From Bitcoin to GameStop to SPACs: 8 Tips for Mania Investing

Market speculation is seemingly everywhere.  From new SPACs being issued, to the prevalence of Reddit stocks such as GameStop to the popularity of electric vehicle stocks and the rise of cryptocurrency – speculation is alive and well in the markets today. 

“Mania” is a good word to describe the energy surrounding these types of investments.  Dramatic daily swings are the new normal in these holdings.  Hollywood elites and business moguls are attaching their names to crypto and the latest SPAC investments. 

The top mania investment areas are electric vehicles, cryptocurrency, Reddit stocks, space, SPACs, precious metals and pot stocks.  The dictionary definition of mania describes “excessive or unreasonable enthusiasm.”  That seems about right.  The result has been a meteoric rise in value not tied to business fundamentals but tied to hype, expectations or projections. 

Investors looking to boost performance often wonder how much exposure to these types of investments should they have.  With strong appreciation in some of the holdings, it is tempting to get into the game.  Here are our top eight tips for mania investing. 

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1. Admit that it is a mania

A woman is swept away on waves of water.A woman is swept away on waves of water.

Have some honest reflection about the investment environment you are in.  Mania investing can be fun, it can be thrilling and, ultimately, it can be painful.  But mania investing is not your conventional long-term investing strategy.  Admit you are being swept up in a mania and acknowledge what that might mean regarding your tactics.  It’s impossible to explain to yourself or your friends the fundamentals of a company with no earnings, so stop trying to make sense of it.  It is a mania, not an investment based on fundamentals. 

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2. Have an exit strategy & set a price target

Price tags.Price tags.

How far are you willing to watch your investment drop before you pull out?  Set a price target and stick to it.  Some of the biggest mistakes happen with investors who fall in love with a company or a product and hold it while closing their eyes.  Mania investments are not typically long-term plays, and you must plan for how much risk you are willing to take.  Set a target to get out and limit your downside exposure.

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3. Limit your overall portfolio exposure

A colorful pie chart.A colorful pie chart.

If you are going to be a mania investor, maybe you limit your exposure to 3%, 5% or 10% of your total portfolio.  Understand it is the high-risk portion of your portfolio and do not allocate more than you are willing to lose.  The older you are and the closer to retirement, the less you can afford to lose.  The younger you are, the more you might be willing to allocate to more aggressive strategies. 

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4. Diversify your manias 

A woman balances a bitcoin on a red tightrope.A woman balances a bitcoin on a red tightrope.

Maybe you like cryptocurrency — go ahead and invest in it, but buy into three different types, instead of just one, to diversify.  Maybe you like electric vehicles. If so, consider adding some exposure to space or precious metals as well.  Even in your mania investing, you do not want to concentrate all that allocation to just one mania strategy.  Diversification can help reduce risk even in a risky space.  Although, be careful of too much diversification.  In a world like electric vehicles, there is a possibility of there being few winners and many losers. 

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5. Understand performance in context 

Woman standing under an orange umbrella in the rainWoman standing under an orange umbrella in the rain

The S&P 500 10-year average over the past 100 years is around a 10% return per year.  Warren Buffett has averaged about 15% per year.  If your mania investments have made 100% in a year, understand how rare that is and that the odds of duplicating that performance year after year are incredibly remote.  Part of good investment performance is not just making money in good times, but also weathering losses during challenging times. 

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5. Know the difference between investing and speculating

A stack of gambling chips tumbles over.A stack of gambling chips tumbles over.

Investing for the long term carries its own set of disciplines and rules and expectations.  Mania investing is more akin to speculating or even gambling.  It often has dramatic movements in price over a short period of time.  It might include hype in the media, memes on social networks and inexperienced people giving investment advice.  Be careful and realize speculating is a high-risk game — it is not the same as sound investment on fundamentals.   

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6. Take some winnings off the table

A man cashes in his gambling pot.A man cashes in his gambling pot.

Maybe you own one of the stock names that have doubled or tripled in value over the past year.  Consider selling some of the holdings and locking in your gains.  Maybe reduce your exposure by 50%.  Keep some of the holdings a bit longer, but diversify into something more stable or consistent.  Setting a price target on the upside can be just as important as setting one on the downside. 

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7. Do not gamble the farm

The sun sets over the red barn of a farm.The sun sets over the red barn of a farm.

A smart gambler, if they go to Vegas, will set their own personal limit on what they are willing to lose.  Whether that is $100, or $10,000 — set a limit when it comes to mania investing.  Also, do not raid all your retirement money on a whim to chase manias.  While a portion could make sense, the lion’s share of your retirement should be focused on fundamental investment strategies that are consistent.  Pulling all your retirement money to buy into different manias would likely be a crazy idea, just like putting your house keys in the pot of a poker table would be ill advised. 

Investing in some of these sexy stocks and industries has appeal, and there is money to be made.  But there is also money to be lost, and it is important to have a rule set for investing even if you are investing in mania stocks.  Finally, know how risk taking can fit in your overall financial plan and realize that the risk you are willing to tolerate is likely to be different from someone else. 

Investing carries an inherent element of risk, and it is possible to lose principal and interest when investing in securities. Strategies are used to assist in the management of your account. Even with these strategies applied to the account, it is possible to lose money. No strategy can guarantee a profit or prevent against a loss. There may be times when the strategy switches between equities or fixed income at an inopportune time, causing the account to forfeit potential gains.

CEO – Senior Wealth Adviser, Sterling Wealth Partners

Scot Landborg has over 17 years of experience advising clients on retirement planning strategies. Scot is CEO and Senior Wealth Adviser for Sterling Wealth Partners. He is host of the retirement planning podcast Retire Eyes Wide Open. Scot is a regular contributor to Kiplinger.com and has been quoted in “U.S. News & World Report,” Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq and Investopedia. He also formally hosted the nationally syndicated radio show “Smart Money Talk Radio.”

Investment Adviser Representative of USA Financial Securities. Member FINRA/SIPC A Registered Investment Advisor. CA license # 0G89727 https://brokercheck.finra.org/

Source: kiplinger.com

What Is a Security – Definition & Types That You Can Invest In

Securities are one of the most important assets to understand when you’re starting to invest. Almost every investment you can make involves securities, so knowing about the different types of securities and how they fit in your portfolio can help you design a portfolio that fits with your investing goals.

What Is a Security?

A security is a financial instrument investors can easily buy and sell. The precise definition varies with where you live, but in the United States, it refers to any kind of tradable financial asset.

Securities may be represented by a physical item, such as a certificate. Securities can also be purely electronic, with no physical representation of their ownership. The owner of a security, whether it is physical or digital, receives certain rights based on that ownership.

For example, the owner of a bond is entitled to receive interest payments from the issuer of that bond.


Types of Securities

There are many different types of securities, each with unique characteristics and a different role to play in your portfolio.

Stock

A stock is a security that represents ownership of a company.

When a business wants to raise money — for example, to invest in expanding the business — it can issue stock to investors. Investors give the business money and receive an ownership interest in the company in exchange.

The number of shares that exist in a company determine how much ownership each individual share confers. For example, someone who owns one share in a company with 100 shares outstanding owns 1% of the company. If that business instead had 100,000 shares outstanding, a single share would represent ownership of just 0.001% of the business.

Investors can easily buy and sell shares in publicly traded companies through the stock market. Shares regularly change in value, letting investors buy them and sell them for either a loss or a profit. Owning stock also entitles the shareholder to a share of the company’s earnings in the form of dividends if the company chooses to pay them, and the right to vote in certain decisions the company must make.

Bonds

A bond is a type of debt security that represents an investor’s loan to a company, organization, or government.

When a business or other group wants to raise money but doesn’t want to give away ownership, it can instead borrow money. Individuals typically borrow money from a bank, but companies and larger organizations often borrow money by issuing bonds.

When an organization needs to borrow money, it chooses an interest rate and the amount that it wants to borrow. It then offers to sell bonds to investors until it sells enough bonds to get the amount of money it wishes to borrow.

For example, a company may decide to issue $10 million worth of bonds at an interest rate of 5%. It will sell bonds in varying amounts, usually with a minimum purchase requirement, until it raises $10 million. Then, the company stops selling the bonds.

With most bonds, the issuing organization will make regular interest payments to the person who owns the bond. The payments are based on the interest rate and the value of the bond purchased. For a $1,000 bond at an interest rate of 5%, the issuer might make two annual payments of $25.

The bonds also come with a maturity date. Once the maturity date arrives, the bond issuer returns the money it raised to the bondholders and stops making interest payments. For example, when it matures, the holder of the $1,000 bond might receive a final interest payment of $25 plus the $1,000 they initially paid to buy the bond.

Interest payments and returned principal go to the person who holds a bond on the payment date, not necessarily the original purchaser. This means that people who own bonds can sell them to other investors who want to receive interest payments. The value of a bond will depend on how much time is left until it matures, the bond’s interest rate, the current interest rate market, and the bond’s principal value.

Money Market Securities

Money market securities are incredibly short-term debt securities. These types of securities are similar to bonds, but their maturities are generally measured in weeks instead of years.

Because of their short maturities and their safety, investors often see money market securities and investments in money market funds as equivalent to cash.

Mutual Funds and ETFs

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are both securities that purchase and hold other securities. They make it easier for investors to diversify their portfolios and offer hands-off management for investors.

For example, a mutual fund may purchase shares in many different companies. Investors can purchase shares in that mutual fund, which gives them an ownership stake in the different shares that the fund holds. By buying shares in one security — the mutual fund — the investor gets exposure to many securities at once.

The primary difference between mutual funds and ETFs is how investors buy and sell them. With mutual funds, investors place orders that settle at the end of the trading day. That makes mutual funds best for long-term, passive investment. ETFs are traded on the open market, so investors can buy them from or sell them to other investors whenever the market is open. This means ETFs can be used as part of an active trading strategy.

There are many different types of mutual funds and ETFs, each with its own investing strategy. Some mutual funds aim to track a specific index of stocks. Others actively trade securities to try to beat the market. Some funds hold a mix of stocks and bonds.

Mutual funds and ETFs are not free to invest in. Most charge fees, called expense ratios, that investors pay each year. For example, a fund with an expense ratio of 0.25% charges 0.25% of the investor’s assets each year. Fees vary depending on the fund provider and the fund strategy.

Preferred Shares

Preferred shares or preferred stock are a special kind of shares in a company, which have different characteristics than shares of common stock.

Compared to common stock, preferred shares typically:

  • Have priority for dividends over common stock
  • Receive compensation before common shares if a company is liquidated
  • Can be converted to common stock
  • Do not have voting rights

Derivatives

Derivatives are securities that derive their value from other securities rather than any value inherent to themselves.

One of the most common types of derivatives is an option, which gives the holder the right — but not the requirement — to buy or sell shares in a specific company at a set price. Derivatives are more complex financial instruments than generally aren’t suitable for beginners because they can be confusing and come with elevated risk.


How Securities Fit in Your Portfolio

Most investors use securities to build the majority of their investment portfolios. While some people may choose to invest solely in assets like real estate rather than securities like stocks and bonds, securities are highly popular because they make it easy for people to build diversified portfolios.

The mix of investments you choose is called asset allocation. Each type of security fits into an investment portfolio in different ways.

The Role of Stocks

For example, stocks generally offer high volatility and some risk, but higher rewards than fixed-income securities like bonds. People with long-term investing plans and the risk tolerance to weather some volatility may want to invest in stocks.

Within stocks, investors often hold a mixture of large-cap (large, well-known companies) and small-caps (smaller, newer businesses). Typically, larger companies are more stable but offer lower returns. Small-caps can be risky but offer greater rewards.

Large-caps often pay dividends, which are regular payments to shareholders. This makes them popular for people who want to produce an income from their portfolio but who don’t want to shift too heavily into safer, but less lucrative investments like bonds.

Pro tip: Earn a $30 bonus when you open and fund a new trading account from M1 Finance. With M1 Finance, you can customize your portfolio with stocks and ETFs, plus you can invest in fractional shares.

The Role of Bonds

By contrast, bonds are good for people who want to reduce volatility in their portfolios. A retiree or someone who wants to preserve their portfolio’s value instead of growing it might use bonds.

Bonds experience much less volatility than stocks, with their values changing primarily with changes in interest rates. If rates rise, bond values fall. If rates fall, bond values rise.

If you hold individual bonds and don’t sell them, you can only lose value from the bonds if the issuer defaults and stops making payments. That means that bonds can provide a predictable return, assuming you can hold them to maturity.

Bonds also make regular interest payments, often twice annually, making them very popular for income-focused investors.

The Role of Mutual Funds

A huge number of everyday investors opt to invest in mutual funds and ETFs instead of buying individual stocks and bonds. These funds hold dozens or hundreds of different stocks and bonds, making it easy for investors to diversify their portfolios. There are also many different funds that follow different investing strategies, meaning that almost everyone can find a mutual fund that meets their needs.

One of the most popular types of mutual funds is the target-date fund. These funds reduce their stock holdings and increase their bond holdings as time passes and gets closer to the target date. This makes them an easy way for investors to reduce risk and volatility in their portfolio as they get closer to needing the money,

For example, someone who wants to retire in 2062 might invest their money in a target date 2060 or 2065 fund. In 2020, the fund might hold a 90/10 or 80/20 split of stocks and bonds. By 2060, the fund will have reduced its stock holdings and increased its bond holdings so that its portfolio is a 40/60 split between stocks and bonds.

The Role of Derivatives

Derivatives are designed for advanced investors who want to use more complex strategies, such as using options to hedge their portfolio’s risk or to leverage their capital to produce greater gains.

For example, a trader could use options to short a stock. Shorting a stock is like betting against it, meaning the trader earns a profit if the share price falls. On the other hand, if the share price increases, the trader will lose money.

These are best used by advanced investors who know what they’re doing. Derivatives can be more volatile than even the riskiest stocks and can make it easy to lose a lot of money. However, if they’re used properly, they can be a safe way to produce income from a portfolio or a hedge to reduce risk.


Final Word

A security is the basic building block of an investment portfolio. Most assets that people invest in — like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds — are securities. Each type of security has different features and plays a different role in an investor’s portfolio.

Many investors succeed by investing in mutual funds or ETFs, which give them exposure to a variety of securities at once. If you want an even more hands-off investing experience, working with a robo-advisor or financial advisor can help you choose the best securities to invest in.

Source: moneycrashers.com

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Hovers Above All-Time Low

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Mortgage rates fall despite strong economic data reports.

“Mortgage rates fell again this week, continuing the downward trend they’ve exhibited for most of April,” said Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman. “In what was a relatively unremarkable week for mortgage rates, the modest movement was partially driven by discussions about a proposed increase in capital gains tax rates – which placed downward pressure on bond yields and thus rates – and anticipation of a key announcement by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the Central Bank has no immediate plans to increase interest rates or curb the purchases of mortgage-backed securities – a position that placed more downward pressure on bond yields and is likely to result in more mortgage decreases in the coming days. Looking ahead, with a slew of key economic reports on the horizon – including consumer spending and inflation data – the relatively muted mortgage rate activity from the past couple weeks may transition to more significant movements.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.11%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.55%.

Check Zillow for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

The weekly mortgage rate chart above illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate for the past week. Here’s a comprehensive look at the current mortgage rates for all loan types:

Today’s Average Rates for Conventional Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed 2.8% 2.85% 0.08%
20-Year Fixed 2.66% 2.73% 0.03%
15-Year Fixed 2.1% 2.19% 0.02%
10-Year Fixed 2.01% 2.15% -0.08%
7/1 ARM 2.28% 2.96% 0.22%
5/1 ARM 2.34% 3.1% 0.15%
3/1 ARM 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.8% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,232. A 20-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.66% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,613. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.1% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,944. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.01% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,762. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.28% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,151. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.34% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. A 3/1 ARM loan of $0 at 0% APR with a $0 down payment will have a monthly payment of $0. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Government Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed FHA 2.33% 2.99% 0.24%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.54% 2.81% 0.05%
15-Year Fixed FHA 2.11% 2.85% 0.17%
15-Year Fixed VA 2.53% 3.02% 0.04%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.6% 2.97% 0.02%
5/1 ARM VA 3.06% 2.75% -0.19%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.33% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.54% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,191. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.11% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,946. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.53% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,004. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.6% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,200. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 3.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,273. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Jumbo Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.22% 3.27% 0.07%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.29% 3.33% 0.24%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.86% 2.94% 0.06%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.52% 2.6% 0.1%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.68% 3.07% -0.25%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.61% 3.06% -0.09%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 2.14% 2.74% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.22% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,602. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.29% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,414. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.86% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,102. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.52% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,660. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.68% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,427. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.61% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,406. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,259. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Source: zillow.com

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Rises

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Mortgage rates fall despite strong economic data reports.

“Mortgage rates fell again this week, continuing the downward trend they’ve exhibited for most of April,” said Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman. “In what was a relatively unremarkable week for mortgage rates, the modest movement was partially driven by discussions about a proposed increase in capital gains tax rates – which placed downward pressure on bond yields and thus rates – and anticipation of a key announcement by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the Central Bank has no immediate plans to increase interest rates or curb the purchases of mortgage-backed securities – a position that placed more downward pressure on bond yields and is likely to result in more mortgage decreases in the coming days. Looking ahead, with a slew of key economic reports on the horizon – including consumer spending and inflation data – the relatively muted mortgage rate activity from the past couple weeks may transition to more significant movements.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.11%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.55%.

Check Zillow for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

The weekly mortgage rate chart above illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate for the past week. Here’s a comprehensive look at the current mortgage rates for all loan types:

Today’s Average Rates for Conventional Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed 2.8% 2.85% 0.08%
20-Year Fixed 2.66% 2.73% 0.03%
15-Year Fixed 2.1% 2.19% 0.02%
10-Year Fixed 2.01% 2.15% -0.08%
7/1 ARM 2.28% 2.96% 0.22%
5/1 ARM 2.34% 3.1% 0.15%
3/1 ARM 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.8% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,232. A 20-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.66% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,613. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.1% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,944. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.01% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,762. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.28% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,151. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.34% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. A 3/1 ARM loan of $0 at 0% APR with a $0 down payment will have a monthly payment of $0. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Government Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed FHA 2.33% 2.99% 0.24%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.54% 2.81% 0.05%
15-Year Fixed FHA 2.11% 2.85% 0.17%
15-Year Fixed VA 2.53% 3.02% 0.04%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.6% 2.97% 0.02%
5/1 ARM VA 3.06% 2.75% -0.19%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.33% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.54% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,191. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.11% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,946. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.53% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,004. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.6% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,200. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 3.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,273. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Jumbo Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.22% 3.27% 0.07%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.29% 3.33% 0.24%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.86% 2.94% 0.06%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.52% 2.6% 0.1%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.68% 3.07% -0.25%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.61% 3.06% -0.09%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 2.14% 2.74% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.22% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,602. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.29% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,414. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.86% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,102. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.52% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,660. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.68% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,427. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.61% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,406. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,259. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Source: zillow.com

Investing in Food Stocks

You may not know what the future holds, but you know there’ll be a meal involved. A good meal or grocery trip is not only a necessity for survival, it can also be part of an investment strategy.

While restaurants and grocery stores may come to mind, the world of food stocks is larger than one might think, encompassing everything from a grain of wheat to the latest on-demand app.

Food stocks and the industries surrounding them have long been a part of investors’ portfolios. The most recent figures show that Americans dedicate close to 10% of their disposable income on food, a level that’s been consistent for about two decades. Roughly half that is spent for food at home, and the other half is on dining out.

But some types of food stocks can hold more risk than others. Read on to learn the history of food stocks in the market, the types of food stocks, and the overall risk profile of these investments.

Are Food Companies Consumer Staples or Discretionary Stocks?

Looking at the market as a whole, food stocks are part of the “consumer staples” industry, which is considered to be a “defensive” sector in investing. Defensive sectors are those less closely tied to the economy. That means even if the economy is in a recession, consumer staples are seen as less risky and more stable than other industries.

However, no stock is recession-proof. And not all food stocks are actually consumer staples. For instance, restaurant companies typically fall into the consumer discretionary category, which consist of “cyclical stocks,” or those tied to how well the economy is doing. That’s because of how people tend to dine out when they have more income to spend in their pockets.

Recommended: Investing With the Business Cycle

When deciding whether to invest in a food stock, beginner investors might want to research which industry the company falls under: consumer staples or consumer discretionary.

Different Types of Food Stocks

Food stocks include more than just memorable brands. It’s more encompassing than just consumer-facing brands or restaurants. Anything that helps food get to your plate can be considered part of the food supply chain.

Food stocks generally fall under these seven sub-industries:

Farming

Food stock investing can start at the granular level–investing in raw agricultural commodities like soy, rice, wheat, and corn. Farming stocks can also include the ancillary companies that foster that growth–companies that create and distribute insecticide and herbicide or build the industrial-size farm equipment to help harvest goods.

While one might think investing in farming stock would be actual farms, the reality is the opposite. About 98% of farms in the U.S. are family-owned and therefore, not publicly traded. So investing in farming stock primarily means the chemicals and machinery that help harvest the raw product.

Farming stocks can waver based on things like the weather and current events. It can be challenging to predict the next rainy season or drought, sometimes making it hard to track and predict value. In addition, tariffs and trade agreements can influence the performance of these stocks, making them more volatile.

Recommended: Understanding Stock Volatility

Food-Processing Stocks

Companies that work in food processing buy raw ingredients that are combined to make items in the grocery store aisles or on restaurant menus.

Some names and brands in the food processing sector might not be familiar to the casual investor. More often than not, these companies are behind the scenes, operating at a large scale to provide the world oils and sweeteners.

Food processing stocks have their own quirks when it comes to investing. Unlike farming, they’re less influenced by the whims of weather or season, but they still have an associated set of risks. The costs associated with this industry vertical are vast, and price competition across brands can lead to drops or jumps in the market.

Stocks of Food Producers

Further up the supply chain comes food producers, where novice investors are more likely to know these brands and companies from daily life and dietary habits. Food producers take the raw ingredients provided by processors and create the items found on store shelves.

Break this vertical down further to find “diversified” and “specialized” producers.

As the name suggests, diversified food producers are companies that create a ton of different products under the same name umbrella, like Nestlé, which makes everything from baby food to ice cream.

Then there are specialized producers. They make consumer products as well, but these companies often cater to a narrower audience, producing only a few items, often within the same vertical.

In times of recession, luxury or expensive food processing stocks might take a dip. Additionally, consumer trends can influence the market. Take the alternative meat craze–a popular investment trend in recent years. Investors saw larger-than-average returns for the industry due to interest in the trend.

Food-Distribution Stocks

Distribution companies have little to do with consumption or production and focus more on logistics and transport. These companies send products across the country and world.

Distribution companies range from very large, reaching national distribution, to fairly small, where they connect specialty retailers. The distribution market might have its long-term players, but investing in it comes with its own risks.

Grocery-Store Stocks

Grocery stores have become big business in the investment game. The next link in the chain, grocery stores are where the products end up once a distributor drops them off.

Grocery store investments are hardly recession-proof, but the necessity of groceries as a staple for consumers suggests these investments take a lesser hit in a market downturn.

Recommended: Investing During a Recession

Restaurant Stocks

Restaurants are an additional resting place for food distributors. In economic downturns, discretionary restaurant spending is usually the first to go, making this industry within food investing slightly less stable than the others. Additionally, this arena might be most susceptible to trends.

Food-Delivery Service Stocks

The newest addition in food stocks is more about tech than good eats. Online delivery services have burst onto the scene, and with a limited history of performance, are considered to be riskier than the traditional food stocks outlined above.

Right now, delivery service companies are still duking it out across the country, expanding to new cities and slashing the price of services to entice customers.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Food Stocks

With all the ingredients in order, it’s time to highlight a few of the basic pros and cons of investing in food stocks.

Pro: Food stocks, particularly those that are consumer staples, can perform consistently. Food stocks can be a relatively safe, recession-resistant investment (but remember all stocks have inherent risk).
Con: Food stocks perform consistently. For an investor looking for a higher-risk investment, the steady year-over-year earnings might not be as enticing for someone trying to build a high-return portfolio.
Pro: Familiarity with brands. Many food stocks are also commonly found in investors’ pantries and refrigerators. For someone new to investing, buying stocks in the brands they trust and use could be a great way to dip their toes in the market.
Con: Not all food stocks are immune to ups and downs in the economy. Some companies, particularly restaurant groups or those that produce higher-priced products, may be hurt if discretionary spending by consumers pulls back.

The Takeaway

Investing in food companies can actually lead to investing in a wide range of different companies–those that are defensive and more immune to economic shifts, those that are cyclical and rise when the economy is hot.

It can also involve wagering on stocks that have long been a part of the food supply chain, as well as startup unicorn companies that are using innovative mobile technology to deliver meals to consumers.

For individuals who want to try their hand at picking food stocks, SoFi’s Active Investing platform may be a good option. Investors can buy traditional stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or even fractional shares of some companies. For those who need help, the Automated Investing service builds portfolios for SoFi Members and Certified Financial Planners can answer questions on investing.

Get started with SoFi Invest today.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Source: sofi.com

Bitcoin Gold (BTG): Creation, Controversy, and How it Stacks up to BCH

Any conversation about cryptocurrency has to start with Bitcoin. It was the first crypto (it’s been around since 2009), it is the most valuable (worth over $1 trillion), and it’s the most traded (over $60 billion in daily volume). It also has the most spinoffs, or “forks,” that have become widely-used cryptos in their own right.

Perhaps the most well-known forks are Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which came out in 2017, and Bitcoin Gold(BCG), which was the product of a fork from Bitcoin a few months later.

What is Bitcoin Gold?

Bitcoin Gold was a hard fork from Bitcoin with the intent of further decentralizing Bitcoin. The idea was to use a new algorithm for the mining process that would not prioritize major mining operations, as some believed Bitcoin did.

Bitcoin Gold was an implicit criticism of Bitcoin, essentially arguing that it had betrayed or at least strayed from its initial roots as a decentralized currency with its increasingly centralized mining operations. Even if anyone can buy Bitcoin, it’s much harder (or at least not profitable) for anyone to create it.

Developers wanted to make it easier for normal computer users to mine on their own machines, a contrast to the massive Bitcoin mining industry, which is mostly done on specialized computer equipment purchased and operated by big-time operators in places like Iceland, where electricity is cheap. With Bitcoin Gold, however, the humble graphics card could carry the load.

Bitcoin Gold Controversy

Bitcoin Gold has been controversial almost since its inception. Typically with hard forks, owners of the initial cryptocurrency also receive units of the new one. For example, when Bitcoin Cash forked from Bitcoin, all Bitcoin owners got Bitcoin Cash.

When the Bitcoin Gold fork occurred, on the other hand, Bitcoin owners did not immediately get their new cryptocurrency. Instead, developers kept the Bitcoin Gold blockchain private for a few weeks so that they could mine BTG without competition—which they described as a “premine”. Critics opposed this practice, as it left fewer coins available for others to mine and also amounted to “free money” for the BTG developers.

As a result, cryptocurrency exchange and service provider Coinbase said it would not support BitcoinGold, explaining that because developers hadn’t made the code available for review by the public, it posed a security risk.

BTG Security Issues

Bitcoin Gold was worth over $8 billion when it launched, but fell dramatically in value as security issues emerged.

BTG has experienced multiple “51% attacks,” where an entity or individual or hacker is able to do the one thing that cryptocurrency is supposed to prevent: take control of transactions and “double spend” them, essentially stealing money. After one of the attacks, Bitcoin Gold was delisted from some exchanges.

In 2020, the developers behind Bitcoin Gold were able to fend off another attempt on the cryptocurrency’s network.
In early March 2021, the Bitcoin Gold team posted on its blog that its “hibernation has come to an end”—the 51% attacks that plagued the coin last year were ultimately defeated by the BTG miners and community.

What is Bitcoin Gold Worth Now?

Bitcoin Gold is ranked 73rd among cryptos according to CoinMarketCap (as of late April 2021) and has a total value of around $1.6 billion and a value per coin of around $90. Bitcoin Gold’s value was over $470 per coin at least twice in 2017, but has been under $100 since early 2018.

Bitcoin Gold vs. Bitcoin Cash Value

When comparing Bitcoin Gold vs Bitcoin Cash, the numbers speak for themselves: the original fork has a total value of almost $11 trillion, volume of almost $3 billion, and a value per coin of over $500. Bitcoin Cash is about 87 percent from its absolute peak value but is still substantially more valuable than its forked cousin on a “per coin” basis, at least so far, when it comes to Bitcoin Cash vs Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Cash is winning.

How to Invest in Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin Gold is not available to buy and sell on mainstream exchanges like Coinbase, but, according to its organizers, it is available to trade on exchanges like Binance and Bitfinex.

The Takeaway

Bitcoin Gold is yet another hard fork of Bitcoin, like Bitcoin Cash. What distinguishes Bitcoin Gold is its intent: To further decentralize and democrative mining, making it more accessible to individual miners, rather than large groups with massive computing power.

For investors interested in building a crypto portfolio, buying crypto on SoFi Invest® can be a great way to start trading crypto. You can get started with just $10, we keep your crypto secure and protected from fraud, and you can manage your account in the SoFi app.

Find out how to invest in crypto with SoFi Invest.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Source: sofi.com

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Falls to New Record Low

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Mortgage rates fall despite strong economic data reports.

“Mortgage rates fell again this week, continuing the downward trend they’ve exhibited for most of April,” said Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman. “In what was a relatively unremarkable week for mortgage rates, the modest movement was partially driven by discussions about a proposed increase in capital gains tax rates – which placed downward pressure on bond yields and thus rates – and anticipation of a key announcement by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the Central Bank has no immediate plans to increase interest rates or curb the purchases of mortgage-backed securities – a position that placed more downward pressure on bond yields and is likely to result in more mortgage decreases in the coming days. Looking ahead, with a slew of key economic reports on the horizon – including consumer spending and inflation data – the relatively muted mortgage rate activity from the past couple weeks may transition to more significant movements.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.11%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.55%.

Check Zillow for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

The weekly mortgage rate chart above illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate for the past week. Here’s a comprehensive look at the current mortgage rates for all loan types:

Today’s Average Rates for Conventional Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed 2.84% 2.9% -0.05%
20-Year Fixed 2.72% 2.79% -0.04%
15-Year Fixed 2.13% 2.21% -0.03%
10-Year Fixed 2.02% 2.14% -0.12%
7/1 ARM 2.65% 3.25% -0.1%
5/1 ARM 2.49% 3.19% 0.02%
3/1 ARM 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.84% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,239. A 20-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.72% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,621. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.13% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,948. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.02% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,762. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.65% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,208. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.49% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,183. A 3/1 ARM loan of $0 at 0% APR with a $0 down payment will have a monthly payment of $0. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Government Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed FHA 2.33% 2.99% 0.53%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.6% 2.89% -0.21%
15-Year Fixed FHA 2.06% 2.84% -0.06%
15-Year Fixed VA 2.62% 3.13% 0%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.69% 3% -0.14%
5/1 ARM VA 2.35% 2.45% 0.09%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.33% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,158. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.6% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,200. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,939. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.62% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,017. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.69% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,214. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 2.35% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,162. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Jumbo Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.27% 3.32% -0.03%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.71% 3.76% -0.3%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.86% 2.94% -0.06%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.63% 2.7% 0%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.59% 2.81% 0.04%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.39% 2.73% 0.19%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 2.14% 2.74% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.27% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,618. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.71% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,545. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.86% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,101. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.63% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,690. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.59% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,400. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.39% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,336. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,259. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Source: zillow.com