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A mutual fund is a financial tool made up of a pool of money collected from many investors to invest in securities such as stocks, bonds, and other assets. Mutual funds are operated by professional money managers who allocate the fund's assets and attempt to produce income for the fund's investors.
Stocks are a form of corporate equity ownership or type of security. You become a share owner when purchasing shares in a company. This entitles the stockholder to that proportion of the company’s assets and earnings.
Owning stock gives you the right to vote in shareholder meetings, receive dividends (company profits) if and when they are distributed, and the ability to sell your shares to somebody else.
A bond is a loan to a company or entity that pays investors a fixed rate of return over a specific timeframe.
An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company in which you make a lump sum payment or series of payments and, in return, obtain regular disbursements beginning either immediately or at some point in the future.
The goal of annuity is to provide a steady stream of income during retirement. Funds accrue on a tax-deferred basis, and like 401K contributions, can only be withdrawn without penalty after age 59.5.
Many aspects of an annuity can be tailored to the specific needs of the recipient. In addition to choosing between a lump sum payment or a series of payments to the insurer, you can choose when you want to start receiving payments.
A Fixed Annuity is an investment with an interest rate established for a defined period and is not taxable until the funds are withdrawn. This product has an assured rate of interest for an established period of time and is not subject to market variability. If funds are withdrawn before the maturity date, fees will apply.
A Variable Annuity is a retirement account that allows a person to choose their investments and the annuity provides an income based on how well the investments are doing in the stock and bond markets. Unlike a fixed annuity which offers a guaranteed payout, a variable annuity is designed to increase the investor’s savings by giving them a chance for long-term growth.
A Fixed Index is a tax-deferred, long-term savings option that could provide protection in a down market and opportunity for growth. A fixed index annuity (also known as an equity annuity) is an insured investment that ties your interest rate to the growth of a major stock market index, like the S&P 500. As the S&P 500 rises, the insurance company credits your account with interest, minus the cut it takes for itself. When the S&P 500 falls, the insurance company protects your principle against losses with a low, but positive, interest rate. This investment is becoming increasingly attractive as it offers the combined features of fixed and variable annuities.
Formerly called an education IRA, an Education Savings Account (ESA) provides for special tax treatment of money set aside by parents or guardians for the educational purposes of a child. Money put into an ESA may be invested and can earn interest tax-free. It may also be withdrawn free of federal taxes, as long as it’s used for qualifying educational expenses.
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged investment designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary.