Architectural Digest for an exclusive tour.

From her DIY remodel in the kitchen, to her “obsession” with candlesticks and vintage books, to the “sexy” and “cave-like” bathroom, here’s the full scoop on Vanessa Hudgens’ luxe Los Angeles home.

An historic Hollywood home transformed into the perfect “escape” 

According to Daily Mail, Hudgens purchased the luxurious Los Feliz home from Academy Award-winning actor Gary Oldman. After a 5-year house hunt, Hudgens bought the home in December 2018 for just under $5 million. 

The 3,168 square foot Georgian colonial home retains many of its original features. 

Sitting on a half-acre, the stunning estate includes three bedrooms and four bathrooms with a separate one-bed, one-bath guesthouse that sits over a detached two-car garage.

Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, the historic Los Feliz home provides the perfect escape for the Tick, Tick…Boom! actress. 

“There were so many things about it that struck me,” Hudgens tells AD of her plush property.

She adds: “Walking through the gate and seeing this house covered in ivy, surrounded by olive trees, it was like I had been transported to France or Italy. It felt like such an escape.”

ivy-covered entrance to vanessa hudgens' house
Photo credit: Jenna Peffley for Architectural Digest

Sisters unite! Ashley Tisdale helped Hudgens with the DIY decor

BFF to the rescue!

While Hudgens always “wanted an old home,” there’s no escaping the upkeep and renovations with an older building.

After purchasing the house three years ago, Hudgens enlisted the help of her High School Musical costar and good pal Ashley Tisdale. 

“I got new marble, painted the cabinets, got new knobs and drawer pulls—I really wanted brass. My girlfriend Ashley Tisdale does interior design, and I got her advice on where to shop,” Hudgens says.

vanessa hudgens' lively kitchen
Photo credit: Jenna Peffley for Architectural Digest

Hudgens also hired Jake Arnold to help bring her overall vision together, including a vast collection of vintage books, colorful art pieces, the perfect lighting for all her house plants, and a wide selection of candlesticks. 

“I wanted it to be casual, relaxed and cozy,” she says of the interior design, adding, “I’m a big fan of candlesticks, so you will notice them everywhere.”

The luxe Los Feliz pad also has this “big selling point”

Amid the big plants, abstract art and witchy books, Hudgens couldn’t help but gush about the home’s fabulous floors.

“Oh and the floors!” she boasts.

The herringbone wood parquets “were a big selling point for me when I saw this house,” she shares. 

Made from 18th-century French oak taken from an old chapel in Europe, the floors were originally added by Oldman. 

exterior of vanessa hudgens' house and the outdoor pool
Photo credit: Jenna Peffley for Architectural Digest

Hudgens took on a pandemic project to improve her new home

Admitting that her kitchen looked “very different” when she moved in, the Powerless star remodeled it during the pandemic.

“I took it upon myself to have a project, and put it all together,” Hudgens says of the DIY project.

“I painted the cabinets, removed some cabinets, and put big oak beams for open shelving,” shares the actress.

kitchen cabinets revamped by actress vanessa hudgens herself
Photo credit: Jenna Peffley for Architectural Digest

Including eccentric wallpaper featuring mushrooms and dragons, Hudgens decorated the breakfast nook with designs from the House of Hackney.

“I figured, Why not? I did what I like to call a facelift to it,” Hudgens says of her kitchen renovations. 

The funky wallpaper rests above a custom booth, inspired from “the dopest place ever.”

“I had the booth made for this space,” says Hudgens. “I was really inspired by the restaurant Maison Premiere, this absinthe and oyster bar in New York. It’s the dopest place ever.”

The actress also added extra tile, made of Carrara marble, from the primary bath for the backsplash.

A look at the romantic, the sexy and the cave-like features throughout the plush property 

Hudgens invites fans into her “romantic” dining room, which features an Italian chandelier from 1stdibs. 

Admitting she doesn’t cook often, Hudgens says, “I’m normally a ‘Let’s get everyone over, have a drink or two, put on a playlist, and then we all figure out what we want to eat and I just order it’ type of host.”

Heading upstairs, the Grease: Live star shows off her bedroom that features feminine art and pops of orange.

“For some reason I just really fell in love with the idea of orange for my bedroom,” she shares.

Hudgens is all about body-positivity, and shows fans a nude painting in her bedroom. “I wanted the house to be super feminine, to celebrate women’s bodies, to be a kind of femme palace,” Hudgens says.

When in California, enjoy the sunshine! The beautiful backyard features a pool, pizza oven, fire pit and plenty of outdoor space for entertaining.

“I wanted a yard that felt like a park where I could run around with my friends, have space to play, and just feel safe,” Hudgens shares.

Saving the best for last, Hudgens shows off her Goth black bathroom which is one of her “favorite places in the house.”

actress vanessa hudgens inside her bathroom in her los feliz house
Photo credit: Jenna Peffley for Architectural Digest

Featuring marble countertops, black walls and an egg-shaped tub, Hudgens went for a cave-like aesthetic in the primary bathroom. 

“The bathroom is a sexy cave,” shares the actress.

See the luxurious LA home for yourself! From the ivy exterior, to the poolside murals, to the various Teen Choice Awards and the ghost-like painting of herself, check out the YouTube video for a full tour with the High School Musical star.

More celebrity homes

Zendaya Owns a $4 Million Home Fit for a Disney PrincessThe Story of Taylor Swift’s Holiday House — Home to “the Last Great American Dynasty”
From a Prince to a King: A Look at Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith’s Real Estate Portfolio
Everything We Know About Adam Levine’s House in Los Angeles

Source: fancypantshomes.com

8 Facts You Must Know About Bear Markets

There are few things scarier than a bear market, but steep and sustained drawdowns in stocks are an absolute fact of investing life. Markets go through cycles; always have, always will. 

It’s also true that despite being inevitable and unpleasant, bear markets are not entirely all bad. An irony of bear markets is that they’re one of the exceedingly rare times when long-term retail investors can actually have an advantage over the pros.

Traders and tacticians are under constant pressure to do something, even as a receding tide lowers all boats. Contrast that with retail investors, who are luxuriously free from clients yelling at them all day. Normies can just sit back and dollar-cost average into stocks at increasingly cheaper prices.

Most importantly, a patient long-term investor who is diversified in accordance with his or her age, stage in life and risk tolerance can not only wait out a bear market, but profit from it. Remember: The market can be miserable at times, but its long-term trend is always to the up and right.

A familiarity with the basics of bear markets should help investors better cope with the next one. To that end, we’ve compiled the following eight facts you must know about bear markets.

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Why Is It Called a Bear Market?

what is a bear marketwhat is a bear market

It has nothing to do with the way bears sneak up on their prey and attack suddenly, in the same way that bear markets feast on investors. Neither is it because bears are notorious for ransacking campsites and stealing provisions, in the same way bear markets can destroy your financial well-being.

Though both would be fitting.

Believe it or not, the term “bear market” originates with pioneer bearskin traders. The country’s early traders would sell skins they’d not yet received – or paid for. Because the traders hoped to buy the fur from trappers at a lower price than what they’d sold it for, “bears” became synonymous with a declining market.

There is, however, an alternative explanation, according to Wall Street lore: A bear attacks by swiping its claws downward, similar to the downward trend of a declining market.

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What Is a Bear Market, Anyway?

A 3D rendering of S&P 500 stocks heading lowerA 3D rendering of S&P 500 stocks heading lower

First, let’s look at what a bear market is not.

It’s not when stock prices end lower in the majority of trading days within a 90-day period. Neither is it a condition proclaimed by the National Bureau of Economic Research. And it is certainly not when at least two major business publications proclaim a bear market on their magazine covers.

Rather, a bear market is when a broad market index, such as the S&P 500, falls 20% or more from its peak.

There still is some debate among market watchers about whether the downturn that lasted from July 16 to Oct. 11, 1990, was officially a bear. The S&P fell 19.9% during that period. And the 2018 correction that lopped 19.8% off the S&P 500 was within rounding distance of a bear market. Since 1929, S&P 500’s average bear-market decline stands at 33.5%, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The median drawdown comes to 33.2%.

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How Often Do Bear Markets Occur?

bear hiding in tall grassbear hiding in tall grass

Since 1932, bear markets have occurred, on average, every 56 months (about four years and eight months), according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The Nasdaq Composite index entered a bear market on March 7, when it closed 20% below its Nov. 19, 2021, high. The S&P 500, for its part, set a high of 4,976.56 on Jan. 3. Thus, any close at 3,837.25 or lower puts the benchmark index into an official bear market.

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What Is Least Likely to Cause a Bear Market?

Tank against Ukraine flagTank against Ukraine flag

A number of events can lead to a bear market: higher interest rates, rising inflation, a sputtering economy, military conflict or geopolitical crisis are among the usual suspects. But which is the rarest?

Fortunately, military or geopolitical shocks to the market have been mostly fleeting. Two of the longest downturns followed the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 (308 days) and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 (189 days).

But the average time to the market bottom after such events, which also include the terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001 and the North Korean missile crisis of 2017, is 21 days, with a full recovery in 45 days, on average.

5 of 8

Bear Markets Don’t Automatically Equal Recessions

what is a bear marketwhat is a bear market

There are actually two types of bear markets: recessionary and non-recessionary. 

Bear markets often precede or coincide with economic downturns, which is part of what makes them so scary. Happily, there are almost as many instances of past bear markets in which stocks tanked but the economy did not. 

Since 1928, 14 bear markets heralded or happened during recessions, notes Ben Carlson, director of institutional asset management at Ritholtz Wealth Management. However, another 11 bear markets since 1928 had nothing to do with recession. 

Surprise, surprise: Bear markets that occur outside of recessions tend to be shallower and shorter. 

6 of 8

What Was the Worst Bear Market of All Time?

what is a bear market in stockswhat is a bear market in stocks

Contrary to popular belief, the worst bear market on record was not the 2007-09 crash when the financial crisis ushered in the Great Recession.

Neither was it the tech wreck of 2000 when dot-com stocks collapsed.

The drawn-out decline from the start of 1973 through the fall of 1974 – during which the Arab oil embargo sent oil prices soaring, the so-called Nifty-Fifty stocks sank, and Richard Nixon resigned the presidency – doesn’t take the cake either.

Rather, the bear market that began just ahead of Black Monday that precipitated the Crash of 1929 was the worst one to date.

The bear market from September 1929 to June 1932 resulted in an 86.2% loss for the S&P. Those other historical examples aren’t even close, with losses of 56.8% in 2007-09, 49.1% in 2000-02 and 48.2% in 1973-74.

Indeed, it took the market more than two decades to recover from the 1929-32 slump. Stocks didn’t regain their prior peak until 1954. 

7 of 8

How Long Do Bear Markets Last?

Calendar and hourglass on office desk table. With copy space. Shot with ISO64.Calendar and hourglass on office desk table. With copy space. Shot with ISO64.

Ask a random sample of investors and some folks might guess that it’s a year or less. Others will figure it’s a minimum of two years. Regardless of duration, a bear market usually feels like it lasts forever.

And yet the average length of a bear market since 1929 is just 9.6 months, according to Ned Davis Research. True, those months will be agonizing, but consider the bright side: bears don’t live as long as bulls. Indeed, since 1929, the average lifespan of a bull market is 2.7 years.

8 of 8

Good and Bad Investments for Getting Through a Bear Market

Wall Street sign bear market Wall Street sign bear market

What’s the best investment for a bear market? Is it U.S. Treasury bonds? Or perhaps gold or gold funds? How about classically defensive plays including utilities, consumer staples companies and healthcare companies? Or perhaps the highest-growth stocks with the broadest following?

When stocks are in free fall and worries about the economy abound, there’s nothing more soothing than the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. And a “flight to quality” often leads to gains in U.S. Treasury bonds. In 2008, the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index – a broad-based, high-quality fixed-income benchmark – gained 5%, making it the only U.S. financial asset in the black that year.

Defensive stocks will lose ground in a bear market, but tend to lose less than average, supported by steady demand for their products and, often, generous dividends. Gold, which Kiplinger recommends as a portfolio diversifier only in small amounts, often zigs upward when stocks zag downward.

As for the worst place to hide out in a bear market, it’s the highest-growth stocks with the broadest following. Indeed, these stocks can be among the worst performers in a bear market if their popularity led them to have outsized gains before everything collapsed. The higher they fly, the harder they fall.

Source: kiplinger.com

What Is the MACD Indicator (Moving Average Convergence Divergence)?

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Traders use a wide range of technical indicators to generate trading signals when making their moves in financial markets. These indicators help traders analyze price action to determine price trends, the momentum of those trends, the best time to buy, and the best time to sell financial assets. 

The moving average convergence divergence indicator (MACD indicator) is one of the most popular tools in a trader’s toolbox. 

The tool is a momentum indicator built under the idea that momentum changes happen ahead of price changes. The idea is that traders can track and analyze the momentum of price movements to determine where the value of the asset is likely headed in the future. 


What Is the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) Indicator?

The MACD is a momentum oscillator that shows the relationship between two moving averages of a financial asset’s price. Those moving averages include the 26-day exponential moving average (EMA) and the 12-day EMA. Traders also use a signal line with this indicator which is plotted using a 9-day EMA of the MACD. Gerald Appel, founder of the Systems and Forecasts newsletter, developed the indicator in the late 1970s. 


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It’s important that you understand moving averages before going further, because they are the building blocks that form the MACD and the signals it generates. 

Moving averages reveal average prices over time. At the close of every trading session, the new closing price is added into the calculation and the oldest is removed, helping smooth the volatility of price movement in the trading chart.

The MACD uses exponential moving averages (EMAs). EMAs are time-weighted averages, meaning the newest data is given more importance than older data. This makes them more sensitive to the most recent price movements. 


What the MACD Measures

The MACD is a momentum oscillator, meaning it measures the veracity of price movements in the market. 

The concept behind the indicator is that price changes happen as a result of investor movements. When investor demand for an asset climbs, the price of that asset follows, and when demand declines, the price falls. 

Because all investors don’t make their moves at the same time, tracking the speed of price movements, or speeding and slowing of demand, indicates when reversals are likely to occur. Traders see these coming reversals as buy and sell signals. 


How to Calculate MACD

To calculate the MACD, subtract the long-term, 26-period EMA from the short-term, 12-period EMA:

MACD = 12-Day EMA – 26-Day EMA

Most charting platforms do this calculation for you and plot the results alongside an asset’s price chart.

Example Calculation

Let’s say ABC stock has a 12-Day EMA of $25.12 and a 26-Day EMA of $24.93. The moving average convergence divergence formula using the data in the example would look like this: 

MACD = $25.12 – $24.93 = $0.19 

The value of the MACD is plotted on the graph over time. Investors watch as the value increases and decreases, creating buy and sell signals. 

Signals are also created by comparing the movement of a signal line in relation to the MACD line. The signal line is calculated by taking a nine-day EMA of the MACD. 


How to Read the MACD

There are three important lines to watch when reading MACD data:

  1. MACD Line. The MACD line is plotted on the chart based on MACD values over time. When the MACD line crosses above zero, the trend is considered bullish, and the trend is bearish when the MACD line crosses below zero. 
  2. Signal Line. The signal line — the line created by taking a nine-day EMA of the MACD — is also plotted on the chart. Traders pay close attention to the relationship between the MACD line and the signal line, specifically looking for points at which the two lines cross for trading signals. 
  3. MACD Histogram. The MACD histogram is a visualization tool that helps traders measure the difference between the MACD line and the signal line. Investors read these two lines converging or diverging as buy and sell signals. 

Ways to Interpret the MACD

The MACD generates trading signals in multiple ways. Some of the most common ways to interpret the indicator include:

MACD Crossovers

MACD crossovers happen when the MACD line crosses over the signal line on a trading chart, generating signals to buy and sell the asset being analyzed. Here’s how they work:

  • Bullish Crossover. A bullish crossover happens when the MACD line crosses over the signal line. When this happens, it acts as a signal that the stock is headed for an uptrend. 
  • Bearish Crossover. A bearish crossover happens when the MACD line crosses below the signal line. When this occurs, it’s a signal that the stock price is headed for a downtrend. 

Crossovers can also happen without a signal line:

  • Bullish Crossover. When the MACD line crosses over zero, the move is considered to be bullish, signaling upward movement ahead. 
  • Bearish Crossover. When the MACD line crosses below zero, the move is considered bearish, signaling downward movement ahead. 

See the chart below for an example. The chart shows Apple’s daily stock price and the MACD over a six-month period ending April 7, 2022.

At the bottom of the image, you’ll notice a sub-chart with a red line, a black line, and a blue histogram. This section charts the MACD. The black line is the MACD line, and the red line is the signal line. 

Around November 15, 2021, a bullish crossover took place, preceding a sharp rise in Apple’s stock price. In mid-December, a bearish crossover took place, followed by significant downward movement. 

There are two more bullish crossovers and one more bearish crossover on the chart that occured in 2022. Take a moment to see if you can spot them. 

If you spotted the bullish crossovers in late January 2022 and mid-March 2022, and the bearish crossover in mid-February 2022, you’re on the right track. 

MACD Histogram

The MACD histogram is a series of bars plotted in the center of the MACD chart. The bars seem to grow above and fall below the zero line, creating easy-to-spot bullish and bearish signals. 

  • Bullish Histogram Signals. When the MACD line crosses above zero, a bar in the histogram will start a series of bars that climb above the zero line. This event indicates that momentum is moving in the upward direction and an uptrend is on the horizon. 
  • Bearish Histogram Signals. When the oscillator’s line crosses below zero, a bar in the histogram will start a series of bars that fall below the zero line. This event indicates that momentum is moving in the downward direction and signals a downtrend. 

Let’s refer again to Apple’s stock chart for an example:

You’ll notice a series of blue lines in the MACD section at the bottom of Apple’s stock chart. 

In mid-November, a series of blue bars emerged in an upward direction from the center of the chart, suggesting that prices would rise. In mid-December, the bars reversed direction, falling below the zero line, suggesting prices would decline. Following these events, Apple’s stock price did exactly what the signals suggested would happen. 

Bullish signals were also created in late January and mid-March of 2022, and another bearish signal can be spotted in mid-February 2022. Take a moment to study the chart and note how the price of Apple’s stock reacted following these events. 

MACD Divergences

Finally, MACD divergences are used to determine which direction an asset is likely to move in. A divergence takes place when the MACD doesn’t agree with the asset’s price movement. 

For example, if the asset closes the day at a higher high but the MACD moves lower, the move is known as a divergence. Here’s what divergences tell you:

  • Bullish Divergence. When a stock closes the day lower, but the MACD moves into the positive territory, this is known as a bullish divergence. The signal suggests that bearish momentum is slowing and buyers are flooding into the asset. As a result, the price of the asset should head in the upward direction. 
  • Bearish Divergence. When a stock closes the day at a new high, but the MACD moves into negative territory, it’s considered a bearish divergence. This move suggests bullish momentum is slowing and the bears are about to take control. As a result, declines are likely ahead. 

Let’s return to Apple’s stock chart to see what this looks like:

The MACD line started moving downward in mid-December. While the histogram showed bearish momentum, the price of Apple continued to move upward for a few trading sessions. As the divergence between the price of Apple and its MACD grew, a clear reversal began to emerge, leading up to dramatic declines in the price of the stock in the sessions to follow. 

Toward the end of the chart, there’s a bullish divergence, with Apple’s 50-day moving average moving downward while the histogram moved into positive territory. Can you spot it? When you do, you’ll see the stock made a strong move for the top shortly following the divergence. 


Relative Strength Index (RSI) vs. the MACD Indicator

The relative strength index (RSI) is a momentum indicator, just like the MACD. However, the two are calculated in different ways, which can lead to different results from time to time. 

The RSI is also an oscillator, but it’s centered around price gains or losses over time, focusing on extreme highs and extreme lows to determine if an asset is overbought or oversold. This differs from the MACD because it doesn’t use moving averages to determine momentum and momentum direction. 

No single momentum oscillator is perfect. Many traders use both the RSI and the MACD when making their trades, using one to verify the results of the other. 


Limitations of the MACD Indicator

The MACD indicator is an impressive tool, but like most other technical analysis tools, it’s not perfect. Some limitations to consider when taking advantage of the MACD include:

  • Failure to Signal. Although the indicator is great at showing when some reversals are likely to occur, it doesn’t catch them all. In some cases, momentum and price movements occur at just about the same time, and the MACD doesn’t have time to alert traders to the coming reversal before it’s already happened. 
  • False Positives. In some cases, momentum will shift directions for a short period and reverse quickly, while the price stays relatively flat. As a result, traders may act on a signal, and a reversal may not actually happen. 

In short, the indicator doesn’t catch all reversals, and some of the signals it does provide won’t come to fruition. 

Most indicators have their limitations, which is why it’s important for traders to have multiple tools in their toolboxes. 


Final Word

The MACD is an important piece of many successful traders’ trading strategies. The metric helps to determine when prices will rise and fall, but it isn’t perfect. Make sure you couple it with a few other technical indicators to get a full picture when making your moves in the market. 

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GME is so 2021. Fine art is forever. And its 5-year returns are a heck of a lot better than this week’s meme stock. Invest in something real. Invest with Masterworks.

Joshua Rodriguez has worked in the finance and investing industry for more than a decade. In 2012, he decided he was ready to break free from the 9 to 5 rat race. By 2013, he became his own boss and hasn’t looked back since. Today, Joshua enjoys sharing his experience and expertise with up and comers to help enrich the financial lives of the masses rather than fuel the ongoing economic divide. When he’s not writing, helping up and comers in the freelance industry, and making his own investments and wise financial decisions, Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife, son, daughter, and eight large breed dogs. See what Joshua is up to by following his Twitter or contact him through his website, CNA Finance.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Stochastic Oscillator – Meaning, Formula & What This Indicator Measures

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Developed by George Lane in the late 1950s, the stochastic oscillator is a technical analysis tool that has become a staple for short-term traders. The tool is a momentum oscillator, which measures price changes over time to tell you the momentum of a move. High momentum trends are likely to continue, and decreasing momentum points to a reversal on the horizon . 

The stochastic oscillator generates buy and sell signals based on patterns in price movements and a historic reaction to those patterns. 

But what exactly is the stochastic oscillator, and how can you use it to become a more successful trader?


What Is the Stochastic Oscillator?

The stochastic oscillator is a technical indicator that compares the most recent closing price of a financial asset to a high-low range of prices over a period of time, generally 14 days. This comparison helps to determine if the asset is experiencing overbought or oversold conditions. 


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At its core, the tool is a momentum indicator, pointing to both the direction and vigor of price movements. The general idea is that if the asset is trending up, the current price will be closer to the highest high for the period, generating a high reading; when it’s trending down, the current price will be closer to the lowest low, generating a low reading. 

Moreover, Lane theorized that momentum changes before price changes, meaning that signals from this momentum oscillator should happen prior to major price movements. It’s used to determine the strength of current trends, find trend reversals, and help determine the best time to buy and sell assets. 


How to Calculate the Stochastic Oscillator

This indicator is popular among traders and is widely available on most trading charts. So, there’s a strong chance you’ll never have to calculate the oscillator readings on your own. Nonetheless, it’s best to know the inner workings of the tools you use.  

In most cases, the stochastic oscillator uses a 14-day time frame, but you can adjust the time frame to fit your needs.

Here’s how to calculate this indicator:

Stochastic Oscillator Formula

The formula for the stochastic oscillator is as follows:

((C – LP) ÷ (HP – LP)) x 100 = K

The following key applies when using the formula above:

  • C – Most recent closing price
  • LP – Lowest price in the data set
  • HP – Highest price in the data set
  • K – Oscillator reading

Traders who use the stochastic oscillator use two trendlines. The K-line is a plot of the readings of the oscillator, also known as the fast stochastic or the signal line. The D-line, or slow oscillator, is the three-day simple moving average (SMA) of the oscillator’s reading. 

Signals are generated based on the reading of the oscillator and crossovers between the signal line and the D-line. 

Example Calculation

Let’s say ABC stock closed at $100 today. Over the past 14 days, the stock has traded between a low of $95 and a high of $109. The formula to determine the oscillator reading for this example is:

(($100 – $95) ÷ ($109 – $95)) x 100 = 35.71


How to Read the Stochastic Oscillator

Assets are considered overbought when the oscillator reading is 80 or above and oversold when the reading is 20 or below. Overbought assets may have unjustifiably high prices and can be due for a pullback, whereas oversold assets may be priced below their true value and ripe for a rebound.

The oscillator is range-bound, meaning that its reading will always fall between zero and 100. Traders read the indicator at a glance, knowing the closer the number is to zero, the more oversold it is, and the closer it is to 100, the more overbought it is. 

Traders also read the indicator by plotting two trendlines on the financial asset’s chart: the signal line (oscillator reading) and the D-line (three-day SMA of the oscillator). Traders then analyze the relationship between the two lines to determine buy and sell signals. 


Trading Strategies Using the Stochastic Indicator

Traders commonly use three strategies when employing the stochastic indicator in their trading plan. Those strategies include:

Overbought/Oversold Strategy

The overbought/oversold strategy is the most simple strategy to follow using this indicator. All you’ll need to do is look at the reading with the following in mind:

  • 80 or Above: Sell Signal. Stochastic readings at 80 or above suggest the asset being analyzed is overbought, which means the price is likely nearing resistance and a bearish reversal may be on the horizon. 
  • 20 or Below: Buy Signal. Stochastic readings of 20 or below suggest the asset being analyzed is at oversold levels. This means the price of the asset is nearing support and a bullish reversal may be coming. 

When using the overbought/oversold strategy, the signals are most accurate when both the fast and slow readings of the oscillator are above 80 or below 20. 

Let’s look at Apple’s stock chart with stochastics from the beginning of April 2022 (below). The oscillator appears as a sub-chart below the main stock chart:

In the stochastics chart at the bottom of the image, the signal line is represented in black and the baseline is red. Both readings in this chart are over 80, suggesting the stock is overbought and likely to make a bearish reversal.  

Stochastic Crossover Strategy

The stochastic crossover strategy is a bit more involved than the overbought/oversold strategy, but it’s a great way to verify signals from the other stochastic strategies. The crossover strategy uses both the K-line and the D-line plotted on a financial asset’s chart. 

Once the lines are plotted, traders look for crossovers, or points where the faster-moving K-line crosses over the slower-moving D-line. When the crossover is in the upward direction, it acts as a buy signal, suggesting recent prices are increasing. When the crossover is in the downward direction, it acts as a sell signal, suggesting recent prices are decreasing. 

Let’s look again at Apple’s chart, with the sub-chart below the main chart showing the red and black lines plotting the stochastic oscillator:

Note that the fast Stochastic (K) is plotted in black and the slow stochastic (D) is plotted in red. Each time the black line crosses above the red line, it acts as a buy signal, suggesting prices are likely to head up moving forward. When the black line crosses below the red line, it’s a sell signal, suggesting Apple’s stock will fall ahead. 

Stochastic Bull/Bear Strategy

The bull/bear strategy uses the divergence between price action and the movement of the stochastic oscillator to determine when reversals might take place. 

For example, if a stock is trending down and mints a new low, but the stochastic oscillator reads a higher low, the divergence could mean the downtrend is coming to an end and the bulls will take control soon. This is known as a bullish divergence. 

On the other hand, when a price is on the uptrend and hits new highs, but the stochastic oscillator produces a lower high, a bearish divergence is taking place, suggesting declines could be ahead. 


The Relative Strength Index (RSI) vs. the Stochastic Oscillator

The relative strength index (RSI) and stochastic oscillator are both momentum oscillators, made to generate the same types of signals. The difference is the underlying data and methodology the two use. 

The stochastic oscillator is based on the relationship between the most recent closing price and the recent range of prices.

The RSI, by contrast, measures the velocity (or speed) of price movements rather than the relationship between recent prices and the closing price of an asset. 

Because these indicators are based on different points of data, they are often used in conjunction with one another before a trade is made, each helping to verify the signals of the other. 


Stochastic Oscillator Limitations

As a technical indicator, the stochastic oscillator has proven its worth time and time again, but it’s not perfect. The biggest limitation to the indicator is the potential for false signals, where the indicator suggests a move is coming that doesn’t come to fruition. 

Due to the potential for false signals, it’s important to use the stochastic indicator in conjunction with other technical indicators when making your trades. 


Stochastic Oscillator FAQs

Technical indicators are complex topics that often lead to questions. Some of the most common questions surrounding the stochastic oscillator are answered below:

What Do K and D Mean?

K is the reading for the oscillator that acts as the signal line when plotted on a trading chart. D is the abbreviation used to describe a three-day moving average of K. Traders plot both K and D on trading charts and analyze the relationship between the two trendlines to generate buy and sell signals. 

What Is a Slow Stochastic Oscillator?

The slow stochastic oscillator is known as the D-line and is another term for the three-day moving average of the oscillator’s reading. The slow stochastic is used for two reasons:

  1. Generate Signals. The K-trendline crossing above or below the D-trendline generates buy or sell signals. 
  2. Verify Signals. Traders using the overbought/oversold strategy focus primarily on the K-reading in the oscillator. But they can also use the slow stochastic (D-line) to verify whether the asset is in overbought or oversold territory because it moves more slowly than the fast stochastic (K-line).

What Are the Two Lines in the Stochastic RSI?

The Stochastic RSI, or StochRSI, applies the formula for the stochastic oscillator to RSI data, combining the two methods to determine the strength of a trend. As with the traditional stochastic oscillator, the two most-used trend lines in the Stochastic RSI are K (the signal line) and D (the baseline). 


Final Word

The stochastic oscillator has become one of the most widely used technical analysis tools in financial markets. Whether you’re trading stocks, forex, cryptocurrency, or any other asset, paying attention to the stochastic reading and crossovers has the potential to generate compelling buy and sell signals. 

However, like any other financial tool, the oscillator isn’t perfect. Traders should consider using it in conjunction with other technical indicators when researching opportunities. 

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GME is so 2021. Fine art is forever. And its 5-year returns are a heck of a lot better than this week’s meme stock. Invest in something real. Invest with Masterworks.

Joshua Rodriguez has worked in the finance and investing industry for more than a decade. In 2012, he decided he was ready to break free from the 9 to 5 rat race. By 2013, he became his own boss and hasn’t looked back since. Today, Joshua enjoys sharing his experience and expertise with up and comers to help enrich the financial lives of the masses rather than fuel the ongoing economic divide. When he’s not writing, helping up and comers in the freelance industry, and making his own investments and wise financial decisions, Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife, son, daughter, and eight large breed dogs. See what Joshua is up to by following his Twitter or contact him through his website, CNA Finance.

Source: moneycrashers.com

17 Home Upgrades That Rarely Help Close a Sale

A real estate agent posts a for sale sign in front of a brick house that is under construction
Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock.com

We all like to think that making positive changes to a home can make it more attractive to buyers. However, some renovations that might make you feel more comfortable, actually might not help you sell your home in the long run.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its latest Remodeling Impact Report, finding that some renovations are less effective than others in convincing buyers to move forward.

Surveying real estate agents, NAR looked at 20 types of projects and asked agents which they’d suggested homeowners do before selling a home. The survey also asked agents whether completed projects had helped close a sale.

Following are the renovations this survey identified as least likely to close a home sale. Specifically, fewer than 10% of real estate agents said these projects helped close a sale.

17. HVAC replacement

New Africa / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 7%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 20%

According to the National Association of Realtors report, the estimated cost of completing an HVAC replacement is about $8,200, and the cost recovered in a home sale is about $7,000. So, even though you might be able to recover much of the cost of doing the project, it’s not one that is likely to help you close the sale.

16. New wood flooring

Halfpoint / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 5%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 16%

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University reported earlier this year that indoor flooring replacement is the most common upgrade, as we detail in “The 15 Most Popular Home Upgrades – and What They Cost.”

And yet, real estate agents indicate that this project is unlikely to add much to a home’s appeal to buyers.

15. Hardwood flooring refinish

Jo Ann Snover / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 5%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 27%

New flooring isn’t recommended by as many real estate agents as refinishing the wood flooring that’s already there, according to the NAR report.

Even though it doesn’t help much to close a home sale, the report indicates that those who invest in the project see a recovery of 100% of their investment.

14. Bathroom renovation

Susan Schmitz / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 4%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 33%

A third of real estate agents suggest homeowners make this change before they sell, even though this project doesn’t usually help close a sale.

Additionally, you might only see a 57% return on value when you complete a bathroom renovation, according to the NAR report.

13. New vinyl windows

MJTH / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 4%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 12%

With new vinyl windows, homeowners can expect to retain about 73.4% of the cost when they sell the home, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report. Believe it or not, that’s a relatively good cost recouping.

12. Basement conversion into living area

Artazum / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 2%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 5%

Only 5% of real estate agents suggested this renovation to homeowners looking to sell, and for good reason, since it doesn’t contribute much to the ability to close a home sale. However, it does offer homeowners relatively high satisfaction, as we recently reported in “19 Home Renovations That Give Owners the Most Joy.”

11. New garage door

Luxury home
karamysh / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 2%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 16%

While this home improvement project might not do much to help close a home sale, it can return nearly all of the cost when reselling your home.

Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report shows that a garage door replacement retains 97.5% of its value upon resale of the home, as we report in “These 10 Home Improvements Offer the Highest Returns.”

10. Add a new bathroom

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 1%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 5%

Very few real estate agents suggest this renovation, and even fewer find that it helps with closing a home sale.

It might be best to skip this one since it can cost as much as $60,000 — and only return about 50% of its cost, according to the NAR report.

9. New steel front door

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 1%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 4%

While replacing your front door isn’t something that closes a home sale, it can help boost the value of your home — especially if you paint it black, as we report in “Painting With This Color Can Boost Your Home’s Sale Price by $6,000.”

Additionally, this project is likely to bring homeowners joy. The NAR report gave the project what it calls a “Joy Score” of 9.7 out of 10.

8. New vinyl siding

Red and black house
Lindasj22 / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 1%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 4%

While it’s not a project much-recommended ahead of selling, new vinyl siding is one of those renovations that offer a relatively high return on value. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, the replacement of siding retains 75.6% of its value when the home is sold.

7. New wood windows

Woman with dog in house
Ahmet Naim / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: 1%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 2%

The NAR report gave new wood windows a “Joy Score” of 9.6 out of 10, as we detail in “19 Home Renovations That Give Owners the Most Joy.” But these windows aren’t likely to help close a home sale and agents aren’t likely to recommend them as a pre-sale renovation.

6. New master suite

Nenad Aksic / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: Less than 1%

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 3%

Not only is this project unlikely to help close a home sale, it’s also unlikely to pay for itself.

Both a midrange master suite addition and an upscale master suite addition made the list in our article “The 10 Worst Home Renovations for Your Money.”

5. Attic conversion to living area

Attic bedroom
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: None

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 2%

This project costs up to $80,000 to complete, and it returns only about 56% of the investment, the National Associations of Realtors report states.

4. Insulation upgrade

Worker insulating an attic
Bilanol / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: None

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 4%

Even though this project isn’t one that agents say could help close home sales, the NAR reports that it offers homeowners a relatively good recovery (83%) on the money spent.

3. Closet renovation

A woman picks clothes out of her closet
New Africa / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: None

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 4%

A closet renovation earned the highest Joy Score possible — a 10 out of 10 — in the NAR’s study.

Even if it won’t help you sell your home, you might enjoy this renovation while you still live in the home.

2. New fiberglass front door

Woman opening a door
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: None

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 4%

Even if you don’t close a home sale by replacing the front door, choosing the right color for that front door may add to your home’s sale price.

Plus, as with a new steel front door, a new fiberglass front door is likely to bring homeowners joy. The NAR report gave both projects a Joy Score of 9.7 out of 10.

1. New fiber-cement siding

Artazum / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed real estate agents who said this project helped close a home sale: None

Agents who have suggested that homeowners do this project before selling: 2%

While fiber cement siding can return 76% of the cost and give homeowners satisfaction, it’s not a project that real estate agents say they find helps close a home sale.

What home renovations have you been considering? Share your thoughts in a comment below or over on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Mom Knows Best: 11 Moms Share Their Best Apartment Advice

Mom knows best — so take her apartment advice!

Whether you’re moving across the country for college or just across town into your own apartment, moving out on your own is a huge step towards adulthood. To help you prepare for living on your own, we asked Moms to share their best apartment advice. Here’s what 11 real moms had to share:

1. Think ahead

apartment knick knacks.

apartment knick knacks.

“Start picking up new decor items before you move, especially if you can find things on sale,” says Chelsy at Motherhood+Mayhem. “This way, you won’t spend a ton of money furnishing your apartment and making it feel like home. Plus, you’ll already have some amazing items as soon as you move in!”

2. Add personal touches wherever you can

Wall decor in an apartment.

Wall decor in an apartment.

“My best apartment advice for a first apartment is to hang up your favorite photos and artwork,” says Amy Smith from Amy & Rose. “The quickest way to make a space feel like yours is to decorate it with your favorite things. Hang up your best photos and add some personal touches, such as artwork you’ve created or knick-knacks you’ve collected over the years — they’ll add personality without even trying very hard at all.”

3. Prioritize your closet organization

Clean, organized closet.

Clean, organized closet.

“My apartment advice is to make sure that you invest in ways to organize your closets,” says owner and editor of Teach Workout Love, Jennifer O’Shea. “Closets are key in apartments for storage so having baskets, shelving, containers, etc. would be helpful in saving space. Anywhere that you can maximize storage whether it’s under the bed, in the closet or organizing drawers — use it!”

4. Add some greenery

Flowers and plants in a small apartment space.

Flowers and plants in a small apartment space.

“Purchase some easy-care plants such as bamboo stalks or cactuses and spread them throughout your apartment to add a fresh, homey feel to your first place,” says Whitney Fleming, ParentingTeensandTweens.com. “You can even add a few artificial plants or succulents. Also, splurge on a few fresh flowers every once in a while to perk up your kitchen counter and add some color.”

5. Opt for multi-purpose furniture

Dining room area in a first apartment.

Dining room area in a first apartment.

“Choose your furniture wisely — in addition to looking good, make sure that it’s comfortable and easy to maintain!” says Lauren Webber of Dainty Mom. “If your apartment is small, go for space-saving and multipurpose pieces.”

6. Identify a purpose for your space

Plants and a couch in a small apartment.

Plants and a couch in a small apartment.

“Think about the place where you spend the most time,” says Ingrid Read, the founder of Working Momkind. “Is it the couch, where you binge-watch your favorite shows or the bed, where you find yourself hitting snooze too many times to stay in there a little longer? Maybe it’s the kitchen where you enjoy making every meal from scratch? Once you’ve identified your space, you can comfortably splurge on that and whatever is within reachable distance of it. If it’s the couch, get the one you think about sinking into all day, an ottoman or coffee table and a nice end table for your favorite book, remotes and phone charger. Once that space is complete, everything else will fall into place, becoming your home.”

7. Don’t be afraid to incorporate pops of color

Colorful apartment with pops of color.

Colorful apartment with pops of color.

“I am no interior designer by any means, but I am very good at rooting and uprooting and making places homes,” says Domiana, retired pro athlete turned 2x bestselling author coach and healer.

“My biggest tip is to add pops of color. For example, my color is yellow, which is the color that I embody. So, find something that expresses your personality and makes you feel comfortable in order to really make your place feel like a home. Those pops of color can come from throw blankets. You can never go wrong with those. Therefore, finding cool colors that make you feel comfortable and cozy in your new space is so important. Lastly, plants make everything better. Just that greenery around you.”

8. Prioritize the essentials

Kitchen with essentials like a coffee maker and coffee.

Kitchen with essentials like a coffee maker and coffee.

“My best apartment advice is to prioritize your essentials before moving,” says Mommy Sigrid of Lovingly Mama. “For me, having a bed and mattress (with pillows), clean sheets, towels, bath products and coffee with a coffee maker are moving day essentials. These are the things I would need to take a good bath after moving in, a good night’s rest after unpacking, cleaning and arranging. Plus, the coffee will help you face the new day in your new apartment. All three: bath, sleep and coffee are my necessities for sanity.”

9. Choose your roommates wisely

Roommates.

Roommates.

“My motherly apartment advice is to interview potential roommates thoroughly,” says Jacqueline Pinchuk. “Make sure you’re a good fit for each other. Find out how clean they are, how often their significant other spends the night, preference for communal food vs. individual, division of shared bills and household responsibilities. Small things, like not having toilet paper when it’s your roommate’s turn to buy, become an important part of enjoying your new home.”

10. Work with your walls

Artwork in a dining room area.

Artwork in a dining room area.

“In order for your apartment to feel like your own — you need the walls to reflect you,” says Kathleen Tomasewski from Mom on the Go in Holy Toledo. “This doesn’t mean that you have to go spend a lot of money on expensive wall coverings. Get creative with it. Take some of your favorite book covers, book jackets, magazine covers and/or pages from calendars and frame them in white or black inexpensive frames. This will provide for a cohesive collection of some of your favorite things that reflect you and make you feel more at home in your new apartment.”

“You could always take it a step further and only include covers or images that contain a particular color scheme, say red, pink and white or navy and black. But again — remember the covers or images you choose need to reflect you, your interest and your personality. It is your space, after all!”

11. Nourish yourself

Cooking in an apartment.

Cooking in an apartment.

“My go-to apartment advice for when you’re ready to move out on your own is to make sure you have a decent set of pots and pans,” says Heather Wells, founder of The Single Mom Blog & Podcast. “Eating out is great but being able to cook a nice meal will not only make it feel more like home but it will help you save money.”

Because Mom said so

Whether you follow some of this motherly apartment advice or you follow all of it, just know these mom-approved recommendations will help your first apartment feel like home in no time!

Source: rent.com

DIY Wedding Invitations: The Ultimate Money-Saving Guide

It’s no surprise that weddings are expensive. But what might shock you is just how much they actually cost. In 2021, the average couple spent nearly $30k (or $34,000 if you count the engagement ring) on their nuptials, with over $500 of that going toward wedding invitations.

And while some of those costs (notably picking a great venue), might be totally worth adding to the budget. However other expenses, like the fancy bits of gold-embossed paper your guests end up tossing out (or hopefully recycling), are definitely questionable.

So if you’re one of those savvy couples who’d rather save the budget for an epic and cheap honeymoon, keep reading. We’ve got the details on how you can save money on your big day, by getting crafty with your wedding invitations.

DIY Wedding Invitations

When it comes to DIY wedding invitations, there are two basic options to consider.

The first is to purchase a template (more on those below) that you fill in, print and embellish yourself. Alternatively, there are also digital-only templates you can buy and use for e-invites which will save you some money on printing costs and postage.

The other option is to do everything yourself from scratch. This is best for artsy-craftsy types who prefer printed invites rather than digital ones. For this option, you’d be responsible for creating the design, then printing, cutting and packaging the invitations yourself.

Before deciding exactly how DIY you want to go with your invites, do some research and think about how much time you realistically have to put into your invitations. Do you enjoy crafting? Or are you just trying to save a little money?

Once you’re ready to take the plunge, we’ve got several cheap and free wedding invitation templates here to help you get started.

Free & Cheap Wedding Invitation Templates

The easiest option for DIY wedding invitations  is to use digital only or print-it-yourself wedding invitation templates.

They’re plentiful online— and many are even free. You’ll simply add your details, download the template (usually as a PDF) and then email or print the invitations at home or a local copy center.

Wedding templates from Shutterfly.
Shutterfly offers DIY wedding templates.

Here are some of our top places for scoring amazing DIY wedding invite templates:

  • Etsy: Thousands of print-it-yourself wedding invitation templates to choose from, starting at $10.
  • Download & Print: Unlimited access to all of their templates for $25 per year.
  • Greenvelope: Digital-only customizable wedding invites, starting at $39 for 40 guests.
  • Tempoola: Free, downloadable wedding invitation templates that you can customize and print in Microsoft Word.
  • Canva: Customize and download these free wedding templates, then use them as digital invites or print them yourself.
  • Shutterfly: You might have already used them for holiday cards, now check out their wedding invitation templates.
  • Wedding Chicks, Greetings Island and Paper Source: Dozens of free templates to choose from.

For those interested in paper invitations, another option is to simply order a customized wedding stamp with all the pertinent details on it. Rather than printing the invitation, you’ll just stamp the info onto a nice piece of paper.

Want to see what they look like? Here’s an Etsy store that sells partially hand-lettered wedding invitation stamps for $80 and up.

Alexandra Vincent/The Penny Hoarder

Designing Your DIY Wedding Invitations

If you’re a graphic designer or calligraphy artist then you might just want to take your DIY wedding invitations one step further by fully customizing them from scratch.

Do you have beautiful handwriting and an artist’s eye? Consider starting a calligraphy business as a side gig. 

First things first: The words are the most important part, so make sure you get a second pair of eyes to proofread!

Then, to create the basic layout of your invitation, you can use a free trial of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator; a free online program like Canva or PicMonkey; or a word-processing tool like Word or Pages.

Important design elements to consider when you are designing your own wedding invitation include fonts, line spacing, alignment, colors and theme.

When it comes to fonts, you can download them for free at DaFont. Or, you can buy them. Here are several suggested font pairings for DIY wedding invitations.

As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t mix more than three fonts, and plan on staying consistent throughout the invitation suite (including other inserts like RSVP cards or maps).

Choosing Paper for Your DIY Wedding Invitations

Although it might seem unimportant, don’t skimp on the paper, especially since it can make or break your invitation.

Pro Tip

If you’re printing your invitations at home, buy cardstock that’s at least 65-pound, though 80-pound is even better. 

If you’re printing from home, you’ll also want to make sure your printer can handle whatever cardstock you choose. You can find this information in your printer’s manual, or by searching online for your printer’s “max paper weight.”

Recycled paper is also a popular option — especially for rustic or boho invites. You can order cardstock online at Amazon or specialty shops like Cardstock Warehouse, Michaels, LCI Paper, Paper Source and Paper Presentation. Or you can go to your local Jo-Ann’s, Walmart, or office-supply store. You can also choose different finishes for your paper; for wedding invitations, popular finishes include cotton or linen, which are incredibly beautiful (but also more expensive).

Pro Tip

Don’t forget, you need one invitation per address — not per guest. So don’t make the mistake of ordering double the paper you need! 

This is a screenshot of wedding website templates from Zola.
Websites like Zola offer wedding websites so that your guests can RSVP digitally.

Printing Your DIY Wedding Invitations

Whether you’re using a DIY wedding invitation template or designing the whole thing yourself, you’re going to need to print it somehow.

The most penny-hoarding option? Print your invitations at home. As long as you have a decent printer, and use nice paper, this will probably work just fine.

Both inkjet and laser printers are up to the job; just be sure to select the highest-quality print setting. To save money, use black ink only; if you want a splash of color, use colored paper.

If you’re worried about your wonky printer messing up that expensive paper, outsource the job to a professional print shop. Sure, it will cost you a bit more, but it beats ruining your specialty paper by trying to save money. It also might save you a bit of extra time and frustration, and they can likely cut the invitations for you.

Pro Tip

One of the easiest ways to keep costs down is to keep your paper printings to a minimum, and include a QR code or link to your wedding website. 

Sites like Zola and The Knot offer free wedding website builders which will allow your guests to digitally RSVP, see all the details about your big day, and even contribute to your wedding registry. If you have relatives who don’t use the internet, you can include a small printed card in their invites asking them to RSVP by phone.

Alexandra Vincent/The Penny Hoarder

Making Your DIY Invitations Shine

Once you’ve got them designed and printed, there are countless ways to make your invites shine.

You could add embellishments like:

Don’t Forget the Envelopes

One final way to make your invitations stand out? Killer envelopes.

Envelope liners are a popular option; you can create them with pretty paper, an engagement photo or even fabric.

As for the addresses, you can hire a calligrapher, but that’ll cost you a whopping $2-$5 per envelope. It’s much more affordable to enlist your friends to help you, or to just print pretty labels.

Don’t forget to include your return address, using a label or stamp.

The next step is to visit the post office to weigh your entire invitation and see how much postage it’ll require. (Note: Square envelopes cost more to mail, so unless you’re really attached to that shape, rectangle is a better option.)

As for actual postage stamps, you can purchase custom versions but it’ll cost you more than $1 per stamp.

When it comes time to finally — blissfully!!! — mail out your invites, it’s a good idea to physically take them to the post office.

That way, you can ask the postal worker to hand cancel them (rather than put them through the machine and potentially damage the envelopes). Some post offices will do this for free; others charge up to 20 cents per envelope.

That’s it! You just finished your DIY wedding invitations. Now all that’s left to worry about is the band, the food, the cake, the dress, the honeymoon …

Looking for even more ways to save on your big day? Here’s our list of 90 Savings Tips from Wedding Professionals.

Contributor Larissa Runkle frequently writes on finance, real estate, and lifestyle topics for The Penny Hoarder. Writer Susan Shain contributed to this article. 

Source: thepennyhoarder.com